Why do you think so few women and racial minorities have been elected to Congress? That is a question that can come with many different answers. In my opinion, I believe that there is a different reason between women and minorities for their lack of success in Congress. Both reasons involve the past, but in different ways.
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are 435 members in the House of the Representatives. The Senate has 100 members. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election.
The main reason why women and minorities are not popular in Congress is because of descriptive representation. Descriptive representation is a belief that constituents are represented effectively by legislators who are similar to them (Challenge of Democracy). The characters that qualify are race, ethnicity, religion, or gender. That is the main factor why there are so few women and minorities in Congress. Due to the past, the demographic characteristic is a white male.
As far as African American activity in government goes, a lot of progress has been made. In the past slavery kept blacks from being involved at all. They slowly made progress when they were counted as 3/5th of a person. Then they moved on to being free persons, and from then the African Americans moved on. There were many influential blacks to America. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks were two very important people. They changed America for the better and helped African Americans advance in life.
African Americans began serving in Congress during the Reconstruction Era after slaves were freed and granted citizen rights. Free black men gained political representation in the South. White Democrats took back political power and tried to return white supremacy. Legislatures lowered voting for blacks by passing tougher voter laws. As a result of the African American Civil Rights Movement, Congress passed laws to end segregation and protect civil rights and voting rights.
When Congress changed the Voting Rights Acts in 1982, the states made districts that put minorities together. They thought it would make it a better chance for African Americans and Hipics to be elected into office. They fixed the “make-up” of the districts.
Women were never seen as a necessity in the business world in the past. They were not useful when it came to farming in men’s eyes. They were always needed to do the household chores and making sure the kids were being taken care of. Men believed that women were not as strong as men. It was as if they were not as important as men. Women were not allowed to vote until 1920, and before then not many women were involved in the government (Women in Congress). If you could not choose who was going to make decisions for you, why would you even be concerned? There was only one state, New Jersey, who allowed women to vote for 17 years (1790-1807). The only way they could vote was if they fit the land requirements.
I believe though that the reason why there are so few women and minorities in Congress is because America is not ready to change. They are stuck on the way things were before and never trying new things. People are not willing to even give a woman the time of day, even if she has great ideas. It would be someone they brush off because women aren’t smarter than men.
Minorities are not even considered an option in Congress just because of their title as a “minority”. There are a minor amount of minorities and it is hard to find the ones that are determined to better themselves in life. It is almost as if they’ve given up on trying to become an image breaker. Everyone believes in the descriptive representation and that is why minorities are not involved in the government (Congress vs. Minorities).
As the years have progressed though there is one man that I must give credit to for making a huge advancement for minorities in government, Barack Obama. He had many obstacles to overcome to get there. There were many people that told him he didn’t stand a chance in the race. He was determined and he now is sitting in the office as President of the United States.
Demographic groups have always been a large role in Congress. The groups consist of race, gender, ethnicity, or religion. The groups vote for people that are in the considerable same group as them. For example, if a Catholic runs against a Jew, most Catholics would vote for the Catholic.
In 2050, there will be remarkably many different things going on in the world. There is a chance that a black woman will be the President. A Hipic male might be the Speaker of the House. Global Warming could be done for, and New Orleans could possibly be submerged underwater. All possibilities of what the world could be like in 40 years.
I believe that the world will have a new outlook on things and demographic groups will not exist so prevalently. I think people will be able to make decisions based on their own likings and not what their “group” is doing. People are becoming more independent in their choices in 2010, so 40 years from now the world’s mindset will be free.
To support my reasoning on people being independent now is through the example of Obama winning the presidential election. I believe that people stepped out of their demographic group on their voting choice. Yes, most African Americans voted for Obama, but even the African Americans affiliated with a different religion voted for him. White people stepped out of their religion and race to vote for Obama.
I still believe demographic groups will exist, just not so commonly. Those that are stuck to traditions and keeping things the way they were will still be apart of the group. They will consist of less people, but there will be enough to rock a vote. Hopefully, the demographic groups will just completely wipe out and let people use their minds.
I want Americans to be able to make their own decisions. The reason why there are so few women and minorities in Congress has to do with choices made my Americans. African Americans that want to run for a position in Congress probably find it pointless due to the demographic groups. They feel that they shouldn’t waste their time since they already know the outcome especially if they run against a white male. Hopefully having Obama in office will give other minorities and women incentive to pursue their dream to be involved in the government.
The entire controversy will continue for years though. These have just been my personal opinion mixed in with facts. The ideas for the future I have are very well thought out, and I hope to see the progress in the future. If African Americans can go from being slaves to running the United States; I think it is more than possible for people to become more independent in their own thoughts and decisions.
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