Jamelle Bouie argues that the United States might never become a “majority-minority” country, as the white majority will expand over time through intermarriage and assimilation:
It’s hard to overstate the significance of this. Whites are the mainstream of American life, with tremendous representation in every area of our society. Through intermarriage, Latinos and Asian Americans are becoming similarly mainstreamed. Indeed, in politics, business, and culture, it’s not hard to find examples of “minorities” who are indistinguishable from whites. For all intents and purposes, Texas Senator Ted Cruz—the freshman lawmaker who helped drive the GOP into confrontation with President Obama—is understood as white, despite his heritage. More important, his children will also be understood as white. While there are limits to the comparison between the Latinos and Asian Americans of today with their Irish and Italian predecessors—Latinos and Asian Americans span a wide range of nationalities—the basic point stands. These are two upwardly mobile groups that are rapidly assimilating with the white mainstream. If the pattern of the past holds, the future won’t be majority-minority; it will be a white majority, where Spanish last names are common. And if that’s the case, there’s a chance that the GOP ends up getting a new crop of voters over the next two decades: Latinos and Asian Americans who have assimilated, become “white,” and thus more conservative in their political preferences. As simply a function of time, the Republican Party will see a changing of the guard, and with it, a shift in its areas of focus. The civil libertarianism of Senator Rand Paul and the family-focused economic priorities of Utah Senator Mike Lee provide a good idea of where the GOP might go in ten years.
There is much to be said for Bouie’s thesis. Michael Lind advanced a similar argument in a 1998 essay for the New York Times Magazine, though Lind focused more on its implications for black Americans:
In the past, the existence of an untouchable caste of blacks may have made it easier for Anglo-Americans to fuse with more recent European immigrants in an all-encompassing white community. Without blacks as a common other, the differences between Anglo-Americans, German-Americans, Irish-Americans and Italian-Americans might have seemed much more important. Could this be occurring again? A Knight-Ridder poll taken in May 1997 showed that while respondents were generally comfortable with intermarriage, a full 3 in 10 respondents opposed marriage between blacks and whites.In the 21st century, then, the U.S. population is not likely to be crisply divided among whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians and American Indians. Nor is it likely to be split two ways, between whites and nonwhites. Rather, we are most likely to see something more complicated: a white-Asian-Hispanic melting-pot majority — a hard-to-differentiate group of beige Americans — offset by a minority consisting of blacks who have been left out of the melting pot once again.The political implications of this new racial landscape have not yet been considered. On the positive side, the melting away of racial barriers between Asians, Latinos and whites will prevent a complete Balkanization of American society into tiny ethnic groups. On the negative side, the division between an enormous, mixed-race majority and a black minority might be equally unhealthy. The new mixed-race majority, even if it were predominantly European in ancestry, probably would not be moved by appeals to white guilt. Some of the new multiracial Americans might disingenuously invoke an Asian or Hispanic grandparent to include themselves among the victims rather than the victimizers. Nor would black Americans find many partners for a rainbow coalition politics, except perhaps among recent immigrants. [Emphasis added]
One roadblock to the formation of a “beige” majority is the institutionalization of ethnocultural differences.