“The U.S. Census Bureau expects racial minorities/ people of color to make up a majority of the U.S. population in the next thirty to forty years. Do you feel concerned or hopeful about that?”
The question comes from a survey conducted by the Applied Research Center, which asked Americans their opinions about a well-publicized fact: By 2050, if not sooner, the nation’s combined population of racial and ethnic minorities will outnumber white Americans.
Of course, Hispanics have much to do with this demographic change, as we are now the country’s largest ethnic minority and make up a huge percentage of young Americans. Hey, they don’t call us the Brown Invasion for nothing.
The Applied Research Center undertook the study to learn how people are coping to this unprecedented change in how we visualize the word “American.” The answer, apparently, is that we’re dealing with it just fine.
“The vast majority of the people in the [survey] simply shrugged their shoulders,” the study’s authors said. Most respondents said they’re neither concerned nor hopeful or have no opinion about America’s inevitable future as a minority-majority country.
What this means, of course, is that the ancient specter of racial differences is not nearly as powerful as it once was. Most people, it seems, don’t care if Americans a century from now are more likely to have darker skin. This is most certainly good news.
But wait — as usual, there is a political divide at work. The study found that 36.6 percent of conservative respondents said they were concerned about the demographic changes, compared to 18.5 percent of moderate respondents, and 11.9 percent of liberal respondents. Furthermore, “the people who are most inclined to speak out on the subject of racial diversity are those who hold the most negative opinions.”
So if you’re keeping track, the people most bothered at the ascendancy of ethnic minorities tend to be conservative Americans, and they are only too eager to scream their displeasure at the rest of us.
As I’ve noted before, this helps put those Tea Party demonstrations into perspective. It also explains why the backers of such laws as SB 1070 tend to be social conservatives with more influence than their actual numbers suggest. Quite simply, they are scared and they are loud about it.
The study’s authors conclude that “the finding suggests that a small group of vocally concerned people have skewed the national climate,” and that even though a clear majority of Americans are not fearful about the country’s direction, “the naysayers are not bashful. And they’re working to codify their fears into law.”
The sad thing is that they have been allowed to get away with doing so.