April 20, 2004

Samuel Huntington's Unassimilated Hispanic Menace Revealed!

John Scalzi shows us the face of the unassimilated Hispanic menace:

Behold! The Unassimilated Hispanic Menace!:

"The persistent inflow of Hispanic immigrants threatens to divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages. Unlike past immigrant groups, Mexicans and other Latinos have not assimilated into mainstream U.S. culture, forming instead their own political and linguistic enclaves—from Los Angeles to Miami—and rejecting the Anglo-Protestant values that built the American dream. The United States ignores this challenge at its peril."

-- "The Hispanic Challenge" by Samuel P. Huntington, Foreign Policy March/April 2004

Posted by DeLong at April 20, 2004 12:55 PM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post


Study of Tamayo's Hands
- Manuel Alvarez Bravo

Posted by: anne on April 20, 2004 01:05 PM


It seems to me, Adrian, that statistically speaking, the unassimilated white-guy-gun-nut-militia population is at least as much as a threat...it was guys like that they found down in Texas with cyanide bombs, last I checked.

Posted by: Susan on April 20, 2004 01:17 PM



Daughter of Dancers
Unassimilated Hispanic Menace Revealed!

Posted by: anne on April 20, 2004 01:21 PM



Fable of the Dog and the Cloud
Unassimilated Hispanic Menace Revealed!

Posted by: anne on April 20, 2004 01:23 PM


The Mexicans are coming for our brightly colored eggs!

Posted by: Rob on April 20, 2004 01:24 PM



The Third Fall
Unassimilated Hispanic Menace Revealed!

I do not know if you have been absent:

I lie down with you, I rise up with you,

In my dreams you are with me.

If my teardrops tremble within my eyes,

I know it is you moving my heart.

Like this Aztec poem, the image of an isolated figure lying exposed and vulnerable on a city street evokes feelings of anguish, longing, and departure. Mexican mythology rests heavily upon ideas of death, considered a constant companion to every man, woman, and child. Manuel Alvarez Bravo explored this theme in his work as a mean of analyzing his own culture.

The title, The Third Fall,alludes to the prayer Christians offer at the ninth Station of the Cross: "My Jesus, by all the bitter woes Thou didst endure when for the third time the heavy cross bowed Thee to the earth, never, I beseech Thee, let me fall again into sin." Lying as if at the feet of the viewer, the faceless individual embodies the fall into misery that has plagued Mexico’s people.

Posted by: anne on April 20, 2004 01:25 PM



Sea of Tears
Unassimilated Hispanic Menace Revealed!

Posted by: anne on April 20, 2004 01:26 PM



Washerwoman Implied
Unassimilated Hispanic Menace Revealed!

Posted by: anne on April 20, 2004 01:28 PM



New Allegory
Unassimilated Hispanic Menace Revealed

Posted by: anne on April 20, 2004 01:30 PM



Crowned with Palms
Unassimilated Hispanic Menace Revealed!

Posted by: anne on April 20, 2004 01:37 PM



Woman With Broken Glass
Unassimilated Hispanic Menace Revealed!

Posted by: anne on April 20, 2004 01:41 PM


Every wave of recent immigrants have always been a bit at odds with the mainstream culture. And the corresponding intolerance from the mainstream is nothing new either. People have such short memory. Or do these people think that 100% of immigrants up until Mexican immigration, Americanized overnight? Are there ignorant of Chinatowns, Little Italys and German highschools etc? One important difference though, is that a large share of those Hispanic "immigrants" are illegal and so are maintained in the margins of the American society. And they are too scared to join it, for fear of being escorted to the border. My hunch is that they will Americanize when the US will start treating them as future Americans...

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on April 20, 2004 01:43 PM


I don't worry about the cultural effects of Hispanic immigrants, but I do worry about the possibility of a significant population of permanently non-English speaking people.

If you look at even the most advanced of bilingual societies, Canada are Belgium for example, it turns out that native speakers of one language always have an advantage over the speakers of the other language.

Language threatens to tear Canada apart, and almost all of the Belgium governments have fallen over the Flem/Waloon issue.

I don't think that we need to worry about Cinco de Mayo (Which is really more Mexican American than Mexican) or cuisine or dress, that's just silly.

The inability to speak the language of commerce in a country is an inability to engage in a basic requirement for success.

Posted by: Matthew Saroff on April 20, 2004 02:41 PM


"...rejecting the Anglo-Protestant values that built the American dream."

Oh no, they're...they're CATHOLICS!!! Moving across our unprotected southern border into our defenseless Anglo-Protestant heartland! Has there been such a threat to America since Kennedy became President??

Plus what J.P. Stijns said.

Posted by: RT on April 20, 2004 02:41 PM


Cute and cuddly threats are the most insiduously menacing kind!!!

Posted by: john c. halasz on April 20, 2004 03:00 PM


"If you look at even the most advanced of bilingual societies, Canada are Belgium for example, it turns out that native speakers of one language always have an advantage over the speakers of the other language."

Be careful of tautologies, Matthew. Take any two groups in a country, however defined, and you will most often find statistically significant differences in economic outcomes among them. But that does not necessarily imply any sort of causality. This said, I aggree, making two cultures or languages live under one national roof can be a challenge. I wouldn't define Canada nor Belgium as failed countries, though. They are, after all, among the richest countries on the planet. And quite decent, democratic and peaceful countries too.

In the case of the US, the most important thing (which I thing you were hinting at) is that all immigrants learn English (but not necessarily as a forced substitute to their mother tongue) in order to have a real chance on the mainstream job market. As soon as people start to integrate with the mainstream society, you can be sure that their children will only speak their mother tongue as a second language, and most of their grand-children will be complaining, past teenagehood, about how little they know about their roots. But, if you give, say Mexicans, no incentives to learn English by forbiding them to take on legal jobs, that chain of reactions is not going to even begin. Or too slowly.

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on April 20, 2004 03:09 PM


I did hear somewhere that it is not until the grandchildren are born, that the immigrants learned american/canadian/english, so that they could talk to their grandchildren.

Posted by: big al on April 20, 2004 03:17 PM


Not having a single langauge has turned Swizterland into the economic desert it is today...

Posted by: Rob on April 20, 2004 04:30 PM


Yeah, and the Chinese in San Francisco sure don’t seem to be doing too well . . .

Posted by: David Moles on April 20, 2004 04:38 PM


Whoever said that English is picked up by the next generation is right. English is the language of commerce and success. You need it to get a college education, you need it on jobs that pay more than $11.00/hour. You need it to assimilate your family from the barrio to the swanky suburbs.

I believe there will always be pockets where foreign languages are spoken. In Chicago, nobody complained (at least over the past 70 years or so) about stores, newspapers, etc. written in Polish. The school kids get a day off to celebrate the life of a Polish general who fought bravely during the American Revolution. From what I can see, this is the only city in the nation that gets the school day off.

So I do think the alarmists are as misguided and xenophobic as they were back in the 1800's when torrents of immigrants swept America's shores. Somehow English managed to stay the nation's language WITHOUT intervention of the legislature.

And lastly, I never knew only Anglo-Protestants had the corner on the American Dream. I thought every adult wanted to make a better life for themselves; and every parent wanted to create an environment where their children could do better than they did. Am I missing something from the Horatio Alger story?

Posted by: Sabbadoo32 on April 20, 2004 06:15 PM


Not speaking the same language creates a gulf between people and difficulties in the workplace. Is there anyone who will contradict that statement? I have a friend who has worked for many years in welfare and he told me that among those speaking foreign languages the hispanics are always on a different trajectory from the others. The asians excel, according to my friend. An advocate who acts as a translator attends the early sessions but language skills improve rapdidly in the applicant and (s)he moves quickly out of the welfare system. At the other end of the spectrum, the hispanic applicant rarely learns english quickly and settles in for an extended stay on the system. This account is based on 25 years of experience and, knowing my friend, is objective reporting without any racist inclination whatsoever.

Now a story from my own experience. I used to ride the bus with a woman whose parents, aunts and uncles were Polish immigrants. She recalled how when family members would congregate at the house when she was a child and start speaking Polish her father would stop them, saying that they were in America now and English was to spoken in his house. It was a matter of pride. It seems to be a matter of pride for many hispanics to resist learning English. I know English speaking Hispanics who have shared their frustration with me concerning their fellows who do not care to learn English. As to this threatening Anglo-Protestant values and the American dream, that's a load of crap. It is sad, however, that the language barrier creates fear, hostility and lost opportunity. It is also sad that we are increasingly surrounded by people with whom we can only share a smile and nod.

Posted by: JuanDoe on April 20, 2004 06:44 PM


My God!

You mean that there are many Mexicans living in the territory the US seized from Mexico? Wherever did they come from? Imagine the nerve of them, acting like it was their land, or something ...

Posted by: padraig on April 20, 2004 07:19 PM


"In Chicago, nobody complained (at least over the past 70 years or so) about stores, newspapers, etc. written in Polish."

Actually, they complained like hell, in a variety of ways, and then they invented stories about how they never allowed Polish to be spoken at home. I get the same crap from an Italian-American acquaintance, who goes on at length about how his family never spoke Italian at home, and occasionally drops in something about the ads in the Italian language newspapers.

You know, if Huntington isn't the best case for rot in the academy, then David Horowitz is a clever guy with some sharp insights into contemporary society.

Posted by: david on April 20, 2004 07:23 PM


I wouldn't be so concerned with large-scale immigration from countries like Mexico it someone could show me how this will not hurt the prospects of low-skilled American families, most notably our African-American population. But what I see on this site is a kind of bleeding heart liberalism whose hearts fail to bleed for a very large and vulnerable section of our own population. Maybe Brad Delong would like to donate half of his wages to help those of his countrymen who are being injured by his big-hearted view of the world? Who knows, maybe it will start a large-scale trend.

Posted by: Luke Lea on April 20, 2004 07:44 PM


padraig, by your logic, we should be speaking Navajo.

They had the land first.

Posted by: Matthew Saroff on April 20, 2004 08:18 PM


This country was originally a decentralized collection of diverse local communities. It included a number of non-English speaking enclaves: French in northern Maine and New Orleans, Dutch in the Hudson valley, Germans in western Pennsylvania--not to mention the Seven Nations in upstate New York and the Five Civilized Tribes in the Southeast.

This idea that everyone inside magic lines on a map is defined by a single ethnicity, and a standardized national language, is an abomination. It has resulted in the suppression of regional dialects in every major nation-state of Western Europe, and to large-scale, coercive exchanges of population (Anatolian Greeks, Sudeten Germans, etc.) in the name of national purity. It's led to the homogenization of "standard English" in the U.S. and UK.

We need to start thinking of communities as voluntary associations, defined by the local values of the people making them up, and of the "nation" as a loose federation of such communities. You'd think people who claim to put so much emphasis on "liberty" would have more regard for bottom-up ways of doing things, instead of imposing a Blut und Land nationalism from the top down.

Posted by: Kevin Carson on April 20, 2004 08:33 PM


Shouldn't there be a rule that all generalizations about language policy should be required to say something about Switzerland? Not that the Swiss model is exportable, but it certainly destroys an enormous number of proposed general laws.

I pick up the monolingual-Hispanic
question from the other end. Part of the problem is that de facto (and almost de jure, with Bush's new law), large parts of the American work force are not covered by minimum wage laws or labor law, are not unionizable, and have virtually no chance of ever getting a full-time permanent job with medical benefits and a retirement plan. Not only illegals, either.

Do low-paid workers cause low-paid jobs? Or the other way around? While it is true that various risk factors tend to channel people into low-paid jobs, if no one had these risk factors, would no one be working in low-paid jobs? And if not, would that mean that there just wouldn't be any landscapers or day laborers at all, or would it mean that day laborers etc. would all be well paid?

Posted by: Ashcroft on April 20, 2004 08:48 PM


That was me, sorry. An old prank.

Posted by: Zizka on April 20, 2004 08:49 PM


The post isn't about issues of minority groups speaking their native language and associated problems. That is also a problem among SE Asian communities, Haitian community, etc, and has been since Benjamin Franklin got scared by German immigrants. And it is not about appropriate labor policy to confront problems caused by immigration (legal or otherwise) reducing low wage jobs. If you want to talk about that, OK, but this is about this guy Huntington saying silly things about culture wars.

Mexico and the US -?? gimmee a break -can't that guy think up something better for his next momentous culture war mortal threat to the highest pinnacle of Western Civ and exemplified by the US? He's going to get kicked out of his thinktank.The Hispanic menace is so, like, old news, I remember that from way back when I was in college and had MEChA friends -who acted like buddies and kegged heavy duty with me. But secretly hated my guts and despised my incompatible superior wealth-creating Protestant culture -I guess I know now because of this Momentous Culture Clash of which I was pathetically unaware. That is such old and recycled moldy white-bread stuff. Where have some people been for the last 20 years? Maybe he's going backwards in time and will be condemning the Jitterbug, or the Waltz next, and whatever culture they came from. Gotta be big culture clash in that.

O course, maybe I have misunderstood this post too. Bush was really talking about getting down with it, and Huntington is really talking about Los Lobos and Latino-Rock fusion vs. Tex-Mex pop vs. Lawrence Welk. Or the dire threat of loud Ranchero music in public, and the effect that will have on our morals.

Question is, what can we do about it? Is Flaco Jimenez a US citizen? Can we send him to Gitmo? Can we impound his accordion? Ban Octavio Paz's poems? Outlaw cactus candy? Change half the place names in California? What about General Vallejo. Oh... this is deep... very deep... they sneaked in on the Bear Flag Revolt! There's a couple state parks names after the guy -deep infiltration! I had a picnic at one of them awhile back and didn't realize my betrayel of my WASP culture. Not only a clash of cultures, but a very long term, carefully planned plot against us white people. Sneaky #@!$$#!! OmiGod!! Do they still teach basic Spanish in CA grade schools? We're in trouble! and then there's Taco Bell.... and La Salsa... and...Dominos (I think, or is it Round Table?) has a Mexican Pizza! We're doomed.

I think real problem is that most of the Hispanic community hasn't gone conservative as per Repub plans. So now of course objects of deep suspicion of un-American-ness in certain quarters. Though Huntington mentions Cubans too -maybe the plot is deeper than I think.

Also, Prof D and original blogger committed informal logical fallacy of appeal to emotion in this post. Shame on them.

Posted by: jml on April 20, 2004 09:26 PM


Sam could stand to get out a little more. I've lived in Puerto Rican sections of Chicago, Mexican, Thai and Armenian sections of LA, and it still feels strangely American... Not Mayberry, but still American. In just ten years, my all white family tree has seen hispanic and Asian limbs start to branch, and it still feels like an American tree to me.

Chill Sam, and go eat a taco.

Posted by: John McKinzey on April 20, 2004 09:41 PM


No comprendo.
Pensé que todos los americanos eran inmigrantes. Usted ama nuestra comida, nuestras mujeres...¿Ahora usted dice, no más?...¿Porque?...usted teme nuestras habilidades superiores del love-making?

Posted by: latinlover on April 21, 2004 02:15 AM


Brad Delong's liberalism, as addressed to the lower orders: "Let's you and him share."

Posted by: Luke Lea on April 21, 2004 03:55 AM


You're right, Luke. Immigration policy should have been tightened long ago.

Just before your ancestors got here, twit.

Posted by: Chuck Nolan on April 21, 2004 05:06 AM


Nolan: Twit? Is that an argument? Anyway, I'm not opposed to immigration per se. I'm opposed to the priviledged classes in this country -- including upper income urban professionals like Brad Delong -- putting the burden of immigration off on those who are much less able to afford it than they are. What's your answer to that?

Posted by: Luke Lea on April 21, 2004 06:10 AM


Possibly Huntington might favorably view a military encirclement of parts of LA, now that our armed forces are getting good at this kind of activity in Fallouja and Najaf. Except that it ain't that easy since, despite Hunington's prejudice, (e.g. his quote "forming instead their own political and linguistic enclaves-from Los Angeles") Latinos have a habit of liking to live in lots of different places of LA. For instance, for a brief period in the 50's while I was growing up my yes latino family lived a block from Loyola University where my dad was a professor - until my mom couldn't stand it anymore and we want back to Latin America.

Posted by: CSTAR on April 21, 2004 11:29 AM


Also, pre-WW1, ~6% of elementary schools were German-language. (source, Geoff Nunberg, "Lingo Jingo", article from the American Prospect).

Posted by: Tom on April 21, 2004 12:37 PM


Scott Martens has written a long, very insightful analysis of mr Huntington's article. It's availabele at


Posted by: Tobias Schwarz on April 21, 2004 09:45 PM


Scott Martens has written a long, very insightful analysis of mr Huntington's article. It's availabele at


Posted by: Tobias Schwarz on April 21, 2004 09:45 PM


well, iam a latino too,I live in Chile, South América. I think that all inhabitants of this continent are my brothers, however let´s the true speak, Huntigton theory maybe is correct, the mexicans and for others is very hard to learn english not because are very difficult, the answer is simply : ¡they don,t like english!is the same thing about the chileans in sweden they don´t learn swedish, only one case they don´t know how to say open bottle in swedish!and they are living many years in his country.Excuse for my bad english, because i live in Chile, but I read the newsweek magazine and the information in english is very high, the english language is basic for all boys of south america .long life for latinos of the world !

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