It’s cul­ture, not com­plex­ion

A com­mu­nity of shared val­ues is what makes Amer­ica ex­cep­tional

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

White Amer­ica is dy­ing off. Does it mat­ter? It ob­vi­ously mat­ters to those who are do­ing the dy­ing. In the long run, how­ever, what is im­por­tant to the fu­ture of the na­tion is not the en­durance of a par­tic­u­lar color, but the en­durance of the na­tion’s cul­ture. To­gether with the de­cline in the num­bers of white Amer­i­cans, de­pend­ing on how you de­fine “white,” there’s a di­min­ish­ing sense that the coun­try is an ex­cep­tional place to live. There’s a grow­ing sen­ti­ment of good rid­dance. If Amer­i­can pride in lib­erty and jus­tice for all is to fade with its chang­ing com­plex­ion, it won’t be easy to rekin­dle.

A re­cent study by the Univer­sity of New Hamp­shire found that be­tween 1980 and 2014, the pro­por­tion of the non-His­panic white U.S. pop­u­la­tion — mostly of Bri­tish and Euro­pean racial stock — fell from 79.6 per­cent to 61.9 per­cent, and the study cites Cen­sus Bureau data pro­ject­ing that by 2050, whites will be a mi­nor­ity in Amer­ica. Dur­ing the same pe­riod, the per­cent­age of Lati­nos rose from 6.4 to 17.3, and is fore­cast to reach 29 per­cent by 2060.

Re­searchers say nat­u­ral pop­u­la­tion de­clines, de­fined as a fail­ure of births to keep up with deaths, are oc­cur­ring among whites in 17 states — up from four states in 2004. An ag­ing pop­u­la­tion plus an in­creased fre­quency of drug- and al­co­hol-re­lated deaths in the work­ing class have boosted white mor­tal­ity. Adding fall­ing child­birth rates re­sult­ing from the Great Re­ces­sion sig­nals white Amer­ica’s de­cline.

Chang­ing de­mo­graph­ics and the ac­com­pa­ny­ing shift in the na­tion’s eth­nic bal­ance are not nec­es­sar­ily a bad thing. In 1993, Time magazine pub­lished a cover story on mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism ti­tled “The New Face of Amer­ica.” It fea­tured a com­puter-gen­er­ated fe­male face on its cover blend­ing the na­tion’s pre­dom­i­nant eth­nic strains, a fore­cast of the ef­fects of in­ter­min­gling of genes. Her race was un­fath­omable but her beauty was un­mis­tak­able. Beauty is only skindeep, how­ever, and it’s a cru­cial ques­tion whether fu­ture Amer­i­cans will cher­ish the na­tional motto “E pluribus unum” — “out of many, one.”

For some, the nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion of racial changes over time is not rapid enough. Cal State San Mar­cos was host to a White­ness Fo­rum the other day fea­tur­ing dis­plays on “how white priv­i­lege has op­pressed peo­ple of color in a va­ri­ety of ways,” as re­ported by the web­site Col­lege Fix. “One thing you can do to­day is to be­gin to ed­u­cate your­self about white supremacy and learn how to not sup­port it and how to help erad­i­cate it,” said Dreama Moon, a pro­fes­sor who or­ga­nized the event.

“Pro­gres­sives,” as lib­er­als call them­selves af­ter years of abus­ing the honor­able word “lib­eral,” have no hesitation pit­ting eth­nic and so­cioe­co­nomic groups against each other, be­liev­ing it to be the most di­rect path­way to Utopia. Urg­ing civil un­rest, like a bull (or even a calf) in a china shop, can ex­act a heavy price. Barack Obama, Amer­ica’s first black pres­i­dent, sel­dom misses an op­por­tu­nity to slow the na­tion’s progress with in­ces­sant re­minders of its past sins. “We have, by no means over­come the lega­cies of slavery and Jim Crow and colo­nial­ism and racism,” Mr. Obama told “Com­edy Cen­tral” on Mon­day, “but the progress we’ve made has been real and ex­tra­or­di­nary.”

Amer­i­cans can tell when they’re be­ing damned with faint praise. A CNN/ORC poll found finds that 54 per­cent think race re­la­tions have wors­ened dur­ing Mr. Obama’s ten­ure. That’s a legacy that speaks for it­self.

The eth­nic­ity of Amer­ica is evolv­ing as a func­tion of nat­u­ral de­mo­graphic pro­gres­sion. Fu­ture gen­er­a­tions will judge whether the na­tion re­mains an ex­cep­tional one. It won’t be, if the driv­ing force for so­cial change is ob­ses­sion with race rather build­ing a com­mu­nity with shared core val­ues. Amer­ica is ex­cep­tional be­cause it has an ex­cep­tional cul­ture.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.