The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization. Founder Labels Obama With Racial Terms

By Mark Potok on May 28, 2010 - 4:11 pm, Posted in Anti-Black

Dale Robertson, the vitriolic founder and president of, blasted out a mass E-mail today that seemed meant to convince doubters that his movement is, after all, racist at its core.

Attacking President Obama for traveling home to Chicago for the Memorial Day weekend — rather than staying in Washington to lay a wreath in Arlington Cemetery as many presidents have done — Robertson falls into a string of contemptuous and racially charged terms.

Obama is going home to spend time with “his homies in the Chicago hood,” writes Robertson, who is white. The taxpayers will be footing the bill for the president to “bump and grind in the hood.” While he’s gone, Vice President Joseph Biden and his wife “will step into Obama’s sneakers” to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Obama, meanwhile, will be “shooting hoops, smoking cigarettes and goofing-off with his homies.”

Robertson, who is a contributor to the right-wing Washington Times’ “Tea Party Report” blog (and is identified there as “the Founder of the modern day Tea Party movement”), has never been a study in sensitivity. He has written that everyone who voted for the national health care reform bill is a “national socialist” — a Nazi, like those who murdered millions in the gas chambers. He says that “illegal aliens” are coming to impose socialism on the United States. But now, Robertson has gone one step further, describing Obama as the kind of person who has “homies” in the “hood,” who wears “sneakers” and “shoots hoops,” and who “bumps and grinds.” We wonder just what type of person Dale Robertson is thinking of.

  • ForkedTongueBuster

    Socialism for the Economic Royalty… 8.5 trillion dollar bailout. More than all the defense budgets in the world put together… You want to cut spending, TEA PARTY? Start there because you just paid the top .01%, 30 grand from every person in your family! ARE YOU ALL SO STUPID? None are so blind as those who will not see…

    It was a planned stick up job. They break the economy and make you bail them out because, they are “BIG TOO FAIL”. Then because they hammered the economy and people lose their jobs it creates a huge budget deficit in addition to the deficits caused by tax cuts for the super rich. And now they are after your soc. sec and medicare that you pay for. LOL…

    They have the victims fighting for the perpetrators… Bunch of idiots… Hey? Why are the ultra-rich people making billions a year paying 15% in taxes or less. And the poor 100K per year middle class paying at least 35%? Because they think they are rich and are dumb and dumber? Pawns!

  • ForkedTongueBuster

    you have been duped… The Republicans are the biggest socialist spenders in the history world. They defrauded you and the rest of us of 8.5 trillion in welfare for the Super rich. The democrats set it up the trap for Bush to pull the trigger… You are in a delusion… Brain washed…

    These are the Presidents that have been complicit, Reagan, Bush1, Clinton, Bush2, Obama.

    They are stealing from all of us… The Economic Royalty owns both parties and they own you…


    See many examples of Tea Party racism gathered together at one site

  • Guardian

    If only life were that simple. But we do have nations; nations of people; people who in the beginning came to this continent seeking true freedom and penned these words in the founding document, ‘that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’. This is a truth, not because it is in the American Constitution; it is in the Constitution because it is a truth…for all men! I am hard pressed to find any fault in these words.
    Although the tools of an effective civil war have changed from the gun to the pen, these words are no less worthy to fight for now than they were then. I neither condone any man who would deny freedom from another, nor would I deny my support of any man who would fight for the freedom of another. If not this type of freedom, then what is worth fighting for?
    By the way, I would have been proud to have served under the republican president, Abraham Lincoln, who as you know, being the history buff you are, never owned a slave.

  • beholder


    Before their were nations, was there freedom? Are the birds and beasts dependent upon policy to determine their direction and action? Do to the fishes in the sea look to Sarah Palin to help them guide their schools?

    And what of anarchists, who love freedom yet have no nation and recognize no government? By accepting the yoke of codified conduct that you call freedom, are you not a slave? Indeed, is not your mind trapped behind behind iron bars of nationalism, so that you are unable to think freely for yourself?

    This is not an apology for anarchism. It is merely an observation on the limitations of your worldview.

    Andrew Jackson was arguably one of the great advocates of American patriotism and “freedom” of the style you espouse, who charged into combat with no regard for his personal safety in wars against those he considered tyrant.

    And he was a slave owner.

  • Golden Rule

    While I am not here to defend anyone’s actions, who is INNOCENT until proven guilty, you sit there in your fancy chair and judge a man by his color.
    You all bleed, do you not?
    The use of the term racist is Over the top and no one cares anymore because it is always used to shut up the opposition. Your politic rants sound like babies crying while your government takes away your freedom.

    Get a JOB, get an education. Make something of yourself instead of HANDOUTS and calling people names and deriding people that care about your freedom, because they know that your rights are inalienable and God given and are out there willing to fight for them. For YOU and your freedoms! WAKE UP!

    We know that you are TERRIFIED because the TEA Party has hit a nerve.
    You don’t like freedom. You’d rather all be slaves.

  • Guardian

    Well I’m sorry this is the only thing you took from my commentary. But let me address the issue at hand. “Is freedom a concept for me defined only by citizenship of the United States?” Quite the contrary. You can have patriotism without a love for freedom, but you cannot have a love for freedom without patriotism. Every person in every nation must decide for themselves if their version patriotism will lead them to action; to stand and fight with those who love freedom or with those who would keep their citizens under oppression and tyranny. I’m sure the American slave owners thought themselves to be patriots, but it is certain they had no love for the freedom of all men. Thank God for the actions of true lovers of freedom who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to bring to an end this horrific injustice.

    It is a sad commentary that our highest leader, whose ancestors were once in bondage to this horrific form of oppression, would now, after being elevated to the most distinguished seat in the nation, practice the same sort of arrogant injustice toward others.

    So not to lose focus of the real issue; my concern at this point is America. Once again there has come a time in our history when men and women must make a decision and be willing to take a stand. As for me, I have chosen to stand with those true American Patriots who fight for freedom for their fellow citizens against those who stand only for themselves.

  • beholder

    Guardian are you saying that only those in America by your narrow definition of patriot can be a lover of freedom? Or can a citizen, say, of Iran, also love freedom at the same time as they love their country, culture, and rich cultural heritage and history? Does everyone born in China, for example, have no chance of loving freedom, by virtue of their birthplace? Is freedom a concept for you defined only by citizenship of the United States?

  • Guardian

    I think you are missing the point of the tea parties. The tea parties were never meant to be a political entity in and of itself. Much like the tea party of old, they are meant to make a statement, to motivate, to give hope to people in a time of governmental oppression.

    As for “patriotism”; a person isn’t a patriot just because they call themselves one. Either you are or you are not. Patriotism is defined as “one who loves and is devoted to his country”. Obviously President Obama does not fall into this category. This is evidenced by his own admission during his “World Apology Tour” and his wife’s testimony that she has never been proud of this country until her husband was nominated president. They are simply proud of themselves and lovers of their own achievements. And therefore it is undisputable that anyone who supports such a person also disqualifies themselves as a patriot. And you cannot be a “lover of freedom” without being a true patriot.

  • beholder

    I can see how some degree of “nationalism” (that is the strong link between personal and national political identity, as least that’s how I define it) might be useful for political results in the supposed interests of the nation — for example going to war.

    However I can also see how “nationalism”, when it becomes a sentiment of superiority over other peoples, nations, ethnicities, religions and so on, can also work against the material interests of the country.

    For me, the test is not so much in the failures of a charismatic leader, who can use nationalistic sentiment to bend political events to his or her will and against the interests of the nation, but indeed, of the people who believe blindly in nationalistic ideals without considering the danger thereof.

    The “tea party” as I see it is a short term phenomenon that will melt away into other political channels. It lacks the leadership and national scope of unity that is required of a lasting movement across the country. It was invented by the media, and has been perpetuated by those who see in the media image something that speaks to them.

    What that something is, eventually, lacks substance. There is no real movement beyond the theatrical display of Founding values and trappings, because unlike the labor movement, for example, or the civil rights movement, or even anti-war movements, in our nation’s history, the tea party was created at a national level (by Fox News) and imitated at a local level.

    The other, genuine, social movements I describe began from the ground up. That is their strength, and that is how they managed to achieve political success.

    To define “patriotism” and “love of freedom” as principles of change is inherently flawed. There are few Americans who, if pressed, would not call themselves patriots, and I don’t know of anyone (Bush’s comments about our supposed enemies notwithstanding) who “hates freedom”.

    If you have something pragmatic, such as lower taxes (or at least responsible taxation) of interest to all, then there is no need to couch such policies in the dazzling illusion of nationwide patriotism. It requires rolling up the sleeves and setting to work. As the Tea Party exists in a moral rather than practical sphere, I cannot see how it serves the interests of the country.

    I do not even see how it serves its members, who have failed to advance any policy of national scope at all, except for giving them a probably false sense of community and belonging.

  • Guardian

    Beholder, my friend,
    True nationalism will always lead people to do what is in the BEST interest of their country. No one person’s or one party’s personal or material interests should come before the best interests of the people they have sworn to serve.
    When a leader who has so little pride in his chosen country, to the point he becomes obsessed in destroying that country in an effort to recreate it in his own image; when ego, arrogance and personal ambition become the driving force behind that leader’s efforts, then that country ceases to be the nation it was born to be. This is what leads people of character, true patriots and lovers of freedom to act. And this action is what defines a true American!

  • beholder


    Can you think of any times in history when nationalism led people to act against the material interests of their country?

  • Guardian

    I just want to say I’m proud to be a “Tea Partier”. It’s become obvious that the liberals of this country, to include President Obama no longer hold sacred the principles of those original Patriots and Statesmen who sacrificed everything to establish this nation. We have seen our President and his officials turn from the noble cause of governing “by the people, for the people” and have resorted to looking inwardly to their own prosperity and glory without respect to the plight they inflict on the very people they were elected to defend and sustain.
    The original “Tea Partiers” at the Boston Harbor and those with similar convictions purchased the right for all of us to be called Americans. Well I for one am willing to stand up and speak up for that America. I will never demean her character nor will I apologize for her greatness.
    Only by standing together and putting off apathy; by standing up and speaking out; and by getting up and taking action will we ever see our founders’ vision realized once again, and in doing so, once again earn the right to be called Americans.

  • DDB9000

    While I’m a bit late to the party (so to speak), I wanted to reiterate what a couple of people have already mentioned – the use of the word ‘teabagger’ by Tea Party members. It is true that some of them had the word(s) ‘tea bag’ or ‘teabag’ on posters, but it is also true that some of them had begun to refer to themselves as ‘teabaggers’.

    It wasn’t until some in the media started broadcasting these comments, and then commenting on the speakers’ apparent lack of knowledge of the ‘risqué’ connotation of the word, that they realised what they’d done. Almost immediately, the ‘former’ teabaggers claimed that the media had started calling them this, when it was they themselves who started it. A perfect example of how the Tea Party will lie to get their points across…

  • Peter Blaise

    First of all, this is a BLOG, not an investigative journalism piece with corroboration and references and footnotes.

    Second, on my own second reading of it, after also reading all of the comments so far to this point, I can imagine that some of us wrote our replies without even reading all the way through the opening piece once, let alone twice, let alone confirming if our subsequent accusations can be accurately applied as a response to the opening post. That’s okay, I guess — it’s a BLOG, and we all apparently have something to say, and we’re grateful for the platform to share. Kudos to Southern Poverty Law Center for permitting the otherwise totally deletable wanderings off topic.

    Third, on topic, I see this initial BLOG entry above as a place marker for highlighting hate speech, and after reading it twice, I find that it did it’s assigned job reasonably well. As I mentioned, I prefer investigative journalism pieces with corroboration and links and references, but as a BLOG piece, an OPINION piece, I have to give it “editorial” leeway — as SPLC has obviously also given great leeway to us responders who have just vented our spleens!

    Fourth, I see side discussions of “teabaggers” as if SPLC mentioned the term first. They did not. A response written by “Mary in TN” mentioned the term “tea bag” first, two days after the opening BLOG entry, and then “Kim” mentioned the term “teabagger”, five days after the initial BLOG entry. SPLC is NOT the source of such references. In my own research, the term “tea bag” and the terms “teabagging” or “teabagger” in the past before this political movement were not interchangeable terms. I’ll let you all do your own research on their prior and contemporaneous meanings of these terms. No one has to use them, and I decline to. Regardless, the phrase in any form was not mentioned by SPLC.

    Fifth, regarding SPLC supposedly hating, and this BLOG entry being an example of SPLC hate, all I can do is re-read it a third time to look for any kind of SPLC hatred in it, and I find none. I do find a report about a white person using black ghetto terms to identify a black person (who happens to be NOT from a ghetto, if that matters), and I presume they used that characterization in order to cause white readers to fear that black person, associating that black person with American media’s prior fears of violent black men from ghettos in the news over the years (in the light of Jim Crow, the “riots”, Crack Cocaine, and so on). I see this as calling white readers to fear a black man by associating him with memories of other black men the whites were lead to fear. That is plain as day to me. I’m quite confident that this was the author’s intention. So, I do see the original email mentioned as a hateful, racist characterization of our President designed to instigate fear and hate.

    Sixth, again, as I read the opening BLOG a second time, I clearly understood that the author was pointing out that the author of the email mentioned claimed the President was selfishly taking a vacation away from Washington DC on the taxpayer’s money, and was neglecting to honor America’s soldiers who died in war, when actually, the President went to the original memorial for such purposes, a memorial set up by the originator of the whole idea of honoring war dead, President Abraham Lincoln, in Illinois, where the President is now from. So, I see the original email as mentioned is written very boldly as a lie, designed to cause resentment and anger against our President.

    Seventh, for the writer of the email mentioned in the opening BLOG entry above to have twisted the facts so blatantly to denigrate our President, and to use derogatory racial stereotypes, deserves very loud and wide publicity. For anyone to defend the author of the email, or to attack anyone who identifies this person’s horrible, hateful lies is unconscionable. I would expect every member of the Tea Party to denounce such racism and fear mongering. Anyone who is a member of any Tea Party who does not separate themselves from the author of the email has identified themselves with this person and their practices.

    Sarah Palin?

    Michele Bachmann?

    Rush Limbaugh?

    Glenn Beck?

    Rand Paul?

  • Herbert E. Larson

    I cannot even put what I want to say into sensible form, it has to do with being disconnected I am going to try. The negative commenter’s seem to be disconnected from realityagain and again in the statements it is mentioned on how the SPLC is a hate group. They seem to not realize that watching and reporting on groups that openly and without excuses say and act racist is being hateful and racist. This is the disconnect their brains are unable to discern difference, it is like serial pedophiles they just do not see what is wrong in their thinking. Intense mental therapy may cause some to come to their senses and become thinking people, but most will never develop, sadly.

  • Budman4200

    Give him a blood drug test, if he fails, I will give him my support.

  • Lorrie

    It figures that an asinine male such as Dale Robertson would let his bigot beliefs surface during the holiday weekend. The tea party or bigot party have twisted things like other racist groups. The similarity of recession and poor employment in Germany before WWII are scary. The American People have to wake up and realize that they use the tax platform but all along they blame race and culture for the problems of a broken system (federal). Our President and past Presidents are not perfect but President Obama always has to work harder than the white presidents.
    I only hope that history does not repeat itself and the American People watch out for the vitriolic people like Robertson. These type of people are very dangerous and should be expose for who they are. Nazis and White Hate Groups are upfront and dangerous. Robertson is sneaky and manipulative to ignorant people who follow the leader.

  • skinnyminny

    The tea party is only repeating what has been repeated decades ago, under a new name, but the same game. I just watched a movie called Betrayed. This movie was made in 1988 with Debra Winger and Tom Berenger. It was about an FBI agent (Winger) who infiltrated the Sons of Liberty. The movie rings true about what is happening now, about politicians flirting with these type groups saying, “we must take back our country.” The only thing is, this group knew that the politician was lying to them in order to get money and votes, and they killed the politician in the movie. The movie showed how entire communities get involved with these groups, participating in robbing of banks, to people inside the government giving personal and confidential information to these groups, to teaching their children to hate anyone other than white, all the while being a church community, and killing of minorities.

    My mouth fell open as I was shocked at the realness of this movie. They say history often repeats itself, and it often does. I am thankful that SPLC enlightens people of the true danger out there with these groups, because the MSM won’t.

  • Reyn

    Hi there — a few notes.

    1. Teabagger was a phrase I would not initially use until it was explained to me what the origin was. According to various media sources — “The term, teabagger, emerged after protesters displayed placards using the words “tea bag” as a verb, mixing the sexual meaning (teabagging) with “Mailing Tea Bags to Washington, DC” in protest.” [Wikipedia – with MANY references] While some tea party members have objected to the name, others (including a couple of our conservative friends) embrace it strongly. At this point I am neutral to it, just as I am to my own community members using “faggot” to describe themselves and African American friends who use the word “nigger” to describe themselves (and sometimes their close white friends, including me). I would not use the name “teabagger” for a member of the movement who dislikes it – but would not hesitate to use it with our friends, who like it as an appellation and are more likely to be offended if I didn’t use it.

    2. I think that many members of the tea party movement are not racist. Our friends are not – they are libertarian. On the other hand – many members of the tea party movement ARE racist. I went to a rally with our friends out of curiosity (we are strongly liberal and they and we understand that won’t change – they’ve gone to things with us, I went to something with them), and the racist effluvium was palpable, as was the absolute hysteria about healthcare. Having been hysterical about our invasion of Iraq myself – believe me I recognize the same phenomena when it occurs on the other side. They were actually embarrassed by some of the signs I saw (they are not racists as I said) and apologized for some of the (pretty blatant) racism that was present. I told them it wasn’t their fault, but questioned why their politics would require them to be involved in something that seemed to have a very vile edge. We haven’t discussed the rally since, but I think they are still thinking about that.

    Which brings me to a point.

    Why is the tea party getting all this press and attention?

    Prior to our invasion of Iraq my partner and I attended an anti-war rally in NYC (the one that was addressed by his Gracious Eminence, Arch-bishop Desmond Tutu). Initially the NY Times reported that there were 200,000 of us, until the BBC which used actual grid counting techniques reported half a million — at which point the Times printed a retraction of their earlier figure (WAY back in the paper) and admitted to a higher figure, noting, as I recall all these years later, the BBC figure. Not noted ANYWHERE were the tens of thousands of additional people who were in feeder marches that were effectively blocked by the police (the police admitted to blocking 65 feeder marches). All of Manhattan was full of protesters if you walked the streets. After the invasion I attended a rally in Washington that was at least as big, possibly bigger.

    We were reported on, briefly The reporting lasted less than 24 hours each major rally. Our smaller rallies and subsequent activities were UNREPORTED and far from being touted by the media for having 25% support we were denigrated for our lack of support, since it was only 25%. Furthermore, the tea party movement has turned out NO WHERE NEAR the crowds for their public rallies. A half million? Not yet. 200,000? Not yet. In short, the opposite of the treatment that we received is what the tea party is receiving – It is less organized, has the same casual and less dedicated support than we did, and turns our smaller crowds, but it is getting dozens of times the media coverage – mainstream and Right wing.

    That may be the real story.

    What liberal media?



  • beholder

    The tree of hatred
    Would it bloom on unbled soil?
    The harvest arrives

    –Haiku by beholder

  • Mike Magruder

    Term Mad Hatter came from the unfortunate reality that people who made hats for a living were using mercury in the process and suffered brain damage because of it. I’m thinking about the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Alice in Wonderland. Maybe the Tea Party folks have been huffing to many industrial pollutants in the process of being palsy walsy with big business. Maybe they’re actually VICTIMS! What if they need government disability and actually turn it down because of their afflictions.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Well it look like in the middle of the night a few morons managed to slip through during the Banzai charge of idiocy.

    Let me address a few of them: First off, to everyone accusing the SPLC of “anti-white” racism- please substantiate this.

    To Tom M, no, slavery was not a matter of government but private property. The government defended slavery under the pretext of defending private property, something you libertarians worship religiously. Also don’t pull the “racism is collectivism ergo I can’t be racist because I’m a libertarian” nonsense. There is no easy formula for not being racist. The thing is people like you can’t even perceive racism.

    Take the individual on here who just couldn’t figure out why someone saying “Obama’s going to hang with his homies, bump and grind, etc” is racist. If you can’t figure out why that is racist, maybe you just don’t know a lot about race.

  • Bob

    Anyone who thinks the Tea Pottiers are not racists, is a fool. – said as if all on the other side of the poltical fence are puritans! What a bunch of race card “stuff”!
    The facts are MOST people on BOTH sides of the fence are TIRED of this race baiting! Not to mention the Government mandated racism called affirmative action. What happened to color blind? Thought race was NOT to be used as a criteria for ANYTHING!

  • Ana Helena (Americana)

    Wow Behold, that was deep “-An immigrant poem by beholder”, very deep. Telling it how it is.

  • Roger

    Ya know, I can’t have a decent cup of tea without thinking about all the hate anymore. No wonder I drink more coffee now.


    The Bible has much wisdom about such dark-hearted people as Messrs. Robertson and Beck. For example, Jesus said “…a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit…Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:17-20/KJV).

    The bitter hatred and bigotry which these people inspire and direct will result only in more evil. As Christians, we must pray that God will forgive them their horrible sin and bring them to repentance very soon.

    “God is Love” (1 John 4:16/KJV)

    Bill Kinsland