Allow me to begin this post by admitting that I presented some junk data in my sermon over the weekend and I intend to correct it here. We preached on Love this weekend as part of our Good Life Series. Little did we know, when we planned the series, that it would fall during the week of the Charlottesville incident. That prompted us to address love through the lens of racism.
I made a bold claim in my sermon regarding projections in the U.S. Population. These claims came from information I received more than 15 years ago in a seminary course. I said that some demographers and futurists were predicting that, by the year 2020, 20% of the U.S. Population would be white, thus removing whites from a majority status. The implications of 2o% of the population holding 80% of the power in a democratic system are obvious. I also claimed that part of the reason for the upsurge in racism, and especially white supremacist groups, is due to the fear evoked in the impending loss of power.
A very knowledgeable member of the congregation sent me a message that said that the 20-20 thing was never correct and was based more on politics than statistics. I did acknowledge in my sermon that I had not done the research to see if this has played out. Well, I definitely should have taken the time to do so, because it is, in fact, dead wrong.
The United States Census Bureau defines white people as those “having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.” It includes people who reported “White” or wrote in entries such as Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish.”1 Whites constitute the majority of the U.S. population, with a total of about 245,532,000 or 77.7% of the population as of 2013. Non-Hispanic whites make up 62.6% of the country’s population. Despite major changes due to immigration since the 1960s, and the higher birth-rates of nonwhites, the overall current majority of American citizens are still white, and English-speaking, though regional differences exist.2
Here are three places where you can begin your own research on the demographics of the USA:
- Wikipedia article on Demography
- Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service
- An Article at the Current On NPR
The map above is from the Wikipedia article. It shows the demographic breakdown of the nation.
So, what does this correction do to the gist of my sermon? Nothing, actually. It does not change the fact that white supremacy voices, and any voices of hatred and violence, stem from fear.
It does, however, humble me and reminds me to be extra careful when I cite things like this that are way outside my realm of expertise. It does demonstrate that the white population, overall, will stay a statistical majority. The truth of our race situation is not the 20-20 issue, but the fact that we tend to make it a white/black problem, when our racial mix is so much more complex than that. What about the Asian population, the Latino/a and non-white Hispanic, the Native American? The fear of the other runs along many lines and in all directions.
The answer is still the supernatural AGAPE of God that reminds us that ALL people are created equal by God and are equally loved by God. I pray that we, in our little spot on this globe at Easter Lutheran Church in Eagan, MN, can use whatever voice we have to stand against evil and learn to listen to and love our neighbors the way Jesus modeled for us.
I apologize for the false data in the sermon. I am grateful for a loving correction. I am hopeful that LOVE WINS.