Browner America: Rep. Keith Ellison says the new focus will be on who is “structurally left behind.”

By Jenée Desmond-Harris

Recent census data reveal that, for the first time, racial and ethnic minorities make up more than half of all children born in the United States, with 50.4 percent of children under age 1 identified as Hispanic, black, Asian American or members of another ethnic minority group.

Keith Ellison

Congressman Keith Ellison, Democrat of Minnesota and the only Muslim in Congress, was sworn in on Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Quran.

In terms of the overall population, African Americans are the second-largest minority group in the nation (after Hispanics), with a 1.6 percent increase between 2010 and 2011. Minorities now make up nearly 37 percent of the overall U.S. population, and it’s predicted that by 2042, a minority of Americans will be non-Hispanic whites. What do all of these numbers mean for our understanding of race, for the issues that affect communities of color and for our very concept of who is a “minority” in this country?…

…We spoke to Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim member of Congress, who has been an outspoken advocate against Islamophobia and has asserted that the GOP is “basically a bigoted party.”

The term “white,” he told The Root, is “an invention to suit the slaveocracy in America during [the] antebellum [period],” and the term “minority” “may just sort of become an anachronism.” He shared what he predicts the results of America’s demographic changes will be for race-specific policies, electoral politics and the very words we use to describe one another.

Read the interview with Keith Ellison here.