Yesterday, Representative Michele Bachmann released the membership list of the Tea Party Caucus, an officially registered organization of the U.S. House of Representatives. Although Tea Party leaders claim that their work is not partisan in nature, the Tea Party Caucus is home only to Republicans.
Another fact about the membership of the Tea Party Caucus stands out immediately, given the recent controversy over accusations that Tea Party organizations contain a significant racist element. The Tea Party Caucus contains no African-Americans, even though there are many African-Americans in the House of Representatives. As revealed by a quick glance at the Tea Party Caucus members, pictured here to the left, only light skin tones are present in the congressional organization.
Michael Steele, Chair of the Republican National Committee, argues against accusations of Tea Party racism, saying, “Recent statements claiming the Tea Party movement is racist are not only destructive, they are not true. Tea Party activists are your mom or dad, your local grocer, banker, hairdresser or doctor. They are a diverse group of passionate Americans.” If they are to be believed, however, such assertions need to supported by facts. The statistics of Tea Party Caucus membership don’t fit with Steele’s description of a “diverse group”. If the Tea Party alliance of organizations is not racist, why is the membership of the Tea Party Caucus so racially skewed?