Take a minute to look at the faces of your state senators. There pictures are here. Notice anything? What does Mount Rainier have in common with the Washington State Senate? Answer: They’re both white. In fact the Washington State Senate Caucus of Latinos and People of Color, if there were one, would consist of Rebecca Saldana, a Latino. Now at some risk of snow blindness take a look at the Washington House members. That’s here. If you scrolled long enough you found two male African Americans. Lots and lots of white dudes and some women.
In 20015 the Pew Charitable Trust undertook a study to determine how well-represented people in ethnic and racial minorities were represented in their statute legislatures. Washington was in the small group of states with the greatest disparity between this group’s percentage of the population and percentage of legislators in that group. Check out the map toward the bottom of the piece. Racial and ethnic minorities constituted 34% of the state’s population and they had garnered 9% of the legislative seats. This disparity may be greater in 2017.
Malcolm X said that it would be harder to root racism in the North than in the South. Mississippi and Alabama for example show significantly less such racial and ethnic disparity in their legislatures that Washington and Oregon.