FreedomWorks, the big daddy of the tea party-sponsoring organizations, is the latest to make an attempt at shedding the movement’s all-white image.
The group recently announced DiverseTea, a targeted advertising and outreach campaign aimed at extending the tea party’s reach into minority communities. After a summer of attacks on the tea party (most notably from the NAACP, which accused the tea party movement of harboring racist elements — a criticism tea partiers reject out of hand), FreedomWorks is the latest to get on the diversity train.
“We do need to reach out,” FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe told me at a meeting sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor Monday. Kibbe said the new initiative will “build a platform” for tea party leaders from across the spectrum, including “African Americans, Jews, Hispanics,” and others. Kibbe said that though it’s important the group reach out, the talk of diversifying the tea party is more about changing the perception of the movement rather than the reality.
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“There is this nagging perception that we are not diverse, and I disagree with that,” he said. Kibbe told me after the meeting that the plethora of diverse voices on stage at rallies like Sunday’s 9/12 meeting in Washington (where a virtually all-white crowd was regaled by numerous African American and Latino speakers) was part of a concerted effort to show minorities that they’re welcome at tea party events.
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