Talk About Representation

U.S. Senators seated at their positions in the Senate chamber

A representative democracy hmm?

What would you say if I told you that in the entire 245 years of the United States of America’s existence, there have been a total of 11 Black senators, in all of that time?

One of them is now our VP-Elect. Please note that Warnock is brand new.

  • Raphael Warnock (D): 2021
  • Kamala Harris (D): 2017-2021
  • Cory Booker (D): 2013-present
  • Tim Scott (R): 2013-present
  • Roland Burris (D): 2009-2010
  • Barack Obama (D): 2005-2008
  • Carol Moseley-Braun (D): 1993-1999
  • Edward Brooke III (R): 1967-1979
  • Blanche Bruce (R): 1875-1881
  • Hiram Revels (R): 1870-1871

This may not seem to be such a big deal…until you realize that this country has seen over 2,000 senators in its history.

This means that throughout the entire history of our country, the total amount of Senatorial representation for Black US citizens is .55%. You read that right. A little bit over one-half of one percent.

There have been 153 total black representatives out of over 12,000. This percentage, 1.28%, is a little higher than Senatorial representation, but it’s still way below the percentage of Black folk that make up our country. The absolute lowest percentage of Blacks in the US was in the decade of 1930, at 9.7%. The highest was in 1790 at 19.3%. We’re still waiting on the numbers from the census for 2020. At the last census, in 2010, we were looking at 12.6%.

All of these demographic numbers are SUBSTANTIALLY higher than .55% and 1.28%.

This is what people are talking about when they talk about systemic racism. Historically, there has never been a big, strong cohesive political voice for Black Americans (the same holds true for Native Americans, Latinx Americans, and Asian Americans…I’m just focusing on the Black population atm). When they have no representation, at best, the needs of their populations are not met. At worst, active malicious political action can be taken against them by sheer force of numbers.

It’s what has put us in the space we’re in right now with a real lopsided government.

White folks, fight your white fragility when you’re faced with information such as this. This is it, loud and clear. It is what it is. Stop for a minute, take a deep breath, and calmly work on wrapping your brain around it.

It’s not truly representative and it should be.

Published by Jonah Sheridan Fenn

Nerd herder, word wrangler, working on the next chapter...

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: