Will racial blending undermine identity politics? Let’s hope so

Mixed-race Americans already constitute a not-insignificant 7 percent of the population, and the number of mixed-race children is soon set to double. More than a quarter of Asians and Hispanics in the US marry outside their race. If you loosen the definition of ‘white’ and start including people who are, say, half white, and may identify as white (whatever that means), the proportion of America’s whites is going up. With that more relaxed definition, the Census Bureau itself projects that as far out as 2060, 68.5 percent of the US will still be white. As Matthew Yglesias argues on Vox.com, ‘If you use an inclusive view and let anyone who identifies as white be white, then America remains majority white indefinitely.’

It’s all in the way you look at it. For if we stop regarding partially white children as somehow ‘lost’ to the majority as if we’re all still stuck back in Gone with the Wind, mainstream white culture is actually absorbing more immigrants and getting bigger. According to Richard Alba, a sociologist at the City University of New York, once an exclusive definition of whiteness is updated, the US ‘may never be a majority-minority society.’