Working for logical immigation reform based on a stable population, a recognition of the finite nature of our natural resources and the adverse impact of continued growth on our quality of life, standard of living, national interest, character, language, sovereignty and the rule of law. Pushing back and countering the disloyal elements in American society and the anti-American rhetoric of the leftwing illegal alien lobbies. In a debate, when your opponents turn to name calling, it's a good sign you've already won.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The New Assimilation

A well-founded perception is that Latinos do not assimilate, do not learn English, and are unraveling the fabric of the identity of a nation. Some Latinos undoubtedly learn English by the second or perhaps as late as the fourth generation. However, they do not uniformly speak English in school or workplace settings. Some high schools have seen rifts develop on campus between those Latinos who speak Spanish among themselves and those who prefer to hone their English skills. First generation workers who speak Spanish in the workplace lay the foundation for resentment among English speakers who feel no camaraderie with them since there is no communication.

“It is one of the ideas that anti-immigrant forces take advantage of: the notion that immigrants today do not assimilate and that other generations did. But it is not true,” says Cecilia Muñoz of the National Council of La Raza. The very existence of La Raza seems to suggest that Muñoz is wrong about this. Moreover, the extensive network of Spanish language media has significantly reduced the incentive to assimilate culturally and linguistically.

“Culturally, Latinos are never going to totally assimilate. Latinos are creating their own space in this country. And the characteristics of Hispanic culture are changing forever the face of the nation,” Jorge Ramos wrote in his book, "The Latino Wave: How Hispanics Are Transforming Politics in America." He's got that right but he could have gone much farther and described how Hispanics are recreating in America the very economic conditions of poverty and joblessness they left their homelands to escape. He could have dealt with the inevitable impact on the U.S. standard of living of unfettered population growth due to legal immigrants, illegal aliens and their progeny. This aspect of the problem is conveniently ignored.

When a disparity in the standard of living exists between two neighboring countries, it creates enormous immigration pressures. Under these conditions, if immigration is largely uncontrolled, the inevitable result will be an equilibrium between the two standards of living, with the higher standard being substantially reduced and the lower standard being increased. Population growth means that finite resources available per capita will be reduced and the standard of living will decline, for yet another second reason.

To most citizens of the U.S., assimilation means adopting a new lifestyle identified with the dominant Anglo- Catholic - Protestant culture and absorbing the individuality of the United States. It means becoming an American, not a hypenated American. Assimilation has occurred when someone feels American. People that march, yelling, "Nosotros somos América" (We are America), waving the flags of other countries, are clearly not assimilated.Richard Rodriguez, a writer who has published various books about the adaptation of Latinos to U.S. culture overlooks the fact that the country is becoming more Mexican, and that everything is changing our food, customs, music and religion. “As Latinos continue incorporating themselves into society, Americans feel they have to learn fragments of Spanish. And there will be weddings, hatred, friendship, solidarity, curiosity and competition.”

What's certain is that many Latinos live with one foot in each culture and they flow like water from one side to the other. The question becomes one of dual citizenship and dual allegiance. These terms are essentially oxymorons. Citizenship should continue to require the renunciation of allegiance to any foreign government. The unwillingness of Latinos to take this step is another source of irritation and strong evidence that they are not assimilating. Some maintain that earlier immigrants did not assimilate either. There is some limited degree of truth in that statement. Initially, we did see enclaves of Italian, Polish and other nationalities but most have now fully assimilated linguistically because it was necessary to do so in order to communicate with each other and carry on the commerce essential to the vitality of the broader communities. Latinos seem to find this unnecessary as their numbers increase daily and government is unwilling to take the stringent and continuing steps required to curb this invasion.


kyledeb said...

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mirrorism said...

On this issue, I do think, and most studies prove (especially language studies), that assimilation occurs, most of the time, within the first generation of American born children.

English is their dominant language (usually illiterate in Spanish); they are taught the history of the United States (Mexican, El Salvadorian, Chinese, etc. history only if the US is directly involved); they understand the United States' form of democracy (they know nothing about Mexico's form of democracy); they are entrenched in United States popular culture (MTV, myspace, reality TV, etc.); they become part of the vicious cycle that America's lower-class suffer in (like those in ghettos and trailer parks across America do).

So to say that even some do not learn English as fourth generation Americans is completely unfounded.

If we are discussing foreign immigrants, then, yes, most of them do not assimilate, but why should they? Most of them, especially the illegal ones, do not plan to live the rest of their lives here, and they can "get by" with little to no English. Then there are some who simply cannot learn English because they are too old, they do not have the time, they are not ambitious enough, they are not educated enough in their own language to learn another, etc.

Jorge Ramos should ask himself what American culture is (and so should you) and then opine as to whether or not Latinos will ever totally assimilate. Then he will realize that there is not one answer to that question. Unless, you admit that having the freedom to enjoy different lifestyles is part of every Americans culture. That umbrella would cover all Americans, but is one most Americans are extremely uncomfortable with, because not all Americans look the same.

I do not think people like Dee like to be hyphenated; they just are by most people in the US. When I am asked, "What am I,” I get smart and say "A human,” which inevitably leads to this discussion:

Person - Well, what race are you?
Me - Uh... Homo-sapien?
Person - Are you Hispanic?
Me - What's a Hispanic?
Person - You know, like a Mexican.
Me - Oh no, I'm an American.
Irritated person - Ok, but you look Hispanic.
Smiling me - Like Cameron Diaz and Andy Garcia? Or like Alberto Gonzalez and Bill Richardson?
Irritated person - Who's Alberto Gonzalez?!

Depending on the patience of the person, that can go on forever.

Point is the hyphenation is usually done by others. You cannot be an American without being separated into these groups, whether you like it or not, by your fellow Americans.

The only way you can truly live with one foot in one culture and the other in another is if you can live with one foot in one COUNTRY and one in the other. In truth, most of these sons and daughters of immigrants have never lived anywhere outside of America, and some have never set foot in their parents' native countries. So, how can they truly mimic the cultures of other countries? They can't, what they sometimes mimic is a cheap imitation of that culture in the US.

The people you say fail to assimilate are simply failing to assimilate with the culture YOU believe to be American. You do not approve of their "barrios" therefore; you judge them culturally different. So, then you must believe that life in the "ghettos" or "trailer parks" in America are not part of American culture either.

Life in those places is very similar to life in "barrios" in that; neither enclave will ever fully assimilate to YOUR view of American culture; neither group speak perfect English; all three of their peoples are "stuck in a rut", so to speak; they all depend on some government assistance to get by; they all attend a "public" education system that fails them miserably; for the most part, they disenfranchise themselves; etc. etc.

ultima said...

A very good comment, Mirror. Yes, we do have a trailer court culture in our society, one we should not add to if we can avoid it. I liken La Raza to something like the German American Bund prior to WW II. It was a disloyal organization that got immediate FBI attention when war was declared. I hate these separatist organizations whether they be Chambers of Commerce or other race-oriented organizations. It seems to me they defeat their own purpose by being separate.

I think the fear regarding assimilation is that there will be a critical mass at which even fourth generation immigrants, even though American born, will find that English and assimilation are no longer necessary to their success in work and social activities. Then the Mexican influence will become overwhelming with the result of a re-creation of Mexico in the U.S.. You point out that study of Mexican history occurs only as incidental to American history but is this really true or is there a unit on Mexican history taught during Nationl Hispanic Month or whatever it is called?

I believe Ramos is right and so is Rodriguez when they say the U.S. is becoming more Mexican. The question is what is the implication of this? What does it mean for our economy, joblessness, quality of life, standard of living, etc.?

I hope it is not as dark as it appears to me from my limited vantage point at this time. Two things are certain: (1) our population will continue to grow unless immigration of all kinds is severely curtailed; and (2)the greatest part of that growth will be Hispanic. The question is will that growth be primarily in the trailer parks or in those areas of our society who enjoy a higher level of income and education?

You didn't comment on the standard of living argument I made in the original post. I like to cite the simple equation: the limit of (finite natural resources/population) as population grows without bounds is zero. Do you quarrel with that or with the following statement from Joel Cohen, eminent demographer:"...the world cannot easily and comfortably accommodate an unlimited number of people at any desirable level of material, mental and civic well-being." The question is how far down that road do we as a nation want to go? The answer will be determined by our immigration and tax policies.

mirrorism said...

Fourth generation Spanish speakers would mean that the second and third generation American parents and grandparents would have to be Spanish speakers. Which is already very rare.

Success must be relative in this case, because never learning English, or never become proficient in English, means that you are not educated, which means that you are, more than likely, not successful as most Americans would define success.

Not assimilating to the dominant, mainstream culture in America will keep them from succeeding, or make it close to impossible to succeed.

Again, this stretches through all the poor peoples of America; the people in the barrios, ghettos, and trailer parks need to learn and use proper American English; they need to dress appropriately, whether that means pulling up their pants, putting a shirt on, covering up tattoos, or wearing clean clothes; they need to become "selfish" with their monies, properties, and space; they need to become educated and stop living the "cholo," "thug," or "redneck" life.

There might be something like National Hispanic month, although I've never heard of it, but if it exists it would be more like Black History Month than Mexican History Month. It would celebrate the achievements of Hispanic Americans.

If you want to know how well the Texas public school system indoctrinates their students just ask a Texan who went through at least 8th grade how many survivors there were at the Alamo. They would tell you zero, or maybe one or two nuns. When in reality, how many survivors were there at the Alamo? Few inside the Alamo, but the entire Mexican Army survived outside the Alamo.

I would agree with Joel Cohen, he sees population growth as a world issue, not just American.

As far as standard of living, well, if the Hispanic population is increasing, and the Hispanic population is usually lower class, (although, the Hispanic middle-class experiences as much growth as any other minority group in the US), and the American lower-class usually remains lower class due to the system sucking for them, then we have to do something about the system to avoid a larger lower-class than already exists.

Make the "public" school system public across the board, provide healthcare for those who can't afford it, provide proper nutrition for those who can't afford it, etc., etc. If not, well, expect more of the same; poverty perpetuating poverty, and in this case, in a growing segment of the American population.

Of course, that will never happen, because the American system never gets any blame, not for poverty, illegal immigration, foreign wars, drug addiction, corruption, overcrowded prisons, for nothing; the system is flawless, the victims of the system are always at fault.

ultima said...

I believe that to expect the elimination of all hunger and poverty while providing universal health care for everyone, all very commendable, would break the bank. The bank already has a stupendous debt how do you figure we can do all this and still survive as a solvent nation. What level of confiscatory taxes and graduated tax brackets would you be willing to endorse to cure all the ills of society? Isn't that the former Soviet Union model?

Maybe we should begin with an experiment in Texas -- call it Pleasantville, Texas or Paradise, Texas or Nirvana, Texas.

It sounds like you approve of victimology. If one is in prison, it must be the fault of society not the individual. I admit society is at fault some of the time but I don't think shifting the blame from parents, families and individuals to society at large will solve the problem.

With regard to poverty, it's a funny thing but when I was a child my family was very poor but we never thought of ourselves as poor. There was no universal health care, anti-poverty programs, worry about uneducated people, etc. Somehow we all managed to muddle through and we were happy. What has happened since then is everyone's belief that they should be able to enjoy the same quality of life as the more affluent families in our neighborhoods. We all have to have cars, color tvs, hemi trucks, a big house, etc.

My wife rode the bus in Milwaukee everywhere she went -- school, work, and dances. She thought it was great and couldn't afford anything else. It is a puzzle.


mirrorism said...

Military spending is at a level that the rest of the world COMBINED cannot exceed. I'm sure if we cutback just a tiny bit there we will have more than enough money to help out America's poor.

When I sympathize with prisoners it does not mean that I believe in victimology; I simply believe that people are not inherently criminal in nature. Therefore, when I see that a class of people (the highly stressed poor) are stuck in a vicious cycle I explore other reasons as to why they are where they are.

When the majority of prisoners in America's prisons are non-violent criminals it is a problem with the system.

The money spent in "corrections" is almost double what is spent in providing for those who cannot provide for themselves.

Most of that money goes to "correcting" non-violent criminals who are, in fact, corrupted within the prison systems; 1/4 of them end up back in prison for violent offenses.

Why are most of the non-violent criminals are in prison? Drug use.

Since the inception of the "Drug War," the United States has spent more and more money on fighting this war (we're talking budgets that dwarf those before the drug war started), all the while the drug using population and amount of drugs in this country have increased.

So, what exactly is going on here? We have the drug war budget increasing by the billions while more and more drugs get into this country. Which then leads to prison budgets increasing, also by the billions, while the prison population is growing and growing.

(Your opinion on the following should not affect this fact; the system is messed up.)

Whether you believe it or not, the United States has a de-facto policy in place that allows the drug industry to exist and flourish in this country. This policy allows them to fatten up their pockets and those of the private institutions in charge of the "drug war" and "correctional" facilities in this country.

The drug industry in the US is close to a $400 billion a year industry; the cocaine and heroin (90% produced in US controlled Afghanistan) industries are the two major money making industries; marijuana is not nearly as lucrative, but it is one of the United States largest, if not the largest, cash crop; and it is the reason for the violence in Mexico that is increasingly spilling into the US; then there are the synthetic drugs which are produced in the US, almost exclusively.

Now, do you think that money is going to the farmers? No way, they get as little as 5% of the total profits and never more than 10%. Do you think the money is going to the drug dealers? Again, no way, those guys never own anything of worth in their lives.

So where does the money go? A decent portion of it goes to the cartels and drug king pins, that much is true, but most of it is going to the people who allow these things to happen in the United States.

Now, lets finally bring it back to why I believe it is not a case of "victimology," and why it is almost a simple case of learned helplessness. The viscous cycle is in place; some can tear themselves away from it, but the majority will feel helpless and succumb to it.

UNLESS, we make it easier for them to tear away from it. Even if we have to CARRY them away from it through the implementation of universal health care, a revamped truly public universal education system, healthy nutrition programs, etc., as Seligman did with his broken dogs.

Of course, either drugs would have to be legalized (at least marijuana) to vastly reduce drug use and future prison populations or honest drug enforcement would have to begin; not this faux system where even after 9-11 the drug industry continues to expand.

If not, well, expect and accept more of the same; poverty perpetuating poverty, the worsening status quo, and everything that goes along with it.

ultima said...

While there is waste in the defense budget, as one would expect in a budget and bureaucracy that large, it is doubtful that in terms of its purchasing power the budget overall is as large as you think.

To really analyze this issue we would first have to know accurately and completely the budgets of China and Russia. Then we would have to adjust those budgets to normalize them for the military pay scales and the compensation pay to workers who build the military systems and hardware. For example, if China pays its soldiers on the average $5 a month plus a few bowls of rice and if we pay our soldiers $2500/ month plus room and board, the minimum scaling factor would be 500. In other words whatever China spends on military personnel costs would have to be multiplied by at least 500 to normalize it to the U.S. scale. The same thing would have to be done for workers in the defense industries. But even without that I doubt anyone really knows very accurately what either China or Russia spend for the totality of defense.

One way to reduce the defense budget is to move all the spending on military health care, rehab, etc. to some other part of the total government budget. Maybe it belongs in HHS. After all soldiers are people too.

The poor will always be with us, some wise person said. Your idealism is commendable but mostly impractical, except in a workers paradise.

What would you do about the drug problem? As you know some countries like The Netherlands and perhaps Switzerland have legalized drugs to some extent. I don't know what the results indicate regarding the growth rate among addicts and the crime rate.

So you aren't willing to entertain any tax increase. You want to take the full cost out of the military budget even though some folks believe that Medicare alone may be enough to bankrupt the country in the long run. But, just for discussion purposes, assume all other parts of the federal budget must remain at the present levels as adjusted annually for inflation. Now if you are already in the highest tax bracket, how much higher would you be willing to see it go to fund universal health care?

mirrorism said...

I would think China pays nearly as much for their soldiers as does the United States. Giving them just enough to not die would produce an unmotivated and malnourished army.

One thing you're not taking into account, however, is that China and Russia are not in a state of perpetual war.

When was the last time the US wasn't involved in a war somewhere in the world? War is also not a Republican and Democrat policy; it is the policy of the United States.

China and Russia also do not have hundreds of bases in almost every country around the world to support.

In the end, there's just no way you can even begin to close the gap that the US has on the rest of the WORLD in terms of military spending; much less individual countries like Russia and China, who do have large armies, but they are standing armies not active like the United States.

Jesus Christ Superstar - "Everything's Alright"


"Surely you're not saying we have the resources
To save the poor from their lot? There will be poor always, pathetically struggling.
Look at the good things you've got."

I'm not going to deny that that song is always on mind when I'm feeling idealistic about the poor, however, I'm not asking for an end to all poverty. All I would like to see is the fall of a system that forces the poor to feel as though they are helpless in changing thing. Especially in a country that has the resources to assist them, but instead wastes as much as twice the amount of those resources on imprisoning the poor than they do on assisting them.

Young people in the United States are twice as likely to have tried and be regular users of marijuana than young people in the Netherlands.

The same phenomena is seen with cocaine, but instead of twice the rate, we are five times as likely to try and become users.

I don't think I have to tell you that America imprisons more of its citizens, per capita, than all other industrialized countries and even some non-industrialized countries.

I wouldn't want all parts of the federal budget to remain the same; I would like a reduction in military spending, which can be achieved if we stop declaring war after war; a reduction in spending on the war on drugs, or at least some responsibility there (we can't just thrown more and more money into it just to see more and more drugs flow into the country).

But ok, I'll play the status quo game; go ahead and reasonably raise taxes. Eventually, we won't have to spend so much on building prisons, on welfare, and on health care if we have a better educated and healthy population. Because if we continue the status quo that's exactly what's going to happen as the country is becoming more and more drug dependent, more and more dumber, and becoming more and more obese.

Anonymous said...

Great posts, Mirrorism.

Anonymous said...

"Se ha guardado su comentario y podrá visualizarse una vez que el propietario del blog lo haya aprobado."

This is what I get each time I post, that you have to approve it first.