Asian Americans And Redistricting

Margaret Fung (source: Daily News)

Redistricting, the process where political district lines are redrawn every ten years, could potentially involve major shifts in power, something Margaret Fung knows all too well.

As the executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Fung wants to seize what, according to her, is a “once-in-a-decade chance for communities of color to secure political influence that is commensurate with their numbers.”

In a political opinion piece in the Daily News, Fung cites rapidly changing demographics, as well as the federal Voting Rights Act, as to why Asian Americans, along with other non-white communities, are due more political representation.

Fung argues that current district lines serve as a barrier to an increased political presence for Asians, balkanizing and thereby disenfranchising a rapidly growing group – which is evidenced by a lack of Asian elected officials at the local, state and federal levels.

However, some might argue that by purposely attempting to strengthen the political strength of specific groups, the electorate as a whole is balkanized into separate ethnic special interests

The “Unity Map” proposed by Fung’s group is, according to her, the answer to what she calls a “more inclusive democratic process” for all New Yorkers.

You can see the AALDEF maps for both the state senate districts and assembly districts.

What do you think?

Should race/ethnicity play a role in redrawing district lines?