American Renaissance, April 2008
Mexican president Felipe Calderon went to Harvard in February to lecture Americans on how important illegal Mexicans are to America, and to warn us not to let “anti-immigrant sentiment” creep into the presidential election. He was especially angry about the public outcry that derailed Pres. Bush’s amnesty bill. “The worst thing that happened in this country is this anti-Mexican or anti-immigrant perception of people,” he explained, adding that “it is important to change the perception that the Mexicans are the enemy.” As Mr. Calderon sees it, American wealth and Mexican labor are both a problem and a solution: “You have two economies. One economy is intensive in capital, which is the American economy. One economy is intensive in labor, which is the Mexican economy. We are two complementary economies, and that phenomenon is impossible to stop.” [Steve LeBlanc, Mexican Prez Decries Anti-Immigrant Tone, AP, Feb. 11, 2008.]
After Harvard, Mr. Calderon flew to Chicago where he spoke directly to Mexican illegals, calling them “heroes:”
“I know that you have risked your lives in order to give opportunities to your children, to your families. I know that in each one of you there’s a history of heroism and also a history of pain.
“A history of heroism because it is not easy to leave your country, your house, your nation and to cross the border risking it all. A history of heroism because each year more than 400 Mexicans die trying to cross the border, perhaps more than in any another part of the world.
“I come here, to Chicago, to Illinois, because I know that my duty as president, especially in the difficult moments that the undocumented are passing, of harassment, of clear discrimination in some cases, my duty is to echo the voice of all the Mexicans, the voice of all of Mexico telling them we are with you.”
He then explained what he wants from the US: “We want that the extraordinary cultural, social, and economic contribution of the Mexican migrants in the United States be recognized.” [Calderon Tells Mexican Invaders They Are Heroes, The Watchdog, Feb. 13, 2008.]
Last year, Arizona legislators passed one of the toughest anti-illegal immigration laws in the country, making it a crime for employers to hire illegal aliens, then thought to be 11 percent of the workforce. Local sheriffs have also begun enforcing federal immigration laws. The crackdown, together with the slowing economy, appears to be driving out illegals. In the last quarter of 2007, apartment vacancy rates in Phoenix rose from 9 percent in 2006 to 11.2 percent. In Hispanic neighborhoods, the figure was 15 percent. State Rep. Russell K. Pearce sees this as a sign of success. Illegals have begun to understand that “we don’t have the red carpet out for [them].”
“It is like a panic here,” says Elizabeth Leon, a legal Hispanic immigrant employed as a day care worker. She says she knows two families who have fled Arizona, abandoning their children. Juan Jose Araujo is also a legal immigrant but his wife is not. She wants the family to go back to Mexico to escape what they consider to be “a growing anti-immigrant climate.” “We don’t have family or anything in Mexico,” says Mr. Araujo, who has lived in the US for 24 years. “I wouldn’t have anywhere to go to there, but we have to consider it.”
Businesses are bleating about “labor shortages” and urging lawmakers to reconsider the law. Several have already introduced bills to create a state-run guest-worker program, and Gov. Janet Napolitano is promising to work with the Labor Department to make it easier to bring in more migrant labor. [Randal C. Archibold, Arizona Seeing Signs of Flight by Immigrants, New York Times, Feb. 12, 2008.]
Stereotypes Die Hard
According to a poll sponsored by a leftie outfit called New American Media, many non-whites in America — blacks, Hispanics, and Asians — have a more favorable view of whites than they do of other non-whites. Sixty-one percent of Hispanics, 54 percent of Asians, and 47 percent of blacks said they would rather do business with whites than members of the other two groups. Other interesting findings: Forty-four percent of Hispanics and 47 percent of Asians are “afraid of African-Americans because they are responsible for most of the crime.” Half of blacks say Hispanic immigrants “are taking jobs, housing, and political power away from the black community.” More than half of blacks and 46 percent of Hispanics say Asian shopkeepers do not treat them with respect.
Asians and Hispanics, many of whom are recent immigrants, are optimistic about the “American Dream,” and believe hard work is rewarded. More than 60 percent of blacks say there is no American Dream for them.
“The poll reaffirms that while race relations between ethnic groups and whites grab the headlines, there are also serious racial problems between minority groups in America,” says Sergio Bendixen, an expert on Hispanic and multilingual polling. “Blacks feel they are left out of the American Dream and are being displaced by newcomers, and each group buys into the negative stereotypes about the other two.” [US Minorities Don’t Trust Each Other, AFP, Dec. 12, 2007.]
According to a new study from the Pew Research Center, America in 2050 will be more crowded, more Hispanic, more Asian, and less white. Pew predicts a total population in 2050 of 438 million — a 48 percent increase over the 296 million in 2005. Of the additional 142 million Americans, 117 million — 82 percent — will be immigrants or children of immigrants who came since 2005. Overall, Pew expects one-fifth of the population to be foreign-born, twice the 10 percent figure from the previous great wave of immigration that peaked early in the 20th century.
The black percentage of the population will remain stable at 13 percent, while the number of Hispanics will rise from 14 percent to 29 percent, or 127 million. Asians, at 40 million, will be 9 percent of the population. In 1965, whites were 85 percent of the population, but will be a minority of 47 percent by mid century. [Jeffrey Passel and D’Vera Cohn, Immigration to Play Lead Role in Future US Growth, Pew Research Center, Feb. 11, 2008.]
About 3 percent of the students at Denver Public Schools — 1,800 or so children — are in the gifted and talented program. Although the system is 57 percent Hispanic, IQ tests determine entry to the program, so 75 percent of the gifted are white.
Critics complain that IQ tests are unfair to Hispanics and students who may lack “the same life experiences” as more affluent classmates. “They may be bright children but may not know what plaid is,” says Diane Howard, principal of the strangely named Polaris at Ebert Elementary School, which is for gifted students. “Or their concept may not have involved a vacation. Or they may have never been on an escalator.” Miss Howard will scrap the IQ test in favor of what she calls a more “holistic” approach, which includes teacher nominations, as well as artwork and writing. Students will also get extra points if English is not their native language or if they are poor. “We want to find the gifts that these children have, not exclude them,” she says.
Schools everywhere are under tremendous pressure to classify more non-whites as gifted. Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue a California school district because there were too few “gifted” blacks and Hispanics. Many districts are moving away from traditional testing, and even the National Association for Gifted Children supports the “holistic” approach. “Standardized tests are tipped against children from underserved populations and children from diverse backgrounds,” explains executive director Nancy Green. [Jeremy P. Meyer, Minorities, Poor Get ‘Highly Gifted’ Lift, Denver Post, March 4, 2008.]
Love Him, Love Him Not
On Feb. 24 at a rally in Chicago, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan lavished praise on Barack Obama: “This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better. This young man is capturing audiences of black and brown and red and yellow. If you look at Barack Obama’s audiences and look at the effect of his words, those people are being transformed.”
He then compared Sen. Obama to Wallace Fard Muhammad, founder of the Nation of Islam, who also had a white mother and black father. “A black man with a white mother became a savior to us,” he said. “A black man with a white mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall.” [Farrakhan Hails Obama as ‘Hope of Entire World,’ AP, Feb. 25, 2008.]
Britain’s official race man, Trevor Phillips, has a different view. Taking for granted that Mr. Obama’s success reflected nothing more than white guilt, Mr. Phillips writes, “If Obama can succeed, then maybe they [whites] can imagine that [Martin Luther] King’s post-racial nirvana has arrived. A vote for Obama is a pain-free negation of their own racism. So long as they don’t have to live next door to him.” He also notes that, “Obama has yet to win convincingly in white districts adjacent to black communities.” He dismisses talk of Sen. Obama as “the harbinger of a post-racial America:” “In truth, Obama may be helping to postpone the arrival of a post-racial America and I think he knows it. If he wins, the cynicism may be worth it to him and his party. In the end he is a politician and a very good one: his job is to win elections.” Mr. Phillips doesn’t believe Sen. Obama will become president, but if he does, he will not be another JFK, but rather another Bill Clinton, with the same combination of “charm, skill, and ruthless cynicism.”
Mr. Phillips doesn’t believe there will ever be a “British Obama,” partly because there are not enough blacks in Britain to “produce such a high-achiever,” but also because, “Black Britons can’t bring centuries of white guilt to bear with the devastating impact that African-Americans have done for two generations.” [Hannah Strange, Obama Victory Will Prolong US Racial Divide, Says British Equality Chief, Times (London), Feb. 28, 2008.]
Coloring the News
Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC, the Society of Professional Journalists adopted new guidelines for avoiding “racial profiling.” Here are examples:
- Do not represent Arab Americans and Muslims as monolithic groups. Avoid conveying the impression that all Arab Americans and Muslims wear traditional clothing.
- Use photos and features to demystify veils, turbans and other cultural articles and customs.
- Seek out and include Arabs and Arab Americans, Muslims, South Asians and men and women of Middle Eastern descent in all stories about the war, not just those about Arab and Muslim communities or racial profiling.
- Cover the victims of harassment, murder and other hate crimes as thoroughly as you cover the victims of overt terrorist attacks.
- Make an extra effort to include olive-complexioned and darker men and women, Sikhs, Muslims and devout religious people of all types in arts, business, society columns and all other news and feature coverage, not just stories about the crisis.
- When writing about terrorism, remember to include white supremacist, radical anti-abortionists and other groups with a history of such activity.
- Avoid using word combinations such as “Islamic terrorist” or “Muslim extremist” that are misleading because they link whole religions to criminal activity . . .
- Consult the Library of Congress guide for transliteration of Arabic names and Muslim or Arab words to the Roman alphabet. Use spellings preferred by the American Muslim Council, including “Muhammad,” “Quran,” and “Makkah,” not “Mecca.” [Diversity Guidelines, Society of Professional Journalists (spj.org).]
A new study from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) finds that young Americans know very little history or literature. A survey of 1,200 students found that only 43 percent knew the Civil War was fought between 1850 and 1900, and only 52 percent could identify the theme of George Orwell’s 1984. Overall, AEI gave the students a C in history and an F in literature. They were very solid in a few areas, however. Ninety-seven percent knew Martin Luther King Jr. gave the “I Have a Dream” speech, and 77 percent knew Uncle Tom’s Cabin “helped end slavery.” [Greg Toppo, Teens Losing Touch with Common Cultural and Historical References, USA Today, Feb. 26, 2008.]