I came across the following tweet and it’s video the other day and it struck a chord in me
In the 1970s, the population of Allentown, Pennsylvania, was 97% White — by 2020, it plunged to 31%, a factor researchers say may have contributed to many Americans’ desire to participate in the Jan. 6 insurrection.@tonydokoupil investigates @CBSMornings pic.twitter.com/hXAG2GYmiX
— Vladimir Duthiers (@vladduthiersCBS) July 8, 2022
You can watch the video, but the gist of it is that 93% of the insurrectionists on January 6 had one thing in common, they were white and came from areas where the white population had decreased significantly in the last two decades.
The example cited was Allentown, Pennsylvania, once 97% white and now only 31% white with a strong Hispanic majority. As the two white men interviewed in the piece point out, Allentown just isn’t what it used to be.
Well welcome to the real world fellas.
I just spent the weekend working down in Cupertino, ground zero of the computer revolution. I was staying in an area just a couple of blocks from where the wife (Cruella) grew up. In those days she played in the cherry and apricot orchards that surrounded her house and walked (by herself or with other kids her age) over to the local shopping center for lunch at the deli, a cone from the ice cream store, to pick up a greeting card from the Hallmark store, or heaven forbid, her appointment with the dentist.
Those orchards are gone now, first turned into Hewlett Packard and recently into this:
If you are not aware, that is the Apple Spaceship, the world’s largest office building and Steve Jobs’ last design creation. Fun fact: the trees in the inside of the oval contain a cherry orchard. Apple sells the cherries to their employees for a dollar a carton.
And the shopping center of her childhood has no deli, card shop, ice cream store, or dentist anymore. They have all been replaced with a cornucopia of Asian restaurants. Literally, pick an Asian cuisine and there is a restaurant to satisfy your cravings. We were so overwhelmed by the choices we ended up opting to just get take out chow fun from the 99 Ranch Market (formerly a Safeway).
It’s not surprising to learn that in the 2020 census Cupertino showed 67% Asian and 27% White as opposed to 91% White and 7% Asian in the 1980 census.
Things change. The tech industry might have been started by white kids in a garage, but it has grown and now is maintained by Asian, Black, and Hispanic kids who see it as their ticket to a better life.
A life where they can lunch on Pho while their co-workers (some of them White, Black, or Hispanic) dine on Kimchi, pani puri, ramen, or chow fun because, well jeez, it’s mighty tasty grub.
Back to Allentown. Those good paying union factory jobs that created a thriving middle class back in the 1950’s to 1970’s got shipped overseas to countries where the same work could be done for a couple of bucks a day. Those left behind had a choice, find other work (probably somewhere else) or retire with their pensions and lit out for The Villages in Florida or Sun City in Arizona where the winter chill never sets in. Their $10,000 homes purchased in 1959 were long since paid off, allowing them to cash out at a tidy profit.
Most importantly their kids, having had the opportunity to go to college because of those union jobs their parents (fathers) had, found work in large cities where their university degrees afforded them entrée to higher paying jobs. Allentown? That was in the rear view mirror for most of them. Cupertino is the place you ought to be!
It’s the ones that stayed, the ones who couldn’t stand the thought of leaving their hometown, that found themselves gradually becoming a minority as Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and others took the opportunity to create their own American Dream of home ownership. Those new homeowners brought with them their culture; the soul food and the quinceaneras and the Tet festivals.
Just as the Germans and Italians and Jews who manned those factories from the turn of the 20th Century brought with them hearty beers, pizza, and bagels. Can you imagine an America without those three? And I’m sure a lot of early 20th Century WASPs probably said spaghetti and meatballs was their favorite meal.
Those who stayed were the ones we saw on January 6th. They are the ones who, goaded on by a man and his cohorts who knew just which buttons to push (their slogan, remember, was Make America Great AGAIN), stormed the very citadel of the country they claim to love, in an ultimately tragic attempt to overturn an election won by the votes of the “minorities” that have “taken over” places like Allentown and Cupertino.
Oh and also by the votes of the people who were disgusted with the way the insurrectionists’ hero conducted himself for the previous four years.
The world doesn’t go in reverse. It only goes forward. Sure I’d love to see good paying union jobs return to Allentown, but guess what? Even if they did the majority of the workers who want those jobs wouldn’t be white, they’d be Hispanic, Black, and Asian. It’s just a fact of life in America. White people have fallen from their perch of privilege in the workforce. Anti-discrimination laws helped, but the real reason is that in many places (and soon in America as a whole) whites are just another one of the many minorities that make up the fabric of the American Quilt.
Like a crazed jilted lover they said, and continue to say, I’d rather kill us both than live without you.
A wiser man once said, change is inevitable, but growth is optional.