Demographic Apoplexia

August 8, 2018

Why do we have an unapologetic,  racist, misogynist, sexist and (conveniently) xenophobic president as well as a ruling party of sexist, white supremacists (for all practical purposes) with an angry, frightened  band of supporters?  Probably because in the last few decades of the 20th century a demographic truth was finally realized by those with precisely those inclinations: that it would not be long before the United States would be a nation with a white European minority. Those with power then decided they must act to prevent that demographic surge from becoming real. Everything we see now, the lust for border walls, voter suppression, the political acceptance of racial animus, shameless public expressions of white and ethnic supremacy, the election of a president with obvious problems around women, who for the sake of power has manipulated the national dialogue into one of fear and hate. All of this flows from that (for many) clear demographic nightmare. But theirs is an impossible remedy, at least not without cruel political repression and is, in fact, transforming the nation into one with a quality of life far worse than a more humane and enlightened acceptance and approach to change would achieve.

Of course our white presumptions are as invisible to many as the water fish take for granted. Dominican-American  novelist Junot Diaz suggested as much is a statement about critical acclaim in his field:

“All I can tell you is that in 100 years I seriously doubt that the list of the 100 best writers from our time is going to be as white, as male, as straight, as monocultural as the lists we currently produce about the 100 best writers of our time.

“In all frankness, our present day evaluative criteria are so unfairly weighted towards whiteness, male, middle-classness, straightness, monoculturality— so rotted through with white supremacy—as to be utterly useless for really seeing or understanding what’s going on in the field, given how little we really see or value of the art we’re now producing because of our hegemonic scotoma. Who can doubt that the future will improve on that? No question that today, in the margins of what is considered Real Literature, there are unacknowledged Kafkas toiling away who are more likely women, colored, queer, poor.”

There are also thousands and thousands of other potential immigrants who would, as have those of the past, contribute to make the USA a better nation.

Jim Culleny


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