In an age of diminished resources, the United States may be heading for an intensifying confrontation between the gray and the brown.
Two of the biggest demographic trends reshaping the nation in the 21st century increasingly appear to be on a collision course that could rattle American politics for decades. From one direction, racial diversity in the United States is growing, particularly among the young. Minorities now make up more than two-fifths of all children under 18, and they will represent a majority of all American children by as soon as 2023, demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution predicts.
At the same time, the country is also aging, as the massive Baby Boom Generation moves into retirement. But in contrast to the young, fully four-fifths of this rapidly expanding senior population is white. That proportion will decline only slowly over the coming decades, Frey says, with whites still representing nearly two-thirds of seniors by 2040.
These twin developments are creating what could be called a generational mismatch, or a “cultural generation gap” as Frey labels it. A contrast in needs, attitudes, and priorities is arising between a heavily (and soon majority) nonwhite population of young people and an overwhelmingly white cohort of older people. Like tectonic plates, these slow-moving but irreversible forces may generate enormous turbulence as they grind against each other in the years ahead.
Single-Minded: When the Weapon of Choice Is a Snarl [The Root.com]
There’s a guy who lives on my corner I call Homeless Jesus. He talks with a slur and every day advises me to “smile more,” regardless of the fact that I thought I was smiling. And I mean actually smiling, like with my mouth and with my eyes. But none of that matters to Homeless Jesus, because according to my street therapist, black girls as a monolith simply don’t smile enough. They’re non-smilers — even when they are.
See, there’s something funny that happens to black girls on their way to puberty.
The first time I called another girl a bitch, I was 12. Her name was Natalia, and she was the first person I met who cursed without looking over her shoulder, blurting out the word f*** on the playground like someone taught her how. She never smiled. Instead she wore a casually practiced smirk that seemed to say, Nothing you’re saying matters.
Natalia got her hair cut at the salon where my mom and I lived (in the two rooms in the back). Her hair had an asymmetric shape that made her look like a teenager, despite the fact that, like me, she still wore a useless training bra. She was, like, the coolest girl in sixth grade, and I wanted to be friends. Figuring the best way to go about that would be by insulting her in front of the girls, when someone asked me what I thought of Natalia, I said, “She’s a total bitch,” my voice shaking only slightly.
Of course, word got back to Natalia about my nerd attempt at being the bad girl in front of the girls. You know the ones: They had secret sleepovers they forgot to tell you about on Friday but had no problem remembering the details of by Monday. But instead of being pissed, Natalia was sort of proud. “Well, I guess I am,” she said, and instead of slapping me across the face, she slapped me on the back. I was in.