June 1, 2008

My VDARE review of "Generations of Exclusion: Mexican Americans, Assimilation, and Race"

Here's an excerpt from my review of the important and fascinating new book from the Chicano Studies Research Center at UCLA:

Social scientists get a lot of guff for not being "real scientists." But I've always admired the best ones immensely.

Sure, an astronomer (say) can tell you with exactitude when the next solar eclipse will occur. Still, most people don't feel strongly about the timing of eclipses. It's easy to be objective when you deal with things rather than with people.

In contrast, human beings get passionate about what is uncovered by social scientists. In fact, much of what social scientists have learned has been gut-wrenching for the researchers themselves, who typically fall well to the left politically.

Social scientists can't always overcome their biases. But when they do, the results are admirable.

The newest example: the impressive multi-generational study of Mexican-American assimilation carried out by two UCLA sociologists, Vilma Ortiz and Edward E. Telles of UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center.

Their 2008 book, Generations of Exclusion: Mexican Americans, Assimilation, and Race, decisively concludes a long-running debate about Mexican immigrants.

Telles and Ortiz write:

"Despite sixty years of political and legal battles to improve the education of Mexican Americans, they continue to have the lowest average education levels and the highest high school dropout rates among major ethnic and racial groups in the United States. … However, leading analysts, apparently believing in the universality of assimilation, argue that this is the result of a large first and second generation population still adjusting to American society. … These and other scholars predict that Mexican Americans will have the same levels of education and socioeconomic status as the dominant non-Hispanic white population by the fourth generation."

East Coast pundits, such as Michael Barone and Tamar Jacoby, frequently imply that, while Mexican Americans may appear to be lagging alarmingly, that's mostly because they've all just recently arrived from Mexico.

After all, whoever saw a Mexican in New York, Washington, or Boston before the last decade or two? So their future is wide open! This will catch up by the third generation, or maybe the fourth—but in any case, Real Soon Now.

Due to "the great, slow, mysterious absorptive alchemy of assimilation" (to quote Jacoby's review in National Review of Barone's 2001 book The New Americans, the descendents of Mexican immigrants will no doubt be flourishing just like the descendents of the Ellis Island immigrants.

So why enforce the borders? …

To natives of the Southwestern United States, like myself, this conventional wisdom that Mexicans are just newcomers who will turn into Italians or Jews in "only" three or four generations is simply Eastern ignorance.

Mexican Americans are new to the East, but they've been in the Southwestern U.S. since before there was a U.S. The 1920 Census found one million Hispanics in the U.S.—that's an ample sample from which to draw conclusions.

Social scientists in the mid-20th Century paid intense interest to European ethnic newcomers and African Americans. But Latinos were largely overlooked. Telles and Ortiz note that Mexican Americans "were well off the radar screen of the largely Eastern and Midwestern-based social sciences. At best, they were viewed as some inexplicable frontier anomaly."

This lack of awareness still allows Eastern writers descended from Ellis Island immigrants to spin fantasies about the benign long-run effects of Mexican immigration, based largely on ethnocentric nostalgia about their own lineages' spunky underdog wonderfulness.

Indeed, many Eastern elites seem to regard expressions of skepticism about illegal Mexican immigrants as personal insults directed at their beloved ancestors. They're more concerned about the issues of 1908 than of 2008.

During the Great Society, UCLA organized the first major survey, the Mexican American Study Project. In 1965, UCLA academics interviewed 1576 individuals of Mexican descent in the two largest Mexican American metropolises of the time, Los Angeles County and San Antonio.

This kind of cross-sectional analysis is valuable but it's not totally definitive about assimilation. For that, you need longitudinal analyses that follow people over time. However, surveys that cover decades are extremely expensive.

Fortunately, workers in 1992 stumbled upon the 1965 survey forms in a storage room at the UCLA library. Sociologists affiliated with UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center came up with the audacious notion of searching out the original respondents, then interviewing them again, along with some of their children. This would turn the old 1965 cross-sectional study into a much-needed longitudinal one.

This would allow progress to be tracked across four generations. And researchers could even inquire about the children's children, extending the analysis out to a fifth generation since immigration. …

Telles and Ortiz write with justified pride: "As far as we know, this research design is unique and for many reasons it is the most appropriate for addressing the actual intergenerational integration of immigrants and their descendents." …

Their multiple regression analyses show that the key factor, driving all the others, is education. They conclude:

"Throughout this book, our statistical models have shown that the low education levels of Mexican Americans have impeded most other types of assimilation, thus reinforcing a range of ethnic boundaries between them and white Americans."

As is well known, American-born Mexicans average more years of education than do their Mexican-born immigrant ancestors. Unfortunately, as Telles and Ortiz report, the third and fourth generations of Mexican Americans do not continue to close the gap relative to non-Hispanic whites: "In education, which best determines life chances in the United States, assimilation is interrupted by the second generation and stagnates thereafter."

The fourth generation (whose grandparents were born in America) was particularly unaccomplished: "Sadly and directly in contradistinction to assimilation theory, the fourth generation differs the most from whites, with a college completion rate of only 6 percent [compared to 35 percent for whites of that era]."

The fourth-generation Baby Boomers averaged 0.7 years less schooling than the second and third generation Mexican Americans born in the same era.

Telles and Ortiz found: "…the educational progress of Mexican Americans does not improve over the generations. At best, given the statistical margin of error, our data show no improvement in education over the generations-since-immigration and in some cases even suggest a decline."

In 2000, the UCLA interviewers also asked the Baby Boomer children of the original subjects about their own children (i.e., the grandchildren of the 1965 respondents). These grandchildren (who are third to fifth generation Mexican Americans, Generation X-ers born in the 1960s and 1970s) "seemed to be doing no better than their parents" at graduating from high school.

But, don't worry, be happy. The sixth generation will assuredly get it into gear and catch up with the American mainstream. Only evil, uncouth people could possibly doubt that. Ask Michael Barone.[Email Barone]

Seriously, America is supposed to be a middle class country. Yet, what we appear to have on our hands here is a "Permanent Proletariat," which our elites have corruptly saddled us with.

In Generations of Exclusion, Telles and Ortiz have created a monument to disinterested, objective social science.

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My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

30 comments:

StephenT said...

I recall watching a TV interview with a young Hispanic American speaking about the rapid influx of newly-arrived mestizo Mexicans into his small NoCal town. Thru an interpreter, he said in Spanish that he welcomed the arrival of "more of my people" and said he didn't care if all of "them" (the Anglo Americans in his town) moved away because of the influx.
This young man was not himself an illegal alien. He was the grandson of illegal aliens from Mexico. Yet he still spoke Spanish when being interviewed on an American TV station, considered illegal Mexican nationals "my people," and referred to American citizens as "them."

tommy shanks said...

>>We Americans like to self-congratulate ourselves...

Ugh. Steve, don't subject us to such abominations. That's the kind of writing I would expect from addle-brained liberal blogger Amanda Marcotte, not you.

Cabrolet said...

Steve, I read your complete article at vDare tonight. It is tremendous in its pursuit of actual facts on the ground as opposed to wishful thinking. Bravo.

In a sane world, Steve Sailer articles should ultimately achieve humiliation of the mainstream media - except CNN, Fox, MSNBC, the networks, AP, NYT, Reuters, Washington Post, LAT, WSJ are far too deep into the koolade to be humiliated.

Michael Barone, Tamar Jacoby and all the rest will rot in that particular level of hell that is reserved for intellectual frauds.

They are:

1. ideological cretins on the wrong side of history and

2. undoubtedly counting on future Fellow Travelers to properly administer the Memory Hole and rewrite history in their favor.

Ron Guhname said...

In the current hysterical academic climate, I agree that these guys deserve credit for doing an objective analysis and reporting the findings straight, but facts frequently don't speak for themselves, making the "why" very important.

They point to inadequate schools, which is really blaming white folks who run the system.

There's really not much courage in just reporting facts. I see, for example, researchers presenting the finding all the time that blacks are very overrepresented in the criminal justice system. Sounds brave (and obvious), right? Then they speculate that this is due, not to black criminality, but to institutional racism. Not so brave anymore.

tommy said...

I think I'm actually going to take up your offer and email Barone. I recommend others do the same. Anyone know Tamar Jacoby's email? ;-)

This book is a great find, Steve. I'll have to get it. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

So we're headed for a country with a white upperclass and black and Mexican lower class. We can expect the blacks and Mexicans to push for stuff that benefits them like affirmative action, welfare, restrictions on insensitive speech, etc without socializing too much. Whites will continue to be chased from community to community begging nobody calls them racist. We'll be Brazil at best, the USSR in the 1920s at worst. Sad, sad, sad.

William said...

All this talk about alchemy and astronomers reminds me of this article I came across today: Obama's gunna win in November, says a panel of astrologists at a conference in Denver.

However, one astrologer hedged: "We don't have a single solid birth chart," Robert Hand said. "If those dates are wrong, everything I say is garbage."

Ummm...

As for the Mexican immigrants, I kinda wonder if its generational apathy going on: the first generation of Mexicans sees America's riches and thinks "I can have that if I work hard." (He's also appreciative of the opportunities he didn't have in his home country.

The second sees it and thinks "Papi didn't get it because he had no education and his English was lousy. I'll get there, though."

By the 3rd and 4th generations they're realizing "Wealth comes from smarts - and I'm just a Mexican."

Genes - which gets talked about a lot on this board - still matter. But hard work matters, too.

poor richard said...

Jefferson's ideal was that America would be a nation of small yeomen/farmers. In his view, big cities were corrupt and over-regulated (in modern parlance).

The new middle class dream of workin' for the Man in BigCorp, BigGov, or BigGuns (military) is something kind of different. Economically condusive to democracy by promoting middle class levels of wealth and complacency, but not at all culturally condusive to democratic thinking. "Autonomy? What's that? Security is much better, not to mention benefits. Right? Now just fill out this form here..."

Mexicans don't pursue education because it's not in their culture. They are happy to see their teenage kids drop out of high school and get a job to help out the family and start building a life.

Fine by me. America has too a bloated more or less clerical class that is expert at filling out forms of one kind or another and has the expensive college degrees to prove it. You can't build a sustainable economy on pushing paper around, simple as that. You need people that actually make stuff and keep it running. As in, outside cubicles.

dearieme said...

For many months I was under the impression that "Amanda Marcotte" was a flavour of ice cream. Ah well.

Anonymous said...

Steve,
I'm just intrigued by your usage of the English (ie used in England) colliqualism 'guff' meaning bullsh*t.
Has this piece of vernacular caught on in America recently.
Of course the word 'guff' is a semi-polite word for flatulence - used mainly amongst the English public (ie private) school educated elite and in such realted areas the British army, the house of Commons and English journalism.
Interesting etymology, believed to be of north English and oriinally Norse provenance, hence the original use of the word was confined to Scotland/Northumbria before catching on amongst the public school jolly-hockey sticks crowd.
The working-class sothern English still use the 'f-word' instead, four letters long, NOT related to 'striking' or intercourse but I beieve the oldest tracked word in the prototype Indo-European language.

Robert said...

Telles and Ortiz note that Mexican Americans "were well off the radar screen of the largely Eastern and Midwestern-based social sciences.

I don't know what part of the Midwest that they are talking about. I just read an article about the Mexican population of Chicago, which was counted at 35000 in the 1920 census. It also talked about the region just northwest of Chicago which was in 1920, a huge vegetable and fruit growing area. In 1919-1920 the railroads brought thousands of Mexican migrants into this area to pick the crops. This created much tension in the area that culminated in near race riots in many of the towns that now surround O'Hare Airport and the Woodfield area. Growing up in this area myself Mexicans were just as common as they might be to a Southern Californian or a Texan. Having said that I also know that many of the Mexicans in the area northwest of Chicago have been here for generations. I have talked to some who say that the fact that new immigrants from Mexico are pretty much taking over many of these towns is a great thing. One said that he felt that the Indians were just taking back what the whites took.

Rohan Swee said...

poor richard: "Mexicans don't pursue education because it's not in their culture. They are happy to see their teenage kids drop out of high school and get a job to help out the family and start building a life.

Fine by me. America has too a bloated more or less clerical class that is expert at filling out forms of one kind or another and has the expensive college degrees to prove it.You can't build a sustainable economy on pushing paper around, simple as that. You need people that actually make stuff and keep it running. As in, outside cubicles."

I thought Mexicans were going to save us through their superior cultural values. They're going to bring back all that value-added manufacturing and restore our infrastructure and its maintenance to First-World standards, too? Cool! Viva La Raza! In your face, Chinese manufacturers! Just give us a couple more years to crank up the illiterate peasant population to critical mass, and it'll be all over for you guys! (I guess all those lost "making stuff" jobs that went overseas were just still more of those jobs Americans wouldn't do...)

Roger Chaillet said...

"Hispanics come here for the programs."

I believe those were the words of Milton Friedman spoken in a Forbes magazine interview. That's why the biggest recipients of welfare, WIC, and a host of other programs are Hispanic.

Genes matter. Or at least George Bush thinks so. That's why he had to gut admissions standards for universities such as Texas A&M and UT Austin. It was done to get more Hispanics enrolled. But more Hispanics mean fewer whites. Something to ponder for the few whites left who still support the anti-American bigot.

They will never assimilate, nor contribute much. The border cities of El Paso and San Antonio have white mayors. How can this be if - in the words of Mexican "comic" George Lopez - "Latinos are taking over."?

Ditto for the state of New Mexico. It would be even poorer than Mississippi except for White Sands and the two national labs keeping it afloat.

Things look grim for this country.

Lucius Vorenus said...

If anyone's interested, Samuel Huntington covered similar ground in his 2004 Foreign Policy piece [free registration required].

See especially the "SIDEBAR: Failure to Assimilate" on Page 10 of 12 of the HTML version.

His sources at that time included the following [note that much of that data is now about 15 years old]:

Rodolfo O. De la Garza, Angelo Falcón, P. Chris García's "Mexican Immigrants, Mexican Americans, and American Political Culture," in Barry Edmonston and Jeffrey S. Passell's (eds.) Immigration and Ethnicity: The Integration of America's Newest Arrivals (Washington: Urban Institute Press, 1994)

"Census of Population: Persons of Hispanic Origin in the United States," Washington: U.S. Census Bureau, 1990)

Gregory Rodriguez, "From Newcomers to New Americans: The successful Integration of Immigrants into American Society" (Washington: National Immigration Forum, 1999), citing "Current Population Survey, June 1994" (Washington: U.S. Census Bureau, 1994)

A. Dianne Schmidley, U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, Profile of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States: 2000, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2001

"Current Population Survey, March 1990" (Washington: U.S. Census Bureau, 1990)

William said...

Ditto for the state of New Mexico. It would be even poorer than Mississippi except for White Sands and the two national labs keeping it afloat.

New Mexico is 41.7% Hispanic - but Mississippi is 36.7% black. And those are, largely, the blacks who couldn't be bothered to take advantage of an opportunity if it was 5 feet away, let alone in Michigan or Illinois - they've been there since the days of slavery and were pretty much too lazy to leave (unless they could get a job talking nonsense for a living).

Michael T said...

I think I'm actually going to take up your offer and email Barone. I recommend others do the same. Anyone know Tamar Jacoby's email? ;-)


I do that all the time. Don't bother writing anything serious -- you won't receive a serious response. Just laugh at and mock them (creatively is better than savagely). Their "stupidity" results from fear of genes and fear of own career track. They've been availed of the facts, so you needn't bother with that. Just ask them how the hell can they live with themselves telling such bald faced lies that ultimately harm (massively) their own interests as well as their supposed foes'.

Svigor said...

Third or fourth generation performing lower than first?

I smell regression toward the mean.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Roger Chaillet: Things look grim for this country.

The USA as we knew it is doomed - the seeds of its demographic demise were planted over the course of the last 45 years, and there's nothing we can do about that now.

All we can do [and what is now our duty to do] is to start making plans for the various successor nations which will replace what had been the USA.

Vexed said...

Roger, you didn't need to attend a prestigious school Texas A&M or UT-Austin to be loan officer at a retail bank in the dfw, UT-Arlington or Dallas Baptist would've sufficed.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Svigor: Third or fourth generation performing lower than first? I smell regression toward the mean.

In all seriousness, we knew a priori what any "honest" study of the situation would discover: If the average Mestizo/Aborginal "Hispanic" IQ is no higher than 85 [and it might be much lower even than that - cf Guatemala with an average IQ of 79], then there is simply no way in Hades that these people could have assimilated into a nation which is [or once was] dominated by people with average IQs at 100+.

In fact, if they had assimilated [absent any artificial intervention like "Affirmative Action"], then that would have been a posteriori proof that they didn't have IQs in the low 80s [or high 70s] to begin with.

Remember: It's generally accepted that one needs an IQ of about 90 to have any hope of benefiting from formal education - ergo it's no surprise that half [PDF FILE] of all "Hispanics" drop out of formal education without graduating [from what is already a hopelessly watered-down curriculum] - and Arthur Hu's Wonderlic to IQ conversion table indicates that employers are looking for an IQ of 100 to 105 in their truck & bus drivers [for which career one doesn't even need so much as a community college Associate's Degree, or even a high school diploma].

So if, on average, we know a priori that Mestizo/Aboriginal Hispanics have IQs which are too low to benefit from formal schooling, and if we know that only vanishingly small numbers of them have IQs high enough to be so much as truck drivers [no offense to all the truck-driving readers in the greater iSteve-verse], then it would be stunning, earth-trembling, history-altering news if we were to discover that significant numbers of Mestizo/Aboriginal Hispanics had managed to assimilate into our society [absent any artificial intervention like "Affirmative Action"].

All this study has done is to document what we knew a priori would necessarily be observed.

PS: Speaking of regression to the mean, take a look at Heather MacDonald's 2006 piece about what happens to the "mean" Hispanic family structure when it comes into contact with the American welfare state.

poor richard said...

Again, the Mexican education thing is racial. There is an old saying (from Indians) that learning and books are for white men, not red men. If whites can ever give up their "everyone should be like me" world view, life would be easier.

Check it: globalization is faltering. Manufacturing for dirt cheap labor and overspending on shipping it to the US doesn't work. We need to build things here, and grow things here. That is also a security issue.

Don't blame the Mexican peasants for outsourcing. It was all pointy headed white people who did that. Because it was "economically efficient" or whatever horse#### explanation looked good on the memo. Did I hear someone say Western rationality is pretty stupid when it ignores basic life imperatives? Yeah, amen brother.

testing99 said...

I am very skeptical of genes being the primary determinant for achievement among a broad section of the population.

What this study shows is once again, CULTURE matters. It matters the most.

Compare the cross-sectional result with the outcomes of the Black Community during segregation (emphasis on hard work, delayed gratification, a tremendous amount of benevolent societies that provided everything from life to health insurance to schooling) to what we see today: anti-intellectualism and the quick fix.

Culture matters. The culture of Mexico is frankly, broken. It would be surprising if it were not broken. Given it's historical background, hacienda system, get-rich-quick schemes, and so on. It's why blessed with natural wealth it's very poor compared to the US (though richer than many third world nations).

As far as Jefferson went, his vision of small-holding America was never in the cards. Though fully a third of people employed work for companies smaller than 100 people. But the closing of the frontier, industrialization, telecommunications, and everything else meant any vision of small-holding farmers was as doomed as Napoleon's empire.

Ronduck said...

So we're headed for a country with a white upperclass and black and Mexican lower class. We can expect the blacks and Mexicans to push for stuff that benefits them like...etc without socializing too much. Whites will continue to be chased from community to community begging nobody calls them racist. We'll be Brazil at best, the USSR in the 1920s at worst. Sad, sad, sad.

Or even worse we will have a population of 800 million with only 20% being White. We could end up like the Jews in Russia did during the Pogroms.

Rohan Swee said...

poor richard: "We need to build things here...

Yes, and...? You seemed to be implying that having a huge underclass of educationally unmotivated serfs was essential to restoring our status as a nation that "builds thing", and that Hispanic drop-outs were in the vanguard of reversing the decline of our stuff-making capacity. Which would be a silly thing to believe, if so.

Don't blame the Mexican peasants for outsourcing.

Nobody's blaming Mexican peasants for outsourcing.

Anonymous said...

"What this study shows is once again, CULTURE matters. It matters the most."

Yes, but it is people who create culture, and culture identifies the desirable traits for breeding partners. So to conclude that culture matters the most is only getting it half-right.

--Senor Doug

Roger Chaillet said...

Vexed is correct.

You can attend an institution such as UT Pan American or UT Brownsville, and then get a sweetheart job with the Federal Reserve in Dallas.

Or be like the Mexican-American woman I worked for (indirectly) as a contractor to the Resolution Trust Corp. years ago. She was allegedly a CPA, but couldn't get the numbers to balance on a failed S&L I was working on. She simply "plugged" a number. Even my boss, a Vietnam vet with a CPA and an MBA from a small university, could not get the numbers to balance. And he had owned a series of small businesses, and knew numbers forwards and backwards.

BTW, last I heard the Latina was working as an administrative assistant at a prestigious girl's prep school in Dallas.

poor richard said...

Rohan,

Think of how the Huns started expanding and all of the northern scythian and scandian tribes began their Migration Period that ended up toppling the Roman state. You ended up with Vandals in North Africa and Jutes in England. Or how the same thing happened with the Mongols in the 1100's, severing the old Polish trade routes and causing Europeans to seek new seaways for the spice trade (and stumbling over America in the process).

These were big folk migrations. Historians can point to a drought in steppe pastures somewhere setting of a chain reaction or what not. But ultimately, these folk migrations didn't have much rhyme or reason, but they were world shaping events that shaped civilizations for centuries.

That is what we are seeing here with the Mexicans. They are pushing out in many small ways and repopulating old turf. You can point reasons at this or that political or economic decision, but ultimately this is a natural folk expansion that can be responded or even slowed and maybe channeled but not stopped. Kick and scream and deny this all you want.

Exactly how it will all shake out is anyone's guess. The Romans kicked and screamed when the pale northern barbarians came to their doorstep too. So please, be hysterical.

Josh said...

I actually think that Mexican-America peaked in the '50s as represented by 'Pepito',the lovable farmhand employed by Walter Brennan in 'The Real McCoys'. Remember how he called Brennans character 'senor Grampa'? Richard Crenna as Big Luke,and his son,Little Luke.( Dont forget Hassy--who would later,strangely,become the president of some kind of actors union.) Maybe McCain sees himself as senor grampa and views the mexicans as a nation of straw hat and workshirt wearing smiling Pepitos?

David said...

evil neocon said

What this study shows is once again, CULTURE matters. It matters the most.

Once again, I challenge you to tell us WHERE cultures originate: in extraterrestrials or in mutants, or both? (since according to you, differences in cultures are not attributable to anything to do with race)

"Sudden" changes in cultures are imposed artificially from above by a people who possessed that culture for a long time.

"Incremental" changes in cultures, occurring over a long time, are evident. Look around the globe. Indigenous cultures most often break down according to ethnicity - the various human families.

Culture has everything to do with race, or the underlying environmental factors shaping genetics.

Blood is thicker than water. No mestizo or African nation will have anything resembling a Jeffersonian democracy. Hell, you can't even change permanently the sanitary habits of most cultures. Wishful thinking and "trying hard" cannot turn an apple into an orange - the so-called social sciences notwithstanding.

Jun said...

The Congealing Pot--Today's Immigrants Are Different from Waves Past