Tag Archives: income

Minority Illusion: The African America-Asian America Gap

By William A. Foster, IV

It is natural to man to indulge in the illusion of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, till she transforms us into beasts. – Patrick Henry

There is a reality that European Americans seem to be aware of and African Americans seems virtually clueless to. America is fast shifting from an European Diaspora controlled country to an Asian Diaspora controlled country. The social and economic crisis in Europe has lowered European immigration and economic resources flowing to the US. This reality coupled with a rapidly declining birthrate of those of European descent in the US has left an opening for a new power to arise. Asia has seen the opening led by China and seems intent on completing a mission Japan attempted with Pearl Harbor. To not only retrench European aggression toward Asia but to have it aborted all together by creating a cold war fought primarily on US soil and limit another resource invasion of the Asian continent.  The term “minority”, an European American construct, which lumps all people who are of non-European descent into the same boat as if their social, economic, and political capital are the same is both dangerous and naive for African American strategy. Somehow it appears we have become so fixated on European Americans that we are completely missing the rise of Asian America. Let us examine a few of the statistics.

Life Expectancy: Asian America – 87.3 Years* l African America – 73.6 Years

% of 25 and older with degrees: Asian America – 50%* l African America – 18%

Median Income: Asian America – $68,780* l African America – $32,068

Median Net Worth: Asian America – $83, 500** l African America – $2,170

Unemployment Rate: Asian America – 4.8%* l African America – 13.4%

Participation Rate: Asian America – 63.7% l African America – 61.7%

*Leads all ancestral groups in U.S.

** Asian America’s median net worth was actually higher than European America’s prior to the 2008 recession.

The graph below, showing Asians as the fastest growing demographic in America not Latinos, coupled with the aforementioned social and economic numbers will have vital future political implications. It is no secret that the more educated and affluent a population is the more civic and politically engaged they are. The chart is showing that not only will they have the education and money but they will have the raw votes in the coming decades to become the new majority with unbridled power and reduce European Americans to the largest minority group in America. One has to assume while some European Americans feels some level of responsibility to African Americans historically speaking – Asians Americans have no such baggage. This leaves one to wonder as Asian Americans assume power where that will leave African America in the power vacuum.

Asian Nation, a journalism site that focuses on Asian America reviewed the top colleges and universities for Asian Americans also took some student interviews. One very interesting quote from an Asian student attending Pomona College in Claremont, CA was “The issue of ‘integration’ is a loaded one in that many white students and staff often accuse students of color, specifically Asian American students, of being anti-integrationist because we feel the need to be politicized and develop leadership within our own community.” Whereas African Americans are obsessed with integration and diversity this suggest Asians plan to secure their strength from inward first and foremost. Ironically, this was the strategy originally of African America coming out of slavery but would fall by the wayside as the civil rights generation would pursue a fruitless strategy of desegregation virtually wiping out all of African America’s institutional strength.

From a geostrategic point of view between the Asian and African Diasporas influence in America one only need to look at the ownership of U.S. debt held by foreign countries. The two largest holders are China and Japan while ten of the top thirty-seven largest foreign holders are Asian countries in the latest Treasury report. There is $5.430 trillion of U.S. debt held by foreign countries and of that 53.7 percent is held by Asian countries while only 0.2 percent is held by South Africa, the lone African country present in the top thirty-seven holders in the report. It becomes clearer and clearer who is establishing influence and control from within and from the outside in America.

African America too often falls into the lull that all “minority” groups are in the same position as we are or want to simply settle for inclusion as we seem to want. As Chinatowns and other Asian enclaves pop up, African Americans continue to abandon our own communities in droves for “better” communities which we tend to deem any community other than our own. When we examine most African American neighborhoods and communities it is Asians and Arabs finding their economic footing by owning the majority of small businesses within our borders while Europeans still control virtually all of the financial outlets via banks or payday loan businesses. It would seem that everyone recognizes the value in our community but us. We continue to search for allies everywhere but from within and have put all of our chips on the illusion of inclusion instead of the reality of control and competition for resources. We are the group with the least but willing to share the most. In the end this lack of awareness about the rise of Asian America will leave African America with the same reality (actually worse) we faced in the early twentieth century when we contemplated putting our loyalty behind Russia  to liberate ourselves from the oppression of America. As it turned out as famously quoted by Dr. John H. Clarke, “We were not in a battle between a liberator and oppressor but between two oppressors with different methods of oppression. In the end Russia no more wanted us to be free any more than U.S. but they wanted us under their control.” The lion must awake because the fire of the dragon appears to be just warming up.