Tea Party organizers of a racial tolerance event at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, got more than they bargained for when their session on attracting Black voters, went all wrong. The “Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You're Not One?” seminar, held Friday (March 15), resulted in a racially charged screaming match.
Moderator K. Carl Smith discussed the Democratic Party 's ties to the Klan, entering into an exchange with a "disenfranchised" White audience member, who wanted to diversify the conservative party. Suggesting that the plan be compared to that of Book T. Washington, Smith retorted with Frederick Douglass--at which point things got awkward.
From Talking Points:
Scott Terry of North Carolina, accompanied by a Confederate-flag-clad attendee, Matthew Heimbach, rose to say he took offense to the event's take on slavery. (Heimbach founded the White Students Union at Towson University and is described as a “white nationalist” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.)
“It seems to be that you're reaching out to voters at the expense of young white Southern males,” Terry said, adding he “came to love my people and culture” who were “being systematically disenfranchised.”
Smith responded that Douglass forgave his slavemaster.
“For giving him shelter? And food?” Terry said.
At this point the event devolved into a mess of shouting. Organizers calmed things down by asking everyone to “take the debate outside after the presentation.”
Brown, who took offense at the suggestion modern Democrats were descendants of the KKK, tried to ask a question later once things finally calmed down. She was booed and screamed at by audience members.
“Let someone else speak!” one attendee in Revolutionary War garb shouted.
“You're not welcome!” a white-haired older woman yelled.
The attendance of a liberal radio host and producer, Kim Brown, helped the crowd turn their anger away from Terry. Many of those interviewed after the event were upset with Brown's debates, overlooking the explosive comment from Terry.
A rep from the Tea Party released a statement from Smith, also lashing out at Brown, but showing compassion to Terry. "I was rudely interrupted by a woman working for the 'Voice of Russia,'" he said of Brown. "She abruptly asked me: 'How many Black women were there?' This question was intentionally disruptive and coercive with no way of creating a positive dialogue.
"In addition, a young man who wasn't a Tea Party Patriot, made some racially insensitive comments, he said: 'Blacks should be happy that the slave master gave them shelter, clothing, and food.' At the conclusion of the breakout session, I further explained to him the Frederick Douglass Republican Message which he embraced, bought a book, and we left as friends."
Photo: Think Progress