Thursday, September 06, 2012

White Racial Anxiety and the Changing Demographic Tide: Legitimate Concern or Illogical Worry?


An american suburb.An american suburb. (Photo: / Flickr)Census projections show that by 2042, the majority of the American population will consist of people identified as "non-white." In other words, in about 30 years, whites will no longer make up the majority of the American population. But before we actually get to that point when whites indeed become a quantitative minority (whereby some of them will begin to claim to be the "new" racially oppressed minority group in America), let's analyze exactly what this demographic shift entails.
Usage of the terms "majority" and "minority" has always been a misleading and inaccurate way to describe racial groups in America. These terms typically signify a quantitative phenomenon, which implies that groups with a numerical majority gain dominant status simply by virtue of their relative population numbers. Using quantifiable terms such as these actually does very little to describe and understand contemporary and future racial dynamics in America. In fact, using these terms to describe racial dynamics will invariably lead to greater misunderstandings about race and racism; which will in turn lead to greater tensions among different racial groups.

Racial supremacy or racial dominance exists as a social and systemic phenomenon; and is not based on relative population. A dominant racial system reveals itself as an ideological and systemic arrangement of various institutions, policies and procedures that constantly aim to maintain the racial status quo. The prevailing system of racial supremacy is also characterized by the social and material benefit it affords to those who are members of the dominant racial group. Racism is then described as a form of discrimination that may systemically, institutionally, or ideologically disadvantage those groups of subordinate status, while those of the dominant group gain disproportionate advantage. Racial privilege then describes all the ways in which dominant group members actualize their disproportionate social and material benefit (i.e. increased access to resources, better hiring potential, elevated social desirability etc.).

Therefore, it may be more accurate and pertinent to use terms such as dominant and subordinate, or privileged and disadvantaged when describing groups that operate within a particular racial system. In this way, it is not the population numbers of dominant racial members that dictates racial supremacy; but rather, it is the established system of racial supremacy that assigns racial privilege and advantage to its quantifiable, dominant members (regardless of their number).

Read the rest of the article here.

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