Monday, May 3, 2010

WHITE ANXIETY CRISIS

Hold on to the handrails, the bannisters -- whites in America are sliding, skidding, sidling into being a minority

Am I kidding? NO. The census will tell us more accurately, precisely, factually. than I can right now. But it's happening.

How whites are going to react to being a minority is already, maybe, probably why we're hearing about angry Militias -- those plain, regular, friendly Americans carrying guns to church, to PTA meetings, parties, bars, just about everywhere.

(I hope it doesn't encourage kids to tote guns to school, and inspire what happened at Columbine H.S. in Colorado.)

Actually, right now, most immigrants are still assimilating into the "melting pot" of U.S. society, as they've done for many years. Despite guns and disdainful neighbors, immigrants are managing.

I think one of the problems is that we still pay attention to group distinctions that have been burned into our brains. Most of us wouldn't dare use the slang words out loud, but we think them -- see cartoon pictures -- skin-color, noses, eyebrows for Jap, Spick, Chink, Jigaboo, Hebe, Wop.

The fact is, though we're not stuck on the idea of a single race, ethnicity or religion, any native-born white American knows that being white is better -- whites can go to any school, have any career, earn more money, live in the best neighborhood.

Everything about white is better, because white supremacy is taken for granted -- I hate the term, it sounds horribly bigoted, but isn't it a reality?

Historical tidbit -- in every naturalization act from 1790 to 1952, Congress included language stating that the aspiring citizen should be a "white person." It was part of the Immigration and Naturalizati0n Act -- the national origins section that was abolished in stages between 1952 and 1965.

Despite all the changes, the progress in civil rights issues over the past 50 years, the sense in most white people is, "this is our country, and our culture!" Even though we now have an African-American President, most of the people I know think of the minorities -- Blacks, Asians, Latinos, Mexicans, etc. -- as part of our country, but whites are the whole!

If the census bureau is right, and by 2050, whites will be a minority -- how are we going to feel?

In 2000, when white people in California were becoming the minority, the voters passed two interesting (protective), propositions -- one eliminated state sponsored affirmative action -- the other, increased measures against illegal immigration.

California politicians started being reluctant to endorse anything that would invite a backlash from non-whites. Actually the majority of individual states will probably continue to remain "majority white." Since the biggest changes are in heavily populated states like New York, probably politicians will continue to promote ideas that whites like.

I have a feeling that when whites are actually the minority, race is going to be more important than ever. And race will continue to be a defining feature of our politics,

Here's what I've observed: Even though whites are still the majority, and undoubtedly have more access to wealth and political influence, we are already acting like a threatened, aggrieved minority.

Tea Partiers, Limbaugh, Beck, Breitbart, Coulter -- no wonder they're getting more popular, more famous, louder, and uglier -- no wonder the Republicans are saying NO to everything, and some "Democrats" are tense, depressed, confused about what they want.

Let's blame it on the census. After the census is done, and out there in print -- oh my -- we're going to have a lot of other things, scary things, to worry about.

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