The Blog

The Two White Americas

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

The presidential election last week took many Americans by surprise, particularly those who supported Romney. Many Republicans were, and still are, in disbelief, over how quickly after the polls began to close, the swing states fell for Obama like a string of dominoes.

A large portion of those who supported Romney fit a fairly predictable profile: White, conservative, Christian, and "older." As Republicans engage in a blame game and some soul searching over why they lost so badly, I suggest they take a deep look at themselves and the values they espouse.

At the risk of over-simplification, I propose there are two distinct groups of white Americans living in the United States: multicultural Whites and monocultural Whites. Multicultural whites recognize our changing demographics and see the benefits of living in a multicultural society. They are comfortable with rubbing elbows with dissimilar others and are relatively unthreatened by change. They support, in a more genuine way, the notion of liberty and justice for all.

By contrast, monocultural whites are a different species. They, too, recognize the changing demographics, but are threatened by it. Pining for the days when they could impose their values on the rest of us, they'd like to have Christianity present in public life. I remember growing up in Texas in the '60s and although I attended public schools, we were led in prayer by teachers, coaches, and occasionally, our principal. The prayers were always to the Christian God. The all-white school administration never cared about the message they were sending to religious minorities and non-believers.

The values held by many monocultural whites tend to be extreme. Among options for handling our undocumented population, completely denying them employment so they will "self-deport" (essentially, starving them) seems a tad bit cruel. Many monocultural whites also are at war with sexual minorities and want to legislate discrimination against our gay and lesbian citizens. Their views of women hardly are much better (wanting government [i.e., white men] to dictate to women what they can and cannot do with their own bodies). Finally, many monocultural whites do not respect science and are in denial over climate change. They eschew evolution and yearn for the days when creationism was taught in science classes.

In sum, the Republican party is excessively dominated by what I call monocultural whites (I'm almost surprised there were no "English-only" referendums on any state ballots). Monocultural whites need to recognize that their provincial and unfair ideology has no real place in modernity or in the future of the United States. It's time they take a serious look at themselves and start embracing progressive social values and cultural diversity or else become marginalized and irrelevant.