The New York Times may have led its Thursday census story with handwringing over the decline of the white population in the U.S. But that wasn’t all that the U.S. Census Bureau released. The other big news? Asians are now the fastest growing racial or ethnic group in the country. Asians in the U.S. now number 19 million, a change of 2.9 percent between 2011 and 2012, NPR reported.
The change comes on the heels of shifting migration patterns. According to a 2012 Pew report, Asian migration surpassed Latino migration to the U.S. for the first time, the AP reported last year. Rapid demographic changes are underway in the country. The majority of babies born in the U.S. are now Asian, Latino or black.
And yet, the reaction to demographic change in the U.S. is all too often nativist fear of some kind of newcomer-led overthrow. Where Asians are concerned, those fears become tinged by a yellow peril panic that xenophobes have been practicing for about as long as Asians have been coming to the U.S., which means, for well over a century.
Beau Sia’s poem “The Asians Are Coming, The Asians Are Coming” has always been one of my go-to salves for that tired xenophobia. It’s also the first thing I thought of when I heard the Census news. Enjoy.