After the White Establishment, What’s Next?

It's time for people of every color to recommit to our national ideals

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In the week since Election Day we’ve heard a lot about the waning of the white majority. Bill O’Reilly kicked it off even before the race had been called, declaring on Fox News that “the white establishment is now the minority.” Maureen Dowd argued a few days later that the “white male patriarchy” was in a “delusional death spiral.” Conservatives have been fretful about being painted into a demographic corner, and liberals gleeful about their diverse winning coalition.

On the face of it, reports of the white establishment’s demise seem quite premature. Most people of color remain acutely aware of the whiteness of privilege and the privilege of whiteness. Just look at Congress, the Fed, or the Joint Chiefs. Or think of the power brokers in your own town: the partners at the big law firms, the attending physicians at the best hospitals. You’ll see that the white establishment remains very much in the majority.

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There is, of course, a big exception: the presidency of the United States. It’s not just that a president was elected against the express wishes of a majority of white Americans; after all, that happened twice with Bill Clinton. It’s that we chose to keep a black man in the Oval Office. And the “we” who did that included more nonwhites than ever recorded in an American electorate.

But the question now is what we do — and who “we” are. Whites in America, like Americans in the world, may still have more power in absolute terms than anyone else. But they have less power than they used to (like Americans in the world). This moment in history, and its accelerating demographic shift, could give us zero-sum politics fueled by white status anxiety.  Or it could give us the opportunity to at last detach Americanness from whiteness. We need to accept that white doesn’t mean normal or right or Republican or American; it just means white. And we need to see this as progress.

(MORE: The Power of the Asian and Latino Voters)

At the same time, the emerging coalition of color needs to recommit to Americanness itself. There’s a civic creed at the heart of this country, a culture of democracy and inclusive self-government, that’s worthy of commitment. It’s time for people of every color to reclaim and redeem that universal, unifying creed: to identify first as Americans so that the full diversity of our identities can flourish.

There are stirrings of such a movement in the campaign that just re-elected President Obama. But this isn’t the work of just one party or one segment of the electorate. It’s everybody’s job now to ensure that the American idea outlives the white establishment.

MORE: For Obama, Survival Is the New Winning 

6 comments
prioripete
prioripete

It would be a good idea if that was told to the American white male.  47 percent of the population are made redundant by policies made by mostly white men.

mime
mime

As for white privileges, power and high status, the future U.S. will be no different than Mexico.  The very small number of white ruling elites in  Mexico are mostly European descendants, and they represent the face of Mexico.  This tiny population of white European Mexicans dominate TV, magazine covers, and government offices.  So a future U.S. will still be ruled by a minority of white Americans.  

stephengreen732
stephengreen732 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Americanness has a nice ring to it. we have always been a nation of immigrants. as such we need to band together for our own interests, All of us, regardless of of color or national origins..

SwiftrightRight
SwiftrightRight

1) "was elected against the express wishes of a majority of white American"

No he was elected against the express wishes of the majority of VOTING white Americans, specifically OLDER white American demograph as younger white Americans firmly supported Obama. That's a pretty big difference

2)We as Americans need to move past this whole Us vs Them thing and start building bridges to a truly united American citizenship. 

EuroAmericansMN
EuroAmericansMN

"ASIA FOR THE ASIANS, AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS, WHITE COUNTRIES FOR EVERYBODY!"

Everybody says there is a problem called White Privilege. Everybody says this White Privilege problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve Asian Privilege by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

Everybody says the final solution to this White Privilege problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

What if I said there was this problem called Black Privilege and this Black Privilege would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a Black Privilege problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

Zulu1122
Zulu1122 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Your article is spot on, however those Americans, European, and Asian  cultures who refuse to see the commonality of the universal Human RACE will continue in their discomfort and superior culture fantasy. Catastrophe and calamity always seem to bring people together for the common good. Pity so many humans wait for this to happen.