"It's regrettable to see a group that used to have such an honorable and credible reputation become just another political tool of the progressive movement," said Project 21 member Jimmie L. Hollis. "I cannot help but think that there are some fine people working for the NAACP, but its leadership is doing it a disservice by crying wolf in this manner."
The NAACP has joined with the left-wing groups Think Progress, Media Matters and New Left Media to create the web siteTeaPartyTracker.org. At present, the site is a blog containing anecdotal evidence -- such as photos of individuals at tea party rallies -- as evidence of tea party "racism." It also contains a gallery of "eyewitness photos" of "extremism."
Among the photos are people with signs that use no racist language, but do oppose amnesty for illegal aliens and a government takeover of health care. There is a photo of Dale Robertson, who showed up to a tea party event in Houston, Texas on February 27, 2009 with a sign that contained a misspelling of the n-word. It is not reported that Robertson was removed from the event by its organizers because of the sign.
Another photo in TeaPartyTracker.org's rogues' gallery of "Tea Party extremism" is Project 21 member Oscar Murdock. In a photo registered to AFP-Getty Images taken at a rally in Searchlight, Nevada, Murdock is holding one sign that reads: "Hey progressives, love the USA. Do not destroy it." Another sign -- shaped like a hand -- reads: "Hi Sarah [Palin], we [heart] u."
"What is wrong with the signs I made and was holding in that picture? What is wrong with the person in another photo who was simply wearing a hat with tea bags on it?" asked Project 21's Murdock. "I think the NAACP has drifted too far to the left. They are no longer serving the best interests of the black community. They are only serving the progressives."
Murdock added: "The NAACP is doing things that should be embarrassing to them."
Another troubling aspect of the NAACP's interest in the tea party movement and initiatives such as this is their leadership's apparent disinterest in racial abuse directed toward black conservatives.
"As a speaker at many tea party events across America, I've never once encountered this racism and extremism that the NAACP acts so concerned about," said Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli. "I have told the NAACP how I have been called a 'token,' 'traitor' and 'sellout' -- among other things -- for my support of limited government and personal responsibility. But the NAACP has thus far chosen to ignore this racial animosity."
On July 28, Borelli sent a letter to NAACP vice president Hilary Shelton, asking him to make good on a pledge he made on the Fox News Channel's "Geraldo At Large" program that the organization would repudiate race-based criticism of black conservatives. More than a month later, the NAACP has not yet responded.