Hidden in the recent BLS employment situation summary and in this story (Women gain as men lose jobs) in USA Today on 9/3/09, not to mention other demographic trends (see the US Census Powerpoint Hispanic Population of the US) lies an interesting observation: white men no longer rule the world, not even in the US. In the relatively near future, they won’t even predominate the work force by the numbers. In the longer term, they’re likely to become just another one of the major demographic elements of an increasingly diverse and heterogeneous population and workforce.
Lots of readers outside that particular demographic (to which I belong) may be thinking “It’s about time!” And indeed, it probably is if our society is ever to move beyond the many ingrained advantages granted to and prejudices emerging from this heretofore unchallenged group. As the members of my generation (baby boomers) also move inexorably toward retirement and shuffle off the scene, so will the last great big cohort of working white males in this country also fade from predominance.
What do we face in the future? A workforce where women outnumber men, if only by a slight margin, but which should do more to help establish parity than all the rhetoric and activism in years gone by. A workforce where the aggregate “minority” population represents the majority, and where the former majority becomes just another high-ranked group in a solid plurality. And I also hope, a workforce where an increased sense of harmony and cooperation with others replaces the too-often lingering sense of entitlement and privilege among members of my diminishing and dwindling demographic.
All I can say is “It’s about time!” in echo of the sentiments of all the other groups taking an increasing share of the working population. The process of diversification should be interesting to watch, and to learn from.