Abstract

Recent projections indicate that by the year 2050, racial minorities will comprise more than 50 percent of the U.S. population. That is, the United States is expected to become a “majority-minority” nation. This essay adopts a social psychological approach to consider how these dramatic demographic changes may affect both racial minorities and white Americans. Specifically, drawing from theoretical work on social identification, the essay examines the likely psychological meaning (if any) of a majority-minority nation for racial minorities' self-concepts and the resulting effects on their evaluations of members of other racial minority groups. In addition, the potential reactions of white Americans to the possibility of becoming a numerical minority are explored. Drawing on reactions to the election of Barack Obama as the first black president of the United States, the authors conclude by discussing the implications of America's shifting racial demographics for the U.S. racial hierarchy.

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