Arnold, CA…No, it is not a rhetorical question. Right now it seems everything is racial and tensions are high with no end in sight. Politically it hasn’t been this racially charged since the 1960s. The horrific events recently from Gilroy to El Paso & Dayton have most of us looking internally more than a little.
On the surface with Hamilton as a surname my American lineage stretches back to if not the Mayflower era to at least our nation’s founding. One Hamilton has even become quite popular on Broadway as of late. If you dig a bit deeper the picture is much different. It would be my guess that the past and future of most of our families is much like mine.
When we had our family history looked into over 30 years ago it showed Irish, English, German, Swiss, Native American, Italian and if I remember correctly a bit of Dutch. Interestingly though the largest single ethnic block was 12.5% Native American. So for all of my mixed European background I really have more in common with the Native Americans than anyone else. In actuality I haven’t really thought about my ethnic makeup in years until this weekend.
Now to the premise of this piece…I looked at my family with fresh eyes this weekend. I have nieces, nephews & cousins who have African American, Asian and Hispanic as their largest blocks of genes. One member of our Hamilton family is marrying a young Asian lady later this month, so the actual melting pot continues.
We are a nation now that thankfully in our younger generations race, as even a consideration of who they date and marry is almost a non-issue. They love who they love and marry who they love.
So for all of our race and identity politics in our politically contentious times. Actual race relations in relationships has never been better. In reality mixed racial and blended ethnic blocks are our future. According to how you slice Census Data this has been the case for quite some time and is accelerating not slowing down.
If you run these trends out for another two generations it is our contention that even as political groups try to make race an even more significant part of our public discussions race will cease to be an issue in our daily lives. The actuality is that race is mattering less and less already.
In reality the only question that really matters is what version of “Life, Liberty & Pursuit of Happiness” can we agree on?
American has always at its core been a idea, not an ethnic block. If we are to have a future it needs to focus on that yet again.