America Is So Post-Racial, We Don’t Even Need Black People in Our Senate

Florida Senate candidate Kendrick Meek, who lost in yesterday’s election.

By now, many of you have heard the bad news that yesterday’s elections didn’t go so well for Democrats. Though they were able to hold onto control of the Senate, Republicans took the House and expanded their presence in the Senate.

While zillions of news outlets will be offering their analysis of the election results, I wanted to raise awareness around the rather unbelievable fact that the next United States Senate will not have ONE African-American in its ranks.

As reported by CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, all three black Senate candidates, Kendrick Meek (D-FL), Alvin Greene (D-SC) and Mike Thurmond (D-GA) have lost their bids. The only incumbent black senator, Roland Burris (D-IL), is retiring.

Only six black senators have served including Burris: three Republicans and three Democrats, Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL), Edward Brooke (R-MA), Blanche K. Bruce (R-MS), Hiram Revels (R-MS before 1874, D-MS after 1874) and current President Barack Obama (D-IL).

There have been 118 voting members of Congress who are African-American. This year the GOP has 14 African-Americans on the ballot while there were 41 African-American Democrats in Congress of which most ran in majority black districts. The largest number of black Republicans in Congress since Reconstruction has been a whopping two.

In a tidbit of good news, Alabama sent its first African-American woman to Congress with the election of Terri Sewell in the state’s 7th district. She is a Democrat. (Hooray!) Also, more LGBT candidates than ever before were elected yesterday.

On the flip side, insurance company owner Tim Scott earned a comfortable win in his district, becoming the first black Republican congressman from South Carolina since Reconstruction. I’m sure Michael Steele is rejoicing.

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman started blogging with Feministing in 2008, and now runs partnerships and strategy as a co-Executive Director. She is also the Director of Youth Engagement at Women Deliver, where she promotes meaningful youth engagement in international development efforts, including through running the award-winning Women Deliver Young Leaders Program. Lori was formerly the Director of Global Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and has also worked at the United Nations Foundation on the Secretary-General's flagship Every Woman Every Child initiative, and at the International Women’s Health Coalition and Human Rights Watch. As a leading voice on women’s rights issues, Lori frequently consults, speaks and publishes on feminism, activism and movement-building. A graduate of Harvard University, Lori has been named to The Root 100 list of the most influential African Americans in the United States, and to Forbes Magazine‘s list of the “30 Under 30” successful mediamakers. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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