MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Call it a milestone – an indifferent one, grim one, or positive pluralistic one depending upon your perspective -- but the census bureau just reported that more white Americans are dying than being born.
The Washington Post headline about this statistical entrance into a new era states it succinctly: "Whites’ deaths outnumber births for first time."
In a Christian Science Monitor editorial of June 13th entitled, "Falling white birthrate: The new American ‘us’: America's white majority is slipping away faster than ever, affecting issues from the immigration debate to the future of the economy," the editorial board reflected on the development:
One demographic fact is clear: As white America ages, it will be relying more and more heavily on hardworking, tax-paying nonwhites to build a prosperous economy and fund programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, that seniors rely on. The “we’re all in this boat together” American experiment will have a different shade of hands rowing the oars.
These demographic trend lines also suggest the importance of investing in America’s nonwhite youths. Today some 40 percent of whites ages 25 to 29 have graduated from college, compared with only 23 percent of blacks and 15 percent of Latinos. Those numbers will have to move upward and quickly. They reflect on the entire US education system, since success in college traces back all the way to getting a good start on education as early as preschool.
As the US marks 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his “Letter From Birmingham Jail” and delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, eloquently arguing for racial justice and equality, the country can celebrate substantial progress, no better epitomized than by the twice-elected President Obama. A half century ago the issue was whether a dominant white majority could be persuaded to extend full citizenship rights to an African-American minority that had little in the way of resources to make its case except knowing that its cause was just.
Today 313 million US citizens of all racial backgrounds can paraphrase comic-strip character Pogo and proclaim, “We have met [an American]. And he is us.”
This is what groups such as the Tea Party, the NRA, the Republican Party, the Neo-Confederates, and white Christian fundamentalists – among others – have held as their core racial fear: they are slowly being outnumbered in a multi-racial and multi-cultural democracy.
For all the talk among the right wing of "taking back America to the country created by the Founding Fathers," it wasn't alleged straying from the legal basis of a constitutional democracy that the likes of Glenn Beck were warning would lead to a political apocalypse. No, it was the fear that the United States wouldn't look white anymore – among its power structure and among the electorate.
That is why the Republican Party has tried every possible strategy to suppress the non-white vote, because it is becoming the majority of the citizenry.
That is why we have seen an Alamo mentality among so many white Americans for years now. The wagons of a pluralistic America are circulating the white entitlement voters whose numbers are slowly dwindling.
They aren't going to yield power without a continued bare knuckle, ruthless destructive political assault on democracy.
In the end, however, it is going to be a dying battle if you take a look at the statistics.
(Photo: Thomas Hawk)