Race and Representation in Congress Essay

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Race and Representation in Congress

The topic of race, redistricting, and minority representation in Congress has emerged as one of the most salient issues in contemporary political thought. The creation of so‑called majority minority districts has been attacked as unfair and racially polarizing by some observers and ultimately struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The study of race in relation to American politics and institutions, and, in particular, to the institution of Congress, has produced a wealth of research and literature in recent years. This scope of budding research ranges from legislative activity and Congressional voting to the electoral process and campaigning. This study examines the effects of
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The exclusion of these groups is for the sake of clarity and focus; the topic of women and Hispanics and their effects on all aspects of American politics is deserving of concentrated studies separate from this one. In order to best present this argument, it is necessary to begin with an informative review of current and significant literature on the topic of the politics of race in the US Congress. This will provide a better understanding of the implications of race in Congressional constituencies. Following this literature review, a case study of four different House members and a comparison of their campaigning and constituency interaction will be presented.

History of Blacks in Congress

To comprehend the issue of racial redistricting and representation in Congress, it is important to have a good understanding of the basic historical and contemporary concepts involved. Currently, racial gerrymandering is defined as a process of creating heavily minority populated Congressional districts, or majority minority districts (Grofman 359). The purpose of these districts is to enfranchise and empower the black electorate through increased political representation in order to overcome a history of discrimination. Generally, a majority minority district needs 65% or more black voters in order to possess meaningful representative power and, more to the point, elect black
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