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Proviso Probe

Saturday, September 16, 2006

ETHNICITY, New study proves Pat Buchanan wrong about immigrant assimilation.

Maybe it was all those years he spent writing the lies that came out of Nixon's mouth, or perhaps he learned to vocalize out of an orifice other than his mouth while sugarcoating Reagan's policies for mass consumption, or maybe he just has what he would term a "genetic pre-disposition" to sling blarney. But no matter what the reason for his inability to tell the truth, a new study has unequivocally proven that Pat Buchanan is simply wrong when it comes to the "death of the west … third world invasion" philosophy in his new book, State of Emergency.

Buchanan has made a career recently out of telling the American people that their "White-European" nation is under attack from an invading horde of "Hispanics and Asians … from continents and countries whose peoples have never been assimilated fully into any Western country," that these new immigrants "are not interested in linguistic or cultural assimilation" and many are here only to engage in the re-conquest the Southwest. But a newly released report proves Mr. Buchanan wrong; today's new immigrants assimilate at the same rate as previous generations.

A new report published by the non-profit Population Council found that, just like all previous immigrant groups, today's new immigrants lose their ability to speak their mother tongue over the course of a few generations and their children end up fully assimilate into American culture.

The report, "Linguistic Life Expectancies: Immigrant Language Retention in Southern California" by Frank D. Bean and Rubén G. Rumbaut of University of California, Irvine and Douglas S. Massey of Princeton, looks at data from two recent surveys—the Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles survey, and the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study in San Diego, to determine the average number of generations an immigrants mother tongue can be expected to survive in the United States after arrival.

The report looked at not only Hispanic immigrants, but also those from Asia and those classified as "white European" using two different criteria; those who "speak a foreign language at home" and those "who speak it well" and found that for all immigrant groups studied, the ability to speak in the mother tongue generally disappears by the third generation (those with American-born parents, but with three or four foreign-born grandparents).
Although the life expectancy of Spanish is found to be greater among Mexicans in Southern California compared to other groups, its ultimate demise nonetheless seems assured by the third generation. English has never been seriously threatened as the dominant language of the United States, and it is not threatened today—not even in Southern California. What is endangered instead is the survivability of the non-English languages that immigrants bring with them to the United States.

PDR abstract

The report takes aim in particular at Buchanan's more erudite doppelganger, Samuel Huntington and his book, Who Are We: The Challenges to America's National Identity. The researchers vehemently attack Huntington's thesis that "the arrival of Latin American Immigrants in large numbers during the last three decades of the twentieth century threatens the core of American identity and culture… (that) Latin American immigrants are much less likely to speak English than earlier generations of European immigrants because they speak a common language; they are regionally concentrated and residentially segregated within Spanish-speaking enclaves; they are less interested in linguistic and cultural assimilation; and they are encouraged in this lack of interest by activists who foment identity politics."

The authors argue back that their study proves that "Spanish in no way constitutes a threat to the continued predominance of English within the United States." and that "those who worry about linguistic balkanization because of heavy immigration from Spanish-speaking countries have nothing to fear."

They point out that using data from the Southern California surveys allows them to analyze the most extreme case scenario in the nation, noting that no other area has been as greatly effected by immigration.
The surveys used were conducted in Southern California, a region adjacent to the Mexican border that was not only the country's largest net receiver of immigrants during the period 1970-2005, but one that also contained more Spanish-speakers and persons of Mexican origin than any other megalopolitan area…one in every five immigrants in the United States reside in the regions six contiguous counties (San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino), including the largest communities of Mexicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Koreans, Iranians, and Cambodians outside the countries of origin.
Linguistic Life Expectancies: Immigrant Language Retention in Southern California(PDF)

Even under these extreme circumstances, their findings directly contradict Huntington's assertions. As is the case with the economic studies on immigration done by those like David Card, the United States has an uncanny ability to absorb large numbers of new immigrants and not only incorporate them economically but also culturally.

The United States has aptly been described as a "graveyard" for languages because of its historical ability to absorb immigrants by the millions and extinguish their mother tongues within a few generations, and Spanish appears to offer no threat to this reputation …Like taxes and biological death, linguistic death seems to be a sure thing in the United States even for Mexicans living in Los Angeles, a city with one of the largest Spanish-speaking urban populations in the world"

Link (PDF)

Certainly these findings differ greatly from the rhetoric spewed out regularly by Buchanan and his cohorts.
All across the U.S., hordes of immigrants – legal and illegal – are chattering away in their native language and have no intention of learning English, the all-but-official language of the United States where they now live.

Can you blame them? They are being enabled by all those diversity fanatics to defy the age-old custom of immigrants to our shores who made it one of their first priorities to learn to speak English and to teach their offspring to do likewise. It was a case of sink or swim. If you couldn’t speak English you couldn’t get by, go to school, get a job, or become a citizen and vote. Nowadays we kowtow to demands that everything from ballots to official documents be presented in many native languages as well as in English.

-snip-
What holds the country together is the commonality of language. … are they learning our language, are they assimilating into our culture? … the answer is a resounding “NO.” Tragically, the answer to the question of English surviving the immigrant invasion is probably “no.” The English language is on its death bed, a victim of the enablers.

Michael Reagan writing on Buchanan.org

But what must always be kept in mind is that Buchanan has always had a problem with the truth. He had it when he worked for Nixon, he had it when he worked for Reagan, and he certainly has it now.

Buchanan has always been a master manipulator of facts and opinion…. if the facts don't back up his opinion …he just manipulates them. He's started doing it when he first worked for Nixon in 1965, and he'll continue to do it as long as he has an audience ready and willing to listen to his racist drivel or buy his books.

From: Migra Matters - Progressive Immigration Reform

8 Comments:

  • New Survey Shows Pat Buchanan Right

    Taken from the Chicago Tribune:


    State's voters want border crackdown

    September 19, 2006

    BY SCOTT FORNEK Political Reporter




    Illinois voters overwhelmingly want to make it tougher for immigrants to illegally enter the United States, but a sizeable chunk would like to combine that crackdown with efforts to make it easier for those already here to become citizens.

    Those are the findings of a Chicago Sun-Times/NBC5 Poll.

    The poll found that 44 percent of voters believe the government needs to crack down on illegal immigration.

    Another 35 percent said the government needs to both crack down and make it easier for those already here to become citizens.

    That means a combined 79 percent want to make it tougher to illegally slip into the country.

    Just 11 percent favored an easier route to citizenship for undocumented workers without combining it with tougher immigration policies.

    And only 4 percent were satisfied with the current laws.

    White and black voters were more likely to favor a crackdown.

    Group calls results skewed



    Hispanic voters were more likely to support efforts to help illegal immigrants already here become citizens, although the greatest number of Latinos also wanted to combine that with restrictions on future illegal immigration.

    One illegal immigration foe said even more people would say they favored a crackdown, but they're afraid of being tagged bigots for supporting restrictions.

    But the head of a group that has helped organize the pro-immigration marches in Chicago said the results are skewed because they focus on cracking down on illegal immigration rather than solving immigration problems.

    sfornek@suntimes.com

    By Anonymous You Cite One Source, I Cite Another, at 8:00 AM, September 19, 2006  

  • Your source simply says that that a majority of Illinios voters agree with Buchanan....that doesn't make him right. The majority of those allowed to vote in Alabama in 1964 agreed with George Wallace also...this did not make him any more right than Buchanan is today.

    The study I report on proves Buchanan's thesis to be wrong ...it doesn't go to the issue of this popularity.

    The fact remains that Buchanan bases much of his rhetoric on the misguided assumption that todays new immigrants, both legal and illegal, do not, and never will, assimilate into American culture. This study proves him wrong.

    If you'd like to debate the merits of this study as compared to one that backs up Buchanan's point of veiw, I'd be more than willing to have that discussion. But to simply say that Buchanan must be right because people agree with him is seriously flawed logic. Germans believed Hitler in 1939, and today some in the Muslim word believe bin Laden... does that make them right also by your logic?

    By Blogger Duke1676, at 11:42 AM, September 19, 2006  

  • To duke1676:

    I agree with some of what you wrote, however, how can the study that was posted on this thread and to which you refer be right as we view it currently? That study makes predictions about the future assimilation of Hispanics into the American culture, specifically in regard to language. The operative word here is, "future". Since the future, by definition, is not the present, the study can only point to a possible result. It currently disproves nothing and will not disprove anything until and unless, in fact, the assimilation that it postulates will happen does happen. Further, the study seeks to compare assimilation patterns of the past with those possible in future. Unfortunately, the study does not and is not able to match all or even most of the conditions present in the past with those that may be operative in the future between and among the groups allegedly being "studied". This is not tantamount to saying that the studies that Buchanan cites are any better because they are not.

    By Anonymous Steven, at 1:29 PM, September 19, 2006  

  • Although you are obviously correct when you say we cannot predict if the trends studied so far will continue into the future, the study looked at what has already happened in immigrant communities and that is all we really can go on at the present time.

    At present, the study showed that linguistic death is generally complete by the third generation. This is something we are quite capable of documenting as it only really takes only one full generation to see. The children of immigrants retain some knowledge of their mother tongue, but their children do not.

    Will this trend continue...we don't know, but there is no reason not to believe it will. Certainly for Buchanan to base his hypothesis on the basis that this trend WON"T continue is far more speculative than believing a well documented trend will continue.

    By Blogger Duke1676, at 3:01 PM, September 19, 2006  

  • To Duke 1676:

    I was objecting to Carl's erroneously titled thread, "New Study Proves Buchanan Wrong About Immigrant Assimilation". The study proves absolutely nothing at this point. In fact, on page 429, 2nd paragraph of the study, the authors state, "This analysis carries the same caveat as any other study based on a period life table estimated from cross-sectional data: it assumes the linguistic behavior of today's second, third, and fourth generation immigrants accurately forecasts the behavior of future generations". Then, the authors immediately go on to state reasons why their forecast might prove to be inaccurate, for example, because the Spanish language is no longer stigmatized in schools and may be more readily retained in the future. The authors give these reasons, which seem rather cogent to me, short shrift. And, in fact, these very reasons, among others not cited by the study's authors, can and likely will be used by Buchanan and his followers to refute the forecast of this study. The point is nothing this study postulates in terms of future behavior is proven and it is certainly not a given that past behavior of groups predicts future behavior, Carl's blatant bias notwithstanding.

    By Anonymous Steven, at 7:53 AM, September 20, 2006  

  • Sorry --- that was page 459, 2nd paragraph

    By Anonymous Steven, at 7:58 AM, September 20, 2006  

  • Steven,

    you are quite correct to note that the authors of the study caveat this work, since it is impossible to predict future trends. They are after all statisticians and linguists not prophets.

    But isn't that exactly what Mr. Buchanan does in his books … predict the future?

    On big difference between the the authors of this study and Mr Buchanan is that the authors start from a fixed point by saying "this is what's happening right now, and has been happening for quite some time... and if this trend continues complete linguistic death will continue to occur by the third generation"

    Mr Buchanan n the other hand says "although this is not happening now... it's guaranteed to happen in the future if his policies are not adopted"

    It is his strident assertion that despite all the current evidence that American culture and the English language are doomed if we do not drastically change course that is attacked in the title. It is his hypothesis that “ today’s immigrants don’t what to learn English or assimilate” that is proven wrong in the study. Will this dynamic change in the future… we do not know. But we do know as of right now, Mr Buchanan is wrong.

    By Blogger Duke1676, at 8:13 PM, September 20, 2006  

  • To duke1676:

    There's this local "politician" named Gary Woll. His stagnant and undistinguished political career has, however, been lengthy. Imagine Gary Woll crouching behind a long, single-file line of people of all colors, cultures, and political persuasions. One after another, these people drop their drawers in front of Gary Woll, bend over so that their rear-ends are facing him, and imagine Gary Woll voraciously and with gusto kissing each rear-end in succession. All this leads me to the "Wollism" that some of my best friends are Mexican.

    That having been said, I want to make it clear that I am not a fan of Pat Buchanan. However, I am also not a fan of, what I perceive to be, flawed "studies" and the erroneous interpretations attached to their results by various interest groups. First of all, you and I are in agreement that the study proves nothing at this point in terms of future language assimilation of Mexicans/Hispanics into the U.S. culture. Secondly, we also seem to be in agreement that past behavior is not necessarily accurately predictive of future behavior. Now, in terms of what the study shows in regard to the past and "today's" Mexican/Hispanic language assimilation, I believe that the study does, in fact, show that language assimilation has been pretty much accomplished by the third generation of Southern California Hispanics/Mexicans. Note the study only addresses Hispanic/Mexican language assimilation in Southern California and then seems to extrapolate the results to the entire U.S. Of course, the authors offer their rationales for using Southern California as their comparative base, which on the surface, seem logical. But, the fact remains that this "study" proves nothing about past and/or current Mexican/Hispanic language assimilation in the U.S. as a whole. Further, the "study's" authors allude to factors which might mitigate against future Hispanic/Mexican language assimilation but devote only a sentence or two them ... basically, just to point them out. To the intelligent reader, these factors seem like they could be extremely important and play a major role in mitigating against future language assimilation, but the authors of the study do not elaborate upon them.

    To me, these authors show their biases just as clearly and readily as the authors of studies cited by Pat Buchanan.

    I'm afraid I can't agree with or rally behind any of these "studies" cited by Carl and Pat Buchanan.

    By Anonymous Steven, at 7:41 AM, September 21, 2006  

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