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New Gotham Gazette Article: The Uniqueness of Dante DeBlasio

THURSDAY, SEP 26, 2013

A new Gotham Gazette article by Social Explorer's Andrew Beveridge looks at the mixed race population in New York City.  The mixed race 16-year-old son of Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio was the breakout star of this year's elections. Does Dante de Blasio represent a growing demographic of biracial New Yorkers?  In the "Uniqueness of Dante de Blasio," Beveridge explores these questions and presents data on New York City and national trends. 

As New York took in the extent of the win by Bill de Blasio in the Democratic primary for mayor, the impact of a powerful television ad starring his son Dante seemed plain.

The ad hit on de Blasio’s main campaign points of taxing the wealthy, ending a “stop-and-frisk era that unfairly targets people of color” and universal pre-K. But it was the messenger that made it a show-stopper: A mixed-race kid with an exuberant Afro speaking to the camera about how his dad was “the only Democrat with the guts to really break with the Bloomberg years.”

How unique is Dante de Blasio, the 16-year-old superstar of the 2013 elections, who communicated this important message? Just how many New Yorkers are non-Hispanic males who would identify themselves as black and white? An analysis of 2010 Census data shows that very few young New Yorkers are black and white, and even fewer are non-Hispanic black and white. Furthermore, there are much lower proportions of such individuals in New York City in the country at large. These data are presented in the accompanying table, and some are summarized in the two charts below.



Adding context to demographics, he goes on to connect mixed-race identity, the stop and frisk controversey, and the de Blasio campaign message.

Criminologist Jeffrey Fagan, the plaintiff’s expert in the case, in an article in the Columbia Law Review, has demonstrated that teenagers like Dante — who are perceived as black even though they may be mixed-race — have an 80 percent chance of being stopped. According to father de Blasio, he has discussed this with Dante at length to try to lessen his chances of being stopped.

Plainly, Dante’s uniqueness and the de Blasio family’s uniqueness, along with de Blasio’s position, which plainly attempt to address directly the concerns of many blacks and Latinos in New York City, helps to explain de Blasio’s electoral success.

But while the messenger may have been unique, it was the message that more than likely swayed voters to cast their ballots for his dad. Dante’s uniqueness and the powerful ad just made it possible for the message to get through.

Click here to read the full article, and check out Social Explorer's map and reporting tools to see where the mixed race population lives in your area.

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