Saturday, January 21, 2012

Did Affirmative Action kill Assimilation?

As another MLK day passes, I ponder all the special interest groups who have jumped on the civil rights bandwagon in the name of the black martyr.

Here we see the Occupy movement using Dr. King for their own cause:

And here we see a local "Prayer Breakfast" carrying the water for the liberals:

Meanwhile, AG Eric Holder is guest speaker in Red-State Utah:

And they use all sorts of machinations to "prove" that King would have been a Democrat...or sided with the gays...or Latinos...or the 99%.....

But it set me thinking about the divisive nature of all this grouping.

Two college professors, one in California and the other in Florida, set out to study racial/ethnic identity of children over time.  They published a book about it called, Legacies: The Story of the Immigrant Second Generation.

One of the fascinating tidbits they discovered is that all this identity stuff evolves in a child's life in high school.  As Mark Krikorian explains it:
“When first surveyed, the majority of the students identified themselves as American in some form, either as simply “American” or as a “hyphenated” American (Cuban American, for instance, or Filipino American).  After several years of American high school, barely one third still identified themselves as Americans, the majority choosing an identification with no American component at all, opting for either a foreign national-origin identity (Cuban, Filipino) or a panracial  identity (Hispanic, Asian).  The antiassimilationist slant of modern American education is perhaps most visible from this fact: Of the one eighth of immigrant children in the study who identified themselves as simply “American” at the beginning of high school, only 15 percent still thought of themselves that way at the end of high school.”
(quoted from Krikorian, The New Case Against Immigration, 2008, p 32)

“The shift, therefore, has not been toward mainstream identities but toward a more militant reaffirmation of the immigrant identity for some groups (notably Mexicans and Filipinos in California and Haitians and Nicaraguans in Florida) and toward panethnic minority-group identities for others.”
(quoted from Legacies: The Story of the Immigrant Second Generation, 2001, p157)

So, it all starts to gel in high school.  And who can blame them?  Who wouldn’t want to be part of a protected class?  It offers some job protection, a leg up in hiring and scholarships.

But it is a far cry from the efforts 100 years ago to Americanize immigrants.  Such talk would be bigoted to say the least today.

But the protected classes must stick together and find opportunities to show strength in numbers.  And so…MLK is co-opted and public sector workers take the day off.  Meanwhile, the rest of us go to work while the left plots the demise of the American identity.  And the candidates fall in line to glad-hand potential special interests.

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