The absence of Asian Americans was particularly noticeable — even one of the two current Asian American Cabinet members, Eric Shinseki, was missing, since apparently he was chosen to be the customary “designated survivor,” kept in a secure location in case of a catastrophe. Though Obama’s one line about immigration affects Asian Americans as well as Latinos, there was no sign at the inaguration ceremony that Asian Americans even exist in America, despite the fact that they comprise over 5 percent of the population and are the fastest growing racial group.
The verdict? Obama’s Second Inaugural was diverse, yes, in that it didn’t reflect only straight, white men. But it wasn’t diverse in the sense of being inclusive of America’s actual multicultural makeup. The nation is more than Christian, more than African American, Latino, and gay. There are also South Asian Americans, Asian Americans, transgender people, Native Americans, and people who practice a multiplicity of religions. At least a nod to this greater diversity would have been in order. I was surprised, and a little alarmed, that no one in the mainstream media seemed to have noticed these omissions. We journalists must notice, and be a watchdog for all of the nation’s social minorities, because they depend on us to get their voices out in the world.