This is a guest post by Dennis Teall-Fleming:
There’s no denying it, by the year 2050, there will not be a racial/ethnic majority in the U.S. In the next decade, that will become true of people under 18, very quickly. Yes, it seems that the U.S. is finally going to live up to its message of freedom for all—by not killing and suppressing any “Other”s, en masse, for the past 50 years or so, those Others have been able to thrive! And now will help to make our country what it should have been from the beginning—a place so diverse and full of difference, that each person, race, ethnicity, and nationality nurtures, enhances, and strengthens the other.
You can see many of these demographic changes tracked very well at the Pew Hispanic Center, and at more specific resources, like its population tracker by county. These changes have already affected our political landscape, and will continue to do so very dramatically in the next decade. The Census predictions are that, at the end of the 2010 count, Texas will gain three electoral votes, and AZ, FL, GA, NV, SC, UT, and WA will each gain one. OH will lose two, and IL, IA, LA, MA, MI, NJ, NY and PA will each lose one (“South sees new pull via Census”). This is population growth driven primarily by Hispanic population growth—immigrants legal or illegal, and native-born Hispanics—not by us “Yankees” moving South and West. The future is Brown, Southern, and Western!
This is not something to be feared, but welcomed. Each influx of Others has always made our country ever greater. Jews, Germans, Africans, Italians, Irish, Eastern Europeans, Asians, Hispanics … it’s this that makes our country great, that we can all become an US (U.S.) together.
Action Item: Listen to a great analysis of the Pew Hispanic study on young Hispanics at the Dec. 14 “Talk of the Nation” show. If you’re not able to listen to the show, there’s a transcript of it at the page linked. A large group of young Americans that are going to make a big difference. Enjoy!
Dennis Teall-Fleming is Director of Faith Formation at Queen of the Apostles Catholic Church, Belmont, NC, and part-time Religion Instructor at Gaston College, Dallas, NC.