The most portentous events in American history were the enforced importation of African blacks by the New England slavers, and the opening of the southern border to Latin America. Both have proved disastrous. Compulsory mixing of disparate peoples has not worked.
In response to the Latino influx, Nativist groups arose to oppose immigration and (not the same thing) immigrants. Typically, Nativist hostility remains until the newcomers assimilate, if they do, and stop being disparate. Blacks haven’t done this. With Latinos, it is a work in progress.
Nativism Is far from new to America, and not always racial. The KKK Revival of the 1920s, far more successful than today’s Nativists, opposed chiefly not blacks but Catholic Irish and Italians. As late as the 1960s an argument against JFK as President was that he was Catholic and the Pope would control America. Today this seems silly. It didn’t then.
The Nativists of today, very similar to those of yore, Protestant, Nordic, and angry, speaking of an almost sacred white America, call themselves White Nationalists, the Alt Right, the Dissident Right, Immigration Patriots, and so on. Do they amount to anything? Or will they, like earlier Nativists, fade away, having accomplished little?
They will fade, methinks. They lack the horsepower to start an uprising, the votes to pass major policies, support in Congress, the courts, or the media. The immigrants are numerous enough that neither party is going to antagonize them. And the crafty brown rascals aren’t behaving badly enough to change this.
A Few Facts
Fact One: Some sixty million Hispanics live in the US, mostly and increasingly citizens, along with an unknown but substantial number of illegals.
Fact Two: They are in America to stay. The citizens cannot be deported. Nobody is going to force tens of millions, legal or otherwise, across the Mexican border. If you think otherwise, you need to stop smoking that brass polish. It isn’t good for you.
Fact Three: Intermarriage with whites is high, will remain high, and very likely increase. Latin Americans are attractive people. Nativists may regard them as repellent on ideological grounds, but this will remain a minority view among young white men.
(You ask: Why will intermarriage increase? Because increasingly the Hispanics speak native English. Language and accent are sharp markers of difference. Lupita Gutierrez, nineteen, speaking flawless American English (as distinct from Hisbonics), pretty, talking about the same movies as everyone else and pecking at her telephone, will repel few young white men.)
Fact Four: Pace the Nativists, America is not a white country. Maybe it should be, or could have been, or something, but it isn’t. It is roughly thirteen percent black, at least eighteen percent Hispanic, and several percent Asian, in total more than a third non-white. You can applaud this, deplore it, jump up and down and screech, or think warm fuzzy thoughts about inclusiveness. When you are through, the numbers will be exactly the same.
Fact Five: Increasingly, Hispanics vote.
Together the foregoing suggest that Nativism, if not a dead letter, is at least a dying letter, with time working against it. Maybe a ventilator would help.
Some Political Demographics
Geography and concentration increase the political leverage of minorities. If they were distributed evenly across the country, Nativists and sympathizers might outvote them. They are not so distributed. Blacks are concentrated in the downtowns of cities in the North, South, and Midwest, and control them, or nearly do, by ballot or sheer numbers. They tend to bloc vote, giving them great heft among Democrats and causing fear among Republicans. This is not going to change.
Latinos dominate, or shortly will, in the states of the Southwest. If Nativists make an electoral fight of it in these states, they will lose. Republicans might think about this.
Lost Cause Department
Judging by their websites, Nativists believe, or try to, that Real Americans will shortly awake from their slumber in fury at the pollution of their country, rise in a tsunami of white racial solidarity, and do…something. Just what isn’t clear.
Various problems afflict this understanding. Many liberals think of themselves as Real Americans. They too vote. We would then have competing tsunamis. Young whites, such as university students, seem less disturbed by immigration than their elders. Blacks vote Demographic regardless of immigration. Whether some, any, or all of this makes sense doesn’t matter. It happens. A successful tsunami seems unlikely.
Who Thinks What
Nativists (correctly) cite polls showing that the public regards immigration as a serious problem. From this they conclude that the majority of Americans agree with them in their antipathies. But agree with them about what?
Consider a spectrum of possible policies toward illegals arranged in ascending order of improbability: Deport MS-13. Close the border. End birthright citizenship. End welfare and drivers licenses for illegals. End medical care for them. Declare the DACA people illegal and deport all 850,000 of them. Pull third-grade children of illegals sobbing from their classrooms and leave them on the sidewalks (in front of 12,000 network cameras). Deport all illegals. Outlaw intermarriage. Establish legal segregation. Death camps.
While Nativists seem to favor all of these except the last–perhaps except the last–the general public would begin to fall off earlier in the list. Note the large number of sanctuary cities, counties, and states that refuse to cooperate with ICE. Remember again that liberals think they are Americans, and they too vote. While Nativists would happily contemplate the humanitarian disasters caused by, say, mass deportation, much of the public would recoil.
All of these measures would leave the millions of citizens in place. Here is a point worth noting: Nativists have no policy suggestions regarding Hispanic citizens. Hatred is not a policy.
Race and Nativism: The Box
Politically, Nativists are in a box from which there is no exit. The box exists because their hostility to Hispanics (and blacks and Asians) is racial, not political or behavioral. The racial basis, implicit in much of their writing, is often explicitly stated. Yes, they speak of strewn trash and poor English, but race is their underlying concern. They are clear about it.
This matters. It is The Box. Since Hispanics cannot change their race, there is no room for compromise, accommodation, assimilation, or even a modus vivendi. Any of these would lead to intermarriage, which causes night horrors in Nativists.
Their thinking is starkly binary. White is good, everything else is bad: blacks, Indians (of either kind), Vietnamese, Chinese, Muslims (Nativists tend to regard Islam as a race), what have you. No shades exist, no degrees. It is White, and everyone else. The Box means that no matter what Hispanics do, no matter how many languages they learn, how many babies they fail to rape, Nativists will hate them. In a country more than a third non-white, this is not going to work.
The Political Consequences of the Binary Box
Nativists invariably are hardcore conservatives and so detest Democrats almost as much as they detest nonwhites. Yet by their attacks on Hispanics they seem determined to elect Democrats.
On Nativist sites one reads endlessly that Hispanics are filthy, don’t learn English, carry medieval diseases, molest orphans, can’t read, are stupid, attack teachers, hate America, and breed like flies. The Nativists are then outraged that the ungrateful bastards vote Democratic.
Damn! Who would have thought it?
The Refrigerator as Contraceptive
Nativists seem to believe that Hispanic immigrants are invariant, like pi. That is, If on arrival Eduardo doesn’t speak English and has fleas, his progeny generation after generation will not speak English, but will have fleas, world without end. Let’s think about this.
“Middle class” is often defined approximately as having a refrigerator, television, house, job, and children in school (and, today, internet access, which is not trivial). Middle classes tend strongly to low crime, low birth rate, civility, good health, and respect for education. Illegal Latin American immigrants are not in the middle class. If they were, why would they come to America?
This might suggest that if you have a large population of lower-class immigrants, who are not going to go away, encouraging them to become middle class might be a good idea. It might be a very good idea.
Nativists are having none of this, preferring to believe that Mexicans innately suffer from reproductive incontinence, ,
illiteracy, and suchlike.
This description, though not the innateness, was reasonably accurate in 19ñ40. Today, the CIA World Factbook puts literacy in Mexico at 95 percent. As for breeding profligately? A birth rate of 2.1 total babies per woman is ZPG, Zero Population Growth. Again according to the CIA World Factbook, Mexico is at 2.19 bpw, .09 babies above ZPG.
The effects of rising prosperity
A Great Puzzlement
In my seventeen years of life in Mexico, I have found Nativists to be obsessively unfamiliar with even the basics of the country, much less South America. People avoid what they don’t like. (You saw it here first.) Liberals do not read Vdare.com, a Nativist site, nor conservatives, Salon. There are Nativists who have spent decades seething with loathing of Latinos but have spent almost no time in Latin countries. Instead they palpate statistics. If they have been south of the border at all, it was in search of confirmation, not information. Typically they have met only taxi drivers and waiters.
So, saith I, our current Nativism will eventually subside. Much of what they say about nonwhites is true, much false, much subject to change and much changed. But the immigrants are here to stay. It might be wise to make the best of it instead of promoting a pointless hostility.
Write Fred at [email protected]. Put the letters pdq anywhere in the subject line to avoid autodeletion.All read, reply not guaranteed due to volume.
Amazon review: “Essays on America, life, politics, and just about everything. The author chronicles among other adventures an aging stripper in Austin, dressed in a paper-mache horse, who had with her a cobra and a tarantula like a yak-hair pillow with legs and alternately charmed and terrified a room full of cowboys sucking down Bud and…. Fred was an apostle of the long-haul thumb during the Sixties and saw…many things. He tells of standing by the big roads across the desert, rockin in the wind blast of the heavy rigs roaring by and the whine of tires and dropping into an arroyo at night with a bottle of cheap red and watching the stars and perhaps smoking things not approved by the government. He tells of..well, that’s what the book is for. Join him.”
NOTE: All 2020 and later data are UN projections and DO NOT include any impacts of the COVID-19 virus.
Mexico literacy rate for 2016 was 94.86%, a 0.39% increase from 2015.
They are less inclined to bloc voting than blacks and in considerable numbers could be pried away from the Democrats. For example, a white businessman telling an association of Hispanice businessmen that they had a common interest in advocating policies favoring business would get a warm reception. Masonic lodges of Hispanics and Anglos have much in common.
Consequently the Nativist policy of deliberately antagonizing Latinos seems other than bright.