Based on Census Bureau statistics, the media recently reported that “Hispanics have surpassed blacks and are officially the nation’s largest minority group”. We are informed that the U.S. now has 37 million Hispanics and 36.2 million Blacks, and therefore Hispanics have surpassed Blacks.
The problem with such a comparison is that the entire “Hispanic” classification owes more to bureaucratic gerrymandering than concrete demographic realities.
Since Blacks do constitute a racial group, in order for Hispanics to outnumber them, they would have to be a race as well.
Are Hispanics a race? Professional Hispanic activists are quick to play the race card when condemning any real or imagined slight, because it’s an effective tactic in contemporary America. Nevertheless, Hispanics do not constitute a race but in fact belong to various races and mixtures of races. To compare the quantity of “Blacks” with “Hispanics” is an oxymoron to begin with.
The EEOC defines Hispanics as “All persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.” It looks suspiciously like government bureaucrats tried to cast the net as wide as possible, to include as many people as possible in this category. Leave it to the professional human bean counters to come up with a doozy like this one . The persons from these countries, and their descendents, comprise a mind-boggling variety of racial backgrounds. There are white Hispanics, black Hispanics, American Indian Hispanics. There are Hispanics with mixed racial origins, Mulattos (white/black) and mestizos(white/red) , and zambos (red/black). There are Hispanics with blond hair and blue eyes. There are Hispanics whose ancestors came from China , Japan, the Arab world and there are Jewish Hispanics. They don’t, in other words, constitute a race.
So if Hispanics don’t form a race, surely they form a language group? Not exactly. The fact is, all “Hispanics” don’t even speak Spanish. Many of them – possibly up to half - are English dominant, which means they speak English more than Spanish. Some “Hispanics” don’t speak Spanish at all! Why then are they classifed as “Hispanics”?
To inflate the numbers and promote the idea of the Hispanic voting bloc, of course!
If consistency were the guide , then everybody who speaks English as a native language, whether white, black , or of Hispanic origin, should be classified as “Anglo”. That would sure make more sense than the present system!
The “Hispanic” classification (and its synonym “Latino”, which makes even less sense) was artificially concoted by bureacrats and activists, in the interests of political power. Hispanic activists have to believe in a demographic group known as “Hispanics” – if it doesn’t exist how can they be “Hispanic leaders”?
A few examples of the elastic use of the “Hispanic” classification demonstrate its inconsistency and artificial nature:
1. The white majority of the U.S.A. is classified as “non-Hispanic white.” Since affirmative action discriminates against white males, that means that Hispanic white males are the only white males who benefit from quotas. Why?
2. The 2000 census did not classify Hispanics as a race. But it did ask all American residents if they were or were not Hispanic, thereby dividing the entire population into Hispanics and non-Hispanics. Why do Hispanics have a special question? Why not questions for “Italian ethnicity,” “Jewish ethnicity,” etc.? Indeed, why any such questions at all?
3. Here is a really preposterous example: In FBI hate crime statistics, a category exists for Hispanics as victims of hate crimes, but not as perpetrators of hate crimes. If Hispanics commit a hate crime, they are classified as white! Sounds suspiciously like cooking the books to me!
Despite its bogus nature, the “Hispanic” concept is taken very seriously by politicians of both parties. The elite media/political class is obsessed with the “Hispanic vote,” using it as a pretext for all sorts of public policy, most of it bad, that balkanize our nation.
Mass immigration, bilingual education, bilingual ballots, further expansion of the welfare state, loose voter registration standards, etc. are all justified by an appeal to the “Hispanic vote."
Not that all “Hispanics” support such destructive policies, many don’t. But the official groups who claim to speak for Hispanics - LULAC, National Council of La Raza and MALDEF certainly do, and people with their views are setting the Hispanic agenda, even in the GOP.
What’s really troubling in all the Hispano-pandering is not the fact that politicans seek votes – that’s what politicians do. What’s troubling is the implication that Hispanic Americans have different interests than other Americans, which seems to be the working assumption of politicians who pander to Hispanics as a voting bloc. This of course must be very offensive to the millions of patriotic Hispanics who consider themselves Americans, with American interests. The problem is, they aren’t the ones who are driving the agenda. Groups like MALDEF, La Raza and LULAC are. And, waiting in the wings is MEChA, which openly promotes secession of the Southwest from the U.S.A.
In the past, Hispanic immigrants sought to assimilate and achieve the American dream. But that is more and more difficult for the immigrants who arrive today, recipients of affirmative action and government services in Spanish, and a political class that encourages them to think of themselves as a group with separate interests. Why assimilate?
What’s to be done? Will these trends continue unchecked leading to the complete balkanization and possible breakup of the United States of America, a sort of Yugoslavia Writ Large?
I propose a fourfold strategy to turn things around:
1. Drastically reduce immigration, from about a million to a quarter of a million legal immigrants annually. A time-out would allow millions of immigrants already in the country to assimilate and intermarry. In the 2000 census, when asked to indicate their race, almost half of all Hispanics checked the “white” box. White Hispanics could easily assimilate into America’s white majority just as Italians did a century ago, and an immigration reduction would facilitate more intermarriage between Anglos and Hispanics.
2. Designate English as the official language of the country. Scrap bilingual Education, bilingual ballots, etc. The president should revoke Executive Order 131665, which guarantees foreign language service to anyone who demands it. All government business should be conducted in English.
3. The government should get out of the entire racial/ethnic classification business. Why would government be sorting citizens by race and ethnicity if it didn’t intend to make distinctions based upon race and ethnicity? Ward Connerly’s Racial Privacy Initiative is a good start, and the elimination of racial and ethnic categories ought to be a goal for the 2010 census.
4. Maybe this is way too much to ask, but can’t politicians stop treating “Hispanics” like children and treat them like Americans?
Conclusion - Although the leadership of both parties opposes my four proposals, they are quite popular among the electorate. This indicates that independent-minded candidates can be quite successful in promoting such policies. Tom Tancredo, not exactly a favorite of the GOP leadership, continues to win more and more support by daring to speak out for immigration reduction. Besides, it’s good for America.
Reduce immigration, protect our common language, and treat citizens as individual Americans rather than members of a group. Then maybe in a generation or two, the fact that an American citizen has the surname Gonzalez would be of no more import than that his neighbor’s surname is Smith, O’Reilly or Mancini. The alternative – increased balkanization – is a nightmare.