Should the USA have black states?

Years ago, I had a small argument with BrainGlutton.

I said the USA is not strictly a nation-state, in that the boundaries of ethnocultural identity and political identity were too disparate. (I still think this is true, BTW. A white American often sees a chicano as foreign and an anglophone Canadian as familiar.)

He said it was; that there’s a common culture across the country.

Well, maybe; in the sense that there is a political ruling class that expects to be in charge. Even the historically chicano state of New Mexico has a substantial sub-population of anglos, who even win political office.

But what is that common culture? Is it Ann Coulter’s “Anglo-Protestant” culture? I don’t think it’s that straightforward. The USA’s ruling class has multi-ethnic, multi-religious roots. But it is, well, kind of white, isn’t it?

It seems like there’s a dominant white, anglophone culture that want to go into any corner of the USA and take over. Hawai’i, with its preponderance of Japanese-Americans, avoids complete domination. But Louisiana, home of the Creole people and refuge of the Acadian? Dominated by white anglos. Nueva México? California? Poor Arizona? Overrun by even more sons of old Dixie.

Now and again someone will talk about how different states have different “cultures.” But the cultural divisions in the USA bear no resemblance to most state lines. (I say most. No surveyor separated Hawai’i, the ocean did.) So we have the farces of state governments and US Senators both representing the “different” states, while largely coming from a few common stocks.

A man “from” Maine had sons become governors of Texas and Florida! But they were all educated in Massachusetts, apparently!?

We have majority-minority districts in the US House of Representatives, and in state legislatures. But we don’t have (much in the way of) majority-minority states. (Again, Hawai’i is an exception.)

Maybe we should. Maybe we really, really should.

Let’s say (generously) that the dominant culture is about 75% of the populace, and rules 48 of the present states. (I’ll grant that Hawai’i and New Mexico are different.) OK, to get to parity, we have to flip some states, or add [del]16 states[/del] 14 states to reach 16. (That is, 48/3.) About six of these can be black-majority states carved out of present territory (say, the northern ends of the Deep South states). Eight or nine can be “Latin” states, and one or two can be “mixed but *not *predominated by whitebreads.”

I don’t have a map drawn up yet, I’m just blue-skying right now.

Now, “white Democrats” are probably going to complain about this like they complain about majority-minority districts. Something about dividing the working classes and costing them elections. Well, right now it looks like your coalition bled out on a street in north St. Louis County. So, tough.

Now, I know this board. Every response will be a variation of, “No, you imbecile.” But I want you to *defend *your answers.

Good idea ! They could be separate States. But, y’know, all equal-like and shit.

So your question is, should we have legally enforced racial segregation?

I’m gonna go with “no”.

So, as I understand it, you’re proposing that state lines be redrawn - deliberately gerrymandered, essentially, so that several states become majority-minority. I’m sure at some point I’ll get over my immediate, visceral response that this is the worst idea ever, and come up with reasons not to do it. In the mean time, could you explain what benefits you see arising from such an arrangement?

CA is a minority-majority state just as much as Hawai’i is.

Are you talking about moving people around, or just redrawing the boundaries?

What problem are you trying to solve? (And then, as a corollary, is that problem worse than the ones you will be creating?)

African Americans have unique traditions and ways of life as a result of the discrimination and exclusion they faced following the Civil War and the slavery that predated it. African Americans have a distinct dialect of English, AAVE, essentially distinct churches and religious denominations, and other unique values as a consequence of their unique lived experiences.

As an example of distinct values, African Americans had to rely upon each other and their community to counter discrimination and prejudice in the segregated South, resulting in African Americans being more communal and less individualistic than Whites, who inherited more Anglo American values. These values manifest themselves in the form of public policies preferred by different groups, invariably resulting in disagreement and political conflict.

These traditions provide socio-cultural groups with a connection to the past and a sense of meaning and purpose to life. They are worth preserving, instead of being subsumed into a hegemonic monoculture that adopts some parts from each of its constituent culture and discards the rest.

African American, Hispanic, and Asian ethnostates would provide an opportunity for these minority groups to express their values and beliefs in government and social life and to continue their unique cultural traditions. Ethnopluralism provides a pathway for real and permanent cultural diversity instead of the transient cultural differences we enjoy today, wherein traditions are either agglomerated into ‘American culture’ or fade into the abyss of history.

I don’t like the idea of redrawing state boundaries to gerrymander racially pure districts, but I do think having more majority-minority districts would be a good thing, and that it applies to state governments as well as House districts. Ethnic and racial minorities need opportunities for representation in all branches and levels of government. And breaking up the existing ruling class (though I think it’s more open and pluralistic than you do, it clearly exists and is mostly white-Anglo) would be a good thing. Proportional representation would be the best way to accomplish it, but that ain’t likely. It’s one reason I wish Puerto Rico would become a state, though. (I wish DC could, too, but it’s just too small.)

Could you move them to a reservation?

What about if we say that these “new” states will count as three-fifths of a state when it comes to representation in Congress and allocation of Federal funding?

The United States does have a single unifying culture, but it’s not really a white Anglo culture. It’s a fusion culture, and while the Anglo component is probably the single largest component, it’s drowned out by the contributions of all of the other subcultures that were once disfavored. Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s day… which would have been impossible in the days of “No Irish Need Apply”. The Italians, when they came, were thought of as “dirty”… and nowadays Italian food barely even counts as “ethnic”. The Eastern Europeans were thought of as hopelessly stupid… and when a TV show wants to make a character seem like “just an ordinary guy”, they give him a Polish last name. Most Americans are descended from other than English stock, and most of them, when their ancestors came, they were regarded in much the same way that Latin Americans are now. They all melted into the pot, and given a generation or two, so will the current crop of minorities.

Puerto Rico is actually a good example of a place (albeit not a state) that has not been taken over by Anglos. The city of San Juan itself has become pretty Anglicized, but the rest of the island is still very much Latin, no speak english sorry señor. One can raise the argument that this is actually a major (if not the only) reason that PR has not become a state.

Why? Have the “majority-minority districts” actually lead to good outcomes? I’m not asking whether they’ve lead to more blacks being elected, or more of any group being elected. I’m asking whether they’ve lead to better government.

Supposing, for the sake of argument that there are certain issues which are very important to blacks, but unimportant to almost everyone else. If you herd almost all the blacks in, say, Mississippi into a single district, the representative from the that district will likely care a great deal about black issues, if he or she wants to be re-elected. But at the same time, the other representatives from Mississippi have almost no re-election-driven motivation to care about black issues, since there are almost no blacks in their districts.

If you instead draw districts in a fair and colorblind way, then some number of blacks will be in every district, though perhaps not a majority anywhere. Thus all representatives will have some motivation to care about black issues.

Is this your premise? Is this what you think is a problem that needs to be solved? If so, can we have a cite that it’s a real thing?

Do you realize that “Japanese” make up less than 15% of the population of Hawai’i?

Dude, have you got any idea where the good citizens of Ferguson and tens of thousands of other communities would tell you where to shove your melting pot. The USA has institutional racism seeping out of every damn pore and no one can even spell it yet.

Same here , I say “NO” too !

So, except for Construct(!) you generally agree that the present arrangement, where black Americans are in minority and thus out of power at the state level everywhere in the USA, is worth sustaining. Fascinating.

Oh, and some of you willfully misinterpreted what I said: Reservations? The Three-Fifths Compromise? Is that really what you thought I was saying?

Chronos’s digression into immigration, while accurate for what it was, felt out of place. How does that affect the color line?

To be clear:

It’s your opinion (except, again, for Construct) that the system we should sustain is one in which black people can live in every state in the union, but have power in none of them. That’s a good plan in your eyes.

No, you’re just assuming that your proposal is better. Tell us how you’re going to do it, what it’s going to result in, and why it will be better than what we have now. Frankly, so far it just sounds like creating ghettos.

And, btw, if you find yourself in strange company, you might question yourself rather than those not keeping the same company.

To be clear, you have not been at all “clear” how you are going to accomplish this. Your proposal so far is not dissimilar from this one.

At present, no race is either “in power” or “out of power” anywhere. Votes are cast by individuals, not by races, thus rendering any statement about any race being in or out of power meaningless.