April 27, 2007
Harvard Magazine Story on Immigration
This month's Harvard Magazine (here) has a story by Ashley Pettus entitled "End of the Melting Pot? The new wave of immigrants presents new challenges." Although Harvard is often thought of as a liberal bastion, some prominent restrictionists, including Samuel Huntington (author of the book Who Are We? The Challenges to an American Identity), labor economist George Borjas, and the late Arthur Schlesinger (The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society). are, or were, on the faculty.
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'Huntington argued that Hispanic immigrants—Mexicans in particular—pose the gravest threat to this country’s national cohesion. Their disproportionate numbers (in 2000, Mexicans accounted for more than a quarter of the total foreign-born population in the United States), regional concentration (primarily in the Southwest), and proximity to their country of origin, he maintained, differentiate them from immigrant groups of the past as well as more recent immigrants from Asia and elsewhere. He pointed to the retention of Spanish fluency within the second and third generations, combined with a high poverty rate and relatively low educational attainment, as evidence of Mexicans’ non-assimilation.'
This article from last year showed what a striking difference the 'regional concentration' factor can make:
'What we weren't able to do in many years in California,' Alejandra said, 'we've done quickly here. We're in a state [Kentucky] where there's nothing but Americans. The police control the streets. It's clean, no gangs. California now resembles Mexico—everyone thinks like in Mexico. California's broken.'
”Last year, however, Magdaleno sent her daughter, Kelly, 17, to Kentucky for several months. Though American born and raised, Kelly hadn't been outside South Los Angeles.
'In Lexington, school was hard because few people spoke Spanish, and the city ‘barely had one Spanish radio station,’ Kelly said.
”Her cousins, she said in English, ‘use more educational words than here. My cousin is 7 years old, and he has a better reading level than me."
Assimilate means to absorb into the culture. In L.A., the new culture can be virtually indistinguishable from the old so why is it surprising that in some cases nothing changes--even over decades? Who would you bet on in a success derby, the article's Kentucky students or those at Academia Semillas del Pueblo?
Posted by: Jack | Apr 28, 2007 2:03:30 AM
"Huntington argued that Hispanic immigrants—Mexicans in particular—pose the gravest threat to this country’s national cohesion. "
National cohesion? The South trying to secede again is a greater threat to our national cohesion than Hispanic immigrants who come here speaking a European language. Studies have shown that the subsequent generations speak English and Spanish and aren't unemployed at a higher rate than some native-born American groups so we're left once again with a fact free or fact twisted assertion and one must wonder why.
Posted by: Justin | Apr 28, 2007 8:21:18 AM
I think he's referring more to a Quebec situation.
Posted by: Jack | Apr 28, 2007 4:38:39 PM