In a recent post at Pacific Standard, I examined the relationship between the percent of African Americans in a city population and the percent on the city council. What the evidence suggested was that Ferguson, Mo., was a serious outlier. As of 2001, just over 50% of its population was African American while none of its city council was. Today, 67% of the population is African American, while 17% (1 member) of the city council is. This is one of the largest representational gaps for African Americans in any U.S. city.
A lot of white people like to obsess over non-problems of blacks, such as the big to-do in the media a few months back over whether blacks don’t win enough Grammy Awards or the black shortage on Saturday Night Live.
But what the chart also showed is that overall, there’s a fairly strong representational relationship for African Americans. When a city is majority African American, it tends to have a majority African American city council.
… This looks very different from African American representation. The vast majority of cities are below the line. Each additional percent of the population that is Latino only translates to about an additional half percent of the city council. Among Asian Americans, each additional percent in the population only translates to about 0.4 percent on the city council.