On the January 5 edition of his MSNBC program “Hardball,” Chris Matthews claimed that everyone participating in tea party rallies such as the one held in Washington, D.C. on September 12, 2009 were white.
In a discussion with Mark McKinnon of the Daily Beast and Susan Page of USA Today, Matthews said: “And they’re monochromatic, right?… Meaning they’re all white. All of them — every single one of them — is white.”
Members of the Project 21 black leadership network disagree. They were there.
Bob Parks, a Project 21 member from Virginia, said: “Here’s a news flash for Chris Matthews. I was there. So was my son. Last time I checked, both of us are black — and we weren’t the only black people there. I know other black people who attended the September 12 rally in Washington, including some of the ones who spoke at the podium! I guess the MSNBC camera people missed them.”
Parks continued: “To me, this means Chris Matthews thinks that blacks who don’t toe the liberal line are either invisible – and apparently irrelevant – or such sellouts that they’ve become white. Obviously, he doesn’t have the guts to have us on ‘Hardball’ so he can call us all-white ‘teabaggers’ to our faces.”
Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli of New York was one of the speakers at the September 12 rally. She said: “Chris Matthews’ statement exposes how his narrow-minded liberal bias blinds him to the truth. I was a speaker at the FreedomWorks 9.12 March on D.C. and several similar rallies in Pennsylvania. I’m also an active member in a local tea party organization. The tea party movement is not about color. It is about Americans expressing their concerns about the growth of government which will diminish individual liberty.”
Borelli continued: “Chris Matthews may be the first liberal of the new year to play the race card to try to stifle First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly, but I’m sure he won’t be the last.”
Besides the September 12 rally in Washington, D.C., Deneen also spoke at tea party rallies in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 9, 2009 and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on November 14, 2009. She has been asked to speak at the “Tax Day Tea Party” being organized by FreedomWorks in Washington, D.C. for April 15, 2010 and is a member of the White Plains Tea Party in New York.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).