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The End of White America?


I found Hua Hsu’s article, The End of White America very interesting, and very timely, considering the quite recent inauguration of our nation’s first black president. The ideas he covered such as “flight to whiteness? and conversely, the “flight from whiteness? the change in attitudes about ethnicity and multiculturalism, and especially the idea of Caucasian students feeling “culturally broke? all seem to reflect the ways in which our nation and it’s people have changed so much over time. Overall, I agree with Hua Hsu about the ideas he presents in this article, but for me, The End of White America seemed to raise more important questions then it did bring about conclusions.

The author’s very first sentence in the introduction of his paper, states, “The election of Barrack Obama is just the most startling manifestation of a larger trend; the gradual erosion of “whiteness as the touchstone of what it means to be an American.? Right away, you might ask yourself why was being white ever the acceptable “touchstone? of being an American? Perhaps because those of European decent have held the power and majority status for so long, it’s easy for us to forget that Native Americans and African Americans have been here for longer than many immigrant groups of European decent, (longer than everyone, of course, in the case of Native Americans) and have had enormous and complex histories contributing to our country as a whole. That’s not to mention the Hispanics, South and East Asians who have also been an absolutely crucial part of America’s past and present. Perhaps people of the many different ethnic backgrounds have not always had the overall power or been the majority, (obviously, they have been and still are referred to as “minorities?) but does that excuse the concept that to be American is to be white?

Another question this article makes me ask myself is, just how much has changed over the past several decades? I don’t mean to suggest that overall, the nation hasn’t evolved monumentally, I believe it truly has; however I still think there are some things that might not be so different, and may never be completely changed at all. I noticed in the very beginning of Hua Hsu’s article, he refers to Lothrop Stoddard’s The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy, which was written in 1920, regarding the so-called disappearance of the white race. It seems the book supported a type of racial paranoia amongst Caucasian Americans, that over time they would be attacked, taken over and eradicated by the ethnic groups of the world. That paranoia couldn’t possibly exist in today’s world, could it? What’s interesting however, is that just a couple of short pages later, the author quotes two separate sources, saying, “I think white people feel like they’re under siege right now,? “There’s a lot of fear and a lot of resentment,? as well as “I really feel like the hunted.? and lastly, “We used to be in control! We’re losing control!? I don’t mean to suggest in any way that all, or even most Caucasians are running around, fearful of what will happen to them in this “post-racial? era, but instead, I mean to suggest that racial anxiety still does exist. I also think it’s possible that the idea of an America where Caucasians do not hold complete power may indeed make some people uneasy. Take Pat Buchanan’s statement, “Mr. Clinton assured us that it will be a better America when we are all minorities and realize true ‘diversity.’ Well, those students are going to find out, for they will spend their golden years in a Third World America.? Statements like that seem bourn out of fear, insecurity and prejudice, and unfortunately, I doubt Pat Buchanan is the only person in America who believes those words.

One of the most potent points Hua Hsu made in his article, to me, was that even though we may be approaching a post-racial age, “we still live within the structures of privilege, injustice, and racial categorization that we inherited from an older order.? I agree with that statement, and believe that though our country may be diversifying and ethnicity is more often appreciated than shunned, we have not automatically become a land that is equal or even ideal for all shades of people. I feel that no matter how many different ethnic groups you have in one place, or who the majority race is in any given area; racism, prejudice and injustice can and may prevail to some degree.
It is my opinion that the color line in America becomes blurred slightly more all of the time, and though there are some who never may be comfortable with the change, I feel confident that there are countless people who are, and many more still who welcome it. Though all of the complex issues surrounding race are not solved simply by Dora the Explorer’s popularity, P. Diddy’s “white? parties in the Hamptons, or even the historic inauguration of an African American President, I do feel confident that they are signs of progress more than anything else.

Comments

As stated, the article The End of White America raises questions rather than answers them. I fully understand that America was founded by Europeans, therefore making whites believe they hold superiority, but that does not mean that minorities including African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanics did not contribute to our Nation’s success. When America was first establishing itself, as everyone knows, African Americans were used as slaves to work the land. Without their hard work, despite the fact that it was forced, plantation owners probably would not have survived. To say that you have to be white to be American, in my opinion, just as the response states, is extremely inaccurate because without the minorities, there would be no America.

The question of how much we have evolved over the years also boggles my mind. I agree that American then and now are fairly similar. As stated, we are alike in the sense that whites are paranoid with their ‘loss of power’ but has it really only been their power? I believe we are also comparable in the sense that racism exists- on both sides of the spectrum. Well-known organizations such as the KKK are still around today discriminating towards African Americans. On the other hand, though I am not saying every African American falls in this category, with the election of President Obama, there seems to be a sense of empowerment amongst African Americans as well as a feeling of hostility towards whites because they are no longer ‘in power.’ As sad as it is, racism is inevitable and, most likely, will continue to happen.

While “the color line in America [is being] blurred slightly all of the time,? and change is imminent, it really should not be considered the end of white America because quite frankly, it has not been solely white for some time. We are known as “the land of the free,? where everyone, regardless of skin color is given the same rights and freedoms. The shift of whites to the minority should be considered a good thing, proving that our nation is growing not only technologically and economically, but rather ethnically and culturally. We are finally starting to live up to our nickname: the ‘melting pot.’