What is truth? I believe that most Americans can observe and acknowledge truth, but for political reasons some opt to promote a culture of chaos and hatred.
Change is difficult for many, and this has always been the case in Western culture. Both Plato (427 B.C. to 347 B.C.) and Socrates (471 B.C. to 400 B.C.) complained of young people who “ignore the law” and “riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions” and have “contempt for authority.” We have observed recently that some among us, regardless of age, have contempt for authority.
Change in our world, even when we don’t like those changes, is inevitable. We cannot go back to earlier decades. Instead, we must ask ourselves some serious questions about what changes are threatening to us and why.
First of all, I would ask you if you swelled with pride at the performance of U.S. athletes at the Tokyo Olympic games. I did, and I also noted the racial diversity of those who represented us. Did you cringe when male Olympians referred to their husbands and females referred to their wives?
Next, I would ask you to pay attention to the commercials on your television whether you are watching Fox or CNN. Those advertisers are fully aware of the diversity we see in most parts of the country, and they reflect that in showing persons of color, same-sex couples, families with racial diversity, people with special needs, etc. Does this make you uncomfortable?
As I write this column on Aug. 11, I am eagerly awaiting new U.S. census data which is projected to be released tomorrow. We believe that the white non-Hispanic population is shrinking as the population of people of color is increasing, hastening the time at which the white non-Hispanic population will be less than 50 percent. We also know the white population is aging and births to Americans of color are outnumbering white births.
Of course, whatever the census reveals will become a political tug of war and perhaps result in outright fisticuffs. Who was counted? Should all who were counted have been counted? Who was not counted who should have been? And on and on.
Corporations know that people of color have money to spend and the success of the products and services they are offering is directly related to their ability to provide the products those want as well as the white population. Those of us familiar with marketing know, for example, that ads for diapers MUST include images of babies of color as well as images of blonde-haired, blue-eyed babies that dominated at one time.
I’m inviting you to ask yourself how you feel about some changes that are objectionable to a percentage of the population: minorities living in neighborhoods that are predominantly white; person other than heterosexuals being open about sexual preferences; atheists, agnostics and persons of religions other than Christian freely indicating their positions; women having babies without being married; openness about having sex outside of marriage; males being stay-at-home dads; women in Congress, being governors, heads of companies, presidents of universities; etc. The list goes on even as some still believe it is possible to return to earlier days when they felt more in control.
Update since I began writing this column. The census data is out and the Associated Press reports what others and I had expected. New York Times reporter Sabrina Tavernise reports that the white non-Hispanic population has declined 2.6% since 2010 standing now at 58 percent of the whole. The African American population has grown by 5.6%, the Asian American population has grown by 35%; the Hispanic American population has grown by 23%. Data abounds, waiting to be analyzed.
Redistricting of House seats will soon begin as those seats are determined by population and locations of those populations. Expect battles as the gerrymandering starts in earnest as lines are redrawn to benefit particular political parties in the 2022 and subsequent elections.
Some might be able to barricade themselves in enclaves of their choosing, but the wise among our population will take steps to understand the people who are represented in these changing demographics as their logic tells them that it is a disservice to themselves, their children, and their grandchildren to do otherwise.
Your next question might be, “How do I do that?” Read; select movies that are more inclusive; enroll in classes at your local community college in American history/government, ethics, and a variety of music and art classes with an international perspective (At the college where I teach, tuition is free for those 60 and older who are auditing); attend international festivals; attend religious ceremonies that differ from your own; keep your eyes open for all sorts of learning opportunities. Always realize that within any classification of Americans, there is much diversity and never assume that knowing one or five people is to know all.
We are a nation of immigrants, some of us with ancestors who came centuries ago. Note the non-white medical professionals in your community and be happy that they or their parents opted to take a chance on our country. We would be in deep trouble if they were not bringing their expertise to us.
Will this learning process that you have mapped for yourself be uncomfortable at times? Of course. I, however, believe that most of us will opt for logic, inclusion, celebration, and hope.
Vivian B. Blevins. Ph.D., teaches telecommunication employees from around the country and students at Edison State Community College and works with veterans. You may reach her at 937-778-3815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.