(Boston) If one can tear oneself away from the alternately hilarious and shameful struggles of Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren to substantiate her elusive Cherokee heritage, there is a related but much more important story regarding race, and that is the obsessive quest of the American Left to persuade their countrymen that they are soon to be part of a “minority dominant” nation with wonderful political consequences flowing therefrom (i.e. a permanent Democratic majority).
The latest eruption of this phenomena was occasioned by a recent U.S. Census Bureau press release headlined “Most Children Younger than age 1 are Minorities”.
The mainstream media quickly went into overdrive trumpeting this news as a “historic demographic milestone” (CNN), the “dawn of an era in which whites no longer will be a majority “ (Washington Post), an “important turning point for the nation”, (McClatchy) that would “starkly…change the face of America’s next generations”(Time).
Somewhat surprisingly, the outnumbered conservative outlets (e.g. Fox News) have done little to challenge the “facts” behind this story or question the long running narrative of the “coming minority nation”.
This is all the more surprising since both the facts and the narrative are patently false and even a cursory examination of the Census Bureau’s own data would expose this gross misrepresentation.
This immense distortion rests entirely on a single false premise, namely that “white Hispanics” contrary to what they themselves believe aren’t really “white” at all, but just as much a minority as “Blacks” or “Asians”. This myth further requires that the term “Hispanic” be viewed as a racial not as an ethnic category.
Interestingly the professional demographers of the Census Bureau make no such claims- unlike their politically appointed bosses who gin up the cover sheets for all Bureau press releases.
Census Bureau guidelines state very clearly that “Hispanics may be of any race” and further that “The Federal government treats Hispanic origin and race as separate and distinct concepts”.
Thus the only way to invent the imminent non-white majority is to arbitrarily subtract White Hispanics from the country’s total white population.
If we use the Census Bureau’s own guidelines we discover that of the 3,996,537 babies in the United States younger than age 1, almost 72 percent are white; The only way to reduce that percentage to less than half is to arbitrarily exclude the nearly 900,000 white babies whose ethnicity happens to be Hispanic.
Similarly the much ballyhooed “minority Majority” due to arrive by midcentury is only possible if millions of white Hispanics aren’t counted as white.
If on the other hand we look to the Census Bureau’s own spreadsheets we discover that white Americans, currently almost 80 percent of total population, project to 74 % of the population in 2050.
Almost none of this information ever makes its way into the mainstream media. In fact the term “White Hispanic” is virtually unheard of save in rare circumstance such as the massively covered Trayvon Martin case where the alleged killer –George Zimmerman-was thus identified simply to sustain the media’s preferred narrative of a “white on black” hate crime.
This American confusion about who qualifies as “white” is nothing new. Throughout our history whether by reason of racial bigotry, political bias, or simple ignorance Americans have viewed this question in ways that retrospectively seem utterly bizarre.
Benjamin Franklin was certain that German immigrants were non-white and could not be assimilated. As late as the early 20th century official U.S. immigration policy classified Italians, Irish, and Jews as non-white.
Commonly these attitudes were closely linked to hopes and fears about how the strange newcomers might vote. The Democrats current dream of Hispanics as permanently in thrall to their party is an example of such, but History suggests that they will be sorely disappointed.
As Michael Barone has thoughtfully pointed out when Hispanic voting patterns are disaggregated by generations and income level the Democratic Party’s advantage steadily shrinks. This points the way to a better future where Hispanics like so many ethnic groups that preceded them continue to honor their heritage yet think of themselves first and foremost as Americans.
For the health of the Democracy that we shall bequeath to our children and grandchildren let us hope the nation can turn away from the dishonesty and divisiveness of racial bean-counting. For inspiration let us instead look to the legend inscribed on our coinage ”E Pluribus Unum” (Out of Many One) and celebrate our country’s glorious Exceptionalism, as reflected in Ben Wattenberg’s praise of “America, The World’s First Universal Nation”.
William Moloney is a Centennial Institute Fellow. His columns have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post, and Human Events.