Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) is facing a fierce backlash for telling a largely black crowd at a Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) event in Miami that "some of them in Congress right now with this Tea Party movement would love to see you and me... hanging on a tree." After audio of Carson's speech was posted on a conservative website Tuesday, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) — the only member of both the CBC and Tea Party Caucus, and no stranger to racially inflammatory comments — said he might quit the CBC over Carson's "race-baiting" remarks. Carson is standing by his words. But did he go too far?
This is way over the line: Black Democrats have long accused the Tea Party of racism, says Doug Ross at Director Blue. But Carson has taken that critique to a dangerous new extreme. Accusing the racially diverse, law-abiding Tea Party movement of being a violent lynch mob is "beyond the pale." The remark could incite "violence and unrest." Indeed, if even one person takes Carson's hateful lies seriously, "a terrible set of consequences can result."
"The Big Lie: Farrakhan-backed Islamist Indiana Rep. Andre Carson..."
Carson's analogy is off, but he's essentially right: Carson's analogy could have been more "nuanced and precise," says Chauncey DeVega at AlterNet. But he's right that today's Tea Party and history's lynching parties "come from the same political wellspring." The "older, almost exclusively white folks" in the Tea Party don't literally want to see blacks "hanging on a tree," but many do display a racist attitude toward blacks — and a reflexive hostility to President Obama. They've made it pretty clear that "our America" doesn't have a black president.
"Does the Tea Party really want to lynch black folks?"
The lynching analogy is self-defeating: Carson was trying to say that Tea Party policies help millionaires and oil companies at the expense of minorities, children, and job creation, says Matthew Tully in the Indianapolis Star. That's a good point, and he should have simply said that instead of burying his message under inflammatory accusations. Becoming the new "face of a disastrously acrimonious Congress" may raise Carson's profile on the Left, but it "won't help one person get a job."
"I have a simple question for Carson: Why?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- This is what happens when Republicans actually enact their radical agenda
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The Obama administration's nonstop incoherence on ISIS
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- How I dug myself out of debt — and stayed that way
- 6 super-helpful iOS8 tricks you probably don't know about
- Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- The European Union was supposed to end nationalism. It gave it new life instead.
Subscribe to the Week