A growing number of white Americans are acting like a racially oppressed majority. They are adopting the language and protest tactics of an embattled minority group, scholars and commentators say.
They point to these signs of racial anxiety:
• A recent Public Religion Research Institute poll found 44% of Americans surveyed identify discrimination against whites as being just as big as bigotry aimed at blacks and other minorities. The poll found 61% of those identifying with the Tea Party held that view, as did 56% of Republicans and 57% of white evangelicals.
• More colleges are offering courses in “Whiteness Studies” as white Americans cope with becoming what one commentator calls a “dispossessed majority group.”
Whiteness studies?? Really???
• A Texas group recently formed the “Former Majority Association for Equality” to offer college scholarships to needy white men. Colby Bohannan, the group’s president, says white men don’t have scholarship options available to minorities. “White males are definitely not a majority” anymore, he says.
We died at “Former Majority Association for Equality.”
• U.S. Census Bureau projections that whites will become a minority by 2050 are fueling fears that whiteness no longer represents the norm. This fear has been compounded by the recent recession, which hit whites hard.
• Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh argued in a radio show that Republicans are an “oppressed minority” in need of a “civil rights movement” because its members willingly sit in the “back of the bus” and “are afraid of the fire hoses and the dogs.”
• Fox talk-show host Glenn Beck led a march on Washington (attended primarily by white people) to “restore honor,” and once called President Obama a racist with a “deep-seated hatred for white people and white culture.” He later said he regretted making that comment.
• Conservative news outlets ran a number of stories last summer highlighting an incident from the 2008 elections, in which activists from the New Black Panther Party appeared to be intimidating voters at a polling place. Those claims were never proven.
Mass rallies in Washington, voter intimidation at the polls, creating ethnic studies programs at colleges to promote racial self-awareness — it sounds like a script from a civil rights documentary.
But not everyone buys that script. Mona Charen, a conservative columnist for the National Review, challenges that view with this question: If more white Americans feel like an embattled minority, why did they elect President Barack Obama?
“Did they become racist after electing the first black president?” she asks.
Charen says the United States today is “incredibly tolerant and open.”
Sure, she says, there are individuals who nurture racial animosity, but most Americans deserve praise for looking past race.
The proof, she says, isn’t just in the fact that the nation elected its first black president. She cites the rise of more interracial couples.
“When I grew up, it was incredibly rare to see interracial couples,” she says. “People would turn their heads on the streets. Now it’s so common that no one notices it anymore.”
See: swirl-ers are WINNING!
All jokes aside, what are you thoughts on this issue and Mona Charen’s comments?