Poli 103A California Politics
Incorporation of Minority Groups
Incorporation of Minority Groups

Barriers to Minority Participation

Barriers to Representation and
Incorporation
•Alternate forms of participation
•Taking nativist arguments seriously
•The importance of geography
Why does the Sleeping Giant Sleep?
California Voter Turnout, by Ethnicity (CPS, 2000)
80
70
67.2
% Registered
62.5
60.4
60
52.5
50
% Voting
40
33.2
29.5
30
28
24.5
20
10
0
White
Latino
Black
Asian
Alternate Forms of Participation

“Political participation” is any action
that individuals take with the goal of
affecting politics and policy.
• Voting is the most common, but not the
only, form of political participation.
• Minority groups that cannot exert much
influence at the polls often engage in
other important forms of participation.
Alternate Forms of Participation

Don Nakanishi notes that API
communities in California have also
fulfilled political and policy goals by:
• Engaging in labor organization
• Mounting legal challenges (Fred
Korematsu)
• Movements and justice campaigns
• Contributing $$ (Al Gore at the buddhist
temple)
Barriers to Representation and
Incorporation

Minority representation occurs when
members of minority groups have the
ability to elect a representative of
their choosing.

Minority incorporation comes when “a
minority group’s interests are
reflected in the development of policy
and the allocation of resources.”
(Saito, p. 45).
Taking Nativist Arguments
Seriously

Society and politics argument:
•Some nativists have asserted the
right to a homogenous society,
arguing that those who share a
value system, common history, and
language will agree on political
decisions. Diversity will lead to
divisiveness.
Taking Nativist Arguments
Seriously

Economic argument:
•Immigration, whether it is legal or
illegal, can take away high-wage (H1B) and low-wage jobs, and
increase the demand for services.
This puts an especially large fiscal
burden on state and local
governments. Citrin and Campbell
cover this debate on p. 278-284.
The Importance of Geography

For a group to elect a representative of
its choosing, that group must be
sufficiently populous and
concentrated to exert influence in a
political district.
• Racial gerrymandering, which was
especially prevalent prior to the civil
rights era, often forcibly split minority
communities to dilute their voting power
The Importance of Geography

Residential patterns can also fragment
a group’s political power.
•Under a proportional representation
system, 6% of population would get
a voting block 6% of seats.
•Under our district-based system,
API voters spread out across the
state aren’t guaranteed 6% of seats.
The Importance of Geography
Chinese-Americans in
San Francisco
Filipino-Americans in
San Francisco
The Importance of Geography
African-Americans
in San Francisco
Discussion Section Questions

What is La Montana?

How did Tom Jackson hang on to
power in Huntington Park for so
long?

How is political activism in Barrio
Logan different from participation in
Ocean Beach?
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Political Incorporation of Minority Groups.