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Race Politics in America Case Study

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Updated: Dec 17th, 2019


Movements of racial equality demand for new political strategy; this strategy must appeal to the broad multiracial population of the United States of America, and it should address the various problems that afflict the minorities who are disadvantaged while redressing and addressing the historical legacy of racism in America.

This has never been realized since there still exist a sharp division on matters pertaining to race and hence the public sympathy for the minority is waning, and this has subjected them to racial exclusion. There is a need to address the concerns of the larger American population simultaneously with the concerns of the racial minority.

This however will not be realized until the problems afflicting the majority of the American citizens cease to be addressed in the race lines of Asian, Blacks, and the Latino and Native Americans but rather addressed as common problems facing them.

Proponents of racial equality should pursue policies that seek to unite as opposed to dividing them on racial basis; this will open a way to the creation of multiracial progressive coalitions in national politics. This can be easy given the strong and understandable perception of America as an apartheid society. Institutional racisms pose a lot of challenges; the existence of this form of racism supports the idea that multiracial coalition is doomed to fail (Wilson 23).

Racial Politics and Race-based Coalitions

The key consideration in coalition building is individual racism and not institutional racism. Various public opinions polls still indicate that race is a major factor in public and political affairs in the US. This is because there is a better understanding of the majority of attitudes towards the minority citizens when the issue of multiracial coalitions is considered (Wilson 23).

The modern and influential inclusionary theory of political incorporation is derived from the entry of the Latinos and the blacks into the US urban electoral coalitions that started in the year 1960s. The agenda and analysis of coalition politics in the United States cities were set by Rufus Browning and Dale Rogers Marshall.

They utilized the term political incorporation as an indication of how great interests are represented in the policy-making cycles in US urban areas through the inclusion of the representatives of minority in the key and dominant electoral coalition. Political incorporation takes place in stages, and it measured by analyzing the degree with which the excluded or minority groups are represented in the coalition that dominates urban policy making.

The minorities can have the power to stake a claim in the politics of racial coalitions, and they can have a higher degree of representation by being party and dominant players in the governing coalitions, and this will make them have a substantial influence in matters of policy making. It is argued that without the white allies, the minority cannot forge a successful coalition that can govern.

The mobilization of the minority towards policy-making in the urban areas can contribute a lot to increase their voice in matters of race politics. The politics of minority groups is well documented, and every citizen is familiar about it. It is a common phenomenon in urban areas (Hochschild and Mollenkopf 52).

The pertinent issue regarding the future of ethnic and racial politics in America is whether the link or association between the minorities will be characterized by conflict or cooperation. It is widely acceptable that the shared minority status is considered as the nucleus where the Latinos, Asian and African who would form an influential and powerful coalitions. The minority groups are united together by the same ideological world view, mutual ties and similar political interests.

It is widely expected that politics and policy making could only be transformed by the active engagement, and the presence of race based coalitions in the political process. It has been argued that the development of coalitions among the minority races can be considered as a basis of enacting and conceptualizing different policy paradigms.

There are various and well known coalitions in the urban areas and cities of America and these coalitions have resulted with the success of electing minority candidates and also the incorporation of the minority population and their interests into the political system. The recent and conspicuous case of multiracial political coalition was the one that happened in 2005 in the race for mayor of Los Angeles where Antonio Villaraigoisa, who was elected the first Latino mayor of the city.

It is, however, predicted that ethnic minority group is moving towards more of a conflicting status as opposed to a cooperative path. This is because every race has reservations about the other; there is behavior, for example, by the blacks to develop negative attitudes and negative opinions about the Latinos and this often leads to anxiety among the blacks hence reducing the prospect of positive interactions between the two minority groups (Junn and Haynie 170). It has been identified that there are several factors that threaten the prospect and formation of multiracial political coalitions.

Due to the fact that there is no racial group that can win worldwide elections on its own, coalitions building has been a necessity in the modern American politics. According to the analysis by McNickle of mayoral elections in the United States, there have been three racial and minority coalitions that have been held responsible for the election of the mayor in the entire twentieth century.

The democratic coalitions led by the Catholics of the Irish origin and which was supported by the Jewish immigrants, and an Italian minority have been very successful in the election of the mayor in eleven out of 16 elections, and the candidate in this case was an Irish Catholic.

These coalitions of the minorities promoted liberal and progressive coalition’s agenda. There was another third coalition that was made up of the white liberals, Latinos and the blacks who only become successful in the election of the mayor in 1989. There has also been a minority coalition of conservative Italians, Jews and Irish; unlike other minority coalitions, this one lacked the backing of the Democratic Party.

The formations of coalitions among the minority to serve as mayor has been growing elusive with only one exception of David Dinkins who has been the only product of the minority coalitions to serve for one term as a mayor. Though the blacks and the Hispanic coalition have failed to elect the mayor other than Dinkins, the city of New York, when compared to other cities have been formulating and producing policies that are responsive to the needs and the wishes of the minority groups (Berg 154).

Racial politics and minority groups and coalition politics

Given the fact that there is increasing immigration from the Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean; there is a prospect of increasing minorities in the USA. Political analysts have been pondering whether these new immigrants will forge a coalition with the native-born counterparts, especially the Afro-American. It has been argued that race based alliances are more likely in this kind of scenario, particularly between the non-white Americans and African-Americans during this period of raced based discrimination.

It has proved, however, that these inter-group coalitions have not been good enough to prevent the inter-minority tensions. There has been much talk and empirical questions about how the newcomers will change the dynamics of coalitions in the demographically diverse urban setting of the U.S.in the Urban areas of the New York and Los Angeles, alliances are considered to be a matter of do or die.

This is prompted by the immigrant status of the non-whites and the vulnerability of the minorities to discriminations and hence this will forge them to forging of coalitions with the minorities who are Native Americans.

The shared interest between the non-white immigrants is considered a powerful force for political alliance among the minorities which will seek to unify the Afro-Americans and the foreign born colleagues; from this perspective, there is an anticipation of a grand rain bow coalitions among the non-white immigrants and the native-born blacks.

These alliances have however been rare and it has led to speculations that the minority Afro-Americans have a high chance of finding themselves in political isolations in any coalition with the non-white immigrants. Race based coalitions in the urban areas of American have been considered as a losing political strategy and a misguided idea. A coalition for example between the African Americans and the non-whites has not achieved success to date; in fact it has been proved to be difficult to maintain and foster (Rogers 284).

The theory of radically racially polarized voting and racially oriented politics indicates that race is a critical determinant of vote choice during elections, especially where a minority candidate is pitted against a majority or white candidate. This spatial model of voting indicates that the voters have the ability to decide the position of the candidates on certain issues and use their positions to make selections.

In the elections of the 2001 in Los Angeles, this theory of racially oriented politics was tested; each of the two competing races: a Latino and a White candidate were analyzed. Both candidates were considered to be liberal but what was conspicuous was that the race of the contestant mattered. With the changing times there has been an increasing need to challenge race based identity politics in order to increase the possibility of coalitions.

Americans are slowly demonstrating the desire to move away from the race–based politics, which has characterized the calls for the empowerment of the blacks and other minority races. Critiques of the politics of United States of America argue that the country should move along with the changing cultural, social and demographic realities that characterize the changing political environment.

Because America is home to people of diverse races, there is need to adopt multicultural democracy based on progressive ideologies; American should demonstrate that it can transcend racial chauvinism (Jennings 46).

The dynamics and the complexities of multiracial coalitions and politics have had the effect of pulling and pushing the very established foundation of the American politics and the racial hierarchy in coming eyes. The unprecedented increase in the population of the Asians and the Latinos is considered one of the powerful demographic shifts in the history of the United States of America.

This demographic shift is greatly felt in the urban areas where there is significant concentration of the minority. In various urban areas for instance, the whites form the minority population. The framework of the black-and-white injustice does not, as earlier it had been characterizing the racial politics of the United States of America, but much of the politics is still framed on the minority and racial politics phenomenon.

The urban America and the metropolitan politics is characterized by what is referred as racial dictatorship where American identity is considered to be white and where the phrase otherness was used in reference to people of other races. The political movement on the parts of Latinos, Asians and the Native Americans is a clear manifestation of the racial nature of American politics.

The multiracialism blend of American politics is instrumental in defining the significance of party affixation through the contemporary experience of the minorities in the United States of America. Racial hegemony has affected the nature, the substance and the timing of various legislations in the United States of America. An example of these legislations is the anticrime legislations which are geared towards other racial groups, majorly the blacks and the Latino.

There have been temporary protests in American by the minority groups and the other races which are aimed at providing an understanding of how the demographic shifts can have a potential effect on the politics of the blacks. In the United States of America, race has been considered to be an effect of the well dynamic and constructed consequences of political process and institutions (Assensoh 7).

In the urban America, it is posited that race and minority relations have altered the dynamics in the American sphere. The emergence of the Latinos and the Asians and the growth of their influence have affected the status quo in various spheres of American political life like the electoral contests, policy debates, congressional apportionment and social relations. This has led to a shift in the electoral cleavages from that of racial polarization. In the urban area of California, the politics of immigration and race have transcended that of the party politics; the city of California is considered a perfect example of the emerging trend in immigrant politics (Jones-Correa 92).


Coalitions among the racial minorities have long characterized the politics of the USA; the Asians, Latinos have been channeled to similar residential, occupational and same urban political space, and this helped strengthen their concerns and their interest. The behavior of the racial minorities to have political incorporation has been the dominant theme in the modern urban politics of America.

Traditionally, in the American urban history, the governing coalitions excluded the minorities from the political process and this made the minorities to find the political measure among them by forming coalitions. The new American which is made up of various immigrants from different races has embraced this multiracial challenge and complexities in order to be able to overcome the urban political process.

Works Cited

Alex-Assensoh, Yvette M. Black and Multiracial Politics in America. New York: New York Univ. Press, 2000. Print.

Berg, Bruce F. New York City Politics: Governing Gotham. New Brunswick: Rutgers Univ. Press, 2007. Print.

Hochschild, Jennifer L, and John Mollenkopf. Bringing Outsiders in: Transatlantic Perspectives on Immigrant Political Incorporation. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009. Print.

Jennings, James. Blacks, Latinos, and Asians in Urban America: Status and Prospects for Politics and Activism. Westport: Praeger, 1994. Print.

Jones-Correa, Michael. Governing American Cities: Inter-ethnic Coalitions, Competition, and Conflict. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2001. Print.

Junn, Jane, and Kerry Haynie. New Race Politics in America: Understanding Minority and Immigrant Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Print.

Rogers, Reul. “Race-Based Coalitions among Minority Groups: Afro-Caribbean Immigrants and African-Americans in New York”, Urban Affairs Review 39.3(2004): 283-317. Print.

Wilson, William J. The Bridge over the Racial Divide: Rising Inequality and Coalition Politics. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999. Print.

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