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Paul Krugman argues today that Puerto Rico is kind of like West Virginia, Mississippi, and Alabama:

Put it this way: if a region of the United States turns out to be a relatively bad location for production, we don’t expect the population to maintain itself by competing via ultra-low wages; we expect working-age residents to leave for more favorable places. That’s what you see in poor mainland states like West Virginia, which actually looks a fair bit like Puerto Rico in terms of low labor force participation, albeit not quite so much so. (Mississippi and Alabama also have low participation.) … There is much discussion of what’s wrong with Puerto Rico, but maybe we should, at least some of the time, just think of Puerto Rico as an ordinary region of the U.S. …

Okay, but there’s a huge difference in test scores.

The federal government has been administering a special Puerto Rico-customized version of its National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam in Spanish to Puerto Rican public school students, and the results have been jaw-droppingly bad.

For example, among Puerto Rican 8th graders tested in mathematics in 2013, 95% scored Below Basic, 5% scored Basic, and (to the limits of rounding) 0% scored Proficient, and 0% scored Advanced. These results were the same in 2011.

In contrast, among American public school students poor enough to be eligible for subsidized school lunches (“NSLP” in the graph above), only 39% scored Below Basic, 41% scored Basic, 17% scored Proficient, and 3% scored Advanced.

Puerto Rico’s test scores are just shamefully low, suggesting that Puerto Rican schools are completely dropping the ball. By way of contrast, in the U.S., among black 8th graders, 38% score Basic, 13% score Proficient, and 2% score Advanced. In the U.S. among Hispanic 8th graders, 41% reach Basic, 18% Proficient, and 3% Advanced.

In Krugman’s bete noire of West Virginia, 42% are Basic, 20% are Proficient, and 3% are Advanced. In Mississippi, 40% are Basic, 18% Proficient, and 3% are Advanced. In Alabama, 40% are Basic, 16% are Proficient, and 3% are Advanced. (Unmentioned by Krugman, the lowest scores among public school students are in liberal Washington D.C.: 35% Basic, 15% Proficient, and 4% Advanced.)

Let me repeat, in Puerto Rico in Spanish, 5% are Basic, and zero zip zilch are Proficient, much less Advanced.

Am I misinterpreting something? I thought I must be, but here’s a press release from the Feds confirming what I just said:

The 2013 Spanish-language mathematics assessment marks the first time that Puerto Rico has been able to use NAEP results to establish a valid comparison to the last assessment in 2011. Prior to 2011, the assessment was carefully redesigned to ensure an accurate assessment of students in Puerto Rico. Results from assessments in Puerto Rico in 2003, 2005 and 2007 cannot be compared, in part because of the larger-than-expected number of questions that students either didn’t answer or answered incorrectly, making it difficult to precisely measure student knowledge and skills. The National Center for Education Statistics, which conducts NAEP, administered the NAEP mathematics assessment in 2011. But those results have not been available until now, as it was necessary to replicate the assessment in 2013 to ensure that valid comparisons could be made.

“The ability to accurately measure student performance is essential for improving education,” said Terry Mazany, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees NAEP. “With the support and encouragement of education officials in Puerto Rico, this assessment achieves that goal. This is a great accomplishment and an important step forward for Puerto Rico’s schools and students.”

NAEP assessments report performance using average scores and percentages of students at or above three achievement levels: Basic, Proficient and Advanced. The 2013 assessment results showed that 11 percent of fourth-graders in Puerto Rico and 5 percent of eighth-graders in public schools performed at or above the Basic level; conversely, 89 percent of fourth-graders and 95 percent of eighth-graders scored below that level. The Basic level denotes partial mastery of the knowledge and skills needed for grade-appropriate work. One percent or fewer of students in either grade scored at or above the Proficient level, which denotes solid academic performance. Only a few students scored at the Advanced level.

The sample size for 8th graders was 5,200 students at 120 public schools in the Territory.

UPDATE: I’ve now discovered Puerto Rico’s scores on the 2012 international PISA test. Puerto Rico came in behind Jordan in math.

Results this abysmal can’t solely be an HBD problem (although it’s an interesting data point in any discussion of hybrid vigor); this has to also be due to a corrupt and incompetent education system in Puerto Rico.

New York Times’ comments aren’t generally very useful for finding out information, but Krugman’s piece did get this comment:

KO’R New York, NY 4 hours ago

My husband and I have had a house in PR for 24 years. For two of those years we taught English and ESL at Interamericana, the second largest PR university. Our neighbors have children in the public grade schools. In a nutshell: the educational system in PR is a joke!!! Bureaucratic and corrupt. Five examples: (1) In the elementary schools near us if a teacher is sick or absent for any reason, there is no class that day. (2) Trying to get a textbook changed at Interamericana requires about a year or more of bureaucratic shinnanigans (3) A colleague at Interamericana told us that he’d taught in Africa (don’t remember where) for a few years and PR was much worse in terms of bureaucracy and politics. ( (4) The teaching method in PR is for the teacher to stand in front of the class, read from the textbook verbatim, and have the students repeat what he or she read. And I’m not speaking just about English – this goes for all subjects. 5) Interamericana is supposed to be a bi-lingual iniversity. In practice, this means the textbooks are in English, the professor reads the Spanish translation aloud, and the usually minimal discussion is in Spanish. …

Public school spending in Puerto Rico is $7,429 per student versus $10,658 per student in the U.S. Puerto Rico spends more per student than Utah and Idaho and slightly less than Oklahoma.

Puerto Rico spends less than half as much as the U.S. average on Instruction: $3,082 in Puerto Rico vs. $6,520 in America, significantly less than any American state. But Puerto Rico spends more than the U.S. average on Total Support Services ($3,757 vs. $3,700). Puerto Rico is especially lavish when it comes to the shifty-sounding subcategories of General Administration ($699 in PR vs. $212 in America) and Other Support Services ($644 vs. $347). PR spends more per student on General Administration than any state in America, trailing only the notorious District of Columbia school system, and more even than DC and all 50 states on the nebulous Other Support Services.

Being a schoolteacher apparently doesn’t pay well in PR, but it looks like a job cooking the books somewhere in the K-12 bureaucracy could be lucrative.

The NAEP scores for Puerto Rico and the U.S. are for just public school students.

A higher percentage of young people in Puerto Rico attend private schools than in the U.S. The NAEP reported:

In Puerto Rico, about 23 percent of students in kindergarten through 12th grade attended private schools as of the 2011-2012 school year, compared with 10 percent in the United States. Puerto Rico results are not part of the results reported for the NAEP national sample.

So that accounts for part of the gap. But, still, public schools cover 77% of Puerto Ricans v. 90% of Americans, so the overall picture doesn’t change much: the vast majority of Puerto Rican 8th graders are Below Basic in math.

Another contributing factor is likely that quite a few Puerto Ricans summer in America and winter in Puerto Rico and yank their kids back and forth, which is disruptive to their education.

It’s clear that Puerto Ricans consider their own public schools to be terrible and that anybody who can afford private school should get out. The NAEP press release mentions that 100% of Puerto Rican public school students are eligible for subsidized school lunches versus about 50% in the U.S. Heck, Oscar-winner Benicio Del Toro’s lawyer father didn’t just send him to private school, they sent him to a boarding school in Pennsylvania.

Still, these Puerto Rican public school scores are so catastrophic that I also wouldn’t rule out active sabotage by teachers, such as giving students an anti-pep talk, for some local labor reason. For example, a PISA score from Austria was low a couple of tests ago because the teacher’s union told teachers to tell students not to bother working hard on the test. But the diminishment of the Austrian PISA score wasn’t anywhere near this bad. And Puerto Rico students got exactly the same scores in 2011 and 2013.

And here’s Jason Malloy’s meta-analysis of studies of Puerto Rican cognitive performance over the last 90 years.

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The NYT notices something I’ve harped on for about a dozen years:


Latinos Onscreen, Conspicuously Few

Anna Bahr

JUNE 18, 2014

If you went to the movies in 1946, when Latinos constituted barely 3 percent of the American population, you might have caught Carmen Miranda, reportedly the highest-paid woman in the world at the time, dancing with her improbably tall fruit hat. By the 1950s, Desi Arnaz graced network TV as a star of “I Love Lucy.”

But it was more likely that the Latino actors seen on big and small screens occupied a narrow range of stereotyped background roles.

Actually, after WWII, Hispanics tended to be, if anything, over-represented in movies. They were featured prominently in Latin Lover roles, such as Fernando Lamas, whose image lives on in his sailing buddy Jonathan Goldsmith’s Dos Equis beer commercial character “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” George Clooney’s uncle-in-law José Ferrer won the 1950 Best Actor Oscar for Cyrano de Bergerac. Ricardo Montalban was on the cover of Life Magazine in 1949. The best of the Latin actors, Anthony Quinn, had been working steadily since the 1930s and ascended to stardom in 1952, winning the Best Supporting Oscar playing Marlon Brando’s brother in Viva Zapata.

There was a lot of pro-Latin American propaganda and warm feelings during the 1940s in America, such as Mayor LaGuardia of NYC renaming Sixth Avenue the “Avenue of the Americas” in 1945. I imagine there were several reasons for this trend, including

- To encourage Latin America to side with the Allies rather than the Italians and Germans or sit it out like the Spaniards;

- Because Latin America prospered mightily during WWII (for example, in 1946 the Mexican League tried to become a third major league in baseball by raiding 18 American big leaguers), thus making Latin America economically fashionable for awhile.

- With movie markets in Continental Europe cut off, Hollywood focused on cultivating the Latin American market.

Still, relative to the total population, the stardom of even a few prominent Latinos was culturally and statistically significant.

It would seem that way if you project today’s attempt to racialize Conquistador-Americans as an oppressed minority back on to the past. There’s a huge effort today to rewrite the past to make it seem like Latinos were treated like blacks in order to emotionally justify amnesty and affirmative action as reparations for white racism.

But 65 years ago, a white guy from Argentina was a white guy with a sexy accent, while a mestizo like Quinn was a Cliff Curtis-type who was popular in Hollywood because he could plausibly play an Arab or an Eskimo.

In general, being Latin deracialized individuals in mid-Century American eyes. For example, the color line in baseball wasn’t actually broken by Jackie Robinson in 1947, it was broken by several Cuban players for the Washington Senators in the late 1930s. You’ve probably never heard their names, because it wasn’t a big deal at the time: there was some resistance to playing guys who were obviously part black, but mostly the Latin understanding that one drop of white blood makes somebody more or less white was applied to these ballplayers. Organized Latin lobbies like LULAC wanted Latins to be seen as white, so the Census Bureau stopped counting them in the 1950 and 1960 Census. Our crime statistics to this day mostly count Latinos as white.

In fact, terms like “white” and “nonwhite” probably confuse matters more than they help. Something like “core” v. “fringe” is more useful.

In 1950 people felt it benefited them to seem more core American (although being a little bit of something else as long as it wasn’t African-American, especially a little American Indian like Herbert Hoover’s Vice President Charles Curtis, could be glamorous). Being a black American was a major problem, but everything else was more or less negotiable.

Today, however, ambitious people almost all understands the advantages of claiming to be more fringe. (Mormons are the only ones who don’t get it, yet. But I’d hardly be surprised if there is a BYU grad student write now compiling the magnum opus that will re-redefine his people as an oppressed minority.)

Today, Latinos make up 17 percent of Americans, but there has been little change in network television in the number of Latino lead actors and in Latino roles, according to a study, “The Latino Media Gap: A Report on the State of Latinos in U.S. Media,” released on Tuesday by Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race.

When roles calling for Latinos appear today, they tend to fit generations-old labels: the cop or the criminal, the illegal immigrant or the emotional sex kitten. During the 1994-1995 network TV season, 6 percent of Latinos on television were linked to a crime; from 2012 to 2013, 24.2 percent of all Latino TV actors played criminals. Behind the screen, the study found that no Latinos wrote network TV pilots in 2011 and 2012.

The nightly news on TV offers an even more limited view. During the 1995-2004 period, stories about Latinos, most of which focused on illegal immigration and crime, made up less than 1 percent of network news. There are no Latino anchors or executive producers on any top English-speaking network news programs, according to the study.

Frances Negrón-Muntaner

“The narrative that gets circulated in news is pretty much the narrative that Latinos are foreigners and somewhat threatening to America,” said Frances Negrón-Muntaner, the lead researcher of the study and an assistant professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia. Latinos, she went on, “are only important in the news when they confirm something about our world that we already hold true — stories about illegal entry, for example, reinforce the idea that we don’t belong here.”

Or when Conquistador-Americanas like the (not very) Negron-Muntaner pen studies hyped in the New York Times about how they suffer under the lash of racial discrimination.

A notable finding in this new study is the sluggish growth in representation despite a fast-growing Latino population — and in particular of a fast-growing population of enthusiastic media consumers. Latinos, for example, buy 25 percent of all movie tickets in the United States and watch more hours of video online than the average American, according to Nielsen, the ratings company.

… Still, even as Latino consumer power grows, media presence seems to shrink. If diverse programming seems to give networks an advantage, why the disparity? The researchers for the study argue that in many media companies and networks, a significant majority of decisions are made by upper-class, middle-aged white men. The people responsible for hiring writers and actors look for people who are similar to themselves, hurting Latino representation, the study said. “In my interviews, I found that many people, consciously or not, are trying to preserve their privilege,” Ms. Negrón-Muntaner said. “People would say, ‘Oh, if we open up to tell new stories, then we’re displacing ones that are tried and true.’  ”

Back in 1996, Marlon Brando went on the Larry King show to protest the mistreatment of two Mexican immigrants by the police and to encourage Hollywood executives to give more and better roles to Latinos, just as they had worked to boost the image of blacks during the Sidney Poitier Era. (Here’s the transcript.) You may remember the upshot of Brando’s attempt at raising Hispanic diversity sensitivity awareness among entertainment industry executives:

Weeping Brando apologises to Jews

Saturday 13 April 1996

Los Angeles (Reuter) – The actor Marlon Brando, who sparked a storm of criticism for saying Hollywood was run by Jews, broke down and wept yesterday when he met Jewish leaders to apologise for his comments.

“It took 30 to 45 seconds before he was able to compose himself,” Rabbi Marvin Hier said of the Oscar-winning star of the Godfather, whom he met for three hours.

“Mr Brando broke down and cried … to show his affection for Lew Wasserman and other people who are his idols,” Rabbi Hier said, referring to the chairman emeritus of MCA, the parent company of Universal Pictures. Mr Wasserman had deplored Brando’s comments last week, but defended the actor as a friend of the Jews.

In an appearance on CNN’s Larry King Live last Friday, Brando said he was angry with some Jewish film-makers for not showing more sensitivity in portraying minority groups in a negative fashion while not portraying Jews in the same way.

“Hollywood is run by Jews. It’s owned by Jews and they should have a greater sensitivity about the issue of people who are suffering,” he said on the programme.

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Hispanics, Hollywood 
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Jennifer Rubin, who scribes the pro-immigration “Right Turn” column in the Washington Post, denounces Jason Richwine for the high crime of Noticing Things:

Heritage stumbles, again and again

Posted by Jennifer Rubin on May 8, 2013 at 4:23 pm

It’s been a tough go of it for Heritage ever since it released its study asserting immigration reform would cost trillions. It was roundly criticized by both liberal and conservative analysts. Then today the dam really broke.

The Post reports that the dissertation of the study’s co-author, Jason Richwine, asserted, “The average IQ of immigrants in the United States is substantially lower than that of the white native population, and the difference is likely to persist over several generations. The consequences are a lack of socioeconomic assimilation among low-IQ immigrant groups, more underclass behavior, less social trust, and an increase in the proportion of unskilled workers in the American labor market.” No wonder he came up with such a study; his dissertation adviser was George Borjas, a Harvard professor infamous for his crusade against immigration (legal or not).

Jennifer Korn, executive director of the pro-immigration-reform conservative Hispanic Leadership Network, responds: “If you start with the off-base premise that Hispanic immigrants have a lower IQ, it’s no surprise how they came up with such a flawed study.” She continued: “Richwine’s comments are bigoted and ignorant. America is a nation of immigrants; to impugn the intelligence of immigrants is to offend each and every American and the foundation of our country. The American Hispanic community is entrepreneurial, and we strive to better our lives through hard work and determination. This is not a community hampered by low intelligence but a community consistently moving forward to better themselves and our country.”

Heritage scrambled to distance itself from the author’s IQ views, with a spokesperson insisting that they did not relate to the viability of its study. But for the reasons Korn gives it most certainly does. No wonder the study postulates that legalized immigrants will be poor and become a drain on society.

Moreover, that Heritage engaged such a person to author its immigration study suggests that the “fix” was in from the get-go. It also raises the question of whether Heritage is now hiring fringe characters to generate its partisan studies of questionable scholarship. I expect that will be about all we hear from Heritage on the study for a while.

It certainly undermines the cause of all immigration opponents to have their prized work authored by such a character. It’s an unpleasant reminder that sincere opponents of reform should distance themselves from the collection of extremists and bigots who populate certain anti-immigrant groups. One can certainly be anti-immigration-reform and not be anti-Hispanic, but it doesn’t help to be rallying around a report by someone convinced that “the totality of the evidence suggests a genetic component to group differences in IQ.”

The facts won’t calm Ms. Rubin down, because, obviously, the facts are hatestats, but here’s a meta-analysis of the enormous amount of data available on the subject:
Roth, P. L., Bevier, C. A., Bobko, P., Switzer III, F. S. & Tyler, P. (2001) “Ethnic group differences in cognitive ability in employment and educational settings: a meta-analysis.Personnel Psychology 54, 297–330.
As I wrote in 2005:
This 2001 meta-analysis of 39 studies covering a total 5,696,519 individuals in America (aged 14 and above) came up with an overall difference of 0.72 standard deviations in g (the “general factor” in cognitive ability) between “Anglo” whites and Hispanics. The 95% confidence range of the studies ran from .60 to .88 standard deviations, so there’s not a huge amount of disagreement among the studies.
One standard deviation equals 15 IQ points, so that’s a gap of 10.8 IQ points, or an IQ of 89 on the Lynn-Vanhanen scale where white Americans equal 100. That would imply the average Hispanic would fall at the 24th percentile of the white IQ distribution. This inequality gets worse at higher IQs Assuming a normal distribution, 4.8% of whites would fall above 125 IQ versus only 0.9% of Hispanics, which explains why Hispanics are given ethnic preferences in prestige college admissions.
In contrast, 105 studies of 6,246,729 individuals found an overall white-black gap of 1.10 standard deviations, or 16.5 points. (I typically round this down to 1.0 standard deviation and 15 points). So, the white-Hispanic gap appears to be about 65% as large as the notoriously depressing white-black gap. (Warning: this 65% number does not come from a perfect apples to apples comparison because more studies are used in calculating the white-black difference than the white-Hispanic difference.)For screen shots of data tables from Roth et al, click here.

This fits well with lots of other data. For example, Hispanics generally do almost as badly on the National Assessment of Educational Progress school achievement tests as blacks, but that average is dragged down by immigrant kids who have problems adjusting to English. The last time the NAEP asked about where the child was born was 1992, and Dr. Stefan Thernstrom of Harvard kindly provided me with the data from that examination. For foreign-born Hispanics, the typical gap versus non-Hispanic whites was 1.14 times as large as the black-white gap. But for American-born Hispanics, the gap between non-Hispanic whites and American-born Hispanics was 0.67 times as large as the gap between non-Hispanic whites and blacks, very similar to the 0.65 difference seen in the meta-analysis of IQs.For more on Mexican-American educational attainment, see the landmark “Generations of Exclusion” study by Telles & Ortiz.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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The feds’ National Assessment of Educational Progress has a table of 4th and 8th grade vocabulary and reading comprehension scores by state. Sample size issues are of concern for smaller states which tend to bounce around, but we can state with a high degree of statistical confidence that the future of the state of California, the traditional State of the Future, looks dumb. Out of the 50 states, the Golden State ranks 48th, 47th, 48th, and 49th on various measures. Here’s the bottom six of 52 in the four different tests:

In contrast, Massachusetts is 1st, 1st, 1st, and 1st, while the District of Columbia was 52nd, 52nd, 52nd, and 52nd (in case you are wondering why D.C. is the 52nd state, Department of Defense schools rank 2nd, 5th, 2nd, 6th). Obviously, the problem is all those Republicans in California and D.C. If only D.C. would develop enlightened political opinions like Massachusetts, its test scores would soar.

Perhaps more relevantly, Texas is 37th, 36th, 37th, and 36th. Texas always beats California on the NAEP. Has anybody studied this to make sure this is not just a test artifact (e.g., Texas cares about the NAEP and California doesn’t)? If it isn’t, why the consistent difference? Texas is pretty bad, but it’s not as bad as California, and beggars can’t be choosers, so somebody ought to be investigating why Texas beats California.

One obvious objection is that the future isn’t as bad as it looks because Hispanics, as new immigrants, are just being held back by the inevitable biases of testing skills in English.

Indeed, this effect does exist, but how big is it? Here’s national 8th grade vocabulary. The first number is score at the 10th percentile, then 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th.

Let’s first compare whites and Asians. At the 10th percentile, Asians lag whites by 8 points. Presumably, a fair number of these Asian 8th graders just got off the plane from China, so their English vocabulary is limited. At the 25th percentile, the White-Asian gap is down to 5 points. At the median, it’s 3, at the 75th percentile it’s 0, and at the 90th percentile, Asians are out in the lead by a point.
Now, compare Hispanics to blacks, most of whom grow up speaking English, but as we all know from hundreds of articles, African-Americans grow up in conditions that would drive a Trappist Monk crazy for lack of speech. In black homes, nobody every talks, watches TV, or listens to rap music. So, black scores on language are bad, with unfortunate long-term consequences.
At the 10th percentile, where many of the Hispanics are newcomers, blacks lead by 2 points. At the 25th percentile, however, Hispanics are out in front by 1 point, by 2 at the median, 3 at the 75 percentile, and 4 at the 90th.
So, clearly, Hispanics who have all the advantages are, on average, a little smarter than blacks who have all the advantages. In other words, if immigration were shut off for a generation or two, Mexicans would appear, on average, perceptibly more on the ball academically than blacks. Indeed, that was my perception back in the 1970s in L.A., where the Chicanos had mostly been a stable population since WWII.
But, nationally, Hispanics only pick up 6 points on blacks going from the 10th to the 90th percentiles, while Asians pick up 9 points on whites, who are, to be frank, a lot more competition.
Being a little smarter than blacks is, well, good. Or, you could say with equal justice, less bad. On the other hand, Hispanics at the 90th percentile among Hispanics, typically those with all the advantages, are simply not playing in the same league as Asians and whites with all the advantages. They’re down there beating out blacks for third place, not being nationally competitive. There’s not a lot of high end in the Hispanic population.
However you look at it, it’s still not very encouraging considering that our leadership kind of bet the country on Hispanics.
(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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For the first time since 2008, La Griffe du Lion has posted a new essay. It’s called Crime and the Hispanic Effect. He builds a regression model for predicting crime rates in cities and finds its largely driven by the percent black. Percent Hispanic doesn’t much matter, one way or another.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Crime, Hispanics 
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Here’s the kind of statistic that nobody else counts: on NBC’s list of 208 American Olympic medal winners, I find five Spanish surnames, or 2.4%. That’s compared to approaching 20% of the relevant age cohort is Spanish-surnamed.

1. Leo Manzano won the silver in the men’s 1500m run, which is traditionally a glamor event

2. Women’s water polo veteran Brenda Villa won a gold  – As a loyal California, I’ve tried hard to like water polo, but it’s not much of a TV sport, to say the least.

3. Marlen Esparza won a bronze in women’s boxing – no comment

4. Danell Leyva, a Cuban, won a medal in men’s gymnastics all-around, which is cool. Men’s gymnastics is awesome (here’s Epke Zonderland’s triple release routine), although it lacks the car-crash fascination of women’s gymnastics.

5. Amy Rodriguez, who is a Cameron Diaz-style half Cuban, won a gold with women’s soccer.

A bunch of other medal-winners with non-Hispanic surnames are part Hispanic, such as swimmer Ryan Lochte, whose mother is Cuban, and basketball player Carmelo Anthony whose mother is Puerto Rican. But, if you sum up all the fractions, it comes out to about the same thing as just counting surnames.

This is a particularly low percentage because Californians are traditionally so over-represented on the U.S. Olympic team.

Anyway, this points out a theme that I’ve been bringing up for a decade or more, which is the remarkable lack of high achievers among the Hispanic Tidal Wave. 

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Hispanics, Olympics, Sports 
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Why don’t relatively smart, sophisticated network TV shows like multiple Emmy-winning Modern Family do well with the Hispanic audience? The answer, according to a variety of Latino activist and media types in the electronic rolodexes of New York Times reporters, is that Modern Family isn’t smart and sophisticated enough to lure Latino audiences away from Spanish-language shows.

To find out, the New York Times interviewed various self-appointed spokespersons for the Hispanic Tidal Wave, such as 

- “the co-owner and chief operating officer of the advertising agency Zubi Advertising,” 

- the “founder of the Web site Latino Rebels,” 

- a “31-year-old Mexican-American documentary filmmaker,” 

- and “a senior vice president for development and production at Encanto Enterprises.” 

You can’t get a much more statistically representative sample of the typical Hispanic than that (at least, among people who will instantly return Times‘ reporters calls and not tell them anything that might make them the slightest bit uncomfortable.)

Thus, they all told the NYT that the reason is because these shows like Modern Family are full of insensitive stereotypes about Hispanics and thus turn off the millions of culturally cutting edge Latino viewers who are annoyed by retrograde stereotyping of Hispanics (which by the way, I must add, could be solved just like that by hiring the people being quoted). 

Thus, due to white racists who fail to perceive how sophisticated the burgeoning Latino audience is, Hispanics viewers just stick with watching Sabado Gigante, where they are sure to see  a fat mestizo guy with a droopy Pancho Villa mustache and a giant sombrero leer at some dyed blonde spicy senorita and fall down. No stereotyping of Mexicans on Spanish language TV! (Or at least that’s the logical implication of this article — neither the reporters nor the sources for the article give any indication of ever having watched Spanish language programming.)

Stuck on Stereotypes

Networks Struggle to Appeal to Hispanics 


Sofia Vergara is probably the most recognizable Hispanic actress working in English-language television. She is one of the stars of “Modern Family,” the highest-rated scripted show on network television, and she has parlayed her celebrity into commercials for brands like Pepsi and Cover Girl. 

Despite her popularity, “Modern Family” is not a hit with Hispanic viewers. Out of its overall viewership of 12.9 million, “Modern Family” drew an average of only about 798,000 Hispanic viewers in the season. That audience accounts for only about 6 percent of the show’s viewers — less than half of what you might expect given the 48 million Hispanic television viewers that Nielsen measures. …

The numbers encapsulate the problem facing English-language television executives and advertisers: they desperately want to appeal to the more than 50 million Latinos in the United States (about three-quarters speak Spanish), especially those who are young, bilingual and bicultural, but those viewers seem to want very little to do with American English-language television. 

They do, however, continue to watch Spanish-language networks in huge numbers. 

In May, on the final night of the most recent season of “Modern Family,” far more Hispanic viewers were watching the top Spanish language show that week, the telenovela “La Que No Podía Amar,” on Univision, which attracted 5.2 million viewers. 

… The list of top English-language shows watched by Hispanics is headed by the same competition shows as among the total audience, with “Dancing With the Stars,” and “American Idol” faring best this spring, while “Sunday Night Football” was the leader in the fall. 

But the discrepancy between English and Spanish language shows is most acute among shows that are scripted in English. The issue, many viewers and critics argue, is that there still hasn’t been the Hispanic equivalent of “The Cosby Show,” meaning a show that deals with Latino culture in a way that doesn’t offend viewers with crude stereotypes. 

This winter, CBS hoped to have a cross-cultural hit with the show “Rob” featuring the comedian Rob Schneider. The show, based loosely on Mr. Schneider’s own life, showed his experiences of marrying into a Mexican family and the culture clashes that ensued. But the chief conflict ended up being between the show and its intended viewers. 

“Big family,” said Mr. Schneider’s character, when he meets his wife’s family for the first time. “Now I know what’s going on during all those siestas.” In another scene, the character Hector, played by Eugenio Derbez, tells Rob that he is visiting from Mexico. Then he gets closer to Rob and whispers, “I’m not leaving,” and after pausing for effect adds, “Ever.” 

For Joe Zubizarreta, the co-owner and chief operating officer of the advertising agency Zubi Advertising, with headquarters in Miami, the comedic devices used in “Rob” were too much. “They’ve used just about every stereotype they could in the pilot,” Mr. Zubizarreta said. “I understand that the general market taste will find humor in the idiosyncrasies of Hispanics. But as Hispanics, when we watch general market television, we’d like to see some semblance of reality to our lives.” 

For Julio Ricardo Varela, the founder of the Web site Latino Rebels, both the content of “Rob” and how it was marketed relied too much on stereotypes.
“ ‘Rob’ was a big running joke among our community,” Mr. Varela said. “It just felt lazy, stale and I think that mainstream television is missing the boat.” Mr. Varela noted a contest on the show’s Facebook page where viewers were invited to hit a virtual piñata to “whack and win” a trip to the show’s set. Also on the page were promotional images of Mr. Schneider and the rest of the cast in a conga line. “I thought the marketing was beyond ridiculous,” Mr. Varela said. 

Nina Tassler, the president for entertainment for CBS, declined to comment on “Rob” specifically, but said that reaching out to the Hispanic community was important for the network. (The network declined to pick up “Rob” for a second season.) 

“Everybody’s culture is wholly unique, so finding the storytelling language that can reach out and communicate with the biggest cross section of the Latin population is obviously what we are trying for,” said Ms. Tassler, who is the highest-ranking network television executive with a Hispanic heritage.

Here’s Nina Tassler’s background from Wikipedia.

Mr. Schneider declined to comment for this article.

Schneider is part Filipino. I’ve always found him funnier than his friend Adam Sandler, although perhaps that’s not saying much.

Among the series that were in development for next season by English-language networks, one, an ABC show called “Devious Maids,” gained attention for its focus on a Latino stereotype — maids working in Beverly Hills. The show was being produced by Marc Cherry of “Desperate Housewives,” and had been based on a Spanish-language telenovela. 

When Liz Colunga, a 31-year-old Mexican-American documentary filmmaker heard about “Devious Maids” she wasn’t surprised at the show’s theme. “I’m used to watching stereotypical roles for Latinas and Latinos,” Ms. Colunga said. 

No character stirs more mixed emotions for Hispanic audiences that the one played by Ms. Vergara on “Modern Family.” She plays Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, a sexy Latina trophy wife whose persona has gotten mixed reviews from Latinos. 

“It’s working for her, but at what expense?” said Ms. Colunga, the filmmaker. “She’s playing the clueless Latina.” 

In a show where all of the characters are a bit extreme, the least stereotypical of all is Gloria’s smart-talking son Manny. Lynnette Ramirez, the senior vice president for development and production at Encanto Enterprises, a production company owned by George and Ann Lopez, said Gloria’s character works because she is tempered by her son. 

“Sofia’s character is a first generation Latina,” Ms. Ramirez said. “Manny’s going to grow up to be like Sara Ramirez’s character in ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ” she added, a reference to the actress Sara Ramirez’s role as a doctor on the show. 

Judging by who likes summer blockbuster movies the most, perhaps Modern Family could broaden their demographic appeal by adding a couple of fireball explosions to each episode.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Hispanics, Television 
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The decision by pundit Matthew Yglesias to list himself officially on the 2010 Census as “Hispanic” has raised interesting questions about our new Hispanic elites.

For example, one striking name that has popped up in the news relentlessly during the Obama Administration is Xochitl Hinojosa, spokesperson for the Department of Justice on civil rights-related matters. Here’s just the first page of Google News hits for Xochitl Hinojosa:

Motel pools rush to become compliant with updated ADA?
“It’s under review,” said Xochitl Hinojosa, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice. A delay would be good news for businesses … 

Alabama Women’s Prison Inmates Sexually Abused By Guards …?
Xochitl Hinojosa, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said in an email that the agency is reviewing the allegations. A 2011 Huffington Post … 

Voting Law’s ‘Preclearance’ Provision Upheld on Appeal?
Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement that the agency is pleased with the decision. The Voting Rights Act is “a … 

Anastasio Hernandez Rojas Death: 16 Members Of Congress Call …?
When contacted for comment, DOJ spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa told The Huffington Post that the “department’s investigation remains … 

Anastasio Hernandez Rojas Death Sparks Nationwide Call For …?
Department of Justice Spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa told The Huffington Post that the “department’s investigation remains ongoing,” adding, …  

Appeals court upholds key voting rights provision?
… department will continue to vigorously defend it against constitutional challenges,” said Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa. 

Pool-lift rule confuses hotels?
“An existing pool must do what is readily achievable” defined as affordable and easy, Department of Justice spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa … 

Wells Fargo Says DOJ May Seek Penalties in Fair-Lending Inquiry?
Xochitl Hinojosa, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to comment. Last year’s lending inquiry, conducted by the Justice Department’s …  

Texas Gets Last Shot for July 9 Trial on Voter Photo Law?
Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, and Xochitl Hinojosa, a Justice Department spokeswoman, didn’t … 

Trayvon Martin: FBI Actively Pursuing Hate Crime Charge For …?
As previously reported by Newsone, U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said the department is conducting its own, …

Let’s find out what’s on the web about the Obama Administration’s face of civil rights enforcement:

“Xochitl and Scarlett were roommates in college. Scarlett was Xochitl’s big sister in Alpha Sigma Alpha. They have shared so many good memories of Spring Break, boys, sorority life, and drinking wine in Napa Valley, and look forward to the many more memories to come!”
I don’t know what Xochitl majored in at The University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, but her sorority big sister Scarlett has a degree in fashion merchandizing.

And here’s a photo feature in The Washingtonian entitled The 23 Most Stylish People at Fashion: District:

Xochitl Hinojosa and Annalies Husmann

Xochitl is the daughter of a former Texas judge:
Joining Judge Hinojosa on the Senate floor were his daughters Gina Hinojosa-Donisi, her son Mateo, and Xochitl Hinojosa.

Xochitl’s father, attorney Gilberto Hinojosa, is currently a candidate for chair of the Democratic Party of Texas. He even has his own Doonesbury cartoon about him in which Judge Hinojosa denounces Republican efforts to crack down on voter fraud. From Wikipedia’s bio of Xochitl’s dad:

While living in Washington, DC, Hinojosa worked as a Staff Attorney for the Migrant Legal Action Program, Inc.[citation needed] He later became the Director of the Migrant Division of Colorado Rural Legal Services, Inc., in Denver, Colorado.[citation needed] Upon his return to his native Texas, Hinojosa continued practicing law as the Managing Attorney for the Texas Rural Legal Aid, Inc., located in Brownsville, Texas. …

Hinojosa was elected Cameron County Judge on November 8, 1994. During his administration, international bridges to Mexico were built … 

On August 11, 2003, Hinojosa appeared before the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in support of Senate Bill 1329, which would provide assistance in the relocation of railroads to improve access for commercial traffic passing through Cameron County to and from the international border with Mexico. … After the bill passed, the Cameron County West Rail Relocation Project was initiated which provided for the construction of a railroad across the Rio Grande River from Brownsville, Texas, to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, with approximately $21 million in federal funds provided.[3]   … 

Hinojosa was elected Chairman of the Cameron County Democratic Party on November 12, 2007.[4] One day after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Hinojosa attended the Democratic National Committee Winter Meeting held in Washington, DC. On January 23, 2008, he nominated Virginia Governor Tim Kaine to head the Democratic National Committee.[1] Thereafter, a unanimous vote made Governor Kaine the new leader of the Democratic Party. 

From Judge Hinojosa’s announcement of his candidacy for chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, we have a clear statement of the Hinojosa Strategy:

President Barack Obama borrowed a phrase made famous by a small, humble and unassuming union leader from California by the name of Cesar Chavez: “Yes we can!” Or as Cesar Chavez called to action the once powerless farm workers of California: “Si Se Puede!” YES WE CAN be the Party that elects leaders who will build a stronger, better educated, more innovative and more caring Texas for ALL Texans. … 

These strategies must primarily focus on achieving a majority by ensuring that, before anything else, the full potential of the Democratic Base is achieved. We will not give away any part of the electorate to the Republicans, but we must recognize that we will only become the majority party in this State when we have done everything possible to turnout the Democratic base at election time. 

Obviously, a key part of that base that is far from achieving its full potential are Latinos. When Latinos, who make up 40 percent of the people in this State and who vote for Democrats over Republicans by two to one margins, are turning out to vote at rates far below other demographic groups, it is difficult for our Party to a achieve a majority in this State. The only way that I believe we can ensure that Latinos are voting at or near normal rates is through a concentrated effort to register, engage, and turnout Latino voters utilizing innovative “boots on the ground” tactics which wisely and effectively use our limited resources. … 

And we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. States, like Colorado, Nevada and California, with far smaller Latino populations, have been able to achieve a Democratic majority with strong Latino mobilization efforts. Yes We Can! And Yes WE Will!

And here is a picture of Gilberto M. Hinojosa, professor of history at Xochitl’s alma mater, University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio:

I don’t know what the relationship (if any) is between Professor Gilberto M. Hinojosa and the younger Judge Gilberto Hinojosa. (By the way, the President of Mexico’s name is Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, but I don’t know of any evidence that Xochitl Hinojosa is related to the Mexican President’s maternal family.)

A reader comments: “In general, it takes a couple generations of success before Hispanics go all liberal”

Indeed, elderly Professor Hinojosa appears to be a bourgeois Catholic antiquarian (perhaps related to the conservative Cristero movement of Guadalajara out of which emerged Mexican President Calderon Hinojosa’s parents, or, perhaps more likely, a Tejano of old family), whose CV is largely lacking in po-mo titles.

Judge Hinojosa is a Hillary Democrat.

Xochitl Hinojosa is one of the leading names of the Obamaite Diversitocracy.

Yes, I know, it sounds like I just made up the Hinojosa family to illustrate what I’ve been saying for years about the Hispanic activist elites who get quoted so often in the newspapers. But, I’m not making the Hinojosa family up!

I want to come back to an epistemological question raised in Jim Manzi’s book Uncontrolled. As a key example in his attack on observational (i.e., non-experimental) social science, Manzi devotes about a half dozen pages to the failure of Steve Levitt’s popular Freaknomics theory that abortion-cut-crime.

But I draw a different example from that controversy. Sure, experimenting, when feasible (and, of course, experimenting is not feasible regarding abortions), is good, but, as Yogi Berra said, you can observe a lot just by watching. In particular, the deeper you dig into a subject, the more vivid become the examples, as with the Hinojosas.

With abortion-cut-crime, for instance, Levitt’s theory was based on his observation that crime was lower in 1997 than in 1985, so, he reasoned, Roe v. Wade probably had something to do with it.

But then, when Levitt’s theory got a big write-up in the Chicago Tribune in the summer of 1999, Greg Cochran downloaded the total number of homicides in America by year, which showed that murder had spiked up between 1985 and 1997. Oh, yeah, the Crack Years! Then I started looking at homicide offending by age group to see the impact of abortion legalization on the not-yet-born and it turned out that the homicide offending rate for the cohort of 14-17 year olds born in the half decade after legalization was almost triple that of the cohort born in the half decade before legalization. And then when I looked at black teens, because blacks had the highest abortion rates in the 1970s, the post-legalization homicide rate for black teens quintupled! And if you looked at the big states that legalized abortion before 1973′s Roe v. Wade, California (late 1969) and New York (1970), well, that’s where the Crack Wars started: remember West Coast rap v. East Coast rap?

In other words, the more you drill down into Levitt’s theory, the more implausible it becomes. It seems more like the dominant effect on crime rates was that the more liberal a state with a lot of blacks had been in the late 1960s and 1970s, the more likely it would have a lot of abortions early and the more likely it would be that its blacks would get into crack dealing and murdering each other on a vast scale earlier in the 1980s-1990s.

In contrast, with the theories that I harp upon — like my idea that Hispanic ethnic activists are largely self-interested white people trying to set their children up to live expensive lifestyles of drinking wine in Napa Valley and at Washington fashion events by expanding through immigration the number of brown Hispanics whom they can claim to  represent — the more you drill down into the evidence, the more stereotypical — and thus funnier — the details become.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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We constantly read articles in which Hispanic leaders, such as the head of the National Council of La Raza, threaten that any politician who takes a stand against illegal immigration will be buried at the polls. But do these media-acclaimed Hispanic prophets have all that many disciples?
From my new VDARE column:

In a Pew Hispanic Center survey in late summer 2010, 1,375 Hispanics were asked an unprompted question: “In your opinion, who is the most important Hispanic / Latino leader in the country today?” 

The landslide winner: “Don’t know,” with 64 percent. 

The runner-up: “No one,” with ten percent 

In third place: recently-appointed Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, with seven percent. Then came the Congressional spokesman for amnesty, Luis Gutierrez, down at five percent; Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at three percent; and Univision news anchorman Jorge Ramos at two.

Read the whole thing there.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From the Washington Post:

Latino and Asian voters mostly sat out 2010 election, report says
By Shankar Vedantam, Tuesday, April 26, 6:07 PM 

A record 14.7 million Latino voters sat out the 2010 midterm elections, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center that shows the nation’s fastest-growing minorities are largely failing to exercise their right to vote. 

Along with Asian voters, who appear similarly disengaged, the absence of so many Latino voters at the polls means the political influence of these minority groups will fall short of their demographic strength by years, if not decades. 

About 31 percent of eligible Latino and Asian voters cast ballots in the 2010 congressional elections, compared with 49 percent of eligible white voters and 44 percent of eligible blacks, according to the Pew report. … 

So, way back in 1986, 39% of Hispanics eligible to vote bothered to show up and vote. By 2010, voting was down to 31%, and only 25% looking at the marginal change from 2006 to 2010: a crazy four million more additional eligible voters (thanks George W. Bush!), but only one million more actual voters.

The snapshot of minority voting comes on the heels of a poll showing that support for President Obama among Latinos is down by more than 25 percentage points compared with the start of his administration — cause for serious concern among Democrats. 

Obama needs Latinos to show up in force for him in 2012, as they did in 2008, political analysts say. But the administration has disappointed many Latinos by failing to win immigration reforms while increasing deportations among the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Because that’s the only thing Latino voters care about: immigration. That’s why the Arizona immigration law led to that widely predicted landslide of angry Hispanic voters in 2010 punishing the GOP for SB1070. I read dozens of interviews in 2010 with Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Earmuffs) saying that was going to happen, so it must have happened right?

Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.) … blamed Obama’s immigration stance for lackluster turnout among Latinos. …

Several Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (Calif.) were reelected last year with strong Latino support, but on the whole, GOP candidates fared better than expected among Latino voters. That was especially true of Latino GOP candidates. 

“During the November 2010 midterm elections, the Republican Party had historic levels of Hispanic support,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “In fact, exit polls showed that 38 percent of Hispanic voters cast ballots for House Republican candidates. This is more than in 2008 and 2006. .?.?. All five Hispanics elected to Congress in 2010 were Republicans.” 

Smith said that calls for strong border protection and enforcement had played well in Florida, Mexico and Nevada, including with Latino voters.“This is a good trend for the GOP,” he said.

So, Mexico is the 52nd state!

Clarissa Martinez, director of immigration and national campaigns at the National Council of La Raza, a pro-immigration group, said political candidates were not investing enough effort in reaching out to and mobilizing Latino voters.

I’ve got a great idea: they should reach out and invest more by hiring Clarissa Martinez! She probably has some relatives who would like jobs as ethnic consultants, too. Neither party should cease investing until all the Martinezes have nice Hispanic activist jobs. And Rep. Gutierrez probably has some nephews and nieces who are someday going to need jobs as well.

We must import more immigrants so all these Martinezes and Gutierrezes can be employed as their nominal leaders.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From the New York Times:

National Latino Museum Plan Faces Fight

A move to create a new Smithsonian museum is running into a crowded National Mall and lack of will to pay for it. 

Seven years after opening its National Museum of the American Indian, and four years before the scheduled unveiling of its museum of African-American history, the Smithsonian Institution is being urged to create another ethnic museum on the National Mall, this one to recognize the history and contributions of Latino Americans. 

A federal commission has spent two years asking Latinos what they would want in such a museum, and next month the commission will report its findings to Congress, which would have to approve a new museum. 

Though the creation of such an institution has support from members of Congress, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and celebrities like Eva Longoria

What about Evan Longoria? They should get him involved, too.

Looking up the museum’s official website, I see that the other celebrity on-board is Emilio Estefan, who is not Charlie Sheen’s brother Emilio Estevez, who was in Repo Man. Instead, he’s singer Gloria Estefan’s husband. And he’s Lebanese.

And the third-ranking celebrity involved, after Longoria and Estefan, is Henry Munoz III, who doesn’t appear to have his own Wikipedia page.

As I pointed out last week in my Fernandomania column for Taki’s Magazine, here we are in 2011 and the most famous of the 35,000,000 Mexican-Americans appears to be Eva Longoria. That’s really weird when you stop to think about it. Is Desperate Housewives even on the air anymore? That’s like if the guy who played Joey on Friends was the most famous Italian-American.

building it faces significant obstacles, including budget pressures, and a feeling among some in Washington that the Smithsonian should stop spinning off new specialty museums and concentrate on improving the ones it already has. 

“I don’t want a situation,” said Representative Jim Moran, a Democrat from Virginia, “where whites go to the original museum, African-Americans go to the African-American museum, Indians go to the Indian museum, Hispanics go to the Latino American museum. That’s not America.”

Would Hispanics go to the Latino American museum? They go to a lot of movies, but they don’t go to see Latino movies much. How many Latinos are starring in Fast Five? To juice up the box office for the latest Fast and Furious movie, they didn’t add a Mexican hero, they added a Samoan/black guy, The Rock. Are Hispanics really going to flood to a museum? Is anybody else?

In Washington, where politics infects all matters, there is wide acknowledgment that the 50 million Latinos who live in this country have become an increasingly important constituency. But even supporters of the museum acknowledge it faces a battle.

I suspect “boredom” is what it’s really facing. The media constantly tries to prod Latinos into racial anger by telling them somebody wants to have a “fight” and a “battle” with them, but, on the whole, apathy reigns on all sides, except among Hispanic ethnic lobbyists:

“The atmosphere is not friendly at all,” said Estuardo V. Rodriguez Jr., a lobbyist with the Raben Group who has worked pro bono on the museum proposal, citing the economic pressures and what he described as anti-immigrant sentiment. 

The idea for a Smithsonian Latino museum was born in the mid-1990s when a task force said the Smithsonian had largely ignored Latinos in its exhibitions and should create at least one museum to correct that imbalance. 

The panel’s report, entitled “Willful Neglect,” found, for example, that only 2 of the 470 people featured in the “notable Americans” section of the National Portrait Gallery were Latino.

As opposed to 2011, when we can all instantly name countless Latino “notable Americans,” like Emilio Estefan and Henry Munoz III.

There are dozens of other museums across the country that focus on the heritage or culture of Latinos, whose population in the United States grew by 43 percent over the last decade, according to 2010 Census figures. But supporters of the national museum say it is imperative that there be a similar presence in the nation’s capital. 

While the commission is not expected to make specific proposals about content, the museum would probably try to cover a wide swath of history, from the role of the Spanish conquistadors to the work of Latinos in the labor and civil-rights movements. It would include culture, from popular music to visual arts, and would try to feature people and traditions from all Hispanic countries. 

My heart’s racing already. Where can I buy tickets?

Lisa Navarrete, a spokeswoman for the National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy organization, said it was unfortunate that Latino children who now travel to the Mall cannot see “their community and history and legacy reflected.” 

Think of the children!

She said that a museum that accomplishes that is particularly crucial now because discussions of immigration issues have created a “toxic” environment for Latinos. “It’s even more important to show other Americans that our roots go back centuries on this continent,” she said. 

Though legislation to authorize a Latino museum commission, known formally as the National Museum of the American Latino Commission, was first introduced in 2003 by Representative Xavier Becerra, a Democrat of California, it did not pass until 2008, as part of an omnibus budget bill. 

A fitting year.

The economy and the balance of power in Congress have changed much since that vote, with Republicans now holding a 49-vote majority in the House of Representatives.
Federal money for the museum would not appear to be an option, members of Congress say, as it was for the African-American and Indian museums. The National Museum of African American History and Culture has a $500 million price tag, half of which is being paid by the federal government. The government paid for two-thirds of the Indian museum.

I’m sure that Mexican-Americans would be happy to reach into their pockets and pay for it on their own, just like all the other charitable institutions Mexican-Americans have built, such as, uh, well, let me get back to you on this one. As Gregory Rodriguez, a columnist for the L.A. Times, explained:

In Los Angeles, home to more Mexicans than any other city in the U.S., there is not one ethnic Mexican hospital, college, cemetery, or broad-based charity.

When it comes to self-organizing for pro-social purposes, Mexicans are in a class by themselves.

Opposition to the Latino museum at this point is muted, and with the commission not yet having presented its report, few in Congress beyond the group of ardent supporters have focused on the issue. 

Representative Jack Kingston, a Republican of Georgia, said in an interview that he supported a Latino museum as long as it was not financed with federal money, and as long as he was assured that the museum would not become “an interest group’s platform to advance political agendas.”

I guess tha
t means he’s against it, because it will cost the taxpayers a lot of money and it will promote a leftist agenda. Those are givens.

Actually, this Latino museum just need some creative financing ingenuity. The tremendous trio of Henry Gonzales, Angelo Mozilo, and George W. Bush should be appointed to devise a mortgage for the Latino Museum. With zero down and no documents required, the museum’s own mortgage, along with the subsequent default notices, could then serve as educational exhibits helping explain the Latino role in the Recent Unpleasantness in the mortgage market.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From my Taki Magazine column:

With the Census Bureau announcing this spring that the number of Hispanics in America has surpassed 50 million—a large majority of them of Mexican background—it’s worth remembering the “Fernandomania” that swept the country 30 years ago. 

America held only 15 million Hispanics when Fernando Valenzuela, a 20-year-old rookie Los Angeles Dodgers baseball pitcher from Mexico, started the 1981 season with eight straight wins, five of them shutouts. (In contrast, the 2010 Dodgers chalked up only four shutouts over 162 games.) Whenever Fernando pitched, attendance would soar as Latinos and others rushed to the ballpark to cheer on the uniquely charismatic phenom. … 

I recount this ancient history because it illuminates the curious question of why there are so few Mexican superstars today in any branch of American popular culture other than boxing. Sure, there are stars—actress Eva Longoria of Desperate Housewives, third baseman Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and others of similar wattage—but why so few superstars, especially in contrast to African-Americans?

Read the whole thing there.

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From the column I wrote before the press whipped itself into a frenzy nine days ago:
Veteran centrist reporter Ronald Brownstein’s “White Flight” article in National Journal, a trade magazine for political professionals, had begun to get a lot of attention, until the political class went berserk over that psycho shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona. …

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Brownstein’s article was left more implied than explicit:

“The Hispanic vote for Democrats in House races slipped to 60 percent, compared with about two-thirds for Obama in 2008 … Meanwhile, Republicans, with their 60 percent showing, notched the party’s best congressional result among white voters in the history of modern polling.”

Let me spell this out more clearly than Brownstein does. In 2010, whites voted slightly more as a bloc for Republican House candidates (60-37) than Hispanics did for Democrats (60-38).
…Still, it’s fascinating that after endless pronouncements in the MSM about how Republicans were dooming themselves in November by supporting the Arizona immigration law, it turns out that the GOP did fair to middling among Hispanic voters.

The unspoken reality: immigration is not that important an issue to Hispanic voters—certainly not anything like as important as it is to would-be Hispanic leaders.

Read the whole thing there.
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Here’s the top story at the New York Times:
Disillusioned Hispanics May Skip Midterms, Poll Suggests

PHOENIX — Arizona’s controversial immigration law has prompted denunciations, demonstrations, boycotts and a federal lawsuit. But it may not bring the protest vote many Democrats had hoped would stem a Republican onslaught in races across the country.

That’s because although many voters are disillusioned with the political process, Latino voters are particularly dejected, and many may sit these elections out, according to voters, Latino organizations, and political consultants and candidates. A poll released Tuesday found that though Latinos strongly back Democrats over Republicans, 65 percent to 22 percent, in the Congressional elections just four weeks away, only 51 percent of Latino registered voters say they will absolutely go to the polls, compared to 70 percent of all registered voters.

The other side in the immigration debate is suffering no such lack of enthusiasm. One measure of its high spirits is the dance card of Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix. He conducts raids in Latino neighborhoods that have led critics to label him a racist and the Justice Department to start a racial profiling investigation. But he is a pariah who is also in demand.

As conservatives across the country seek to burnish their tough-on-immigration credentials, Mr. Arpaio’s endorsement is much sought after.
The Arizona law seems to be rewriting not just the rules on immigration, but the rules on how it is talked about on the campaign trail, too.

Even in New Mexico, a state with a large Hispanic population and traditional tolerance for illegal immigration, the issue is seen as a vote-getter for Republicans. 

Illegal immigration hasn’t traditionally been a big political issue in New Mexico because there aren’t all that many illegal immigrants in New Mexico because there have been Hispanics in New Mexico for 400 years, so, New Mexico (state motto: Thank God for Mississippi) is a poor state, so illegal immigrants avoid it.

… The results of the poll released Tuesday, by the Pew Hispanic Center, suggest that the raging debate over Arizona’s law and the lack of Congressional action on immigration reform may have turned off many Latinos.

Just 32 percent of all Latino registered voters say they have given this year’s election “quite a lot” of thought, compared with 50 percent of all registered voters in the country, the poll found. The poll is based on a survey of 1,375 Latinos conducted from Aug. 17 to Sept. 19.

(The Pew poll also found that for Latinos, education, jobs and health care trump immigration as major issues, which could be bad news for Democrats hoping to capitalize from anger over the Arizona law.)

That’s what practically every poll of Hispanic voters has more or less found in the decade I’ve been following this issue. Hispanic voters have sensibly ambivalent feelings about illegal immigration. The press routinely ignores this because they talk to professional Hispanic activists who are all in favor of increasing the population of Hispanics in the U.S. to boost their personal careers by giving them more putative followers to claim to be the leaders of.
(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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From the Associated Press, we witness a triumph of assimilation: Hispanics have learned to tell pollsters what they are supposed to say as good Americans about the all-important value of a 4-year college diploma. They don’t, actually, do all that much toward earning 4-year degrees, but they talk a good assimilated game, and that’s what’s really important, now isn’t it?
More than 10 years have passed since she gave up her pursuit of a degree in computer science, but Yajahira Deaza still has regrets.

“I feel incomplete,” says the 33-year-old, a customer service representative for a major New York bank. Her experience reflects the findings of an Associated Press-Univision poll that examined the attitudes of Latino adults toward higher education.
Despite strong belief in the value of a college diploma, Hispanics more often than not fall short of that goal.
The poll’s findings have broad implications not only for educators and parents, but also for the U.S. economy.
In the next decade, U.S. companies will have to fill millions of jobs to replace well-trained baby boomers going into retirement. As the nation’s largest minority group, Latinos account for a growing share of the pool of workers, yet their skills may not be up to par. …
“Aspirations for higher education are very strong among Hispanics, but there is a yawning discrepancy between aspirations and actual attainment,” said Richard Fry, an education researcher at the Pew Hispanic Center.
Indeed, the poll, also sponsored by The Nielsen Company and Stanford University, found that Hispanics value higher education more than do Americans as a whole. Eighty-seven percent said a college education is extremely or very important, compared with 78% of the overall U.S. population.
Ninety-four percent of Latinos say they expect their own children to go to college, a desire that’s slightly stronger for girls. Seventy-four percent said the most important goal for a girl right after high school is to attend a four-year college, compared with 71% for boys.
Enthusiasm about higher education hasn’t been matched by results.
Census figures show that only 13% of Hispanics have a college degree or higher, compared with 30% among Americans overall.
The poll revealed some of the roadblocks: Latinos do not have enough money, yet many are reluctant to borrow.

Buying an expensive California house with a zero-down subprime mortgage isn’t really “borrowing.” It’s investing in the American Dream!

In the poll, just 29% cited poor grades in high school as an extremely or very important reason for not going to college.

Dropping out of high school can be an extremely important reason for not going to college, and a larger percentage than that of U.S.-raised Hispanics drop out of high school. Also, having a child out of wedlock can put a damper on your college plans, and 51% of Hispanic babies are born out of wedlock.

… Deaza, the New York bank employee, said that is why she had to leave her computer studies back in the late 1990s. A single mom-to-be, she was expecting her first child, a daughter who’s now 11.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Education, Hispanics 
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Here are excerpts from my new column. It’s a long one.
The Texas Board of Education has voted to include in the state’s history textbooks facts more favorable to conservatives. Needless to say, this has provoked condemnations from the national Main Stream Media. That’s because any challenge to the Left’s post-1960s dominion over the past is going to arouse real passion.

OK, I know it’s not clear how many students actually read their history textbooks. But the Texans are showing more enterprise than is common among conservatives. These have fecklessly permitted their ideological enemies to define what gets called history.

Theoretically, history is about learning how the world works so you don’t repeat old mistakes. What most people want to know, however, is: Who does society laud? Who is respectable and who is not? Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? …

Why have the Sixties People proven so enduring in molding young people’s minds? My theory: The Sixties mindset—aggrieved, resentful, and unrealistic—is perfectly attuned to appeal permanently to the worst instincts of adolescents.

And yet, young people do have a finer side—their hunger for heroes—that history books once tried to fulfill rather than exploit. For example, I was galvanized in 1975 when I read Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison’s tribute in his Oxford History of the American People to Orville and Wilbur Wright:

“Few things in our history are more admirable than the skill, the pluck, the quiet self-confidence, the alertness to reject fixed ideas and to work out new ones, and the absence of pose and publicity, with which these Wright brothers made the dream of ages—man’s conquest of the air—come true.”

But the Wright brothers aren’t the kind of heroes we like anymore. In our Age of Oprah, rather than Heroes of Accomplishment, we are addicted to Heroes of Suffering. …

This Heroes of Suffering fetish is exacerbated in modern history textbooks by the “diversity” imperative.

Take, for example, one US history textbook widely used in high school Advanced Placement courses and in college courses: Nation of Nations: A Narrative History of the American Republic (McGraw-Hill, Fourth Edition). … 

The need to include a huge amount of material celebrating each politically organized diversity group has bloated the textbook to 1277 oversized pages. It costs $108.78 on Amazon, and weighs in at a vertebrae-compressing 5.4 pounds. …
Celebrating diversity just takes a lot of space, so there isn’t room in all 1277 pages to mention…the Wright brothers. … 
This kind of feminized, multiculturalized social history is boring to young people—especially to boys.

… Of course, leaving out so many annoying white male Heroes of Accomplishment from the textbook doesn’t mean that the historians have managed to dig up comparable diverse Heroes of Accomplishment.

Instead, the space mostly gets filled with Heroes of Suffering.

And who made them suffer?

You get one guess.

At one point, I went looking in this textbook’s index for the Civil War hero, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, colonel of the XXth Maine Volunteers. By repelling repeated assaults on the crucial Little Round Top hill on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Chamberlain may have saved the Union. (He’s played by Jeff Daniels in Ron Maxwell’s movies Gettysburg and Gods and Generals.)

I suspect teenage boys might find him, you know, interesting. Maybe?

Well, needless to say, “Chamberlain, Joshua” isn’t in the Nation of Nations’ index. When looking for him, I did find, however:

Chanax, Juan, 1096—1098, 1103, 1124, 1125

Who, exactly, is Chanax and why does he appear on six pages when Chamberlain can’t be squeezed in anywhere?

It turns out Chanax is an illegal immigrant from Guatemala who works in a supermarket in Houston. This hero’s accomplishment is that he brought in 1,000 other illegal aliens from his home village.

The thinking, apparently: featuring an illegal alien so disproportionately will boost the self-esteem of the illegal alien students reading the book—which will then raise their test scores!

But how many are going to read all the way to p. 1096? And how many won’t find it patronizing and depressing that the biggest hero these industrious historians could dig up for their edification and emulation was Chanax?

But the truth is that the Left pays no real attention to illegal immigrants.  Their value is primarily in their colossal numbers—e.g., the 1000 neighbors recruited by Chanax—making them the notional Reserve Army of the Left, justifying whatever changes in America life more elite members of the Left want.

Want a sinecure as a diversity consultant for a textbook company? Nominate yourself as the ethnic representative of Juan Chanax and friends.

They won’t notice.

Maybe you just don’t much like American history: all those Wrights and Chamberlains accomplishing great things get on your nerves. Then rewrite it, in the name of Juan Chanax and company!

It’s not like Juan and his pals down at the supermarket are paying close attention or have a strong, informed opinion on what should go into American history textbooks. You can get away with anything by claiming to be on their side, the side of goodness and the future—the winning side.

 Read the whole thing here.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Category: History • Tags: Hispanics 
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This Slate article “So When Will a Muslim Be President: A guide to which minority group has the best chance to win the White House” by Mark Oppenheimer is a classic example of how a certain minority group that numbers almost 50,000,000 residents of America barely features in the mental universe of the NYC-DC punditry. It begins:

At long last, my people have an answer to the question “When will we have a Jewish president?” The answer, it turns out, is “Not before we have a black president.” I imagine that all ethnic groups play this game of “when will one of ours get there?” (The question is especially common among Jews, since we’re sort of white and used to success at other jobs—law, medicine, swimming.) But now that a half-African man with Muslim ancestors has defeated, for the presidency, an Episcopalian with a Roman numeral after his name, the bookmakers have to move the odds for all of us.

Which historically oppressed group will see one of its own take the oath of the presidency on a Bible/Quran/Analects/etc. next? We must admit that some groups are too small to have much of a chance—met any Zoroastrians lately?—and others seem too exotic. But plenty of others are in the running. Here, then, is a guide to which minority group will next see one of its own in the White House, in descending order of probability, and with possible candidates included:

The Slate article goes on to consider the chances of the following groups from which Presidents have never been elected:

Latter-day Saints
Gays and lesbians

Do you notice a rather large minority group who is missing?

Last week, we heard everywhere that the Hispanic tidal wave of votes means that the GOP has to publicly expel every single immigration skeptic if it ever wants to win again. (But, of course, Hispanics couldn’t possible have anything to do with the mortgage meltdown because there are so few of them.) This week, Hispanics have dropped off the mental radar screen so far that nobody at Slate bothered to ask the writer to drop in a paragraph about them.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Hispanics 
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The LA Times walks around a Latino neighborhood in Las Vegas and finds growing support for Obama among the multitudinous “homeowners” who have defaulted on their mortgages and are awaiting foreclosure.

This helps explain a minor puzzle of recent history. As you’ll recall, the 2004 exit poll initially reported that Bush had won 44% of the Hispanic vote. I pointed out how implausible this was from real world voting totals, and the exit poll people eventually admitted they’d messed up their methodology and the real number was around 40%.

But even 40% is pretty high for a Republican Presidential candidates. So, how did Bush and Rove get up around 40%?

Bush and Rove bought Latino votes in 2004 with Other People’s Money. Bush’s Housing Bubble was, more than anything else, a Hispanic Housing Bubble, with total mortgage dollars for Hispanic homebuyers going up an incredible 691% from 1999 to 2006. And all that cash flowing for home loans and home equity loans, whether to Hispanics or others, paid for a lot of Hispanic construction and home improvement workers.

Now, the firehose of money has been turned off because the reserves have been pumped dry, and Hispanics are flooding back to their natural home in the Democratic Party.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election, Hispanics 
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Hector Becerra of the LA Times visits a high school near downtown LA that has basically no whites or blacks, and asks students and teachers “Why do Asian students generally get higher marks than Latinos?”

Lincoln Heights is mostly a working-class Mexican American area, but it’s also a first stop for Asian immigrants, many of them ethnic Chinese who fled Vietnam.

With about 2,500 students, Lincoln High draws from parts of Boyle Heights, El Sereno and Chinatown.

Both the neighborhood and student body are about 15% Asian. And yet Asians make up 50% of students taking Advanced Placement classes. Staffers can’t remember the last time a Latino was valedictorian.

“A lot of my friends say the achievement gap is directly attributable to the socioeconomic status of students, and that is not completely accurate,” O’Connell said. “It is more than that.”

But what is it? O’Connell called a summit in Sacramento that drew 4,000 educators, policymakers and experts to tackle the issue. Some teachers stomped out in frustration and anger.

No Lincoln students stomped out of their discussion. Neither did any teachers in a similar Lincoln meeting. But the observations were frank, and they clearly made some uncomfortable.

To begin with, the eight students agreed on a few generalities: Latino and Asian students came mostly from poor and working-class families.

According to a study of census data, 84% of the Asian and Latino families in the neighborhoods around Lincoln High have median annual household incomes below $50,000. And yet the Science Bowl team is 90% Asian, as is the Academic Decathlon team. …

Asian parents are more likely to pressure their children to excel academically, the students agreed. …

The journalist winds up with the usual George W. Bush-style postmodernist explanation — the soft bigotry of low expectations. If only everybody would just assume the two groups are equal, then they would be.

Try and falsify that proposition!

Of course, the long article doesn’t mention the two dread letters, but, on the other hand, there is a lot of evidence that Chinese tend to overachieve and Mexican-Americans tend to underachieve relative to their IQs. Family expectations and pressure are certainly a plausible explanation for over vs. underachievement.

The subtler question that I want to focus on, though, is whether it’s better, all else being equal, for Hispanics to be in a school that’s 85% Hispanic and 15% Chinese or in a school that is 100% Hispanic?

That’s a tough problem for social science to crack since all else is never equal. If the school was really bad, it wouldn’t be 15% Asian — the Chinese parents would get their kids out. So you can assume that Lincoln isn’t a really awful, dangerous school like, say, Jefferson, where there were brown vs. black race riots a few years ago. Not a lot of Chinese at Jefferson. (Here’s Roger D. McGrath’s 2005 American Conservative article on Jefferson High. By the way, I don’t think there are many high schools that are perpetually 85% black and 15% Asian — it sounds unstable — but I could be wrong.)

I don’t have much of a hunch what a good study would find. I could see it going either way. Having 15% Asians around might help the smart, nerdy Hispanics find friends, and might keep better teachers around the school. (Good teachers like to teach — i.e., to impart learning — so good teachers gravitate toward schools with good students — i.e., those more able and willing to be taught.) Being 15% Asian means there are enough advanced students around to justify advanced classes.

On the other hand, having an “academic-dominant minority” of Asians in a high school may well further racialize attitudes toward studying. If your name ends in Z and you are a student at Lincoln, what’s the point of setting out in 9th grade to be valedictorian? No Hispanic has been valedictorian at Lincoln H.S. since the mind of man runs not to the contrary. To study hard is to act Asian, to betray La Raza. If Mexican students tried to beat the Chinese at their own game, and failed, well, that would just prove the Chinese are smarter. So it’s better for Mexican racial self-esteem to make sure nobody even tries, to proclaim that studying is just something Asians high school students do because they’re, uh, no good at tagging and getting pregnant.

That’s basically what the most respected institutions in our society — the LA Times, the State Superintendent of Schools, etc. — tell them to think, right? That there can’t possibly be an innate intelligence gap between the Mexicans and the Chinese, because if there were, it would be the worst thing in the history of the world. It would mean that Hitler was right, that Nazis should rule America. So, to prevent a Nazi takeover, the Hispanic students will do their part by screwing off instead of studying. (It’s not hard to persuade teens not to study.)

In contrast, at a 100% Hispanic school like Garfield or Roosevelt (nearby East LA schools that don’t include Chinatown — Jaime Escalante taught AP Calculus at Garfield), well, somebody Hispanic has to be valedictorian each year. So, trying to be valedictorian there, while nerdy and uncool, is likely to be less racially fraught than at an integrated school.

As I said, I don’t really know which way it would go. People have similarly argued over this type of question concerning Historically Black Colleges for a long time — is a black kid with an 1100 SAT score better off at Howard where he’d quite competitive academically or at Georgetown, where he’d feel like Michelle Obama did at Princeton and Harvard Law School?

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Education, Hispanics, IQ, Race 
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The same days as the news of proposed government bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Washington Post runs a revealing article on how the drying up of subprime mortgages has badly hurt the advertising revenue of Spanish language radio stations in the DC area:

But these days the subprime mortgage meltdown has hit many Spanish-language radio stations hard. Real estate companies that targeted the Hispanic community have closed their doors or cut back on advertising and sponsorships. Aragon has lost most of the real estate agents who once advertised with him…

As the housing market took off, Spanish-language radio and real estate companies — two businesses that are highly locally focused — became increasingly intertwined. Jose Luis Semidey, a real estate agent who catered to the Hispanic community, ran Radio Latina at 950 AM in Potomac and 810 AM in Annapolis. He’s no longer an agent, and he ceased operating the stations in 2006. The realty firm Vilchez & Associates was a principal sponsor of Radio Universal in Manassas at 1460 AM, which no longer exists. It was shut down last year to be reopened this year as La Kaliente, with a new format and a new owner.

Peruvian native Ronald Gordon, whose Arlington-based ZGS Communications operates 11 Telemundo television station affiliates and three radio stations, including VIVA 900 AM in Laurel, said the housing bust has hit Spanish-language radio in the area, much like it has hit the whole Hispanic community.

“I think in terms of the mortgage and real estate industry, we were over-indexed in terms of advertising,” Gordon said.

With a pair of headphones over his brushed-back black hair, his lips never far from a suspended microphone, Aragon can be found weekday mornings in his studio, pumping out a steady diet of Spanish-language news, talk, and Mexican and Central American tunes on his show “Buenos Dias Washington.”

Aragon began renting his station’s signal from JMK Communications of Los Angeles in 2002, changing its format from country to Mexican regional. Those days, the housing boom was just getting underway and an influx of Hispanics that would change the county’s demographic mix had begun.

The station began throwing an annual Fiesta Hispana in its parking lot. It promoted Mexican and Central American bands. And when the latest immigration debate heated up, the station served as a place for information about demonstrations and meetings.

At the height of the housing boom, Aragon had as many as 15 real estate agents advertising with him, he said. He got his own Realtor’s license three years ago and began advertising his services on his show — which he still does today. Only one other real estate agent remains as an advertiser.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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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