The Women’s Center hosted a discussion on Tuesday titled “How much does political representation really matter in the U.S.?” through a program called DISH, which is a monthly meeting held in the Women’s Center on topics related to intersectional feminism.
The main objectives of DISH are to provide a space for difficult and in-depth conversation between students on topics involving Boston College and the greater world and to gain familiarity with the Women’s Center.
The meeting was facilitated by, Eliza Manriquez, MCAS ’18, and Amirah Rozco, MCAS ’20, two undergraduate workers in the Women’s Center.
During the meeting, the conversation participants mainly discussed the representation of women and people of color in the legislative branch of the United States since 1960s.
“I find conversations like these very important and interesting, especially because I want to learn more and have more discussions about the U.S. political system,” said Fanmei Xia, LSOE ’19.
The group agreed that there is a lack of representation of women and people of color in the United States, with Rozco pointed to a graphic in the discussion powerpoint presentation that shed light on the lack of women representatives, specifically in the U.S. Senate—after all, there are only 21 female Senators.
First-time voter turnout was one point in particular that the group focused on: Attendees evaluated the Pew Research Center’s statistics that showed that people of color had a higher first-time voter turnout than the white population in the 2018 U.S. election. Some of the group theorized that these statistics were a result of marginalized members of the United States being directly affected by the actions of the Trump administration, leading marginalized citizens to decide there was a significant need for change.
Others added that people of color were drawn to the polls to make sure their communities were being properly represented. In addition, some attendees theorized that these voting turnouts may have been a result of the Democratic party—which historically relies heavily on votes from people of color—urging different marginalized populations in the United States to get to the polls.
“The stats and data from this discussion that I saw and discussed with the group about put a lot of the things I know about politics into perspective because minority political representation is important,” said Eleanor Song, MCAS ’19.
Other topics of discussion included voting trends for certain minority groups in America, immigration in 2018, recent choices made by the Trump administration, and representation of women and people of color at BC.
“[As an exchange student] it is hard not to get filtered news about the U.S. because it is first filtered through U.S. networks, then filtered through English networks, and then through English people and social media, so conversations like these [in the U.S.] are always valuable, no matter what you feel like you accomplish,” said Ella Gryf-Lowczowska, an exchange student from Bristol, England.
Featured Image by Katie Genirs / Heights Editor