Historically, the term "minority" refers to people who are first, part of a racial or ethnic group, and second, have been the target of unfair treatment and have suffered disadvantages as a result. Thus, most Americans with cultural ties to Europe would not be considered minorities, except for American Jews, and for example, someone like myself, a foreign-born political refugee, who have suffered a history of persecution.
For decades minority groups and foreign-born American citizens have faced poverty, discrimination, and the prejudices of people who have viewed them as different, less than equal and threatening. Despite the fact that the American nation is a nation of immigrants, and America has been nourished throughout its history by the ideals and traditions of different ethnic groups, this treatment continues to prevail in our everyday life by means of direct and/or indirect prejudices.
About 35 percent of the U.S. population is either non-white or Hispanic, and by the year 2010, minorities and new immigrants will comprise 50-55 percent of the labor force and 40-45 percent of all elementary and secondary school students in the United States. These groups actually will soon comprise a majority of our population.
Taking this demographic data into account, prejudiced behavior and philosophies should no longer have a place in our educational and social system even if they represent conservative religious values. Those individuals who still exercise discrimination, as a result of their rigid background or dogmatic philosophy, through statements, sarcastic remarks, tactless jokes and other means of communication, should not be allowed to work as educators or to be associated with education at large.
Alexander B. Dolitsky