California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres drew the wrath of racist Americans when he declared California’s 1994 Proposition 187 “the last gasp” of white America. The ballot measure sought to limit state services to undocumented immigrants.
That burst of hatred is history. So how are the same people reacting to Census Bureau projections that white Americans will become a minority in just over two decades from now?
Next year, fewer than half of American children will be white. Most of the new majority children will be Mexican American and other Hispanics, combined with African Americans, Asians and other races. Some estimates suggest whites will represent a minority of the overall population as early as 2042, while others suggest it will be as late as 2050.
The Supreme Court of the future will undoubtedly look much different than it does today. The court presently has seven white members, and just one black and one Hispanic. There will be no more decisions like 1857’s Dred Scott v. Sandford, which ruled that blacks could never be citizens.
There will be no more Plessy v. Fergusons, either. In lofty legal terms, Plessy approved “separate but equal.” In reality, it socially and politically sentenced blacks to decades of indignity, lynchings, literal genocide of entire towns, denial of voting and other rights.
American whites ran a segregated country with “separate but equal” bromides and restrictions on blacks and some Mexican Americans before 1954. The all-white Supreme Court unanimously ended those restrictions with its landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.
President Dwight Eisenhower’s 1957 integration of Central High School in Little Rock, AR, by the Army’s 101st Airborne Division followed the Brown decision. White racists objecting to Central High’s desegregation were no match for paratrooper bayonets.
Much of America joined the Supreme Court in embarking on a new road to a United States that tries to live up to its ideals.
Americans, mostly of European origin, were hugely anti-immigrant, anti-Mexican, anti-black and anti-Asian. With those populations now moving towards majority status, what can we expect in the future?
Today, 47 percent of Republicans, especially older ones, object to hearing a foreign language in public. Despite the law, Spanish-speaking people are sometimes fired for speaking that language while working. When they sue, however, they usually win. Few will be fired in the decades to come.
Most Republicans and white, blue-collar Democrats today loudly oppose illegal immigration, and quietly approve President Trump’s efforts to restrict all immigration. They say they support legal immigration and oppose only illegal immigration, but that’s a ruse.
In two decades, immigration will be larger than today out of necessity to fill millions of jobs and raise more taxes to support the Social Security system. There won’t be enough working-age whites to fill the needs of the American economy or treasury.
How will the white minority of the future act?
The 2020 Trump re-election campaign will tell us much about how it will probably act. We might see the last gasp of majority-white America in that election.
One thing is sure: Torres was prescient when he declared Proposition 187 was white racism’s last gasp. It died in the courts after passing with a million-vote plurality. Torres’ declaration was long before the Census Bureau made its projections.
The hysterical reaction to Torres indicates what we might see between now and 2042.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a political consultant and author of the new book White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS) & Mexicans. His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.