N.Y. Republicans to Blacks, Latinos & Asians: Drop Dead

Will a backroom GOP deal eliminate diversity in New York’s Senate and stonewall Black and Latino lawmakers?

GOP Senate DealNew York’s Republican State Senators, a group of mostly white men, are working hard to muscle their influence in government and stonewall diversity progress.

Republicans and a group of five Democrats in Albany formed a “bipartisan governing coalition” to secure a majority hold on the Senate. According to lawmakers interviewed by the New York Times, their goal is to keep Blacks, Latinos and Asians out of Senate leadership positions and hinder legislation that could help nonwhite communities in one of America’s most diverse states.

The Democrats appeared to win control of the senate in November’s election, but the coalition will allow the GOP and the Independent Democrats to effectively overpower the Senate Democratic caucus, which includes 14 Black and Latino lawmakers and is the only legislative caucus in Albany headed by a nonwhite person, John L. Sampson of Brooklyn. The deal would also grant the coalition members equal authority in all state budget decisions and committee assignments, including committee appointments.

Democratic legislators argue that the deal undermines the state’s Black, Latino and Asian voters. “This coalition of convenience will limit the elevation of people that communities of color elected all across the state to positions of significance,” Democratic Assemblyman Hakeem S. Jeffries told the Times. It could also impact pending legislation such as raising the minimum wage, changing marijuana-possession laws to reduce stop-and-frisk arrests, and helping children of undocumented immigrants pay for higher education.

What’s the lesson they can learn from corporate America? Organizations that are not representative of their constituencies fail to connect with them. In business, that means a lack of market share and profitability. In the public sector, that means legislation that does not benefit the majority of the citizens, subverting the democratic process.

To understand the need for representational leadership, see:

Diversity Wins: Demographic, Psychographic Shifts Decide Election

Why Should My Company Care If Our Board Is Diverse?

Corporate Diversity Lacks Latino Leaders: How Your Marketplace Will Suffer

Why DiversityInc Top 50 Companies Have More Women CEOs

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  • I get could into detail with respect to the slanted reporting in this article along with referenced NY Times piece. I could focus on the use of language in the NY Times piece, for example referring to the 5 Democrats as “dissident”. I could break down the speculative intent of the coalition in question. Instead all that really needs to be noted in order to understand the agenda of this particular piece is the title of the article and that it leverages the language “Drop Dead”. I searched the piece and I did not find one quote in which anyone in the coalition told minorities to “drop dead”. I always find it intriguing when Diversity Inc uses such inflammatory language and arguments even though it wants to present itself as an element of building bridges across racial lines.

    We can agree that this action warrants investigation but what is above does nothing to foster discussion.

    • Luke Visconti

      The use of “drop dead” was meant to be an ironic reference to the famous New York Daily News front page when the federal government refused to help New York City’s financial crisis. I get it that nobody under 50 years old would get this. However, your mysterious “I could” comments don’t address the elephant in the room: how on earth the Republicans in New Yotk could fail to heed the lesson just learned in the national election. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • MEP Director

    I agree with Brian F. There is zero evidence of the bipartisan governing committee stonewalling diversity progress. All I read are opinions. I’m so tired of opinions from the right and the left that I’m ready to secede myself (:). Yes, there should be a concern (I’m a Democrat and Black), but to buttress your concern about the issue without facts continues the omnipresent divisiveness about these issues, inflates reality and undermines responsible and credible journalism.

  • If you read the NY Times article, the Diversity article is true to the original reporting. There is nothing that indicates any of what was reported is non-factual. Any why shouldn’t we be concerned whenever there are ploys to disenfranchise the people who our elected officials are supposed to represent? That’s the important issue.

    Personally, I’m glad to hear that Rev. Al Sharpton intends to rally this new coalition. I’m concerned that it resembles the same type of political ploys used during the Presidential election. The GOP are not known for reaching out to people of color, as the election displayed. We need to be sure that nothing underhanded is going on that will deprive us of our rights.

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