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Vijay Mishra (2012) calls multiculturalism a “structure of control” for managing minorities without really affecting the power and position of the majority. In other words, he’s saying the majority uses the policy to sympathize with minority concerns, but only pays lip service to actual equality and remains unwilling to give up anything real. Because of this, the majority never becomes part of the cultural mosaic—it always remains outside, separate and in control. Now we’re looking at the politics of redistribution, whether you’re talking about publishing or political power.

Mishra’s is likely a good description of what the policy of multiculturalism has not accomplished over the last few decades—which is any real transfer of power and opportunity to the masses. However, it’s questionable if expectations for this were ever right in the first place. For example, C.W. Mills (1999) argues that “whiteness” isn’t actually related to color, but is instead about a set of power relations. The elite 1% that owns half the world’s wealth doesn’t really break down along racial, gender or ethnicity lines. The list of US billionaires, while admittedly mostly white and male, also includes a number of women, Asians and African Americans. When you look at the ranks of millionaires, the number of minorities increases further. This suggests the issue of redistribution of wealth and power is more about industry, opportunity and good investments than minority vs. majority status. Of course, opportunity is the huge elephant in the room.

Another issue that has affected multicultural policy in recent years within the US is the problem of the disappearing majority. White children are already a minority in the US, and as older individuals die off within the next few years, whites will achieve full minority status. This will have to change the conversation about minority vs. white privilege. For example, white voters can’t count on carrying an election through sheer numbers any longer. Whites may soon become eligible for minority scholarships and Affirmative Action support. The public schools will serve increasing numbers of POC as white populations decline. As the white middle class continues to wane, POC will have to look at shouldering more of the responsibilities for paying taxes, driving the economy and affecting political change.

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