Recently, The Root caught up with Brown University scholar Marcia Alesan Dawkins to discuss the growing “tan generation” and what it means for America.
According to Dawkins, having a minority majority may and may not mean positive things for America.
On the positive side, this new “tan generation” might have a broader and more progressive view of social and political issues — such as immigration reform, education reform and civil rights — based on changing ideas about race and ethnicity. There will also be cultural changes, as there have been in recent years with changing definitions of who or what is an American, for example.
The increased numbers of people of color also represent a larger potential pool of candidates who will be eligible to run for political office and enter fields like law, technology and education — or start new businesses aimed at meeting new needs — where some changes can be enacted.
While having a more diverse populace means more opportunities for minorities, it doesn’t mean everything will be smooth sailing.
On the negative side, we must know now how many of these children are born into economically disadvantaged environments and make sure that proper reforms are enacted today to ensure equality of opportunity for the tan generation. In addition, we must account for a sharp rise in white-supremacist groups who feel that they are now acting on behalf of all white Americans as a besieged minority group.
As we continue to have more nonwhite citizens in this country, the debate over what it means will persist. While I hope our growing diversity will help move us toward a more inclusive society, our past leads me to believe we will continue to suffer the same sorts of challenges as we’ve always faced.
What do you think? As America becomes “browner” what, if anything, will it mean?