|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
After years of speculation, estimates and projections, the Census Bureau has made it official: White births are no longer a majority in the United States.The first thing that jumps out at me is how once again, sociologists and other pundits are painting the entire post-World War II generation with a broad brush. In the 1960's (and even today), we were painted as an entire generation of hedonistic, pot-smoking dirty fucking hippies, despite the fact that there were plenty of baby boomers who wore Lacoste shirts and plaid pants and had Nixon/Agnew bumper stickers on their 3-ring binders. Today, the entire generation is painted as a bunch of Hoverround-riding Tea Party activists. This is of course what makes people like Chris Ryan over at Americablog, one of Blogtopia's (™ Skippy) lead boomer-haters, decide that the entire party is a bunch of people who got high at Woodstock and now want a "handout" from Social Security.
Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 49.6 percent of all births in the 12-month period that ended last July, according to Census Bureau data made public on Thursday, while minorities — including Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed race — reached 50.4 percent, representing a majority for the first time in the country’s history.
Such a turn has been long expected, but no one was certain when the moment would arrive — signaling a milestone for a nation whose government was founded by white Europeans and has wrestled mightily with issues of race, from the days of slavery, through a civil war, bitter civil rights battles and, most recently, highly charged debates over efforts to restrict immigration.
While over all, whites will remain a majority for some time, the fact that a younger generation is being born in which minorities are the majority has broad implications for the country’s economy, its political life and its identity. “This is an important tipping point,” said William H. Frey, the senior demographer at the Brookings Institution, describing the shift as a “transformation from a mostly white baby boomer culture to the more globalized multiethnic country that we are becoming.”
Signs that the country is evolving this way start with the Oval Office, and have swept hundreds of counties in recent years, with 348 in which whites are no longer in the majority. That number doubles when it comes to the toddler population, Mr. Frey said. Whites are no longer the majority in four states and the District of Columbia, and have slipped below half in many major metro areas, including New York, Las Vegas and Memphis.
A more diverse young population forms the basis of a generational divide with the country’s elderly, a group that is largely white and grew up in a world that was too.
The contrast raises important policy questions. The United States has a spotty record educating minority youth; will older Americans balk at paying to educate a younger generation that looks less like themselves? And while the increasingly diverse young population is a potential engine of growth, will it become a burden if it is not properly educated?
“The question is, how do we reimagine the social contract when the generations don’t look like one another?” said Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, co-director of Immigration studies at New York University.
Labels: The Republican War on Women