The rich get richer; the poor get children.
— Author unknown
During 2012, in the United States, a strange thing happened. For the first time in history, fewer white babies were born than the total of black, brown, yellow, red and beige babies. Another first for that group of little white privileged squalling brats was that fewer of them were born than there were old white geezers who died. Blame that, if you will, on our immigration policy — uncertain and hesitant as it is — or perhaps cite the demographic contraceptive fact that as people acquire more wealth they elect to put up with fewer children. Au contraire, among great swatches of the underprivileged, under-compensated, and under-employed, there is frequently no other form of entertainment.
Neither trend is about to change. In fact, they will get worse. Or better, depending on your complexion and the avoirdupois of your wealth management account. Within the next five years, the minority of white children will extend not only to newborns but to all kids under five; and by 2043 (30 years down the pike) white Americans of all ages will represent a spanking new minority, all according to census figures and a projection by the Brookings Institution, a reluctant think tank staffed mainly by rich, old white guys who know a bean ball when they see one.
The social, political, and cultural aftershocks that will follow in the next three decades may be good, bad, entertaining, or tragic, depending on you, what you do Sunday morning or at sundown, and your hairdresser.
Strangely, there is not abundant evidence around that we’re seriously planning for the “save Whitey” cataclysm that will eventuate in 30 years. Take the recent George Zimmerman Liberation Landslide as a silent clue as to what the pale ones who run the show consider not only The Law but Justice. In every mainstream media outlet that has commented, whether print, visual, audio, or online, I count only one (The Nation) that has had the guts and the perception (unlike the carefully scripted “legal” jury boosting of Time magazine, or the patrician abstractions of The New Yorker) to absent itself from legal patois long enough to state simply:
The real problem is not that jurors were willing to accord Zimmerman the presumption of innocence — a bedrock of our justice system. It is that Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager, was never accorded the same presumption — and that so many defendants who look like him are denied this right every day.
And later in the same publication, Richard Kim politicized the same thought with the ultimate conclusion that provides the sub-plot in what we’re talking about:
One day the ultimate victims of Republican efforts to build a white-only party may be the Republicans. But for now it is women, gays, minorities and poor people who are being royally screwed… there is nothing more dangerous (and rapidly becoming an anachronism, this editor might add) than a white man standing his ground in his own castle.
It’s difficult not to belabor the black minority as a focal point for any discussion of minorities in a losing game — at least for the present. But black America remains center stage, although it’s not even the leading minority in numbers, nor for that matter in longevity. Black Americans have been traumatized for 300 years or so (outdone of course for the duration of their suffering by the natives of North America, who have been decimated almost into extinction since Columbus).
Nevertheless, Congressman John Lewis, within the memory of his immediate family, encapsulates the full gamut of what white America has hesitantly accomplished, and then again retrogressed from. (With indigenous “Americans,” it could be argued, the trajectory has all been downhill, as has been the body count and the fractional number of survivors.)
Congressman Lewis discovered recently that his great-great grandfather won voting rights after Emancipation in 1865. Five generations later, John Lewis marched at Selma, was baseball-batted senseless by socially conscious lawmen, and shared a stage with Martin Luther King. Since then, older and wiser, Lewis has served multi terms in the Congress of the United States for his native Georgia. And today, in enlightened 21st Century America, he is still compelled to be out there on the battlements, fighting to maintain voting rights for his people, because of the determined incursions in 14 States spurred on by Republican administrations. And, incidentally, he is forced to operate within a government system that countenances a U.S. Supreme Court led by its Chief Justice doing its utmost to support the States’ sombre initiatives,
Perhaps most pointedly, Congressman John Lewis must simultaneously operate in a 21st Century America where he himself, the Attorney-General of the United States and the President himself, must caution and instruct their children in the art of surviving vis-à-vis a white majority, with all the quotidian risks and qualifications thereto appertaining.
How, if at all, will all of this change on and after 2043? Don’t bet your food stamps on it.
One interesting real-time parallel to projected post-2043 America is offered by present day Israel, and several notables have identified the similarity. John Kerry, for one:
“The longer the Palestinian conflict remained unsolved,” Kerry said recently, “the more acute the demographic challenge would become for Israel. No matter how many settlers you put out there, the Palestinians are having more babies than the Israelis as a whole… You’ve got an existential question to answer.”
In other words, if the Israelis don’t allow Palestinians the vote, they don’t have a democracy. If they do, there’s no longer a “Jewish State.”
The white folks in post-2043 America won’t have that option.
A short time later, President Obama commented during a visit to Israel: “You can be the generation that permanently secures the Zionist dream, or you can face a growing challenge to its future. Given the demographics west of the Jordan River, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine.”
It’s as if, some time around the fourth decade of this century, Congress were to come up with the brilliant idea of creating our own Left Bank, using the Mississippi River as a sort of vertical Mason-Dixon Line. White East, Multi-racial West.
I don’t think I’d want to live in either country. I can’t imagine New York all white, and I never could stand L.A.