The complexion of the United States has shifted over the last few decades, and the future will demonstrate an even more varied set of racial and ethnic demographics. Little wonder why there is a rabid response of racism, xenophobia, and anti-immigration rhetoric from the Republican Party—which we might as well call “The White People Party,” since, according to Gallup “non-Hispanic whites accounted for 89% of Republican self-identifiers nationwide in 2012.” From my perspective they are no different from the White Citizens’ Councils of the past, who were the public face of the Klan.
This shift presents a challenge, and not just to white Americans. It also highlights inter-ethnic positions and tensions. Let’s not fool ourselves: Developing fusion politics with whites and erasing friction between and among peoples of color is a challenge. We can look to movements like Moral Mondays in North Carolina for an example of how fusion is being put into practice outside of the electoral realm.
We’ve seen some of the obstacles play out during this Democratic primary season, which Issac J. Bailey explores in “How Bernie Sanders Exposed the Democrats’ Racial Rift.” He writes:
Barring an asteroid strike that extinguishes life on Earth, the American electorate will be much more diverse in coming elections than it is today, especially the portion of it that Democrats plan to rely on. There are now more non-white than white babies being born every year, and the under-18 crowd is close to reaching majority-minority status as well. That’s the Democrats’ greatest potential strength, which grows only more pronounced the closer Trump comes to being officially named the GOP nominee.
No longer is it a given that straight white males will be always be the defining force in Democratic party national or local elections. For us, fusion is our future. Failure to accept, acknowledge, embrace, and work toward that future will set us back. It will play into the racist, sexist, regressive Republican agenda that’s espoused by not only Donald Trump, but also co-signed and reinforced by right-wing elected officials in Congress and Republican-leaning independent voters.