Posted on January 1, 2006

O Tempora, O Mores! (January, 2006)

American Renaissance, January 2006

Adios, English

Trinidad, seven miles off the coast of Venezuela, has been an Anglophone country since Britain took it from Spain in 1797 along with neighboring Tobago. Nearly all of its 1.3 million inhabitants speak English, cricket is a national sport, and the main business district is called Scarborough. In 2004, however, the government decided that Spanish — spoken by just 1,500 residents, but by most of Trinidad’s trading partners — was the language of the future, and began making plans to make it the official language by 2020. Beginning this year, all schoolchildren must study Spanish, and a third of all government workers must be “linguistically competent” in Spanish within five years.

Sharlene Yuille, spokesman for the Secretariat for the Implementation of Spanish, explains that “people in the private sector can see the benefits learning Spanish could have on their businesses.” The government also hopes switching to Spanish will help in its bid to become the headquarters of the Free Trade Area of the Americas. The majority of the 800 million consumers in this proposed hemispheric trade bloc speak Spanish.

The change has met surprisingly little resistance, perhaps because the nation has never been monolingual (40 percent of the population are Hindi-speaking South Asians). Patrick Wong, a British national and administrator of a local school, says the country has no lasting roots anyway: “The point of a cosmopolitan place is that different people speaking different languages can mix and feel good. It’s a question of being open-minded and of adapting to what’s needed,” he says. [Elizabeth Davies, Hola! Trinidad Drops English and Learns to Speak Spanish, Independent (London), Sept. 1, 2005.]

Older and Wiser

Dating across racial lines is on the increase in the United States, and is most common among younger people. Sociologists Kara Joyner of Cornell University, and Grace Kao of the University of Pennsylvania found that in 1990, 14 percent of 18- to 19-year-olds were in interracial relationships; by 2000, 20 percent were crossing racial lines. There is less race-mixing among older Americans. In 1990, 12 percent of 20- to 21-year olds were in interracial relationships, but for 34- to 35-year-olds the figure was seven percent. (Information for 2000 was less complete but showed a similar pattern.) Interracial marriage is much less common than dating: in 2002, only 2.9 percent of American marriages were interracial.

Hispanics, who were counted as a separate race in the study, did the most interracial dating — 33 percent of 24- to 25-year-olds. Comparable figures for blacks and whites were 14 and 12 percent. The researchers also found that people who date across racial lines are less willing to talk about it to family and friends than people who date within their race. [Susan S. Lang, Interracial Relationships are on the Increase in U.S., Cornell University Press Release, Nov. 2, 2005.]

Wisdom from the Past

One would never know it by what comes out of Washington, DC, now, but the US government once took a very hard-headed view of race and Reconstruction. The following is from a government textbook intended for immigrants applying for citizenship in the 1920s:

“For some time [white Southerners], too, formed secret societies to keep the dishonest negroes from stealing, to scare them away from the polls on election day, and to drive the carpetbaggers out of their States. Sometimes negroes had been encouraged to steal crops from the planters and trade them for worthless jewelry, liquor, or promises of land. The secret societies of the Southern people were successful in bringing order and peace to the States, where houses and barns were being burned and property was being stolen. Gradually the people who had made the trouble between the white and black people of the South left and people everywhere began to settle down to a more peaceful life. From time to time, Congress repealed some of its reconstruction laws and the white people of the South were again able to rule the South. They made it impossible for the negroes ever to control their community or State governments in the future by passing laws which kept them from voting unless they had property, or could read, or had never been guilty of a crime.”

“A few other States besides those of the South now require voters to prove they can read before they are permitted to vote.” [Lillian P. Clark, Our Nation: Lessons on the History and Government of Our Nation for Use in the Public Schools by Candidates for Citizenship, Part III of the US Dept. of Labor’s Bureau of Naturalization’s Federal Textbook on Citizenship Training (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1926), p. 194.]

Illegal Death Tax

Illegal immigrants who make it across the border cost American taxpayers billions of dollars by using hospitals and welfare, filling jails, and sending their children to public schools. But even illegals who die in the desert cost us money. Over the past five years, New Mexico authorities have recovered more than 100 bodies along the Mexican border. The authorities must take the bodies to a morgue, and pay for autopsies that cost $2,500 each. In Arizona, officials have so far this year recovered 224 bodies in just two desert sectors, Yuma and Tucson. Since most of the corpses lack identification, the state scans fingerprints, checks dental records, and notifies the Mexican consulate to try to locate relatives. The state buries or cremates unclaimed bodies and then presents the $3,000 bill to the county in which it was found. [Border States Pay for Illegals’ Deaths,, Sept. 7, 2005.]