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Creating Diverse Political Analysis in Texas

In a recent study titled, “In Increasingly Diverse Texas, Political Analysis is Anything But” the Texas Research Institute found that when it comes to public policy narratives in Texas, a mere seven political scientists—all male, all Anglo—dominate media coverage. These seven individuals were quoted by the media 1,331 times from June 1 to December 31, 2014. The larger findings, and concerns, were summed up by the following TRI statement:

The political challenges facing the state of Texas are vast and wide. The people of Texas deserve access to multiple perspectives that can analyze those challenges from diverse geographic and demographic backgrounds.

Following TRI’s study, the Texas Observer released the article, “State of the Media: Building a Better Punditocracy,” that elaborated on the larger implications of such narrow insights on statewide issues, which concluded the following:

What we have here is a lot of white guys calling a lot of white guys to talk about a lot of white guys.

You can also click the below link to listen to the Texas Standard’s interview with TRI’s Executive Director, Ed Espinoza.

As the 84th legislative session was giving the silent treatment to important issues like school finance, water, and health care, these two pieces sparked a much-needed discussion on whose knowledge and insights are leading conversations related to the needs and best interests of diverse Texans. This discussion included the acknowledgement of qualified academics—particularly women of Color—whose expertise and insights merit inclusion in policy and political analysis pieces.

It’s an honor to have my expertise and research contributions recognized by the Texas Research Institute, and to be added to the following list of impressive academics:

Texas Research Institute's list of diverse policy and political analysts.

Texas Research Institute’s list of diverse policy and political analysts.

As debates on hot-topic issues and high profile elections proceed, it’s important to consider the final argument posed by the Texas Observer and that my own research has similarly underscored as pivotal:

We’re far better off talking to marginalized Texans than talking about them…

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