Since when has it become racist to point out racism in America? That's where this country finds itself, as many purporting to want a color-blind nation refuse to admit that not everyone shares their dream.

Case in point, the beat-down the NAACP has been receiving for having the audacity to point out the obvious: that racists have been infiltrating tea-party movement gatherings because any criticism of America's first black president gives them a buzz.

A resolution passed by the NAACP at its national convention this week didn't say being a tea-party member was equivalent to being a racist. It asked the movement to condemn the extremists too frequently seen at its meetings who carry racist signs and make bigoted comments.

To make its point, the resolution was accompanied by photographs taken at tea-party gatherings, including one of a young white man holding a sign with a drawing of a thick-lipped character and the words "Obamanomics Monkey See Monkey Spend."

Another photograph was of a baseball-capped man in a shirt that looked like the flag of Texas, who carried a sign that said "Congress = Slave Owner. Taxpayer = Niggar." Is that type of sentiment to be dismissed as merely patriotic fervor over high taxes?

Tea-party leaders such as Matt Kibbe, CEO of the conservative public-policy group FreedomWorks, say the movement has already made it clear that it doesn't tolerate racism. Apparently, they need to make the point more strongly. Instead of acknowledging that fact, however, tea-partiers have tried to turn criticism away from them to the NAACP.

Tea-party activists accuse the NAACP of being the point man for liberal Democrats who want to distract Americans from the tax-and-spend issues that the tea party feels should be at the forefront of any national debate.

They seem blind to the political machinations of Republicans who hope Obama vitriol will fuel their recapture of Congress.

"The only purpose of such an unfair accusation of racism is to dissuade good Americans from joining the tea-party movement or listening to the commonsense message of tea-party Americans who simply want government to abide by our Constitution, live within its means, and not borrow and spend our children's futures," said Sarah Palin.

That's a campaign speech, and can be written off as such. More disturbing are the remarks of nonpoliticians who choose to ignore the alarm sounded by America's oldest and largest civil-rights organization. They act as if racism is dead, and that the NAACP is irresponsible to suggest otherwise.

If the tea-partiers truly want to change America for the better, they will act on the NAACP's charge and work harder to make sure that no one - regardless of skin color, religion, or country of origin - would feel unwelcome. Racism shouldn't be denied; it should be confronted.