New Majority

26 August 2013 in For Sustainable Living | Comments (0)

The 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington is a cause for reflection on changes in the United States.  In 1963 100 years of racial exclusion that legally and systematically denied African Americans jobs, homes, education, health care, and the right to vote was dying.  Not one African American representative was in Congress.  By keeping African Americans out of economic and political competition many whites obtained jobs, homes, money, status and privilege.

Today however, racial discrimination is illegal though not eliminated and African Americans are represented in jobs up to the President of the United States.  African American attendance in college is near an all-time high as are the number of African Americans that are incarcerated.  However, the changes to come in the next 50 years may be even more dramatic as Hispanics, Asian Americans and blacks along with other historically minority groups become the new majority by 2043.

The transition to the new majority will be marked with some significant shifts before 2043.  Already, the demographics for the emerging new majority are evident in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections where a white voting block failed to elect John McCain and Mitt Romney.  In 2019, only six years from now, white youth will be the minority of all youth ages 18 years and below, according to the US Census Bureau.  These changes mean in part that for America to be productive and prosper that historical minorities will be required to work, innovate, create, take risk, and lead and manage in new endeavors.

Here is a short list of what we should do now to prepare for the new majority.  First, we must work toward inclusion and break down the barriers that have divided us.  Core American values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law must be reinforced now so that the strengths of the American tradition live on and the transition to the new majority is inclusive and nonviolent.  Second, we must expand post-secondary graduation to several million people in the new majority by fixing our public schools. The inferior schools that educate many African Americans and Hispanics are inadequate for preparation of the new majority to serve the nation.  An effective workforce in 2030 will require highly trained nonwhites to fill the millions of positions in our economy.  Third, historical minorities will be required to make more jobs.  Although minority businesses are growing in numbers, strategies to increase the scale of operations are necessary so that they are up to the task of producing goods, services and jobs for the entire nation.

Fourth, reducing crime and incarceration is critical.  America cannot afford the cost associated with imprisoning huge numbers of African Americans and Hispanics as these populations reach half of the nation.  More importantly, we cannot afford to allow the capacity of millions of men and women to be lost in the prison system as we need to maximize the productivity of each citizen.  Fifth, the political participation of minority groups should be encouraged so that the new majority are stakeholders in society and not on the fringes where trouble can emerge.

The future of America is at stake.  We have a chance to reduce the racial and ethnic divides now so that the transition to the new majority expands opportunity, prosperity and freedom.

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