What Is A Strong Diversity Win Without Blacks And Latinos?

diversity

The future of our country is diversity.

In the wake of Bernie Sanders’ victories in Alaska, Washington and Hawaii, his campaign and supporters are saying this is proof positive that he can win in diverse places. The #berniemademewhite hashtag trended worldwide.

Diversity will mean different things to different people, and has meant different things at different times as Kee Malafsky has written about. Let’s look at America.

What Does America Look Like?

According to data compiled by the Kaiser Foundation based on the 2014 census, America’s total population is 316,167,900 people with 195,352,200 whites (62%); 55,614,200 Hispanics (18%); 38,605,000 blacks (12%); 18,308,800 Asians including Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians (6%); 5,814,600 people of two or more other races (2%); and 2,473,200 American Indians and Native Alaskans (1%). What do the states that Bernie won look like?

Alaska

Alaska has a total population of 695,700, or a little lower than Detroit. There are 396,400 whites (57%); 59,200 Hispanics (9%); 17,000 blacks (2%); 67,200 Asians including Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians (10%); 109,900 American Indians including Native Alaskans (16%); and 45,900 people of other races (7%). Alaska’s population is underweighted in whites, Hispanics and blacks. It’s overweighted in Asians, American Indians and Native Alaskans, and people of two or more races when compared to the population of the country.

Hawaii

Hawaii has a total population of 1,365,400, or slightly fewer people than San Antonio. There are 255,800 whites (19%); 124,100 Hispanics (9%); 29,700 blacks (2%); 723,100 Asians including Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians (53%); the American Indian including Native Alaskan population is negligible; and there are 229,500 people of other races (17%). Hawaii’s population is underweighted in whites, Hispanics and blacks, and overweighted in Asians and people of two or more races when compared to the population of the country.

Washington State

Washington has a total population of 7,085,000. There are 4,927,500 whites (70%); 952,600 Hispanics (13%); 272,100 blacks (4%); 548,400 Asians including Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians (8%); 115,700 American Indians including Native Alaskans (2%); and 268,700 people of other races (4%). Washington’s population is underweighted in Hispanics and blacks, and overweighted in whites, Asians, American Indian including Native Alaskan and people of two or more races when compared to the population of the country.

Diversity

All three states are underweighted in Hispanics and blacks, the two largest minority populations in the country. While Washington does the best with a 13% Hispanic population as opposed to 18% nationally, it’s actually overweighted in white people when compared to the country at 70% versus 62% nationally.

Asians, including Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians, American Indians including Native Alaskans, and people of other races in all three states are above the national average. What’s actually happening here is Bernie and his acolytes are framing diversity to mean sparsely populated areas as proof of his outreach to diverse populations.

Alaska is the 4th-smallest state by population ahead of only Washington, D.C., Vermont and Wyoming. Hawaii is the tenth. Washington is the 13th-largest state, but is again overweighted in white people.

Asians Including Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians, American Indians including Native Alaskans, and People of Other Races

These groups have faced and continue to face bigotry and racism in America as any other minority group faces; however, of the minority population totaling 120,815,800 nonwhite people in the United States, they represent roughly 22% of that population. Is appealing to less than 25% of the minority population a sign that you value diversity?

Again, this does not discount the experience nor lessen part of the fabric of diversity that makes America great. It does however highlight the unique perceptions and problems that each minority community faces. Furthermore, it shows how problematic it is to say that a campaign is appealing to diverse groups using, as an example, a group that is not as economically or educationally disadvantaged as the two largest groups that are largely being ignored.

Bernie’s wins in Alaska and Hawaii showed that he could win in sparsely populated states overweighted in Asians including Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians, American Indians including Native Alaskans, and people of two or more races. His win in Washington showed he could win those groups while reinforcing his dominance in states with overweighted white populations.

But when it comes to blacks and latinos, the two largest minority groups, Bernie has yet to show that he can win them in large numbers. While they are not the sole definition of diversity, they are the largest components of the minority population in the United States. Bernie is appealing to a small minority of a larger minority group, and even that is not definitive because we don’t have any data as of now as to how the caucuses broke down by race and ethnicity. His campaign and supporters can claim that these wins are proof of the diversity of his constituency, but there is little evidence suggesting that is the case.

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Kwaisi France

An 80's baby forged in the 90's and unleashed upon the world in the 21st century, Kwaisi France is a Baltimore raised Brooklyn resident.

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