Wow, so I hadn’t seen this before, but a bit of Tumblr digging points me to this post (which has 250,000+ notes as of this writing, so someone should check the reality filter, I think it’s broken). Short answer: The photo is real, but the caption is complete BS. Longer answer … here we go:
The photo in the Tumblr post is certifiably printed within the pages of the October 2013 issue of National Geographic, but that “Americans in 2050” business is not anything close what the actual piece is about. By the way, October 2013 is the 125th anniversary special photo issue, and I highly recommend picking up if you have the means. Choice snaps from the history of NatGeo. I happen to be at my parents’ house right now, and they had the issue sitting on the coffee table. Pics or it didn’t happen, of course:
The actual article is called “The Changing Face of America,” accompanied by the beautiful portrait work of Martin Schoeller. The article itself, by Lise Funderburg, deals with the changing idea of race over the years, from the erroneous early 20th century notion that some races were genetically superior to others, to its more modern but equally inadequate identity as a social construct which seems to exist more for Census Bureau purposes than any real human or moral utility (not to mention all of the attendant violence, hatred, and injury that comes along with said inadequate social construct, which my passing mention does little justice to). The portraits, all of mixed-race Americans, serve to underscore the inadequacy of our culture’s racial labeling system for both the describer and the describee. Meanwhile, the article reminds us that eliminating the vocabulary of race doesn’t eliminate the sins of the past or present, nor does it stop us from subconsciously identifying race in less than a tenth of a second, an odd habit that a University of Colorado brain imaging study showed that we do, in fact, do.
So, no, the thing you asked about is not accurate. This kind of viral misinformation happens all the time on Tumblr, and elsewhere on the internet. Esquire has a great article about that epidemic, you should read it.
On race and genetics in general… Geneticists have determined that human beings, no matter what they call each other, differ by as little as 0.1% (and no more than 0.4%) on a DNA level. I mean, of course someone that we call “white” is genetically different than someone we call “black”, hence the different deposition of melanin pigments in their skin, but that’s so obviously a dumb way to differentiate people that I don’t think I need to say any more about it.
On the idea that the “white race” is recessive… While also wrong, here’s the logical hopscotch behind it, as well as I can tell: Human ancestors originated in Africa. Most modern humans native to Africa have brown skin of some hue, so maybe our African human ancestors did too? People of European descent have paler skin, which means that somewhere along their migration out of Africa a series of genetic mutations led to having less pigment, at least for the specific lineage of humans who became Europeans. This helped them make more vitamin D in the less-intense sunshine of northern latitudes. The idea that it’s “recessive,” since white/_____ mixed race children aren’t completely white, is … well, at best that’s a misuse of vocabulary, and at worst it’s genetic racism. Being of African descent again? When did we stop being of African descent? Homo sapiens all hail from the same home.
Oh, and that girl in the photo? Her name is Jordan Spencer, and she’s from Grand Prairie, TX. If she represents the future of America, then the future is going to be a gorgeous and mixed up place that our 20th century ideas about race simply won’t be equipped to describe. Maybe new and better ideas will take their place. You know, ideas about people instead of races.
The real article ends with a fitting thought, thanks to Walt Whitman, who I hear was pretty good with words:
“I am large, I contain multitudes.”
I agree with this for the most part, I think the misinformation stems from several places:
1. This is tumblr. That’s all that needs to be said. Between mindless reblogging and someone’s personal take and experiences being inserted into every evaluation that is almost obtusely imbibed by all followers and similar blogs to be immediately proliferated and heralded or condemned, this happens a lot. Many people have reblogged, agreed or disagreed before even seeing the article.
2. A lot of people didn’t read the article (which is linked in the answer).
3. People have been dealing with the basic “(good-looking) interracial babies will end racism” line, including beautiful (usually page length) photographs of good-looking interracial celebrities and/or “regular” people and when most people saw this article, reading it or not, featuring with gorgeous interracial people and opening with an almost “exotifying” description and fascination of them, it reminded them of those same articles. Even people who have read the article, typically have a hard time with the general message of “in a more mixed world will become more difficult to easily define race, diminishing racial ‘boxes’ ” (If we can’t slot people into familiar categories, perhaps we’ll be forced to reconsider existing definitions of race and identity, presumptions about who is us and who is them. Perhaps we’ll all end up less parsimonious about who we feel connected to as we increasingly come across people - quoted from the article). This, in connection with negative past experiences of “mixed people = end to racism” leaves a sour taste in many people’s mouths because they equate the elimination of racial categories (in part or in whole) with the end of racism itself and that outcome with having mixed children (though, that is not what the article is saying).
Honestly, I support the answer jtotheizzoe originally posted. I think this is a mix of normal tumblr mishegoss, people not investigating enough and the damage done by many articles written about race. I’ve read this article, I actually didn’t know this was a thing until I saw this post and then saw the huge outcry against it. Just throwing in my ₦2 on this issue because as a POC, I have been fed the “mix babies end racism” line many, many times and I can see where people originally got the idea that the article was something that I don’t believe it is. Sorry for my run on sentences and randomness.