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Why Isn’t There a European-American Legislative Caucus in the California Legislature?

By H. Millard | It was recently announced that State Senator Marty Block, (D-San Diego), started the Legislative Jewish Caucus and that this caucus will also form a political action committee to raise money for Israel-friendly candidates.

Marty Block (Dem)Sen. Marty Block told the press that the Legislative Jewish Caucus “…isn’t a religious based organization. We see this as an ethnic organization.” This statement was presumably made to both forestall Muslims from starting a Muslim Legislative Caucus and also to head off complaints that the Legislative Jewish Caucus is breaching the wall between religion and state.

At any rate, the Legislative Jewish Caucus, as an ethnic organization, now joins the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, the Legislative Black Caucus and the Latino Legislative Caucus [in addition to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Caucus or The Women’s Caucus.]

These caucuses work, sometimes behind the scenes and out of public view, to represent the interests of their ethnic and racial groups.

They write legislation and take other actions on behalf of their particular groups even though the people they are representing may not live in their districts.

In other words, unlike the traditional American political notion that people elected to public office represent a specific geographic area, these ethnic caucus members represent “their racial/ethnic/genetic people,” no matter where they live in the state. And, in the case of the Legislative Jewish Caucus, even if they have dual-citizenship and reside in Israel.

The welcome page of the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus states:

“[T]he Caucus was founded in 2001 and serves to represent and advocate for the interests of the APIA (Asian Pacific Islander American) community….”

On the Website of the Latino Legislative Caucus we read:

“The Mission of the California Latino Legislative Caucus is to identify, promote and advocate on behalf of the professional, educational, social, political and cultural interests of the Latino Community.”

And, on the Website of the Legislative Black Caucus we read:

“The continuing mission of the CLBC is to provide our unwavering commitment and support to our goal of achieving full inclusion of our state’s Africans American residents in every aspect of California life – from education and employment to housing and health to commerce and government services.”

So, there you have it. Four ethnic/racial organizations all advocating for the interests of “their people.” But who advocates for Euroepan-American people? No one. Are European-Americans a people without a peoplehood? Are Euroepan-Americans non-people? Are European-Americans a people with non-identity? Do Euroepan-Americans not have particular interests that need protecting and advancement? Why have European-Americans become subordinated to minority populations?

Now, some who haven’t kept up with the news may say that a European-American Legislative Caucus isn’t needed because Whites are in the majority in the state. Actually, we are not. Latinos have ether reached numbers parity or have exceeded the size of the White population. Some others may argue that Whites are not an ethnicity, but a race, and that we shouldn’t lump the various European-American ethnicities (or people who originated in various different European nations) together under one rubric such as “White.” Well, the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus lumps various Asian and Pacific Islander populations together, and the Legislative Black Caucus is based on race.

I’ll ask and answer this question once again: Who represents European-American issues, and European-American interests? No one!

It’s time to change that.

Will we now see European-American legislators form a European-American Legislative Caucus? Probably not. Why? Because European-Americans have been so brow-beaten about race that it seems many are even afraid to order a gallon of white paint at the hardware store lest they be called racist.

The result of this racial intimidation that European-Americans have undergone for years is now we are left without any real representation for our particular interests (and we have many) in the state legislature.

Reference:

1. California State Legislature caucuses: http://www.legislature.ca.gov/the_state_legislature/leadership_and_caucuses/caucus.html

2. The Sacramento Bee Capitol Alert (1/22/14) re: Jewish Caucus: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2014/01/california-legislature-launches-a-jewish-caucus.html

[Source: H. Millard, Guest Post]

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