The United States took another step closer to being a pluralistic society, according to statistics issued by the Bureau of the Census earlier this month. For the first time in our history, non-white babies outnumbered white births during the last year that was analyzed. Between April 2010 and July 2011 the percentage of white newborns dropped below 50 percent (49.6 percent). However, that does not mean that white people will hold “minority” status at some point in the foreseeable future.
For many decades, America has been thought of as a “melting pot,” that is, a society formed by the blending together of the many cultures that compose this nation. However, nearly all social and behavioral scientists view this description as being naïve, at best. From the earliest days, the traditions and customs that were transported from Western Europe, particularly England, have constituted the dominant culture.
Within a society, a dominant group is not defined numerically. It is the group that holds the economic, political, and social power. Minority groups, therefore, lack these essential assets. The situation during the years of apartheid in South Africa is an excellent example. White Afrikaners were outnumbered by at least six to one by native black Africans, alone. The society also had a significant percentage of East Indians and Asians, but all of the power rested in the hands of the white government.
While the situation in the United States is not as extreme as was apartheid, there is little doubt that most of the power structure is cemented among whites. But, beginning in 1865 with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery, Congress began a slow, though hesitating, transition toward a “shared society.” ...