A headline in The Tribune last month said, “California’s white population shrinks.”
The story’s sub-headline said in part, “Economy spurred outmigration of whites.”
“Outmigration” is a clodhopper of a word, but it does convey the idea that white people are abandoning cruise ship California as it sinks in a sea of red ink and recession.
The article said the white population of California in 2010 totaled 850,000 less than it did in 2000. It also said more white people moved from California to other states than moved from other states to California. The difference was about 700,000.
I guess that means white people no longer see California as that glamorous magnet whose booming industries once displayed permanent help-wanted signs.
The news article said most of the “outmigrating” California whites moved to neighboring states or to Texas and mid-South states. That’s a reversal from the 1930s, when many Californians were panicked by the mass arrival of displaced and dusted-out farmers from Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas.
I was surprised that the article didn’t mention Idaho as a destination for dissatisfied white Californians. I know several North County people who moved there. But North County people had been departing for Idaho long before we were hit by our current, cure-resistant recession.
Come to think of it, I haven’t heard many people lately talking about Idaho. Maybe its allure has run its course, although it was strong while it lasted. Idaho’s land was cheaper. People felt they could afford to own a ranch in Idaho — or at least a ranchette.
I also suspect some white Californians who “outmigrated” to Idaho and other Western states were searching for John Wayne and the West his movies portrayed.
Or, much as I hate to say it, a few white Californians may have “outmigrated” because they wanted to live among people who looked like them and spoke the same language they do. That seems to be a deep-rooted human trait, although we’re embarrassed these days to admit it. It may be a residual survival trait from prehistoric times, when unquestioned tribal loyalty was all-important. But now it can cause strife.
It’s like our appendixes, which may have served a useful digestive function in our more apelike ancestors. But now they’re useless. My Grolier Encyclopedia calls our appendix “an evolutionary relic.”
If our relic appendixes become inflamed, they threaten our lives.
If our relic aversion to people unlike us becomes inflamed, it threatens our civilization.
Reach Phil Dirkx at firstname.lastname@example.org or 238-2372.