Where are We? California Redistricting Sorely Lacking AsAms

February 7, 2010

Always we carp about not being represented. Where are all the Asian Americans on primetime TV? Why so few in the higher corporate executive tiers? Where are all the positions for us in government?

Well? The lines are being drawn. Where are we?

California voters passed a proposition a few years ago demanding a say in how voting districts are drawn, because the demographic and party distribution across districts can make it possible for minority voters to make an impact on statewide elections -- or dilute their ballots into statistical insignificance.

Now the commission we created is looking for members, and Asian Americans are offering our civic energies at an anemic 6% of the applicant pool. We are 15% of the state population. We are under-representing ourselves.

Do you want to talk anti-Asian stereotypes we should defeat? How about politically apathetic? Lacking in civic duty? Interested only in watching our income brackets rise? Or, we can keep whining about Dragonball and 21, and not throw our hats in this ring, but at some point it gets a little embarrassing.

This commission may make some important changes. But regardless, the mere fact of our putting our names in the hat changes the narrative of Asian Americans as California citizens.

Do it -- or hell, make your significant other do it, if you're convinced you can't. They don't need all of us. But we need us. We have until February 16th at 5 pm -- only 3 more hours! -- to apply here: http://www.wedrawthelines.ca.gov/ Real easy. It'll take under 5 minutes.

And those of you reading this who don't live in California, don't think you're off the hook. Go ... volunteer for something. Of course, if you have already, thank you. *updated and reposted for countdown and continuing visibility. Thanks to CAPAFR for the update.


erin K Ninh

contributing editor & blogger

erin Khue Ninh is a former blog editor and onetime publisher of Hyphen, who won't seem to go away. She now teaches literature in the Department of Asian American Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Aside from Hyphen, erin believes in recycling, Planned Parenthood, and Type A first-borns.