By Tatyana Walker, a Fall 2013 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern
New public opinion research has found that Americans – more so than what is portrayed in politics and the media – are open to diversity and favor the reduction of racial and ethnic group inequalities.
During an event on Tuesday titled “The Next 30 Years: Political and Policy Implications of Changing Demographics in the United States,” panelists discussed the results of a poll conducted by the Center for American Progress and PolicyLink that examined attitudes towards changing racial demographics in the United States.
“Contrary to what you hear in the news, Americans clearly support taking proactive steps to close disparities so that our entire economy benefits,” said Vanessa Cárdenas, vice president for Progress 2050 at the Center for American Progress. “And they believe in something that many in Congress don’t seem to grasp: that investing in our future today will benefit all Americans down the road.”
Panelists Adrian Pantoja, senior analyst at Latino Decisions, and Ruy Teixeira, senior fellow at Center for American Progress, discussed in detail Americans’ openness to diversity, the concern of racial and income inequality, and the support of policies and investments to reduce inequalities.
The other two panelists were Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and CEO of PolicyLink, and Harold Meyerson, editor-at-large of The American Prospect and columnist at The Washington Post, who combined their expertise in discussing the findings.
The poll found that the majority of respondents agreed that a more diverse workforce and more diverse schools will result in economic growth and help make businesses more competitive on a national and global scale.
“This poll validates what many of us have been saying for a long time: that America’s demographic shift is an asset in the global economy,” said Blackwell. “Our nation’s economic fate is tied to the success of the communities of color that are contributing nearly all of our growth. People all over the country are clearly ready for an equity agenda to invest in our future; it’s time our politicians listened.”