Profile of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Eleanor Homes Norton, the Democratic representative in Congress for the non-voting District of Columbia, is quite adept at providing the entertaining sound bite. Most recently she asserted that Congress doesn't have the right to know about everything going on in government.

Today's comments on MSNBC might even top that. Speaking with host Jose Diaz Balart, she called the racial mix of elected officials in Ferguson, MO, “troublesome”:

Here you have the mostly white police force in a mostly black community. But I'm perplexed about why most of the elected officials are white as well. Is there something about the way elections are done in Missouri or in the county? That's troublesome.


Usually when you get a minority community or a community that becomes mostly minority, you get some diversity of representation. So you may have an elected leadership, as well as a police force, that does not feel that they are truly representative of the community and that's poison.


Hey, black community. You see what happens when you don't have your own elected officials out there, people who have had experiences similar to your own. I don't understand that. Again, there may be something about the way the election are conducted in that county. But if I were in that community, the first thing I would be doing is organize voters to go to the polls in November.

These comments beg for some questions:

  1. Does she think that the voters did not get the elected officials they voted for?
  2. Would not whites representing blacks, assuming that's the way the votes were cast, be diversity of representation? What about white districts represented by black Congressmen? Is that okay with her?
  3. If the current officials are not “your own,” exactly whose are they?
  4. Does she really think that stirring up more racial grievances is the answer for what is going on in Ferguson?

Obviously, the goings on in Ferguson are a horrific mess, but isn't it possible that comments like these from our nation's elected “leaders” keep fanning the flames instead of putting them out?

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