Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pondering the minority tipping point...

A bitch just read this piece on the minority “tipping point”, about when white people will no longer be a majority in America, and…well, I found this shit to be illuminating.

Some folks felt 2008 was the Great Post-Racial Happening of All Time…they rode a wave of “we’re finally beyond race!” and “we have overcome” all the way to the inauguration…well, some folks did.


Other folks watched a large chunk of Americans indulge in public displays of ig’nance over immigration reform and the election of the nation’s first president of color.


As much as the post-racialists work my last nerve, I understand that lots of them are so desperate to see society as getting “better” on race relations that they latched onto the election of President Obama like a sorta-beagle on a meaty bone and are holding on tight as hell…like a sorta-beagle with a meaty bone.

There aren’t two warring realities here…there’s just the reality that America society is not post-racial contrasted to the delusion that we are now living in a post-racial America.


Full disclosure for the uninitiated – if you haven’t caught on, I’m not into that post-racial bullshit. Blackness isn’t something folks need to learn to tolerate or get past. That’s the stinkin’ thinkin’ that got us right where we are – trying to speak some post-racialism into being rather than doing the hard work of social justice.

Anyhoo, 2009 did a damn good job of demonstrating the hell out of just how post-racial America isn’t. I won’t rehash all that shit…I’ve covered enough of it already…but suffice it to say that lots of folks indulged in public displays of bigotry that are at odds with all that post-racial bullshit.

That brings me back to that minority tipping point news!

Methinks the tipping point may be responsible for some of the bigot-based ig’nance.

Catch thy knee…a bitch isn’t saying the looming deadline in 2050 of a minority majority is solely responsible. Clearly some folks are just ig’nant…were raised to be ig’nant or fell into an ig’nant social circle at school (just say NO to ig’nance, kids!) or just like the way being an ig’nant motherfucker feels.

But others are probably looking at the population shifts…consciously or unconsciously feeling them in their community, at the grocery store or the Walgreen’s on the corner…and that shit has triggered an auto-ig’nance response in them that is as American as apple-pie with lots of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce on the side.

This has all happened before…

…this will all happen again.

For example…and yes, I know this is a bit dated but more recent references also exist (that’s why the gods created the Google)…the East St. Louis race riot of 1917 was triggered by racism and fears that black workers would take jobs from white workers for lower pay. Blacks were moving North and settling in St. Louis and all hell broke out between May and July of 1917…resulting in an estimated 100 deaths (many feel that number is low) and all kinds of property damage and a pattern of labor hostility that hasn’t left since.


The East St. Louis race riot of 1917 remains one of the worse riots in American history…


…and it links directly to the threat of a shift in available labor…and, interestingly, to the accepted fact that blacks worked the same jobs for less pay.


Now, all those rioters could have nipped that anxiety in the bud by demanding equal pay for equal work…but that would have been too much like right and totally unheard of is a state famous for fighting the Civil War before there was a Civil War and for still fighting the Civil War even though the Civil War is long over.


Lawd, don’t get me started.

History provides many examples of an increase in bigot-based ig’nance when populations shift…so, it comes as no surprise that the current anti-immigration trend is happening just as this tipping point bitness is revealing itself in the faces and languages of neighbors and co-workers.

What I find interesting is the assumption held by the ig’nant that current minorities will fuck them over when they reach a majority. One group taking the top spot is a fucked up interpretation of the population shift…one minority group will not make up a new majority, unless I’m missing something. My understanding is that one minority group may be the largest group within the minority majority (is your Afro hurting yet?).

The way I see it, multiple minority populations representing multiple cultures becoming the majority in America will probably be a good thing…a damn good thing…a population power distributing happening that has been a long time coming.

And lest we forget, there was a time before the white man in America when various nations of people of color lived and interacted and thrived and traded and existed without ever being defined as other than white.

Anyhoo, this bitch is bracing for more public displays of bigot-based ig’nance as change continues to happen…

…even as I look forward to, Gawd willing, seeing the point tip and all the after that will follow.

13 comments:

Miss Kitty said...

Excellent post, Shark-Fu! Keep up the good work. I'm glad to see your insightful & intelligent analysis of that news blurb, which I first saw this morning on the homepage of my BellSouth e-mail account. Must've been specifically placed right there to make all those white BellSouth customers shit their pants. Which I'm sure it did.

Again, thanks for the awesome post. BTW, "Just Say NO to IG'NANCE" would make an awesome bumper sticker. I'd buy 100.

Clarissa said...

"multiple minority populations representing multiple cultures becoming the majority in America will probably be a good thing…a damn good thing…"

-I couldn't agree more. This will be a fantastic thing. I can't wait to see this great shift.

D. said...

"What I find interesting is the assumption held by the ig’nant that current minorities will fuck them over when they reach a majority. "

Gee, I can't imagine where they might have gotten such an idea! Can you say projection, class? ("Guilt" might also figure in there...)

I knew you could!

Anonymous said...

Why is this information even relevant?

Lola Wants said...

This information is relevant because it talks about the history of the past which has influenced the present and will influence the future. Basically, she is saying as the population demographic shifts those who used to be the majority will not take their newfound position of the minority lightly. They will fight against it like they did in the past, and as my daddy said, "All hell will break loose." Hell will break loose exactly in the same manner it has done in the past when competition threatens the majority.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog but never post. This is to let you know we're out here reading your point of view and to encouraging you to keep writing.

Olua

Shark-fu said...

Lola Wants...thanks for taking care of that explanation!

Olua...thank you so much!

LaTonya Bynum said...

Shaking my head!

AOB said...

Hi from Israel....

Just say 'no' to ig'nance...do I foresee a t-shirt or hoodie here or even an intellectual campaign? Count me in.

Seriously, we all need to get the old DNA tested and find out what the real shit is. Mayhap (to quote someone...) we would all find out that there isn't that much difference at all. Visual shit can be very misleading.

This is a wonderful post, you addressed something really close to my heart.

Val Gendleman said...

"Blackness isn’t something folks need to learn to tolerate or get past. That’s the stinkin’ thinkin’ that got us right where we are – trying to speak some post-racialism into being rather than doing the hard work of social justice."

Amen! Thank you for your insightfulness and your insistence on calling out BS wherever it lives.

Jaelithe said...

As someone around whom certain ignorant white folk feel free to express their ignorant bigotry because my skin color happens to match theirs, allow me to confirm your suspicion.

It is not even unconscious. A lot of bigots have heard this information about the demographic shift (sometimes through talk radio, sometimes through email chains about the Death of Real America etc.), and it scares the hell out of them, and they are willing to say so in front of other white people, and I have heard them say so, often. "We need to prepare because before long whites are going to be a MINORITY in this country. A MINORITY, do you hear me?" I have been hearing that from crazy old white men (including, sadly, a few I'm related to) since the 1980s, to justify everything from anti-immigrant legislation to stockpiling guns, and their fear is getting louder now that we have the first African-American president as visible evidence that old white men are no longer exclusively in charge.

I suppose it's hard for people who have spent their whole lives harassing and demeaning "minorities" to imagine becoming a minority themselves because, instead of envisioning, as you do, a nation where no one is really a minority because everyone is, and therefore everyone gets along a little better, all they envision is themselves put in the place of the people they have been persecuting. Having never longed for equality, all they can imagine is having the tables of inequality turned.

It's a sad little limited worldview they have. And a dangerous one.

Fresh Hell, Texas said...

Yes, yes and yes. I live in a county and a town where Latino/as make up the majority (don't get me started on who still holds most of the power.) I'm white. I like where I live, hope to live here a long time, hope to see a lot more power shift from white men.

I really do love to interrupt a conversation about the "new majority" with my bonmot of "So you're afraid that they are going to act like white people do when whites are the majority?"

It's totally worth not getting invited back over.

Kathleen

Anonymous said...

The real issue is power not just so-called demographics.

In 50 or 150, or 250 years, if the white population still controls the economy, the police and military, and the media, and sets immigration policy, and is still able to maintain the same racial hierarchy, using people of color as overseers, what different does it make if they lose some share of the overall percentage of the total population?

All of these projections of future US populations show the Hispanic and Asian populations at least doubling, while somehow, the percentage of Blacks remains stagnant. Given the nature of global poverty and migration trends, this seems bizarre to me. Unless, of course, there are plans/intentions/desires to limit Black immigration and to limit birthrates of Blacks already living in the US.