Our struggle is to bring social, political, and economic justice to our nation. This is an effort of the Chicano/Mexican American Digital History Project. https://sites.google.com/site/chicanodigital/
Monday, April 04, 2016
The Browning of America : Trump and the Twilight of White Supremacy
by Jimmy Franco Sr.
Ethnic minorities within the US continue to see their numbers grow as these demographic changes are rapidly transforming the character of our society. This expanding sector is on average much younger than the general population and tends to be situated and expanding primarily within our urban areas. Changing immigration patterns are also reinforcing this demographic trend
A diversified group protests at at an anti-Trump event.
(Photo by Jabin Botsford
as the number of migrants from Europe has declined while those from Latin America and Asia have steadily increased. Moreover, the overall number of the white population is decreasing due to rapid aging, a low birth rate and a decrease in longevity. Such demographic changes are creating new economic and political challenges that require specific answers. This social transformation has also encountered hostility from a certain sector of our society that does not welcome change and wishes to maintain the status quo. What is urgently needed at this time are constructive proposals that address these new changes and issues and arrive at a collective resolution that will improve the lives of these young people as well as the well-being of the country as a whole.
The historical pattern of immigration and demographics has now changed
US history and its dialectical pattern of immigration has now been transformed into its opposite. During the 1700’s and 1800’s, colonial settlers were comprised of primarily poor immigrants who left Europe to improve their lives by seeking land to farm or sources of employment. About the middle of the 19th century, the white European population was still outnumbered in the South by enslaved Africans, by Mexicans within the Southwest and native Hawaiians and indigenous peoples in other parts of the country. Through a combination of accelerated immigration from Europe and officially-sanctioned racial violence inflicted upon these repressed ethnic groups, Euro-Americans eventually became the majority population by the end of the 19th century. During this period, the earlier European immigrants also reacted antagonistically toward the newly arrived Jews. Irish, Italians
Non-European immigration into the US is changing the character of society.
and other East Europeans with an upsurge of ugly racism and nativist campaigns. On the West Coast, Chinese and Japanese immigrants encountered the same type of bigotry. These hostile political campaigns were armed with a pseudo-science that attempted to prove that these new immigrants were biologically and ethnically inferior in contrast to the earlier Anglo-Germanic immigrants from northern Europe. From the latter half of the 20th century to the present, we have witnessed a reversal of this trend and the development of a new pattern of non-European immigration. The out migration from Europe to the US has now decreased while newcomers arriving from Latin-America, Asia and the Middle East have steadily increased in number. Also contributing to this change in demographic factors are a higher birth rate for US minorities and a decrease in longevity for whites. This has created the conditions for rapid economic, political and cultural changes to occur within society and for social conflicts to arise that require urgent solutions.
Different aspects of our society are being affected by these demographic changes
A major gap within our economy is being created as a growing segment of older whites within the labor force are presently approaching retirement and are also passing away in large numbers. Meanwhile, a growing number of Latino and other minority youths are coming of age and preparing to enter the labor market to replace these retiring white workers. This fundamental transition within our economic infrastructure necessitates that these young people be given the proper education and job training so that they may become productive and well-paid individuals who can live well and contribute to our future economy and society. Such an education and preparation for this young generation will require the urgent reform andrestructuring of our schools along with the allocation of sufficient funding. Also arising out of these evolving ethnic changes are other related issues that require resolution such as the educational struggle for ethnic studies programs and legally-related ones such as discrimination, police misconduct, immigration and that of affirmative action which will soon be heard before the US Supreme Court. This demographic transformation within the country also gives rise to other social and cultural issues that are convulsing society and creating political struggles as witnessed by the strong emotions and profound differences generated by our present presidential campaign.
A reaction to this browning of society has resulted in hostility and disunity
This increase in the growth of minorities has created a negative political backlash among a large sector of disaffected whites who irrationally believe that they are being economically and culturally threatened by such changes and that they are somehow losing out in relation to any gains made by minorities. This economically-motivated anger and racial resentment has resulted in the obstruction of any progressive social change and a frustrated attempt to roll back history and supposedly “make America great again” which is a euphemism for staying predominately white. Such an irrational frenzy of fear and pessimism has fed right into the hands of the opportunist manipulator and white nationalist
Organizing in defense of their rights will create a new and vibrant political leadership.
agitator Donald Trump. His fascist demagogy has fanned the flames of racial animosity with bigoted and divisive demands that only “real Americans” should have the right to live and work within our society. Trump’s appeal also taps into this surge of white chauvinism and nostalgic yearning to make things “terrific” again by demanding mass deportations that will restore white supremacy and ethnic privilege within our society. His ideological message to his right-wing followers essentially boils down to the urgent necessity to roll back the clock and along with it the ‘harmful’ tide of minority gains and integration. This is to be accomplished by whites organizing a last stand to defend “true Americans” and restoring the traditional order of discrimination. This extreme GOP hatemongering uses minorities, immigrants and Muslims as scapegoats and also includes the use of abusive language against those who are female, disabled or viewed as weak. Meanwhile, this ideological barrage of intolerance glosses over the financial robber barons who control he economic system and lets then off of the hook for the existing economic and social problems that they have created. Trump’s fascist-type strategy and tactics along with those of Cuban-Canadian Rafael (Ted) Cruz are meant to divide people along ethnic lines and to use bigotry and immigrant bashing to incite racial antagonism and hatred even to the point of Trump’s advocating the use of violence against those who oppose him.
New cultural outlooks, values and behavior are evolving and clashing
While the white population within the country continues to diminish and the widespread browning of society steadily expands, minority children are now becoming a dominant proportion of the nation’s students and will eventually comprise the majority of our future work force that fuels our economy. These young people will soon become our major taxpayers and contributors to the Social Security and Medicare systems. Meanwhile, Spanish is linguistically the country’s second language and its influence will continue to increase as bilingualism needs to be enhanced as something positive rather than be repressed. Politically, this youthful browning of the population will steadily tilt the balance of forces to the progressive side within society as the social and economic interests of these young people do not coincide with the
The browning of America is contributing to a new and better society.
outright hostility that they have encountered by the political right. A prime example of this has been the political transition to the left by the growing number of Mexican-American and other Latino voters within California which is a result of the vicious Republican immigrant bashing campaign of the 1990’s. In addition, this demographic transformation occurring across the country coupled with a rise in the educational level of young minority persons is helping to reshape and diversify our social values. This growth of a youthful and browner sector within our society is increasingly characterized by a more diverse, educated and open-minded attitude toward other ethnic groups, languages and cultures as well as an increase in tolerance on the issues of religion, marriage and equal rights for women and gays. In reaction to this, there has been a white supremacist and male-oriented ideological assault by Trump and the political right against the so-called ‘political correctness’ of progressives and minorities. This attack is aimed at upholding the backward racial practice of verbal bullying and use of derogatory remarks that have been traditionally hurled at minorities, women and others whom the right perceives to be inferior. On the negative side, such a growth of minority ethnic groups also has its specific problems especially among Latinos and African-Americans whose working-class communities have a high incidence of school dropouts and incarceration rates that need to be urgently addressed. We need to counter the haters and obstructionists of progress with positive and collective solutions to our social problems. The racist diehards and dispensers of doom on the right need to ultimately accept the reality that the era of white supremacy is ending and that a diverse multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society based upon equality of opportunity is quickly emerging. This transition to a better society in which we co-exist with one another in mutual respect and work collectively toward resolving our social problems in a constructive and equitable manner will not be easy, yet, we must move forward together to make it a reality.