Roughly 200 people stood in front of the Bush Presidential Conference Center on Monday evening, hoisting pickets and chanting in a mixture of English and Spanish for Harvard professor Samuel Huntington to go home.
Despite the chilly reception outside, the professor was greeted inside the auditorium with polite applause and a capacity crowd of 600 as he warned of a possible future America split into two dominant cultures, caused in large part by the current flood of Mexican immigrants.
“We’ve seen a decline in stability in many aspects of American life,” he said in a soft voice as he delivered the speech for Texas A&M University’s Distinguished Lecture Series. “Americans have become very seriously divided over what are called the culture issues.”
“To the Mexicans, the Southwest is their turf, after all,” he said, reminding the audience that at one point the land he was standing on Monday belonged to Mexico. “They feel they have a particular right to be there.”
The splitting of America from one strong national identity into two already is starting to show the signs of a developing backlash, he said.
Outside the building in the minutes before the speech, Father Raymond Chavez of Santa Teresa Catholic Church in Bryan stood among dozens of members of his flock as he wore a T-shirt stating “Mexican!” underneath his black jacket. He was joined by various other groups from the A&M campus and surrounding communities, including Conroe.
Alonzo said he found Huntington’s paid appearance—near the end of Hispanic Heritage Month—insulting not only to the area’s Hispanic population but to all students at A&M. It seems inconsistent, he said, given President Robert Gates’ emphasis on making “diversity, globalization and internationalization a major pillar of his program.”