People of color should not vote with everybody else!

Majority-minority? by N in Seattle at HorsesAss has a great post on the effort to increase a “majority minority” Congressional district south of Seattle … you know where all of those black, yellow, brown, people live unless they are Korean, Indian, Lummi, or Chinese.
The proponents, Pramila Jayapal and George Cheung of United for Fair Representation wrote an op-ed column in the Seattle Times. My own vibes, including a friend working for the campaign,  tell me that they are likley to get their wish.  

I have huge problems with this.  The idea seems to be that Americans from Puerto Rico, Somalia, Alabama, Vietnam, Monterey, and Cambodia can be lumped together.   This is  racist.  I somehow doubt that an immigrant from Viet Nam is any better a representative for African Americans then some Jewish guy. 

My dislike of racism does not necessarily mean I oppose creating the tenth.  People in that area needs to be represented, but because of economics not race.  The proposed “10th” would have a large part of the State’s population of low paid labor .. irrespective of skin color.  The question is whether lines drawn based on skin color will serve the very real needs of low paid labor?

As N in Seattle says, there are other risks as well.Using skin color may well mean that neighboring “white” districts are purified for white Republicans.  Does racial purification this serve the interests of working class folks?

Read N in Seattle’s excellent piece on HA:

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 contains several provisions that bar racial discrimination in redistricting plans. Sixteen states are required to go through “preclearance” of their plans, automatic submission to their plans to the feds; Washington is not one of those states. In practice, application of the VRA has resulted in district lines that collect members of a racial group into one district, thereby greatly increasing the probability that that CD will be represented by a member of that group. One might call it “reverse gerrymandering”, concentrating a group instead of diluting their influence by drawing districts that put small pockets of the group into several districts dominated by other ethnicities. In creating such Congressional Districts, you can end up with some really ludicrous maps. For instance, look at Illinois’s 4th District, in which the two convoluted sections of Chicago’s Latino communities are connected by the median strip of I-294……
Another majority-minority district is the 12th District of North Carolina, which crawls along I-85 picking up African-American communities while skipping past other towns. It even looks a little bit like the original 1812 gerrymander.

Read the rest on HA:


Comments are closed.