Diversity in Democracy: Minority Representation in the United
States. Edited by Gary M. Segura and Shaun Bowler. Charlottesville:
University of Virginia Press, 2005. 316p. $45.00.
Freedom Is Not Enough: Black Voters, Black Candidates, and
American Presidential Politics. By Ronald W. Walters. Lanham, MD:
Rowman & Littlefield, 2005. 239p. $27.95.
Diversity in Democracy is an ambitious book—even more
ambitious than its subtitle suggests. Together with an impressive team of
contributors, Gary Segura and Shaun Bowler set out to examine how minority
Americans—blacks and Latinos, in particular—engage with the
democratic political process, from how they align themselves within the
existing party system to how they use the tools of democratic citizenship
(namely, the vote) to advance their interests. In many ways Segura,
Bowler, and their colleagues succeed and, in the process, reveal a number
of important empirical phenomena and relationships, such as the value of
descriptive representation in promoting both political trust and
participation. Because of its contribution to basic knowledge about
minority political behavior, this book would certainly be a valuable
addition to any minority politics syllabus. However, its ambition is both
a source of strength and a weakness.