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When President Obama has a huge tent set up in front of the White House to host a concert of Latin American groups, it’s time to comment on the news that’s been trickling out: by 2050, the majority of Americans will be former minorities: that means blacks, Latinos and Asians.

In 1989, while writing a book that foresaw the reunification of Europe and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, I did the global math.   At that time there were approximately 1.4 billion Caucasians,  825 million Arabs and Persians, 600 African blacks and 2.4 billion Asians, for a total population of 5,1 billion.

Today, the figures for China and India are, respectively, 1.3 and 1,1 billion respectively, not including all the other Asian countries, such as Indonesia with a population of 300,000 and Japan with 127,000.  Brazil has the fifth largest population in the world, Indonesia being fourth.

The U.S. has only 307 billion, Russia has 141 billion and the European Union  a little less than 500 billion.  Counting Australia and New Zealand with 26 million together, that makes a total Caucasian population of less than 1 billion.  However you care to arrange the other colors on your mental map, it’s clear that Caucasians are what I call the absolute minority on the planet, which today has a population of about 6.7 billion.  That’s a little over one seventh.

When the majority of the population of the United States ceases to be Caucasian, in a few decades, we will still be relatively more Caucasian than the world taken as a whole.  This doesn’t mean that we will be better than the rest of the world.  It means that we will need to do a lot of mental catching up to situate ourselves as one seventh of a decidedly non-white world, which I like to think of as the color of honey in all its varieties.

Originally posted to Deena Stryker on Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 02:31 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Otherjones, insights and ironies by Deena Stryker

    by Deena Stryker on Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 02:31:12 PM PDT

  •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catchaz, greengemini, KentuckyKat

    The U.S. has only 307 billion, Russia has 141 billion and the European Union  a little less than 500 billion.

    should be millions.

    As to the point of the diary, it shouldn't change us much as a nation.  Previously, groups such as Germans, Italians, Irish, Poles, and Jews were not seen as part of the "white" majority (which was WASP), but have been socialized into a new majority very similar to the old one over the years.  I expect the same thing to happen again.

    If anything changes us for the long term, I don't think it'll be because of the color of the skin of the people coming so much as the Catholicism that many will bring.  Catholics are more communitarian than most Protestant denominations, believe more in good works, etc.  I welcome more Catholics.

    -5.38/-4.41 © all rights reserved

    by Willamette Democrat on Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 02:38:18 PM PDT

  •  Well this gets overblown (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The majority of Americans won't be white, but Caucasians will still be the majority relative to any other racial group

    GOPaint: Painting the conservative hypocrisy at

    by abarrenfuture on Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 02:45:16 PM PDT

  •  The forecast is somewhat conditional (0+ / 0-)

    Last year the Pew Research Center forecast that U.S. population would increase to 438 million in 2050, from our current 307 million. They also said that of the 48% increase from 2005 to 2050, 82% would come from immigrants who arrive during that period and the descendants of those immigrants. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts a 2050 population of 439 million. The enormous population increase is contingent on a continuation of our very high rate of immigration, and the magnitude of the change in ethnicity is as well.

    •  still think you can stop it, huh? (0+ / 0-)

      The right-wingers and their anti-immigrant allies in the Democratic party like to say this is all because our government won't put it's foot down and stop all these dark-skinned people from immigrating. of course it's just the opposite, it's because we've been able to beat back some of the racist quotas that used to be in place, allowing the immigration of people from places that used to be "black-listed."

      but there will certainly be some shameful Americans who rail to the end that we should change the system to stop this darkening of the US. right IowaPopulist?

      This White House is way different. It's better! ~Rachel Maddow

      by catchaz on Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 04:35:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm perfectly happy with the current racial mix (0+ / 0-)

        of immigrants. I'm perfectly happy to see the racial mix change in this country. It would still happen, albeit more slowly, with immigration rates that would not drive a population increase that will further degrade the quality of life for anybody who lives here. Race is not the issue to me. I hate seeing it used in veiled ways by the right as an alarmist tool that distorts the debate and by the left as a subtle rallying cry for high immigration.

        Given the mobility of modern human beings it is certain that we will eventually intermarry until we are all brown. That will be better for everybody.

        However, the purpose of my comment was to provide some useful context to the forecast described in the diary and to remind people that we will pay for the rapid change in racial mix, not a bad thing, with a large increase in population, not a good thing.

  •  I think conditions exist now (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, catchaz

    I believe the relative birth rates for various demographic groups portend a shift by 2040 such that Caucasians will no longer be a majority of the people in the country.  Even if immigration ceased tomorrow.

    The increase in strident and belligerent racial animosity that we are seeing in this country is tied to the people being frightened of that possibility.

    --Country before party--

    by chipoliwog on Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 04:31:56 PM PDT

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