While the majority of the media focuses on talking heads and high profile political types when it comes to responses to Morgan Freeman’s recent accusation that the Tea Party is racist, one Tea Party activist has a unique perspective.
Emery McClendon, Tea Party Organizer, Air Force retiree and regular guy with a 9 to 5 job in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, has a lot to say about those allegations.
“My initial reaction was ‘What movie is coming out? Is he trying to get attention?'” says McClendon. “The motivation is, I think, to use this as a publicity stunt. It’s a complete reversal from his previous statements on ABC.”
The previous statements McClendon is referring to are from an interview with Mike Wallace of ABC in which Freeman explains the way to eliminate racism is to stop talking about it. He also thinks that Black History Month is “ridiculous” and renders Wallace speechless when Freeman asks him about white history month.
“I’m going to stop calling you a white man and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man,” Freeman says in the 60 Minutes interview.
View a clip of the 2009 interview here. Morgan Freeman on race 2009
Freeman’s latest film, Dolphin Tale, was just released this month.
McClendon began his activism with the Tea Party in 2009 following the Rick Santelli rant about housing subsidies. McClendon saw an opportunity to get involved in framing the future of America and began work assembling the largest gathering at the courthouse square that Ft. Wayne had ever seen. More than 1,000 people from the Allen County and surrounding areas came to hear multiple speakers, experience patriotic comaraderie and protest excessive spending and overreach by the government.
McClendon now travels the country encouraging others to join the Tea Party movement.
When asked, “at the hundreds of events you’ve attended with Tea Party activists, how many instances of racism have you experienced?” McClendon wastes no time with his answer. “Absolutely zero.”
“For all the racist comments [from the media, politicians and Hollywood] to come out, I think it’s fear. Fear from the Congressional Black Caucus, fear from the establishment types, etc.,” says McClendon. “They don’t know what to do with this movement. The tea party came on strong and happened fast so they’re afraid of it.”
McClendon also thinks that many of those who are accusing the Tea Party of racism have never been to a Tea Party event. It irritates him that so many people on television who have never even been to a Tea Party rally are making racist accusations without doing any investigating on their own.
“People want to know what the Tea Party is really all about. They should at least take the time to go to at least one event and see what they don’t see on TV. I’ve witnessed firsthand how attending just one event can change opinions.”
To learn more about Emery McClendon and hear him speak at an upcoming event, you can simply Google his name for hundreds of hits or follow him on Twitter, www.twitter.com/kb9ibw which references his amateur radio handle. He is also an organizer for Ft. Wayne 9-12 project, featured on MSNBC’s “Faces of the Tea Party” and the recipient of Americans For Prosperity’s Activist of the Year Award.