My full length article comparing Hispanics to blacks is now up at American Conservative:
Is Brown the New Black:
Assimilating Hispanics into the Politics of Victimhood
One reason the black-Hispanic relationship is poorly understood is that class intersects with ethnicity in complex ways. At the bottom of society, among prison and street gangs, race rules. In the Los Angeles County jail, which is 60 percent Hispanic and 30 percent black, the two groups fought murderous battles in 2006. Last October, federal prosecutors accused the Florencia 13 street gang of trying to ethnically cleanse blacks from its unincorporated neighborhood in LA County. (The political impact of this violence shouldn’t be exaggerated, though. The respectable folk who do most of the voting don’t approve of gangbangers feuding.)
In poorer neighborhoods, black residents feel uneasy about men speaking Spanish around them. Not being able to understand what is being said robs them of their street smarts. Are the two men next to you at the bus stop talking in Spanish about soccer or are they plotting to mug you? Who knows?
At the top of the power structure, in the House of Representatives and state legislatures, blacks and Latinos get along quite well, united by party (92 percent of elected Hispanics are Democrats) and a mutual desire to keep the affirmative action gravy train chugging along. Ward Connerly, a black opponent of ethnic quotas, has noted that when he was a regent of the University of California, the heaviest pressure on the regents to cheat on the anti-preference language written into the state constitution by Prop. 209 came not from the Black Caucus in the legislature but from the larger Latino Caucus. They threatened to cut UC’s budget unless more Hispanic applicants were admitted.
Black politicians tend to view Hispanics today much as Irish politicos once saw their fellow Catholic Poles: silent partners in their coalition who should be grateful for their natural leaders’ experience and charm. Not surprisingly, Hispanics don’t agree. In some of the formerly all-black slum municipalities just south of Los Angeles, where Hispanics now make up the great majority of residents but only half of voters, ethnic politics has gotten nasty. But overall, Hispanic politicians know that time is on their side, so they can be patient about the arrogance of black colleagues.
In the middle levels of society, blacks and Latinos do compete. Relations aren’t warm, but African-American men have tended to cede blue-collar jobs to immigrants without putting up massive resistance. Moreover, the swelling numbers and various dysfunctions of illegal immigrants generate numerous jobs for civil servants (who are typically required to be citizens). Therefore, many blacks are paid by taxpayers to teach, police, guard, administer, and otherwise deal with illegal aliens. It doesn’t make for trans-ethnic amity, but it’s a living. [More]