Serving Metropolitan Detroit Since 1944

Blacks and Minorities in America

According to U.S. Census Bureau Reports, the nation's racial and ethnic minorities will outnumber those of its White population by the year 2042.

Implicit in this prediction is that a non-White American majority population is ominous and undesirable and would usher in an era of incompetence and savagery.

The fear of a dark or non-White majority has its genesis in two basis beliefs. One is that non-Whites will overwhelm and dominate a country that's been (from its birth) a nation of White supremacist beliefs and practices. And the other is that people of color (whether Black, Asian, Latino or Native American) have made no significant contribution to the development of the nation except as laborers, athletes, or entertainers.

This should not be surprising, for although America has apparently attempted to include Blacks and non-Whites in its lofty vision of freedom, justice and equality with the passage of civil rights legislation and Amendments to the Constitution, it is still essentially a White nation, run by Whites, controlled by Whites, for the benefit (first and foremost) of Whites.

The mind-set that reduces non-Whites to curiosities and non-entities and cloaks them with the shroud of pseudo-slaves, refugees, or illegal aliens is cultivated generally by America's institutions and particularly through its desperately inadequate education systems. And it is projected and consumed through its powerfully influential mass media networks, and it is primarily these institutions and avenues that are responsible for cultivating information and attitudes and must bear the blame for the sad and sorry reality of ignorance, racism, and bigotry that exists in the nation today.

Moreover, it is an ugly testament that, despite Blacks being lumped together with other groups such as Latinos and Asians when describing the geopolitical dynamics of minorities, Blacks have always been subjected to the most intensive forms of oppression and exploitation which is unique in its severity and durability from anything that any other so-called minority group has experienced in this country. Yet, because of a desire to be a part of the elusive dream of an America where people are treated according to their abilities and their merit, and not condemned because of the darkness of their skin or contour of their features, Blacks have neglected to establish their own economic infrastructure, or to awaken their own cultural, educational, and ideological identity; but have instead sought to merge themselves into the mythological American melting pot.

After 1865 and the enactment of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, Blacks sought to empower themselves economically and politically. And during the Reconstruction period following the Civil War, Blacks were elected to government offices to an extent never experienced before or since. Blacks also acquired millions of acres of land and were the proprietors of thousands of businesses and institutions.

We accomplished this despite terrorist groups like the KKK (that existed within government as well as outside of it) and the most vicious and incredible anti-Black racism. Yet, in the wake of legal gains of civil rights and in our fervor to be accepted in White America's businesses and social settings, we forgot about establishing and keeping our own.

Other racial and ethnic groups have (while securing a piece of the American pie) nevertheless maintained their historical, cultural, and economic ties to their ancestral homeland. And they did not fall for the illusion of a race-blind or color-neutral America.

Blacks burdened by the suffocating legacy of chattel slavery, had the ties to their ancestral lands fractured or broken. And struggling to rebuild the pieces of who we are and whose we are, we find ourselves collectively occupying the bottom rung of the nation's ladder.

Even so, as a glorious sign of our strength, creativity, and nobility we have (against all odds) produced some of the greatest human beings that have ever graced the nation or the planet.

Steven Malik Shelton can be reached at [email protected]


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