Who will be the “average” Americans of the 21st Century?

According to the Census Bureau, the “average” 21st Century American child may be a hybrid of six continents. Your grandchild could be one of these “new” Americans. The cutting edge of this transformation is the two million multiracial people in America, a group that has grown 400 percent in the past two decades. According to the Census Bureau, “white” Europeans will cease being the majority of our population within sixty years. This is nothing new. Our ethnic heritage has shifted radically since the Declaration of Independence. 19th Century America was White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant. The influx of millions of eastern and southern European immigrants in the early 20th Century changed us forever.

Despite resentment of immigrants as virulent as today, people fell in love across ethnic lines and enlarged the idea of what it meant to be an American. Today a wave of Latin American and Asian immigrants is hitting our shores. The children of our newest citizens are intermarrying at the same rates as “ethnic” European immigrants — with one significant difference — they are getting hitched across racial and ethnic lines. Perhaps multiracial kids will be as common as multiethnic children are today and cause as little notice. What is beautiful is this change is not happening because of government policy or lobbying by special interests, but is being propelled by love — two people at a time. Like rain drops eating away at a seemingly impenetrable mountain, each multiracial baby creates a chasm of diversity and hope in our polarized nation.

© 2024 Stephen Shames / POLARIS PORTFOLIO