09 December 2015

A majority of minorities in America changes nothing...here's why....

There's been a big discussion about how America is changing into a country of more non-whites than whites, a majority minority, as some have coined it. And white people are losing their minds, worried about the Day of Redemption: that day when minorities pay back in kind all the abuse hoisted upon them by white people.

Relax. Redemption Day is coming, but this isn't it.

America has a long way to go with regard to inclusion. And we need to figure it out, because by 2042, the United States have more non-whites than white people, and by the year 2050, non-white voters will outnumber white voters. That's closer than you think (for example, it's less time from now than the advent of the personal computer) and we're ill prepared for these imminent days. What should we look for in the days where non white voting power trumps white voting power? My claim, we have nothing to worry about- there won't be a time in this country where non-white voting power trumps (no pun intended) white voting power. It won't happen. Sorry to dis-allusion you...

...but that makes no sense, you say. in a world where non-whites outnumber whites, theres no way this wouldn't tilt the playing field in the direction of non-whites. that's incorrect, on a variety of levels, some of which i will attempt to explain...let's start at the beginning:

1) history disproves- a) minority people voting doesn't necessarily mean minority representation-there are cities all over America as we speak in which the voting population is predominately people of color and it has not lead to the changes this hypothesis would lead you to believe. there are a myriad of examples to prove this, but the easiest example is that of Ferguson, Missouri- a city with a minority population of almost 75% has an almost white police force and city council
b) states will act to limit minority votes- this goes back as far as poll taxes and tests to voter identification laws and felon disenfranchisement to more onerous issues like the ones at play in Alabama as we speak. 31 states have voter identification laws, and most states block attempts made to make voting easier (last minute voting, automatic registration, better absentee balloting, etc),  mechanisms that have empirically increased voter turnout in non- white voting districts. these are but two of the many historically disproven claims that could be made here...but i think whiteness is stronger than this, and has the ability to succeed regardless of their abilities to replicate history. it's dependent on this simple claim:

2) whiteness isn't static and rigid, it's elastic and fluid. if you can't manipulate the vote in your favor, then change the rules. Change the rules of what Whiteness is, who can represent Whiteness and how they go about doing that is key. Whiteness has always been flexible about letting non whites in the door to hang out in the lobby, this allows it to make determinations on who to inevitably admit and who to deny. At one point, white was Anglo-Saxon and Protestant. No Catholics. No Jewish people. When John F. Kennedy ran for President of the US in 1960, the idea of putting a Catholic in office was definitively frowned upon. Catholics are, without question, considered beneficiaries of whiteness. The attempts to access Asians and South Asians (and the lighter the skin the more successful you can be at this- ask light skinned blacks vs. dark skinned blacks for a reference point) into the narrative of whiteness (what do you think The Model Minority myth is derived from, the ground horn of a winged unicorn?) and the stories of success interwoven into the American Success narrative will allow access to whiteness. And for those of you who think Asians and South Asians are too tied to their heritage to forgo their history for access to whiteness need only to look to the explosion of inter-racial marriage between A/SA people and whites, something pretty rare only really a generation ago, as well as A/SA people in areas without a significant support system tend to see stronger modes of assimilation. And I used A/SA an an example, but the same can be said for sets of Latinos, as well as blacks.  once again- skin color matters- easier to have whiteness access when you're lighter- my education and background give me a comfortable whiteness vocabulary, but my being accepted into whiteness might take a subversive act against my people on my part to prove my worth. it's more just to indicate that whereas some people think of whiteness as an advancing army: wave after wave of overwhelming force, i envision it more structured anarchy: there are clearly a set of rules the people in charge know and enforce at their discretion, but those rules are flexible to the benefit of the rule maker.

So sleep well. Your power is still safe.

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