Growing Fears of Struggling Whites Impede Civil Rights Advances

The civil rights movement flourished at the zenith of American economic expansion and at a point where the previous great wave of immigration was decades in the past. Both in terms of economics and identity, the majority was better primed to be magnanimous than at any time prior or since.

Projected demographic changes are heralded as an opportunity for advancement, based on the presumption that a majority-minority society will more easily embrace the ideals of equality. But that may well not be the case.

A democracy in which the traditionally empowered class is outnumbered is traditionally a less liberal place, not more. (A great example of this is the fact that Barack Obama suffered the widest margins of defeat in the states where whites have the smallest majority of the population.)

It’s no coincidence that the super-heated opposition to immigration reform coincides with the evisceration of the Voting Rights Act, and with public opinion polls in which a substantial number of whites say they believe they are the primary victims of racism in the United States. If anything, demographic trends will intensify these dynamics.

Thus civil rights in the future will be less easily distinguishable from other issues not traditionally associated with that cause. There’s long been overlap between civil rights causes that affect black populations and Latino populations. At the most optimistic this will be a moment at which staggering economic disparities and wage stagnation facilitate a broader economic movement, of the type that Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned toward the end of his life.

At worst, we’ll confront a calcifying system in which rights and wealth accrue even more disproportionately to a white plurality, creating a version of this country that looks more like South Africa in the 1980s than the fabled beloved community King lived and died for.

Jelani Cobb is an associate professor of history and the director of the Institute for African-American Studies at the University of Connecticut. He is a contributor to The New Yorker online and the author of “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress.”


You do not have to agree with everything he says to admit that he has raised some interesting points. I don’t see apartheid South Africa in the future — that is going too far. But a comparison with modern Brazil is not far-fetched.  He is neglecting the impact of all these new “diverse” immigrants on the American blacks.   They are not necessarily going to be all that magnanimous themselves.

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  • Alain

    Cival rights like 99.9% of all organisations/movements have lost all credibility and meaning and is just another tool used by cultural marxists. Now every kind of perversion or whim is called a “right” which does not go over well with most people.

    • Frau Katze

      They also keep moving the goalposts. So they’re never happy.

      • dance…dancetotheradio

        They have to keep moving the goalposts because they have to maintain their reason for being.
        Look at MADD. Once they get .08 they campaign for .05 then .03 and once they get that they will go for .00.
        Look at the IRA. The biggest impediment to peace there was the protection rackets.
        I could go on.

  • winniec

    The result of multi-kulti is to replace the population with Muslims.

  • Hard Little Machine

    Well a few things. Obama has created an every man for himself country. Don’t look to the government unless you’re already tied into the social welfare system, not as an individual but as a member of a special interest group. Anyone else has been, is and will continue to get screwed. And don’t look to each other either; there’s zero value in ethnic or social divisions in the US to reach across to others, as it were. For anyone. Secondly, Obama doesn’t actually care about black people more than they are able to keep him and his in power. He never has and never will. Blacks have not fared well economically or socially under Obama because special interests have been able to suck them into an cycle of outrage and rhetoric that serves those special interests. Who after all has been helped by any of the marches, riots and protests about Trayvon, Cleveland or Ferguson? No one has. Legitimizing 11 or 13 or 20 million illegalitos is simply the next group base voters and support that Obama has to exploit. Since most of the other minorities have been picked clean or wised up, he’s got to move on to the illegalitos. They are politically naive and they come from a culture where politicians openly buy votes. In a few years after they’re no better off than they were as illegals, the newly minted Democratic voters will become disappointed. And if Obamism is still in play that Obamist leader will descend like locusts on the next crop of base voters to be exploited.

    • Frau Katze

      Obama seems to be a very cynical guy.

  • Martin B

    “A great example of this is the fact that Barack Obama suffered the widest margins of defeat in states where whites have the smallest majority of the population”

    WTF?. From Wiki, the 3 states where Obama suffered the widest margins of defeat in the last Presidential election were:
    Utah 86.1% white, just 24.8% voted Obama.
    Wyoming 90.1% white, just 27.8% voted Obama
    Idaho 89.1% white, just 32.6% voted Obama

    If Professor Cobb is trying to imply that white folks only voted against the Obamunist because they’re trembling in fear of the encroaching black & brown hordes, his statement is not borne out by the facts, which needless to say no one at the NYT bothers to check anymore.

    • Minicapt

      As a contributor to The New Yorker, he is probably on good terms with Seymour Hersh.

      Cheers

  • Justin St.Denis

    Civil rights (racial equality recognition) have already been achieved. Some people simply have too much time on their hands and too many government dollars in their pockets