Here`s some wisdom from the heartland, from the Daily Oklahoman of my home state. Don`t worry about the massive demographic change in the U.S. and in Oklahoma, everything`s fine. The editorial is entitled Oklahoma`s Heritage Won`t Change, Even If Demographics Do (The Oklahoman, Editorial, May 20th, 2012). Now that title would seem to be a contradiction, but bear with the editorial, to see the logic:
Whites of European ancestry now represent less than half of all births in the United States....U.S. Census Bureau numbers indicate that immigration isn`t the main cause of the change, however. Instead, differences in birthrates explain the shift.
That`s very misleading. Among U.S.-born Hispanics, foreign-born women have the highest birthrates. So to say birthrates have nothing to do with immigration is just plain wrong.
The figures verify a May 2011 analysis by The Oklahoman that determined minority children were the majority among kids in 11 Oklahoma counties. Overall, 44 percent of Oklahoma children were minorities in 2010. Those demographic changes could have a significant impact on government services, especially education, and already are.
So the editorial admits that the demographic change is costing more money.
In some rural areas, minorities are a substantial share of the total population. Local schools have growing demand for bilingual teachers. In Texas County, in the Oklahoma Panhandle, around 42 percent of residents are now Hispanic...
To say "Local schools have growing demand for bilingual teachers" is another way of saying that schools are inundated with students who don`t speak English. Who picks up the tab for this? The Oklahoma taxpayers, who are mostly the "whites of European ancestry" mentioned at the beginning of the editorial. You know, the people who are supposed to gladly accept minority status and pay for the privilege.
Overall, the U.S. Census reports that Oklahoma`s 2011 Hispanic population makes up 9.1 percent of state residents, while American Indians account for 8.9 percent and blacks are 7.6 percent.
That means, though the editorial doesn`t emphasize it, that Hispanics have surpassed blacks and American Indians to become Oklahoma`s biggest minority.
The editorial continues with a lot of feel-good happy talk:
Some will see these changes as a worrying trend, but history suggests those fears are overblown. First, most Hispanics are legal residents and the educational system is a key part of the assimilation process. In the long run, those children will be as influenced by Oklahoma`s culture as the state`s culture is impacted by their addition.
Concern about associated impact on government services should be balanced against greater contributions to our tax coffers, economic growth and culture.
Minorities are keeping some rural communities alive, such as those in the Panhandle. And it`s estimated Hispanics buy about $5.8 billion of goods and services annually in Oklahoma and own nearly 5,500 businesses. Those aren`t bad things.
Wait a minute! Where did all this money Hispanics are spending in Oklahoma come from? Did they bring it to the state? Didn`t they receive it from Oklahoma employers and consumers to begin with?
Illegal immigration and associated lawlessness are a problem, but simple demographic changes are just a sign of life....
Is that supposed to be reassuring?
Oklahoma`s history was built by people unwelcome in other states who came here for land runs.
That`s ridiculous. The white Americans, from both the North and the South, who settled Oklahoma in the land run period were not "unwelcome" in other states. They moved to Oklahoma because land was available.
My great-grandfather, C.E. Wall, born in Illinois, was one of those settlers, and was still living when I was a child.
Our heritage isn`t based on ethnicity, but a pioneer spirit. That won`t change, even if our demographics do.
What? Talking about "pioneer spirit" in context of a massive demographic transformation that the people of Oklahoma and the U.S. never asked for?
The real pioneer era of Oklahoma was the 1800s, when red, white and black pioneers were really building something. So how does today`s multicultural welfare state exemplify "pioneer spirit"?
I invite Okie and non-Okie readers to follow the link on the article and add a comment.