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Legislative diversity report 2021

It’s a tiny bit more diverse, but not by much.

In a perennial takeaway of The Texas Tribune’s demographic analysis, the Texas Legislature remains mostly white and male.

When the 2021 legislative session begins Tuesday, 3 of every 5 lawmakers in the state House and Senate will be white, although white Texans make up just 41% of the state’s population. That’s largely a function of the Republican dominance of the Capitol and the dearth of diversity in the party’s ranks. All but five of the 100 Republicans in the Legislature are non-Hispanic white people.

Women have seen gains in the Legislature in recent years, but their underrepresentation is underscored by how marginal those gains have been. Four years ago, women held just 20% of seats; on Tuesday they’ll take roughly 27%. And unlike at the start of the legislative session two years ago, there won’t be more lawmakers named “John” than Republican women in the House.

There will be an equal number.

Click over to see the charts. There are 13 Republican women this session, up one from 2019. For what it’s worth, I believe the Trib has undercounted Anglo Democratic legislators. They have it at sixteen, but my count is seventeen. There were eighteen Anglo Dems following the 2018 election, a significant increase over previous years in which retirements and electoral defeats, both in March and in November, had whittled that number down to six. Looking at that list the changes from the 2019 session are as follows:

– Sen. Sarah Eckhardt replaces Kirk Watson, who stepped down to take a job at the University of Houston.
– Rep. Gina Calanni was defeated, but Rep. Ann Johnson was elected, leaving the Harris County share of the contingent unchanged.
– The drop from 18 to 17 is the result of Joe Pickett’s retirement due to health concerns. Rep. Art Fierro won the special election to succeed him.

The number of LGBTQ legislators went up by one as well with the election of Rep. Ann Johnson.

Finally, I should note that if we include the SBOE in this scope, then the Anglo Democrat number goes back up to 18, as Rebecca Bell-Metereau was elected in SBOE5, winning the seat vacated by Republican Ken Mercer. I won’t be surprised if the SBOE is redistricted back to a ten R/five D situation, and of course who knows where the House and the Senate will end up, but for now, this is what we have. Tune in following the next election for further updates.

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19 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    The main takeaway here is, we definitely want fewer straight, white men working in government. I find this ironic because our gracious host and virtually every poster here at OTK, save for Manny, Jules and Jen, fit the description of people we want to make jobless. I wonder how many OTK posters are willing to go all in, to quit their jobs, in order to create a job opportunity for a non white, non straight, non male person, in the name of equity?

    What’s the end goal here? Make straight white males unemployable? Maybe make them wear arm bands and herd them into crowded tenements?

    Speaking as someone who was raised to treat people based on their merit, not their color or sex, I just don’t get this fascination with discrimination and hatred of straight, white, males. Who taught y’all to hate yourselves? Where did that come from?

    When I hire or vote, I really don’t care what you look like, I care about what you can do and now diligent you are about working.

    And for Jules and Jen specifically, what do you think will happen after we run out of straight, white men to denigrate and discriminate against? Hint: next up, on tap, will be white gay men and white women. If you don’t believe me, just look at Manny’s treatment of the white liberal posters here. Any deviation at all from Manny’s preferred position and you’re a bigoted racist, worthy of scorn and derision. I think you’ll see that your respective ‘special’ statuses won’t save you from the identity politics mob for long.

  2. Ross says:

    So, Bill, when you hire, do you try to seek out qualified individuals who aren’t straight white males? Do you even think about looking for qualified individuals from non-traditional sources? Or, do you just stick to your ingrained philosophy that only straight white males are qualified?

    You miss the point here. No one is denigrating straight white males, rather, they are saying that we need to look for leaders from all walks of life, leaders who understand the difficulties minorities can face when trying to live the American dream.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    Ross, not to be argumentative but it’s you that is missing the point. The point of the article is, we need to put numbers on the board. We need to see fewer straight white males in Texas government. That’s the goal here. Get the whites out. Why is this difficult to admit? Look at the HISD board. It was super important to get the whites off the board. That was accomplished, and look at the positive results they have had. Why else would we need to keep track of who is and isn’t white, straight, or male? We only need to track this if there’s a problem.

    Do you track what kinds of grasses and plants are growing in your lawn? Probably not, unless you have a bunch of weeds, and you’re trying to get rid of the weeds and promote St. Augustine or bermuda grass. So then it’s important to you to keep track of what percentage of the area has or does not have weeds in the lawn.

    Perhaps we should just set a quota. Each election season, we should just all agree that some number of straight white males in government be voted out or fired, so that they can be replaced by non whites, especially if they aren’t men or straight.

    Read the article. Progress = fewer whites in government. Progress = fewer men in government. Progress = fewer straight people in government. Note the article doesn’t entertain notions of competency, work ethic, or any other usual and customary metric for employees.

  4. Lobo says:

    SON OF SOROS, CAUCASIAN FOR THE OCCASION

    Suppose you graduated from Central European University in Budapest (before Viktor Orbán shut it down) and came to the US for (post)graduate studies.

    You would be surprised to learn that you are “Caucasian” all of a sudden, or worse – “Anglo”. — Not just Anglophile and fluent in English as your first and foremost second language. Anglo.

    Upon further reflection, your pannonic Alexis de Tocqueville might conclude that your obsession with racial categories is an unfortunate legacy of your collective past, and evidence of a deplorable persistence of a truly exceptional New World parochialism.

    The Caucasus, after all, is in Georgia. The peoples of the Caucasus, or Caucasians, represent the epitome of diversity, comprising more than 50 ethnic groups throughout the Caucasus region, who speak a multitude of different languages.

    For more on what lies beyond Transylvania, the Seven Castles, and the Black Sea, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peoples_of_the_Caucasus

    Up for further discussion and illumination:

    Why is it that Barack Obama is considered black when his mother (50% of his biological ancestry and more the 50% in term of time-spent-with-child relative to the absent Kenyan father, i.e. socialization) was “Caucasian”?

    Isn’t he as much “white” as he is “black”, if not more? Not to mention that he is indisputably much brighter than most of us wanna-be shining lights here. And since he is proficient in English, not to mention the oratory in that tongue, shouldn’t he be considered English (Anglo)?

    And as for skin tone and obscurity as a visually perceptible property, isn’t it all about the lighting and the photo/video-editing? — Eminently adjustable on the scale, especially in the era of virtual, if not virtuous, communication?

  5. Mainstream says:

    When we count by race and gender, we assume those qualities are more important than some others, which is demonstrably not always true. Somehow I rather doubt GOP Chairman West embodies the same values as other African-American politicians, or that Senator Cruz meets expectations for a Hispanic leader in some quarters.

    Some of my Russian grad student friends at Rice were aghast to learn that they were expected to call themselves Caucasian.

    In redistricting the term “Anglo” is used for a wide range of origins including folks from Polish ancestry, or French speaking, and there seems to be confusion about where to draw the line. Most folks would consider Lebanese-Americans, Greek-Americans, Iranian-Americans to be white, but others would disagree.

  6. Ross says:

    So, Bill, I’ll put you down as believing that only straight white males should be politicians, and that no one else is qualified. That fits in well with your general racist behavior and attitude. It’s hard to believe that you don’t see the benefit in having diversity in politicians and elected officials. I haven’t seen anyone come flat out and say that certain percentages have to be met, but there are surely qualified non-straight white males to fill many positions. Unfortunately, people like you, and Dan Patrick, and Greg Abbott are clinging hard to the power you think you deserve, but really don’t.

    Mainstream, by definition in US law, all of the groups you mention are considered to be white, or Caucasian. If those folks don’t like our laws, they are free to go elsewhere.

  7. Manny says:

    Lobo, one question for you. What is the conclusion of your rather obfuscated comment?

    Bill always with your lies, would it surprise you that I believe that Democrats should have more white male representation?

    The goal of the racist white males of the Republican Party, most of the party, is to put a face of darkness on the Democrats so they (Republicans) can then appeal to their mostly racist base.

  8. Mainstream says:

    Ross, can you point me to the legal statute that defines race? I am not aware of one.

    I wrote a law review article some years ago tangential to this, and the reviewer from University of Texas disputed that persons from the Middle East could be considered Caucasian. She defined them as Asians and persons of color.

  9. Jules says:

    I am looking forward to fewer straight white males serving in our Federal government starting Wednesday. I am looking forward to a Federal government that better reflects our population.

    As to legal definitions of race, I don’t think Barack Obama would have been permitted to vote back when only white males could vote.

  10. Manny says:

    I will add that the racist party, led by the Russian asset made the determination as to President Obama when they question his birth.

  11. Manny says:

    Mainstream, I have to admit that I am old but race consisted of Caucasians, Negroid, and Mongoloid. The Spaniards in the new world created a class for the not pure Spaniards, basically Mestizo and Mulatto. The distinction between the two other classes was whether there was Native American ancestry (Indian), for the ignorant, or Negroid for Mulatto. Mexicans were considered the other whites by courts in particularly here in Texas especially when it came to integration of the people.

    I always have problem with the question as to what to call myself, I have a very large percentage of Native American blood, and a much larger percentage of European blood. My high cheek bones and darker color sets me apart from the blue eyed Spanish surname people, like the Orlando
    Sanchez of this world. When I was in Oklahoma the Native American people had no problems accepting me as one of their own.

    But that is interesting that a professor would consider the Jewish People Asian. I guess that would make Jesus an Asian.

  12. Bill Daniels says:

    “I am looking forward to fewer straight white males serving in our Federal government starting Wednesday.”

    Jules, you surely have some straight, white males in your immediate family. Father? Grandfathers? Brothers? Bephews?

    What does it say to them that you want “their kind” to be culled from government service? Do you support this purging of straight white males in private industry as well? Should your father lose his job because the company he works for goes woke and finds a reason to get rid of him, in order to hire a non white, non male?

    And finally you realize you qualify for 2 out of three on the ‘evil index,’ right? What happens when your gay card fails to work? What happens when people see you just as a white male? Now you are on the chopping block, too.

    I also find it ironic that we are discussing this on MLK day….a holiday for a guy who famously said he wanted Americans to judge others on their character, not on the color of their skin. Yet here we are, discussing the merits of judging, and deciding the employment opportunities, of Americans based on….the color of their skin.

  13. Jules says:

    Once again, your arguments do not seem to support your premise, but I suppose it is good to see you acknowledge that being shut out on the basis of gender and/or race can bring hardship.

  14. Lobo says:

    TOO MANY KRAUTS?

    Mensch, Manny: The purpose of my post was to challenge racialist thinking, yours included. That doesn’t mean you aren’t a mensch. Or aspire to.

    To put it in proper jargon: to critically put in issue the socio-linguistic construction of race, and the disputability of the observable (or otherwise ascertainable) characteristics the concept of race is based on.

    BTW, the notion of percentages of “blood” is nonsense too (a-scientific), though it is a common metaphor for genetic ancestry and melanges thereof. And there are variants on the theme. “Blue blood” for example referred to nobility in the Old World. Criollo somewhat similar in the New.

    A more objective and scientific classification of humans by blood would be 0, A, B, AB, and with + or – for Rhesus factor for further granularity and compatibility, if not consanguinity. The Romans may be forgiven for bequeathing to us the concept of ius sanguinis (literally, law of the blood, or “blood line” if you will). They didn’t know about blood groups; nor had DNA paternity tests even been envisioned
    at the time of Ceasar and the immaculate conception. The letter combinations AD and BC were also later inventions, I suppose.

    So, to arc back to the topic of Kuff’s post, how does our current Texas Lege measure up in terms of blood groups?

    And how about Anglo vs. German, to complement to Spanish-surname demographic inquiry, and the gender/gonad-focused bean counting?

    Starting with the Senate, let’s see:

    Eckhardt
    Huffman
    Kolkhorst
    Schwertner
    Seliger
    Springer

    Seems like a contingent large enough to have a senatorial Wurstfest.

    But that doesn’t answer the question: How many is too much?

    Muchos alemanes étnicos, Manny. – ¿Que opinas? ¿Hay que sacarlos?

    Lobo’s comment genre might be denominated “food for thought”, Manny. Chew on it, and happy digesting! I hope it won’t cause verbal diarrhea, or angry denunciations of Toqueville imitators as fascists.

    Aquí hay más: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alemanes_%C3%A9tnicos

    Also see Texas Almanac entry of Texas Germans, eschewing race and treating “African-Americans” as an “ethnic group”. To wit: “After Anglos, Mexican-Americans, and African-Americans, the ethnic group with the largest impact on Texas has been the Germans.”

    Compliments of Son of Soros, Caucasian for the Occasion

  15. Manny says:

    Lobo, only you think that you have proved a point, you live in a different universe.

    One does not prove what race is by attempting to prove what it isn’t, which is what you have done.

    Bullshit does not answer the question, what was your point in the first comment. The Second comment was designed to suggest your superior intelligence. But as a former president once stated, it all depends on the definition of the word. The more words the less likely people will understand.

    For instance, the following seems straight forward but there is disagreement as to what it means;

    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    Lobo quit the bull and state what you mean.

  16. Manny says:

    Lobo, again what is it that you are trying to say? That there is no such thing as race? Is that having people that all look like Trump is like looking at people that look like Senator Kamala Harris?

    I am still waiting as to why you think that none of those people, that forcibly entered the Capitol, should be rounded up or charged with crimes. You are great at avoiding answering questions.

  17. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    I think Wolf is trying, in his own inimitable way, to show you the futility of trying to use race as a determinant for who should hold elective office. Correct me if I’m wrong, Wolf.

  18. Manny says:

    Bill, I don’t think Lobo is able to put his thoughts together to form a logical argument. He reminds me of a shirt that I used to wear when I was in law school. The shirt had on the front, “If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your bull.” He is unique in that way, in this forum. He reminds me of Ted Cruz, but much less intelligent.

  19. Ross says:

    @Mainstream, I think the definitions of race and ethnicity are mostly in the CFR, and from court cases. Congress could change the definitions if it wanted to, but I don’t think there’s any great desire to make Arabs, Persians, etc, into separate groups.