Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Why Don't Mexicans Learn English?"

This is so amazingly awesome that I am going to paste below in addition to providing the link at least twice.

The question was asked:

"Why don't Mexicans have enough gratitude for America to learn to speak English? Are they too stupid? Too lazy? What — they can't learn two or three words a day? Is this asking too much?"
-- Took Four Years of Spanish in High School

The U.S. government shares your concerns. Its Dillingham Commission released a 42-volume study on the waves of immigrants that concluded, "The new immigration as a class is far less intelligent than the old . . . Generally speaking, they are actuated in coming by different ideals, for the old immigration came to be a part of the country, while the new, in a large measure, comes with the intention of profiting, in a pecuniary way, by the superior advantages of the new world and then returning to the old country." The Dillingham report went on to fault the new immigrants for their lack of assimilation and English skills, constantly contrasting them with earlier generations of immigrants, and urged clampdowns on immigration. Sound familiar? That's because the Dillingham report appeared in 1911, and the inassimilable masses at the time were eastern and northern Europeans. The Dillingham Commission proves that the time-honored conservative anecdote that earlier generations of immigrants walked off the boats, chopped down their multisyllabic surnames and learned English immediately is bull-pinche-shit. American racism is a carousel — and here we are again.

The above is from the Phoenix New Times column "Ask a Mexican" by Gustavo Arellano.

Of course, those of us who went to law school and studied/worked in immigration law already know that those mythical fully assimilated previous generations of immigrants never actually existed. But I'm sure the assimilation myth will continue to be screamed from the rooftops by angry Americans. I wish those Angry 'Mericans would read, for example, Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America wherein they could learn, as I did, about how very entitled Mexicans are to the land of the Southwest United States, and how very NOT entitled Polk et. al. were to it when they marched in and took it.

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