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STATESIDE: The changing faces of today’s America

With CHARLIE HARPER

THE government has announced that preparations are well underway for the next Bahamian national census. An estimated 119,000 households are due to be surveyed over the first three months of 2022. Ho-hum?

Not in the US. As the results of the 2020 American census are clearly emerging and tabulation is nearing completion, several significant trends are apparent.

What has properly earned the most attention is the striking decline in the white population in America. The white share of population dipped by as much as 30 percent in many localities all over the country, and prognosticators now predict the US will become a “majority-minority” nation within less than 20 years.

According to recently released federal census data, Hispanics accounted for about half the country’s population growth over the past decade, up by about 23 percent. The Asian population also grew faster than many had anticipated, rising by about 36 percent, an increase that made up nearly a fifth of the country’s total population growth. Census data show nearly one in four Americans now reports that they are either Hispanic or Asian.

The American black population grew by six percent from 2010-2020, an increase that represented about a tenth of the country’s growth. Americans who identified as non-Hispanic and multi-racial rose the fastest, more than doubling to 13.5 million from six million.

Meanwhile, the white population, in absolute numbers, declined for the first time in the country’s history. The state of Maryland has already become a majority-minority state. Most data suggest that in Maryland and many other states, the rise in “non-white” population is largely attributable to a continuing surge in Hispanic or Asian populations.

Other states that have experienced large dips in the percentage of their white population include Florida, Texas, California, Washington, Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts. With the exception of the first two of those, all are generally solidly blue states that consistently support Democratic candidates.

More broadly, as the percentage of white population drops in many areas, racial and ethnic diversity has correspondingly increased. A glance at a map depicting demographic trends reveals a broad swath of increasing diversity extending south and westward from Washington and Baltimore in the northeast across the entire South and Southwest and up the central valley of California all the way to San Francisco.

New England, the Midwest and much of the intermountain West remain solidly white-majority areas.

Over 80 percent of major metropolitan areas experienced solid population gains, especially in the South and Southwest. New York City remains America’s largest city and Los Angeles keeps its second position, but Houston solidified its third spot and Phoenix has become the fifth largest US city, surpassing Philadelphia. Chicago stays in fourth place.

Considering that American blacks and members of the national US teachers’ union continue to be among the most solidly reliable of Democratic voting blocs, it may come as a surprise that most African American majority communities are arrayed in a seaboard crescent ranging from Washington around to New Orleans and up the Mississippi River valley as far as Memphis.

It might be surprising in that every single state in that crescent except Virginia is either solidly Republican or red-purple in political tendencies.

This, of course, explains the urgent, even desperate attempts to restrict minority voting rights by state legislatures in the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Texas and the Deep South.

Gerrymandered congressional and state legislative district boundaries all over America continue to frustrate attempts to ensure fair and equitable voting and representation. That is not especially new – nor is it limited to Republican Party machinations.

But the discouraging reality is the GOP is increasingly identified with white power and its retention by an ethnic group whose birthrates and overall demographic strength are dwindling.

However, there is a growing hypothesis that the espousal of white supremacy, overt nativism and only slightly less overt racism by opportunistic Republican and other politicians is nothing more than a slogan – and not an unprecedented one, either.

A recent article in the New York Times by a George Mason University professor named Justin Gest offers a good synopsis of this perspective.

“Stoking fears of white decline reinforces the myth that this whiteness always included all who now identify with it — as if the Irish had never been demonized, as if Italians had never endured discrimination, as if Jews had never been excluded. Through a historical lens, being white in America today is like belonging to a once-exclusive social club that had to loosen its membership criteria to stay afloat,” Gest writes.

“From 1845 to 1854, a wave of Irish people arrived on the East Coast that outnumbered immigrants from all other countries since 1776 combined. The resulting backlash created a wave of support for the xenophobic Know Nothing movement and its nativist American Party.”

Gest and other students of the complex history of American immigration have cited some of the late 19th Century writings of future President Theodore Roosevelt, who is often viewed as the ultimate disciple of trans-continental American expansion in the 1800s, to provide perspective on what we are today witnessing.

Gest writes that “in Roosevelt’s understanding, Americans were made by their encounters with the wilderness and their cultivation of strength, individualism and democratic community — their commitment to a set of principles. For Roosevelt, the new ethnicities admitted into the United States were not entitled to their American identity; it was to be earned.”

As Gest points out, there is no frontier anymore, “but the grind of modern capitalism is just as stern a forge for fashioning American identity.”

“There is no future in which white people disappear from America, but there is also no future in which the understanding of whiteness stays the same,” Gest concludes.

A world of worries

Now that the initial shock and drama of President Joe Biden’s decision to finally get the US out of Afghanistan has begun to wane, how do you feel about the entire situation?

Do you still feel sympathy for the women and girls, American and Allied-employed translators and other assistants, patriotic members of the prior Afghan administration, police, military and civil service who face repression, retaliation and perhaps summary execution under the new Taliban regime?

But are you also beginning to feel weariness about the situation? Have you heard enough about the tragic evolution of events far away in a remote land where democratic traditions like ours have historically seemed to enjoy as much chance of sustained success as they would have on the moon?

After all, we have a real time tragedy right here in our backyard. The seemingly eternal run of bad luck in neighbouring Haiti, from whence many hard-working emigres continue to underpin our economy and society in The Bahamas, is sadly continuing.

Many Bahamians have commendably risen to the new challenges posed by Haiti’s continuing misfortunes. That is to be heartily applauded, and such unselfish dedication to the plight of others represents the best of us.

Meantime, we have our own problems. The COVID situation in America is increasingly worrisome. The US announcement of a new restrictive travel caution for its citizens planning a Bahamian visit is doubtless the product of efforts by well-meaning officials trying to do their jobs.

But the protests by our government ministers and officials are also well-founded. We should all be concerned as we watch an ambitious Florida governor persist in statements and policies that will likely further exacerbate public health conditions across the Gulf Stream from us.

Still, the news from the US is not all bad. Congressional approval of a massive new American infrastructure bill should represent a healthy shot in the arm for the US economy, and as employment levels rise and optimism is rekindled, Americans will hopefully resume their visits to The Bahamas.

Other potentially transformative Biden legislation also bodes well for a less turbulent America. The fate of proposals to buttress and expand the social and economic safety net for poor Americans still hangs in the balance in Washington, but it does seem like some positive change is inevitable.

What stabilises America should help The Bahamas. In the coming weeks, we will hopefully witness an ebbing of the media emphasis on distant, tragic distractions in favour of a renewed focus on public health emergencies and political, social and economic distress right next door to us.

Comments

GodSpeed 1 year, 3 months ago

"But are you also beginning to feel weariness about the situation? Have you heard enough about the tragic evolution of events far away in a remote land..."

Biden made a complete mess in Afghanistan and you can trivialize it all you want by calling it a "remote land". Won't be so remote when tens of thousands of Afghan refugees pour into the West. Also Biden's weakness in Afghanistan will have dire consequences for world peace and stability. Other nations that depend on the US for security are watching. Also watching are America's enemies and Biden will have emboldened them.

As for America, it has no future as long as Democrats wield power. It's being flooded by uneducated illegals everyday nonstop who will be going straight on the government dole. Weakened abroad by idiotic and incompetent leftist leadership. America is in decline and the world is going to get a lot more chaotic because of it.

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Bobsyeruncle 1 year, 3 months ago

Uneducated immigrants have been flooding in to the US, for a lot longer than Biden has been President. You can't solely blame him for the change in demographics. It's been going on through multiple Democratic & Republican occupations of the White House, Senate & House of Representatives.

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GodSpeed 1 year, 3 months ago

"Uneducated immigrants have been flooding in to the US, for a lot longer than Biden has been President."

You mean uneducated illegals? No, not at this rate. Under Trump, illegal immigration on the Mexico border was the lowest in 17 years. Now since the incompetent Biden administration has come into power, this will be the worst year on record for illegal immigration into the USA. The Washington Examiner cited a study that indicates that more than 1.8 million illegal immigrants are projected to cross the border this year. And remember these are people that nobody knows who they are, the numbers could include rapists, murderers, pedophiles, Covid infected, diseased. It's completely insane and unfair to people that take their time to enter the US lawfully and become residents though proper legal processes. I assure you many of these illegals will wreak havoc in the US, there will be murders of Americans by them and it's ridiculous that even 1 American has to die because some criminal illegal was allowed to cross into the US under Biden.

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Bobsyeruncle 1 year, 3 months ago

No, I mean immigrants. I'll admit, the illegals are a problem, but they are not all gang members, rapists and drug dealers like someone said. The US has plenty of it's own 'legal' White, Hispanic, Asian & Black gang members, rapists & drug dealers, so stop trying to paint it as just as an illegal immigrant thing. Cast your mind back a 100 years or so, and think of organized crime back then.

Also there are probably not enough illegals to effect the demographics, and they are certainly not going to complete a census.

Take off your biased political glasses, look past your prejudices and instead look at the history of of the US.

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GodSpeed 1 year, 3 months ago

"Cast your mind back a 100 years or ago, and think of organized crime back then."

Yes and the organized crime came because of open borders immigrants, the criminal element that came with them turned into the Italian and Jewish mafia and America is forever worse because of it. Every time you have open borders you will increase crime.

"The US has plenty of it's own 'legal' white & black gang members & drug dealers"

Sure and the US doesn't need to import more. That's why you have a controlled and vetted immigration process to make sure you're not importing more criminals. You should be importing at least educated people. Why do you think we have to get interviewed when we want a VISA, or get a police certificate to travel to the US?

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ScubaSteve 1 year, 3 months ago

As a white American male... I'm more than happy to accept 100k Afghan refugees to our country. The people of Afghanistan are no different than you and I. Most of them simply want the same things in life that we do -- a good home, go to school, get a job, build a family, etc, etc. The fact that American is made up of immigrants is what makes us special. We are a Melting Pot after all.

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GodSpeed 1 year, 3 months ago

"The people of Afghanistan are no different than you and I"

The people of Afghanistan may not be Taliban extremists but they're still pretty devout Islamists. They not just like you and I, culturally they're very different. What will happen in the US is probably the same that has happened in European countries for importing Muslims. It will create Islamic "no-go zones" where they isolate themselves from the greater society. 20 years from now their children will be carrying out terrorist attacks in the US just like the children of Muslim immigrants do in France. No good deed goes unpunished, enjoy.

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ScubaSteve 1 year, 3 months ago

Ooooooooh... Muslims are so scary!!!! Give me a break. Yes, some of them are nut bags. But let me tell you... I have plenty of Christian friends that are also nut bags. Bottom line, the majority of folks around the world are no different than you and I. I'm not going to live in FEAR of someone from a different religion.

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GodSpeed 1 year, 3 months ago

"Ooooooooh... Muslims are so scary!!!! Give me a break."

How many native French people have died in Islamist terror attacks? Is even one native life in America worth Islamist "diversity"? They hate the West, they see us as "infidels", they don't respect Western laws, culture, customs or tradition. They are incompatible with western civilization and seek to conquer it and make the West Islamic. Why would you let people like that into your country?

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Bobsyeruncle 1 year, 3 months ago

How many non-christians did the Crusades 'take care of' for not respecting Christian culture.
Not all muslims hate the West, where the hell do you get that impression from ?

Just about all Religions are incompatible with each other. I call it 'My god is better than your God' syndrome, and you seem to have it in Spades, as do most religious bigots..

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ScubaSteve 1 year, 3 months ago

And additionally... as a white American male, I'm also more than happy to see the portion of whites in our country DROP. The more diverse -- the better.

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GodSpeed 1 year, 3 months ago

Diversity isn't the issue. It's about legal and controlled immigration vs Open Borders. If you just open the borders and let anyone in how do you expect America to still be America? Would you just open the door to your house and let any stranger off the street come and stay with you and your family? Why do you think a country is any different? And don't think that these politicians will have to live around these people, they won't have to deal with the repercussions in their wealthy liberal enclaves, you will.

You're letting in people that are largely uneducated, poor and dependent on government, they will eventually be voting for government handouts just like they did in the countries they came from, it will head towards Socialism and authoritarianism, America will lose everything that made it exceptional. Eventually they will turn America into the countries they're running from, then there will be nowhere for anyone to run.

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ScubaSteve 1 year, 3 months ago

Our borders have been OPEN for over 240 years. Literally since day one. Our country is amazing and strong because of it. Again, why live in fear? Why let your emotions and insecurities rule your life?

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GodSpeed 1 year, 3 months ago

Yes America has had open borders for most of its history, you know that part of history before Air travel was a thing, America's population was paltry and the frontier was still rather sparse. After 1921 restrictions were imposed. Now with the ease of communication and travel, having open borders is not a sensible thing to do. You're going to get overrun.

I'm just being a realistic, I think you're the one that's more of an emotion based person, as most liberals are. You're not really thinking about the long term consequences of your decisions.

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Bobsyeruncle 1 year, 3 months ago

If you just open the borders and let anyone in how do you expect America to still be America? Would you just open the door to your house and let any stranger off the street come and stay with you and your family?

Ask the Native Americans

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JohnQ 1 year, 3 months ago

Joe Biden is a feeble failure. The entire world is witness to his self inflicted debacle.

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