A “Person of Color” has become a popular media term to cover all minorities, but that term is so general that it becomes somewhat meaningless.
Nikki Haley, the newly announced Republican candidate for U.S. President in the 2024 elections, said, in her announcement speech on February 14, “I am not white and I am not black”. It is a refreshing statement, and indicative of a new approach to minorities in the U.S.
When someone says, “person of color”, the immediate reaction of a large proportion of the population is that those three words are a euphemism for “black”. Traditionally, that has been true, but lumping all minorities under one description belies the significant differences in the groups the term covers. I can understand why this is done: To create a greater lobbying force, but it degrades the individual differences and makes a “them and us” situation worse.
Current U.S. demographics (U.S. Census Bureau) show that Whites are 60% of the overall population, Hispanics are 19%, Blacks are 12%, Asians are 6% and Native Americans are 4%.
Looking forward, the U.S. Census demographics for 2050 show that Whites will decrease to 48% of the population, Hispanics will increase to 26%, blacks will stay almost static at 13%, Asians will rise to 9% and Native Americans will rise slightly to 5%. The most significant of these changes are Whites (-12%) and Hispanics (+7%).
On another note, given Nikki Haley’s entry into the Presidential race, the 2024 election for the President of the United States could be between two Indian women; Nikki Haley and Kamala Harris – an interesting thought, and outside the box of the normal interpretation of “minority”.
Now for the controversial part.
The Black population has fought long and hard for recognition in the national picture as the dominant minority. They have made major gains, although the more radical elements have tried to create a new culture separate from mainstream American culture. It is debatable how effective this strategy will be in the long run.
However, the Black population has ceased to be the primary minority. Hispanics have taken over, and demographics indicate that Hispanics will continue to increasingly out-number Blacks: The Black population will remain static as a percentage of the overall population, at least up until 2050. This can be good or bad depending on your perspective. In a way the evolution of the term “people of color” reflects this trend. The word “minority” does not mean just Black any more.
Obviously this trend is good for the Hispanics and not so good for the Blacks in terms of potential influence on the country’s politics. However, diversifying the interpretation of the word “minority” could help break up the huge divide between black and white. Such a breakup can only be good for the country.
Black and Hispanic cultures are very different: Black culture is maternal and slave based, whereas Hispanic culture is paternal and immigrant based. To lump them both under “minority” does neither of them any favors. When you add people of Asian descent and Native Americans, the term minority becomes even more meaningless. The only groups that benefits from this singular term are those who hate all non-white parts of the population.
If I could dream, the demographics might point to the beginning of a trend that results in calling all U.S. citizens, Americans, and nothing else. Yes, each group should be proud of its heritage but that heritage should not be the driving force of their politics or their lives.
A pipe-dream, perhaps, but one that could make the future of the country much brighter.
We will all be slightly brown anyway….eventually.
2 thoughts on “PERSON OF COLOR”
I live in a country where a Nth American would describe 95% of the population as being “of color”. However, 40% are Indian origin, 40% are African origin, 15% are mixed, Syrian or Portuguese and the balance are French Creole or British origin. No one would be happy to be called “a person of colour”. Racial origin is used locally as a description- sometimes quite derogatorily- but everyone is proud to be a Trini.
I do like the thought that in the end we will all be brown…
But, do we have to wait until this occurs before we celebrate our similar human condition with all of life’s trials and struggles? Surely it would be better to try to understand and respect one another instead of pointing out our differences? So tribal and limiting.