Why This Matters

  • The House of Representatives is the legislative body that is supposed to reflect the overall construct of America’s general population. If this legislative body doesn’t reflect the population’s demographics, then the resulting legislation probably won’t address the needs of our communities.
  • Senate Independents are the least diverse segment. Then again, there’s only two of them.
  • Only one segment comes remotely close to resembling the census data. That’s the House Democrats.
  • Republicans have been the House majority since 1995, with the only interruption to their rule occurring from 2008-2010.
  • The majority party in each legislative body chairs committees and maintains a majority vote on legislation that passes through each committee. At the very least, all legislation will at least reflect the majority party’s perspective.
  • The whitest name in the Senate belongs to Sheldon Whitehouse. He’s so white, his last name has the word “white” in it.
  • In the House, there’s a tie for the whitest name: Brad Ashford and Barry Loudermilk. As it turns out, having the word “milk” in your name is also very white.
  • If the Senate is the upper chamber of our legislative branch, the Senate is the least diverse congressional body, AND the Senate has to agree to all legislation before it’s passed on to the Executive branch, THEN all legislation is most likely shaped in the perspective of the Senate’s most dominant group. In this case, it’s old, white men. Which is utterly shocking that so many old, white men gather in one place, at one time, to agree to anything.
  • Race is a really complicated concept, because, sometimes, all it comes down to is appearance. If that’s all it is, shaping it into something meaningful requires considerable mental gymnastics. However, because people are treated differently due to the color of their skin, perceptions and experiences of people from different races will vary…which shapes the way we think…which shapes the way we behave…which shapes the way we’re governed. When we’re governed differently, then we’re not equal. And that’s not complicated at all.
  • A Quick Look At U.S. Census Data (2010)

    Percentage of the U.S. population that is male: 49%
    Percentage of the U.S. population that is female: 51%
    Percentage of the U.S. population that is white: 62%
    Percentage of the U.S. population that is black: 13%
    Percentage of the U.S. population that is Latino: 17%
    Percentage of the U.S. population that is Asian: 5%

    Breaking Down the House of Representatives

    Voting members: 435
    Non-voting members: 6

    Republicans: 247
    Republican males: 90%
    Republican females: 10%

    Democrats: 187
    Democrat males: 67%
    Democrat females: 33%

    Percentage of Republican males who are white: 89%
    Percentage of Republican females who are white: 9%
    Percentage of Republican males who are black: 0%
    Percentage of Republican females who are black: 0%
    Percentage of Republican males who are Latino: 1%
    Percentage of Republican females who are Latino: 0%
    Percentage of Republican males who are Asian: 0%
    Percentage of Republican females who are Asian: 0%

    Percentage of Democrat males who are white: 43%
    Percentage of Democrat females who are white: 17%
    Percentage of Democrat males who are black: 13%
    Percentage of Democrat females who are black: 9%
    Percentage of Democrat males who are Latino: 8%
    Percentage of Democrat females who are Latino: 4%
    Percentage of Democrat males who are Asian: 2%
    Percentage of Democrat females who are Asian: 2%

    Breaking Down the Senate

    Voting members: 100

    Republicans: 54
    Republican males: 87%
    Republican females: 13%

    Democrats: 44
    Democrat males: 70%
    Democrat females: 30%

    Independents: 2
    Independent Males: 100%
    Independent Females: 0%

    Percentage of Republican males who are white: 81%
    Percentage of Republican females who are white: 13%
    Percentage of Republican males who are black: 2%
    Percentage of Republican females who are black: 0%
    Percentage of Republican males who are Latino: 4%
    Percentage of Republican females who are Latino: 0%
    Percentage of Republican males who are Asian: 0%
    Percentage of Republican females who are Asian: 0%

    Percentage of Democrat males who are white: 66%
    Percentage of Democrat females who are white: 27%
    Percentage of Democrat males who are black: 2%
    Percentage of Democrat females who are black: 0%
    Percentage of Democrat males who are Latino: 1%
    Percentage of Democrat females who are Latino: 0%
    Percentage of Democrat males who are Asian: 0%
    Percentage of Democrat females who are Asian: 2%

    Percentage of Independent males who are white: 100%
    Percentage of Independent females who are white: 0%
    Percentage of Independent males who are black: 0%
    Percentage of Independent females who are black: 0%
    Percentage of Independent males who are Latino: 0%
    Percentage of Independent females who are Latino: 0%
    Percentage of Independent males who are Asian: 0%
    Percentage of Independent females who are Asian: 0%