Philip Jenkins, on what it means that America will become a majority-minority country at some point in my lifetime:

For some 15 years now, I have been writing about the idea of the U.S. becoming a majority-minority country, in which no single ethnic or racial group constitutes a majority. … That idea has recently become quite standard and orthodox, and is an increasingly familiar element of political rhetoric, especially among liberals and Democrats. But at least as the idea is appearing in the media and political discourse, it is being badly misunderstood, in two critical ways. …

Firstly, and obviously, “minority” is not a uniform category.

After the recent election, I saw plenty of articles saying this was the last gasp of White America before whites lost their majority status, maybe sometime around 2040. Well, 2040 is a long way off, but let us look at the projections for what the U.S. population will look like in mid-century, say in 2050. The best estimate is that non-Latino whites will make up some 47 percent of that population, Latinos 29 percent, African-Americans 15 percent, and Asians 9 percent. Allow a couple of percentage points either way.

In that situation, “whites” will indeed be a minority. But the future U.S. will be a very diverse nation, with multiple communities whose interests might coincide on some issues but not others. …

Also, what do we mean by “white”? Historically, the category of “whiteness” has been very flexible, gradually extending over various groups not originally included in that constituency. In the mid-19th century, the Irish were assuredly not white, but then they became so. And then the same fate eventually befell Poles and Italians, and then Jews. A great many U.S. Latinos today certainly think of themselves as white. Ask most Cubans, or Argentines, or Puerto Ricans, and a lot of Mexicans. Any discussion of “whiteness” at different points in U.S. history has to take account of those labels and definitions. …

The second point specifically concerns the book The End of White Christian America, by Robert P. Jones…

Reading some post-election comments, it seemed as if commentators were expecting the “white Christian” population to evaporate, which it won’t do. Firstly, non-Latino whites will of course remain, and will still, at least through the 2050s, constitute by far the nation’s largest ethnic community. A 47 percent community still represents an enormous plurality. Actually, the scale of “white Christian” America will be far more substantial even than that figure might suggest, given the de facto inclusion of other groups—especially Latinos, and possibly Asians—under the ethnic umbrella. Intermarriage accelerates the expansion of whiteness.

In other words, the precise racial/ethnic nature of America will be somewhat different in the future than it is now.

I wish we could talk less about racial politics, and more about what it is that we’re all doing together as Americans to perpetuate the best of the country that we have. If we could stop measuring, segregating, and identifying one another and every historical generation from the other, we might realize we’re all in this together: generations of Americans across time, putting together the pieces as best they can through a common Constitutional heritage toward a culture, toward communities, and toward a way of living that continues to be good, on the whole.

In writing about how he thought of the past, Will Durant spoke of it in a way that I think of America as one-nation-across-time: “a celestial city, a spacious country of the mind wherein a thousand saints, statesmen, inventors, scientists, poets, artists, musicians, lovers, and philosophers still live and speak, teach, and carve, and sing.”