The New York Times has published another of its usual “minorities are underrepresented” stories, this one about a “Latina” congressional candidate who, the headline says, “carries the hope of her party and people.” [By Sheryl Gay Stolberg, May 4, 2014]
The blurb on the Times‘ web page runs thus: “Amanda Renteria is a Democrat running for Congress in California. Latinos — the nation’s most rapidly growing minority — are greatly underrepresented in public office”
The story elaborates: “But if Ms. Renteria represents the hopes of her party and her people, she also reflects Latino Democrats’ deep angst. Seven out of 10 Hispanic voters supported President Obama in 2012, but Latinos — the nation’s most rapidly growing minority — are greatly underrepresented in public office.”
Note that “under-represented” can mean two things: first, that the percentage of Hispanics in Congress should reflect their proportion of the population; and second, that Hispanics aren’t properly represented because too few of them hold public office.
The Times clearly intends the first, and whether it intends the second, the writer and her editors likely believe more Hispanics ought to be elected because “Latino interests” — Renteria’s people — are not adequately represented.
Last time I checked, congressmen and senators were elected to represent congressional districts and states, not their “people.” Need we ask whether the writer would so favorably write of a white conservative who sought election to represent “his people?”
In California Race, a Latina Democrat Carries Hopes of Her Party and People, By Sheryl Gay Stolberg, May 4, 2014