It's true, at least from what we have seen in Indiana, that the Tea Party is mostly made up of white folks. But there are people of color involved -- and some, like Emery McClendon, are in central organizational roles. (We'll come back to him in a future post). Other non-white people are attending, exploring, hovering around the edges to compare what is being said to what they believe.
"Exploring" would describe Ebony and Hursel Williams, who were seated near the back of the small crowd at a rally on Saturday in Indianapolis where Tea Party and related groups were protesting the health care package. The Indianapolis high-tech couple is questioning the beliefs they long held true. They have come, says Ebony, out of a sense that it is their Christian duty to explore and stand up for what is right.
"We've often been hoodwinked," says Hursel. "Things are often not as we were raised to believe," he adds, without being specific.
The Williams clap and nod as the speakers at the event emphasize the Christian foundations of the United States, and the speakers' interpretation of the Constitution.
"Constitutionalists stand for the little man and for what Christ stands for -- to be treated fairly, equally," says Hursel.
And about the charges of racism that surround the Tea Party movement, this is what he had to say:
"I had a preconceived notion (that they were racist)," says Hursel. "I have felt nothing but love and talk about Christ." He adds: "I would bring my children to this."
To be clear, Ebony and Hursel did not become card-carrying members of the Tea Party on Saturday. But they see possibilities.
"I would like to see it cause an awakening for people ... that people will seek truth," says Hursel.