There is a Science Daily article about the phrasing and hence framing of the minority-majority issue. It is about research on public opinion and how it can shift, depending on the wording used. I take three main points from the article.
First, there is still plenty of racism in the US. When elicited by an us-vs-them framing, this racism motivates public opinion which leads to political action. Racism, unsurprisingly, will turn otherwise independent white Americans into Republicans.
“They found that participants who had read that California is a majority-minority state tended to lean more towards the Republican Party and rate their ideological attitudes as more conservative than participants who simply read that the Hispanic population had become equal in size to the Black population in the United States.
“Importantly, participants’ political attitudes shifted to the right despite the fact that all of the participants had labeled themselves as politically independent.”
Second, the crux of the matter with us-vs-them is status. White Americans become more conservative when they fear losing status. It is a win-lose mentality, when framed as us-vs-them. This is why racism is inseparable from classism in American society.
“According to Craig and Richeson, the possibility of a majority-minority shift may threaten White American’s perceived status in the long term, thereby making them more likely to endorse conservative policies in the short term.
“Indeed, participants who read that “White Americans are expected to continue to have higher average incomes and wealth compared to members of other racial groups” despite a majority-minority shift did not report more conservative attitudes, presumably because they did not perceive a threat to status.”
Third, framing really does matter. There are many important factors to consider in influencing positive change, but the simple issue of wording should not be overlooked. How something is phrased can determine if the majority of the population responds with support or opposition.
“”We’re working on ways to present information regarding these very real and important shifts in the country’s racial demographics that don’t engender these type of threat responses and, instead, promote positive relations among members of the majority and minority groups,” Craig concludes.”
There is plenty of racism just below the surface. It doesn’t take much to bring it to the forefront, without any explicit racism ever being involved. Racism is so integral to our society that we should tread carefully.