~ Orannhawk 

The word minority is perplexing, shaped into

a faction of complexity, with a subtext of a racist 

mindset. Defined by the Merriam-Webster

dictionary as “the period before attainment of

majority”, it has become a means of slander,

hate and innuendo.

Recently an Arizona State Representative voiced a disturbing and prejudiced statement declaring, “there aren’t enough white kids to go around” in the Arizona schools, along with his claim that “immigration is politically destabilizing…Immigration today represents an existential threat to the United States.”[1]

To say the least, this attitude, unfortunately reflected by many intolerant, racist bigots is horrifying.

In 1945, Sociologist Louis Wirth defined minority groups as “any group of people, who, because of their physical or cultural characteristics, are singled out from the others in the society in which they live for differential and unequal treatment, and who therefore regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination. Using the most basic language, the term minority indicates discrimination.[2]

In 1958, Charles Wagley and Marvin Harris used five characteristics to differentiate a minority group: (1) unequal treatment and less power over their lives, (2) distinguishing physical or cultural traits like skin color or language, (3) involuntary membership in the group, (4) awareness of subordination, and (5) high rate of in-group marriage.” Additionally, we must also include the LBGT community, people with disabilities and those who practice religions that are not widely practiced where said individuals live.[3]

The intolerant viewpoint of ‘minorities’ slides conveniently into scapegoating. Sadly, scapegoating is nothing new. Assumed dominance over a subordinate group based on race, sex, religion, ethnicity, culture and ideas lead to condemnation; and more often than not against innocent people. Hitler mastered scapegoating, laying the blame of all of the economic and social issues on the Jewish population. It continues today in the United States with various fingers pointing blame at numerous groups and individuals.

The context of the word minority is no longer about “the period before attainment of majority.” In today’s world, used in the way of this Representative and those who support the same ignorance, the word minority describes individuals as less than. Less than their self-proclaimed approved ardent idea of what is acceptable in regards to race, culture, ethnicity, sex, and religion. I am a woman, a mixed blood Indigenous woman and I am sure as hell NOT less than. Moreover, neither are any of you who are reading this.  

More and more we are seeing a racially defined collective with innocent men, women and children becoming the targets. This abhorrent reality has to stop and stop now.  

Historically, European immigrants came here to escape political and religious persecution; yet what they chose to escape from, many chose to inflict the same on the Native peoples already living here. The celebration of diversity and acceptance is lacking in today’s society. Fear and hate mongering becomes more prevalent with the ever present statements from individuals parading their so-called power. Videos of this hatred and violence continues to show up on Social media along with the aggressive stance of the perpetrators who seem to be adopting a very Hitleresque attitude. 

A person’s color, race, culture, religious beliefs, ethnicity, sex or sexual orientation does not and should not ever imply that any individual is less than any other person is.

ALL children should have the right to an education, regardless of their color or race or any of the so-called definitions applied to the word minority. Under the U.S. Constitution, education is not a fundamental right. However, the 14th. Amendment requires that when a state establishes a public school system, no child living in that state may be denied equal access to schooling. Unfortunately, not all public schools in the United States are educationally equal. There is discrimination and segregation in all too many schools. Changes have taken place in many states regarding the screening criteria for recognizing gifted and talented children, regardless of race. However, children of color are disciplined more often, 
expelled more often and are far less likely to have quality teachers and access to the same textbooks, materials and even classes as other children. This affects the child’s chances of staying in school as well as pursuing a college education.

This is simply not acceptable, nor is it acceptable for anyone (supposedly serving) the people to make such blatant racist statements regarding any child in public schools in any state. Perhaps a reminder of the 14th Amendment is in order, along with a new attitude of tolerance and acceptance of all people.

It is important to remember all children deserve to be treated with kindness and equality, to learn and grow into adults who will reflect the same.

In 1895, Booker T. Washington (former slave, founder of Tuskegee Institute) delivered the Atlanta Compromise speech where he stated; “To those of the white race who look to the incoming of those of foreign birth and strange tongue and habits, [I say] cast down your bucket where you are. Cast it down among the eight millions of Negroes…who shall stand by you with a devotion no foreigner can approach, ready to lay down their lives, if need be in defense of yours, interlacing our industrial, commercial, civil and religious life with yours in a way that shall make the interests on both races one.”[4]

It is up to us to bring about change, to open the eyes of all people what is at stake here. This is our home, and we are diverse in all things. However, we must teach tolerance and change to make the future of our children one without hate, without the extremist, fanatical judgement based on one’s color, culture, ethnicity, religion, sex, or orientation.

The late Robert F. Kennedy said, “Our attitude towards immigration reflects our faith in the American ideal. We have always believed it possible for men and women who start at the bottom to rise as far as the talent and energy allow. Neither race nor place of birth should affect their chances.”


[1] Huffington Post / Politics   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/david-stringer-arizona-immigration_us_5b226b5fe4b0adfb827185ba

[2] Lumen, Introduction to Sociology – Racial, Ethnic and Minority Groups   https://courses.lumenlearning.com/sociology/chapter/racial-ethnic-and-minority-groups/

[3] Lumen, Introduction to Sociology – Racial, Ethnic and Minority Groups https://courses.lumenlearning.com/sociology/chapter/racial-ethnic-and-minority-groups/

[4] History Matters http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/39/