Are We Represented?

19 May

So Many White Male Faces

America has the benefit of being a very diverse nation. That’s right Conservatives, I said benefit. But, when I think about the U.S. Congress, all that comes to mind are white men who fight hard to keep the status quo. That is a problem because they do not properly represent the diversity America has. When I researched minorities in congress and did some number crunching, this is what I found.

Congress

House

Senate

Delegates

Women

Democrat

49

12

3

Republican

24

5

0

African American

Democrat

39

0

2

Republican

2

0

0

Hispanic *

Democrat

17

1

0

Republican

7

1

0

Asian American

Democrat

7

2

2

Republican

1

0

0

Openly LGBT

Democrat

2

0

0

Republican

0

0

0

* Puerto Rico also has one Independent Hispanic delegate

So let’s compare. The U.S. Congress has 541 members: 100 Senators, 435 Representatives, and 6 non-voting Delegates in the House.

Comparison

U.S.

Congress

Difference

Women

51%

17%

-34%

African American

13%

8%

-5%

Hispanic

16%

5%

-11%

Asian American

5%

2%

-3%

Openly LGBT **

8%

0.30%

-8%

** This is a conservative estimate since there are no reliable figures.

When looking at the numbers, the disparities are all too clear.

1)    Women are greatly under-represented. Even within other minorities, women tend to be less than half the count. Men dominate whether white or not.

2)    No wonder the war on women has been so easily won time after time. Men are 83% of congress. Can you believe that?

3)    When looking at the percentages in congress and percentages of US population, you see that the percentages are divided by at least half or more.

4)    There are fewer Republican minorities than Democrats. A lot fewer.

I looked into this because I was curious to see the numbers. Looking at them, it is clear that things need to change.

So many are comfortable with the status quo and will do anything to keep it that way. Many people – like Mitt Romney – see diversity as bad, so they spread fear about it while at the same time denying that they are racist. This country is getting less white and less straight as the years go by, and some of us are ready for it and others are not. This year at the ballot box please vote for your best interests. Let’s give those white guys who have plagued Congress for years some colleagues who can challenge their outdated and anti-diversity views.

Submitted by TSM Contributor, James Queale

17 Responses to “Are We Represented?”

  1. William May 19, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    The “Status Quo” is the Antithesis of American Democracy.

    The whole Purpose of public election and terms limits is to constantly strive for some kind of Balanced representation in Government. Without fair and balanced representation in Government entire communities are left out of the process of shaping this country. Forgotten, ignored and even persecuted for not fitting “the norm” is what drove the Colonists here in the First place.

    To work and fight and labor so hard to keep everything at a stand still, or even worse to try and re-wind the progress we have made as a Nation, is an insult to to the vision of those who risked it all to create this Nation. They put their lives and their families futures on the line not just for themselves but for all who were and would someday be, Americans. This is tantamount to pissing on the graves of all who devoted and often lost their lives to upholding the principles of Freedom, Democracy and Civil Liberties for ALL citizens of this country, which is an un-forgivable act to say the least.

    I hear the soap-box cracking under my feet, I better hop down now.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 19, 2012 at 8:09 am #

      William,
      What a powerful and eloquent comment. Sadly, money is now the prime indicator of who holds power and the money is tied to the top 5% of Americans who are white heterosexual males. Citizens United has been one of the worst violations in our country’s history and says clearly that elections can now be bought by corporations and white men with millions of expendable dollars.

      • William May 19, 2012 at 8:40 am #

        Welcome to the United Corporations of America where money talks and everyone else better shut the hell up.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 19, 2012 at 8:43 am #

        William,
        Mitt Romney has hacked into your account and is now leaving comments:)

      • William May 19, 2012 at 8:46 am #

        LMAO … THAT was good

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 19, 2012 at 8:47 am #

        I thought you would like that!

    • James Queale May 19, 2012 at 8:23 am #

      @William What a wonderful comment! Thank you for reading my post and understanding that so many are under-represented.

      @Michael Thank you for allowing me to show how under-represented minorities really are. 🙂

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 19, 2012 at 8:28 am #

        Jamie,
        The more voices we have shouting for social justice the better. Thank you for such a great article.

      • William May 19, 2012 at 8:41 am #

        Thank you posting it, very informative

  2. Jay May 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    Another way of looking at diversity–or the lack of diversity–is in terms of religion.

    To name a hated minority that I’m happy to belong to, I believe only one of the 535 members of the House and Senate might be described as openly skeptical of all religions, and being somewhere in the freethinking/humanist/atheist/agnostic spectrum (a community that could use an equivalent acronym to LGBTQ). That ratio of one nonbeliever to 534 believers indicates that skeptics are a severely under-represented minority.

    The key, in one sense, is “OPENLY skeptical”–freethinkers are a little bit analogous to gays and lesbians, in that being closeted can be an option, and in that choosing to be closeted slows the march toward broader public acceptance. I’m sure there are at least a few closeted atheists serving on the Hill, but the mere fact that they feel the need to deceive the public speaks to the severe distrust of atheists among much of the public.

    • James Queale May 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

      Thanks for bringing that up as well. I considered doing religious affiliation and representation as well, but did not want to over-clutter the article. Though, it is something for me to consider in the future.

      As a person who is a part of the agnostic, atheist, skeptic, etc, crowd, I feel as well that we are under-represented. I think the latest numbers for lack of religious affiliation is 18%, yet, like you said, we have perhaps one member who is open about it. Congress has two closeted groups (LGBT, skeptic types) that would help the country greatly if they just “came out.”

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 19, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

        Jamie,
        You horrible atheist! I knew I should have been skeptical of inviting you into the TSM family spreading your ideas of corruption. In all seriousness, I’m so grateful to you and to Jay for exposing this hypocrisy! Gratefully, Michael

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

      Jay,
      You awful heretic. I can only pray for your depraved soul. Seriously, I’m so happy you brought this up. I do fear being an atheist, or anyone skeptical of religions is such a target for hate–ironic much? Thank you, dear friend for pointing out more hypocrisy.

      • James Queale May 19, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

        Mwahaha! You have finally discovered my plan, but it is too late! 🙂

        On a serious note, atheists are the most distrusted group in America. Probably agnostics as well, but many when polled are not sure what it is. Muslims and gays rank higher on trust, though slightly. Even S.E. Cupp who is an atheist and political commentator said that she would not vote for an atheist presidential candidate. She said that she feels good that someone with faith is listening to “god,” even if it turns out to be mental illness. She even wrote a book saying that people are too hard on Christians. Those two things have made many question her “skepticism.”

        I believe that people should be able to believe what they wish, but too often, faith and belief enter the political ring when they should not. Many have gotten wise and try to make their claims sound “secular” when they are far from it.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

        How sad, Jamie. I have found in the past 30 some odd years that the atheist I know, including my husband, are some of the most compassionate and loving people on earth.

  3. nevercontrary May 19, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    The comments today are just as informative as the post.
    jamie you should do a post relating religion in states/cities and how it affects who is elected.

    • James Queale May 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

      @Michael It is sad indeed. Perhaps in the years to come, more people will educate themselves and be more tolerant and trusting of views that do not match their own.

      @nevercontrary That sounds like a great idea and something I will look into in the future. There does seem to be a trend between lack of religious affiliation and progressive legislation. For example, in Vermont they have the highest rate of people who do not hold a religious affiliation and they were the first to recognize same-sex relationships (and later marriage). They are also the first state to institute a universal healthcare program.

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