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Obama’s election forces a new national dialogue on “multiculturals”

LatinaLista — The election of Barack Obama forces the country to look at people of color and ethnicity in a new light and to begin a new conversation about dropping old labels and adopting new ones.
Barack Obama’s White House win signals more than just a break from “old politics.” It is the start of something bigger — the cracking of the shell of ethnic stereotypes that too many people of color or certain ethnicities still find themselves encased in courtesy of a national attitude that relies on assumptions rather than facts.
For the first time, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s infamous words, “I have a dream…where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” rings practical and achievable.
Yes, there have always been Latinos, African-Americans, Asians and Native Americans who have achieved great accomplishments — graduated from Ivy League schools, attained top positions of influence in government and the corporate world, were Olympic athletes, media celebrities, community leaders, etc. — but Obama’s win serves as the prime example for everyone that it’s time to take a fresh look at how people of color and ethnicity are viewed.
And we can start by discarding the old tag of referring to people who fall into these categories as “minorities.”
The sociologist Louis Wirth popularized the term “minority” to mean “a group of people who, because of their physical or cultural characteristics, are singled out from the others in society in which they live for differential and unequal treatment, and who therefore regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination.”
As a result, it hasn’t taken long for the use of the term to gain negative connotations. Seeing that the term is used to describe members of those communities that are suffering the highest assaults from crime, poverty, low educational levels and high pregnancy rates, it’s a no-brainer that people associate the negative with the term.
However, there are valiant efforts being made to make the term a positive one.
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