Archive for the 'Chicanoism' Category

Marginal Difference

Related to yesterdays post, I have previously tried to explain the concept of marginal return and why, because of the already overwhelming flow of educated minorities going into social services fields, the hard sciences may be the place to make the biggest impact – if that is your end goal.

I wrote:

Second, it is inefficient. Minorities in education, in community outreach, and in most other nonprofits are literally “a dime a dozen”. Another minority, because of diminishing returns, is not likely to make much of a difference. Factor in the effectivity of community outreach (very low) and the contributions that minorities in education add, and you are looking at near insignificant levels of added value.

Contrast that to the number of minorities in the for profit fields like engineering, chemistry, and technology. They are a scarcity and companies are thirsty for more. In short, you are likely to do more good for yourself and for the community as one additional engineer than as one additional member of a community outreach program.

This argument escaped some of my friends, they simply didn’t understand it. On my bicycle ride to work this morning, while listening to a bloggingheads discussion on genes, a related point was made.  Except that instead of social workers and engineers, it was doctors vs engineers, and how an additional engineer may make more of a difference than an additional doctor. Well, being a big supporter of outsourcing, I will let them explain what I tried to explain before:

The full bloggingheads discussion can be found here.

More On Majors And Why Chicano Studies Is Garbage

A frequent topic of discussion in my family is what university, what major and the return to investment my sister should pursue after finishing high school. My dad is a man of modest means and is the only bread winner in a family of five – 3 children of which, have yet to pursue a college degree. Aside from the financial help I provide, he has nobody else to rely on. My families situation is not that different from other minorities, at some point – regardless of grants and financial aid – you have to weigh the trade-offs and cost/benefit of sending your child off to college.

Long time readers of this blog know my position, which is fundamentally that the two most important variables are: what major you choose and the grades you get. Everything else is secondary at best and more likely irrelevant. I’m so extreme in my beliefs that I advised my dad that unless my sister chooses something in the hard sciences, he refuse to pay for her education (she would still be able to get her own grants, financial aid and his blessing – just not his money).  Also, despite the fact that my sister went to a good public school (my parents fake their address),  took advanced classes – AP and honors Math, Physics, English, History etc – and finished near the top of her class, I still advised her to go to a Cal State. Even the relatively cheap cost of the UC’s, had she applied (to avoid the temptation, she didn’t even apply) and been accepted, would not have been worth the costs, IMHO. The hiring premium between say a Berkeley student and a Cal Poly student is not that much (trust me, I’ve done interviews for my company) and it certainly doesn’t cover the long term debt difference the two schools would leave the student with (debt that comes not just from the tuition but also the living costs of living in the area). Factor in years of experience and, I strongly believe,  in the long run there is no difference between the two schools that cannot be attributed to personal characteristics (IQ, work ethic, connections, etc).

This is one of the main disagreements I have with Chicano Studies and the culture it creates for minorities entering college. A year or so ago I wrote:

One of the many things I dislike about Chicano Studies as a major is its over emphasis on “nonprofit activism” vs “personal interest”. In the status circles of Chicano Studies students, you are admired more for your desire to ‘build a community outreach center for disadvantaged children’ than for say, getting an engineering degree and ‘making the big bucks’….a kid from the ghetto is taking an enormous risk by accepting a low salary. They are, in effect, “putting all their eggs in one basket”. And unless they are the lucky ones, they are doomed to rear their next generation of children in the very same environment they were raised in.

I called it a luxury of the rich to pursue a college degree based solely on personal interest and void of personal gain. Some of my friends disagreed then. Some of my friends disagree now. They think I am too harsh in my advice on my sister. They think instead she should be able to ‘pursue her dreams and interests’ as if all family situations were the same (remember, my dad has finite dollars – every dollar spent on my sister is one less he can spend on the rest of the family…a high return is a necessity, not a luxury).

Well, for those who still disagree I point you to this well written advice column in The Chronicle of Higher Education. It’s not completely related but it still hints at the same conclusions and remarks I mentioned before – only better written and communicated. The full article really should be read in full but for those of you short on time, I quote below his concluding remarks:

As things stand, I can only identify a few circumstances under which one might reasonably consider going to graduate school in the humanities:

  • You are independently wealthy, and you have no need to earn a living for yourself or provide for anyone else.
  • You come from that small class of well-connected people in academe who will be able to find a place for you somewhere.
  • You can rely on a partner to provide all of the income and benefits needed by your household.
  • You are earning a credential for a position that you already hold — such as a high-school teacher — and your employer is paying for it.

Those are the only people who can safely undertake doctoral education in the humanities. Everyone else who does so is taking an enormous personal risk, the full consequences of which they cannot assess because they do not understand how the academic-labor system works and will not listen to people who try to tell them.

It’s hard to tell young people that universities recognize that their idealism and energy — and lack of information — are an exploitable resource. For universities, the impact of graduate programs on the lives of those students is an acceptable externality, like dumping toxins into a river. If you cannot find a tenure-track position, your university will no longer court you; it will pretend you do not exist and will act as if your unemployability is entirely your fault. It will make you feel ashamed, and you will probably just disappear, convinced it’s right rather than that the game was rigged from the beginning.

But please do read the article in full. It can be found here.

The Invisible Hand vs Charity

One of the major problems I have with Chicano Studies is its overemphasis on altruistic ventures as opposed to “personal gain”. Becoming a community organizer, for example, is more encouraged than becoming an engineer. This was particularly important to me last year when my sister, being in her junior year of high school, was applying to colleges. Though she had already decided on engineering as her intended major, she was having doubts and was considering a profession that “makes a difference”.

I explained to her that engineering can also be used to make a difference, the two are not mutually exclusive. I also said that when you compare engineering to the highly inefficient means of “making a difference” common among chicano studies students, like community organization, one can make a very strong argument that engineering makes more of a difference – and in the process, you can make a good living doing it.  She didn’t seem convinced and I could tell that I needed to explain my point better. Unable to do so at the time I resorted to reminding her that there is a field in engineering that may allow her to design better prosthesis, and being that my dad lost his leg from the knee down in a work accident, she could possibly make his life and people like him better.

That satisfied her but I still thought I needed a better way to explain my point. The blog post I did later on the topic, titled “In Praise Of Personal Interest” did a better job, I wrote:

…if charity is your goal, with extra money [you would make by being an engineer] you can provide valuable resources, fund efficient charities, be a stronger role model to the next generation (three people in my family want to be engineers now, just because of my experience), provide a better future for your children, assist your family out, or, just as importantly, be a testament to those around you that hard work and dedication pay off, that there is a way out of the ghetto.

Lastly, unlike nonprofits, even if altruism is not your goal, capitalism works in such a way that when pursuing personal interest “you are led, as if by an invisible hand, to do things that improve the lives of others”.

Still though, I felt like I could have explained myself better. My point does not come across as clearly as I’d like it to. Well to my surprise, while riding my bicycle to work yesterday, I was listening to a bloggingheads podcast with Philosopher Peter Singer and economist Tyler Cowen about alleviating poverty when Cowen asks Peter Singer a question that I would have asked him if I was doing the podcast, namely: what advice would you give to an 18 year old in college who has read Peter Singers book, is convinced that making a difference matters, and is considering a career as an engineer in the cell phone industry because she sees what a difference cell phones are making to the poor in Africa? Would that career choice, from an altruistic perspective, make more of a difference than, say, a person who makes 40k/year and gives 15% to the poor in India? What if the engineer never gives a dime to charity?

What answer do you think Peter Singer gave? Click below to see the exchange (full video, which is highly recommended, can be found here). It is a good answer, and in the end, it moves me a step closer to finally explaining my point better.  Maybe I should forward this to my sister?

Quote Of The Day

“Neither legal nor market forces have brought employment parity between whites and blacks in the United States. Parallel with the struggle of blacks for parity, Jews, East Asians, and immigrants generally, have made rapid economic progress and indeed (at least in the case of Jews and East Asians) largely overcome discrimination, yet without significant help from the law. An open economy provides opportunities even to victims of discrimination, especially if the victim group is large enough to achieve economies of scale in trade within the group. As members of the group grow modestly affluent and thus achieve a standard of living that enables them to assimilate to the larger culture, as by consuming similar goods and services and sending their children to good schools, discrimination against them declines because they cease to seem “different” from the majority. When members of a minority group talk and think and act like the majority and have the same tastes and in short share the same culture, the fact that they may have a different physical appearance ceases to count greatly against them, as indicated by high rates of intermarriage in the groups I have mentioned. Assimilation to the dominant culture, as yet incomplete for a great many blacks, may thus be the major force in reducing discrimination, with competition and law playing lesser roles.” — Richard Posner, blogging at the Becker-Posner blog on the Economics of discrimination

Quote Of The Day

“People should be more worried than they are by the fragmentation of states. Consider that shortly after World War II, there were around 60 states. Today, there are almost 200. A lot of this increase is due to decolonization, but in recent years, the main cause has been, essentially, ethnic separatism. Because ethnic groups are mixed together, ethnic separatism is a recipe for civil war, ethnic cleansing, and worse. And because most ethnic groups are tiny, the resulting nation states can be too small to govern themselves – Kosovo is an example, again. They either become failed states, magnets for terrorists and drug smugglers, or wards of powerful states or what is mischievously called the “international community.” The more states there are, the harder it will be for them to cooperate — a worry for those concerned with world-scale problems such as climate change and international terrorism. And because international law rests on the cooperative efforts of states themselves, fragmentation may further weaken international law, to the detriment of all.” –Eric Posner, blogging at The Volokh Conspiracy

Community Organization Is A Waste

So said Obama when he was deep in it reports the New Republic:

He told Kellman that he feared community organizing would never allow him “to make major changes in poverty or discrimination.” To do that, he said, “you either had to be an elected official or be influential with elected officials.” In other words, Obama believed that his chosen profession was getting him nowhere, or at least not far enough. Personally, he might end up like his father; politically, he would fail to improve the lot of those he was trying to help.

And so, Obama told Kellman, he had decided to leave community organizing and go to law school. Kellman, who was already thinking of leaving organizing himself, found no reason to argue with him. “Organizing,” Kellman tells me, as we sit in a Chicago restaurant down the street from the Catholic church where he now works as a lay minister, “is always a lost cause.” Obama, circa late 1987, might or might not have put it quite that strongly. But he had clearly developed serious doubts about the career he was pursuing.

Though I would add that the political process is also a lost cause in helping the poor, but that lesson, if Obama wins the presidency, will be one he will learn later.

In Praise Of Personal Interest

One of the many things I dislike about Chicano Studies as a major is its over emphasis on “nonprofit activism” vs “personal interest”. In the status circles of Chicano Studies students, you are admired more for your desire to ‘build a community outreach center for disadvantaged children’ than for say, getting an engineering degree and ‘making the big bucks’. Obama’s recent graduation speech at Wesleyan University reminded me of that. My strong dislike stems from the belief, based on three reasons, that the emphasis is counterproductive and winds up harming more than helping.

First, it is the wrong message to give to the poorest members of society who have very little to fall back on. If an upper middle class white kid decides to go into nonprofits that kid is accepting a lower standard of living than the one she grew up with but it is far different than a kid from a low income background. Even without financial assistance from the parents, the upper-middle class kid knows that if some financial disaster results, her parents can step in and help. Then there is inheritance, vacation assistance, and other perks that come with having upper middle class parents.

On the other hand, a kid from the ghetto is taking an enormous risk by accepting a low salary. They are, in effect, “putting all their eggs in one basket”. And unless they are the lucky ones, they are doomed to rear their next generation of children in the very same environment they were raised in (I was shocked to hear of a Phd in Chicano Studies buying a house in Compton…you have to have a Phd in Chicano Studies to consider that progress). As I tell my family and friends who are entering the college age, “Leave the charity to the rich kids”.

Second, it is inefficient. Minorities in education, in community outreach, and in most other nonprofits are literally “a dime a dozen”. Another minority, because of diminishing returns, is not likely to make much of a difference. Factor in the effectivity of community outreach (very low) and the contributions that minorities in education add, and you are looking at near insignificant levels of added value.

Contrast that to the number of minorities in the for profit fields like engineering, chemistry, and technology. They are a scarcity and companies are thirsty for more. In short, you are likely to do more good for yourself and for the community as one additional engineer than as one additional member of a community outreach program.

Third, and most importantly, the two are not mutually exclusive. Making more money gives you more choices. If charity is your goal, you are likely to do more good by making alot of money than being just another ‘worker bee’. When I explain this to my friends I use the analogy of Warren Buffet. I ask my friends, imagine if someone had convinced Warren Buffet to abandon what his talents are especially good at and pursue a career in nonprofits, or teaching, or politics? Now, billions later, he can do much more for charity organizations by funding the most efficient ones then by simply being another ‘worker bee’.

In other words, again if charity is your goal, with extra money you can provide valuable resources, fund efficient charities, be a stronger role model to the next generation (three people in my family want to be engineers now, just because of my experience), provide a better future for your children, assist your family out, or, just as importantly, be a testament to those around you that hard work and dedication pay off, that there is a way out of the ghetto.

Lastly, unlike nonprofits, even if altruism is not your goal, capitalism works in such a way that when pursuing personal interest “you are led, as if by an invisible hand, to do things that improve the lives of others”. So I say to the next generation of students, please, ignore your Chicano Studies peers, ignore Obama, and ignore anybody who tells you that making money is somehow less respectable. Your children, your family, and maybe even some charity organizations will thank you.

Che: The Lefts Icon

Glenn Beck of CNN reports:

So, what is the uniform of choice when fooling terrorists in Colombia? …

That’s right, the same T-shirts you see Hollywood celebrities, starving pseudo-artists and confused hipster teens wearing around local coffee shops. To all those who decide that you want to be coffee house communist-chic, remember this: When you are wearing a Che T-shirt, you’re wearing the same shirt that makes terrorists believe you’re just one of the gang. I hope that latte is tasty.

How Che became such a revered superhero of the hard-core left is laughable. First of all, he wasn’t even a good revolutionary. He failed in his attempt at world revolution almost as badly as communism has failed in the places it was actually tried.

“This is a history of a failure” is how he himself described his efforts in the Congo. He was killed in Bolivia, trying to fire up another failure of a war. Earlier, he even managed to drop his gun and shoot himself in the face.

But more important than his incompetence is the fact that the man was a mass killer. Hundreds were reportedly executed on his watch, and that doesn’t include the deaths incurred in the wars he was constantly trying to start. He described his maniacal lust for war in his writings, saying he savored “the acrid smell of gunpowder and blood of the enemy’s death.” How this guy is a hero to the anti-war crowd is truly perplexing.

I should also point out what seemingly gets eliminated from the Hollywood movies attempting to glorify him: his bouts with racism. When describing the differences in the strife between “Europeans” and “the black,” the supposedly progressive-minded Che wrote, “their different attitudes of life separate them completely: the black is indolent and fanciful, he spends his money on frivolity and drink; the European comes from a tradition of working and saving which follows him to this corner of America and drives him to get ahead.”

Ohhhhh, so the “European” is a hard worker while “the black” is a fanciful drunk. Now I understand the difference. …

Revisionist history’s fusion with fashion sense isn’t exactly new, but its popularity seems to be growing. When actress Cameron Diaz showed up in Peru, she thought she had a trendy bag that might garner some jealous stares. People were staring, sure, but for all the wrong reasons.

The bag, purchased in China, featured a red star and the words “Serve the people” on it. The problem? That was Mao Zedong’s most famous political slogan, and it stirred up memories of the Maoist Shining Path insurgency, which, according to the BBC, was responsible for 70,000 deaths in Peru during the ’80s and ’90s. Diaz apologized later for “inadvertently” offending anyone. “

The full article can be found here. The comments section at the end of the article are a must read.

Milton Friedman On Race, Poverty And Government

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HMEFsmpKMc]

From an old speech but just as relevant today as it was then.

Slavery In Context – Friday Edition

Do me a favor, read this and this from Michael Medved and when you are done read this blog post and tell me if their description of what Medved wrote is accurate.

After reading the two articles I responded in the comments section to correct what I saw as a false representation of what he had written. After all was said and done I simply asked them to tell me what Medved said that was in error? Which of his general points were wrong? A simple request, I thought.

Reenee, one of the co-bloggers of the blog responded with this:

My co-blogger’s post was not misleading nor was it myopic. It was her expressing her opinion.
This country does not get off the hook for introducing slavery merely because it was being done elsewhere on the planet. Nor does it get off the hook by “abolishing it quickly” after 240 years. You might want to expand your reading to other writers other than the glossed over tomes available to most schools.
After you’ve finished with those books, go here, pick out the first ten history books about the indigenous people and how they were treated, and then you’ll have a more well-rounded grasp on their history and what was done to them.
Everyone in this country ought to be baffled when faced with an argument that tries to mitigate or downplay or excuse the very bloody history of what our country did to people, either found here or imported, since it was founded.

That they aren’t, baffles me.

And, that’s all I have to say about that.

In other words, still no list of errors. Simply rebuts to arguments I did not make and a recommendation of what books I should read to be more ‘enlightened’.

I responded and then Leesee, whom I assume wrote the original post, responded with this:

His-Pan: That you would seek to defend Medved and ask for point by point disputation astonishes me.
Medved seeks to diminish the murder, the slavery, the genocide and the suffering, he gives a seemingly rational argument but I’m not buying it and it’s my choice not to buy it.
Frankly I’m a little sad you fell for his feel good take on these very sad episodes in our collective history.
Sometimes when you argue the fine points you miss the bigger picture, the fact is these things happened and putting them in so-called historical context does not diminish the crimes.
We as a gente cannot let anyone else define our reality or make less of our experience.
It’s your choice to buy into Medved’s cleaned up history lesson and I’m just not there.
Go on over to Crooks and Liars specifically Keith Olbermanns take on Medved, he called him the worst person in the world for “apologizing” for slavery, how is you don’t get that?

You notice a pattern here? Still no list of errors and more of the same caricatures.

This was a few days ago and so you can imagine how surprised I was to see the topic brought up again today, see here. I thought for sure this time there would be a list of errors, a real critique of what Medved wrote. Well, if you guessed not, you would have been correct. It is more of the same. More caricatures, attacks on the credentials of Medved, and references to incidental parts of his article, not a direct rebut of his main points.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t agree with everything Medved wrote. There are some points he makes that are stronger than others. There is wording he uses that I would not have used. There are some points he includes that I would not have. And of course, there are some exaggerations and misleading statements…but I do buy the overall heart of his article – specifically the points I commented on the original post (slavery was universal, it was primarily the west that abolished it, and the majority of Native Americans were killed by the unintentional transfer of diseases).

The reason I was asking for a critique is because he makes many of the same arguments that a book I am reading does, Thomas Sowell’s, Black Rednecks and White Liberals. Thomas Sowell backs up his claims with reputable sources, many of them respected historians. So when I saw the Medved post, and saw that he was making many of the same arguments, I thought this would be a good opportunity to see how one goes about critiquing Sowell’s arguments. However, the whole exchange left me with the impression that Sowell is more right than I initially gave him credit for (how else can you explain the irrational responses and refusal to deal with his central points?).

So if you have some time, read the two Medved articles, read the follow up posts by people who found the articles inaccurate, and if you find the refutations lacking and the topic interests you more I strongly recommend you read Thomas Sowells book, Black Rednecks And White Liberals, it gives more of the historical backing and larger context of some of the general points in Medved’s first article.

I want to close with a quote from a somewhat dated Thomas Sowell article:

Of all the tragic facts about the history of slavery, the most astonishing to an American today is that, although slavery was a worldwide institution for thousands of years, nowhere in the world was slavery a controversial issue prior to the 18th century.

People of every race and color were enslaved — and enslaved others. White people were still being bought and sold as slaves in the Ottoman Empire, decades after American blacks were freed.

Everyone hated the idea of being a slave but few had any qualms about enslaving others. Slavery was just not an issue, not even among intellectuals, much less among political leaders, until the 18th century — and then only in Western civilization.

Among those who turned against slavery in the 18th century were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and other American leaders. You could research all of 18th century Africa or Asia or the Middle East without finding any comparable rejection of slavery there.

But who is singled out for scathing criticism today? American leaders of the 18th century.

The full article should be read in full, see here. I’d post this response on the original blog post but then my two previous comments have already been blocked and on the last blog post there is a clear request not to.

Multiculturalism: Fact or Threat?

This is why I think everybody should read Dinesh D’Souza’s writings:

Multiculturalism: Fact or Threat?

There has been a remarkable demographic shift that has changed the complexion of American society over the last 40 years. One reason for this change is the fact that most immigrants today come from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, rather than from Europe. A second contributing factor is birthrates: those of non-white minorities are substantially higher than that of whites. Taken together, these have led to what some have called the “browning of America.” In this sense, we can speak of multiculturalism as a fact. But it is important to distinguish this fact from the ideology that goes by the same name. The ideology of multiculturalism demands the transformation of America’s educational and political institutions in response to the new demographic reality. This ideology of multiculturalism, unlike the fact of multiculturalism, poses a threat to what is best and highest in America.

Multiculturalists insist that we change how we teach our children, in order to reshape how they think. Specifically, they must stop thinking of Western and American civilization as superior to other civilizations. The doctrine underlying this position is cultural relativism — the denial that any culture can be said to be better or worse than any other. Cultural relativists take the principle of equality, which in the American political tradition is applied to individuals in terms of rights, and apply it instead to cultures in terms of their value.

One approach taken by multiculturalists to extinguish feelings of cultural superiority is to revise reading lists in our schools to minimize the influence of those they deride as “dead white males.” A few years ago the novelist Saul Bellow set off a controversy when he said, “Find me the Tolstoy of the Zulus, or the Proust of the Papuans, and I would be happy to read him.” In the storm of outrage that followed, Bellow was accused of racism. But the charge was unjustified. Bellow was not saying, after all, that the Zulus and Papuans are incapable of producing great novelists. He was saying that as far as he knew, they hadn’t. But just by raising the possibility that some cultures have contributed more, if you will, to the dining table of civilization, he had violated one of the chief tenets of multiculturalism.

A few years ago I attended a panel at the American Historical Association where the participants were almost coming to blows over the question of whether Columbus “discovered” America or “encountered” America. For a while I was puzzled, but then I realized that there was an important issue at stake. The idea of discovery involves a subject and an object, as in “Fleming discovered penicillin.” It suggests that one person takes the initiative and finds someone or something else out. An encounter, on the other hand, is a chance event: “The hiker encountered a bear in the woods.” To say that Columbus discovered America suggests that Columbus’s civilization was engaged in a remarkable project of exploration and evangelization; by contrast, the term encounter implies that it was accidental that European ships came to America, rather than American Indian ships landing on the shores of Europe.

Whence Western Civilization?

Continue reading ‘Multiculturalism: Fact or Threat?’

Why I Like !Ask A Mexican!

Gustavo Arellano, the writer of !Ask A Mexican! for the Orange County Weekly is a weekly read for me and more often than not, his posts make me laugh. Take his November 2nd response to a reader who asks what will happen to white people if Mexicans become the biggest raza group in the United States:

Dear Wab: That’s the 64,000-peso question, Mex. Demographics show that Mexican birth rates grow even as those of gabachos fall. The Jim Gilchrists of this country predict chaos and a goat in every backyard once there are more Mexicans than gabachos; pro-amnesty activists claim Mexicans will assimilate into this country’s fabric just as previous immigrant groups did. I’m among the latter, and propose we’ll be the most American ethnic group yet. Taking historical cues from our gabacho forefathers, Mexicans will ridicule English speakers and dismiss them as lazy minorities with funny-sounding surnames and traditions. We’ll do what gabachos were always too pussy to try—take over Mexico—and create a true NAFTA, bringing further riches to the United States and ending the illegal immigration problem for good. Then, we’ll become too complacent and fat and gabachos will plot the takeover of their ancestral lands by having more babies and agitating for affirmative action and Gabacha/o Studies programs. What’s the moral of the story? Protect your children’s future, gabachos. Treat Mexicans well and encourage their simpático ways. Otherwise, we might just become Americans.

That made me laugh. Another favorite of mine was when he discussed Chicanoism and University Chicano Studies Programs. He wrote, “…most Mexicans and children of Mexican immigrants wish Chicanismo would go the way of the Frito Bandito” and continued that with “The culture of Chicano activism, while fighting the good fight, also creates insufferable, self-righteous bores whose idea of political humor is screaming “GO BACK TO EUROPE, PILGRIM!” at geriatric gabachos. I blame Chicano studies, which corrupt the brains of young Mexicans with antiquated concepts like victimization, objectification and grade inflation, all anathema to the libertarian Mexican soul”.

Of course this is what most Mexican-Americans I know believe as well, but it is always refreshing to hear another fellow Mexican say it in a public venue.

Either way, if you want a good laugh and if you want to learn more of why Mexicans do the things that we do, Gustavo Arellano’s !Ask A Mexican! posts are a must read.

His November 2nd post is here. His reasonable comments on Chicano Studies programs can be found here and here. His most recent post can be found here.

Richard Rodriguezs Stream of Consciousness By Victor Davis Hanson

On Wednesday Victor Davis Hanson responded to Richard Rodriguez’s Monday article Mexicans in America. Here is a teaser of what his response contained:

At this point the only thing missing was the tired La Raza mythologizing about “Gringos” who “stole” Mexican land—and, then, of course it too appeared, sort of at least. But if it is to be a question of theft rather than tragedy, Mexico took the American Southwest from Spain, who lifted it from Indians, and so on back to Neanderthal times—as is the way with most of the history of our aggressive species.

Yet what is odd, from a military and historical view, about the Mexican War and its aftermath, is not that conquering armies the world over regrettably annex land, but that after invading and occupying central Mexico, the United States wanted little of it, acquired only a small sparsely populated part of its northern territory, tried to legalize the transaction, and then had a fierce national debate over the morality of it all. If he wishes to return to the 19th century, Rodriquez could do better by exploring its ironic legacy: recent polls of Mexicans revealed two contradictory sentiments: most expressed a desire to leave and emigrate to the United States, but a near majority also thought that our Southwest does—and should—belong to Mexico. An Orwellian corollary then follows: should El Norte return to Mexico, then many Mexicans would not wish to escape to El Norte?

Personally, I don’t really like the ‘U.S. stole Mexican land’ argument, I expect that sort of thing from the average Chicano Studies student because, after all, they are always trying to be the poor victim in all disputes, but not from Richard Rodriguez. He always seemed, to me atleast, to be above those childish statements. Needless to say, I was happy to see Hanson respond so forcefully to that argument.

All in all, a great back and forth. I still think that Richard Rodriguez made some really good arguments and Victor Davis Hanson responded charitably. Either way, it’s a must read discussion about a topic that often times never happens or when it does, it gets far too heated and partisan to be of any use. Victor Davis Hanson’s response can be found here.

Quote Of The Day

“My mother arrived in Britain penniless, but fortunately for her—and for Britain—no one sought to persuade her that she need not learn English, and no one set up expensive and ineffective services for her in case she did not. She was not obliged to give up her tastes or conform in private respects, but she was expected (de facto) to blend into society as much as possible, rightly and reasonably, in my opinion. There was no ideology seeking to Balkanize the sensibilities of the population, enclose people in ghettoes and so forth, in the process acting as an employment opportunity for hordes of officials and bureaucrats. Although it is not a complete answer, a flexible labor market is very important, because there is nothing like work to integrate people. One of the problems in France is that youth unemployment is very high, and you only have to ask a plumber or a carpenter why he does not employ anyone to find out why. Thus, huge numbers of young immigrants or descendents of immigrants gather in one area—”social housing”—without realistic prospect of work”. –Theodore Dalrymple, writing at Cato Unbound on Integration and “Savage Liberalism”

Quote Of The Day

“But the good news is that these newcomers by and large aren’t listening to the left-wingers pushing identity politics. Mexican immigrants, like their European predecessors, are assimilating. Their children learn English and by the end of high school prefer it to their parents’ native tongue. They also marry people they meet here. Second-generation Latinos earn less than white Americans but more than blacks and 50% more than first-generation Latinos. According to Tamar Jacoby’s “Reinventing the Melting Pot,” the most common last names among new homeowners in California include Garcia, Lee, Martinez, Nguyen, Rodriguez and Wong”. –The Wall Street Journal editorial page explaining Why The Wall Street Journal favors open

Quote Of The Day

“By far the largest concern we hear on the right concerns culture, especially the worry that the current Hispanic influx is so large it can resist the American genius for assimilation. Hispanics now comprise nearly a third of the population in California and Texas, the country’s two biggest states, and cultural assimilation does matter. This is where the political left does the cause of immigration no good in pursuing a separatist agenda. When such groups as La Raza and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund push for multiculturalism, bilingual education, foreign language ballots, racial quotas and the like, they undermine support for immigration among even the most open-minded Americans. Most Americans don’t want to replicate the Bosnia model; nor are they pining for a U.S. version of the Quebec sovereignty movement. President Bush has been right to assert that immigrants must adopt U.S. norms, and we only wish more figures on the political left would say the same”. –The Wall Street Journal editorial page explaining Why The Wall Street Journal favors open immigration