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Is it time for a White 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. 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/racial organization, now joins the  Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, the Legislative Black Caucus and the Latino Legislative Caucus.

These caucuses work, sometimes behind the scenes and out of public view, to represent the interests of their ethnic/racial groups.  They write legislation and take other actions on behalf of their particular ethnic/racial groups even though the people they are acting on behalf of 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 people,” no matter where they live in the state.

An example of what the members of these ethnic/racial caucuses do was presented in the Daily Pilot recently in a story about State Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, a member of the Latino Legislative Caucus, who has authored a bill that would force cities such as Costa Mesa to end city wide voting and replace it with district voting.  District voting is a scheme that will lead to gerrymandered districts in Costa Mesa, in an attempt to include Latino voters in certain districts and exclude White voters from the districts.

On the welcome page of the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus we read this:  “[T]he Caucus was founded in 2001 and serves to represent and advocate for the interests of the APIA 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.  Who advocates for White people?  No one.

Now, some who haven’t kept up with the news may say that a White Legislative Caucus isn’t needed because Whites are in the majority in the state.  Actually, we’re 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 White ethnicities (or people who originated in many 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 Whites and White interests?  No one.

It’s time to change that.  Will we now see some White legislators start a White Legislative Caucus?  Probably not.  Why?  Because Whites 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 Whites have undergone for years is that Whites are left without any real representation for their particular interests (and we have many) in the state legislature.

Those timid souls who are so brow beaten that they run from the word “white,” can simply use the term European-American if it makes them feel more comfortable.

The new Californian Jewish Legislative Caucus.

The new Californian Jewish Legislative Caucus.