7 July, 2022


Comparing Numbers; USA & Sri Lanka

By Mano Ratwatte

Mano Ratwatte

Mano Ratwatte

USA is Sri Lanka’s new Best Friend Forever(BFF); USA has done a lot of preaching on racial diversity and representation and democracy. Thus it might be a good place to look at Uncle Sam’s numbers. Is there any nation where there is tremendous diversity of population such as in the US where there is single State Assembly or Federal institution that has equal numbers representing different ethnic groups?

US PopulationThe 114th Congress of the United States has the following makeup.

White: 79.8%

Black or African American 10.1%

Hispanic 7.8%

Asian 2.3%

The Senate which elects two Senators from each State (all having equal power). Percentages are the same as numbers because there are only 100 Senators.

White 94

Black/African American 2

Hispanic 3

Asian 1

Obama didn’t win a majority of white votes in most states but he won a significant minority percentage of the majority race; he won 98% and 95% of the Black votes in the States that mattered and a similarly high percentage of Hispanic voters. Similar to Mr. Sirisena.

Census statistic on Gender says the percentage of women in the US population is 50.8% yet the house is made up of only 19.4% Female Congressmen. Senate has 20 Female Senators; lopsidedly unequal and sexist. Similar to Sri Lanka. USA only uses FPP; is that terribly sexist, racist and unequal considering ethnic and gender percentages of the population?

US Background

Since 1870 only an abysmal total of 146 African Americans have served as U.S. Representatives, Delegates, or Senators.  It is indeed a racist iniquitous condition; only 4 Blacks have ever been elected to the powerful US Senate since reconstruction; Obama was one of them. The first black Senator in post Civil war and post reconstruction USA was Republican liberal Senator Ed Brooks from Massachusetts( elected in 1967 a full 100 plus years after the civil war ended) during the height of race riots). He lost in 1979. There was a gap of 13 years until the first black female Senator Carolyn Mosely Braun was elected from Illinois; she lost after one unethical term.

Tamil Vote Photo CREDIT- REUTERS:DINUKA LIYANAWATTEThe only black from the South in the current Senate is from the first state to secede: South Carolina. Tim Scott: Republican; a full 150 years after the Civil war ended and where de-facto racial/cultural segregation is still the norm; he was appointed by the Governor to fill a vacancy; the other is Senator Cory Booker a liberal democrat from New Jersey. He won because he garnered enough liberal white votes in addition to a vast majority of black votes.

In Oklahoma which is 78% white, and ultra conservative (Bible Belt), a famous American Football player and Christian Conservative JC Watts became the first Black Republican/Congressman from Oklahoma(in 1994) Some voters were expected to not vote for Watts because of race, but Watts’ established Christian conservative image and his popularity as a football player helped him win. Football prowess and his faith overcame pigmentation.

No Quotas

Each state is apportioned a number of seats which approximately corresponds to its share of the aggregate population of the 50 states. However, every state is constitutionally guaranteed at least one seat.

US States engage in what is called “Gerrymandering” at State level every time a new State governor and state legislator is takes office seat border by precinct might be adjusted to either increase or deprive certain groups of seats.

Currently there are no black congressmen from most Southern Confederate States even though the states have a significantly higher percentage of blacks than Northern States. Carving out of districts is done to try to favor your own party at Federal level. With its history of oppression of blacks and its brutal segregated past, it seems more and more conservative Christian whites Gerrymander to keep blacks out of Congress.

Here are some examples

Alabama has a 26% black population but only one black congressman

Currently there are no black representatives from Tennessee and Arkansas.

Georgia has a 31.4% black population and has only 4.

Mississippi is 37.3% black and has only 1; Lousiana is 32% black and also has 1.

However, the number of seats in the House of Reps. has remained at 435 since the early 1900s. Populous states have a greater number of seats simply based on population and that allocation is not based on ethnic percentages. No quota by race.

Re-examine Sri Lanka

Sinhalese 74.9%

Sri Lankan Tamil 11.2%

Sri Lankan Moors 9.2%

Indian Tamil 4.2%

other 0.5% (2012 est.)

Can someone tells us what is meant by equal representation as opposed to proportionate and equitable representation? Are Sri Lanka’s ethno-religious parties today troubled they might lose out and relinquish cushy ministerial perks because of FPP? What is the fairest equitable allocation of seats? Or if PR is to continue, what is the cutoff mark they will be happy with to make it a more inclusive Assembly?

If FPP will be the future, shouldn’t they (and JVP, DNA and JHU) argue for more multi member seats? Won’t multi-seat electorates in more diverse and more populous districts such as Colombo be better if FPP is used? Isn’t PR better?

Absent in these strident ethno-religious arguments is a call for equitable and greater representation of females (51% of the population) in Parliament and instead the arguments are for equal representation by ethno classifications on the basis that minorities do not vote for the major parties; that seems dangerously segregationist and a fallacious argument.

Will Native Veddas, Burghers and Malays who deserve to be represented get elected? Not without specially reserves seats! What is the happy PR cutoff for the JVP, Democratic Party and other smaller parties? 2%?

Looking back

In Sri Lanka, there have been many instances of Ethnic minorities representing the majority (as well as the 2 biggest national parties) being elected as well. Lot more Tamils and Muslims have won in Sinhala majority areas than otherwise.

In Jaffna District, Kumar Ponnambalam won 40% , Hector Kobbekaduwa won 35.46% and JRJ only won 20.54% of the votes cast in 1982(probably why he resented Tamils).

If all Tamils were racists blindly voting for “our guy”, Ponnambalam should have obtained far more votes! Tamils wouldn’t have voted for Sirisena in those large numbers either.

In 1970 with the SLFP wave, Colombo Central elected Late Hon Premedasa(RP), Falil Cafoor and Communist party’s Burgher Peter Keunaman; but Haleem Ishak(HI) came 4th though he was the SLFP nominee.

Wouldn’t it be an utter insult to the intelligence and secularity of voters to say they should only vote by ethnicity or religion? If that were the case, Aboosally would have lost in 1977! He received a massive 10.6% margin. In 1977, the late Mr. MH Mohammed also won by a landslide from Borella; how can people say the Sinhalese voters were racists there when the Sinhala opposition candidate only won 30.6% of the vote to MH’s whopping 61.9%?

Same year, Haleem Ishak and Abdul Cader were both elected from multi member Colombo Central during UNP’s landslide. RP won 36.32% M.Jabir A Cader won 22.76% and SLFP’s HI got 20.75%. Most likely SLFP voters were Sinhalese but they voted for Mr. Ishak who just happened to be a secular socialist like respected trade unionist Alavi Moulana former Governor of WP; or Hon. AHM Fowzie and neither used an ethnic card.

Nuwara Eliya-Maskeliya was gerrymandered to become a three member seat to accommodate Anura Bandaranaike, and to represent Sinhala votes. Gamini Dissanayake won 40.98% Anura Bandaranaike 30.33% S. Thondaman 22.23%; it was an equitable representative(not equal) solution to a complex unique problem considering how the British deliberately altered demographics of the region and to assuage disenfranchised Sinhalese.

The UNP has always been the party that attracted more Muslim, Tamil and Catholic voters in far greater numbers than the SLFP. It was only under CBK that PA became a more inclusive representative party, and was able to shed its “Sin-Bu” image. This was her recipe for success. Will the SLFP restore its image to be more inclusive and win or will they be trounced as many predict?

But now with Parliament dissolved 20A will be for another day and another August assembly. Sri Lanka’s parliament is still far more representative and equitable than the US Congress.



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Latest comments

  • 4

    When somebody do a comparison, he should have some common sense to select two comparable countries….. SL Gov revenue is $8.5billion and US is $3trillion….. SL can’t even feed itself…
    How about doing SL and India or Malaysia?

    • 2

      Spot on…damn bloody[Edited out]..

    • 2

      Mano Ratwatte –

      “When somebody do a comparison, he should have some common sense to select two comparable countries….. SL Gov revenue is $8.5billion and US is $3trillion….. SL can’t even feed itself… How about doing SL and India or Malaysia?”

      Yes, should compared within the same grade, the comparable IQ Level, the comparable Per Capita income etc.

      USA had Thomas Paine who wrote Common sense Phamplet in 1776.

      Mano Ratwatte. if you really want to compare, why don’t you write the Sri Lanka Version of the Common Sense pamphlet?

      Common Sense (pamphlet)


      Common Sense[1] is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 that inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. The pamphlet explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence in clear, simple language. It was published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution and became an immediate sensation. It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places.

      Washington had it read to all his troops, which at the time had surrounded the British army in Boston. In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history.[2] As of 2006, it remains the all-time best selling American title.[3]

      Common Sense presented the American colonists with an argument for freedom from British rule at a time when the question of whether or not to seek independence was the central issue of the day. Paine wrote and reasoned in a style that common people understood. Forgoing the philosophical and Latin references used by Enlightenment era writers, he structured Common Sense as if it were a sermon, and relied on Biblical references to make his case to the people.[4] He connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity.[5] Historian Gordon S. Wood described Common Sense as “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era”.[6]

      • 2

        What’s the point you’re trying to make? Apart, from plagiarized repetition and your inferiority complex you’re not adding anything here. Malaysia is a pathetic Muslim Malay dominated pseudo democracy. Yes he should compare India but why do you plagiarize and regurgitat? IQs are low and therefore we don’t need democracy? Muslim nations around the world are not democracies with the kind of freedoms we have in Sri Lanka.

        • 1


          1, “What’s the point you’re trying to make?”

          Compare Apples to Apples to Apples, not Apples to Oranges.

          The author is comparing Apples to Oranges, when he should be comparing Apples to Apples.

          Then he can make the argument why oranges are netter because they have more vitamin C compared to apples.

          2. “Apart, from plagiarized repetition and your inferiority complex you’re not adding anything here.”

          The Reference link is provided with summary, so that those who need to learn mire can learn, without spending more money on bandwidth, especially mobile users.

          3. “Yes he should compare India but why do you plagiarize and regurgitat? IQs are low and therefore we don’t need democracy? “

          You missed the Point of the Common sense Phamplet. Its original purpose was to get American democracy from the King. Also see comment No.2 above. If low IQ is what you have got to work with, you have to work with it.

          The point was education, so that the population can decide on a democratic way based on facts. When the IQs are low, much harder, but still results can be achieved. like in India. The Jeu is to secular.

    • 2

      Mano Ratwatte

      Comparing Numbers; USA & Sri Lanka

      Among Latino Americans, it was 89. Among African-Americans, it was 85. Around the world, studies find the same general pattern: whites 100, East Asians 106, sub-Sarahan Africans 70. One IQ table shows 113 in Hong Kong, 110 in Japan, and 100 in Britain.

      Sri Lanka IQ is 79, and that of India and Bangla Desh 81.

      Has the Copulation of a lion with a human in India, according to Mahawansa , anything to do with it? However, no lion geners were found in the descendants.


      Created Equal
      Race, Genes And Intelligence
      By William Saletan
      Slate Online

      “Among white Americans, the average IQ, as of a decade or so ago, was 103. Among Asian-Americans, it was 106. Among Jewish Americans, it was 113. Among Latino Americans, it was 89. Among African-Americans, it was 85. Around the world, studies find the same general pattern: whites 100, East Asians 106, sub-Sarahan Africans 70. One IQ table shows 113 in Hong Kong, 110 in Japan, and 100 in Britain. White populations in Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States score closer to one another than to the worldwide black average. It’s been that way for at least a century.”

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”
      – Declaration of Independence

      Last month, James Watson, the legendary biologist, was condemned and forced into retirement after claiming that African intelligence wasn’t “the same as ours.” “Racist, vicious and unsupported by science,” said the Federation of American Scientists. ” Utterly unsupported by scientific evidence,” declared the U.S. government’s supervisor of genetic research. The New York Times told readers that when Watson implied “that black Africans are less intelligent than whites, he hadn’t a scientific leg to stand on.”

      I wish these assurances were true. They aren’t. Tests do show an IQ deficit, not just for Africans relative to Europeans, but for Europeans relative to Asians. Economic and cultural theories have failed to explain most of the pattern, and there’s strong preliminary evidence that part of it is genetic. It’s time to prepare for the possibility that equality of intelligence, in the sense of racial averages on tests, will turn out not to be true.

      If this suggestion makes you angry-if you find the idea of genetic racial advantages outrageous, socially corrosive, and unthinkable-you’re not the first to feel that way. Many Christians are going through a similar struggle over evolution. Their faith in human dignity rests on a literal belief in Genesis. To them, evolution isn’t just another fact; it’s a threat to their whole value system. As William Jennings Bryan put it during the Scopes trial, evolution meant elevating “supposedly superior intellects,” “eliminating the weak,” “paralyzing the hope of reform,” jeopardizing “the doctrine of brotherhood,” and undermining “the sympathetic activities of a civilized society.”

      The same values-equality, hope, and brotherhood-are under scientific threat today. But this time, the threat is racial genetics, and the people struggling with it are liberals.

      Evolution forced Christians to bend or break. They could insist on the Bible’s literal truth and deny the facts, as Bryan did. Or they could seek a subtler account of creation and human dignity. Today, the dilemma is yours. You can try to reconcile evidence of racial differences with a more sophisticated understanding of equality and opportunity. Or you can fight the evidence and hope it doesn’t break your faith.

      I’m for reconciliation. Later this week, I’ll make that case. But if you choose to fight the evidence, here’s what you’re up against. Among white Americans, the average IQ, as of a decade or so ago, was 103. Among Asian-Americans, it was 106. Among Jewish Americans, it was 113. Among Latino Americans, it was 89. Among African-Americans, it was 85. Around the world, studies find the same general pattern: whites 100, East Asians 106, sub-Sarahan Africans 70. One IQ table shows 113 in Hong Kong, 110 in Japan, and 100 in Britain. White populations in Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States score closer to one another than to the worldwide black average. It’s been that way for at least a century.

      Remember, these are averages, and all groups overlap. You can’t deduce an individual’s intelligence from her ethnicity. The only thing you can reasonably infer is that anyone who presumes to rate your IQ based on the color of your skin is probably dumber than you are.

      So, what should we make of the difference in averages?

      We don’t like to think IQ is mostly inherited. But we’ve all known families who are smarter than others. Twin and sibling studies, which can sort genetic from environmental factors, suggest more than half the variation in IQ scores is genetic. A task force report from the American Psychological Association indicates it might be even higher. The report doesn’t conclude that genes explain racial gaps in IQ. But the tests on which racial gaps are biggest happen to be the tests on which genes, as measured by comparative sibling performance, exert the biggest influence.

      How could genes cause an IQ advantage? The simplest pathway is head size. I thought head measurement had been discredited as Eurocentric pseudoscience. I was wrong. In fact, it’s been bolstered by MRI. On average, Asian-American kids have bigger brains than white American kids, who in turn have bigger brains than black American kids. This is true even though the order of body size and weight runs in the other direction. The pattern holds true throughout the world and persists at death, as measured by brain weight.

      According to twin studies, 50 percent to 90 percent of variation in head size and brain volume is genetic. And when it comes to IQ, size matters. The old science of head measurements found a 20 percent correlation of head size with IQ. The new science of MRI finds at least a 40 percent correlation of brain size with IQ. One analysis calculates that brain size could easily account for five points of the black-white IQ gap.

      I know, it sounds crazy. But if you approach the data from other directions, you get the same results. The more black and white scores differ on a test, the more performance on that test correlates with head size and “g,” a measure of the test’s emphasis on general intelligence. You can debate the reality of g, but you can’t debate the reality of head size. And when you compare black and white kids who score the same on IQ tests, their average difference in head circumference is zero.

      Scientists have already identified genes that influence brain size and vary by continent. Whether these play a role in racial IQ gaps, nobody knows. But we should welcome this research, because any genetic hypothesis about intelligence ought to be clarified and tested.

      Critics think IQ tests are relative-i.e., they measure fitness for success in our society, not in other societies. “In a hunter-gatherer society, IQ will still be important, but if a hunter cannot shoot straight, IQ will not bring food to the table,” argues psychologist Robert Sternberg. “In a warrior society physical prowess may be equally necessary to stay alive.” It’s a good point, but it bolsters the case for a genetic theory. Nature isn’t stupid. If Africans, Asians, and Europeans evolved different genes, the reason is that their respective genes were suited to their respective environments.

      In fact, there’s a mountain of evidence that differential evolution has left each population with a balance of traits that could be advantageous or disadvantageous, depending on circumstances. The list of differences is long and intricate. On average, compared with whites, blacks mature more quickly in the womb, are born earlier, and develop teeth, strength, and dexterity earlier. They sit, crawl, walk, and dress themselves earlier. They reach sexual maturity faster, and they have better eyesight. On each of these measures, East Asians lag whites and blacks. In exchange, East Asians get longer lives and bigger brains.

      How this happened isn’t clear. Everyone agrees that the three populations separated 40,000 to 100,000 years ago. Even critics of racial IQ genetics accept the idea that through natural selection, environmental differences may have caused abilities such as distance running to become more common in some populations than in others. Possibly, genes for cognitive complexity became so crucial in some places that nature favored them over genes for developmental speed and vision. If so, fitness for today’s world is mostly dumb luck. If we lived in a savannah, kids programmed to mature slowly and grow big brains would be toast. Instead, we live in a world of zoos, supermarkets, pediatricians, pharmaceuticals, and information technology. Genetic advantages, in other words, are culturally created.

      Not that that’s much consolation if you’re stuck in the 21st century with a low IQ. Tomorrow we’ll look at some of the arguments against the genetic theory.

      • 2

        That was an interesting take on genetics and IQ. It still boils down to the fact that all men are actually created equal, and as you say, adapted according to their habitat and culture (all apples are apples in the end). Trouble is, the so called high IQ people live in places that are artificial, like Hong Kong and Singapore. Therefore current-day IQ testing merely shows how far from being human one can be.

        That is the very reason Sri Lanka has to design her governing towards the IQ of the masses. They are not stupid (if as you say the average IQ is 79), but in fact well developed and adapted to the heritage of the Lankan lifestyle. If some clever psychologist or researcher comes up with a Lankan IQ scale, Sri Lanka would top the scales. Why in heaven’s names should we have a system to force our Lankan masses to become like the Hong Kongese, for example? Or force our people to be like the White-Americans who fled England and Europe en masse because of plague, persecution and general madness, and thus contorted their genes to produce the modern IQ-test?

        More than ever do we need Sinhala-Buddhism to be the common heritage and governing-style, with the minorities supporting and enhancing it (LTTE’s being a no show because they contorted their genes when they forced their children to study inappropriate knowledge, and then went mad because there was no outlet for the artificial thoughts).

        No use sending Lankans to Western lands to prove equality with the White man, for example, when the masses at home are suffering with that artificial imbalance on their system.

    • 1

      Malaysia and India are not perching racial/religious diversity. Or, for that matter, number of women in the legislature.

  • 6

    Excellent comparison. The largest two of the minority groups make up 16% and 11% of the population, and are under-represented both in the Congress and the Senate, (unlike in Sri Lanka). This is accepted as inevitable given the limitations of democracy. Though described in many different ways, democracy is the best form of REPRESENTATIVE government.

    As you point we have had Burgher, Tamil and Muslim MPs elected from majority Sinhala electorates. Is the opposite true at all.?

    You have left out another branch of government, the Judiciary. The SCOTUS is utterly unrepresentative, and is heavily biased towards one minority group, FAR MORE than any other branch of government. Could this happen in Sri Lanka ?

  • 3

    Hmmm……Good article……yes, Sri Lanka in the end has shown to have that natural flair for democracy and of good democratic racial diversity nature compared to USA (after all, all races have almost the same look). Perhaps also, Sri Lanka is a smaller place, and thus far easier to govern. But in the US, in spite of all the intricate political constructions in place from the time of the founding fathers, individualistic and individualized community aspiration and discrimination causes the system to be hampered by the undercurrents of racism.

    However, that the electoral vote won over the popular vote that put Obama in power shows the imperative of the American hierarchy to consolidate the American global-currency reserves, rather than for any true democracy of the people. Sri Lanka following that system will mean that they will be supporting their “BBF’s” efforts, rather than purely being democratic for the general Lankan (although that too might be a good thing in the long run….but the ancient way is sure to be better and a lot more conscientious).

    In spite of the almost divine global-design for democracy and non-discrimination, each country’s history and heritage has to come into play. USA is not Sri Lanka and vice versa. Sri Lanka is of fixed ancient heritage, and USA keeps on taking around a million immigrants each year to build up the country so their system might endure (now that does not mean SL has to follow US and bring in immigrants- Sri Lanka’s historical base is already there; US does not have that historical base).

    That almost divine global blueprint of democracy needs to be customized to represent the true chronological reality of each country. Once all Sri Lankans irrespective of race and religion accept the blueprint of the Sinhala Buddhist cultural model, gerrymandering (or hugging by the green beastie as per last Sri Lankan presidential election), will be a special custom thing only for America.

  • 4

    It should be noted that American Jews make upa tiny part of the American population but they comprise a third of the American supreme court and there are many Jewish senators and congresspersons. Bernie Sanders who’s running for president is a Jew.

  • 2

    oops sorry . Nothing to say here . Happy 4 th of july friends . dont get too drunk



  • 1

    What an utter crap article meant to pander towards the western phobia culture used as scare tactics to keep the population ignorant.

    Seriously, comparing yourself to USA? our tiny population has more ethnic diversity in politics compared to USA. Hooray. I love how that has managed to bring forth peace, harmony and prosperity to our country that’s been the envy of all developed countries… oh!

    If you are trying to make any realistic argument, first start with an A/B comparison between two similar states.

    Anyone, that’s managed to step outside their country, let alone their house will know that USA is basically 50 states in union as one nation. Each one of them alone could be a country in their own right with unique diversity numbers.

    I feel less intelligent for reading this article.

  • 2

    Ramona Thererse… BFF now appears to be a Yahapalanaya conspiracy.
    Open to debate.
    SL politics is in a muddle.

    Now we are going to have unwanted Western/Chinese intereference in Sri Lanka politics and in society.

  • 3

    For the illiterate idiots who question the relative size of the economy of the two countries in comparison, read this again. The article compares the ethnic representation in national level legislative assemblies not the size of the economy.

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