Strength In Numbers

To gain real economic and social power, you'll need to compete in a world that is drastically changing in size and diversity. here's how.

You can’t make it alone, and that’s a good thing. There is an anticipated growth in America of the Hispanic and Asian populations, as well as those of “other” ethnic groups and nationalities, over the next 10 years. This means there will be more people to join forces with the African American community to combat racism and discrimination. But this growth will have implications, such as increased competition, so it’s paramount that African Americans prepare to capitalize on the changing majority now in order to succeed in the future.

According to Brimmer & Company Inc., the Washington, D.C.-based economic and financial consulting firm headed by Andrew Brimmer, a member of the black enterprise Board of Economists, the number of people of “other” races in the labor force (mainly Native Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders) is predicted to increase at an annual rate of 3.8% over the next 10 years, which would raise their total representation from 6.6 million to 9.6 million. The number of Hispanics is also expected to rise substantially, from an estimated 15.4 million in 2000 to 20.9 million by the year 2010, or by 3.2% percent.

The number of African Americans is expected to rise a mere 1.8%, to 19.8 million. There are currently 16.6 million blacks in the labor force. Trailing even more so in growth are whites. They are expected to increase in the labor force at a rate of 0.9 % per year, from 118 million to 129 million.

The influx of more minorities will definitely yield challenges as well as opportunities for all Americans. As a people, we must build on the strength we’ve mustered over our 600 years in America, implement some new concepts, and fortify some basic practices to flourish over the next decade.
n Leverage the power you have. Despite the challenges we’ve faced since the civil rights movement, African Americans remain a viable force in America as employees, voters, consumers, and proactive citizens in all walks of life. The influx of more minorities will continue to force corporations to recognize the increasing diversity of customers, employees, and communities on which they rely for profitability. We must capitalize on this attention and leverage the power already gained to create more outlets for senior-level management positions, entrepreneurial opportunities, community resources, and consumer power for African Americans.

Despite negative opinions of the political system, people make the government. You have decision making power as to whether the historic church in your neighborhood is knocked down, and as to whether commercial trucks can continue to run on your residential street. Attend a city council meeting with your block association and make your presence known.

It helps to have elected officials on your side, so it’s imperative that you vote in all elections, from those for the local school board to that for president. But don’t stop at merely casting a vote. Contribute money to the campaigns of candidates whose policies and proposals you support. Possibly, work as a campaign volunteer.

Also, you must vote with your dollars as well as

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