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To understand the role of minorities in U.S. politics necessitates defining minorities and the forms of political endeavors that are included for consideration. Since minority in politics refers to access to power, not numbers, women are a “minority” in the United States, as are gays and lesbians, Muslims, and so on. In order to avoid being overly broad in scope (and therefore compromise the depth of discussion of this topic), attention can be focused on two primary groups: African Americans and Latino Americans. Three rationales underlie this focus.

First, among racial/ethnic minority groups, Latinos and African Americans both have arguably faced the most vociferous and long-standing forms of prejudice and discrimination that have led to formal and informal barriers to their participation in American political life. ...

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