Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is attempting to tackle issues of diversity within the Democratic party this week by proposing a rule which would require Senate offices to interview at minimum one minority applicant for each staff position going forward.
Schumer’s proposed rule is a version of the NFL’s “Rooney Rule,” which requires the same of football teams in the U.S. Schumer proposed the rules to his caucus on Tuesday, and asked that Democratic Senators embrace the rule in order to better represent the minority groups that the Democratic party claims to represent.
As Sean King noted in the New York Daily News shortly after the election, while the Democratic party talks the talk on protecting and supporting minority groups nationwide, they are not walking the walk when it comes to putting minorities in their offices through diverse hiring. King calls the trend “soft bigotry.”
“No single voting bloc or ethnic group in America was more loyal to any party, Democratic or Republican, than black folk were to the Democratic Party. It’s not even close. Eighty-eight percent of Black voters voted for Hillary Clinton — including an astounding 94% of Black women. The second most loyal voting bloc to the Democratic Party? Latinos. Sixty-five percent of Latinos voted for Hillary Clinton.
Yet, the party ran a white presidential candidate and a white vice presidential candidate. Before they resigned at the end of the primaries, the head of the Democratic Party, both the chairman and CEO, were white.
The Democratic Senate Minority Leader was white. The person appointed as the new Senate Minority Leader is white. Only two Democrats in the upcoming Senate are black — which is absolutely preposterous.”
Basically, King makes the argument that Democrats depend on the support and votes from minority communities, but do nothing to actually earn the vote or reward those groups for their support. They expect black votes, but give nothing back to black America. And that has got to stop.
Now that Obama is out of office, our party is looking whiter than ever, and Schumer’s proposed rule may do something – at least a little bit – to correct this error. But just like the NFL’s misuse of the Rooney Rule, the rule must be accompanied by some sort of incentive or change in culture in order to be effective.
Many teams in the NFL skirt real diversity by merely interviewing a token minority they have no intention of hiring in order to satisfy the rule but give the job to their white friends. If Democrats were to do the same, nothing would change, and we would have the added stigma of knowing that Democrats, just like Republicans, are willing to engage in a concerted effort to suppress minorities, even when given incentives not to do so.
The Democratic party must become more diverse from the inside if it ever hopes to win an election again. Schumer’s rule might just be the key (or a start).