MetaTOC stay on top of your field, easily

Black Voter Dilution, American Exceptionalism, and Racial Gerrymandering: The Paradox of the Positive in Political Public Relations


Journal of Black Studies

Published online on


Racial gerrymandering in the U.S. state of South Carolina offers a case study to take a unique look at political control, power management, and government communication from the critical perspective of hidden reward structures. These reward structures result from strategic messaging by which an elite’s perspectives deliver to them power by marginalizing others and their perspectives. More specifically, we interrogate one dominant narrative advanced in the United States—American Exceptionalism—by highlighting the irony of how South Carolina elected officials use the 1965 Voting Rights Act to assure a Black Democratic member of the House of Representatives, but simultaneously by gerrymandering elected officials actually reduce the likelihood of a second Democratic representative of any race/ethnicity. Using the paradox of the positive as a critical political public relations framework, we highlight the ways that American Exceptionalism is used to impose control, a control that favors one voting perspective to the marginalization of others in U.S. Southern politics.