Minority births now outpace white births
In 2011, the census recorded more minority infants born than white infants for the first time in U.S. history, and everyone is speculating on what this means for our nation. Will the traditional racial roles be reversed? When white Americans become a minority, will they lose their iron grip on wealth and power in this country? The answer to both those questions is ‘probably not.’ White people – those of European descent – were the minority when they showed up in the New World, and they wasted no time establishing dominance of the native population. Dividing and conquering others has been the modus operandi of those in power for centuries. White Afrikaners were never the majority population in apartheid South Africa, but they used their control of the government, media, and commerce to maintain their power over the country. Minorities of different races and religions have often controlled larger population groups throughout history.
Current U.S. financial and census data show that white Americans control a disproportionate share of financial resources and political power in this country, even considering their population majority.
Although 50.4 percent of the births in 2011 were of non-white infants, white people still make up almost three quarters of the American population. The Alliance For Board Diversity’s 2010 census found that 87.4 percent of Fortune 100 CEO’s were white, up from 85.1 in 2004. Even as white people make up less of the country, their control of the economy increases. White families consistently and dramatically out earn all minorities except for Asians, who make up only four percent of the population.
The current 112th U.S. Congress is 83 percent white, still marginally higher than the total population. Santa Monica College Political Science Department Chair Christine Schultz feels that the demographic shift will greatly advantage the Democratic Party, as minorities tend to be politically liberal.
Of course painting white Americans as a single, unified force holding all of the chips and hell bent on dominance over others is ridiculous. Schultz believes the younger generations of all ethnicities think much less in terms of race. “Race doesn’t register. Young people don’t think in these terms, it’s the old people that are hanging on.”
It is still only a very small, very rich minority amongst whites that hold any real power.
It may be hard to believe, but whites still maintain a slight majority here in Los Angeles County, making up 50.3 percent of the population. Even with this loose grip on the majority, the unfair distribution of wealth is obvious.
In the short journey from my home in Inglewood, less than a quarter white, to Santa Monica, which is over 77 percent white, it becomes very apparent where the wealth and power lies. Every day, I travel between two different worlds – I wake up in the gritty, working class world of minorities, and travel to the wonderful white world of sunshine and leisure.
I am of Catholic and Jewish descent; while both of these groups may now be lumped in with the majority, at one time they were the outlying minorities as well.
The only hope we have for any monumental shift in racial dynamics and achieving equality in The United States is for the growing minority population, along with those of us in the majority who are dissatisfied with the status quo, to use our collective financial and democratic influence to force those in control to accept the inevitable and share their power with the masses.
For now, it seems that the more things change, the more things stay the same.