Moving up : communities, institutions, and plural societies
The 2010 Census estimated that the United States will become a minority-majority country by 2043. Acting Census Director, Thomas L. Mesenbourg, noted that steady immigration, increased interracial marriages, and continued trends will move "the United States to become a plurality nation, where the non-Hispanic white population remains the largest single group, but no group is in the majority." While population diversification is reason for applause, the continued disparities in social and economic classes and educational attainment among minority groups are causes for concern. Pluralistic values can lessen the minoritization of any one group (Kruvant, 2015). Cultural capital shapes the intrinsic components of a values system. Unlike human capital, which is often correlated with the attainment of education, cultural capital largely corresponds to upbringing (Bourdieu, 1986). These dramatic increases in the US "minority" populations demand that this human ecosystem practice full integration of its components. The central force driving individual, community, and institutional roles and responsibilities is the interpretation of pluralistic values that shape and characterize participation in society. When looking at educational institutions as resources for increasing social connectedness and community engagement, the onus is shared by individuals and institutions to cooperate, adapt, participate, contribute, and have mutual trust within the ecological system for optimal outcomes (Ostrom, 2009). As U.S. society becomes more ethnically pluralistic, the ability of individuals, communities, and educational institutions to function within the social system will become more dependent on abilities to gain access to relevant education and adapt to a pluralistic society.