The Changing Concepts of Majority and Minority

Much is being made in the media of a report released today that says by the year 2042 whites will no longer be the majority.

Here is part of the report as covered by the Associated Press:

White people will no longer make up a majority of Americans by 2042, according to new government projections. That’s eight years sooner than previous estimates, made in 2004.

The nation has been growing more diverse for decades, but the process has sped up through immigration and higher birth rates among minority residents, especially Hispanics.

“The white population is older and very much centered around the aging baby boomers who are well past their high fertility years,” said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. “The future of America is epitomized by the young people today. They are basically the melting pot we are going to see in the future.”

First let me say I hope no one thinks of this projection as a bad thing. The more diverse our country becomes, the better off we will be. I think what divides us – the concepts of majority and minority and how we are all subconsciously trained to act accordingly – is partially impacted by the fact that historically one group dominated. Increasing numerical equality should impact our seeing more people of all cultures in our media, on televisions shows, on the streets, etc. That can’t help but impact our society in a positive way in the long run. And yet I suspect there will certainly be some tensions as our country changes in this way. Groups largely underrepresented in the past, say Hispanics, may experience growing pains as they become, if they are not already, the largest ethnic group for example. And vice versa, there will certainly be some resistance from some whites who prefer America being overwhelmingly white. But I think any tensions will ultimately work themselves out and the necessary adjustments will be made. And in the end, our country will truly resemble a a more equally fabulous blend of cultures and colors, including surely increasing numbers of people who are Mixed (which by the way were not included in the population projections to my knowledge but who I know will also increase greatly by then).

By the way, don’t be mistaken by the report. When it says whites will no longer be the majority, that is only true when you lump them against all other ethnic groups as if they were one. As a single group, whites will still be the largest demographic by far.


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