Conservative commentator Ann Coulter confirmed on Thursday’s Larry King Live (04/15/10) that the Tea Party movement is made up of mostly white people. Coulter actually admitted that an estimated 85 percent of those who support the grass-roots conservative movement are – gasp – white! Can you imagine?
Umm… how exactly is that a big surprise, considering that about 80 percent of Americans are of Caucasian heritage? (For the numbers, please see: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0762156.html)
Critics of the less-government/more-liberty movement often raise the issue of race, pointing out the predominant whiteness of those gathered at Tea Party doings. The intent is to paint the protesting partiers as racist and exclusionary. “There aren’t any blacks at the Tea Party, it’s mostly whites (therefore, must be racist.)”
Ignoring for a moment the pure bigotry of calling all white people racists, let’s focus on why most folks at the movement seem to be white.
Statistically speaking, American population demographics show why Tea Partiers could be expected to be estimated 85% white. We’re an 80 percent white American population. Sure seems coincidental, don’t you think, that those statistics are close?
But what about the differential? The additional five percent white Tea Party composition?
Perhaps it has something to do with how people of the two races identify themselves politically.
A 2009 Gallup poll (http://www.gallup.com/poll/125579/Asian-Americans-Lean-Left-Politically.aspx) identified the political leanings or affiliations for the four largest ethnicities in America.
Whites were pretty evenly split, with 45 percent identifying themselves as Republicans or Republican-leaning, and 43 percent responding as Democrats or Democrat-leaning. More white people call themselves ‘conservative’ (42 percent) than ‘moderate’ (37 percent) or liberal (20 percent).
The gap among black Americans was significantly greater, with an 83 percent majority identifying themselves as Democrat/Democrat-leaning, and a mere 8 percent naming themselves Republican/Republican-leaning. The greatest number of black respondents said they are ‘moderate’ (43 percent), with ‘conservative’ a distant second (29 percent). ‘Liberal’ came in third (24 percent), still higher than the number of white respondents claiming that ideology.
Hispanics, comprising 14.4 percent of America by the 2005 estimates, were split at 53-21 percent in favor of Democrat identity. Americans of Asian heritage had a wider gap of 61 percent Democrat or leaning versus 24 percent Republican.
Which begs the question:
If the Tea Party so closely resembles the ethnic composition of America herself, who’s really responsible for fanning the flames of racial tension?
And a further question:
If the Tea Party seeks to reign in an expanding, over-reaching government that ignores or ridicules the voice of the people, who stands to gain from fanning those flames?
*Note about www.infoplease.com data: “Percentages do not add up to 100% due to rounding and because Hispanics may be of any race and are therefore counted under more than one category.”