CIRS Blog about Rural California
(All names used are pseudonyms, in order to preserve interviewees' confidentiality)
Nadia: "You really can't run against a white guy. You can't. You're going to lose, regardless whether the population, whether we outnumber them. I think they'll still win."
Interviewer: "Why do you think that?"
Nadia: "I think they can brainwash us, because we work for them. In farm labor. We work for them in the rice fields. We work for them in the orchards. We work for them."
In Colusa County (located in the northern Sacramento Valley), Latinos comprise 55 percent of the total population, but there are no Latino representatives on the two city councils or among the five county supervisors (US Census, 2010).[i] In fact, there are only two Latino elected officials in the entire county: one on a local school board and the other on the county’s school board. As of March 2012, there were 14 majority-minority[ii] cities in California with all non-Latino white city councils, and there were 20 majority-minority California cities with only one minority member on the city council.[iii] With similar situations arising in political districts across the United States, the study of the potential causes for this phenomenon is timely.