By the year 2055, the U.S. will have no racial or ethnic majority group, according to Pew Research Center projections.
Of course, these projections were calculated before Donald Trump’s election into the White House. We still don’t know if he’ll accomplish what he set out to do and deport most illegal immigrants, which could change these numbers and the projection quite heavily.
But if the trend remains true, our perception of the typical American needs to change. We usually, and sometimes people from other countries as well, associate Americans as a white person of light hair tone and eye color. Well, by 2055, white people will make up 48 percent of American citizens, with the second highest group being Hispanics at 24 percent.
I can understand why many white Americans might feel powerless in the face of “losing” half the country to others. Although I can’t really relate to that, the changing demographic of the U.S. is scaring some people into thinking that minorities are bad and the source of their problems.
I was always a majority in my native country. In Puerto Rico, most people are Hispanic regardless of skin tone or race. So our culture and our ethnicity becomes a unifying factor. But when I came to the U.S., I became a minority overnight.
Grappling with that feeling and meeting other people who were unlike me made me more open-minded toward accepting differences. But the problem is some people think immigrants are stealing their jobs and are the root cause of America’s issues.
Trump’s website says his policies on immigration include to “prioritize the jobs, wages and security of the American people,” and to “establish new immigration controls to boost wages and to ensure that open jobs are offered to American workers first.” These policies appeal to people who believe the sentiment that immigrants are stealing American jobs.
In the aftermath of the election, it seemed like everyone was analyzing how Trump won because many polls had Hillary Clinton ahead, with some saying her probability of winning was higher than 80 percent. Many came to the conclusion that it was “white America” who tipped the scales in Trump’s favor.
According to exit polls, 63 percent of white male voters voted for Trump and 53 percent of white women did as well. All of the minority groups listed in the exit poll — black men and women and Hispanic men and women— were all in Clinton’s favor.
Was this result reflective of white people’s inability to accept a changing nation?
I’ve personally seen a white man yelling “I’ll kill you n—-r!” after the election. And this was right by Brodhead House. This was happening almost on our own campus.
I can’t say I understand the dislike toward minorities, but I can understand the frustration of feeling as if you’re losing your power. A lot of people feel powerless in the face of this changing nation. Their ways of life are changing, maybe even irrevocably, and they turned to someone who comforted them by blaming the issues in America on minorities.
Many people of color are scared. In the weeks after the election, there’s been a spike of hate crimes. My friend’s mom was called a n—a in Los Angeles for the first time in 30 years. People are genuinely scared for their safety and well-being in America.
But that number — that by 2055 there will be no racial or ethnic minority group — comforts me. Maybe then we’ll truly be a melting pot. Maybe then, everyone will have the opportunity to interact and know people who are unlike them and learn from their differences.
That being said, there’s a lot to do even if we have no one majority group. We have to make sure the changing composition of the nation is reflected in its elected officials. We have to make sure to practice cultural competency and learn about other cultures. But, most importantly, we have to make sure to move toward being an inclusive nation because by 2055, you won’t be able to exclude the majority of your citizens and get away with it.
Gaby Morera, ’17, is a managing editor for The Brown and White and a native of Puerto Rico. She can be reached at [email protected]