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tv   After Words Justin Gest Majority Minority  CSPAN  August 13, 2022 10:00am-11:01am EDT

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hi justin. it's a really great to see you and it's really great to be here on the show with you today. i know we have lots to talk about a lot of really really
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interesting things to talk about and we're gonna be talking about your book majority minority. in fact, i wonder if we could first talk a little bit about um why you decided to do this book and with such a title something. that's kind of been a little bit of a buzzword in washington in the last 10 years or so. so what drove you to do the book, you know, mark. thanks so much. our, you know interviewing me so many pieces of my earlier work feels like they came together with this work on you know here to four. i've studied muslim politics the politics of a lot of minority out groups the politics of white working-class people and nativism and backlash to diversity and minorities and nativism and i studied immigration policies both here in the united states and abroad across 30 different countries, and i think that overshadowing all of these different topics overshadowing our politics public opinion and our policy has been the specter.
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of the majority minority milestone the moment when minority groups become become the majority group, they outnumber the original or native based ethnic or religious minority. and so i think that you know in acknowledging that shadow cast over all of our politics. i want to kind of take it on, you know head on and for for viewers. i'm not quite sure everybody might know what majority minority is referring to but the nation has been under a lot of demographic change. i wonder if you can tell us a little bit about the story of where we are today, and we're the nation may be going in terms of its demographics. well, mark, you know better than anyone really better than me even you know about about where our nation's demographics are going but, you know certainly in the most simplistic high level way the country is diversifying on dramatically. so it's it's not the kind of thing that happens overnight, but this was a white colonial settler state at its founding and steadily over the centuries. we have diversified from the sort of ang.
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protestant northern european protestant basis of our population along with of course a large group of slaves that were present from almost the inception of the country and that population is diversified in almost every way possible whether it's ethnically and religiously, you know, and of course culturally that comes with it. and so what we're now seeing our trends that are pushing us to the point where people who self-identify as white and non-hispanic white will no longer be at least 50% of the country's population and i'm referring to then it's generally referred to as the majority minority milestone. it's very interesting because the latest 2020 census figures do show just yet even more how diverse the country is become about 60% of the nation's population is as you said white non-hispanic and i think that's a really important distinction that i want to come back to a little bit later. but also when we talk about this racial ineptic composition of the country the other interesting thing i find about majority of minority as a concept is we talk about these
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as mutually exclusive racial and ethnic groups blacked on hispanics asian on hispanics native americans who don't have any hispanic originally and multiracial people who are not hispanic hispanics and then white not hispanics not sure the country thinks about itself in that way, but that leads me to my next question, which is really about the way you structure the book which i found absolutely fascinating which is to talk about some examples about what's happening around the world. where other countries other societies have faced. this milestone. where did you go? where did you do some of your research? and what did you find? sure so many people think about american politics think that we're exceptional and in many cases, of course, we are exceptional. we are very exceptional place, but i think when it comes to the majority minority milestone, there was the sense that we're in sort of new territory that no country has ever experienced this before and certainly no large country like us as ever experienced it before but i think that we can learn from smaller countries that actually have experienced it they act is
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almost like living laboratories microcosms of human nature and the changes that take place when demographic change really is is ushered in and so i visited a number of countries and they're quite diverse not just you know, sort of in terms of what ethnic groups you're talking about. but also what time period and geographically different and as a result we really can see some some themes that are threaded through all of them over the over the course of history and so in brief, i study singapore and bahrain which are two by they're all island states. i should mention and yes and i like that about that. i thought the island part was a really being part of want to come back to that too, but you have some happily. let's definitely come back to these island nations, but they're all island nations and singapore and bahrain are two island nations, obviously in southeast asia and off the coast of the arabian peninsula respectively that are really characterized by the suppression of minorities and we can get into that more later if you like mauritius and trinidad and tobago are islands in the indian ocean and the east caribbean sea
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respect respectively that are democracies, but are consumed and gridlocked by ethnic tension. and then third the third group of countries are new york, which is not a country. although many new yorkers would like to think that they're a country or would like to become their own country and also hawaii, which is not its own country today, but it was up until american the american annexation of hawaii in 1893 and at that time they were already past the majority minority milestone and those two societies the hawaiian kingdom and new york were had a different type of history. it was it was subject to a sort of redefinition of the identity and therefore much more peaceful path towards demographic change. and so i study all six of these countries all three different paths and try to generalize what to eat and expect and what are the sort of critical junctures in that process and what should we factor what might we expect this majority. minority. milestone is an interesting interesting phenomena happening in the country. it's something that's gonna take
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some time to happen, but we kind of know that it's coming and it's something that's gonna seem to have a lot of potential a lot of impacts on multiple parts of american life. political life but what might we see come from a minority majority milestone in the united states and what you saw in some of these other places sure. well, i think that the most important thing to recognize is that there's going to be nativism. there's going to be prejudice prejudice and nativism are a consistent human response to demographic change particularly approaching a majority minority milestone, and that's true even in societies that cope really well and to me that's really important to recognize it's not something obviously to be celebrated. you know, we want to try to mitigate the extent of racism and nativism and prejudice in our societies, but so many people think that we are not going to be able to properly adapt to this demographic change unless we eradicate racism unless we eradicate nativism but what i find is that actually those sentiments among people
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who are experiencing this change. that's the turf on which change needs to happen. so majority minority milestones. effectively governed they're highly subject to the management of governments and civil society and businesses how they respond to demographic change really matters because the the prejudice is a sort of natural reaction to gross change. and so it's about how we cope with that that matters. and so this this is why the story for singapore is so interesting. can you talk about how singapore has managed this transition? give us a little bit about a history of singapore too because i do think it's one of the interesting examples that you talked about in the book well for the purposes of television, this is such a long story to share and so i'm going to necessarily, you know, really truncate it for for our viewers, but certainly they could double click on any of these things by reading the book and it's chapters on singapore. so singapore is an island city state at the very bottom of southeast asia and for almost
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all of its history. it was an integral part of malaysia. what is now concerned malaysia previously the malay federation in previously, it's british, malaysia and during that period singapore grew and and to a major commercial metropolis that was fueled by immigration and it was effectively predominated by people of chinese origin. they're also people of indian origin some westerners, but generally it was predominated by the and overnight in 1965 not necessarily out of nowhere because there was troubles but out of almost out of nowhere overnight the malay federation which was recently independent from britain seceded effectively. they broke ties with singapore leaving the singaporeans sovereign at their own country, but really suddenly in a way that they had no infrastructure to maintain but all of a sudden this malay city-state became a chinese dominated country because of those historic demographics and so overnight you had a majority minority
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milestone where malays previously feeling like they were, you know, effectively in control the territory. we're no longer. and the and the singapore government has made incredible strides. i trying to create a multiracial society a multi-ethnic society on the city state and to maintain very peaceful relations mostly for the purposes of prosperity and in large part, they've been incredibly successful but to do so they have invoked number and passed a number of policies that actually do not overcome race on racial differences. but actually deepen and and thicken the boundaries the racial boundaries inside of their population. they select immigrants based on their racial profiles. they assign people to housing depending on what race they are. and again, it's usually going to be chinese malay indian or other what they call cmio and so it's going to be a sign by race and this is also true for schooling. so it's a society that is
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actually defined by race, but that has never actually but has actually never really experienced much conflict as a result though. and so through these through these levers of policy the singaporean government has been able to maintain the distribution of the racial and ethnic groups within this population, which i think if i'm correct around 73% chinese for example precisely so they have basically frozen the distribution of their population to the distribution that it was in 1965 when that majority milestone suddenly took place and by contrast there's a story of hawaii, which is another island, it was an island nation not part of the united states talk a little bit about the hawaiian majority minority story because it's a very different built set of circumstances but difference it outcomes sure. so, you know, hawaii the archipelago of hawaii didn't really have contact with anyone outside of polynesia until the late 18th century. and so, you know, this was an island that was isolated. so let alone having a majority
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minority milestone driven by immigration. there was no immigration. there was no contact until 1778, but after that after contact with the british and americans thereafter on the plantation economy began to grow a lot of white planters established plantations with the consent of the monarchy and those plantations needed labor and hawaiians were not prepared to actually supply it with labor for two key reasons one the population was decimated by an epidemic of variety of diseases that were coming from westerners and then secondly, which really absolutely killed an enormous amount of relation and then also many of the remaining hawaiians did not want to participate in the plantation based economy. they had historic economic norms and norms for how to grow plants and actually participate in a broader community ecosystem and natural ecosystem and they didn't want to participate and so the regime the hawaiian monarchy allowed extensive immigration to fuel the labor
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appetite of these plantation owners beginning in the 19th century and very quickly because the hawaiian population the native hawaiian population was so decimated the demographic share of foreigners began to grow and just before the americans and exit forcibly without much blood but forcibly on the last they reached that majority minority milestone interesting and and today hawaii is a place. that is the most diverse states on most diverse of states in the united states in terms of its racial and ethnic composition, i think a first date action to reached this majority of minorities status. there are other states though as well who have reached it in recent years. what are those other states? i think it's california, california, arizona taxes, i think in new mexico and new mexico new mexico is the one where latinos i think are about half of the of the states population. um, so i it's also intrigued as you read through these examples and you're in your qualitative work you're talking with folks in these different places to see
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the different levers of policy that are in place to address demography. i'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about that because usually demographers think about that equation that is what drives to go up and go down. it's natural increase births minus. that's it's the arrival of immigrants into a new place and there are maybe a few other things that also that might affect the demography of a place, but can you talk a little bit about the ability of governments to actually be able to shape demography or maybe they're inability to do so yeah, i mean in many ways, you know demography is is almost you know seems at least in the outside to be uncontrollable because you can't force people to have children. at least. i mean, i would hope no government would do so, you know, but yet that's very important for a country that children are produced for the sake of population stability on you know, you can't you can't stop people from intermarrying which obviously changes the racial composition of a country depending on how people self-identify there are lots of things and you also can't control when people die. usually i mean you can provide
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government sponsored healthcare and you can have you know, anti-obesity, you know initiatives like michelle obama did there's lots of things that governments can do to promote good health. that's right, but ultimately, you know, if people want to have bad habits and die early, there's only so much of government can do but there are some things that governments can do and they have gotten quite good at it over the years and i refer to these three ways of controlling demography and demographic change as who comes who counts and who connects and just breathe very briefly on each of these who comes as a matter of immigration. and of course the state is sovereign when it comes to controlling who is admitted into a country and governments have become very sophisticated at who they want to admit who they don't want to admit even if they're not very effective at always implementing those policies sometimes strategically. so who counts is a matter of how much power is given to minority groups. how much power is given to newcomers? you give them citizenship. do you naturalize them and in franchise them with the right to
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vote? do you give non-citizens the right to vote municipally as some cities have now start to do in the united states and extensively in europe. so who counts really matters gerrymandering also affects who is counting, you know in you know, electoral institutions like the electoral college effects, who counts and then finally who connects relates to the amount of interaction intergroup contact between a population and you know various policies like segregation have an enormous effect on whether a population is actually connecting and creating a sense of social solidarity and and linked fate so governments have actually taken a lot of action in responding to demographic change in many ways to compensate for the ways that they can't control it. and the in terms of who counts i found that part of your of your of your framework very very interested because it brought to mine a lot of the conversation in 2020 18 2019 2020 about including a citizenship question on the decennial census in 2020 the idea being that who is a us
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citizen us citizens are those who are allowed devoted in federal elections. what if you talk a little bit about how this applies to what's happening in america today as we look at our discussion around immigration around counting people and about connectedness. sure. well census is are in immensely important tool as of course anyone from the pew research center will acknowledge. so, you know, the census isn't imperative tool to understanding demographic change. naturally. it's our most important tool but it also distributes power it distributes money and resources and so whether people are counted by the census really matters and so the initiative to not count or at least to distinguish in those who are documented in the united states and not documented would have affected who counts not only because it could be used to determine who counts but it also may have suppressed the counting of people who are do not have legal status or people who may have legal status but fear deportation. anyway, however, you know,
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irrationally and of course that is exactly what people feared is that it would have a suppressing effect on people like that and and ultimately affecting perhaps even the count in those states that might then lead to perhaps not getting that additional congressional seat during a reapportionment that may be a state was expecting like in arizona and all the resources that come with it and the research, you know, and of course there's a constitutional debate about who should count right, you know that the census, you know, it says in the constitution that the census will count all persons. it doesn't say all legally present persons. it doesn't say no conditions on what type of persons but we don't talk count cattle or dogs, but we do count all persons. and so, you know, i think that's pretty clear. there is that legal and constit. national debate, but that aside there's also the political debate about what the intentions of the trump administration and their department of commerce were and you know, the consensuses that there was a desire to affect who is counted and to suppress who has counted for political reasons. so thinking about the us story coming back to the united states
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and the majority of minority milestone in the book you talk about something that's happened that i think is also a very fascinating part of this which is that we've been here before the us has been at a majority minority milestone before and the in some ways the country addressed it what if you could talk a little bit about what that was and how it happened. absolutely, you know the specter of of this majority minority milestone the one that the census bureau has projected for 2044 is really majority minority 2.0. you know, it really depends on how we understand whiteness because who is the majority is a subjective matter and all countries determine who the majority is in their definitions of the people and in the 19th century and earlier the definition of the people in the united states relied on an idea of whiteness. that was quite limited in scope mostly to northern european protestants. and so when you have that narrow definition today's view a narrow
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definition. we reached a majority minority milestone probably somewhere in the early 20th century or the late 19th on likely probably around like 19 10, 19 20 because people who were of greek background or of jewish background or italian background of irish background of maybe even if german catholic background, they wouldn't have counted in that definition of whiteness and you think about how many americans today are italian or irish or greek? it's enormous slavs as well wouldn't have counted and so through those 19th century lenses. the united states has reached a majority my notice that minority milestone long before and that's really i think an interesting part of the story is sort of who counts as white or what is whiteness in in the united states today. so today when we think about this part of the conversation does revolve around hispanics in the us and it's an interesting notion the way the census bureau counts people, right? so the census bureau asks about in two ways. instance in two ways the first ask people. are you hispanic or latino?
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and then it asks you what is your rates? are your white black etc and they give you this instruction that says for the purposes of this race question hispanics are not a race that has had some really interesting outcomes because of 2020 census has shown a lot of really interesting results, but when you could talk talk a little bit about this distinction between ethnicity hispanic in race and how that plays into the majority minority work that you've done in this book sure. so absolutely those two questions are pretty much everything to anyone who studies race and ethnicity in the united states and the subjectivities of your racial or ethnic identity are really present because it is ultimately in the eye of the beholder or the eye of the person with the pen who is actually checking different boxes on the census forms. and so, you know, certainly, you know, most latinos self-identify as latino or hispanic in this case, but the following question about race is really interesting because for many latinos they
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feel in the united states as you know, brown for all intenses intents and purposes which of course is not an option from a racial perspective because of course races itself, very constructed, but without that being an option about 60% of us latinos on self-identify as white and so, you know from the purposes of understanding a majority minority. milestone is totally possible that we could see the postponement of that majority minority milestone if enough white hispanics self-identify in from a salience perspective more as white then as hispanic and and join for, you know, political purposes as the majority minors minority milestone matters with the non-hispanic white group and this really relates i think to your earlier question about the 19th century because the question is well what happened in the 19th century because we don't think of ourselves as the majority minority milestone any or country any more and of course, we are we already a
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majority minority country the difference is that we had reconstituted re-understood what it means to be white in america and suddenly we extended the understanding of whiteness to those italians irish slavs -- greeks etc. and so that fundamentally changed understanding of whiteness and the understanding of what it means to be a mainstream or part of the majority here and that could happen again. you think it's happening again when i take a look at some of the data for latinos particularly you do see for example, there are some people who might say they have a hispanic ancestry, but don't self-identify as hispanic anymore. they might call themselves white all the way. they might admit that they have are acknowledged the family background, but they don't necessarily call themselves hispanic anymore. they instead called themselves white might that be an indication to where the country is going. absolutely. it's already happening. so, you know, there are many latinos and people are interested in chatting about this with their friends. they should you know, who believe that the salience of
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their white identity is greater than the salience of their latino identity and you know, it's not a place for judgment. i don't think actually because so much of this is in the eye of the beholder. it's how you self-identify not just you know, who you identify with, but how also you feel identified by others, you know, identity is complex and two-way street and so yes, it's already happening and and we see it affecting our politics as a result. i want to come back to something that's in the that's in the book that i also found really just a very useful way to think about the framing of the ways in which again governments might shape the national identity of a country and those are your five pivots one of you could talk about the five pivots and share with the viewers what those are yeah, you know one of the most critical questions obviously for anyone who picks up this book is going to be okay. so how does a country move towards greater inclusion and peaceful relations and how do countries move towards more conflict and greater exclusion and less coexistence.
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and so i want to lay out and i design my research to really identify and pinpoint those critical junctures of how governments move towards inclusion or exclusion and i call them those five pivots. so the five pivots relate to first ideology, you know does a country on have a sort of overarching theory of like what makes them whole and what makes them together and what makes them a nation and sometimes those allergies are very inclusive and sometimes they're very exclusive and again, i'm going to be brief for the purposes of television. but again, this is all you know, extensively not thought through in the book. secondly, there's commerce, you know systems of commerce can be inclusive or exclusive you can have a segregated labor market where people are not interacting with each other where professions are segmented by race or ethnicity or you can have a labor market and a commercial system that facilitates lots of interdependencies where people rely on each other mutually and place into contact with people
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different from them, then there's also culture so sports the arts, you know literature cuisine music, you know, all of these are ways to cross divides to transcend racial and ethnic differences in religious differences on and be exposed in enriching way that the arts actually does expose us to different cultures and ways of thinking but it can also be divisive and you know, we see that in the united states. sometimes the athletic fields are places for controversy, you know, i think of colin kaepernick the quarterback the former quarterback from the san francisco 49ers who initiated an enormous controversy in in protesting police brutality against african americans, i think about confederate memorials and statues and public works of art that honored the confederacy and what a lightning on spark that has been and rod that has been for the united states politics then fourth the socialization of youth education how we how we teach our children
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the history of a country. what is our school curricula like and you know, and when i first wrote the book, i think that when people saw early drafts, they're like, you know, this doesn't seem that controversial, you know off off the bat, but then of course recent politics in the united states have taken place and i think we see just how much school curricula can really be a lightning rod as well. schools are also the place for integration, you know, they don't have to be segregated and so controversial. they're the place where students of different ethnic and religious backgrounds meet. you know, i myself like i think you went to majority minority schools in our youth is in los angeles, california and that in many ways presage is the changes that you know came through in the country, but also exposed us to our different cohorts, which is really special and then finally the politics of threat how elites and government leaders identify threats to a country whether they are internal threats which are very divisive and saying that their enemies inside of the country or
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whether they're external threats, you know, ideally, you know, it's not another country because that can be divisive too. you know, ideally you have martians or something like that, but you know coronavirus was a threat and unfortunately that was leverage for political purposes in the united states, but it just as easily could have been an external threat that unifies a country too. and this these five pivots i think are all are also striking and so interesting because even though some of the may seem like obvious or some might say that this is a there's nothing surprising about this yet this framework, i found was very helpful to think about the ways of which the us has reacted to the rival of over 59 million people since 1965. so just to be clear in 1965 the us changes immigration laws made it easier for folks for many different parts of the world to come into the us and as a result, we've had the arrival of 59 million people since then about half coming from latin america about a quarter coming from asia and all together this
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this arrival of many new new immigrants to the country has reshaped the nation's demographics. it's from this point that we start to see the nation really move much more quickly and in a different way in a different course towards this majority minority milestone that were that we're talking about. so when i when i think about particularly the ideology part of this i think about the ways in which we talk about immigration in the united states today because there are different narratives about immigration one of you could talk a little bit about sort of where we are as a country and how we're moving towards inclusion or how we're moving towards exclusion with so many people from other countries living here. yeah, you know the natural response to these five pivots is okay. well, where's the united states right now? where do we pivoting to and in many ways there are such countervailing forces in the united states. i think we're at a crossroads. you know, they are extremely strong currents of coexistence
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on the the invigorating effects of race and and ethnic diversity, you know people and eagerly ant eating demographic change as creating a sort of equal playing field for a country of immigrants, but there are also many who are discomforted by these changes and understandably. so, you know, the changes are happening quickly and sometimes people don't feel prepared or they feel like they don't understand what's going on or they're uncertain about what the effect of those changes are on their lives and as a result you also have the currents towards nativism towards backlash towards exclusivity and and that is also present in our politics and so in many ways, i just think that the united states is teetering on this sort of crossroads about which direction to go and you know, the result has not has been a stalemate at the national level because how you view demographic change whether you think it's invigorating and exciting or discomforting and angst inducing really depends i think on your politics and those politics have
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become this sort of fulcrum for our political parties. the democrats are you know, shamelessly globalist and cosmopolitan and and and and embrace diversity. republicans are much more skeptical of those processes. they're more nationalistic. they're more nostalgic in their orientation. and so, you know, how you view demographic change has become that pivotal fulcrum. and so what's happened is not that national policy has led quite the opposite what we've seen is that local policies have led. we have seen the sort of devolution of how to address demographic change down to the municipal or state levels and the vacancy of that space at the national level because of gridlock. and so we're likely to see this going forward unless one side is able sort of tip the scales in their favor. can you talk a little bit about some of those local examples? because i do think that that's really interesting to search it to see how and this is what i think is an interesting facet of the united states is a lot of things happen at the local level
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at the state level oftentimes. they may be ahead of what happens at the federal level. but how has this happened at the local level where local communities states counties cities have addressed this change gosh an examples abound because we have thousands of localities. and so you have thousands of political moves that have been made all because the national government's not leading or because the local government has the power under american institutions to resist national trends and dictates. so, you know, we've already mentioned a number of these you think about municipal voting in certain cities right giving immigrants the power to vote before they actually have citizenship. that's an enormous choice to be made on the critical race theory. and the effect that they're having on curricula at local school levels and districts and state schools statewide school. the departments of education are making these choices i think back to the way that some state and and local police of forces police departments opted out of
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the secure communities program where they were expected to report on suspicion of undocumented citizens when they arrest people and some of them said, we're not going to participate in this and we're not going to inform the department of homeland security when we encounter someone who might count you think about like vigilante justice against undocumented immigrants in in some red states in particularly in the united states, all of these are responses to demographic change, either to suppress it empower it and affect who counts and who comes in the country and it does one of the questions that sort of jumped in my mind is i was reading the book is i kept asking myself. is there a tipping point at which we start see these forces emerge? both the forces of inclusion and the forces of exclusion is it when a population say becomes say two percent foreign born? what about 5% you have some senses already. is there a tipping point at which all of a sudden the nation or a place starts to really focus on this impending change, so there isn't a sort of magic
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threshold where you know, once minority groups reach a certain, you know, share of the population all hell breaks loose, you know and upheaval. it starts instead actually what psychological and political psychological research suggests is that it's more about the pace of change. so it's when that when the change is not necessarily taking place, but how fast it happens is that when a lot of people begin to feel a sense of loss of control and so much of nationalism and nativism and the nostalgia that that drives it i think is about hitting the brakes. it's about giving people a sense of control over processes that feel uncontrollable and that's true for global. processes but you know it relates to the globalization of commerce or climate change or you know currencies and trade but also immigration. it's the social, you know side of globalization. and so that's going to be really relevant but the key here, i
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think mark is that once the backlash takes place. it's almost always too late. once the specter of demographic change of the majority minority milestone descends, usually the sort of the plaster is about to harden, you know in terms of that change taking place, you know, the fabric has been died. yeah as as one of my demographer friends says, you know, the cake is already been baked. it's all gonna happen. it's gonna be very hard to change the courses that were on just given where we are in terms of the demographics of the country. thank you for sharing that i think that that's a really important point to keep in mind about. you know, how the nation is both addressing this in many different ways and what it means given all the changes that are underway and you know mark in many ways. that was the sort of thought of americans in the early 20th century when confronted with the first majority minority milestone, right? they realize that the cake was baked and so what ended up happening was the admission of what they were then called white
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ethnics into whiteness because that was the only way you are going to maintain white supre. white superiority in american society and so, you know those greeks and you know, irish and italians whoever who accepted that invitation to whiteness through no fault of their own, but actually participate in the continuing subjugation of african americans of asian americans and latin americans thereafter, which is very much a sort of, you know strategy for maintaining, you know, white control of the us that had been there since its history and so, you know time will tell whether that happens again with the integration of either hispanics as we were just discussing or also people have mixed race backgrounds, right? in fact, that's actually where i wanted to go to next is i wanted you to talk a little bit about this other element of the demography of the country the growing number of people who are either marrying somebody who's not of the same race or ethnicity and also children who are the children of parents who are two different races are ethnicities what is happening in terms of trends there and what
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does that mean for this majority minority milestone? well, it means a lot because it's very, you know, the majority minority milestones only drive conflict where the barriers the the drawing the sort of boundaries of race and ethnicity and religion are thick right when they're being transcended coexistence can take place right and in a sense of linked fate can develop where you feel like, we're all the same when people are marrying a partners who are different from them or producing children with partners who are different from them. they are embodying the transcendence of these boundaries, you know, they are actually producing human beings for whom these lines don't matter. and so that is actually a really powerful way to disarm and deactivate the really divisive politics of exclusivity and and demographic change. and today something like 40% of all interracial inches ethnic marriages are a white
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non-hispanic per spouse with the hispanic spouse and most inner marriages are white on hispanic spouse with somebody who's not white and on hispanic 80% 80% and when you take a look at the inner marriage rates of the two largest immigrant groups of the country those who say are of hispanic origin, you'll find that for example about 28% of hispanic newlyweds. mary in any given year. marry somebody who's not hispanic and similarly for asian americans almost 30% so we're talking about the future of the country. it is striking how much the two largest immigrant groups or populations that have a lot of immigrants in their populations are all are in the forefront of some of this some of the inner marriage changes that are underway. absolutely and you know, these numbers are coming at least from my side directly from great work by a sociologist named richard alba who is study this really extensively and that matters you know that that you have this kind of intermarriage rate intermarriage and mixed race people skyrocketed 300% over the
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last 10 years according to the census bureau. and so this is a trend that's going to continue but when those mixed marriages and when those mixed race individuals are predominantly at least some share white the question is whether they will embrace that whiteness is the most salient part salient part of their identity or embrace the minority group more and of course there are there is a strong incentive in many cases socially to embrace whiteness because of the advantages the structural advantage is still associated with whiteness in the united states, but the best way around all these politics is to just stop making whiteness this sort of center of what it means to be an american the first place, you know, that's the real crux of all this is that race still matters in american society in meaningful economic social and political ways and only when that stops will these kinds of identity choices cease to matter, so but as long as they do people are going to be concerned about the racial distribution of the population and what the democratic change
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holds and with that implies for politics in the country that leads to another really great part of the book, which is your own research the experiments that you do with messages and some of the survey work that you did as well. can you talk a little bit about what it is that you did in the book through explore some of the ways in which for example people's attitudes about race identity nationalism might be impacted by the messages that they hear from leaders. sure so much of these ideas come from my work in the field. so i'm a real field researcher by training and by passionate about you know, and so, you know going to the various societies that i studied was just so exciting, but it was also so informative because it allowed me to sort of develop hypotheses about how to actually navigate these changes and what's what's done well and how we might be able to adopt some of those moves. here in the united states and you know the two hypotheses that i was really most interested in relate to the politics of
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nationalism. they relate to how we convince people who are really nationalistic or fearful of that change. we talked about them earlier to actually embrace demographic change or to least not be so nerved by it. you know, you don't have to love it, but you certainly but the key here towards coexistence is to not make people feel like there's an existential threat posed by minority groups and demographic change. and so what i want to do is to test two things one is is it possible? that when people are informed about immigration and and advocating, you know, more liberal views towards immigration that would facilitate greater coexistence, but also the admission of people to the country going forward. if they're told about these ideas by a familiar face by someone who actually aligns with them politically, but also ethnically racially with that actually make a difference to what they think and so i experimented using white male
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conservative messengers and the short of it is the effect was was there it moved people nudged conservatives in the united states towards a more liberal attitude towards immigration when it was advocated by someone that they knew the other thing that we tried was to actually inform people about how immigration is actually the most nationalist. thank you. you can allow that instead of actually immigration being a national threat a threat to the cut to the constitution of the nation. it's actually the way to sustain the nation. and so we put together some statistics for a variety of european countries. actually not in the united states for 19 different european countries and in each country reinformed people about just how fast their countries were aging and how this has gonna have really detrimental effects on their economies and on their societies going forward unless immigration is allowed and to our surprise this demographic argument from a very nationalist perspective about the survival of the nation was powerful and it moved people marginally but
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significantly towards more liberal views views even people who are conservative. and so i think that nationalism what this teaches us is that nationalism is not something that we have to you know that we should be just constantly lamenting as this vile foul, you know sort of zeitgeist of our politics today rather. it's almost a sort of human condition people want to be proud of their country and they want for it to survive and so framing demographic change and immigration in a way that embraces its role in the survival of a country is actually the way forward and up until now we've been so focused on the humanitarian case posed by immigrants or the sort of commoditizing them is as an economic agent and it hasn't been very successful to sort of disarming our politics, but the evidence suggests that actually treating it as the most nationalist thing you can want is actually a good thing and you just took away one of my questions which would be about immigration and the ways of which we talk about immigration in the united states and
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actually globally, but i want to come back to the messaging and the testing that you did. because you also had some examples of real life experiences a real life impacts of where there had been some changes in the messaging that was coming from us leaders around something. i wonder if you could talk about an example of where this has happened in real life where we've seen a leader talk about a change in the way they think about immigration and that may have impacted the ways in which the public thinks about immigration sure, you know, i think that you know if we want a us example on you know, you don't need to look much further than just recent history because you know up until donald trump took the helm of the republican party, you know, most mainline republicans were very pro immigration for business purposes in most cases from a labor perspective. um, you know, john mccain on you know, mitt romney. these are the presidential nominees george w bush presidents and and his father.
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we're all republicans who not only embraced immigration, but sought it out. know the first attempts that or the most recent attempts i should say at comprehensive immigration reform where thanks to enormous amounts of republican support and there were some actually on the far left who didn't want it and so it was really a centrist liberal view sort of in a capital l liberal view that that folks wanted immigration, but when the party leadership turned to donald trump and he embraced immigration as a really powerful mobilization tool republicans sort of followed because they followed the trusted republican leader and the rest is history, you know immigration and team immigrant sentiment is now i would say this sort of core of republicanism in the united states, but also of the far right in europe as well on you know, this is the the cinequan naan of right-wing politics today, but you know in the in the cases that i studied we see
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similar effects leadership of elite. on you know lee kuan yu was the longtime leader of singapore and he embraced a multiracial society, and he constantly talked about the singapore story as one that was effectively race blind, but in his public comments, he also made very sure to assert chinese supremacy on the uncities state and so those those statements mattered in trinidad and tobago. there are two principle political parties are racialized the unc the united national congress is predominantly of indian origin while the pnm that people's national movement is predominantly of african origin and they assert those identities on a day-to-day basis and therefore reinforce their salience in daily trinidadian society. so interesting and thank you for talking about those those non-us examples because i do think that this is not just the us phenomena, but you're absolutely
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right that we've seen some really examples in the us where the leadership on immigration reform had sometimes come from a republican leaders like george bush in 2004 and so forth, but you know also on the democratic side unions were previously quite skeptical that's generation. yes, right and they all had to fall into line on the left when immigration just became, you know, universally embraced and it was basically in politics even question whether you had you know, admit more people i think detrimentally so because it suggested that there was almost an out of control approach to immigration on the left that was been really that's really hurt democrats politically. yeah, exactly. and it's also what you need to see this in contrast to where we are in public opinion. so in terms of public opinion, and this is all one of the one of the pieces that i found really fascinating about the book is your discussion about the ways in which immigration policy advocates our advocates for policy change in immigration in the immigration space have tried various ways to talk about why immigration is good for the country you mentioned it already
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is commoditization of immigrants and we're going to workers and community to do things that americans don't want to do that it's a humanitarian story. this is just the right thing to do and that certainly is a a narrative that is permeated the world in terms of the discussion today around immigration reform of what countries should do on but yet when you take a look at pew research center surveys, you'll see for example that the public has shifted in his views on immigrants back in the 1990s. most americans would have said immigrants are a burden to the country. they're not good. looking united states today though. it's a different story the majority of americans say that immigrants strengthen the united states americans also say diversity makes the country a better place and they like diversity in their in their communities and their workspaces. you've also find that americans are the view that they show some sympathy or have some sympathy for the challenges that undocumented immigrants face in the country. what if you could talk a little bit about this what seems to be the american public even republicans moving towards a
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more accepting view of immigrants and yet we continue to have the conversations around immigration. and nativism that we do today. yeah, and you know these majorities that you're talking about that have moved towards a more liberal view of immigrant of immigration on our significant majorities, you know, we're talking 60% in some cases even more, you know, i think about the creating legal pathways for undocumented people who came over as childhood arrivals and you know, that's almost 70% i think of the country now, so that supports that so these are significant majorities. why are politics deadlocked? it's because of the intensity differences in these views. so the 60 or 60, you know 2/3 of the country that support more liberal priorities towards immigration or at least see immigration as a universal good thing for the country for them immigration is you know, maybe like the 10th most important issue in the country today. they're more focused on the economy on inequality on climate change on the accessibility of healthcare on racial justice. they got other priorities right
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now. but for the one-third of the country and sometimes even smaller share of the country that is concerned about immigration that is discomforted by that's anxious about that feels like it's out of control. it's like the number one issue for many of them and if it's not number one, maybe number two or three and so that intensity gap between americans as it relates to immigration is what's driving this deadlock because republicans don't feel like they have the bandwidth the representation the bandwidth to actually violate it because it's such a virulent sense of a fear associated with immigration and democrats don't have the same amount of passion behind immigration the best case scenario, i think for facilitating greater in the country. is to basically just turn down the volume, you know to make people care less about it, you know, our country needs it for our national survival. point blank, it's very simple but democrats i think also have
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to give people the sense of management of control over the system because what makes people so scared and discomforted is the sense that the united states may lose control over its borders or may not even have it to begin with and that democrats aren't interested in asserting discretion about who they let in it's a it's very interesting which we're getting close to the end here, but i wanted to talk a little bit about what is one of the key takeaways from the book that you would like to share with our viewers because the last chapter of your book i think is really just a great something i encourage everybody to take a look at if you look at something look about the first at the beginning of the end, but the american prospect, where are we going to go? what is going to happen in the coming years? what do you think the chances are for that it states to address this majority of minority milestone. will we succeed? so i think and maybe naturally i think that this is the greatest social challenge that confronts the united states today, and that's probably also true for countries that have a more
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distant horizon for a majority. minority milestone like canada or australia or even potentially the britain the united kingdom at some point. um, i think this is the greatest social challenge that we face and when face social challenges. governments business civil society step up and they identify it and they put resources towards addressing it. and so if we want for our country to have coexistence if we care about greater inclusion. we actually have to invest in it. we have to invest time energy creativity resources. and right now there is no senior aid at the white house. there is no legislative aid in congress tasked with can conceiving strategies for embracing demographic change and comforting people and bringing the country ushering in new change. there are no people who are sort of diversities czars, you know or coexistence czar's out there. and so if this is something that we believe to be a challenge and
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if people recognize that this is the fulcrum of our political division our polarization today, then we need to actually exert effort into addressing it and that's not something that we have done so far, which is lamentable on the one hand, but on the other hand it gives me some optimism because it suggests maybe if we actually were to put our minds to it we could actually overcome the nasty politics that this is created and one of the other things i think it's also interesting here is how the nation has engaged in a very deep very inches and very tough conversation around race and racial justice with george floyd's murder two years ago. and also just what covid-19 has brought to the country. um, i know that it's always hard to be current and everything in something like like as a massive a project as your book, but could you talk a little bit about the role of black americans in this story about majority minority the milestone and where we are today because certainly the focus is shifted really towards racial justice income inequality in a way that
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it's a much deeper conversation than it was say 10 years ago, but it's been building and 2020 really exploded on the scene you talk a little bit about that and how that plays into the majority minority story absolutely look on the surface black americans african-americans fit into the majority minority story because they're part of that plurality of people of minority backgrounds people of color as they're often called in the united states and so the majority of minority milestone depends on significant share of americans who are black now. that's just on the surface, but you dig just slightly below the surface and you realize just how complicated things are because not not as many blacks in the united states recognize their own immigrant heritage. their immigration was forced in nature on in terms of their ancestry and you know in terms of new african or arrivals, you don't always have the same sense of solidarity with them that latino might see with a new latino arrival on you know for someone who like your family is
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more your multi multiple generations, you know, you may recognize more quickly someone who's a new arrival. um, but even beyond that there's still a lot of prejudice among minority group ethnic minority groups who are non african-american two or towards african americans, you don't have the sense of sort of pan racial solidarity that majority minority milestones the idea of it sort of suggests, right? and so those prejudices against black people amongst asian americans or latinos. cases mirror the prejudice that we have measured among white americans. and so, you know it is not this perfect fit into the same story here and that's something that has to be acknowledged. but that's also true of all the various minority groups. they are all very different groups of people and you know, it's easy to talk about them as like a monolith as we have so far in our conversation and generalize so broadly, but of course underneath these headings of latino or asian comes enormous heterogeneity diversity of religious background culture
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racial identification thoughts absolutely and education and so, you know these these complexities are america, we're complex place and we are still changing. we're still evolving and you know, the various ways are identities intersect are pivotal to our politics and i hope the bush the book, you know shines a little light on those. well justin, it's been a real pleasure to get a chance to chat with you about the book. we didn't get a chance to talk about latinos and the upcoming. action in the and how they seem to be shifting towards a republican party, but i encourage our viewers to read the book because there's so much in here. that's so rich and deepened so much around what's happening in the country today and i i like the perspective that you bring to talking about demographic change that it's not something that's apart from policy that can actually be something that is part of our policy conversations. well, so justin guest thank you for being with us here today. it's a real pleasure and thank you. the pleasure is mine. thanks mark.
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