Dear Jennifer Harper,
Hi, Brian Thompson here. I can’t say I was very aware of your work until today and unfortunately madam I gotta say, you missed the mark completely. I even think you missed the paper that the mark is on sweet lady.
In your “Inside the beltway” column I read the most astonishing article I had ever read. And I’ve read things written by drunken frat boys. You begin your column n with the line “The term "tea-bagger" is like uttering the "n" word, some say.” Now I am not here to debate the politics of the tea party movement. Anyone who knows me knows where I stand politically and respect my opinion even though we may not all agree. No, I am here to alert you that while you may not be stupid, moronic, or ridiculous, the insinuation that the term tea bagger is as offensive as the “n” bomb is all of those things.
Here’s a brief history lesson. You see the term “nigger” was used to describe and later insult and degrade people of African descent. You know, the people brought here as slaves and were treated as second class citizens until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (legally speaking.) The term usually involved a mental and oftentimes physical abuse upon the person the epithet was directed at. A horrible and sordid past this word has indeed.
Now the term tea bagger in this context refers to member of a political movement. They are tea party members, and have been known to wear tea bags on their clothing. In fact I remember many members of this party referring to themselves as tea baggers during the early phases of the tea party movement in 2009 and many were embarrassed once they learned that the term has sexual connotations. That’s it. No long sordid history of discrimination, no physical violence, nothing hindering them from living the American dream, just an unfortunate choice of labeling.
I’ll agree the term is crude, and in the context of an intelligent political debate this should not be used. But if someone does use it it’s not the same deal as if one dropped the “n” bomb. I have been called that and let me tell you, at that moment I would have killed to be called a tea bagger instead of a term that degrading.