Not Victims But Warriors

David Kirp, a public policy professor at Berkeley, writes in a NYT op-ed about an anti-poverty program in Houston where they did something quite rarely done: They asked people in some neighborhoods with high poverty rate, what they needed. That he points out has not been Continue reading “Not Victims But Warriors”

Progress For Farm Workers

It does look like consumers’ demands for food that is produced ethically are beginning to make some difference. Costco, Wal-Mart, Ben & Jerry’s (now owned by Unilever) along with a number of other food producers are taking notice and in some cases accommodating the demands of farm labor groups. There are two million farmworkers in the United States who still toil in harsh conditions, conditions that includes no days off, bad housing, and of course no vacation days. Several groups have sprung Continue reading “Progress For Farm Workers”

On Majority-Minority States

A headline I read: The rise of the majority-minority and the near majority-minority states. They were referring to a key demographic trend. In plain English it means that whites will no longer be the majority in several American states in the near future and those we presently call minorities, meaning Latinos, Blacks and Asians taken as a group, will become the majority. But in a culture with as much racial baggage as that of the United States, one needs to tiptoe around issues of race, and specifically what could be called the darkening of America, hence this pseudo-academic jargon to describe a straightforward phenomenon. Besides, surely the idea of not scaring whites is also a factor. The facts are fascinating. By 2060 the population will be 44% white, down from 80% in 1980. Presently there are 4 majority-minority states—that is states where whites are no longer a majority. They are: California, Hawaii, New Mexico and Texas. In the next five years, Maryland and Nevada will join the ranks. In the 2020’s Arizona, Florida, Georgia and New Jersey will be. By 2060 22 states will be majority-minority and will account for 2/3rd of the American population. Such demographic changes have many political implications. But too they will be a great impetus for learning to live with diversity and transcending the ideas of race. Maybe by then we will have given up this awkward and euphemistic idea of majority-minority and discovered a new vocabulary.