By Alexis Garrett Stodghill
On the heels of reports that America has more minority than white babies for the first time, the Gerber baby food company has decided to revise its iconic logo. The infant that has represented its brand for decades will be expanded from being a single Caucasian tot into a rainbow of kids of multiple hues. Gerber has recognized that changing racial demographics require new marketing tactics, demonstrating a growing trend in diversifying that will extend to politics and eduction. More on the impetus behind this evolution from ABC News:
“The idea where we had a white, middle-class population that we talked about in the 1950s and 1960s, that’s disappearing,” said William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institute.
The new generation is still in the cradle, but as the infants grow up America will start to look very different.
Already, the trend lines are becoming clearer: Older Americans are whiter. Younger Americans are more non-white.
Most of the change is being driven by a surging Latino population with a much higher birth rate than any other ethnic group. It is further bolstered by legal immigration.
In fact, 50% of the growth in America’s population between 2000 and 2010 was due to the rapid population expansion of Latinos. At close to 50 million, Latinos are now the largest minority group in the U.S., outpacing African-Americans at 38 million. Whites are still in the vast majority, representing 72% of the population and 223 million — but times are changing.
When today’s crop of babies reach maturity near the year 2042, researchers theorize that America’s majority population will be absolutely non-white — but with Latinos leading the change. This means our tradition of seeing race in terms of “black and white” must be questioned. Just as Gerber is changing it’s longstanding image to include more races, blacks and whites must learn to see cultural relations in this country in a multi-faceted light.
Many whites have resisted accepting Latinos as “real” Americans, as numerous anti-immigration campaigns nationwide illustrate, but African-Americans might be stubborn as well. Can blacks adjust to the idea of no longer being the most prominent minority group? That is the inevitable question. How we answer it will have serious implications for blacks politically and socially leading up to 2042.
Losing our power as the main minority will feel difficult, but as there is no choice we should plan to work with Latinos as their political clout swells. This is a piece of cultural capital worth investing in.