Editorial: Internal Evolution Leads to External Change: Why Congress should be reformed to reflect the diversity of the US population more accurately.


By: Gracee Zagordo
Close your eyes and imagine today’s America. What is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a U.S. Congress or Senate member? Unfortunately, it’s practical to assume that the first thing that came to mind was a white man in his late stages of adulthood. This all too actual reality of what we imagine when thinking of a group of people representing a population of over three hundred million people is not only inaccurate but is, for lack of better words, concerning.

What the typical person might turn to when thinking of the lack of diversity in today’s melting-pot America is that it is rooted in the traditional political party leaders or parties as a whole that place their country in a state of stagnant change. However, as mentioned in the New York Times article “In an Increasingly Diverse House, Aides remain remarkably white,” they argue that “this is not a party issue or a specific member issue but rather a structure issue”

(Fandos, 2018). After reading this article, I have come to understand that, yes, American parties share significant and highly opinionated traditions that could be seen as outdated; however, in contrast to popular belief, both the Republican and Democratic parties still display as predominantly white male appearing, resembling a remarkable lack of diversity.

In addition, I feel as now as ever, many people, even those who are not citizens of the U.S., see the republican party through a ‘Trump-hating’ lens. By this, I mean that democratic and predominantly liberal citizens of all countries believe that former U.S. President Donald Trump is the crucial reason that white America is so heavily promoted and shown in office. Although former President Trump may have played a key role in enhancing political party leader stereotypes, we can also see that now, as the Democratic party leader Joe Biden currently resides as President, they share the same visual appearance. With that insight, we can see that this observation explains further how the lack of diversity has less to do with the party and who falls
under each, and instead, the deep-rooted American tradition of what it means to “be American” and how that still affects the structure of congress today.

The academic article from the Centre for American Progress, “Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion,” states that Congress and those involved in government ‘cannot solve pressing challenges within America, without accepting change, knowledge and evolving internally’ (Benson et al., 2023). This argument is the basis of the title of this editorial: internal evolution leads to external change, making this argument the most important and relevant in my eyes. When thinking of the diversity of racial identities, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, religions, etc., enriched in every sector of America, it is difficult to wrap my brain around how every group can be represented if some groups are getting a louder voice than others based on stereotypes and country norms that society has created (Benson et al., 2023).

Argued further, it is mentioned that this organization is working to continuously and intentionally expand the diversity within their workplace and enhance their knowledge on creating a more inclusive and better-represented environment. While they argue the dire need to improve diversity and inclusivity, it is also essential to remember that if there is no one in office representing minority/under-appreciated groups, then there is a higher risk of their rights and needs being pushed under the rug, prioritizing things regarding groups that have the more traditional; Christian, white, male needs, exemplified predominantly in congress today as mentioned (Popvich & Cage, 2014).

As The Guardian mentions in their article “Are you represented in the new Congress,” they add that certain racial and ethnic concerns won’t be addressed with a congress of one gender and ethnicity (Popvich & Cage, 2014). When thinking of diversity, the first things that come to mind are strength and uniqueness. Kamilla Kassam from ACS Publications described my opinion to a tee when she shared that “without diversity, ideas are stagnant and become stale” (Kassam, 2022) Additionally, she argues that when you are constantly surrounded by the same type of people who view the world under the same lens in every room you walk into, Congress and society as a whole start to feel like an echo chamber” (Kassam, 2022). Without embracing diversity and inclusivity into our government systems it is nearly impossible to stay progressive
and have a zest for change. The “echo chamber” that we are constantly seeing, needs to be morphed into a journal of problem-solving. Each group can discuss and symbolically jot down their different ideas, then discuss them as a larger group with varying perspectives to solve them from a more cultural mosaic perspective.

To counter-argue, some say that as long as the U.S. Congress and those in office perform well in their respective jobs, then their ethnicity should not matter. Appointing or electing someone into office for the sole purpose of adding visual diversity to a government system without having the proper prerequisites seems counterproductive and is arguably just as uninclusive as not having any diversity at all. Although diversity and inclusivity are essential to a progressive and constantly evolving political system, it is also essential that each member being put in a position of power obtains a role due to their strong values, educational background and hard work to get them to where they are, not just because they display a particular ethnicity, gender, religion etc.

In conclusion, I am hopeful that in most aspects, the U.S. and all government systems as a whole are attempting to improve their inclusivity and diversity in order to better represent their populations. We are seeing women and many people of colour fighting for their respective and earned spots in office. I’m optimistic that one day, people of diverse backgrounds will no longer have to ‘fight’ for an earned spot in Congress or any government position, as well, current and future generations will keep striving to obtain the passion and motivation to change the status quo of what we imagine when we close our eyes and think of a U.S. Congress or Senate member.


References:
Minta, M. D., & Sinclair-Chapman, V. (2012). Diversity in political institutions and congressional responsiveness to minority interests. Political Research Quarterly, 66(1), 127-140. https://doi.org/10.1177/1065912911431245
Kassam, K. (2022). Moving beyond politics: Diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect. Journal of Chemical Education, 99(8), 2773-2774. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.2c00611 Popovich, N., Cage, F. (2014, April 6). Are you reflected in the new Congress? The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2014/nov/06/-sp-congress-diversity-women -race-lgbt-are-you-represented
Fanos, N. (2018, September 11). In an increasingly diverse house, aides remain remarkably
white. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/11/us/politics/diversity-congress-house-republicans-democrat s.html
Grossman, A. (2013). In Congress, a new diversity colours politics- WSJ. The Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323635504578213860265640772 Benson, R., Sheth, J., Jordan, A., & Bryant, S. (2023, August 9). Our commitment to diversity and inclusion. Center for American Progress.
https://www.americanprogress.org/about-us/diversity-and-inclusion/

2 thoughts on “Editorial: Internal Evolution Leads to External Change: Why Congress should be reformed to reflect the diversity of the US population more accurately.

  1. Why talk about the US when Canada is failing miserably with the corrupt Fiberals at the helm while in a severe crisis with the insane cost of food, poor job prospects, unaffordable rent, crime out of control, these CROOKED politicians are bleeding us dry and sending us to the poorhouse.
    It’s time to change the subject back to Canada, a.s.a.p!

    1. WHOA NELLIE..If you think things are that bad and you can fix them…RUN IN THE NEXT ELECTION.

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