Distinct Identities: Minority Women in U.S. Politics, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Distinct Identities

Minority Women in U.S. Politics, 1st Edition

By Nadia E. Brown, Sarah Allen Gershon


326 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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Minority women in the United States draw from their unique personal experiences, born of their identities, to impact American politics. Whether as political elites or as average citizens, minority women demonstrate that they have a unique voice that more often than not centers on their visions of justice, equality, and fairness.

In this volume, Dr. Nadia E. Brown and Sarah Allen Gershon seek to present studies of minority women that highlight how they are similar and dissimilar to other groups of women or minorities, as well as variations within groups of minority women. Current demographic and political trends suggest that minority populations-specifically minority women-will be at the forefront of shaping U.S. politics. Yet, scholars still have very little understanding of how these populations will behave politically. This book provides a detailed view of how minority women will utilize their sheer numbers, collective voting behavior, policy preferences, and roles as elected officials to impact American politics. 

The scholarship on intersectionality in this volume seeks to push beyond disciplinary constraints to think more holistically about the politics of identity.


'Drawing on a wide range of perspectives and methods of analysis, the contributors in this book offer a nuanced look into the myriad ways minority women influence, and are influenced by, the political world. This is a necessary addition to our examination of institutions, voters, and elections, as it requires us to consider the power of identity and the growing influence of women of color.' - Kathleen Dolan, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, USA

'Pulling together original and thoughtful contributions from leading experts in the field on the role of women of color in politics and using a mix of methodological and theoretical approaches, the contributors to this edited volume delve deeply into the reality of the political experiences of Black, Latina, Asian American, and Native American women. The book is essential reading for those interested in truly understanding modern U.S. politics and the role played by women of color as candidates and in the general public.' - Melissa Michelson, Menlo College, USA

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Nadia E. Brown and Sarah Allen Gershon Part I: Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Mass Behavior 2. The Differential Effect of Resources on Political Participation Across Gender and Racial Groups Mirya Holman 3. Linked Fate at the Intersection of Race, Gender and Ethnicity K. Jurée Capers and Candis Watts Smith 4. African American Women: Leading Ladies of Liberal Politics Pearl K.Ford Dowe 5. In Considering the Political Behavior of Asian American Women Jeanette Yih Harvie 6. Hawks and Doves? An Analysis of Latina and Latino attitudes toward military intervention in Iraq Rachel VanSickle-Ward and Adrian D. Pantoja Part II: Race, Gender and Campaigning for Office 7. How Do You See Me?: Stereotyping of Black Women and How It Affects Them in an Electoral Context Jessica D. Johnson Carew 8. A Tulsi by Any Other Name: An Analysis of South Asian American Support for a Hindu Congressional Candidate Shyam K. Sriram 9. Latina Issues: An Analysis of the Policy Issue Competencies of Latina Candidates Ivy A.M. Cargile 10. Media Framing of Black Women’s Campaigns for the US House of Representatives Orlanda Ward Part III: Race, Gender and Office Holding 11. Officeholding in the Fifty States: The Pathways Women of Color Take to Statewide Elective Executive Office Kira Sanbonmatsu 12. New Expectations for Latina State Legislative Representation Christina E. Bejarano 13. The Unique Career Path of Latina Legislators, 1990-2010 Ricardo Ramirez and Carmen Burlingame 14. Asian Pacific Americans in U.S. Politics: Gender and Pathways to Elected Office Nicole Filler and Pei-te Lien 15. Race, Perceptions of Femininity and the Power of the First Lady: A Comparative Analysis Andra Gillespie 16. To Be Young, Gifted, Black, and a Woman: A comparison of the Presidential Candidacies of Charlene Mitchell and Shirley Chisholm Christina Greer 17. Raising their Voices in Tribal Politics: Indigenous Women Leaders in Arizona and New Mexico" Diane M. Prindeville and Lawrence Broxton 18. Why are You under the Skirts of Women?:" Race, Gender and Abortion Policy in the Georgia State Legislature Tonya M. Williams Part IV: Conclusions 19. Afterward Nadia E. Brown and Sarah Allen Gershon

About the Authors

Nadia Brown is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science & African American Studies and Research Center at Purdue University. Her research demonstrates the importance of marginalized identities in political representation and participation.

Sarah Allen Gershon is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Georgia State University. Her research focuses on the incorporation of traditionally underrepresented groups (including women, and racial and ethnic minorities) into the American political system.

About the Series

Routledge Series on Identity Politics

Group identities have been an important part of political life in America since the founding of the republic. For most of this long history, the central challenge for activists, politicians, and scholars concerned with the quality of U.S. democracy was the struggle to bring the treatment of ethnic and racial minorities and women in line with the creedal values spelled out in the nation’s charters of freedom. We are now several decades from the key moments of the twentieth century when social movements fractured America’s system of ascriptive hierarchy. The gains from these movements have been substantial. Women now move freely in all realms of civil society, hold high elective offices, and constitute more than 50 percent of the workforce. Most African-Americans have now attained middle class status, work in integrated job sites, and live in suburbs. Finally, people of color from nations in Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean now constitute the majority of America’s immigration pool.

In the midst of all of these positive changes, however, glaring inequalities between groups persist. Indeed, ethnic and racial minorities remain far more likely to be undereducated, unemployed, and incarcerated than their counterparts who identify as white. Similarly, both violence and work place discrimination against women remain rampant in U.S. society. The Routledge series on identity politics features works that seek to understand the tension between the great strides our society has made in promoting equality between groups and the residual effects of the ascriptive hierarchies in which the old order was rooted.

Some of the core questions that the series will address are: how meaningful are the traditional ethnic, gender, racial, and sexual identities to our understanding of inequality in the present historical moment? Do these identities remain important bases for group mobilization in American politics? To what extent can we expect the state to continue to work for a more level playing field among groups?

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Women in Politics