A DEMOGRAPHIC ‘TIPPING POINT’ FOR THE U.S.
By Phil Kent
“For America’s children, the future is now,” says University of New Hampshire sociologist Kenneth Johnson. He estimates minorities could overtake the white population by 2050 and found minorities comprised 48 percent of U.S. children born in 2008, compared to 37 percent in 1990. This year could be the “tipping point” when minority babies outnumber white babies.
If this trend is not reversed-- and it could be if an immigration moratorium were imposed-- what Vassar College author Hua Hsu labels America’s white “centrifugal core” will slowly disappear. This leads to big questions: What will be the values and ideas of a multicultural America? What will it mean to be white after “whiteness” no longer defines the cultural mainstream?
Hsu notes that a glimpse is seen with the popularity of black-originated hip-hop. It opposes the pop mainstream and isn’t assimilating into a traditional, single white iconic image of style— and growing numbers of young whites purchase such music.
Television and movies will increasingly have diverse casts-- with whites downgraded. New York radio personality Peter Rosenberg gushes that it is “now very cool and in to have multicultural friends.” The advertising world will radically change. Brown Johnson, a Nickelodean executive speaking before the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, touts TV characters who don’t conform to “the white, middle class mold.” Hispanic marketer Rochelle Newman-Carrasco further notes “it has become harder for the blond-haired, blue-eyed commercial actor.”
Many whites “will flee into whiteness.” They will move to where other fair-skinned brethren are to retain their identity— nostalgically yearning for an American authenticity where everyone speaks English. Politically, the country will become more balkanized, with white leaders forming and breaking alliances with their black and Hispanic counterparts. (An example: Gwinnett County— outside of Atlanta, Ga.— will turn into an Hispanic/Muslim enclave if present trends continue. Whites there are already moving to “friendlier” areas.)
Karl Carter of Atlanta’s youth-oriented GTM (Guerrilla Tactics Media), interviewed by Hsu, says “for young Americans born in the 1980s and 1990s, culture is something to be taken apart and remade in their own image.” Will that mean rejecting the values of the founding fathers and, say, the Eurocentric legal system?
Many Americans may aspire to be “post-racial.” But everyone— even after 2050— will basically live within the class structure and racial categories inherited from the early 21st century. In this vein, Hsu believes that race will still be “something we cling to… as a social and legal fact, a vague sense of belonging and place that we make solid through culture and speech.”
It may be instructive to reflect on the 1990s transformation of South Africa from white to black rule in a majority black country. Ironically, black activist Winnie Mandela recently complained that whites “still dominate” that country economically. So while whites may be a minority in the U.S. by mid-century, their influence will still be enormous because of their economic and monetary clout. But in the new non-white country, will the poorer majority rest content with a wealthy white minority, or will it find ways to expropriate that wealth?