SCALE, ETHNICITY, AND REDISTRICTING IN SOUTH FLORIDA
The decennial redistricting process is often a bruising political battle between the two main parties to establish an edge in the political process that they hope will last for a decade. The redistricting battle changed after the Civil Rights era with the recognition that districts must be drawn to accommodate minority groups that have been traditionally excluded from government (Leib, 1998). The legal and political pressure applied by the federal government to empower minority groups treated them as essentialized groups with discrete membership and common goals. Many observers have referred to this as "strategic essentialism" - a conscious attempt to deploy racial categories (or other categories, such as gender or sexual orientation) for political gain (Spivak, 1988; Jackson and Penrose, 1993). This presumption of natural groups of common interest has rarely been valid, however, as close inspection of most ethnic or racial groups shows.