Streams

Drawing Ethnic District Lines

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Juan Cartagena, president and general counsel of Latino Justice PRLDEF, discusses a proposal from minority advocacy groups to redraw districts with an eye toward creating districts with large Latino or Asian populations.

Guests:

Juan Cartagena
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Comments [20]

Margaret from UWS

(cutoff) In our utopian maturity, with no job discrimination, bank redlining, or disparate school budgets, there will be no differences to need to bse districting on - except political ones.

Oct. 17 2011 06:45 PM
Margaret from UWS

I agree that, ideally, ethnicity shouldn't come into consideration, but as of this day in life, it's utopian - affirmative action shouldn't remain the case in perpetuity, but was right for the times; reasonable for a few generations, what with race being a premise of competition, and/or outright war, for some.
but the pointis not thatthose of a neighborhood must vote for their same ethnicity as their legislator - they can vote for whoever they think will serve them best; which, still as often as not, can mean backing "your own". Someone of another ethnicity might be known to be a friend, but have their power diluted by redistricting

Oct. 17 2011 06:42 PM
juan_carlos from New York, NY

To address two of rose-ellen's points:

"Community used to mean people who live in the same geographic location."

Communities are made up of people living in common places. If you take a look at the proposed maps, you'll see that these proposed districts provide an opportunity for minorities that live in the same place to effectively participate in the political process. The alternative is to fragment these communities so that their interests are not represented.

"Ethnic and racial discrimination was a pervasive wrong that necessitated legal judicial interference. That doesn't mean that ethnicities inherently have separate interests and therefore measures should be taken that unnaturally ensure that various ethnic representatives get voted in."

There is nothing "natural" about the redistricting process. It is a political process in which partisan party interests dominate. At its best, new district boundaries offer communities of interest an equal and fair opportunity to participate in the political process. These maps seek to recognize important community interests that should be recognized by political representatives in the New York State legislature.

"Fix the inequalities where they exist and the ethnic politics recedes.Ethnic politics is inherently offensive and something to be moved away from not promoted for it's own sake as this redistricting is doing. "

Racial and ethnic equality is an excellent goal. However, if minority voices are not heard in state legislature, then racial and ethnic inequalities are less likely to be remedied. This map advances minority voting power so that we can promote policies and procedures that produce opportunities and fair outcomes for minority communities.

It would be great to hear rose-ellen's strategy and vision for creating equal and fair outcomes for minorities without ensuring that our interests are represented in government.

Oct. 14 2011 01:13 PM
rose-ellen from jackson hts.

Ethnic and racial discrimination was a pervasive wrong that necessitated legal judicial interference. That doesn't mean that ethnicities inherently have separate interests and therefore measures should be taken that unnaturally ensure that various ethnic representatives get voted in. The discrimination that they were subjugated to is what needs and needed to be remedied [in housing or work or education etc]. Once those corrections are made and those wrongs righted-there are no inherent interests based on ethnicity.To insist there are is the antithesis of american values. You can love and cherish your ethnic heritage ,language culture and want to see your "own" climb up the success ladder in american politics but to demand that paths be carved out specifically for ethnic groups to succeed in politics is perpetuating a inauthentic division of interests.It's a false contrived separation not based on real life[where people of different ethniciites can live side by side and all are equal in the voting booth].Fix the inequalities where they exist and the ethnic politics recedes.Ethnic politics is inherently offensive and something to be moved away from not promoted for it's own sake as this redistricting is doing.

Oct. 13 2011 04:21 PM
Sherman from Manhattan

The need for the Voting Rights Act arose (and still exists) because of HOUSING SEGREGATION & racial discrimination against minority voters. Did any of you ever complain about that kind of discrimination? Do you have any problem with it? A lot of whites seem to think that racial discrimination is just fine as long as it's AGAINST racial minorities.

Oct. 13 2011 03:39 PM
rose-ellen from jackson hts.

Community used to mean people who live in the same geographic location.That is an authentic meaning of the concept . When it means ethnicity it causes indoctrination and ceases to be authentic;common interests based on a natural outgrowth of people living together in a geographic location.Keeping ethnic separate "interests" alive for the sake of those different ethnicities is unnatural and essentially unamerican.

Oct. 13 2011 03:16 PM
juan_carlos from New York, NY

The redistricting process is about representation. Minority advocacy groups have proposed a plan that seeks to ensure minority representation in New York. Even if minorities are sometimes geographically dispersed, where minorities live together, those community interests should be represented at all level of government.

The Voting Rights Act is intended to make sure that minorities have an equal and fair opportunity to participate in the political process. The law was designed, in part, to protect minority votes, but to prevent political parties from overly "packing" or "cracking" for partisan advantage. The proposal is an effort to realize that dream so that minorities have an opportunity to be heard for at least the next ten years.

Learn more at http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/

Oct. 13 2011 12:49 PM
rose-ellen from jackson hts.

It's so blatently racist and offensive and as unamerican as you can get. If discrimination in housing is happening then by all means send in the dept. of justice to go after illigal discriminators. This paternalism toward minorities is revolting at its core. Unfortunately though, to vehementaly protest against it publicaly opens people up to the charge of being racist. Hence this disgusting practice continues unopossed.
By the way where I live in beautiful jackson heights I've noticed an influx of yuppie white people in recent yrs. I've also noticed there are open houses all over the neighborhood recently. According to the census-the population of jackson hts. has decreased. People are now challenging the accuracy of that census report because they don't want to accept that can be true of jackson hts where for over a generation the population was growing and minorrities were predominant. Now people want to challenge the latest facts simply because they have changed.

Oct. 13 2011 11:48 AM
susan

While gerrymandering does have the salutary effect of increasing minority representation, there is a problem I wrestle with. Because districts must be contiguous, only minorities constrained to :ghettos" can be accomodated, thus acting agaist housing integration. Therefore, it is in the personal interest of minority representatives to maintain housing segregation. Can anyone cite a study addressing this issue?

Oct. 13 2011 11:25 AM
john from office

Typing fast, I have a job

Oct. 13 2011 11:24 AM
Nicole from NJ

We don't live in a post racial America, nor do we live in a post-racist America. That is what we aspire to be, but have not yet accomplished. These districts are attempting to balance out the electoral power in our society, which is still dealing with the ramifications of injustices/inequities that were set in motion generations ago, but that still very much influences the balance of power in America (from the board room to capitol hill).

Oct. 13 2011 11:23 AM
Fuva from Harlem

jgarbuz, I hear your concern. And I also appreciate your apparent acknowledgment that gerrymandering was conceived in response to practices "inimical to the concept of a multicultural and post-racial society that we purport to believe in"; practices that have ripple effects to this day.

Oct. 13 2011 11:22 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Engish John? I agree. We should learn better Engish. IN fact Engish should eventually become the official national language.

A combination of English, Spanish and Yiddish :)

Oct. 13 2011 11:22 AM
john from office

this reminds me of the education argument that only black teachers can teach blacks students. And so on. How about voting in good people and people learn engish. This will lead to Balkanization of the state.

Oct. 13 2011 11:20 AM
The Truth from Becky

Let's run the line between ethnic "whites" - Jews, Germans, Italians, Swedes, Scottish...etc A mess right? Well same here, shouldn't be done.

Oct. 13 2011 11:18 AM
David from West Hempstead

An argument against drawing lines racially--majority-minority districts are actually counterproductive because instead of forcing multiple politicians to be accountable to such minority groups, you only get one Hispanic representative.

Oct. 13 2011 11:16 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Ethnic based districts are created, NOT to empower minorities, they are designed to empower party boss backed minority puppet sycophant politicians.

Oct. 13 2011 11:13 AM
Andrew from New York City

Ethnic-based district lines resulted in more minority representation. It also resulted in far fewer moderates being in office, which has led to a Balkanization of extremes. More far right candidates over here, more far left over there, and fewer Statesmen who are willing to cross the aisle and make progress. If you support ethnic-based lines, you support extreme gridlock and the Tea-Party by default. The moderates are eliminated.

We need a grid applied to voting districts, not gridlock, and this is the most under-reported story out there because of its importance.

Oct. 13 2011 11:07 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

This business of gerrymandering to empower this or that ethnic group, and give politicians from that group some clout, is something that should be relegated to the past. But I admit that I don't know how that can be fairly done. I do believe that it is inimical to the concept of a multicultural and post-racial society that we purport to believe in.

Oct. 13 2011 11:05 AM

isn't that called gerrymandering?

Oct. 13 2011 10:10 AM

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