America’s Emerging Minority Group: Whites

Every now and then, especially after hearing news reports of African-American men being victimized by police brutality or overhearing a remark about how blacks should just get over the social effects of slavery and the Jim Crow era, I wonder: what if whites were the minority in America? They wouldn’t have to necessarily be disenfranchised or victimized by whoever happened to be in the dominant culture, but what if more of them had to deal with growing up in the only white family in town? How would they respond to being one of a handful of whites in their newsroom or in another profession where blacks are not relatively well represented? What if people asked curious questions about their hair, mispronounced and misspelled their names all the time and how would they deal with growing up seeing dark-skinned women dominate the pages and covers of fashion magazines, television shows and beauty pageants?

This news report adds a dose of plausibility, if not humor, to those musings. The Pew Research Center estimates that immigration will drive the population of the United States sharply upward between now and 2050, and will push whites into the minority.

Here’s the link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080211/ts_alt_afp/uspopulationimmigrationethnic

What would Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln think about all this? Would they suppose that white perspectives on history, values, and social customs had become staid and irrelevant? Would they check the constitution to see if Americans had abolished the requirement that presidents be native born?

The Hispanic population, currently the largest minority group, will triple in size and double in percentage terms from 14 percent in 2005 to 29 percent in 2050, the report said.

The Asian population will roughly double in percentage terms, from five percent to nine percent, while the black population will remain static at around 13 percent.

This is interesting. I wonder why the black community, depending on how one defines black, stays static in percentage terms while other groups at least double their percentage representations of the population. I remember reading another demographic study that suggested America was the only post-industrialized country that responded to prosperity by choosing to have more children. Assuming that is the case, and there is a strong correlation between prosperity and the choice to have more children, does this suggest that by 2050 blacks will not have made any social and economic progress? I hope not!

Let me end on a light note. The thought of whites as a minority group in America makes me shudder, and I say this selfishly. As it stands now, I can’t deal with what passes as writing from the slew of upper middle-class, white female columnists and novelists whining about their lives. Essays about pressures to be a ‘super mom’. Shameless confessions in the Daily Mail about how their children bore them! Imagine what reading the The New York Times or Newsweek would be like if they laid claim to being racial minorities, too.

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