"Can We All Get Along?"

Racial and Ethnic Minorities in American Politics

Paula D. McClain with Jessica D. Johnson Carew

Seventh Edition • July 18, 2017 • 400 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813350516 • $42.00 USD$54.50 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813350691 • $25.99 USD$32.99 CAN

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In a nation built by immigrants and bedeviled by the legacy of slavery and discrimination, how do we, as Americans, reconcile a commitment to equality and freedom with persistent inequality and injustice? And what can we do about it? This widely acclaimed text by Paula D. McClain, with new coauthor Jessica D. Johnson Carew, provides a comprehensive and accessible overview of the historical and contemporary political experience of African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and American Indians in the United States. It explores the similarities and differences in these groups’ representation and participation in law, politics, and policymaking, discusses the enduring issues and concerns that they face, and examines intra- and inter-group competition and coalition-building in the face of enduring conflict and inequality.

The seventh edition has been thoroughly revised and updated to include coverage of President Barack Obama’s second term, the 2016 election, police brutality and Black Lives Matter, and the Dakota Access Pipeline protest movement. With a brand-new chapter on the intersections of race and gender, “Can We All Get Along?” remains unparalleled in its comparative coverage of the current landscape of minority politics in the United States.


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Respondus_BlackTest bank also available in Respondus® format.

Paula D. McClain is a professor of political science and public policy, Dean of The Graduate School, and Vice Provost for Graduate Education at Duke University. Her articles have appeared in numerous journals, including Politics, Groups and Identities, Journal of Politics, American Political Science Review, Urban Affairs Review, and The Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race.

Jessica D. Johnson Carew is assistant professor of political science at Elon University.


Chapter 1 – America’s Dilemmas
Terms Used in This Book
Race and Ethnicity
American Government Foundation and Racial Minorities
The Constitution and Black and Indian Citizenship
Citizenship and Later Minorities: Latinos and Asians
The Constitution and Black and Indian Suffrage
Structure of This Book
Discussion Questions

Chapter 2 – Resources and Status of America’s Racial Minorities
Population Size, Socioeconomic Status, and Concentration
Participation in a Civil Rights Movement
Voting Rights Law
Discussion Questions

Chapter 3 – America’s Racial Minorities in the Contemporary Political System: Actors
Group Identity and Perceptions of Discrimination
Political Ideology
Partisan Identification
Voting Behavior
The 2000 Elections
The 2004 Elections
The 2008 Elections
The 2012 Elections
The 2016 Elections
Interest Group Activities
Discussion Questions

Chapter 4 – America’s Racial Minorities and the Policymaking Process
Agenda Setting
Minority Representation in the US Government
Minority Representation in the Presidency
Minority Representation in Congress
Minority Representation in the Supreme Court
Minority Representation in the Bureaucracy
State Elective Office
Equal Educational Opportunity for Minorities
Affirmative Action in Employment
Discussion Questions

Chapter 5: – Intersectional Identity in Racial and Ethnic Politics
Intersectionality: Identity Along Multiple Dimensions
Salient Dimensions for Racial And Ethnic Intersectional Identities
Sociopolitical Experiences When Multiple Identities Intersect
Participating in Electoral Politics
Social Activism and Protest
Discussion Questions

Chapter 6 – Coalition or Competition?
Patterns of Interminority Group Relations
Interminority Group Relations
Coalition or Competition Politics?
Racial Threat and Competition Theories: Memphis, Little Rock, and Durham
Discussion Questions

Chapter 7 – Will We “All Get Along”?
The Dilemmas Revisited
Targeting Racial and Ethnic Minorities
VRA: Looking to the Future
Discussion Question

Time Lines

Praise for Prior Editions
‘Can We All Get Along?’ provides students with a comprehensive yet accessible introduction to the backgrounds and perspectives of minority groups and today’s racial politics. There are few textbooks that offer such a detailed historical perspective as well as attention to law, policy, and political participation.” —Kira Sanbonmatsu, Rutgers University

“This book treats the complexity across groups and within groups in a way that is superb to any other textbook. Students and faculty will find themselves relying on this book in classroom settings and beyond.” —Clarissa Peterson, DePauw University

‘Can We All Get Along?’ is an insightful examination of the racial and ethnic minority political experience in America. It is an innovative book that provides a comprehensive examination of the political experiences of African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans and would be useful in a variety of courses.” —Sharon Austin, University of Florida

‘Can We All Get Along?’ explains why Barack Obama’s 2008 election to the presidency has not made Rodney King’s plaintive cry in 1992 irrelevant any more than it has eliminated race and ethnicity as factors integral to American politics. The fifth edition enables our comprehension of those facts to be as contemporary as today’s headlines…An exceptionally useful text!” —Jim Sheffield, University of Oklahoma

“This book is a unique resource for helping students to understand the interplay between diverse populations and the American political system. The latest edition provides a rich introduction to the histories, theoretical concepts, and key terms associated with U.S. racial and ethnic politics.” —Janelle S. Wong, University of Southern California

“In the wake of an historic election, students will be searching for ways to understand the significance of race and ethnicity in American politics. This book…provides crucial historical context, vital contemporary data, and a survey of the most up-to-date theory in the field…The backbone of my race and American politics course.” —Regina Freer, Occidental College

“This latest edition…gives students and instructors alike the updated comparative data and nuanced interpretation they need to understand the magnitude of racial and ethnic politics in the United States.” —David E. Wilkins, University of Minnesota

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