The Future of America

Is Multiracial. Americans, at least in the particular subculture I grew up in, though I suspect it’s a wider phenomenon than just in small conservative Southern towns, have rather simplistic, binary conceptions of race. That’s going to change, and Obama is, win or lose, a catalyst for that change.

“Mixed Messenger”:

I sometimes wonder what will happen in another 50 years. Will my grandchildren “feel” Jewish? Japanese? Latino? African-American? Will they be pluralists? “Pass” as Anglo? Refuse categorization? Will Hapa Nation eventually make tracking “race” impossible? Will it unite us? Or will it, as some suggest, further segregate African-Americans from everyone else? The answer to all these questions may be yes. Regardless, watching Senator Obama campaigning with his black wife, his Indonesian-Caucasian half-sister, his Chinese-Canadian brother-in-law and all of their multiculti kids, it seems clear that the binary, black-and-white — not to mention black-or-white — days are already behind us.

And a random note:

And don’t get my [Asian] husband started on why Tiger Woods — whose mother is three-quarters Asian and whose father was one-quarter Chinese and half African-American — is rarely hailed as the first Asian-American golf superstar.

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12 Responses to The Future of America

  1. S.C. Denney says:

    Aren’t we mongrel America in the occult? It seems rather inevitable that America will serve (is serving?) as the quintessential interracial society.

    This, of course, is a good thing; except for those antebellum holdouts in south Georgia.

  2. JH says:

    This is what keeps me optimistic about American politics – whoever wins in 2008, the Republican party is absolutely doomed in the long-term. They’re dead (old, white) men walking.

  3. globalizati says:

    Denney–while I mostly agree with you, I cringe at the idea of America being the “quintessential” interracial society. There are certainly other societies (although maybe not on as a large a scale? I’m not sure) that do a better job of integration and true multiculturalism than we do. But that’s debatable.

    And JH is right, this election further cements the Republican party as the white, old, warmongers. But we already knew that.

  4. gino says:

    Prayer: Dear Lord, please let JH be correct in his prediction…

    Cynical Thought: Is that sentiment really to be trusted?

  5. Bree says:

    Not much of a jingoist, but I actually can’t think of a society that does a better job with integration and multiculturalism.

    (While that’s somewhat of a depressing thought– this is as a good as it’s gotten– it’s also something to be proud of, if true.)

  6. JH says:

    The UK is actually more diverse than the US. And generally has less people wringing their hands about it, too.

    It’s not just this election that’s cementing the Old White man image. It’s the nastiness of the anti-immigrant base in the GOP a few years back. Karl Rove saw the writing on the wall, and tried his best to bring Mexicans into the GOP fold, but to no avail, happily.

  7. Bree says:

    I think it’s hard to determine which country is navigating diversity and multiculturalism more successfully, but I’m comfortable asserting the UK is less diverse. According to the CIA factbook, 92% of the UK is white, whereas only about 82% of the US is white (a percentage which counts Hispanics as white). I know race is a crude and imperfect proxy for diversity, but I think it’s safe to say that while the UK has some very diverse urban center, on the whole, the country is still fairly homogeneous.

  8. globalizati says:

    I was thinking less of Europe and more of some small countries. Guyana comes to mind. Not sure how you quantify multiculturalism or relative dysfunction…

  9. Bree says:

    Wikipedia time!

  10. JH says:

    I know race is a crude and imperfect proxy for diversity,

    Well. Yeah. Do you know how many nationalities/ethnicities are collapsed into “white”?

  11. globalizati says:

    While the Irish and Germans were certainly different enough originally to qualify as different socio/cultural/ethnic blocks, I don’t “white Americans” are homogenous enough today that they would qualify as making us more “multiracial” or “multicultural”…

    Maybe a better way to phrase Denney’s statement is that, more than other nation, the United States’ population origination in immigration from diverse groups. But most other countries in the New World can make that claim, except for ones where there is a mix of European and Native American cultures (Guatemala for example), but those typically aren’t much better examples of how to get along…

  12. Bree says:

    “Well. Yeah. Do you know how many nationalities/ethnicities are collapsed into “white”?”

    Good point, but this still points to the US being more ‘diverse’ than the UK (more Eastern, Southern, and Northern European immigrants, people of Hispanic descent, etc).

    I think I’m convinced on Guyana on the other hand.

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