J.C. Watts Says GOP Diversity Initiative Needs Teeth

Former GOP congressman has big problem with Republican Party’s Black outreach efforts.

Posted: 06/10/2013 06:17 PM EDT

Diagnosed as lacking resemblance to the changing face of America, many prescriptions have been made to the Republican Party after its crippling defeat in the 2012 presidential election.

The GOP has been trying to increase the number of Blacks and Latinos in the party with outreach efforts into communities, but according to J.C. Watts, a former Congressman from Oklahoma, if there’s no teeth in the policies, then the efforts will fail.

Watts is just the latest high-profile Black Republican who has issues with the GOP's recruitment efforts. During a GOP convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, last weekend he discussed his own displeasure with the general GOP effort. “The key is to put teeth in it and to be real about it,” he told the Washington Post. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

According to the Republican Party’s Growth and Opportunity Project, minority groups cast a record 28 percent of the votes in the 2012 presidential race and are projected to become the majority in 2050.

Still, there is no magic pill that would instantly expand the GOP’s electorate and the party’s long-winded plans to diversify its platform have come under a fair share of criticism not just by Watts, but also by former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

Back in March he lambasted his party for its push for tough voter registration laws that seemingly single out Blacks and other minorities while trying to increase its ranks with those same groups.

"How does Reince Priebus reconcile his approach and his agreement with voter registration policies that many in the Black community view as anti-Black, racist, whatever the term happens to be," Steele said of the current RNC chair.

Watts says that since many Black and Latino families are culturally conservative the GOP should be a natural political fit. But because of Republicans’ past actions, “they just don’t trust us,” he said.

From his mouth to Priebus’s ears.

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(Photo: Mark Von Holden/WireImage)

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