May 17, 2012 · 0 Comments
By Dean Baker:
The NYT had an article reporting the fact that whites did not constitute a majority of births in the United States for the first time in the 12 months from July 2010 to July 2011. While this is interesting, it is important to note that the concept of “white” is not well-defined. In the late 19th century, many people of northern European ancestry would not have considered people from the southern Europe and eastern Europe to be of the same racial group. This hostility was put into law in immigration acts passed in 1921 and 1924 that were consciously designed to restrict immigration from these regions.
It is virtually certain that many of the people from groups not currently viewed as “white” will be in subsequent decades. This is especially likely as intermarriage between these groups increase.
The piece also bizarrely tells readers that:
“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?”
While it is true that the older population is much more white than the younger population, the wealthy are also much more white than the younger population. Since the wealthy have a hugely disproportionate share of political power and do pay a disproportionate share of taxes, it is likely to matter much more to the non-white young whether wealthy whites as a group care about their future rather than if elderly whites do.