You Might Not Think It; But A Rise in Diverse Populations Could Finally Lead to Racial Harmony in the US

The 2020 Census has yet to be released, but newly released Census Bureau estimates compiled annually using a different methodology with information on housing and other demographic components reveal major changes between July 2010 and July 2020. What have they found?

Since 2016, the nation’s white population dropped in size. In contrast, gains have been made in people of color from 2016 to 2020. Furthermore, as the white population ages, this trend is expected to continue where racial and ethnic diversity will be most common and the dominant feature of the US.

By the numbers
The white population between 2016-2020 went down by more than 1 million. You see the loss became more significant by each year from this time period: 129,000; 252,000; 290,000; and 482,000. This is the first decade in US history that posted a decline in the nation’s white population. The new estimates show that between 2010 and 2020, the white share of the under-18 child population would have dropped from 53.7% to 49.6%On the flipside, nonwhite race and ethnic groups increased each year of the decade between 2010 to 2020. Latino or Hispanic Americans led all groups, with annual gains at or approaching 1 million a year. Asian Americans added between 300,000 to over 500,000 to their population each year, followed by Black Americans, persons identifying as two or more races, and American Indians and Alaska Natives.

A large part of the shift in demographics is also a result of racial blending and the rise of mixed races where Americans identify with multiple races, which according to how Census data is categorized, automatically puts them in a nonwhite category. But the fallacy in this area is that many of these groups identity themselves mentally as being both white and non-white; and not necessarily completely non-white as the classification has them.

Stats on intermarrying: Nearly three in 10 Asian, one in four Latino, and one in five Black newlyweds are married to a member of a different ethnic or racial group. More than three-quarters of these unions are with a white partner. Forty percent of Americans who say they are white also will claim a minority racial or ethnic identity. One in every nine babies born in the U.S. today will be raised in a mixed minority-and-white family, and this group is steadily growing. These children have kin networks—including grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins—that include both white people and minorities.

So what do these changes in demographics portend for the future of our nation politically, socially and culturally?The optimistic outlook can be seen in our own communities in Hawaii. It could be greater acceptance of multiculturalism and diversity. Not just acceptance, but something to be proud of and harmonious over – that our differences are what make us unique and strong as independent smaller communities and as one large multicultural community.This openness and celebratory expression of diversity has a lot to do with intermarrying and the emergence of a large mixed-race generation.This could be the future outlook for our nation as racial blending becomes more common and racial ethnic groups’ numbers rise.But this is one course.The other course could be where we are today where we have racial polarization, tension and fear. The politics of Trumpism is about exploiting division between white and non-white. This divisive politics preys on the idea of one side winning and one side losing. The anxiety of the traditionally dominant white America losing their control is based on a winner-loser scenario.

But if anything, our current situation is really a transition period. We don’t know how long this transition will last. But the final outcome most likely will look more like our true melting pot in Hawaii which is one of respect for diversity.Why the optimism? Because racial blending ultimately means our families are becoming multi-racial. This mixing means we will have first-hand experiences of having an Asian, Latino, Black, White or other mixed family member to learn from and understand. Exposure to diversity is the antidote to bigotry.

This is why there should be confidence of a brighter future for our country. We just have to get through this transition period as soon as possible.There is similar precedence to this transition. Historians point to about a 100 years ago when some Nordic Americans said they were committing “race suicide” by letting in and intermarrying with the millions of Eastern and Southern Europeans coming into our country. They called the inter-breeding as a form of destroying national identity.

Today, there is no discord (based on race alone) among white European Americans. So there is hope. Rising diversity is not something for Americans to fear. Politicians or community leaders preying on those fears should be ignored and just looked upon as fear-mongers. It might not look like it at this moment, but inevitably Martin Luther King Jr’s vision of a racially harmonious America is our future.  Just look to Hawaii as an example.

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