It's a way of thinking that's permeating society, she says. After 20 years as a professor, Rodriguez is now seeing college students more interested in each other's ethnic backgrounds than ever.
"Students feel that they have something to learn from each other," she said.
Democrats have succeeded at demonstrating that inclusiveness, analysts said.
CNN's Fareed Zakaria says the election highlighted the "embrace of diversity -- in every sense," which "is America's great gift to the world."
In a column for the Washington Post, he wrote, "What the world saw this week was a picture of America at its best: edgy, experimental, open-minded -- and brilliantly diverse."
Writer David Simon, a former journalist and well-known TV producer, didn't mince words.
"The country is changing," he wrote on his blog.
"America will soon belong to the men and women ... who can comfortably walk into a room and accept with real comfort the sensation that ... there are no real majorities, only pluralities and coalitions.
"Those who relied on entitlement and division to command power will either be obliged to accept the changes, or retreat to the gated communities from which they wish to wax nostalgic and brood on political irrelevance."
The 2010 Census confirmed what many had predicted: that the country has reached a turning point in its makeup. Fewer than half the babies being born in the United States are now identified as white, while more than one in three Americans identified as minorities, a figure that grew from 87 million to 112 million over 10 years.
Much of the change accompanied Hispanic immigration, which "has profoundly changed the way the country votes, the way it sounds, the way it looks," Zelizer said.
And that brings all sorts of political changes. A key one, according to exit polls: By far, the majority of Tuesday's voters support offering illegal immigrants legal status, a belief in line with the Democratic Party.
But not everyone sees all this inclusiveness as proof that the pot is melting.
"This election shows me that America is even more racially polarized than we thought previously," said Kris Marsh, professor of race and ethnicity at the University of Maryland.
The predictions that Obama would get minority and youth votes and Romney would get white and elderly votes bore out, she notes -- showing the fissure, loud and clear.
Now, Marsh fears that voices on the Republican side will "blame blacks, Latinos and the young" for any ills that may befall America over the next four years.
And on the flip side, Marsh says, many on the left harbor unfair views of the right, painting it as a caricature of racists who "hate blacks, Latinos, immigrants, the poor and gays."
The two sides, she argues, are as entrenched as ever.
Ken Walsh, writer for U.S. News & World Report, also says the election highlighted the nation's differences.
"It revealed in vivid detail how Balkanized the United States has become, and how difficult it will be to achieve compromise in Washington," he wrote.
"The upshot of all this is that we are living in a fractured nation. It will be up to Obama as president to unite us to achieve common goals. But it's unclear whether he can do so since he has the support of only half the country."
Van Jones, a Democratic consultant and CNN contributor, says the election itself proves that the president is already bringing disparate constituencies together.
"Nobody believed four years ago ... you could have black folks and lesbians and gays and Latinos and young folks standing together and trying to move the country forward," he said.
Questioning a conservative America
The success of what some are calling the new Democratic "coalition" slammed the brakes on an oft-repeated adage of the political right: that far more Americans identify as "conservative" than "liberal."