by: Eri Kameyama
The US Census Bureau just released the groundbreaking news that the majority of the babies born in the year 2011 were non-white. What does this mean for us, people of color? Are we going to start having more political voice in Congress and at the local level? Are we going to have equal and fair representation in the media, finally? How can we ensure that our children, minorities who are now in the majority, will grow up with an education that does not promote color-blindness and erasure of diasporic histories of oppression and discrimination but a much-needed recognition of race and ethnicity? Precisely how do we move forward with this data?
More specific to our Japanese American communities around the nation, what is the role of JACL and how do we embrace the increasing diversity while addressing the issue of the dwindling Japanese American population?
I believe that the Japanese American community, with its long history and legacy in the US, has the responsibility and the capability to serve as leading examples in the people of color communities. We need to recognize that the past histories of racism are not unique to our own experiences, but something that is still prevalent today, albeit in less blatant forms. With our programs like Bridging Communities that bring together Muslim Americans with the Japanese American youth, JACL is already paving the path in promoting cross-ethnic collaborations. If we can continue to see parallels across our experiences, perhaps this is the first step in addressing the very issues of increasing diversity in this nation.
Researchers project that by 2050, the majority of the U.S. will be people of color. By then, the children born in 2011 will be 40 years old. This data should be taken seriously and action should be taken to address this fast- changing landscape of America.