Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2003

Abstract

This Article frames the challenges to LatCrit theory and activism posed by voting rights, electoral process, and minority politics. In order to focus on the key challenges, The Article poses this question: What does a LatCrit theorist mean when she proposes to move beyond the "Black-White" paradigm? The Article discusses the changes in the U.S. electorate that in post-2000 have made the Latina/o and APIA vote the darling of both major parties. In the process of being perceived as an important electoral group, Latinas/os and Asian Pacific Islands Americans are at times being depicted as "model minorities." The Article concludes that going beyond the Black-White paradigm in this context is to deconstruct the model minority rhetoric, as APIA scholars have done in the affirmative action debate. The Article then discusses, I discuss an important political issue to Latinas/os and APIAs that intersects with civil rights and anti-subordination analysis, the de jure denial of the voting franchise to more than ten million Latinas/os and APIAs because they are noncitizens or are citizens for the sole reason that they reside in Puerto Rico. The Article concludes that thinking beyond the Black-White paradigm in this context requires that LatCrit theorists continue to address this exclusion as both a civil rights and race issue. The Article then reviews the electoral successes of 2002. Even with Latina/o and APIAs' new found electoral influence, their gains in electing representatives to Congress were slim, particularly when compared to their strong population growth of over fifty percent from 1990 to 2000. There are four structural reasons that account for continued lack of influence in congressional representation: representational politics, the politics of redistricting, campaigning in racially polarized environments, and minority voter turnout. Finally, the Article reviews direct democracy ballot where electors in states voted on English-only initiatives, and explains why the direct democracy ballot continues to be a bellweather for racial conflict that requires attuned judicial scrutiny.

Publication Citation

81 Or. L. Rev. 783 (2003).