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The shape of things to come in America’s ethnic reshuffle…

December 21, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Weekly Columns

( It doesn’t make much difference whether non-whites will be the majority in America in 2040 as the Census Bureau projected a few years ago, or the majority in 2050 based on new Bureau projections. The inevitable will happen.

By mid century if not before, whites will be a minority for the first time in nearly three centuries. There’s an upside and a downside to the ethnic reshuffle of America. It will permanently change political campaigning. Democrats and Republicans will spend vast amounts of money, effort and time pitching and courting minority voters. Some of this has already happened. In the 2000 presidential elections the Republican and Democratic National Committees dumped millions into Spanish language radio ads, promotions, and pitches, as well as ads and promotions in Asian and African-American newspapers. Bush paid brief lip service to making the party a big tent for diversity.

The reality that Hispanics, Asian and black voters could provide the tipping point margins of victory for Republican candidates and elected officials in the West, the South, and Northwest forced the party to drop much of its anti- shrill overt bash and attacks on immigration, and bilingual education, It promised to expand minority business, school funding, and back Hispanic and African-American and Asian candidates for local and state offices. There was an upswing in the appointment of minorities to judgeships, cabinet and staff positions.

Corporations, financial houses, and retailers will totally remake their advertising campaigns. They will routinely feature minorities in all ads, spend millions with minority advertising and PR firms, and in ads in minority newspapers and on radio stations. Movies such as the Princess and the Frog and Precious will no longer be novelties, and hot topics of debate but commonplace on the big and little screen. Majority minorities will become a routine part of the media and cultural mainstream of America.

Most major urban and many rural school boards of education and school districts will either be run by Latino, Asian and African administrators and school elected officials. They will control the funding, make curriculum decisions, and teacher and administrator hires and assignments.
The cities will be more gentrified with minorities and whites living together in urban neighborhoods. Minority home ownership and tenancy will also drastically increases in all suburbs.

Now there’s the downside. A non-white majority won’t automatically change white-minority economic and political power relations. The majority of Fortune 1000 CEOs and CFOs Board of Directors at corporations and financial houses will still be white, and male. The staggering imbalance of wealth between whites and minorities will still be a glaring. And so will the imbalance in schools districts. There will be rich and poor districts and thousands of minority school children will still be trapped in grossly failing and underperforming schools, and their parents will live in deteriorating, substandard housing and apartments.

The bend of President Obama on Afghanistan, Health care reform, and Wall Street proved that the army of high priced and entrenched corporate and financial lobbyists can and will shape much special interest legislation and policy, and that politicians no matter their color still must give a huge nod to their interests.

While over racial hate and violence will largely be a thing of the past, their will still be a racial skew in some crucial areas of institutional funding, allocation of resources, public planning, and political influence. That will continue to reinforce the gaping inequality in wealth and the concentration of power between the minority poor and white and even the non-white upper income.

The debate over what America’s permanent immigration policy should be will continue to be a divisive and contentious issue and at times point of conflict. It will continue to pit mostly non-white expansive immigration reform advocates against mostly white (and some black) anti-immigration reform proponents. America’s shrinking global and domestic political and economic power will also almost certainly engender my ethnic group first in infighting and the jockeying for scarce resources for housing, education, business spending, social services, and political influence. There’s already been a scary glimpse of that. There have been clashes between blacks and Koreans over businesses in inner city neighborhoods. There have been battles between blacks and Latinos in prisons, and in some schools over funding and bilingual instruction, and gang attacks in Los Angeles, and even racially motivated hate crimes by blacks and Latinos against each other. Blacks and Latinos have even finger pointed each other over tinderbox issue of whether undocumented workers take jobs from blacks.

The prospect of inter-ethnic conflict makes it even more imperative that black, Latino and Asian leaders, elected officials, religious groups develop solid coalitions to fight jointly for increased spending and programs health care, jobs, quality education, neighborhood services, and political empowerment. The ethnic reshuffle of America will be traumatic for whites and non-whites. The one certainty though is that the reshuffle insures that America can and will never be the same.

Written By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

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