The 114th Congress may be the most diverse ever, but it’s still 80 percent white male, and 92 percent Christian. Why our elected officials (still) look nothing like us.
Cue the confetti: The new Congress sworn in on Tuesday is the most diverse in our nation’s history!
That would truly be a milestone to celebrate—until you see what that record “diversity” actually means. Ready? The breakdown of the 114th Congress is 80 percent white, 80 percent male, and 92 percent Christian.
That’s really diverse if, say, you are comparing our new Congress to the white supremacist group House Majority Whip Steve Scalise once addressed. It’s like Congress is stuck in a time warp: While our calendars read 2015, theirs reads more like 1955.
Look, I don’t care if you are a liberal or a conservative. It’s impossible to make the claim that our Congress accurately reflects the demographics of our nation. And it’s not missing by a little but a lot. If Congress accurately reflected our nation on the basis of race, about 63 percent would be white, not 80 percent. Blacks would hold about 13 percent of the seats and Latinos 17 percent.
But what do we really see? The new Senate has only two black senators. That statistic is even more striking given that earlier this week the first black person ever elected to the Senate, Edward Brooke, was laid to rest. Brooke won his seat in 1966 and served two terms. How far has Congress really evolved on race when in 50 years it has gone from one black senator to two? (Even the arguably more democratic House is only at 10 percent black members.)
Latinos, the fastest growing minority group in America, are even more underrepresented in Congress. They hold 3 percent of the Senate and a little over 7 percent of the House.
And let’s look at religion. Congress is now 92 percent Christian, resembling more to a papal enclave than our religiously diverse nation. The latest Pew Poll found that nearly 20 percent of Americans identify as atheist, agnostic, or not being affiliated with any religion. Yet there’s only one member of Congress, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who openly acknowledges she’s not a member of any religious group.
Read more at The Daily Beast