The Black and Brown revolution is coming.
People of color will be a majority of the American working class by 2032, according to a new study released by the Washington D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute (EPI). That is just 16 years from now, or four presidential elections away. Fifty years ago this working class population shift would have been impossible for some people to imagine. Now a Black and Brown America is becoming everyone’s reality. Let that truth sink in for a second.
With people of color soon dominating the working class, what does this mean for the traditional imagery of the “iconic American” worker?
The report’s author, Valerie Wilson, says the image and policies must shift.
“It is important to realize that the working class is more diverse than stereotypical images of white men in blue collar jobs suggest,” says Wilson, an economist and director of the Project on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy. “While policies aimed at raising living standards for the working class are often conflated with policies to raise living standards for white workers without college degrees, the reality is that the working class is increasingly people of color, and our policies should reflect that.”
In short, the working class is far more diverse and vibrant than the image of a disgruntled Donald Trump supporter from Northeast Ohio that we have been steadily fed by mainstream media. The next president of America, politicians and pundits need to recognize this sea change and start to act accordingly with tangible policies that benefit and protect black and brown workers.
Read the full commentary in Ebony.
Marc Bayard is an Associate Fellow and the Director of the Black Worker Initiative at the Institute for Policy Studies, and a Public Voices fellow of The OpEd Project. Follow him on Twitter @MarcBayard.