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Are The Tea Party And The KKK Similar?

The University of Washington is sparking debate for promoting the work of their professor who suggests that the Tea Party may have similarities to the KKK. An eNewsletter sent to all alumni of the university included references to the work of professor Christopher Parker who linked racism to Tea Party support. Some conservative alumni expressed outrage at the comparison, but others felt that Parker raised valid questions.

In addition to the newsletter alleging that the Tea Party movement was “a reaction to the Obama Presidency,” it directly asked the question, “Is the Tea Party like the Ku Klux Klan? In this commentary from Professor Christopher Parker, he argues that recent research shows racism is a a strong indicator of Tea Party support.” Parker later clarified that while he doesn’t believe the Tea Party can be equated with the KKK, he does believe they are “motivated by both conservative principles and racism.”

After receiving several e-mail complaints from alumni, the school’s Political Science Department chairman Peter May sent an e-mail addressing the scandal. “I respect your comments and certainly encourage your feedback. The point of including this item in our eNewsletter was to show the types of work that faculty undertake,” he wrote. “This commentary is a synopsis of a much larger research project published as the Princeton University Press book that is noted in the commentary. [I] encourage anyone who has concerns about this commentary to take the time to read the book.”

Parker’s book which addresses this topic is Change They Can’t Believe In: The Tea Party and Reactionary Politics in Contemporary America.

(Photo: University of Washington)

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