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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Nation’s Growing Diversity Still Frightens Some Americans

Nation’s Growing Diversity Still Frightens Some Americans

The little girl has just started school at one of those institutions that opened to preserve segregation, a private academy that once stood as a reminder of Southern resistance to federal courts. But her attendance there doesn’t signal her parents’ allegiance to an old social order.

The little girl, who is white, plays frequently with my little brown-skinned daughter and rocks my daughter’s chocolate-brown dolls. The two girls eat together, swim together, and argue over toys and my mother’s lap. Their friendship may cool as they grow older, but they’ve formed a bond that will always help to inform their judgments about people who look a little different.

The nation has progressed in myriad ways since those old segregated academies sprang up in the Deep South, testimony to the fear and hostility that characterized race relations not just there but around the country. Not so long ago, the term “America’s golden girl” would have surely meant a young white celebrity, perhaps blond and freckled.

These days, America celebrates an Olympic team of teenage gymnasts that includes a Jewish captain, a black girl, and a girl whose ancestry is black and Japanese. They are all golden, with the medals to prove it.

They represent a nation that can be moved to champion its growing diversity even as it struggles to accommodate itself to demographic change.

I reminded myself of that last week as I read the awful news about a mass murder at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis. Wade Michael Page, the apparent shooter, was steeped in the racial hatred of right-wing extremists who preach “white power.” He founded a band that took its place on the skinhead music scene, where lyrics espousing violence and racial supremacy are commonplace.

Rather than usher in an era of “post-racial” harmony, the election of President Barack Obama seems to have done just the opposite: It provoked a hysterical backlash among those fearful and xenophobic whites who believe they are losing “their” country. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, has documented explosive growth in white supremacist and anti-government organizations since Obama’s inauguration.

“The dramatic expansion of the radical right is the result of our country’s changing racial demographics, the increased pace of globalization and our economic woes. For many extremists, President Obama is the new symbol of all that’s wrong with the country, ” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the center.

  • Tom_D44

    May I remind you that, throughout history, the overwhelming majority of violent crimes such as this, were perpetrated from the extreme left and this is well documented. And for as much anti-Obama rhetoric I hear today from these republican politicians that you reference, it was very likely 100 times that when GWB was in office. How quickly we forget.

    • sleepvark

      Oh really! So it has been all those leftists of the KKK and the radical south that have been perpetuating all that well documented hate and violence! Now I see. The perpetuation of health care for all is just a neo nazi scheme of some sort in order to promulgate national socialism? Now I get it, thank you for the enlightenment. Oh yes, and the fact that w the shrub was not a yellow coward who ran away from the ready availability of combat flying when even his minimal qualifications would have allowed him to join the ranks of much better men than himself at the pointy end of the spear in Vietnam. So as a result, the fact that he has every bit as much combat flying experience as the Spice Girls can be seen as a manly republican virtue that all should acknowledge. I think I’m getting the point here.

    • bstockinger

      Violent crimes in America have not historically been from the left. The KKK and others killed hundreds in the south after the Civil War. Kansas City and 9/11 were done by right wing extremists. There was some violence from the extreme Left in the 60s and 70s during the Vietnam War and some in the 20s and 30s from the labor movement. But even the violence from the labor movement in the 20s and 30s pales in comparison to the violent response by business owners. So what documentation?

    • BDD1951

      Where did you get you information from. Ann Coulter??

  • This country is moving into the future, not returning to the past.

    • S-3

      …Only if conservatism and religious recklessness don’t overtake everyone like it has in most of the South , first. Otherwise, I (kind of) believe you and will fight to the death to prevent otherwise from happening. Know that.

    • Ed

      you must be lost in the fog.

  • desertdustoff

    If net wit mitt and his puppetmasters have their way, we will move back to the pre-civil rights era and our future will be destroyed. mittens money romney’s pick for vice president is a perfect example of this. The American taliban repugnican party will guarantee a return to the past and eventually the destruction of this country.

    • Ed

      The repubs have never made a secret of it. But Americans have not paid attention.’A republican proudly stated that he wanted to’ shrink government until it was small enough to drown it in a bathtub.’the inority leader of the Senate, in thw midst of one of the worse recessions in history, stated that his goal was to” make sure Oboma was a one term president”, not to help the AMERICAN PEOPLE. The house seems ready to censure any politician that works with the opposition to help americans. Republicxan governors and legislatures are consumed with denying voting rights to americans who do not think like them. Basically the repubs want to destroy the United States of America and see the rise of a new CORPORATE AMERICA!

  • desertdustoff

    Tom d44 I see you have consumed the kool aid..show us the well documented violent crimes that were perpetrated by the far left. You taliban repugnicans are good at stating this crap, but (like your politicians), but you can’t prove it. This article is talking about the Obama era not”throughout history”. Wing nut!

  • I’m sorry to say that this article is spot on. Fear and distrust of others has become the new American blood-sport. Are people paying attention to the tragic events of the past few weeks? I lived most of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the most diverse areas of the country. I worked with people of all stripes in harmony and with mutual respect. I’ve never been able to understand why so many of our countrymen are so afraid of diversity. I can understand that for many older white people the new face of America is freightening. When the ‘others’ were invisible these folks believed the entire country was just like them. Actually it never was. They did not have to see the faces of the ‘others’ on television or in their workplaces. Those days are gone and the sooner the soon to be minority accepts reality the better for the nation. It is way past time to put aside the old taboos and prejudice and work together to move the country forward.

    • Lynda – well said, but the only ones who will say that are the members of the chior (to whom you are preaching) – the ones that should read your blog and look into their very souls will NEVER do so – they will simply go on living their racist and right-winged lives….so sad….

  • They key is that not all of the post-Obama racism is authentic. A good chunk of it is the product of party loyalism — of people who hate him, not because he’s black, but because he’s a Democrat (the same people who wanted Clinton impeached because of Lewinsky).

    These people will accept any excuse to hate Obama, including make-believe “hatred of whites” that his every single word somehow is proof of.

    And just as the party loyalists have demonstrated that they will accept any excuse to hate Obama, the Tea Party Republicans have demonstrated that they will give a platform and a microphone to anyone who hates Obama.

    This isn’t a surge in racism so much as exaggerated racism. It’s the same number of racists, only now more of them are being given the resources they need to expose themselves.

  • onedonewong

    Barak’s idea of a race neutral society is the one he grew up in where black achievement is based on Quotas and not merit

    • Seriously? Do you actually believe that Obama became a Senior Lecturer at a major university law school due to a quota system? He was considered a professor by that institution for nearly a decade my friend. He was elected to office in his state, then to the Senate and finally to the office of President. You think this was done without merit. Whatever you are smoking should be put away. Don’t let you fear and distrust cloud your judgement.

      • onedonewong

        Absolutely… his fellow professor said he was Lazy, ill prepared and knew little of the course material. That’s why he was asked to leave after 1 semester.
        He was elected to office in his state by getting the previous office holder disqualified.

        Absolutely it was done without merit his WHOLE life is without merit, hence the reason why we have 12% unemployment and $10 Trillion in new debt

      • Lynda – when one argues with fools it only serves to prove there are two….and I KNOW you are not a fool, but please stop trying to enlighten those who by their very definition cannot be….onedonewrong is the worst of them I fear….

      • WizdomManifest

        Preach!… like Cynthia Tucker tactfully explained, it’s an animal response. Poor little ignorant soul. We’ll pray that they read more

  • concerned123citizen

    Great article – this message needs to be widely read. Intelligent people need to wake up & not let this country be destroyed by ignorant conservative bullies.

  • Thank you, Cynthia. You are so right, and I see now how tough it is.
    But it is the way of the future for a just society. I always enjoy your
    columns and participation on new panels.

  • Thank you, Cynthia. You are right on all counts. It has turned out to
    be tough, but it is the only way to a just and happier country, for the
    long term.

  • tranz2deep

    There was a major, major resistance to desegregation, as well, to the point the National Guard had to be called in at first.

    It is hard. it is VERY hard. But it’s worth it.

    Screw “staying the course”, this isn’t Bush-league politics.

    Overcome.

  • Mikey2222

    Perhaps if the constituency Ms. Tucker seems obsessed with writing about stopped the murder and mayhem they visit on their own families, neighbors, strangers and anyone else who happens along in their quest for drugs, normal folks might be a little less apprehensive.

    None of the bleeding heart Liberals who frequent this website would open their homes or their families to the savage element that is pervasive in the minority communities. Perhaps a little tough love is in order. All of the slobbering excuses and alibis haven’t changed the outcomes since time immemorial.

  • Did you see how diverse the European Olympic basketball and soccer teams were? Canada, Australia, and Britain’s entire teams? And how old-fashioned the equestrians from the West looked. The times, they are a-changing.
    Diversity comes more easily in some places,e.g. to newly Asian-majority Vancouver BC than to old WASPy State College, PA, but it’s coming. We adapt or pass away, nature tells us.
    Rednecks may doubt Darwin, but their confusion is anachronistic nativism. Their kids will find diversity exciting, the way Cynthia’s young friends have. When I was a lad in Philly, we had “race radio”, all-white reporters, and Irish gangs. Now Philly has street signs in Mandarin, Spanish, and Korean, as well as English, black council members, Walt Whitman’s “America, Singing” a hundred songs in a score of tongues.

    And the music I hear when I visit carries more “race”, more “races”, than Stephen Foster’s
    “Darktown Strutters” dreamed possible! The race is not finished, nor racism, but the team is ready.

  • JackieAllen

    Lynda—When I was a little girl, my mother, my sister and I would drive to Denver, Colo. where mother would finally rceive her Ph.D in speech and hearing pathology. Denver was
    not segregated like FOrt WOrth, and I asked my mother why that was.? Black and white people
    were married, had children whom I played with in the sand box. MOther always told me that
    it was not right, the way Texas seperated the races. As I grew up, I was in the eighth grade
    when Rosa Parks had to give up her seat on the bus. From then on, I followed the Civil Rights
    movement–King became a hero of mine, and we watched the entire thing unfold on the TV in
    our kitchen. I never stopped watching. I donated to Dr. King’s monument and am a member of
    the NAACP, Southern Povert Law, etc. As an educator, a retired one now, I can say without
    pause that people who never experienced another race, or who were not raised to believe
    that God would not want his children to be treated in awful ways, can call themselves
    Christians. People like this cannot see how much harm they have done to our society–
    the wasted talent, lost ambitions, lost lives. The GOP has been a major contributor to all
    of this hate by aligning themselves with hate groups and even churches who are a disgrace
    to mankind.

  • Diversity might be difficult to achieve, but the minorities and majority both harbor resentment towards each other – it’s not only the majority thinking they will lose their “rank” in society. In an economy as bad as this one the minorities are quite angry for being denied the same chances and wages to improve their living conditions and lifestyles. We all want one of the same things for ourselves, which is financial security, and we’re all competing to earn the same dollar. Competition is never conducive to all of us living in [eventually] harmony together.