Sarah Thompson Dr. Campbell English 101 April 22, 2013 The End of White America Hua Hsu is the author of “The End of White America’” and also teaches in the English Department at Vassar College. He’s known for writing about music, sports and culture. Many of his articles have appeared in magazines such as The Village Voice, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic and The New York Times. In his article “The End of White America? ” Hua Hsu attempts to convince the reader that demographic shifts, immigration and the increase of interracial marriages have resulted in the “beiging” of America.
He supports this view by citing Census Bureau data and marketing research used by advertising conglomerates to create ads designed to appeal to the majority of consumers. In Hsu’s examples, both the census data and current marketing trends indicate that “white” America will no longer be in the majority but that, by the year 2042, the white population will become outnumbered by minorities such as Blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and Asians.
Hua Hsu correlates this increase of multiculturalism or minority in America with a shifting of power or of control in our legislature.
He reminds the reader that at the time of Gatsby, when whiteness was synonymous with mainstream America, the white majority had no real fear of losing any existing class privileges which were, for all intents and purposes, established at birth. However, with the population changes, hr raises the issue that this supremacy bestowed upon the white America of Gatsby’s era can no longer be guaranteed. He describes this changing environment as the dawning of a post-racial age and movement into multiculturalism and asks rhetorical questions such as “Is this the end of white America? or “What will it mean to be white when whiteness is no longer the norm? ” He sees the end of whiteness as a cultural and demographic inevitability. Hsu attributes this transcendence of social class to modern sports and music genre (i. e. , hip-hop) which have allowed minorities to move beyond the limits of societal acceptance and into the global realm of the multicultural elite. He states that online social marketing networks have provided the media for exposure to a global audience and has bred an unprecedented cultural confidence in its black originators.
No longer do people of color have to strive to be identified as white to afford the opportunities that were associated with being white (e. g. , better paying jobs, education, homeownership, etc. ) to change their socio-economic status in life. White is no longer a threat or an ideal. The rise to mega wealth by people of color or ethnicity through sports and music has enabled them to move into social circles previously occupied by only the privileged upper white class.
Minorities and immigrants no longer care about assimilating white American culture and behavior but are remaking culture in the image of white America’s multiethnic, multicolored heirs. Again, Hsu identifies this as a shift of white power and incorporates alarmist statements into his article such as warning that “colored migration is a universal peril, menacing every part of the white world. ” He uses the election of Barack Obama as an example of the gradual erosion of “whiteness” in America and refers to whiteness as the touchstone of what it means to be an American.
Moreover, Hsu states that people in America today no longer see being white as an advantage but as a cultural void and surmises that liberal white people are coping with this change by divesting themselves of their whiteness and appropriating black behavior and culture. Those people who are not running away from their “whiteness” are coping with their fear of change and/or of the unknown by fleeing into whiteness. He points out that the country is seeing the reemergence of a cultural solidarity among lower-middle-class whites to return to American authenticity or “grassroots” and the “way things used to be. Hsu bases this “return to white America” on, among others, the rise of country music and NASCAR, both of which occurred outside the circles of high society. In comparison to the equal rights movement in the 60s and multiculturalism advances in the 1990s, we are now seeing a return of racial pride that defines itself through cultural cues and xenophobia’s. Hsu recognizes that society’s view of minorities has changed dramatically since Gatsby’s era (1920’s) and acknowledges that the civil rights movement of the 60s has allowed minorities to occupy positions of power and/or influence.
Hsu suggests that white America is not only in fear of becoming a minority but is in fear of losing what they consider to be white entitlements or of control over to people of color. He informs the reader that irrational “white” fear has manifested itself throughout the 20th century and that this dissatisfaction has given rise to various forms of identify politics which generally stem from the sense that the system that used to guarantee the white working class some stability has gone awry.
He states that aside from causing some dissatisfaction, the demographic shifts discussed are more likely to reduce the power of racial hierarchies and produce a culture that treats its inhabitants as individuals, rather than members of a caste or identity group. He concludes that cultural diversity would only serve to balance and redistribute power across race lines and ensure equal treatment. Hua Hsu’s primary purpose for the article is to inform the reader of existing socio-economic changes that are occurring today and that he believes those changes will be beneficial to America’s culture and social structure.
He is persuasive in his arguments that these changes and what they may bring are the source of the fear he mentions spreading among white America and that multiculturalism can only serve to further balance the rights of all Americans. However, Hsu arrives at this conclusion without providing clear evidence that fear exists or that, if fear does exists, it is caused by the growing number of minorities in America. He provides no substantive evidence that multiculturalism will affect a change in power or control of the Country.
Not only did I find this article interesting and somewhat informative, I found Hsu’s conclusions entertaining, although I don’t believe that was his intent. I found this article to be laden with language meant to evoke emotion such as the term “menacing”, faulty cause and effect which lacked logical argument and hasty generalizations without providing substantive evidence to support his premises. HSU, HUA. “The End of White America? ” Www. theatlantic. com. The Atlantic, 1 Jan. 2009. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
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