"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance"

--James Madison--

"The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries, but between authoritarians and libertarians"

--George Orwell--

Majorities, Pluralities, Fuzzy Math and Angry White People

White working class people are pessimistic, alienated, and generally pissed off.

That's what it says in the above linked Yahoo news article.  I believe it.  I see and talk to angry white "working class" people frequently.  I put "working class" in quotes because I take exception to the notion that people who've been to college don't actually work.

They're angry about lots of things.  Me too.  Maybe not the same things, though.

The article is about a specific demographic trend.  According to the article, until around 2005 or so, the majority of Americans were not only white, but white with little or no college education.  The "working class".

Well, we've been encouraging kids to go to college for decades now.  Enough of them have now done it to make high school graduates with no post secondary education a plurality.

Many people, including myself perhaps, would say "so, what's the bfd?".  Well, really, it doesn't seem to be a big deal at all.  We can debate the merits of a college education all day and all night, but, on balance, it doesn't seem to be such a bad thing that almost 1/4 of all Americans are white and have at least a Bachelor's Degree in something.

But the article unleashed a shitstorm of angry comments, many of which seem to be laments that white people are somehow a minority now.  Really.  That's what people are taking away from this article.  Since less than 1/2 of the US population are white people with little or no college education, then white people must be a minority.

First off, that's just not true.  According to the US Census, at least 65% of the US population (and as much as 79%, depending on what characteristics you're counting) are white.  That's a majority.

But I take out the college educated, and I might be left with the stat that less than half of all Americans are high school educated white people.  Does that make them a minority?

No, it does not.  It makes them a plurality.  A minority would be a group with fewer members than the plurality group.

Even then, though, that's what a bunch of people are taking from this.  That white people are a minority in the US.  Not only that, but a minority that doesn't get any affirmative action, either.

First, let's take a look at the numbers.  US Census Quickfacts

Now, the way I read this, it's saying that almost 80% of the US population is white, but only 65% are non-Hispanic white.  That would seem to mean that pretty much all Hispanic people also consider themselves to be white, since the US Census uses self-identification.  My experience would not support this.  But anyway, let's say that 65% of Americans are white.  That's at least 200 million non-Hispanic white people.

That's a hell of a voting bloc.

So, how do we make 200 million people less than a majority (in other words, a plurality)?  Well, if there are already 107 million Americans who aren't white, then we'd need to add another 100 million or so non-white people to make white people a plurality.  Since Mexico always comes up in these discussions, I'll mention that the entire population of Mexico is 111 million, and that there are probably at least 20 million Mexicans that would describe themselves as white.

If the entire population of Mexico moved here tomorrow (don't worry, they won't) , whites would still be a majority of Americans.  But non-Hispanic whites would probably be a plurality.

To make them an actual minority, less than a plurality,  there would need to be another racial group that represented more than 200 million Americans.  Not likely to happen.

I suppose that what I'm saying is that a white American majority is not in any danger.  But a lot white people refuse to believe this, and also believe that it is a major source of their problems.  Look at the comments to the article:

"When the minorities become the majority why are they still called minorities ? ? ?"  (Both math and grammar challenged there, and probably very mad at non-white people as well).

"A single, middle-aged, caucasian WHITE man doesn't stand a chance in this employment environment."

"Excuse me....I'm white & am the minority...I've worked my tail off for what I have and have never been given anything."
Gee, that last comment appears to imply that non-white people don't work hard, and are given things that aren't given to white people. Some people might take exception to that.

Bottom line is this.  White people are the majority of the population, and will continue to be for quite some time.  Whatever problems white America is having, it's not because of an influx of non-white people. It's not because of an invasion of MBA's.

Truth be told, it's probably Obama's fault.