The recent "gift" remarks from defeated presidential candidate Mitt Romney have inspired Governors Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker and other Republicans to distance themselves from those who have resorted to ridiculing the increasingly diverse electorate.
His controversial comments were prefaced on election night by Fox News Host Bill O'Reilly who offered a somber reflection on the tightening of the race, which confirmed what seemed to be his biggest fear -- that the "White Establishment" going forward would no longer be the dominant force in America.
"It's a changing country, the demographics are changing... It's not a traditional America anymore... The White Establishment is now the minority," he said.
Political commentator and frequent Fox News guest Dick Morris has also fallen into the camp of O'Reilly. Morris had been predicting a Romney "landslide" all election season long but in fact, November 6 proved to be a decisive Electoral College landslide for the president, leaving Morris with some explaining to do.
He, too, attributed the president's appeal to the changing country demographic, arguing, "This is the new America. This isn't your father's America." (And let me just say, as a young black woman, I am eternally thankful that this isn't my father's America, or his father's America, or -- you get the point).
It is truly a frightening thing to hear the kind of rhetoric coming from the right and its corresponding media, not only by way of careless leaks from candid talks with donors, but rather in uninhibited floods on popular news networks in prime time. And what is most disturbing is the ease at which these things are spoken, and the realization that there are thousands of viewers at home in complete agreement and disgust for our increasingly multiracial country.
We've always thought of ourselves as a melting pot and took pride in such a metaphor but I guess that was only OK back when the "White Establishment, "as O'Reilly calls it, was in the overarching majority.
But what exactly is wrong with a diminishing white establishment? Apparently, being a minority is just fine with Mr. O'Reilly as long as he isn't one, and if that is the case, there's no shame in that. There is a very real comfort that comes in being a part of a majority, which is why adolescents often struggle to accept what differentiates them from their peers, why it took so long for women and minorities to permeate the legislative system in this country.
Instead of embracing America's rapidly evolving demographics, some have chosen to attack them, instigating a head space set on "taking back America." But who exactly are we taking it from? And to whom exactly are we returning it to?
As Jon Stewart so humorously and poignantly noted last week on The Daily Show, we, as Americans, must be very careful when talking about whose America it really is because whether you are a descendant of slaves, second generation Latino American, or an Irish American whose family immigrated by way of Ellis Island, the changing face of America is nothing new. In fact, the "White Establishment" has changed a number of times over our country's lifetime. So one has to ask, which white establishment is O'Reilly referring to?
I'm assuming that he and other O'Reilly's in the U.S would reference a time that came after new Irish immigrants had established themselves as assets to the success of America -- not the mid-1800s where they were shunned by the Protestant White Establishment, exploited for their hard work and awarded minimal wages, viewed as having taken jobs from the "real Americans," and witnessed job listings in newspapers that specified the "Irish need not apply."
If not for demographic evolution, the White Establishment wouldn't be what it is today. In 1960, we might not have seen John F. Kennedy become the first Catholic president of the United States, and today, we might not have the privilege of enjoying quality television programming such as the O'Reilly Factor.
The real shame is that those who agree with O'Reilly, and sadly O'Reilly himself, are blind to the intrinsic value of having a more ethnically, religiously and ideologically balanced nation.
Those who side with Mitt Romney are blind to the true gift -- a greater understanding that our differences further solidify the fabric of this country, as those differences have done for generations.
We must realize that the nuances among the people aren't to be suppressed or feared but to be acknowledged and embraced, and that our increasing diversity is not the key to our demise; it is the key to our enduring strength.