Green Jobs in the Red
From the Scrapbook
Sep 12, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 48
The Scrapbook isn’t arguing with the Census, but this is a national trend that ceased being news during the Johnson administration. The “white” population of the United States is aging and moving beyond the childbearing years, and the bulk of our immigration in recent times has been from Latin America and Asia. It would be newsworthy if “minorities” had not become the majority in many urban centers, such as the Washington, D.C., region.
But the reason this is a perennial story in the Post—which is the same reason news organizations search relentlessly for Reagan voters who dislike the current crop of Republican candidates—is that it conforms to a certain stereotypical vision of American society. That is to say, back in the godawful fifties, America was populated exclusively by Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, their two sons, and the Cleaver family; but beginning in the swinging sixties this white-bread vision of an idealized United States—picket fences, hoop skirts, twin beds, and Ike—began to be supplanted by an influx of Others who frightened and enraged the Nelsons and Cleavers and, in due course, outnumbered them.
The trouble with this vision—which, of course, expresses not so much delight about “minorities” as contempt for Ozzie and Harriet—is that it’s based on the solid left-wing doctrine that race is destiny. No “minority” would wish to buy into the so-called American Dream of, say, higher education, marriage, church membership, or home ownership in the suburbs. Once “minorities” were a majority in America, the Cleavers and their unbearable standards would be sent into permanent exile.
Except that it hasn’t happened that way. It is true that, as a matter of demographics, what the Census defines as “white” people are increasingly outnumbered in America’s large metro-politan centers, for what it’s worth. But it is equally true that “nonwhite” people—Latinos, African Americans, Asians—are just as interested in pursuing the American Dream as people who arrived here at other times in our history. Which means that the fact that “majorities are now the minority” anywhere in America is, for all practical purposes, meaningless.
Indeed, the next time you drive through a residential neighborhood, gawking at the Cleavers and Nelsons in their habitat, you are likely to find that they are named Rodriguez or Washington or Kim and doing their best to emulate Ozzie and Harriet.
The Scrapbook wasn’t shocked last week to read this sort of left-wing hand-wringing over the Republican House’s supposed “disrespect” toward Obama (because it refused to accede to the president’s demand that he choose when to give a speech to Congress):
But we were a bit surprised to look up from this choice specimen of special pleading and realize we weren’t reading the Nation but rather the New York Times, which went on to suggest that “there is the persistent and deeply uncomfortable question of race” raised by House Republicans’ opposition to Obama. Well, maybe that question persists on Eighth Avenue. The real story, of course, was that the White House had high-handedly announced its preferred time for the speech, which just happened to conflict with a long-planned GOP presidential candidates’ debate at the Reagan library.
This sort of “reporting” has shown up with increasing frequency in the Times, which of late seems to be reinventing itself as a niche publication for Manhattan liberals.
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