By Anonymous (not verified) on May 24, 2012

As Americans, we should embrace the increasing diversity of our country.

The Census Bureau recently reported that minority births made up a majority of births in the United States in the year ending July 2011.The report noted that 50.5 percent of the births were Asian, Latino, African-American or mixed race. This percentage has been on the rise for years as the nation’s white population ages and the minority population gets younger and younger.

Right now there are more than 300 million people in United States, and 114 million of us are minority or persons of color. Of the individual states, Hawaii, California, New Mexico and Texas already have majority-minority populations. The District of Columbia is majority-minority as well.

The majority-minority birth numbers should come as no surprise. Demographers have been predicting for years now that by 2040, people of color would comprise a majority in the United States. Some studies place it a little later at 2050, but still, the “browning of America,” as many call it, is coming.

Amid all of this change, there is unfounded fear and outright hatred.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, hate groups are on the rise. The number, in total, is currently more than 1,000, and many of them are organized around resistance to these demographic changes.

In addition, anti-immigration laws have been passed in many states across the nation. Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi and South Carolina have all passed laws that are anti-immigrant in nature.

This is no way to respond to the changing face of America. Except descendants of Native Americans and slaves, everyone’s relatives came here as immigrants. We should resist the temptation to pass laws that will restrict new Americans as the country once did in the early 20th century when Jews, Poles, Greeks and Italians arrived in large numbers.

Instead, we should pass comprehensive immigration reform to offer a path to citizenship to all those who have been leading productive lives here for many years.

We should also address the problem of economic equality along racial lines. Failure to address this issue as the nation grows more diverse could prove to be catastrophic. Not only will it breed division and contempt, but a majority will also be unable to live a constructive existence.

In 2010, median black and Latino families earned a paltry 57 cents for each dollar earned by median white families, according to a study by United for a Fair Economy. White families, on average, also possess far more wealth than black and Latino families.

We can’t have a smoothly functioning society with such economic disparities. We need to equalize educational opportunities and open the doors for all.

The United States is what the Rev. Jesse Jackson once described: “a quilt of many patches, many pieces, many colors, many sizes, all woven and held together by a common thread.”

We should strengthen that thread and admire the power of our many colors woven together.

Brian Gilmore is a poet and public interest lawyer. He can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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