A recent study by Leeds University that spawned a score of news stories (BBC, Guardian) estimated that numbers of ethnic minorities in the UK will grow from 8 to 20 per cent of the population in 2051. Apart from the 'other white' ethnic group which will be the fuelled by expected high levels of immigration from Europe, Australasia and the US, the percentage of people identifying themselves as being of 'mixed race' is expected to grow substantially.
According to the estimates, this group will grow from 1.2 per cent of the population in the 2001 census to as high as 4.2 per cent. The group is predicted to overtake Indians as the largest minority group by 2020 with over 3.5 per cent of births in England and Wales in 2005 being 'mixed race'. In the USA, multiracial Americans officially numbered 6.1 million in 2006 and continues to grow apace. This story is being repeated all over the Western world, especially in those countries that already have high levels of multicultural populations.
Discussions in and out of the press about President Obama's and Tiger Woods's racial classification, both in the UK and the USA, is evidence of the growing number of multi-heritage people who are starting to identify themselves as such. They are increasingly rejecting the 'tragic mulatto', 'culturally confused' and 'genetically impure' images and the 'one drop' rule that has pervaded both countries' racial classification mentalities for decades.
Multi and intra-cultural issues are also being recognised by governments with data collection such as censuses reflecting this rapidly growing section of society. Society in general is recognising the trend as well with a considerable number of books, websites and articles being published and over 50 groups and fan pages on Facebook alone.
A new website and a subsequent book, Mixed in Different Shades, aims to supplement these sources by exploring the history of inter-cultural relationships and people of mixed heritage all over the world. The project from yours truly is not a scholarly social study, but aims to be popularly accessible to a wide range of people and will add another dimension to the inter-cultural and multiple heritage experience for those exploring this fascinating phenomenon.
[First published on my Talking2Myself blog on specified date]