I’m sure you’ve all seen the Census projections, right? Sometime around 2050, White people will not be the numerical majority in America. At one time, I understood they projected that Hispanics would become the majority, but more recently, I’ve heard that Asians are catching up.
Either way? One day soon America will look very different than it does today.
And what does that mean for us as Americans? There’s a documentary showing on PBS tonight called Race 2012 (check local listings) – and this documentary is all about trying to get people talking about that: What will it mean then – and what does Race mean in America today?
I am writing posts in a series designed to get people talking about Race, which is a very uncomfortable subject. I was terrified to start my first post, and each post since has given me a stomachache.
I worry, what will people think when they read this? Will people think I’m a racist for the things I reveal? Will anyone respond? Or are they too afraid as well?
I wrote about growing up as a minority in Hawaii – and was told that I couldn’t possibly have been a minority since I’m White. I was speaking quite literally about my experience as a kid: the faces of the people around me didn’t look like mine. Since I was a kid, though, I adapted pretty quickly. By comparison, how would I do as an adult?
I think about people like my elderly relatives, living in communities that have changed over the years. One of my relatives is not overt with her racism, but it’s there nonetheless. She talks about how it’s so “…different now with all the new people who’ve moved in to the neighborhood.” She talks about the new smells, the food she’s unfamiliar with, the new grocery stores that cater to an emerging clientele. She’s in culture shock and probably never expected to be in that place at her age.
But what about the rest of us? What about people who live among homogenous groups? I think it’ll be the hardest for them. I know it’s not so much about skin color, but for me it’s so comforting to spend time with people who have similar cultural backgrounds. I relate to women who are near my age, who grew up watching the same TV shows and have the same digital lives. I know it’s true of many people: you find your “tribe” and that’s where you feel the most comfortable.
My sons attend a local public elementary school where the students are 85% Hispanic and they are the numerical minority as White kids. What I hope is that they will develop a “tribe” with these kids, so that they will feel comfortable around people with many more skin colors than just white.
This post is part of a series of posts about Race surrounding the documentary Race 2012 airing on most PBS stations tonight, either before or after the Presidential Debate. Please check local listings.
Many talented bloggers are taking part in this series and you can read a collection of their posts on Monica’s Tangled Web.
Sarah Auerswald is the CEO and co-Founder of MomsLA, a Community of the Top Mom Bloggers in Los Angeles and Orange County.