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Sunday, February 28, 2016

"The Faces of American Power, Nearly as White as the Oscar Nominees"

On Friday, the New York Times ran an article on who holds the power in this country. In their words:

We reviewed 503 of the most powerful people in American culture, government, education and business, and found that just 44 are minorities. Any list of the powerful is subjective, but the people here have an outsize influence on the nation’s rules and culture.

The Times then ran pictures of the people they deemed most powerful and listed them by category. The list seems a little questionable at times, as many of the people listed don't even have Wikipedia entries. (You'd think that the 503 most influential people in the country would all be in Wiki.) But, if you take the list at face value, it is certainly true that the races are not represented proportionately.

There are only four East Asians among the 503: the Governor of Hawaii, a Senator from Hawaii, the mayor of San Francisco, and the CEO of Warner Brothers. Combined with the nine (subcontinental) Indians listed, that brings the total to 13 Asians, or 2.5%, roughly half their population percentage.

There were a grand total of 15 Hispanics, or 3% of the 503, far less than the roughly 17% of the population they represent. Most interesting, not a single one of the Hispanics, who included Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, had visibly Amerindian features. (The vast majority of Hispanics in this country do.)

The 17 blacks listed -- 3.4% -- are far less than the 14% of the population they comprise. (Although here, too, some of the choices seemed questionable: TV exec Channing Dungey made the list, but Oprah did not.)

So, yes, whites are overrepresented. But scrolling through the list and looking at all of the names, the overwhelming impression I was left with was how many of the powerful were Jewish. Jews comprise roughly 2.5% of the population. And they were vastly overrepresented in virtually every category of powerful people.

There are currently 10 Jewish Senators: Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon; Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York; Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii; Bernie Sanders, Democrat of Vermont; Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota; Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California; Benjamin Cardin, Democrat of Maryland; Michael Bennet, Democrat of Colorado; Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut; and Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California. That's ten percent of the Senate.

The third category of powerful people listed were Presidents of Ivy League universities. Peter Salovey of Yale, Christina Paxson of Brown, Amy Gutmann of the University of Pennsylvania, and Christopher Eisgruber of Princeton are Jewish. (Eisgruber was raised Catholic, but discovered later on that his mother was Jewish, and now identifies as a nontheist Jew.) It's unclear what ethnicity Philip Hanlon of Dartmouth is. Elizabeth Garrett of Cornell, Lee Bollinger of Columbia, and Drew Faust of Harvard are not Jewish, although Faust married Jewish. So at least 50% of the Presidents of Ivy League universities are Jewish. 

In the category "Hollywood  Executives Who Choose Which Movies Get Made," 14 of the 20, or 70%, of the execs are Jewish. 

In the category, "People Who Decide Which Television Shows Americans See," 11 of the 27 whites, or 41%, are Jewish. (There are also two blacks.) 

In "People Who Decide Which News Gets Covered," 5 of the 11 whites listed are Jewish, and there are two people of color listed as well. (Roger Ailes and Jeff Zucker each made both of these last two lists.) 

Three of the eight Supreme Court Justices, or 33%, are Jewish. 

Among the owners of men's professional football, basketball, and baseball teams, Jewish people are also drastically overrepresented. 

I suspect that many readers were struck by the large number of Jewish people. 

As long as the New York Times is bemoaning white domination of positions of power, they ought to spell out which ethnicity is really overrepresented. (Not that it's not already abundantly obvious.)  

Do they really want to go down this road? If you're going to get into the head counting game, and if you want to imply that whites consciously exclude minorities because of their own ethnic cohesion, or clannishness, or dislike of outsiders, might not advocating such a narrative possibly backfire?

Had the Times been completely honest, they would have titled their article, "The Faces of American Power, Even More Jewish than the Oscar nominees."


Mark Caplan said...

Kagan, Breyer, and Ginsberg are Jewish -- 3 out of 8 on the Supreme Court, which seems about the optimum number.

Among your blog readers and commenters, any idea how many are Jewish?

John Craig said...

Mark --
Thank you, hadn't realized that, I'll make that correction.

I have no idea how many of my blog readers are Jewish. The point of this post wasn't to bewail Jewish overrepresentation, but to point out the NY Times' hypocrisy on the head counting issue.

Anonymous said...

It was strange to see the NY times run this article....actually highlights the lack of WASP power in America.

It was also strange to. See them label Ted Cruz as non-white. Would they have considered Steve Jobs non-white ?
Many Jews do not consider themselves fully white, and feel a stronger heritage with their middle eastern background. Other middle Easterners are trying to be counted as non-white, seems like the next census may have a new ethnic category for those like Jobs with a middle eastern background.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Arab-Americans are evidently now agitating for exactly that, in order to take advantage of all the benefits that accrue to those with minority status.

Mark Caplan said...

Anonymous says: "Many Jews do not consider themselves fully white."

I hadn't heard this before about American Jews, who are overwhelmingly from Europe. Is there a Jew you could name who considers himself not fully white? What race would the other admixture be, since there aren't a lot of choices.

Mark Caplan said...

Actually, I can answer my own question. Sammy Davis Jr. didn't consider himself fully white. Neither did Sinatra's long-time Jewish valet, George Jacobs. But those are the only two less than fully white Jews I can come up with.

Anonymous said...

"finding our true Jewish identity can begin by questioning our whiteness- Gil Steinlauf, senior rabbi at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C

"Starting in this new year of 5776, we must teach our children that we are, in fact, not white, but simply Jewish."
"The idea that Jews are white is not only ridiculous, it’s offensive to who we really are!" Rabbi Steinlauf

Of course, this “white privilege” he wants to give up is actually the albatross of “white defenselessness” he doesn’t want hanging around his neck now that it’s open season on Whites in America. I don't blame Jews for claiming they are non-white for the same reason people like Ted Cruz can gain privileges by avoiding the white label.

Anonymous said...

Jews Check the “Other” Box

Jewish origins, identity and history are clearly separate from those of the “white people world”. Our ancient Israelite Kings and heroes, unique ethos and Middle Eastern culture form a distinct Semitic identity, one that our ancestors proudly held on to even though it was so often the source of the discrimination they suffered in Western countries over the last two millennia. Jews seeing themselves as “white people” is a clear expression of a break with our authentic historical self-definitions

"The Western world’s insistence upon classifying Jews as “white” negates the fact that for thousands of years we have self-identified as a tribe of people distinct from the European nations.With our origins in Judea, Jewish culture being authentically Middle Eastern and the Hebrew language being a Semitic tongue indigenous to the Levant, the Jewish people are clearly not a Western people" - The Times of Israel, April 2015. -

Jews are Semites and not whites, Hebrews and not Westerners, Middle Easterners and not Europeans, a people and not a religion.

Hieronymus said...

The NY Times is playing with fire in trying to direct the anger of non-whites against an elite that it declares to be predominantly white, when in fact a disproportionate number of that elite is Jewish. But the elite does not seem to know that it is playing with fire - it actually believes that the power and prejudice of white Anglos are the main source of injustice in society. Maybe it believes that its narrative of social justice is unassailable and totally resistant to any challenges. But doubling down on this narrative leads whites to declare that they no longer feel ashamed to be racist and now recognize that they too need to organize to promote their own interests like every other racial group. We might go from a society where the majority believes the rule of law to be universal to one where rule of law applies only to whites. Not a positive development, in my opinion - it's like opening the backdoor to segregation and some kind of caste society.

Conatus said...

Mike Wallace at .18 of this vid seems to indicate he is not White