Interview: The Tanning of America with Dr. Marcia Alesan Dawkins

A visiting scholar at Brown University cautions that the growing increase in non-White births in the U.S. will not guarantee more social justice in America in the coming decades. In “The Future of the ‘Tan Generation’”, appearing in The Root website, Dr. Marcia Alesan Dawkins spoke to writer Jenee Desmond-Harris about American society’s current demographic transformation.

Dawkins, the author of the forthcoming Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity, has published extensive writings on racial identity as an expression of “how people figure out who they are and how they connect with others,” She has warned readers not to assume that demographic changes will banish the legacy of America’s troubled racial past.

Asked by Desmond-Harris what she wants Americans to consider in anticipation of demographic changes, Dawkins answers with the following:   

Two things: vocabulary and power. In terms of vocabulary, the phrase ‘majority minority’ just isn’t accurate. Not only is it an oxymoron, but it also subtly implies that the balance of power has shifted along with the ratio of white-to-non-White births. Using the term ‘majority minority’ implies that White supremacy disappears, but that’s just wishful thinking. All we have to do to see evidence of this is to look at South Africa, where, even though whites are in the numerical ‘minority,’ they hold the most political power.

Increasing rates of non-White births today in the U.S. does not automatically equal increasing social justice for tomorrow. More accurate ways to predict the end of inequality, for instance, would be the present-day elimination of disparities in income, employment, health care, education, housing, crime, punishment and family structure for this new generation, as well as their parents.”

For full interview, click here.