Sunday, May 7, 2017

This Is What The Average American Will Look Like By 2050

Back in October 2013, National Geographic published a story that tackled the changing landscape of America — not its physical landscape made up of mountains, rivers, and roadways, but rather its racial and cultural appearance. For some, it's a concept that is difficult to understand and accept, but for others, it's something that's being welcomed with open arms. 

There's no denying that interracial relationships are on the rise, which means children are coming into the world and identifying themselves as more than strictly black, white, brown, yellow, or red — categories that were created by German scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach back in the 18th century. 

Now, we have identities like "Blackanese," "Juskimo," and "Filatino," and those are just a few examples of the direction we are heading — something National Geographicwanted to shine a light on and celebrate. 

So, Lise Funderburg and photographer Martin Schoeller worked together to create a piece for the magazine that showcased what the "average American" would look like by the year 2050.

Not only did they study data collected by various institutions, like the U.S. Census Bureau, but they also spoke to various people about their identities and how they approach the subject of race in their everyday lives. 

They found that the U.S. Census Bureau only started allowing residents to select more than one race back in 2000, an opportunity 6.8 million people took advantage of. 

However, by 2010, 9 million respondents had checked multiple boxes on their census form — an increase of 32%. 

And while many see the option of selecting multiple races on a census form as a step in the right direction, the vast majority of multiracial Americans understand that identity isn't something that can be categorically laid out.

Identity can be influenced by any number of things, including politics, history, geography, and other circumstances.

For example, one woman who was featured in the National Geographic piece identifies as half Thai and half black, but when she fills out any sort of paperwork, she checks off "Asian" and always puts Thai first.

She does so because her mother raised her and she is extremely proud of her Thai heritage. A decision like that isn't something a piece of paper can dictate — it doesn't fit into a perfect little box that can then be used to define other individuals of Thai and black descent. 

The Census Bureau predicts that by 2060, non-Hispanic whites will no longer be the majority, which means the outdated categories of white, black, brown, yellow, and red will no longer apply to the majority of this country's inhabitants. 

This change will mean many of us will have to reconsider our current thought processes pertaining to race and identity, especially when it comes to our perceptions of others. 

The hope is that this transition will change the face of America for the better and make it more difficult to label one another in harmful, negative ways. However, like so many things in this world, only time will tell. 

h/t National Geographic


Author: verified_user