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On Whites in the Minority


In my London Spectator piece on the election, I gave this moderately optimistic view of the likely consequences of whites’ slipping gradually into a minority position in both the American population and the electorate:

The electoral overwhelming of the white majority may not have the effect that simple extrapolation suggests. Most Hispanics are white. Intermarriage is creating mixed and non-racial identities that further confuse ethnic categories. One effect could be an electorate that votes less and less along ethnic lines.

I don’t repent of this view. I think it is possible and I hope it is the path we take. But it would be false comfort (and the kind of irresponsible optimism I detest) not to mention a darker possibility. That possibility is that whites will develop a defensive minority consciousness in response both to their statistically weaker position.

That has happened before where majorities have become minorities, and it is a “rational” response (so to speak) to this change in their condition. When their collective power was numerically unassailable, they felt able to extend generous concessions to other groups. When they feel threatened, they defend every item of privilege and resent every loss.

Further, such hostile and defensive attitudes are more likely to spread when others are rejoicing in their fall from grace. Maybe the Internet has done no more than bring to light what was already present under stones and lichen, but I find some of racial slurs and insults around this theme on the Web slightly alarming.

The late Sam Huntington warned in his fine book Who Are We? that a racial concept of American identity might gain ground in the circumstances of America’s whites losing their majority status. I didn’t buy this explanation at the time. I still think it is somewhere down in the low teens of possibility. And the spread of intermarriage is one hopeful defense against it. But it cannot be dismissed entirely and thus deserves a mention alongside the sunnier prospects.


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