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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Waning WASP Male Power

Catholic Paul Ryan is likely to succeed Catholic John Boehner as speaker of the House.. Accordingly, what Alan Greenblatt wrote at NPR three years ago is still true:
There are plenty of white men with power in this country, but it's become harder to find a WASP holding onto one of the top rungs of the political ladder.
The State Department was once dominated by old-stock aristocrats but hasn't been led by a white man since 1997. Among the four top congressional leaders, only one is a WASP — Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who happens to be married to an Asian-American.
The Supreme Court, for the first time in its history, does not boast of a single justice who is Protestant. Instead, there are three Jews and six Catholics — one of them Hispanic, one of them black. And since the 2009 confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor, the court also includes three women justices for the first time ever.
"Not a single group can hold onto power in any particular institution going forward," says Guy-Uriel Charles, founding director of the Duke Law Center on Law, Race and Politics. "This reflects the fact that we are much more of an open society than we were previously, but we are also a society that by the numbers is increasingly diverse."
McConnell has since become majority leader, with Harry Reid (a Mormon) becoming minority leader.