Project RACE Denounces White Supremacy

Project RACE Denounces White Supremacy

The Board of Directors of Project RACE denounces white supremacy, white nationalists, and neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan, white nationalists, and the “alt-right” for their blatant racism and hate rally in Charlottesville, Virginia over the past weekend. Project RACE will always stand against any persons who threaten the multiracial community and any other minority group.

The hateful speech and deplorable actions by a few resulted in deaths and injuries and must be stopped before they are allowed to thrive and spread violence. We acknowledge President Trump’s later comments about the situation, but vehemently and negatively respond to his spreading the blame to “many sides.” There are not many sides to this evil behavior. There is right and there is wrong. The evil events of the weekend included domestic terrorism, which calls for complete and swift investigation and severe repercussions.

Some of the protesters shouted “blood and soil,” (“Blut und Boden”) a Nazi rallying cry that stresses that ethnic identity is based on only pure blood descent and the territory in which an individual lives.

Project RACE stands firm with other groups and individuals that resolve to swiftly take any necessary and peaceful solutions to cease hateful speech and actions by white nationalists and other extremist groups.


Does Diversity Enrich or Divide Us?

The handwriting is on the wall.  By 2043, fewer than half of all people living in the United States will be non-Hispanic white.  That’s been a reality for children through age 1 since 2011.  This tipping point was expected to stretch through age 5 by 2014 and through age 18 by 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

There’s more.  In August of 2014, Education Week reported that “Latino, African-American, and Asian students in public K-12 classrooms were expected to surpass the number of non-Hispanic whites.”  Source of that information?  The U.S. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

One thing is crystal clear, the traditional majority/minority society is fast becoming a minority/minority society.  No single racial or ethnic group will make up more than 50 percent of the population.  Nothing new for states and equivalents such as Hawaii, the District of Columbia, California, New Mexico, and Texas as well as many cities and communities across the nation which tipped during the past several years.

How does a country get so diverse?  The short answer is immigration and birth rates.  In the 1920s, immigrants came to the U.S. largely from northern and southern Europe as well as from Canada and Mexico.  In 2010, top immigrant-sending countries were:  Mexico, China/Hong Kong/Taiwan, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, El Salvador, Cuba, Korea, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Immigrants are often younger and more likely than the general population to be in their child-bearing years.  The face of the nation continues to change.  However, our motto remains the same, E Pluribus Unum (Of the Many…One).

During what can easily be called another age of mass migration, people are moving in droves from one part of the world to another, generally seeking opportunity.  That means receiving countries, wherever they are, face education challenges ranging from working with a diversity of languages and cultures to improving achievement for all students, whatever their backgrounds.

Social cohesion depends on maintaining an inclusive country or community.  To form that glue that holds us all together, we need to start with a basic premise or belief:  If we manage our diversity well, it will enrich us. If we don’t manage our diversity well, it will divide us.  Every diverse nation or community, to secure its future, simply must be flexible and inclusive enough to constantly reframe its identity in a fast-changing world.  Of course, that raises a basic question:  “Are we inclusive or exclusive?”

Let’s remember that the whole idea of diversity is constantly being redefined.  It’s no longer simply black and white.  In fact, the definition keeps growing and now includes:   social and economic factors, race, ethnicity, national origin, color, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disabilities, political and religious affiliation, language and linguistics, physical and cognitive abilities and qualities, political beliefs, educational background, geographical location, marital status, parental status, and life experiences.  Considering learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, and emotional and behavioral concerns, we can add neurodiversity (Armstrong, Thomas, Neurodiversity in the Classroom, ASCD, Alexandria, VA., 2012).  Feel free to expand on this list.

Implications of diversity?  There are hundreds.  A constant challenge is maintaining that critical balance between what divides us and what unites us.  Depending on whether people feel their voices have been heard, they will very likely conclude that they are either in power or out of power.  We should never stop searching for our common denominators.  Of course, effective communication is bottom line, at the very heart of understanding.

Our steadfast pursuit of equal opportunity should be aimed at lifting all boats.  Educators should insist on high expectations for all students across all diversities.  A fast-changing, interconnected world demands an understanding of languages and cultures and a commitment to celebrating our differences.

The world is rife with conflict, often built on a firm foundation of misunderstandings.  How can we build bridges and find common ground?  How can we get future generations ready for life in a highly diverse world?  Those are questions we need to answer, not just once but every day across all political boundaries and in every family, school, and community.  Think of it this way:  Our children, our need for education and learning, and our future as viable communities and as a planet are among things we all have in common.

Are you a “Minority”?

Let’s Stop Describing Ourselves as ‘Minorities’

My Thing Is: This increasingly inaccurate term for people who don’t identify as white suggests powerlessness and has outlived its utility. Can we agree to give it up?


Hope E. Ferguson

It’s already been two years since May 2012, when we learned that for the first time, U.S. babies born to parents who didn’t identify as white outnumbered those born to parents who did. What this means, according to demographers, is that by the year 2030 or thereabout, there will be no majority racial group in this country.

People who check “black” now make up about 13 percent of the population, while those hailing from the Spanish-speaking former New World colonies represent approximately 17 percent and growing. The numbers who claim “Asian” (both South and East), Middle Easterners, and those who think of themselves primarily as mixed or “other” are also on the rise.

So why do we insist on using the word “minority” to describe everyone except people who identify as white?

Don’t get me wrong—I understand where and why this originated. I come from a family with deep roots in the civil rights movement, including my grandfather, an African Methodist Episcopal minister, and my late father, C. Clyde Ferguson Jr., who was general counsel to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights as it was writing the 1964 Civil Rights Act. So I remember when “minority” became a household term, and when it worked, linguistically and politically. When I was growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, it served as easy shorthand and as an all-inclusive way to designate those who were not deemed Caucasian. It was often deployed to advocate for the rights and resources to which these people were entitled.

Since, historically, this country has been overwhelmingly white (70 percent or even more), “minority” made its own kind of sense. Not to mention, it was easier than saying the mouthful “people of color” or, more daunting, calling each racial or ethnic group by name.

But for some time now, I have sworn off using the term at all and have tried to persuade others that its time has passed. That’s because I believe that words have the power to influence our thoughts, and our thoughts influence our actions.

And there’s Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, which reads as follows:

: A number or amount that is less than half of a total;

: The group that is the smaller part of a larger group;

: a group of people who are different from the larger group in a country, area, etc., in some way (such as race or religion)

That last definition is the one we are dealing with here, but think of the other definitions: “Minority” is something “that is less than half of a total.” It is the “smaller part of a larger group.” As long as we use the term as a synonym for myriad people of color, we are, I believe, consigning these people to lesser status and a smaller role—in short, to powerlessness.

When you hear the word “majority,” on the other hand, it denotes power. The majority vote wins in elections. The majority opinion is sometimes able to silence the less popular. Calling a group the majority makes it seem like a behemoth, something as immovable and inevitable as Mount Everest.

But racial power is not, in fact, inevitable; it is the result of various historical forces. What will happen when our country becomes a nation of ethnic and racial groups, with no one group in the numeric majority? Doesn’t it make sense to begin to speak of racial groups using the most specific—if still imperfect—terms we have for them: black, white, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latino?

If nothing else, this could save us some awkward constructions. With the news of nonwhite babies becoming a majority of births two years ago, the media began to use the term “majority-minority nation.” Talk about an oxymoron!

In light of this increasingly multiracial country and the accompanying resistance to adhering to strict labels, will there come a day when the census drops its racial categories altogether? Maybe. But in the meantime, can we stop using the belittling and power-robbing word “minority” as a synonym for that blossoming, expanding group of multiracial and varied-race Americans? I hope a majority of us can agree, once and for all, to do so.

Hope E. Ferguson is a senior writer at SUNY Empire State College in New York. She blogs about faith, politics and culture at Morning Joy.

Census Bureau Speak

Nation to Become a Plurality, but Some Areas Already Are

When people discuss our nation’s increasing diversity, they often think about the point at which the non-Hispanic White alone population will comprise less than 50 percent of the nation’s total population. This transition has been described as the point at which we become a “majority-minority” nation. Here, minority is defined as any group other than non-Hispanic White alone. At this point, the non-Hispanic White alone population remains the largest single group, but no group is in the majority and the United States would become a “plurality” of racial and ethnic groups.

While the nation is projected to become both a “majority-minority” and a “plurality” nation by 2043, some states and many counties have already crossed these thresholds. California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Texas, and the District of Columbia have populations that are already “majority-minority.” Nearly one-third of Americans already live in a “majority-minority” county. According to new Census Bureau estimates released today, this was the case in 355 (11 percent) of the nation’s 3,143 counties in 2013.

The term “plurality” considers the diversity of the aggregate minority population. The populations in the “majority-minority” states are also considered “pluralities,” because no race (alone) or ethnic group has greater than a 50 percent share of the state’s population.

In 2013, of the 355 counties where the combined minority populations make up more than 50 percent of the population, 143 counties are “pluralities,” where no race or ethnic group has greater than a 50 percent share of their county’s total population. In the remaining 212 counties, a race or ethnic group other than non-Hispanic White alone (e.g., Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black alone, non-Hispanic Asian alone, etc.) makes up greater than 50 percent of the county’s total population.

The figure below shows examples for the race and Hispanic origin distribution of 10 “plurality” counties (of those with populations greater than 25,000 in 2013), where no one group accounts for more than 40 percent of the total population. Three of these counties are in Hawaii, two each are in New York and California, and the remaining three counties are in North Carolina, New Mexico and Texas.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau