Sign of the Times


Brown is the New White

By: Steve Phillips

Steve Phillips is the youngest person elected to public office in San Francisco. He is a co-founder of an organization that voted for Barack Obama. He moved to an all-white neighborhood when he was young and he experienced the racial injustice.

The New Majority

By: Yuyi Wang

Smart-ass white boy syndrome is a serious threat to the prospects of the progressive movement overall and the Democratic party in particular.”1 This statement might seem biased; however, it is an irrefutable fact that some white political figures choose to neglect the colored population, which will to be a part of the new majority in the future United State, leading to the decline of the democratic party supporters. Brown is the New White by Steve Phillips illustrates his vision of the future US political and demographic changes caused by the non-white population. Since the English colonists first arrived in 1607; the majority population has always been white. However, in the 21st century, many immigrants moved to America to seek for better lives, while the many old immigrants and African Americans kept their cultural traditions. In this book, Phillips introduces how the foreign population present in the United States, how it affected the society, how people should deal with it, and how those effects help shape a democratic nation.

“I am convinced that the United States is in the midst of a pivotal period ushering in extraordinary shifts in the nation’s racial demographic makeup.”2 To demonstrate this huge shift, Phillips first introduces the statistics regarding the recent daily population growth in the U.S. The america now composes of 23% of progressive people of color, 28% of progressive whites, 43% other whites, and 6% other people of color.3 When the rate of immigration accounts for larger percentage of the US population growth is factored in the rate at which of colored people individuals far exceeds that of the white population. Compared to the daily growth of 1000 of white individuals, there are nearly 7000 new people of color each day.4 Following a series of facts, Philips also described many different races that made up the huge number of the population. The author describes how the African-Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Arab Americans view politics. As a former politician and an African American, he writes about the injustice that minorities are suffering and how these groups worked in the Obama election. Progressive whites are also a huge component of the “new majority”; They are separate into three groups, Solid Liberals, who believe in good diplomacy, Faith and Family Left, who are more conservative yet still support an activist government, and the Next Generation Left, who are activists and support the LGBT organization.

In the third and fourth chapters of the book, Phillips introduces the pathway that created the division of white and colored people in the modern society. He believes that since the colonial period, the idea of white supremacy has rooted itself in the hearts of many till this day. Introducing multiple historical background about the white supremacists, the author successfully shows that the equality promised in the Declaration of Independence is still not ensured to some of the citizens of the United States. He demonstrates how the political world still leans towards the white politicians. Even if the white politician is a progressivist who wants to change the situation, the voters who are mainly deeply rooted in white supremacy will give him pressure to maintain his votes and cause him not to change. Steve Phillips argues that going after so called Reagan democrats5 , or Whites wing voters, is not the only way to win. He suggests that politicians to change their perspectives, focus more on the colored people. “To win in today’s multiracial, Multicultural America, we need more Lorraine Hansberry’s writing the script and articulating division of progressive politics.”6 Lorraine Hansberry was an African American woman who wrote a Broadway show that attracted huge number of African American audiences. Once a member of majority reaches out to the minorities, the minorities will also reach out to them, however this minority will later become the majority. Phillips criticize people’s fascination of politicians towards Reagan democrats and calls on people to pay attention to the other half of the voters in the United States, the colored population.

Political leadership is a very important subject that can determine the future of a country; the political leaders are usually elected by various type of voters. “The idea that white voters matter most has dominated American politics for the past four hundred years, forty years, and even the past four years.”7 To show the effectiveness of the Cultural Competence Tactic, the author use the example of Obama’s election. Phillips described how Obama created a cultural competence to win his voters, and this cultural competence will affect both white and people of color, making audiences relate to Obama and therefore ensure Obama’s success. Even though he is the first African-American president, racism still flourishes in the society. Progressivism is when people want to change and reform the nation and most of the new majority are progressives. Financially, “To create a progressive majority. the new American majority is counting on Progressive investors, small and large donors of time and money.”8 To strengthen the progressive democratic faction, Phillip suggests to make more women and people of color leaders, so they gain opportunities to speak to the public. These leadership experiences will prepare them to create their own organizations in the future.

As an African-American, Philips mainly put his focus about equality. Facts and data in the book show that the average wealth of white family is nearly two times more wealth than the average black family.9 To gain sympathy from the audiences, Phillips also shows the evidence that the whites were privileged throughout the history. The society usually blames the people of color for the social problems such as poverty and high crime rate. Phillip suggests an increase public education and reformation of the immigration law. Education is the most common way to decrease the crime rate and help people get out of poverty. Immigration, the other word for one of the bases of the United States, has been increasing these few years. He demonstrated the new system of immigration based on limiting visas. To create a Democratic nation, “progressives must make absolutely clear that they are the ones who will continue to fight for an efficient Pathway to full citizenship and that there are solutions side of the bright-line that burn in the minds of all the others who care about immigration reform.”10 Citizenship can grant the immigrants the power to vote and therefore has more voting power to the supported political leader. Therefore the author suggest that the immigration law should be changed.

Steve Phillips also suggests that the population of people of color increase and this population will become the majority of voters in the future of United States. He criticizes that some white politicians are too shallow that they only focus on the white voters rather than the others. Relating to his background, as an African American, he used Lorraine Hansberry as an example to prove that if the politician doesn’t ignore the color people, then the colored people will contribute a lot to their election success, and their campaigns will become much easier. This is the easiest way to gain votes only by putting the people of colors in their visions. The future of the united states will become a progressive country due to the large number of the progressive immigrants’ votes. The United States’ old fashioned idea of white supremacy had created unfair situation for people of colors. The employment rate of whites is far higher than the people of color based on the statistics in the book. The reason of terrorism and crime rate is automatically blamed on the people of colors and the immigrants who are citizen of the united states as well as the white people. The author portrays a biased point of view that favors the people of colors, not only because of his cultural background, but also because the sympathies with those people.

Steve Phillips was the youngest person ever elected to public office in San Francisco and went to serve as president of the Board of Education.11 Most importantly, he is African American. His grandparents were slaves in the 1800’s, and this history led him to focus on civil rights and equality of the people of color. He moved to an all-white neighborhood when he was young; his parents had to make their lawyer to purchase the house for them and then they can finally buy it from their lawyer, because the house owner didn’t want to sell the house to black family. The neighborhood also held a meeting to discuss about the new black family who moved into this neighborhood. His tone is biased because he believes that the white people are privileged. Brown is the New White was published in 2016 after the two terms of the Obama administration. Though Obama became the first African American president of the United States; this is a huge process in social security. However, the matter of racism didn’t stop. Injustice still exists and divides the nation. Philips used multiple examples from the Obama election and obama’s plans to show the importance of votes from the people of color. These examples will call to people’s attention that the people of colors votes count.

The book by Steve Phillips, Brown is the New White mainly summarizes the demographic change throughout the united states history, from the settlement in Jamestown to Obama’s two terms. The statistics clearly shows that in the future, the people of color will exceed the white population and becomes the majorities of the voters. In 2028, the majority of the voters are the people of colors. The book also criticizes the modern politicians and warns them to pay attention to the voters other than whites. “The new American majority is inherently Progressive because it is a direct outgrowth of centuries of exclusion and exploitation.”12 The new majority is progressive is caused by the long-term suppression of people of colors from the white supremacy government and politicians. This idea was passed along the generations since the 1600s. This explains why Obama’s tactic was so successful to gain people’s support for his election. The progressive new American majority will create a democratic nation with a new demographic of people of color outnumbering the whites. Philips introduces many ways to have advantage in elections to the politicians. The most important one is to take the people of colors into consideration; once they are considered, their votes will become a huge benefit to the candidate.

The advance in the digital technology might also be a reason that attracted the immigrants. The US had always been the country with the most advanced technology. However, the more the country opens up to the immigrants, higher the danger is. For example, the 911 incident, this is the most terrifying tragedy that happened in the 2000s, the beginning of a new era. At this time, people started to feel or even experience the word “terrorism”, and this caused discrimination towards the middle eastern immigrants. The fear toward terrorism increased as the many believers of ISIS to get involved with many dangerous activities such as suicide bomb. The casualties all around Europe is a warning to the rest of the world. In 2017, president Donald Trump established the immigration act sending people who are from the middle east home while they came for help. However, the refugees did cause many problems in some European countries, such as attacking local citizens, and terrorists would disguise as refugees to go into one country and set bombs to kill more people.13 The ISIS radicals had created a bad reputation for all Muslim people and caused discrimination for non-ISIS believers who suffered discrimination.

“Brown Is the New White is a clear-eyed, persuasive, and profoundly hopeful book.”14 Kyoko Uchida, a book reviewer, wrote in her review. She believes that the Brown is the New White demonstrated a good example of social justice and equality. She appreciated Phillips style of writing and praised his spirit of pursuing the racial equality in the united states. His vision for the future of the country is very clear and smart. However, to accomplish his goal is going to be a hard work. “In this compelling new book, Steve Phillips lays out the plain facts regarding why progressives must act now to turn America’s changing demographics into a political majority that could lead our nation for decades to come.15 ”The congressman Mark Takan said. Phillips supports the progressives and believes they are the future of the united states. “In bright broad brushstrokes, he paints a convincing picture of a world in which social justice and equality are advanced through the ballot box—and of the enormous loss we all would suffer should the opportunity be missed.”16 Philips focused on racial equality in the United States, he valued the voters of colored people and expressed how valuable their votes are to the politicians. In fact, Philip himself uses his racial advantage to win this election; in his competition with other candidates, colored population resonate with his plan and contributed to his election. He has listed many plans to create a world where the progressive new majority takes over the government, which are not very possible. “Phillips’ robust plea for profound political changes is motivating and will invite those new to the discussion to join in the fight for social security and racial equality in America.” The author’s goal is not only to list the multiple solutions that lead to a democratic nation, but also to call on people’s conscious to support social right and equality for all races in the united states. Phillips’ social background and childhood incident deeply affected his way of thinking; The unfair treatment that the people of colors suffered resonates with his childhood experience and caused him to focus on the subject of injustice, which is a common but urgent problem in the united states. Civil right has been a long discussed problem along the history of the United States, and it is still not completely solved. Phillips not only informs readers about the new majority, but also call on people’s concern about the subject of racism.

In conclusion, the Brown is the New White illustrates the demographic change in the 2000s in the United States and how the population other than white is going to be the new majority of the American future voters and determine the political world in the future. The author suggested that the politicians shouldn’t neglect the people of color as the voters. One reason is because they are losing a great opportunity, and these population will become the new majority which will determine the future of this country. The other reason is for the social justice that the people of colors should not be ignored; they also have the rights to vote as long as they are the citizens of the United States.

[1] Steve Phillips. Brown is the New White. NY, the New Press.2016.95.
[2] Steve Phillips .8
[3] AMPRI of CVAP, US census redistricting data office,2012. Brown is the New White. P5.
[4] US department of homeland security’s.2014. Brown is the New White,p7.
[5] Steve Phillips,61.
[6] Steve Phillips.77
[7] Steve Phillips. 60
[8] Steve Phillips. 114
[9] Steve Phillips. 125
[10] Steve phillips.135
[11] The new press. Brown is the New White. 2016.cover page.
[12] Steve Phillips.48.
[13] BBC news.http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36882445.2016.
[14] Kyoko Uchida. Brown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority’. 2016.
[15] Mark Takan. thenewpress.com.2016
[16] Kirkus Review. Kirkus Review.com.2015