May 05, 2016

What the rainbow melting pot means in America's future

This is a partial follow-up on a previous piece from Jamelle Bouie about Bernie Sanders' "insurgency," but in part a more general piece. My original blogging about this Bouie piece is here.

First, per the Census Bureau, in this PDF about future population trends, "Hispanic whites" (by subtracting "non-Hispanic whites" from "whites") are at 15 percent of population, compared to African-Americans at 13.2 percent. By 2060, that's expected to be 25 percent Hispanic vs. 14.3 percent black.

Even if that's too high, and I think it is, in 2060 with an estimated non-Hispanic white population at still over 50 percent, we could have a Hispanic population of 21 percent or so, or half again the size of the African-American population.

But, this still all ignores the Asian-American population. It was at 5.4 percent in 2014, but is projected at 9.3 percent by 2060, which I don't think is an underestimate.

In other words, by 2060, Asians will have moved from being a little over 40 percent of black population today to being about two-thirds of black population.

And, we haven't even talked about a projected doubling, or more, in people identifying as two or more races.

In this, Bouie, and others, are overlooking this broadening of diversity.

Future insurgencies of the left will be successful, or not, in part because of this.

Bouie notes:
Black voters aren’t just palette-swapped white ones; they have interests and concerns that are specific to themselves and their communities.

This will be true of other ethnoi as well. 

Hispanics, while not as solidly Democratic as African-Americans, tend to split 2-1 that way. That's long been pretty much a "given," for them to go somewhere between 60 and 70 percent Democratic.

The big deal is a shift in Asian American voting. Just 25 percent Democratic in 1992, since 2004, by presidential races, it has closely tracked Hispanic voting.

There's another twist in all of this, as I've blogged before.

African-Americans are arguably the most religious ethnos in America, and many trend fairly conservative in their religiosity. This is especially true on LGBT issues, which, in terms of things like the spread of HIV, has caused self-inflicted wounds, or literal injury. Hispanics? Many are no longer actual or cultural Catholics, as I've blogged repeatedly as words of warning to Democratic Party officials in Texas and nationally.

However, a fair amount of Asian-Americans are Buddhist or Hindu. (Others converted to Christianity after moving, and yet others, particularly Koreans, were of Christian background when coming here.) As such, they bring a different perspective to First Amendment issues, and to what issues are of most religious relevance.

And, Asian votes, like black or hispanic ones, are concentrated in certain states.

Ignoring some smaller states, they're already at 15 percent in California. I'm sure that's no surprise. And 10 percent in New York, maybe not either. But, 9 percent in New Jersey; 8 percent in Massachusetts and Washington State; 7 percent in Virginia; 6 percent in Illinois.

That then said, on some things, Asian-American votes will surely be even less monolithic than African-American or Hispanic ones.

I suspect that some African-Americans don't want to face these issues. Seeing Bernie Sanders' Hawaii win being dissed as not relevant to mainland multiculturalism is, in fact, part of why I started writing this.

That's not to say that we should just shrug our shoulders over the still-unique plight that blacks have vis-a-vis Hispanics or Asians. (Not versus American Indians, though.) We should recognize that this makes dealing with various issues of racial prejudice even more complicated — and more exploitable by those who would do that.

I have an extensive follow-up here on how this relates to the issue of privilege.

1 comment:

paintedjaguar said...

I'm wondering if the status of blacks as a group within the "left" will be affected by this election season. They've been able to leverage for political advantage their position as number one on the civil rights victim/champion roster. Now, even though many of Bernie's strongest supporters are blacks, often female blacks, as a community African Americans have voted against the progressive cause by 75/25% or greater. It's likely that will turn out to have been the deciding factor in the outcome. This fact may be forgiven and/or not mentioned, but it I suspect it won't be forgotten.