Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tea Party Missing the Point

The Tea Party, which is widely accepted by all as a conservative movement and characterized by some as merely an offshoot of the Republican Party itself, has announced recently that it is going to take "affirmative action" to increase the level of cultural diversity among its ranks.  As the Wall Street Journal reported:

The conservative FreedomWorks group, led by former House Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey, say it plans to launch a nationwide campaign this week dubbed DiverseTea that will start with a series of ads in local Jewish publications across the country...“I get a little tired of diversity talk from liberals,” Armey said. He accused Democrats and liberals of making life miserrable for the relatively few individual conservative blacks and Hispanics who have come out in favor of the movement. FreedomWorks says the plan is to buy ads touting the tea party movement in first Jewish and then Hispanic and African-American publications.
I'm getting a sense of deja vu because we seem to have heard this exact same case before.  Didn't RNC Chairman Michael Steele pledge to hip-hop hurray the Republican Party last year?  How did that whole Hip Hop/Diverse GOP thing working out exactly? 

Steele arrived at the answer about a year later during his speech at DePaul University wherein he observed that the Republican Party had not given African Americans any reason to join the party.  In other words he basically admitted to Blacks and Latinos "It's not you...it's ME!"

Now, the Tea Party likewise wishes to wave the same magic wand to increase diversity within its ranks among people of color.   As evidenced by the photo above, the Tea Party is not exactly known for its rich diversity.  The recent pledge erroneously, and quite arrogantly, assumes that the lack of diversity within the Tea Party can simply be attributed to the fact that the Tea Party hasn't asked minorities to join yet - as if this would make any difference.  Thus, the Tea Party is missing the same point that Michael Steele missed earlier which is this:

Conservative political interests, on average, tend to run COUNTER to minority political interests.   Stated differently, we're just not buying what you're selling.  You hate the same Federal Government that stopped us from being slaves and allowed us to eat at lunch counters, so it is difficult to see why exactly we would be lining up in droves to join your group.

I appreciate the effort and the recognition of the lack of diversity, honestly I do.  However, the answer to this problem is not the kind of situation that can be remedied with mere advertising.
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