Tuesday, March 10, 2009

immigrants/white minority

Driving home on Sunday I caught the end of a song. The lyrics were great:

white Americans, what?
nothing better to do?
why don't you kick yourself out
you're an immigrant too.

who's using who? what should we do?
well, you can't be a pimp
and a prostitute too.

Turns out it's Icky Thump from White Stripes.

It got me to wondering about the stuff that's been going around about whites in the US eventually becoming a minority. I found a great piece on The Myth of the White Minority. Here's something interesting:
So what explains the persistent drumbeat about the impending white minority? A statistical distortion: the exclusion of Hispanic whites. If only non-Hispanic whites are counted, the white population today amounts to 66 percent of the total, and will hit around 46 percent by 2050.

But excluding whites of Hispanic origin from the overall white population makes no more sense than excluding whites of Slavic or Scandinavian origin. "Hispanic" is not a race. It is an ethnic category. As the Census Bureau repeatedly points out, Hispanics can be of any race. In the 2000 census, 48 percent of Hispanics identified themselves as white; Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson has characterized them as "white in every social sense of this term." Bottom line: Of the 46.6 million Hispanics in the United States today, at least 22 million are white.

I love particularly the ending:
With a little luck, common sense, and goodwill, it will seem as odd in 2050 to focus on "non-Hispanic whites" as it would today to insist that only "non-German whites" are really white.

Better still, perhaps by then we will have really progressed, and abandoned the pernicious notion of racial categories altogether.


Susan said...

I'm kind of medium beige...at least that's what my makeup tells me.

Pamela said...

har... that's why I don't wear makeup. I don't want cosmetics defining my race! :-)

Churlita said...

My daughters are Latinas. They have a lot of native/indigenous Mexican in them from their dad's side. According to the government census bureau, I'm not sure if that makes them white latina or not. I don't think native Americans are considered white, but then my girls are also half-Irish...It gets really confusing.

The CEO said...

I'm 100% grey, but I must admit I love this statistical side o you I have never seen before. Can you say multicolinearity? shudder.

laura b. said...

People do love their categories and their numbers. Fortunately, I think it is going to get harder and harder to place people into one box. My family is quite muttly and proud of it :-)