Inside Sources: America is no longer a melting pot but a salad bowl

Apr 21, 2021, 5:49 PM
melting pot...
Dusk falls over the Capitol, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Washington. Congressional leaders have hashed out a massive, year-end catchall bill that combines $900 billion in COVID-19 aid with a $1.4 trillion spending bill and reams of other unfinished legislation on taxes, energy, education and health care. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

SALT LAKE CITY — As more young Americans come from mixed majority-minority families, the lines defining race in the US are blurring. The definition of America as a homogeneous melting pot is giving way to a more inclusive and expanding mainstream: the salad bowl society. 

Pollster Scott Rasmussen joined Boyd Matheson, host of Inside Sources, to discuss what it will mean when America transitioning into a “majority-minority” nation by 2040. 

A passage from an article Rasmussen penned for Deseret News:

Somewhere around 2040, “persons of color” will outnumber whites. For some, that is a frightening thought. For others, it envisions a day when nonwhite Americans will get to turn the tables and show the current majority how the other half lives.

Read the rest of the article here: We are misunderstanding the future of race in America

Blurring lines between groups

Rasmussen writes about 10% of births in the U.S. now come from mixed majority-minority families, meaning one white parent and one non-white parent. And that number will keep growing because nearly 20% of new weddings cross racial or ethnic lines.

The US Census Bureau counts any person of mixed parentage as nonwhite.

“If somebody says they’re white, well, they’re white, but they may also be Hispanic. They may be an Asian-American with also a white or an African-American parent,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen said 50 million Americans today are counted as white Hispanic.

“They don’t fit into any of the easy categories that we think about,” he added.

“In 1930, the US government was going to classify people from Mexico as Mexican as their racial or ethnic heritage. The Mexican government complained. So they continued to be identified as white Americans up until about 1980,” Rasmussen said. “Part of the reason we see this tremendous surge in the number of Hispanic and Latino-Americans is because we changed the way we counted those people.”

Melting pot we are not

“Our politicians try to make these [people] into monolithic groups where we can put them in a nice neat box: This is what they are. This is what they believe. This is what they do. Americans have never been that way,” Boyd added.

Rasmussen said generations ago America was considered a great melting pot as a homogeneous society as immigrants became culturally integrated.

“It had a certain connotation of ‘If you want to become part of the melting pot, you become white,” he said.

Rasmussen predicts the US is moving toward a much broader and more all-inclusive mainstream.

“It’s a dream that Martin Luther King could have embraced as people begin marrying across racial and ethnic boundaries,” he said. “These racial lines that we talked about are almost a statistical construct. You know a lot of people who  we classify in one way see themselves in another.”

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson, who is also the opinion editor of the Deseret News, can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

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Inside Sources: America is no longer a melting pot but a salad bowl