Some people on the right worry that immigration will cause America’s white population to be largely replaced by non-whites.  This hypothesis is sometimes referred to as “The Great Replacement”.  There is a great replacement occurring, but these worriers have things exactly backwards.  (As an aside, this post will not examine the pros and cons of a changing ethnic mix.  Rather, I’ll argue that the feared change is not occurring.)

To understand why the Great Replacement theory is wrong, it’s helpful to begin with a bit of American history.  A century ago, people tended to think about the white race in a more narrow fashion.  The original settlers in the 1600s and 1700s tended to be white Anglo-Saxon protestants (WASPs) from northern Europe.  This was followed by a new wave of settlers from places like Ireland, Italy and Eastern Europe.  Although today we regard these more recent immigrants as white, they were initially viewed as being members of a very different ethnic group—what we would call “minorities”.  Over time, they became more successful and assimilated with the majority WASP population.  Here’s a screenshot of some books that discussed how these groups became “white” in a cultural sense.  (Again, I am using race here as a social construct, not a biological category.)

Today, the vast majority of immigrants come from Latin America and East Asia.  They are gradually assimilating with the majority white population, often via intermarriage.  In 100 years, the descendants of Asians and Hispanics will be viewed as being just as white as Italian-Americans, Jewish-Americans and Irish-American people are viewed today.

My daughter is a good example.  People who meet her for the first time almost universally regard her as “white”.  And yet my daughter’s mother is from China.  Thus in a sense my East Asian wife is being “replaced” by a white daughter.  That’s the actual “Great Replacement”.

It is true that there is somewhat less intermarriage between whites and blacks, but that fact doesn’t change the basic picture.  Since 1990, blacks have constituted between 12% and 13% of the US population, about the same as in 1870.  The Great Replacement theory is mostly about the effects of Asian and Hispanic immigration, and that’s where assimilation is occurring at a rapid pace.

You will occasionally see predictions of whites becoming a minority at some point in the future.  Don’t believe them.  I’ve seen this sort of prediction off and on for my entire life, and yet in a cultural sense whites are just as dominant as ever.  What changes over time is our concept of what it means to be white.  This category will be continually redefined in such a way as to keep whites in the majority.  I suppose some on the left might view that process with suspicion, but I believe that assimilation is a very positive development.  The greatest ethnic strife tends to occur in countries that do not experience assimilation.