Cancel “What Americans Will Look Like in 2050”
So there’s this pretty dumb PolicyMic thing up right now showing “the lovely faces of our nation’s multiracial future.” The headline — National Geographic Concludes What Americans Will Look Like in 2050, and It’s Beautiful — is like the title of a term paper written by the Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With At a Party. “It’s no secret that interracial relationships are trending upward, and in a matter of years we’ll have Tindered, OKCupid-ed and otherwise sexed ourselves into one giant amalgamated mega-race,” writes the author. Word? It is also no secret what else is always trending upward: “shareable” ideas that appear researched and progressive while actually eliding all of the underlying structural concerns that will always influence what race (and attendant opportunity) means in America far more than the distracting visual pleasure of a girl that looks like Rashida Jones.
It’s the rhetoric that matters here, the unplumbed fetish for these faces and what they can be forced to represent. I admit that I am sensitized on the basis of my everyday life. I sometimes read as biracial (which, if these photos are any indication, many still envision as “white” + “person of color”) and sometimes people sort of act disappointed to find out that I’m just plain whatever, and much more often are quite ready to express an interest in the somewhat inevitable byproduct of my long-standing habit of contributing to the “mega-race” (boning white guys). God, those kids would be good-looking! Here we go, riding the swirl into a fully equal future, in which all of our faces will glow like one giant Instagram and the filter is white, white, white!
Demographics are changing, attitudes about race are changing, yes; and I am glad for it. And maybe it’s good that people keep writing pieces like this, so impossibly shallow and shortcut-minded that the subtext is clear as anything: look how nice we look, as a people, when white gets to be more interesting and minorities get to look white. Look at this freckled, green-eyed future. Look at how beautiful it is to see everything diluted that we used to hate.