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Here’s an excerpt from my review of the important and fascinating new book from the Chicano Studies Research Center at UCLA:

Social scientists get a lot of guff for not being “ But I’ve always admired the best ones immensely.

Sure, an astronomer (say) can tell you with exactitude when the next solar eclipse will occur. Still, most people don’t feel strongly about the timing of eclipses. It’s easy to be objective when you deal with things rather than with people.

In contrast, human beings get passionate about what is uncovered by social scientists. In fact, much of what social scientists have learned has been gut-wrenching for the researchers themselves, who typically fall well to the left politically.

Social scientists can’t always overcome their biases. But when they do, the results are admirable.

The newest example: the impressive multi-generational study of Mexican-American assimilation carried out by two UCLA sociologists, Vilma Ortiz and Edward E. Telles of UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center.

Their 2008 book, Generations of Exclusion: Mexican Americans, Assimilation, and Race, decisively concludes a long-running debate about Mexican immigrants.

Telles and Ortiz write:

political and legal battles to improve the education of Mexican Americans, they continue to have the lowest average education levels and the highest high school dropout rates among major ethnic and racial groups in the United States. … However, leading analysts, apparently believing in the universality of assimilation, argue that this is the result of a large first and second generation population still adjusting to American society. … These and other scholars predict that Mexican Americans will have the same levels of education and socioeconomic status as the dominant non-Hispanic white population by the fourth generation.”

East Coast pundits, such as Michael Barone and Tamar Jacoby, frequently imply that, while Mexican Americans may appear to be lagging alarmingly, that’s mostly because they’ve all just recently arrived from Mexico.

After all, whoever saw a Mexican in New York, Washington, or Boston before the last decade or two? So their future is wide open! This will catch up by the third generation, or maybe the fourth—but in any case, Real Soon Now.

Due to (to quote Jacoby’s review in National Review of Barone’s 2001 book The New Americans, the descendents of Mexican immigrants will no doubt be flourishing just like the descendents of the Ellis Island immigrants.

So why enforce the borders? …

To natives of the Southwestern United States, like myself, this conventional wisdom that Mexicans are just newcomers who will turn into Italians or Jews in three or four generations is simply Eastern ignorance.

Mexican Americans are new to the East, but they’ve been in the Southwestern U.S. since before there was a U.S. The 1920 Census found one million Hispanics in the U.S.—that’s an ample sample from which to draw conclusions.

Social scientists in the mid-20th Century paid intense interest to European ethnic newcomers and African Americans. But Latinos were largely overlooked. Telles and Ortiz note that Mexican Americans “

This lack of awareness still allows Eastern writers descended from Ellis Island immigrants to spin fantasies about the benign long-run effects of Mexican immigration, based largely on ethnocentric nostalgia about their own lineages’ spunky underdog wonderfulness.

Indeed, many Eastern elites seem to regard expressions of skepticism about illegal Mexican immigrants as personal insults directed at their beloved ancestors. They’re more concerned about the issues of 1908 than of 2008.

During the Great Society, UCLA organized the first major survey, the Mexican American Study Project. In 1965, UCLA academics interviewed 1576 individuals of Mexican descent in the two largest Mexican American metropolises of the time, Los Angeles County and San Antonio. This kind of cross-sectional analysis is valuable but it’s not totally definitive about assimilation. For that, you need longitudinal analyses that follow people over time. However, surveys that cover decades are extremely expensive. Fortunately, workers in 1992 stumbled upon the 1965 survey forms in a storage room at the UCLA library. Sociologists affiliated with UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center came up with the audacious notion of searching out the original respondents, then interviewing them again, along with some of their children. This would turn the old 1965 cross-sectional study into a much-needed longitudinal one.

This would allow progress to be tracked across four generations. And researchers could even inquire about the children’s children, extending the analysis out to a fifth generation since immigration. …

Telles and Ortiz write with justified pride: “immigrants and their descendents.” …

Their multiple regression analyses show that the key factor, driving all the others, is education. They conclude:

As is well known, American-born Mexicans average more years of education than do their Mexican-born immigrant ancestors. Unfortunately, as Telles and Ortiz report, the third and fourth generations of Mexican Americans do not continue to close the gap relative to non-Hispanic whites: “

The fourth generation (whose grandparents were born in America) was particularly unaccomplished: “college completion rate of only 6 percent [compared to 35 percent for whites of that era].”

The fourth-generation Baby Boomers averaged 0.7 years less schooling than the second and third generation Mexican Americans born in the same era.

Telles and Ortiz found: “

In 2000, the UCLA interviewers also asked the Baby Boomer children of the original subjects about their own children (i.e., the grandchildren of the 1965 respondents). These grandchildren (who are third to fifth generation Mexican Americans, Generation X-ers born in the 1960s and 1970s) at graduating from high school.

But, don’t worry, be happy. The sixth generation will assuredly get it into gear and catch up with the American mainstream. Only evil, uncouth people could possibly doubt that. Ask Michael Barone.[Email Barone]

Seriously, America is supposed to be a middle class country. Yet, what we appear to have on our hands here is a which our elites have corruptly saddled us with.

In [More]

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Chris Caldwell has a good article in the NY Times Magazine, “Where Every Generation Is First-Generation,” on how Turks in Germany are not assimilating because of arranged marriages with people, often cousins, from the old country.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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While the number of births to African-American and white teenagers fell in Illinois from 1997 to 1999, the number of births to Hispanic teens increased. In fact, Hispanic girls lead the nation in the teen birthrate, with about 93 births per 1,000 Hispanic teens per year compared to the overall national teenbirthrate of about 50 births per 1, 000 … Newer immigrants are more likely to avoid pregnancy than second- or third- generation Hispanics. … “For certain what we know is that[unmarried teenage Hispanic] girls born in the U.S. and raised in the U.S. are more likely to get pregnant than girls who are foreign-born and then raised in the U.S.,” said Jane Delgado of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health. “As we look at what messages a culture communicates to young girls, it’s mixed. One is about sexuality and the other is about moving away from faith and family as core parts of a young girl’s being.”

“Hispanic teen births up, defying U.S. trend” By Sue Ellen Christian and Teresa Puente Chicago Tribune, January 29, 2001

The very bad news above directly contradicts the conservative Establishment’s conventional wisdom. ConEstablishment types assume that “assimilation” works automatically, sort of like “osmosis,” to solve any minor cultural problems created by heavy immigration. They tend to have this 19th Century picture of assimilation in action: The huddled masses stumble off the docks in Boston, only to notice the Cabots and Lodges glowering at them for their uncouth behavior. Chastened, the newcomers resolve to begin the long struggle tobecome good Americans just like those august families.

Of course, these days, the descendants of those Puritans are working as program officers for foundations telling the newly-arrived immigranthow much better the culture back home in, say, Guatemala was than the culture created by their Boston Brahmin ancestors – who, as you will recall, were so criminally insensitive as to glower.

There is, however, one vibrant, self-confident culture in modern America: hip-hop. (See Charles Murray’s eloquent Wall Street Journalessay “Prole Models.”) Hip-hop is doing what whites no longer have the will or means to do: assimilate the children of Hispanic immigrants.

Of course, Dr. Dre, Puff Daddy, and the rest are leading Latino-Americans toward the African-American model. As I wrote last year,”Currently, 22% of white births are illegitimate compared to 69% of black births. Among immigrant Latino mothers, 37% of their newbabies were illegitimate. But among American-born Latino mothers, the illegitimacy rate rises to 48%.”

This is a major problem. The bad news is that nobody has any plausible idea how to reverse this process. For all Charles Murray’s virtues (andis there any intellectual in America who combines honesty, humility, kindness, and judiciousness in a nobler package than Murray?), he is a lot less funky of a role model than Ol’ Dirty Bastard.

The good news: that there is a relatively easy way at least to limit the extent of this problem in the future. But that means we have to act soon to change the laws – and bring in fewer but better immigrants.

[Steve Sailer [email him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and

movie critic for The American Conservative. His website features his daily blog.]

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Assimilation, VDare Archives 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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