We the people. Arguably three of the most famous words used in American history. The United States of America has changed greatly since the first use of that phrase in 1787. Presently, the term melting pot of cultures has become the catch all term used when trying to describe the demographics of the American population.
One of the bases of the American political system is in its formation into three branches of government. The legislative branch is made up of the two parts of congress which is responsible for the creation of laws and other policy. Both the House of Representatives and Senate are responsible for making decisions that the people support. Representation in congress is still a work in progress when it comes to representing the voices of the American people.
Politicians have a responsibility to represent the state from which they are from and also consider the greater good of the country as a whole. To be the voice of those that voted them to the position in the first place.
According to the United States Census Bureau from the 2020 census information U.S. population percentages were White 75.5%, White (Non Hispanic or Latino) 58.9%, Hispanic or Latino 19.1%, Black or African American 13.6%, Asian 6.3%, Two or More Races 3.0% American Indian and Alaska Native 1.3%, and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander 0.3%.
Compared to the current demographic of the 118th Congress, Pew Research Center states the member identification percentages as 75.0% White, 10.4% Black or African American, 9.7% Hispanic or Latino, 2.9% Asian American, and 0.9% American Indian or Alaskan Native.
When analyzing both of these percentages against one another we can gather that there are several groups like Hispanics, Asian Americans, American Indians, and Alaskan Natives that are being unrepresented in the places that are supposed to act as a voice for the voiceless.
So why does representation matter in the first place? Regardless of their racial or ethnic background, people regardless of want to feel seen and heard. To have a feeling of being represented and belonging.
Representation in places of importance like this is not something that occurs overnight. Change in terms of representation time, in fact even years, to fully be integrated . There is a good side to this though, as over the last 8 years congresses have continued to increase in racial and ethnic diversity as reported by Pew Research Center.
Looking at this from our Hispanic or Latino perspective, there are some positive take-aways from this data. Moving forward, should data like this continue an increase in percentages of racial and ethnic diversity we can hopefully see a congress that one day equally reflects the population it is meant to represent. Generally speaking, this is a positive note for all minority groups wishing for their voices to be heard. With the ever changing political landscape of the United States only time will tell as to how the future of our political system will come to be.