Russell Sage Foundation Grantees Richard Alba, Justin Gest & Dowell Myers Cited in NYT Article on the Political Implications of Future Population Models
The question of whether America will become a majority-minority nation — and when that might happen — is intensely disputed, of enormous political import and extraordinarily complex.
Two articles that appeared in the opinion section of The Times over the past few years made the case that misleading statistical artifacts used by the Census Bureau have increased the fear of a majority-minority America, a fear that played a crucial role in the 2016 election.
Both Richard Alba, of CUNY, in “The Myth of the White Minority,” and Herbert Gans, of Columbia, in “The Census and Right Wing Hysteria,” argued that questionable census classifications led to an undercount of America’s white majority. This anxiety over the decline of white hegemony, in turn, helped propel a segment of conservative voters to cast ballots for Donald Trump.
Not so fast, say William Frey of Brookings, Lilliana Mason of the University of Maryland and Justin Gest of George Mason University. They argue that mixed-race Americans who identify as white are not always viewed — or accepted — as white by other Americans. As Mason put it to me in an email, “people who are racially motivated to dislike immigrants” will “not be assuaged by the argument that one day immigrants will just be white people.”
But before continuing with this point, let’s turn back to Alba. Following up in the Washington Post in 2017, Alba addressed the interrelated questions of how mixed-race Americans classify themselves, how the census classifies them and how the census classification deals with the offspring of racially and ethnically mixed parents...