Opinion: Minorities? Try 'people of color'
New Census numbers show the marjority of children under 1 are of color.
May 18th, 2012
08:32 AM ET

Opinion: Minorities? Try 'people of color'

Editor’s Note: Rinku Sen is the President and Executive Director of the Applied Research Center (ARC) and the publisher of Colorlines.com

By Rinku Sen, Special to CNN

(CNN) –With the news that, for the first time in U.S. history, the majority of American babies are not white, it should put to rest use of the term “minorities” as a reference to America’s black, Latino, Asian and Native American residents.

Nearly 30 years ago, I learned to think of myself as a person of color, and that shift changed my view of myself and my relationship to the people around me.

It is time for the entire nation, and our media in particular, to make the same move.

I am an Indian immigrant, and became a citizen in 1987.

My family came to the States in 1972 when I was five, just seven years after Congress passed the
Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which removed bans on Asian immigration.

My father was a metallurgical engineer and we lived in predominantly white factory towns in New York and Pennsylvania.

All I ever wanted was to be fully American. But everything around me, from the population to the television, taught me that being American meant being white.

I lived in a household, similiar to others, where only white people were called Americans, and everyone else got a more specific title (black, Indian).

I grew up with the weird mix of pandering (“You’re such a genius like all your people! Let’s skip you to seventh grade!”) and exclusion (none of the white girls showed up to my 13th birthday party, and no, they didn’t call) that I would later learn characterized the “model-minority” experience of many Asian Americans.

Not yet aware that it was not only me who was treated this way, I had to develop alternative explanations to deny the racial reality in which I found myself, searching for “anything-but-race” reasons for my experiences.

At the beginning of my sophomore year at Brown University in 1984, the African American, Latino and Asian student groups ran a campaign for campus-wide policy changes – more professors, new curriculum, a new Third World Center.

There had been meetings and a rally, and I had skipped them all, just as I had skipped the school’s pre-orientation program for incoming students of color when I entered college.

One night I was with my friends Yuko, a Japanese national who had been raised in the U.S., and Valerie, a biracial black and white woman, who wanted me to attend a rally the next day.

I gave them the 1980s version of “I’m not feeling that.” And they gave me a serious talking-to. “You’re not a minority,” Yuko said. “you’re a person of color.”

I went to the rally.

It was the first time since immigrating that I felt I belonged in an American community.

That was the moment I realized that being an American wasn’t about looking like Marcia Brady. It was about making a commitment to the community you were in, and doing all you could do to make that the most inclusive, most compassionate, most effective community possible.

I have been building multiracial social justice organizations ever since.

Long before the press starting talking about changing demographics, community organizers needed to connect the communities that fell under the “minority” rubric.

Our specific groups were outnumbered by whites. But when we came together, the proportions shifted in a way that forced institutions to deal with us.

The term “people of color” has deep historical roots, not to be confused with the pejorative “colored people.”

"People of color" was first used in the French West Indies to indicate people of African descent who were not enslaved as "gens de couleur libre," or "free people of color,” and scholars have found references to the term in English dating back to the early 1800's.

American racial justice activists, influenced by Franz Fanon, picked up the term in the late 1970s and began to use it widely by the early 80s.

As an Indian immigrant, calling myself a person of color enabled me to identify with African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans.

The new identity freed me from the model-minority slot that I had been given by the media, politicians and by Americans themselves.

To build a multiracial movement, I had to expand my identity in a way that tied me to African Americans’ struggle to access the promise of the American dream, rather than as the ringer that would suppress that struggle.

“People of color” is now commonly used far beyond political circles, as “minority” fades into the category of things that used to be true.

It is past time for the media and the general public to embrace the phrase.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rinku Sen.

soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. Sonya Braxton (sb4justice)

    The State of Georgia government doesn't like American Indians of Color to call themselves American Indians of color, they will try to label you as Black regardless of your blood heritage unless you stand up to them and assert that fact concerning your family's history.

    August 5, 2013 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. mateekalanee

    I just want to say I related to and enjoyed this piece, and I'm sorry for the bigoted and downright stupid comments some of these people are making.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. virgiliart

    I have always had a difficulty growing up in America. Being born in the U.S. to a father who is Italian and Cuban and a Mother who is Welsh, Norwegian, French Canadian, etc., it was challenging to define myself, especially on standardized tests and the census.

    Ideally for me, if you are American (born here or obtained citizenship later) then you should be called American. My skin is light but I embrace my cuban heritage. What is a person like me to do? I cannot define myself as a person of color, and certainly I have never been considered or treated differently based on the color of my skin (with the exception of being teased for my freckles and my near-constant sunburned skin).

    The article was interesting and I support having empowering terms, but I also wish that one day we can just all be Americans. That is what we are and that is how I accept my multiracial background.

    June 10, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. uno

    I have never seen a white person, nor one completely black. Each individual has pigmentation that is unique, like fingerprints and dna, even twins.
    I would be categorized as white, but my skin is not that color. I am "other than white",
    and I am also "other than black". Do we not all fit the "other" category.
    It seems odd referring to people as African-American and Mexican-American but not European-American. The only African born person I have ever met was "caucasian"!
    Actually there is emerging dna evidence which suggests that everybody here is "African-American" anyway.

    June 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John Smith

    I was unaware that indians of the asian subcontinent were plagued by the model minority stereotype of being geniuses.

    May 30, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John Smith

    Shorter Rinku:

    People of color = Us
    White people = them

    May 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rob

    What a laugh. The only thing that brought this colonialist to America is the fact that it was a white nation. She didn't go to Africa or China or stay home in India to get the wonderful experience of living among "persons of color", her family chose to invade a white nation. She and her family are parasites who live off of white achievements, and now she has the nerve to whine about the very thing that brought her here in the first place.

    May 30, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • cjw

      it's funny how only white nations are being flooded with immigration. America was a white nation and once that goes away we will end up like South Africa.

      August 8, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      Actually, Rob, Many of us come from territories where second-class U.S. citizenship was rammed down our throats by a primarily W.A.S.P. federal government in order to use our ancestors as cannon fodder during WWI. In Puerto Rico, before 1898 there was a chicken, steer or pig produced every day for every man, woman and child, their was a budding middle class on the island that traveled for school and business to Europe and the Americas, and the local government had negociated legislative autonomy from Spain. After the U.S. barged in uninvited and imposed a corrupt military dictatorship for 50 years, everything went to chit and it's been an on-off struggle in P.R. since thank you very much.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
      • Chris

        Really... Quick history lesson, every person that lives in this country is an immigrant. White, black, hispanic, asian, doesn't matter we are all the same. The only people that trully are from North America are the Native Americans and european people, murdered them, stole their land, deceived them and kicked them to reservations which just so happen to be in the worst places in America. So ignorant people like you is why we have debates like this. American does not = white. It does not = black, latino or anything but American. We are a diverse people with roots from all over the world, that's what makes our Country the greatest nation on earth, is our diversity. White people didn't build america, black people did, with wips to their backs. But you know what, we made lots of mistakes in our history, but its how we learn from those mistakes that we move forward. I do think that the term "Minority" is used to describe everyone else that is not white. Why? If it doesn't always apply. For example, in FL there are more hispanics than there are white people in some areas but they still call us minorities, as if its some kind of label that we have been branded with and no matter how many hispanics there are, we are still minorities. Does that make sense?

        August 21, 2013 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  8. Pat

    Interesting article! However, Black should be written with a capital B like Indian and so on

    May 27, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. civil radd

    why,why,why Would "I" A African American call myself some color. True be Know I`m a Organic Tan Person.

    May 25, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pat

    Funny how "white americans" ie caucasians are tired of playing the race card. They started it in the early 1900's and should live with it.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • AnnoyedByPolitics

      Yes, Yes, Yes. And many "people of color" have continue it in the opposite direction in more recent years. Does it really matter anymore? It's not some scale that needs to be balanced, it's a low class behavior that needs to end. Using something so superficial as a persons "color" to form an opinion of them is the epitome of simple minded and pathetic.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  11. AnnoyedByPolitics

    How about we just drop all the hyphenations and categorizations and just look are each other as people?

    May 24, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. holdem

    It's funny that someone who wants to be known as a person of color displays a black and white photo of herself.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Xavier

      Heh...I admit this is slightly funny.

      May 25, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. holdem

    Black is not a color. By definition, it is the absence of color. Someone should tell this to the NAACP.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Fred

    So what is it? Now only people with dark complexions are people of color? White people aren't white they are a range of white to pink to tan to dark. Whites are more colored than colored people.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Thepacific

      Why don't we call ourselves APE? I think we should have a holiday when we all are stripped naked parading the street chanting "we are the world .. we are the ape ... and we are the same"

      May 24, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. LOL

    Why label anybody? Whites are colored too. A sheet of paper is white. I'm as 'white' as anyone but my skin is a long way from being white. This whole thing is, and has always been, stupid.

    May 24, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Thepacific

      Yes, we are in the same boat people. Better take care of one another or else... we will be very lonely.

      May 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Bob

    Maybe they'll finally stop blaming white people for all their problems...Though I doubt it....

    May 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      Actually it seems to be the other way around...

      May 24, 2012 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  17. zephyr

    Some of these comments show the true underbelly of a group of people in this country.
    My family were immigrants, too.
    Do you hate me because my hair is curly and I get dark in the sun?
    Do you hate me because I am grateful my family came here and gave me the opportunity to get a PhD, travel around the world, become an expert in my field and earn lots of money?
    I thought that was called the American dream.
    Sorry you "white" Americans were too lazy to take advantage of living in the greatest country in the world and hate everyone else for your lack of motivation and success.
    BTW: we are of European (French and Italian) descent – records back to the 1300's- as "white" as you can get in spite of the curly hair and olive skin......
    Sounds to me like there are a lot of folks that are scared they will end up being treated like they treated other people!

    May 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  18. pkinetics

    I dislike the usage of labels of colors or "minority" to define a person. If you are an American citizen, you are an American citizen. When people ask me my nationality, I answer American. If they ask me my descent, I'll answer Chinese. America is a mixing pot.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Shanna

    Can't we just call them "people"?

    May 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  20. NJ

    Actually "white" people are colored too. If a distinction has to be made, nonwhite would probably be the most encompassing term.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Criolla

    People of color? Like baloons, I think they need to get away from any description of race, taht way all get a fair chance to anything , when I came to College to the US , one did not fill the "race box"there was none.
    I would feel insulted to be considered a person of color because I speak spanish, I am not black, indian, asian, and mix of all this, I am a Bolivian born, with no mix since the 1500 in America direct line fron European Spaniards.
    I want to just be : American, that was my choice. AMERICAN.
    I do not need extra push to make my goals, to finished college to becabe a professional, it is deminish people.

    May 23, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • NJ

      I completely understand and agree the spirit of what you're saying. But this country was and is in deep denial of with its history surrounding race and race consciousness. UNable we're at a point where open and honest dialogue can be had, these labels will still be in existence.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Joe

    Or how about just people?? Is there another single new organization so preoccupied with putting people in boxes? Who finding a way to make sure we differentiate ourselves from one another? Kinda sick, like CNN has just discovered there is more than just white and black people in America. Like CNN has never seen asian before; or asians, whites, and blacks all hanging together who are not defining their group by color but by similarities character. CNN is stuck in the 1980 Democratic mindset.. time to evolve and move forward.

    May 23, 2012 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  23. Opie

    People of color? Sorry, minorities still applies as presently whites are still ... the majority.

    Saying people of color assumes that white people aren't white at all but... transparent. It's quite possibly the dumbest term ever.

    May 22, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  24. rad666

    Yeah Umm white's a color too.

    May 22, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  25. Steve

    Sweet so since Im white Im a minority! I can collect government aid, get into schools easyer, get more scholarships...hot dog!

    May 22, 2012 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
    • HogNation

      Easier* Way to set up other stereotypes.

      May 24, 2012 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
  26. Bad

    Well this article is very inaccurate. Hispanics CAN be of color, and may not be of color. Just one more example of confusing racial terms with a cultural umbrella. Hispanic just means you were born in an official Spanish-speaking nation. Argentina is whiter than the USA. Call them people of color and you will be wrong by all means. THE UNITED STATES was not the oly country under European colonization... Bet there's at least 1 white person in each Hispanic nation. Furthermore, just let people exist without thinking so much about their continents of origin, please...

    May 21, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  27. mikrik13

    This is one unnecessary and ignorant article. Not surprised to see it on CNN.

    May 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Lucas

    I'm white, so can I be the minority now?! Or maybe we can all just be PEOPLE. This has always been my frustration with race related issues. No matter your color, once you've pointed it out, you've made it about color and not PEOPLE. Be color blind.

    May 21, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  29. David S

    So white is not a color?

    May 21, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  30. marc

    The only clear reason this would bother Whites is because calling non-white races people of color unites them. And Whites have always been a paranoid type race though out history. They feel more comfortable with the thought that people are separate they are the ones who made up the minority label to begin with.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Wow how incredibly racist. Of course without whites you wouldnt be reading this on a computer..on the internet..using electricity..a cellphone..have clean drinking water..driving..flying..watching tv etc etc..you would be living in a hut somewhere waiting for some animal to kill you. Your welcome btw. Im all for races spliting up going back to their own continent..and only using the invetions that their races developed..would be interesting would it not?

      May 22, 2012 at 6:20 am | Report abuse |
    • ohsilly

      Your post was as racist as anything claimed by the most severe Klansman. But of course, being an American,you have been trained to think that you have a special privilege to make such statements while the blue eye'd devil must change hang his head in guilt.
      Nevertheless, my only worry with respect to "people of color" is that they dedicate themselves to education... and I don't mean "black studies", I mean engineering, physics, chemistry, biology. Without that kind of education, we all starve. We need productive and truly skilled people... I don't care about your color. I actually don't even care if you despise whites or some other race.... just DO SOMETHING USEFUL AND PRODUCTIVE. (and this goes for ALL races)

      Frankly, I am hoping that asians immigrate to the USA in droves to help replace the slacker Americans. (of which I am one!)

      May 22, 2012 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      Marc has half a point. Yes, Whites have garnered a reputation for being xenophobic and racially exploitative, any statement to the contrary would be historically revisionist, but this is the 21st century and there is an ever-increasing population of intelligent folks (White, Black, Yellow & Brown) who are colorblind, or rather, socially realized. The revenant mass of throwbacks who choose to adhere to ignorance, contempt and fear about race and culture are culling themselves, both genetically and intellectually.

      May 22, 2012 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
  31. diego homans

    First, "people of color" is just a fading "PC" term that isn't even sensible. Like, there's white and then colored. You want to make that contrived division?? It's not in your best interest.

    Second, it is COLLECTIVELY that minority births outnumber majority (Caucasian) births. Each "color" is itself a minority population group in the population as a whole. I mean, I just want you to know what you're talking about.

    May 21, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      The entire article is a political booya during an election season thats all.

      May 22, 2012 at 6:22 am | Report abuse |
  32. Kim

    No matter what the definition of minority is, what matters is the impact it has on people's lives. Being labaled a "minority" makes one feel powerless because everything hinges on the majority in this country. If you can make millions of people feel powerless they will then be less likely to act on the actual power they do have.

    If the Black-Brown divide were dealt with, people of color would finally be able to have a fair shot in our society. Anyway, by 2050 this country will be a totally different America.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • ohsilly

      Are you kidding? Being white, I'd LOVE to take advantage of the special considerations given to "people of color"! Let ME be the special ed kid in class for once.

      Of course, I don't think Asians and many hispanics want ANYTHING to do with being lumped with the rest of the "people of color". I had a friend in the Marines who refused a promotion because it was given due to his being Cuban. THAT is integrity.

      May 22, 2012 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
  33. Rebekah

    a minority has nothing to do with numbers so im not sure what the point of he beginning of the article was. even the dictionary definition says that, a minority is a group that has less power.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  34. Patrick

    Who cares about words as long as all the kids are happy!

    May 20, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Dud

    Minorities = people of color.

    Why the re-marketing?

    Q: Let's say ten wildebeests decided to take another route and told the rest to follow? It'd be 9,999,990 going one way, 10 going the other, and the former wouldn't notice, being too busy trying to survive.

    May 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh B

      Minority carries negative connotations – i.e. a group is "minor" compared to major – and in many cases it is inaccurate. In L.A. (where I live), Latinos are the majority group. Worldwide, Asians are the majority. Lastly, the term minority obscures the role that race plays in determining opportunities and power constructs in society.

      May 20, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rebekah

      no it doesn't, a minority has nothing to do with race, a minority is a group with less power, go open a dictionary. women are a minority, gays are a minority, disabled people are a minority, Jews, Muslim, etc.

      May 21, 2012 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
      • Mark

        So by definition, you are okay with calling others people with less power? That still feeds into the entire idea of inequalities. It seems that you are condoning that. And with the modern context, it is more understood as "minor populations" and it still is degrading.

        May 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • Joseph

        Mark, someone will always be in power, and by definition, other people won't be. That's a fact of life and is a seperate issue from condoning it.

        May 21, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  36. raceisamyth

    Did you know here in America by the EOE standards...black Etheopians are caucasion..so is everyone from the middle east and north africa..

    May 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Yes I did! We should stop looking at race and look at ethnic groups instead. An American descendant of a slave is ethnically different from the tribes of South Africa. Simply put the DNA is different. It does not mean one is bad and one is good, but their DNA makes them very different, and all can strive for the betterment of the whole. That really is as crazy as saying the French and Germans are the same, or even the Apache and Cherokee are the same. They simply are not no matter who tries to make out they are.

      May 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Armando

    Rinku, Indians ARE a minority in the United States.. Most Americans are Anglos. Most illegal immigrants are Mexicans. Most of the people incarcerated in our prisons are black. These are facts.

    This nation was founded and developed by European immigrants and their progeny. Your parents did not choose to immigrate to Africa, China, or South America where they would have been amongst their own majestic "people of color." They chose to immigrate to a country molded by and owned by WASPs. Get over yourself.

    May 20, 2012 at 3:37 am | Report abuse |
    • reba kashef

      Indians (american indians ) were here already- so who "founded" this country???

      May 20, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
      • Marc

        The American aborigines had their own governmental groups, from small tribes to nations. They were overrun by the Europeans, and have no continuity with the government of the United States. In no way could they be said to be "founders" of any modern country including the US.

        May 30, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • raceisamyth

      Most are not nonblack actually. Blacks have a higher % when compared to the number of black americans.

      May 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  38. oranckay

    Well written and you make many excellent points worth plenty of thought. However...

    There is certainly a need for a term other than "non-White" or minorities. And I know no one wants to hear it and people hate to admit it, but "people of color" is a racist term. There are no two ways about the fact you are singling out a group of people and saying they alone lack color. That shows the inadvertent racism of the term just on the face of it. If words mean anything this should be readily apparent.

    This may not seem like a problem on the average American college campus. But in many cities, like Oakland for example, there are schools where there is perhaps one White child in the class, or even the whole school, making them the ones bringing diversity to the classroom. Teaching that child to grow up calling everyone but himself colorful is deeply unjust.

    (Having grown up in Oakland I attended university where I was the only White in a school body of 15,000, but at least there we weren't speaking English!)

    May 19, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • meme

      I completely agree. I grew up in san jose and was one of two blond kids in the entire elementary school. The whole idea that one ethnicity is better than another always completely blew my mind. The only way to see things if you're raised in such a culturally and ethnically mixed area is that every person is unique and should be judged by their character. That being said, I always found the question of race on those yearly student exams completely offensive. First they list about 40 ethnic backgrounds/countries and at the bottom it says "white" or "caucasian." What does that even mean? There are so many differences between european/caucasians that they cant be classified into one race really. Either just leave the question out of the exam, because its completely irrelevant, or actually list each world region specifically so a person can fill it in accordingly.

      May 21, 2012 at 3:53 am | Report abuse |
  39. mikstov33

    Discrimination ain't just about what tint your skin may be. Just ask short people, fat people, gay people, old people, handicapped people, etcetera, etcetera............

    May 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      True, much more so here than any other place in the Americas I've been to. So much so, that since I've come back to the 'states, my family and I actively avoid too much interaction with people outside of our circle of family and friends. We don't even go to church anymore, because of the political/social innuendo we percieve in the service, which rings of exclusivism.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  40. mikstov33

    We are all people of some color or another.....why does CNN"s blog In America seem to only cater to those with darker shades?

    May 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  41. raceisamyth

    Redhair, blackhair,brownhair,blondhair,blue eyes, green eyes, brown eyes, hazel eyes....wait a minute!!?? Euros have more color variations than any other race. Hmmm?!

    May 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  42. raceisamyth

    White people are not white...paper is white...euros sure as heck are people of color.

    May 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  43. GoDucks73

    Gotta love this gartbage...as long as we continue to categorize people into racial groups, nothing will change. Why not use one simple word PEOPLE...oh that's right too many of you have the IQ of a rock.

    May 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • wjen73

      Race Sells

      May 20, 2012 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
    • ohsilly

      Heck no. Americans and our culture have developed a FETISH regarding race. Among other things, we WANT to believe that this is a "racist nation!" and even though true, problematic racism is rare, we obsessively pound the carpet in search of that tasty racism story.
      We thought we finally found something with the Trayvon case, but it appears to be a bust on all levels. Oh well, back to our search.
      In the mean time, we sooth ourselves with other race-fetish stories like this one.

      May 22, 2012 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
  44. kalash

    White is a color too, and I don't know why White people put all other races together.

    Whites claim they will be a minority by 2042, but actually even if they aren't a majority they still are THE largest single racial group.

    I'm of North Pakistani descent and I don't feel an affinity with either Latinos or Asians just because we're a minority.

    White people need to get rid of the 'us against them' mentality, it's like they group all non-white races together.

    May 19, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      If you read the article, you'd know that it is the author who is suggesting grouping all non-whites together. Her theory that there is power in numbers and, therefore, grouping all non-whites together gives them majority status, is rather reductive. Not all people who share a race or ethnicity act, think or feel the same way. This seems to foment an "us against them" mentality when we should all be looking past superficial divisions such as race or skin color. Race is a social construct anyway. The only thing that tells you what you need to know about a person is talking to them as an individual and getting to know them. Everything else is judgment based on shallow stereotypes.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • ohsilly

      I agree with you for sure!

      However, it isn't white people who are obsessed with race at all. In fact, the author of this story is "of color", too, of course.

      Whites are, frankly, exhausted with the way non-whites obsess about race, race issues, skin color, etc. etc.

      Whites appear to seek a "post-racial" society, but the "people of color" (especially American blacks) will have none of it. They WANT to keep this skin-color obsession alive and well. They are fighting hard to keep the "racist nation!" stigma alive.

      May 22, 2012 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
      • Thor

        The enslavability of a race is rooted in its obsession with purifying itself.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  45. Sicily

    Great article. Thank you for expressing the power behind the term people of color and the benefits of a united community of color.

    May 19, 2012 at 4:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Armando

      Indeed, the ebullient tides of joy and warmth that exist between blacks and latinos know no bounds. Just go to any public school or prison and you will witness perfect harmony between these two "brothers of color."

      May 20, 2012 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |
    • ohsilly

      oh my. nice dream.

      I would say that most "people of color" have NOTHING to do with each other, have very little in common, and do not want to be lumped into the same pile.

      Does a person from China or India feel any kinship to an American black? less than none

      and Trayvon and Zimmerman got along swimmingly

      Judging by the obscene murder rates, child neglect, rejection of education, and rejection of women, I'd say that blacks don't want anything to do with each other either!

      May 22, 2012 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
  46. Jonathan

    Thank you. I've never really known what to do with the term "people of color." It always struck me as a mere euphemism for "nonwhite" (as is the term "minority," for that matter). Having not known the history and associations of the term, I never felt comfortable using it. I appreciate you cluing me in.

    May 19, 2012 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
  47. hamsta

    Does this mean that white people are going to get some of that 'minority' pie (free school, free housing, free food, free medical care, our own tv channel, our own beauty pageant, our own college fund, and the right to pull the race card when something doesnt go our way)?

    May 19, 2012 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
    • wjen73

      Whites will never be a "minority" because certain people need them in order to survive

      May 20, 2012 at 2:55 am | Report abuse |
      • Armando

        The people of color, for one.

        May 20, 2012 at 3:43 am | Report abuse |
      • marc

        That' your very down fall you continue to think other races need you no one needs you to survive. The world will still spin an life will go on without you.

        May 21, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • Daniel

        well not true if a white goes to south america or the middle east he will become a minority because people will discriminate

        May 21, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • pinball907

      Of course not! Well, no more than whites are getting now. It isn't just immigrants that get part of 'the pie', as you term it. What stands out about immigrants being taken care of is the fact that they don't have to be here legally for their children to get that free medical care. If the government wants to continue that policy, maybe EVERYBODY should get it.
      Oh, and 'people of color'? Strange referring to people who in my lifetime have bristled at being called 'colored'. Bad idea.

      May 20, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  48. Red

    Everyone has color. People of color is the same thing as saying "people". Or are they saying that white people have no color and don't count? Until they get a tan. What a load of ....

    May 19, 2012 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
    • marc

      Funny you Whites never saw a problem with calling yourselves Majority and separating yourselves from other races before. How come now that they are doing it to you it's a problem.

      May 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Beck

    Why should "minorities" then still be given special status or privileges (scholarships, grants, loans, the list goes on forever) when the "minority" has become the "majority" and vice-versa?

    May 18, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Jonquil

    There's so much exclusiveness in the air, in 2012. Whenever I hear the phrase "American Values" as a means of justifying exclusion of someone from our society, I think: "There's no battle for 'American Values'; some people are just trying to allow everyone to participate in them, who wants to participate in them."

    America is a society, not a massive airport hub and temporary job stop. American citizens need to commit to it. They need to reach out to other Americans and encourage them to be the best and happiest they can be. Our values of liberty, individualism, compassion and success based on merit and hard work, are not the exclusive rights of a privileged group; America is supposed to be open to anyone who makes the commitment to be American.

    We need to stop focusing on taking, on what we can get from this place and start making any kind of investment we can make. Make it a point to read to your kids and help them with their homework. Clean-up trash and litter when you see it and it's safe to do. Volunteer in town gardens and go to meetings. Really try to understand the perspective of others and don't let ethnic/ancestoral heritage loyalties trump what you know is right and fair. Reach-out to those within subcultural communities that repeatedly fall into personal and social problems.

    Don't leave all of this for someone else to do for you. "Self-determination" is another classic "American Value"; do whatever you can, in your power, to make things better and then join together with other Americans to tackle the bigger challenges. We need to become whole, again.

    May 18, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  51. IveBeenEverywhere

    As a black guy, I prefer minoritiy. People of Color sounds like something old women use.......:P

    May 18, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • marc

      Yeah sure, you're a black guy who likes to be called a minority in his own country. Right.....

      May 21, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  52. what what

    When will the other white people comprehend it's us vs them. Every group except whites comprehends this, and now that the demographics are shifting, it's too late to do anything about it.

    May 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Tim

    Ouch. People of "color"? Isn't this even worse? Traditionally, how have "people of color" been treated in South Africa and Latin America where the term was used? How about just "American." i.e., there used labels for Irish, Italians, Germans, Poles, Russians. Now, they are just generically white. The "colored" people are merely different minorities. In the end, why not just end the divisions altogether?

    May 18, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sophia Azeb

      Tim, read the piece more carefully. There is a huge difference between "Colored" (which the author very clearly notes is a pejorative term) and "People of colour" (which the author, again, contextualizes within a history of anti-racist organizing).

      May 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Armando

      Archie Bunker called them, "coloreds."

      May 20, 2012 at 3:46 am | Report abuse |
  54. :: Nicole

    Thanks, Rinku. The headlines about "minorities" were ridiculous today. Especially appreciate : "being an American ...was about making a commitment to the community you were in, and doing all you could do to make that the most inclusive, most compassionate, most effective community possible." ... now lets all get unified!

    May 18, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Charltia

    I love hearing the stories of immigrants coming to this country and finding a balance between blending and realizing that being American means you don't HAVE to blend to be American.

    May 18, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Xavier

      Yeah, you don't have to blend into someone else's idea of what being an American is.

      May 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Charltia

    I love this article. That is all.

    May 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Xavier

      I do too!

      May 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kire

      How about we call them pita's, since nothing ever pleases them?

      May 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • Xavier

        Ok, as one of "them", that's just ridiculous. What does "pita" mean anyway...is it about the bread. P.O.C. defines how we see ourselves politically not just racially. It's about having a certain consciousness–white people have a consciousness too, y'all (I'm assuming you're white) just don't have to think about it because you're the majority of the population. It's also not AT ALL about being divisive, it's about being honest, I wish we lived in a world where people are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, but we're not in that world just yet and we (both white people and P.O.C.) have to have a way of getting there–this is one of them.

        May 25, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |