Summary: As comedian Hari Kondabolu writes in the description to this stand-up routine, "According to the US census, white people will be the minority in 2042 and Hari Kondabolu doesn't give a shit." On the one hand, the numerical turning point marks an important transition point in American racial demographics: there will be more racial minorities than white people, reflecting a more racially diverse society spurred on by immigration. On the other hand, the political significance of this turning point is very limited. As Kondabolu points out, "49% doesn't make you the minority." Sociologists discuss this in terms of majority-minority relations. The group in the majority is not the numerical majority, but rather is in a superordinate position in wealth, power, and/or prestige. A minority group is in a subordinate position in wealth, power, and/or prestige. In this case, racial minorities in the US will be like black South Africans who are the numerical majority in their country--but they are the minority group in terms of power and wealth. Kondabolu continues "49% white only makes you the minority if you think the other 51% are exactly the same ... that 51% is not a united front." The issue, in part, is about racial identity and consciousness. A "Black guy" and a "Korean guy" do not necessarily see themselves as experiencing the same struggles; they do not possess the same racial identity through which they make sense of the world and engage in collective action. And while white people also do not have a collective identity (they are divided across various ethnic groups), whites are clearly positioned atop the racial hierarchy with a clear set of advantages. The clip concludes by emphasizing race as a social construction. Kondabolu states: "white isn't a thing, race isn't a thing; it's a social construct ... it's a way to separate us." In previous historical periods, the Irish, Jewish people, etc, were not white. They became white as meanings of race were contested and changed throughout history. As 2042 approaches and fades into history, meanings of whiteness, Hispanic, and other racialized groups and boundaries will continue to change. Thanks to Nathan Madonich for suggesting this clip!
Submitted By: Paul Dean