A Tipping Point That Matters More To Some Than It Should
Well, guess what? Whites are a minority in the newest generation. They won’t be a demographic minority for some time, though, nor will they ever be a small component of our nation’s population, but our status as king demo of the hill is now is in question.
Gasp. We might have to learn to live with other people at long last.
I'm about as white as you can get. I don't tan well. My family's name indicates that we were shipped in in the 1700s in the Maryland area (roughly, the facts could be different), and that I'm a genuine scots-irish article.
So what's my response to this new trend? Truth be told, I don't have much of one. I've lived and worked alongside people who weren't white all my life. For those who were brought up to think of the lines as etched in granite, who fear the demographic change, this must be one more straw to pile on the Camel's back.
Time to get the old animal a brace, in my opinion. What we're seeing happen is pretty simple, if we let it be so: most of the people born in this country are going to grow up to be Americans.
Seriously, I know it's a ridiculously obvious statement, but there's a place for such statements in the mix of things. I know Republicans beat up Democrats like me for insisting on common standards of opportunity for all who are willing to go after it, but my main motivation is that I think of everybody as being equals. I don't want to help disadvantaged minorities because I feel some sort of White Man's Burden. I want to help them because it appalls me that folks that are just as smart and able as I am would be denied the chance to succeed, simply because of an accident of birth.
No, I don't want them dependent. No, I don't support any "invasion" of illegal aliens. While I don't balk at the idea of some kind of amnesty for those who did come in illegally, I would structure it to discourage others from taking advantage of the mercy we give out.
But I'm not looking as nervously at our southern border as some, nor am I looking at the brown and black faces of this country with trepidation that Western Civilization is on decline because folks from Europe aren't the default majority anymore. I don't believe in that kind of crap.
Though I prefer Christianity above all other religions, I don't think that stuffing it down people's throats is going to save this country. I don't see how imposed Christianity, which only goes so far as people's obedience to the State, will save souls or inspire greater morality. I know enough of supposedly more Christian times to know that my brethren were sinners then just as they're sinners now. I don't see how imposing religious doctrines on a society increasingly more skeptical about them will redeem society.
Folks want America the way they remember, which is a problem because the way they remember it is largely a nostalgic fiction, born of innocent memories of an anything but innocent time.
America is going to change, and we're going to remember the good old days with greater fondness than the complicated, compromised modern day. That doesn't mean the need or value of change isn't there.
I don't think this nation was founded to be governed by just the specific values and ideologies of the 1780s and 1790s. I think it was founded to be governed by its citizens, with all the implications of that self-government carried with it.
If America becomes non-white in the majority, so be it. If you're that concerned about it, have a larger family, or encourage more grandkids if you're no longer of that age. But really, you ought to stick to having the family size that fits for your means and your needs, and not get worried about things that barely affect you.
It becomes a heck of a lot easier to live with this simple reality if you stop minding that you're not in charge, not dominating by default, that you share your nation and your government with everybody else, with all the cooperation and compromise that requires.
My feeling, ultimately, is that Western Civilization is going to save itself, that people are going to rethinking and re-examine their government and their lives as they always have, and this nation will alter itself to fit its needs.
So, sit back, relax, and enjoy being an American, because whatever else happens, that's one majority you will always be a part of.
Posted by Stephen Daugherty at May 21, 2012 2:05 PM
It doesn’t matter at all. A century back, people worried about my Polish ancestors, Jews etc.
By the time we have a “majority minority” the composition of the minority will matter not at all.
You have noticed that Asians are already called “white” for purposes of affirmative action.
America will absorb these waves of immigration as we did with all others. Our country will be enriched.
All this will be as American as hot dogs, hamburgers, pizzas, bagels, tacos & chow main.
One more thing re Western Civilization - our “Western” tradition has absorbed all sorts of other things too. Recall that ancient Romans are what we would today call “Latinos”. St Augustine was African. A century ago our literature classes included Confucius, Lao Tzu, the Koran, the Rubyat and the Upanishads. The fact is that an educated Westerner has long been “multicultural”. It was during the 1960s that our education was debased.
What replaced true multicultural studies was that bogus identity politics baby courses unworthy of the university.
What was really a blog to intellectual honesty was the idea that you had to be a member of a minority to study minority things. It was a type of intellectual auto eroticism.
I was recently listening to a interview with Bernard Lewis. He mention the Edward Said and the idea that someone like Lewis should not be a scholar of Islam because he was not of the people. What a crock of crap is that?
Anyway, by 2050 the current definitions of minorities will just be quaint and people will be vaguely ashamed of our affirmative action program and that we had such definitions in the first place.
As far as Western Civilization goes?
I don’t agree that you need to be a member of a minority to study it. But I do think we need to be careful about calling what Western Civilization was multicultural. By that definition, the Chinese could be called that.
Early Renaissance culture was shameless in the way it would steal from Muslims sources, with the European often credited for their discoveries. Further down the line, Western society turns around and with its improving scientific knowledge and everything turns the lands of the non-european countries it takes over into dependent tributaries, a state of affairs that only recently started rolling back.
Meanwhile, you have this romanticized, exotic picture of the non-european countries that got built up in the meantime, which often ignored the sophistication and humanity of its subjects. I mean, you can go too far the other way, and assume that they’re angelic.
Real multiculturalism is about accepting that Western culture’s not necessarily superior, nor inferior, either. Christianity isn’t necessarily a bad religion, but that doesn’t mean we should force it on everybody. People make their own choices, and even if we seek to persuade others to change their culture, we have to acknowledge that such changes don’t always work out for the best.
As far as 2050 goes, I think it’s difficult to predict how people will really feel, but if you look at what most people feel about racial and ethnic attitudes back in 1950 or 1960, you’ll find most people feel more shame than nostalgia for that discrimination.
I think people looking back to this period will find the trials Barack Obama underwent a shameful thing. In real terms, given the timespan you’re talking about, most of the folks who voted for Obama in the last election will be that time period’s senior citizens. Given the Demographics, I don’t think you’ll find much love for the folks in Arizona who pushed that controversial citizenship check law in Arizona.
I think you’ll also find that people will find the treatment of gays and lesbians mystifying at best.
Of course, much can change in roughtly forty years.
Re Chinese civilization - less so. Western civilization encompassed the world in a way no other ever did. Indeed, Western civilization is merging into world civilization, but there is no doubt re the direction.
“Early Renaissance culture was shameless in the way it would steal from Muslims sources, with the European often credited for their discoveries”
This is interesting. You follow the idea that civilizations are somehow individual? They all steal for each other. If you look closely at Europe in the 1500s, you see that they “Stole” a lot more from the Byzantines, which was a reintroduction. The Muslim civilizations were also heirs to the classical civilizations. Many Greek sources came to the West through Muslim sources. But the Muslims did not originate them either.
Western civilization was success not only because it innovated, but also because it copied.
In fact, one of the Lewis (mentioned above) ideas is that Islam stagnated after 1500 precisely because it stopped copying. Up until that time Muslim civilization was very good at taking and developing the ideas of others. This is how you make progress.
Re multiculturalism - it depends. If you mean multiculturalism in that we copy what is working best and develop it, you something a lot like Western civilization.
If you mean that we need to respect the bad ideas (and not even admit they are bad), that is something else. I think slavery is bad. It was bad when we had it and it was bad when it persisted into the last century in other places. I think female circumcision is bad. I don’t need to respect that as part of a culture. I know that astrology and witchcraft are not true. I don’t need to pretend that the shaman can really affect events.
I am magnanimous about this. People can believe in these things and act on them. But it is stupid an these guys will not be as successful as those with more enlightened ideas and practices.
Cultures a living. They must change or die. Often the best ideas come form outsiders. Our culture has changed and adapted remarkably in my lifetime. My father would not recognize most of it. What culture is it now?
Re feeling shame for discrimination - I agree. That is why they will feel shame about affirmative action. In fact, they will probably treat it as a less virulent form of racism, but they will call it racism.
Re demographics - in the next generation people won’t think much about it. 100 years ago, we considered European people more different than we think of blacks and whites today. Now it makes no difference.
I have relatives now of various races. They are so mixed up they don’t care what they are. This is the future. When my father was young it was important that he was Polish Catholic and when he married my German Lutheran mother it was a bigger deal than in interracial marriage is now. Today, we cannot understand why anybody cared.
The Tipping Point makes a great deal of difference for the political future of both parties. The GOP is becoming older and whiter. The Democratic Party is becoming younger and more diverse. The GOP demographics are shrinking, the Democrats growing.
Assimilation will not ameliorate the political ramifications of this Tipping. The political issues that have motivated women, blacks, latinos, and gays existed at the beginning of the Republic, and they continue to exist today in various forms. The GOP consistently opposes anything that helps these groups, claiming their oppression is constitutionally justifiable. The Democrats recognize those issues and support the interests of those demographics.
The result? A national lead for the Democratic Party is baked into the cake. The simple math has made it more and more difficult with each election cycle, and the math now makes the Democratic edge overwhelming.
Worse for the Republicans, they seem unable to resist resorting to the same oppressive acts that worked so well in the past. In the name of ‘religious freedom’ they wage a War on Women, a sustained legislative assault on women’s health and other issues. The GOP continues to oppose virtually any legislation that would help blacks or latinos. The IA GOP went so far as to adopt opposition to multiculturalism in its party platform! Gays? Nice job in NC. That 61 - 39 vote against gay marriage will stain that state with the blot of intolerance for decades to come. Even Romney supports a constitutional amendment forbidding gays to pursue their happiness through marriage, a shameful shameful thing. Marriage equality is overwhelmingly supported by the young, and most of the opposition is rooted in the bigotry of the aged. Take a wild guess how that one will work out…
There is only one advantage for the GOP in becoming older, whiter, less diverse, and more intolerant: money. The largest amounts of money are controlled by older white males. Thanks to Citizens United, corporations and billionaires can anonymously donate as much as they want to campaigns in order to influence outcomes. It might be difficult to do on the national stage, despite the fact that the GOP nominee is a member of the 1% of the 1%, who literally believes “corporations are people, my friend”; but it is much easier to accomplish on state and local levels. That kind of money just doesn’t exist at those levels. Advertising can be used to convince many of the poorer white males that other ‘underserving’ groups- women, blacks, latinos, and gays- are getting stuff for free at their expense and challenging their supremacy with demands for equality; and so the intolerance continues, and the GOP survives… at least through this cycle…
In the 1950s Republicans were often against freer trade, while Democrats were in favor. Back then Democrats were the states’ rights party. Kennedy cut taxes. Reagan was a Democrat when he started his career.
In 2050 the landscape will be very different. There will be a whole new set of problems and solutions. What would you have projected for today if asked back in 1972?
If this makes you feel good about parties, go ahead. I expect to be dead by then. I expect the next generation will be making decisions.
BTW - according to you guys, global warming will be destroying the world anyway, since the world missed the Gore deadlines to take serious action 3-5 years ago. I suppose when the world is turning to deserts and everybody is starving, new parties will rise. In this kind of extreme crisis scenario, the new parties will probably more on the order of national socialism than either of the parties today. If you believe in that kind of scenario.
I might also add that if the teachers unions remain powerful as they are now, most of our citizens in 2052 will be functionally illiterate and if we continue with our borrowing policies & entitlements we will be bankrupt. I doubt if our Chinese masters will allow any parties at all.
Of course, parties change. Points of view become outdated and irrelevant. Other viewpoints are eventually revealed for what they are, namely, the products of bigotry and worse. The issues that today’s conservatives represent are doomed by a demographic time bomb. We’d all be better off if it detonated this election cycle and polished off some of the more unfortunate conservative platforms.
Teachers unions protect teacher jobs. Having been a teacher, I’d just observe in passing that teacher unions have little to do with student literacy. The young people of today are so very different from previous generations, I’m just amazed. It’s not just the music or breadth of tolerance or acceptance of diversity- the young actually socialize differently from previous generations. The old yard sticks might have been all well and good in their time, but they just no longer apply in a world where the key is handling information technology. It’s not a matter of knowing facts and figures, but how to find them and synthesize.
It is a good idea to be able to read, write and count.
Re diversity - the word is a code. I live in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in America. We have people from all over the world. Whites are a plurality, not a majority; Asians come in second, followed by Hispanics and blacks. We call our county diverse, but not everybody agrees. Interestingly, if you have a neighborhood that is 90% black or Hispanic, people call that “diverse”. Of course, it is not as diverse as ours.
So, I live in a place that is a lot like the U.S. will be in 2052. I think it is more fun. What I observe, however, is that successful people tend to trend Republican in their behaviors. More correctly, they tend to believe more in market solutions. If we get something like free market adherents with social liberalism, I suppose it becomes libertarian, neither Republican nor Democrat. I would be content with that. I don’t care what people do, within reason, as long as I don’t have to pay for it.
The big tension I perceive in the younger generation is with Asians and blacks and to a lesser extent Hispanics. Asians includes both East Asians and Indians. They feel that they work harder than others, but are hurt by affirmative action and redistributive politics in general. I think they are right.
There really is not a qualitative difference between the “new” and the “old” immigrants. My Polish grandfather was more “foreign” than almost any immigrant today. Just because he had blue eyes, we tend to forget how foreign he was. We assimilated all these immigrants. My grandfather and father were part of a Democratic machine. We “working people” would never vote Republican. Now we do.
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