End of White America: Should We Care?

Census data show that major shifts are under way. Here's what people of color should actually care about. 


Scholar and author Marcia Alesan Dawkins:

Two things: vocabulary and power. In terms of vocabulary, the phrase “majority minority” just isn’t accurate. Not only is it an oxymoron, but it also subtly implies that the balance of power has shifted along with the ratio of white-to-nonwhite births. Using the term “majority minority” implies that white supremacy disappears, but that’s just wishful thinking. All we have to do to see evidence of this is to look at South Africa, where, even though whites are in the numerical “minority,” they hold the most political power.

Increasing rates of nonwhite births today in the U.S. does not automatically equal increasing social justice for tomorrow. More accurate ways to predict the end of inequality, for instance, would be the present-day elimination of disparities in income, employment, health care, education, housing, crime, punishment and family structure for this new generation, as well as their parents.

ColorOfChange.org Director Rashad Robinson:

The numbers only tell part of the story. It’s important to focus on — as much as the country is changing — [the fact] that all the various communities are different. To just sort of lump folks who are not white into … a bucket and to say that they all share the same hopes and dreams, and their communities [face] the same challenges, would be a mistake. As much as there are opportunities for collaboration and connection between various communities, it’s important that we’re not painting all nonwhites with the same brush.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.):

… Here’s what I believe people need to work on: We need to identify pockets of Americans who remain structurally left behind. And what I mean is, the [difference in the] rate of incarceration between blacks and whites is still very high. The [difference in the] rate of unemployment is still very high. We need to find ways to deal with that.

And we might not need a race-specific remedy to solve that problem. For example, if we just invested in transit in my district in Minnesota, it would allow communities of color to access jobs in suburban areas. It would allow minority contractors to be in on constructing the transit …

Read the entire Browner America series here.

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