“How about if you're a member of the minority community? An African American. You wonder, 'The system, I think, sometimes doesn’t just work for me, but sometimes I feel like that system works against me.' You think about the troubles that many of our African Americans still face today in a world where we have worked to provide equal right and opportunities. Sometimes they're not so sure, and I don’t blame them."
The Context: At his alma matter, John Kasich’s presidential announcement began with examples of the worries and struggles that students, families, and working Americans face. He listed points in American history (including the Civil War, the Great Depression, and 9/11) during which circumstances were bleaker, and noted that the country moved through these by collectively keeping our "eyes on the horizon." Repeating “They said it couldn’t be done,” he described his experience from pushing forward his budget proposals in Congress to his return to politics after a decade in the private sector. Kasich sees the sun rising "to its zenith once again" over that "horizon" under his leadership. Among the struggles this vision must address, he acknowledged inequalities predominantly affecting minority communities.
The systemic effects of institutional racism have been a relatively hot topic on the campaign trail recently, with particular attention to criminal justice and local police practices. On this topic, the candidates—even running within the same party—have shared very different perspectives including Rand Paul's statement on justifiable anger in cities about criminal justice and Ben Carson's comment that the country's "racial wars...don't exist" (at about 14:10). To date, Kasich's statement is the most clearly explicit inclusion of systems-level racial inequity in a candidate's announcement speech.
We will continue to discuss and map race-related issues as the campaigns progress, but as a starting point we should ask a few basic questions about the racial geography of the country. Because federal policies are enacted nationwide but affect regions differently, and because the road to the White House includes states' primaries and electoral college votes, we asked two questions. First,
Where are our minority communities generally? And where do minorities constitute the majority?
Further, understanding that “minority communities” are not homogeneous or monolithic given the diversity of the United States, and because the hurdles and opportunities for minority groups differ, we asked
Where are our African-American and Black communities? Where are African-Americans the minority and majority population?
Race and ethnicity are interconnected with a variety of other issues discussed by candidates. Consider engaging the maps above alongside other maps included in our atlas. In particular, the topic intersects with questions of income inequality and economic justice. For example, see our maps on Income & Race, Poverty, Household Income & the Middle Class, and Employment. (These links connect to the atlas entries discussing the maps below, which you can click to enlarge.)