Riya Goel is already seeing the more diverse America reported in the 2020 Census.
At her West Orange, N.J., public library, the 17-year-old college student has noticed more books centering on people of color. Restaurants with new cuisines have popped up in her neighborhood. And unlike just a few years ago, it’s not unusual now for an Asian American protagonist to lead a sitcom.
Gen Z already is more ethnically and racially diverse than any generation before them. Goel, whose parents immigrated to the United States from India in 2004, said that the rise of social media has helped make her generation become more culturally aware even if they live in a homogeneous area.
Demographers are predicting that by 2045 the United States will no longer have a racial majority. Hispanic and Asian populations are expected to approximately double in size between 2015 and 2060. About US asked readers: What do you think will change in America as the country becomes more diverse?
Some, like Goel, expressed hope that the demographic changes will result in a more inclusive America, with people of color who have been historically excluded from power and prominence gaining equality. Others feared that the shifts could result in an increase in racial resentment among the current non-Hispanic White majority, whose population dipped below 60 percent for the first time according to the 2020 Census, and a resistance to change.
“White Americans will become more fearful, police violence and the prison pipeline for Black and Brown Americans will continue, and the governing bodies at the local, state and national levels will become more segregated. In other words, we will become a more apartheid-like state. It is unlikely that the White male political leaders will give up their power, and through gerrymandering it will become more difficult for POC to participate fully.”
“My hope is that we, as Americans, will develop a greater understanding of cultures and commonalities. We will be introduced to more ethnic foods and philosophies. However the realist in me sees more hate and division.”
“I work in higher education, and I see that our young people are aware and prepared for the shift. I am trusting in the next generation to challenge the systems we have and truly work toward equality. It’s going to take time because it took time to get here. However, honestly, the tanning of America will cause us to take a good look at our country and start to heal. Young people are not going to allow it to move too slowly, they are going to demand change, encourage diversity and strive for commonality.”
New York City
“If people primarily identify by ethnic group, we will fracture into components and end the American experiment. If people regard ethnicity as secondary to national identity, we will flourish in a fairer place.”
“I still vividly recall my shock the first time I heard decades ago Pat Buchanan so publicly using the rhetoric of the ‘browning of America’ as a political weapon to fire up White, Christian conservatives. The fact that his 2011 book, ‘Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?,’ has an average 4.7 Amazon review score and continues to earn high marks from recent readers makes it pretty clear there’s still a pseudointellectual audience for that nonsense that I predict will ramp up as White Americans feel even more threatened by the idea of no longer being the majority. That’s inevitable. It’s probably just as inevitable that eventually, that noise will fade into the background over the decades and as the definition of what it means to be ‘American’ further evolves. The ‘melting pot’ metaphor of not just cultural but also physical homogeneity will become irrelevant. And that’s a good thing.”