Political Science Now

Aquí Estamos? A Survey of Latino Portrayal in Introductory U.S. Government and Politics Textbooks

Virtual Issue: Diversity, Inclusiveness, and Inequality

The APSA Presidential Task Force Report ‘Political Science in the 21st Century report’, now just over five years old, offered a number of recommendations to the discipline including several related to political science research on diversity and racial, ethnic, and gendered marginalization. After reading APSA journals articles published in the years prior to and following the taskforce report, Dianne Pinderhughes and Maryann Kwakwa, both of the University of Notre Dame, argue that, while there have been important steps toward increasing multicultural diversity in political science research and teaching, the barriers that contributed to its marginalization in the past continue to exist. The following article is included in the virtual review issue.

Aquí Estamos? A Survey of Latino Portrayal in Introductory U.S. Government and Politics Textbooks

by Jessica Lavariega Monforti and Adam McGlynnUniversity of Texas—Pan American

The breadth of material covered in introductory U.S. government and politics survey courses creates a situation in which the textbooks used may serve as the primary source of information students receive about the country’s political system. At the same time, their content represents a conscious choice by the authors, editors, and publishers of these textbooks regarding what topics and content are necessary and worthy of publication, which socializes students to accept particular viewpoints of the formation and operation of the U.S. government. Oftentimes, the information presented in textbooks across subdisciplines ignores the political experiences and influence of racial, ethnic, and other minority groups. We test this premise by engaging in a study of 29 introductory U.S. government and politics textbooks to assess the level of coverage and treatment of Latinos/as, the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the country. We find that the discussion of Latinos in these textbooks is incredibly brief and often limited to the civil rights chapters. Furthermore, Latinos are primarily mentioned in the discussion of immigration, while their overall contributions to the political development of the United States are largely ignored.

Jessica Monforti Lavariega

PS: Political Science & PoliticsVolume 43Issue 2