Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It takes a village...

We’ve almost forgotten Hillary’s great book. The title says it all; we are all wards of the state and government’s role grows larger by the day.

But there is a voice of reason out there. Mike Bailey over at the Courier News wrote a fine editorial about the role of parents. It ought to be required reading for everyone in this country who is fertile (and I mean the males as well).

You see, we’ve had a gang shooting spree in our town this summer. It started on July 5th when police found shell casings and blood stains on the ground. Three weeks later someone took shots at a crowd of Hispanic boys. Two are dead and three were wounded.

Ten days ago rival gang members were shooting at each other across the street from Sheridan Elementary School just fifteen minutes after school let out for the day. And then Saturday there were gang members swinging baseball bats and firing shots in the vicinity of a neighborhood football field, at 10:30 in the morning!

These events, and the frustration of the community led editor Bailey to conclude:
“If anger must be directed toward a source, it should be at the parents of those gang members and the familial, cultural and social infrastructure that supports them. The machinery of city government cannot stop gang violence. But parents can. If civic and social pressure is to be exerted, it should be toward that end.”

I agree, but Bailey only nibbles at the edges of the root problem for Hispanics: a lack of assimilation. These neighborhoods have benefited from a generation of “tolerance talk” on the part of schools. These kids have scarcely grown out of their DARE t-shirts. They probably still have their G.R.E.A.T. graduation certificates in the bottom dresser drawer.

And they, along with their classmates, were filled with the message that all cultures are valid and we must not judge.

I’m sure they attended all the ethnic parades and fiestas offered by the community.

May I suggest that the core problem with Latino gang members is a failure to assimilate? These boys move in and out of cultures but have never bought into the sense of community. Neither have their parents. That is the problem with ethnic enclaves.

Transitional bilingual education and community-sponsored ethnic festivals send the strong signal that we do not want them to assimilate. Keep your third-world ways. We don’t want to impose our white culture on you.

But now, with teenagers dying in the streets, are we ready to call our liberal experiment a failure?

Look at the demographics of the local schools, Sheridan and Huff.
84% of Sheridan students are Hispanic. 50% speak limited English. As for Huff, Hispanics make up 80% of the student body with 41% speaking limited English. If you’re looking to blame blacks, they are in the single digits in both schools. The Hispanic graduation rate is only 78%, whereas blacks and whites are in the 90’s.

To be sure blacks and whites are involved in gangs. They are often from dysfunctional homes. But the crux of gang activity today stems from the foreign-born.

Educators see something different when they look at the demographics. They say it is a poverty issue. These are low-income kids and that’s why we have trouble with them. Well, duh. When 30% of the foreign-born are here illegally that would be expected. When another 30% are here without adequate sponsorship, poverty is predicted.

Yet the official position of the NEA is to embrace the illegal alien and push for comprehensive immigration reform.

Yes, Mr. Bailey, it is time for these families to pick up the ball and insist that their children become responsible American citizens. That is a tall order if mom and dad are here illegally. Maybe Teddy Roosevelt’s ideas about dual allegiance are correct after all.

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