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Minority Incorporation in City Politics & Government

Essay 2009 4 Seiten

Politik - Internationale Politik - Region: USA


Minority Incorporation in City Politics & Government

In the following report I will present the main points of the minority incorporation hypothesis in Browning et al.’s book “Racial Politics in American Cities.” I will show that San Diego’s first Latino mayor can only succeed in satisfying the demands of a city transitioning toward majority-minority status if he is able to implement policies that enable minority incorporation in quantitative and qualitative terms, thereby working with an issue-oriented coalition on an agenda that balances social and economic interests. After outlining the requirements for successful minority incorporation, the expectations of representative and policy responses from the takeover of the city government by people of color will be described. Then I will explain the (dis-) advantages of multi-racial/ multi-ethnic alliances and ways to solve the possible dilemma between intra-ethnic solidarity of Latinos and interests of the inter-ethnic rainbow coalition. This is followed by a discussion on how different interests of the city’s disparate constituencies can be overcome and how a backlash among the Anglos can be avoided. At the end, the concept of the “hollow prize” mayor will be applied on this specific case.

Browning et al. list five criteria to analyze minority political incorporation (11, 21): population size of minorities, group mobilization, demand protest OR electoral politics, minority appointees OR minority electees, and government response. The first three criteria refer to the potential voting strength of a minority group in the population related to registration, turnout, and bloc or dispersed voting. Before talking more about the details, I would like to point out that the authors make a division between demand protest and electoral politics whereas both together can have the most successful mobilization and incorporation effect (22). However, attention has to be paid to the fact that the size of ethnic or racial minority populations in a city is often larger than the registration numbers and actual turnout (147). Especially Latino voters have been invisible as an influential voting bloc, because their numbers of non-citizens and young people under the age of 18 are proportionately high; and in comparison to the African-American voting bloc, the Latino vote is more diffuse (62). To receive positive results in regard to the first three criteria of Browning et al.’s model, minorities have to compete against the ruling majority in elections by using a good organization and an appealing campaign to mobilize voters. Numbers and timing in regard to registration and turnout have to go together (31). Political leaders of minority groups will have a better chance to win, if they avoid an overtly racial appeal and try to attract white liberals with a reformist agenda (87).



ISBN (eBook)
412 KB
Institution / Hochschule
University of California, San Diego – Department of Political Science
incorporation minority ethnicity city urban san diego latino black mayor racial politics california usa stadt browning rainbow coalition hollow prize fiscal crisis budget krise koalition landkreis gleichberechtigung constituency wähler ethnie schicht




Titel: Minority Incorporation in City Politics & Government