Members of Congress from racial minority groups often find themselves in a unique predicament. For one thing, they tend to represent constituencies that are more economically disadvantaged than those of their white colleagues. Moreover, they themselves experience marginalization during the process of policy formulation on Capitol Hill.
In Twists of Fate, Vanessa C. Tyson illuminates the experiences of racial minority members of the House of Representatives as they endeavor to provide much-needed resources for their districts. In doing so, she devises a framework for understanding the federal legislative behavior of House members representing marginalized communities. She points to the unique ways in which they conceive of political influence as well as the strategies they have adopted for success. Black, Hispanic,
and Asian Pacific American Caucuses, among other minority groups, have built cross-racial coalitions that reflect their linked political fate. This strategy differs considerably from competitive approaches often espoused at the local level and from the more atomized interactions of representatives at the
federal level of the policy process.
Tyson draws on two years of personal experience observing and interacting with members of the House of Representatives in session, in their home districts, at functions sponsored by racial minority caucuses, and at White House events to illustrate her argument. Despite variation of experience and ideology within and amongst racial minority groups, she shows that representatives of minority coalitions have repeatedly and successfully worked together as they advocate for equality and social
justice. She also points to a willingness among these coalitions to champion a non-discrimination agenda that extends beyond "traditional" issues of race and ethnicity to issues of class, gender and orientation. Twists of Fate provides a compelling model for understanding how diverse groups can work
together to forge hopeful political futures.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 428 g
Dimensions: 240 x 164 x 20 mm
Vanessa Tysons insightful and well-argued assessment of minority group politics in the US House of Representatives, focusing on multiracial coalitions, is a must-read for any scholar or interested layperson who wants to understand how representatives of marginalized groups struggle to have policy influence in the federal legislative process. She skillfully triangulates her quantitative and qualitative evidence to show that those minority representatives have the
greatest influence when they perceive linked political fate across the groups and work together. * Valerie Martinez-Ebers, Editor of the American Political Science Review and University Distinguished Research Professor at the University of North Texas *
How is racial diversity in the United States institutionalized? In this astute and timely study of interracial coalition-building in the US House of Representatives, Vanessa Tyson uses multiple empirical methods, including case studies, in-depth interviews, historical analysis, and systematic assessment of roll-call votes, to reveal the dynamics driving cooperation between Black, Latino, and Asian American legislative caucuses and the effects of that cooperation on
political representation. By focusing on the motivations and strategies that foster a sense of linked political fate between Black, Latino, and Asian American elected representatives, Tysons groundbreaking research highlights the critical ways in which race continues to shape our most important
political institutions. * Janelle Wong, Director, Asian American Studies Program, University of Maryland *
In this important book, Vanessa Tyson draws upon a wealth of interviews, roll call data, and case studies to provide critical insights into the conditions under which marginalized groups gain influence in Congress. Tyson persuasively demonstrates that racial minorities have increasingly drawn upon a sense of linked political fate with other disadvantaged groups to push for concrete policy change. * Eric Schickler, author of Racial Realignment: The Transformation of American Liberalism, 1932-1965 *
Drawing upon impressive quantitative and qualitative analyses, Tyson makes significant theoretical and empirical advances demonstrating the importance of linked political fate and the resulting multi-racial coalitions among members from and representing communities of color in the US House of Representatives. This path-breaking book includes the best analysis to date of the Congressional Tri-Caucus and its impact. Its a must-read for anyone interested in
representation, legislative behavior, race, redistricting, or voting rights. * Kathryn Pearson, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Minnesota *