On Demographics And The Primaries

If you’re not loving the results of the primaries so far, remember that New Hampshire and Iowa do not – IN ANY WAY – match the demographics of our country as a whole. There’s a lot written about what those states being first does to the voting confidence of the populations not represented significantly in those states. Here’s a good one by Vox which is admittedly a left-leaning source but I think that’s not a bad bias since this is a topic way more concerning to Democrats whose voting members are about 40% people of color.

Both Iowa and New Hampshire are over 90% White, while our country as a whole sits around 75% White and states like Alabama aren’t even 70% White.

Let’s be careful in making final judgements about the primaries before any states with significant populations of Black Americans or Hispanic and Latinx or Asian populations have voted. NOTE: I’m not saying any of those groups vote as a whole, but ignoring them in the results will be detrimental to our cause of victory over Trump.

I also want to take this opportunity to talk about language choices and to share something I recently learned about word use around these type of conversations. For example, I know there are other racial and ethnic groups represented across our country but those populations are large enough to be able to sway results. But, after reading something recently from a Nikole Hannah-Jones, I’m trying avoid using terms like “non-White” and “minorities.” She pointed out that those word choices are not ideal because one frames identity around what a population is not and the other is relative and a term we need to refrain from using since our trajectory is that the white population will be in the minority in the future.

It is so hard for a non-trained journalist to write about these things. I mean, I’m just a mommy-blogger with no training who simply no longer writes about her kids. I don’t want to avoid talking about these things simply because I’m worried I’ll get the language wrong. I do my best using guides like APA Style Guide and the Diversity Style Guide and the new Mother Jones style guide but I’m not perfect and sometimes individuals within groups have different preferences than what these guides list. The guides always encourage you to ask your subject but in this case I’m talking about groups as a whole and no group is monolithic in their identities. Some people prefer “Latino” and “Latina” versus “Latinx” – so I make the best decisions I can in the moment and allow myself some grace and some room to learn while remembering that I’m always going to upset someone with my language choices but I don’t want to avoid talking about it at all just because of that fear.

“People of color” is a term that many don’t love because too many writers use it in place of “Black” which is erasure. I try to only use it when I really am speaking of oppressed or marginalized populations but want to avoid the term “non-White” and “minorities”. I am trying to list out more, like in the first paragraph when I really did want to reference large voting populations that tend to vote more Democratic.

It’s hard for someone like me who suffers from Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria to put myself in a position where I’m probably going to get corrected by someone – but I also want to talk about race as much as possible because I don’t think White people do it enough and it’s up to us to bring these conversations into our circles.


1 thought on “On Demographics And The Primaries”

  1. Love this. My boyfriend is Latino and he corrected me when I said “Latinx” one time. He said that actual Latin American countries would never use “Latinx” and it’s only an American thing.

    But I also know some Latinx people who DO prefer that label. So it’s complicated.

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