Don’t Expect a “Majority Minority” America

In a piece at The Atlantic Richard Alba (sociologist), Morris Levy (political scientist), and Dowell Myers (policy, planning, and demographics) underscore a point I have been making over the last twenty years, after Ruy Texeira and John Judis wrote The Emerging Democratic Majority—that the notion of a “majority minority” America would run into a few potholes:

In recent years, demographers and pundits have latched on to the idea that, within a generation, the United States will inevitably become a majority-minority nation, with nonwhite people outnumbering white people. In the minds of many Americans, this ethno-racial transition betokens political, cultural, and social upheaval, because a white majority has dominated the nation since its founding. But our research on immigration, public opinion, and racial demography reveals something quite different: By softening and blurring racial and ethnic lines, diversity is bringing Americans together more than it is tearing the country apart.

The majority-minority narrative contributes to our national polarization. Its depiction of a society fractured in two, with one side rising while the other subsides, is inherently divisive because it implies winners and losers. It has bolstered white anxiety and resentment of supposedly ascendant minority groups, and has turned people against democratic institutions that many conservative white Americans and politicians consider complicit in illegitimate minority empowerment. At the extreme, it nurtures conspiratorial beliefs in a racist “replacement” theory, which holds that elites are working to replace white people with minority immigrants in a “stolen America.”

The narrative is also false. By rigidly splitting Americans into two groups, white versus nonwhite, it reinvents the discredited 19th-century “one-drop rule” and applies it to a 21st-century society in which the color line is more fluid than it has ever been.

The irony is, of course, that today it is the “anti-racists” who are promoting the “one-drop rule”. The reality of the situation can be illustrated from my own family’s history.

Back at the turn of the 20th century my father’s paternal grandmother objected to one of son’s French-Irish girlfriend on the grounds that she wasn’t German. She refused to allow their marriage. They married after she died. My paternal grandfather didn’t encounter the problem his younger brother did—my paternal grandmother was German. More German than he, in fact. On the other side of my family my mother’s uncle married a Mexican girl. Their children, my mother’s cousins, are an interesting mix—my maternal grandmother’s family was Irish and French. Those cousins are my contemporaries and I have never thought of them as anything but white.

The reality of today is that many if not most Hispanics consider themselves to be white and that intermarriage among people of different races and ethnicities will continue. Most of us in the U. S. are mutts. My ancestry is Swiss, Irish, French, and German; my wife’s is English, Scottish, Irish, and Albanese (it’s a long story). Increasingly, there will be Americans who add Mexican, Guatemalan, Salvadoran, etc., Chinese, Japanese, and Indian into the mix. Most blacks in the U. S. except in certain isolated pockets, e.g. the Gullahs in the Southeastern United States, are already mixed race. Will they continue to identify and be identified as black? My guess is both. I think that many of the people who proudly claim Native American ancestry would be surprised to learn that’s not actually true but they do have sub-Saharan black ancestry.

I think that the present claims of “systemic racism” are counter-productive. I’m not denying that racism exists and creates problems. But everybody has grievances, some grievances are more serious than others, and bundling them all up into one unactionable grievance is not particularly productive.

3 comments… add one
  • Grey Shambler Link

    When my parents were married, my Swedish paternal grandmother asked her Czech counterpart, how do you feel about your daughter marrying outside of her race? She replied:
    I’m not marrying him, she is.
    When I married a native American, my father was unconcerned, (he liked all attractive young women).
    My mother asked over and over again, why do you want her?
    The truth is, she wanted and needed me.
    The white girls in my circle were competing for Black boys in the ’70’s and looked right past me.
    That aside, I don’t believe assimilation will occur as long as there are benefits to being BLACK.
    Check out professional basketball and the (astonishingly pale) BLACK players.
    Check out television advertising, 50% + Black. Native American? They don’t give a f**k. Why not? Indians don’t burn down your cities.
    And as everyone knows, Indians are disgusting drunken trolls.

  • bob sykes Link

    I do not believe a majority of Hispanics consider themselves to be white. Only those of Spanish or Portuguese ancestry do that, and some some states, like Massachusetts, define Spaniards and Portuguese to be non-Hispanic. A while back a couple of Portuguese (?) cops in MA got in trouble for claiming to be Hispanic on job applications.

    By the way, what ever happened to the Chicanos, famously championed by Cesar Chavez (now despised by the woke)? Did the wave of immigration redefine them? Submerge them? And where are the Latinos? Considering that David Américo Ortiz Arias, “Big Papi” (we luvs yoo!), is a Dominican black (probably 100%), Hispanic seems to be a nonsensical term.

    The Indios and mestizos of Mexico and Central America have very strong self-identities. So do all blacks regardless of racial admixture. And you can add Chinese, Indians, and Jews as strongly tribal. Historically whites have focused on their differences in ethnicity and religion, and they have no strong racial affiliation. But whites are the exceptions. They could ignore the others, because they were 85% of the population.

    The history of the last fifty years is that blacks and Hispanics will not tolerate each other in their neighbors. LA’s history is basically one of Latinos ethnically cleansing blacks from historic black neighborhoods. If you are old enough you will remember when LA was a white city, then it became a black city, now it is a Mexican/Central American city.

    There will be no coalition of minorities. In fact, once whites are merely the largest minority, life will get very difficult for Jews (hated by all the other minorities, even the Japanese) and blacks (no sympathy whatsoever from the others).

  • Grey Shambler Link

    The Reconquista may only be a rallying cry but it’s being accomplished by the day. People moving by foot or by the truckload.

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