Monday, February 11, 2008

From the wires

From AFP:

Whites to be minority in U.S. by 2050

Immigration will drive the population of the United States sharply upward between now and 2050, and will push whites into a minority, projections by the Pew Research Center showed Monday.

More than 80 percent of the increase will be due to immigrants arriving in the country and their US-born children, who will make up nearly one in five Americans by 2050 compared with one in eight in 2005, it said.

Whites, who currently make up around two-thirds of the US population, will become a minority (47 percent) by 2050, the report said.

The Hispanic population, currently the largest minority group, will triple in size and double in percentage terms from 14 percent in 2005 to 29 percent in 2050, the report said.

The Asian population will roughly double in percentage terms, from five percent to nine percent, while the black population will remain static at around 13 percent.
I think we need a new word than "minority." The word is generally used to mean people who are numerically less, but also means people who are socially/politically less powerful. I imagine that the power part of the definition won't change, or will it? I also wonder what the mixed-race numbers will be, and what impact we mixed folks might have, if any. I was all for the change on the Census that let us check all races that apply, as I was tired of feeling like I was lying on every government form, but I'm also pretty concerned at the way the numbers of mixed-race people are used to de-power and divide racial groups. I also wonder if by 2050 the default for "American" will still mean "whiteperson," (ala Sam Huntington) or will we finally let that go and accept the diversity that this country is?

From Bloomberg:

Obama Drive Gets Inspiration From His White Mom Born in Kansas

Barack Obama's mother was most at home a world away from her Midwest roots, trekking the old Silk Road or arranging small loans for weavers in Indonesia.

" I'm so tired of seeing her described as just a white woman from Kansas,'' says Bronwen Solyom, 63, who first met Ann Dunham in the 1970s when they were graduate students in anthropology at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. "She
was much more than that.''

Her son, who may become the first black U.S.
president, displays a penchant for defying convention and forging his own path that those who knew Dunham well trace back to her arrival with her family in Hawaii after high school. Although the son has channeled the rebelliousness of
his early years, he remains impatient with customs, such as the political dictate that he should wait his turn for national office.

"She certainly gave us her open-mindedness and our desire to challenge ourselves with new vistas and perceptions,'' says Maya Soetoro-Ng, Obama's half-sister from Dunham's second
marriage to an Indonesian businessman.

Too bad the headline writer wasn't paying attention to the actual point of the story -- Obama's mama wasn't just a whitelady from Kansas, she was a multifaceted, world-trekking, adventurous individual who apparently shook off labels like dust from her intrepid feet. Never mind about Barack, I'm inspired by his mom!


Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

I think my kids and grandkids are going to be part of a generation that will have to rethink all these concepts - race, minority, ethnicity - and decide if they're even worth keeping. I am not talking about "colorblindness" here. Rather, I am saying that I believe that "race", "minority" and other social constructs will necessarily be reconsidered as having any useful purpose before the end of the century. I am grateful and hopeful that my grandchildren may actually live in a country where race is not so much subsumed but transcended, where minority/majority distinctions will be replaced by the reality of plurality.

We aren't there yet; in fact, we're a long way from there. I think, however, we are farther down that road than most realize. I think the single biggest thing we could do to move even further is elect Barack Obama President of the US.

Yes, we can.

HapaThealogy said...

Ugh, "colorblindness" is for punks. It's a nicewhiteliberal way of not acknowledging the social issues that come with race/culture/ethnicity. I'm looking forward to the day when we can talk about race openly, honestly, purposefully, without stereotype or meanness or victimization/persecution.

A better world for our kids, Si, se puede!

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Did I mention somewhere I heard Martin King's daughter, on NPR, the weekend of his birthday, dismiss colorblindness as false because love is so specific, it cannot be colorblind? I was on my way to put gas in my car at the time, and I cheered. Such a beautiful, and correct, way of stating what should be obvious.

I don't think colorblindness is in fact a "white liberal" thing (speaking as a white liberal, I've never bought the lie). Rather, it's a rhetorical trick racist conservatives use so we don't have to ask questions about their racism. You see, they dislike brown folk because of crime, or illegitimacy (God, I hate that word), or the persistence of poverty, or whatever. They think they can hide behind the "blindness" which is only a "blind" in the way a duck blind is a blind - a way to hide something deadly.

Much better, indeed to talk about race - or sexual orientation, or ethnicity, or gender - differences honestly than to insist we need to blind ourselves to the reality of difference.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

BTW, I should mention for the record that my brother is married to an African-America woman, and he used to have a t-shirt proclaiming the color-blindness of love. I asked him if he really was blind to who his wife was as a person, and got a lecture for my troubles.

Race is an explosive issue, to be sure, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't talk about it, especially when we live with it.

HapaThealogy said...

LOL, I call it a nicewhiteliberal thing, but that's because most people I know are either old-school separatists who insist that black people don't live in this town because they choose not to (ugh), or colorblind liberals who insist that we're all one happy family and bringing up race is racist.

No, we should definitely talk about race, openly and honestly as we can, and a lot of us (I include me in this) have to swallow down some of the privilege and sins that have benefited us/me on the backs of others. We all have that.

And you can't prove you're a nonracist by marrying someone of another race anymore than you can prove you're not a misogynist by marrying a woman.