Skip to comments.1965 Immigration Reform Cost Blacks Minority Primacy
Posted on 09/29/2005 5:30:21 PM PDT by Incorrigible
BY Jonathan Tilove
WASHINGTON -- There is a deja vu quality to the nation's post-Katrina interest in race and poverty. It brings to mind the call-to-conscience of the Kerner Commission, named by President Johnson in the wake of the urban riots of the 1960s, and its warning of an America "moving toward two societies, one black, one white, separate and unequal."
But of course, America is not black and white anymore, thanks to another legacy of that era -- the Hart-Cellar Immigration Act, which Johnson signed into law Oct. 3, 1965. Infused with the civil rights spirit of the day, Hart-Cellar eliminated national origin quotas designed to keep the United States a mostly Northern European nation, ushering in an era of mass immigration, mostly from Latin America and Asia. It would transform America's racial and ethnic makeup more than any legislation in history.
Forty years later, whites are a diminished majority in a far more diverse nation, but still comprise more than two-thirds of its population and a commanding share of its wealth and power.
Blacks, meanwhile, have lost their standing as the dominant minority group, effectively ceding their singular claim on the national conscience, their grievances undermined by the competing demands and relative success of many immigrants of color.
"People are becoming aware that you can't talk about black and white anymore," said Gerald Jaynes, professor of economics and African-American studies at Yale University. In 1989, Jaynes co-edited "A Common Destiny," in its time the definitive study of blacks in American society. By 2000, he was editing another volume, "Immigration and Race."
In 1960, blacks accounted for 69 percent of the U.S. minority population.
By 2004, according to Census Bureau estimates, blacks were only 39 percent of the minority population. Hispanics became the largest minority in 2001.
"What we have is not a black and white situation. It's black and brown, and white and Asian, and black and Asian, and on it goes," said Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a black writer and commentator who presides over the weekly Los Angeles Urban Roundtable.
In Los Angeles, as in California, blacks are now the third-largest minority, behind both Latinos and Asians, their ranks of elected officials thinning year by year. Watts, the definitive black ghetto when it exploded in riots in August 1965, long ago became mostly Latino.
"This is a new world," said Nicolas C. Vaca, a Bay Area lawyer and sociologist, author of last year's "The Presumed Alliance: The Unspoken Conflict Between Latinos and Blacks and What It Means for America."
In his book, Vaca describes the demographic wave overtaking black America as "the Latino tsunami" that will forever alter the arithmetic of minority politics. The new axioms of power, he writes, are that Latinos outnumber blacks, that they will compete for jobs and resources, that Latinos have their own history of oppression, and, most pointedly, that "because Latinos are not responsible for the plight of African-Americans, they come to the table with a clear conscience."
From the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, black appeals to conscience and white guilt have proved indispensible to progress. But, as time passes and America's complexion changes, those appeals lose traction.
When John Hope Franklin, the eminent historian of the black experience, was named to chair President Clinton's advisory board on race in 1997, he insisted that the board first focus on the fundamental question of black-white relations. Countered Angela Oh, a liberal young Korean-American lawyer from Los Angeles, who served on the board: "We can't undo this part of our heritage. But what we can affect is where we are headed. I want to talk about multiculturalism, because I think that's where we are headed."
When Philadelphia earlier this year became the first city to require that every high school student take a year-long course in African and African-American history, Chester Finn Jr., a conservative education reformer who served in the Reagan Education Department, assailed the development in the name of immigrant children.
"Why are they and their heritages being discriminated against?" Finn wrote in the June 16 newsletter of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, of which he is president. "One imagines families of Mexican, Trinidadian, Irish, Korean and Bangladeshi backgrounds asking why the school system is `privileging' its African-American students' heritage and neglecting their own."
These are perilous times for African-Americans, argues Stephen Steinberg, a scholar of race at Queens College and author of "The Ethnic Myth" and "Turning Back: The Retreat From Racial Justice in American Thought and Policy." Steinberg addressed immigration's impact on blacks in the summer issue of the left journal New Politics.
"The extension of race beyond the binary of black and white, the admission of permutations in the middle, has deflected attention away from the unique and unresolved problems of race qua African-Americans," he wrote. "The result is that the nation congratulates itself on its `diversity' and celebrates its `multiculturalism,' while the problems of African-Americans continue to fester."
Blacks are caught coming and going. The success of many immigrants of color is used as proof that blacks' misery is their own doing, not, as the Kerner Commission asserted, the consequence of white racism. But Steinberg said even many on the left turn a blind eye to the racism he sees as intrinsic in employer preferences for immigrant labor, in the network hiring and ethnic niches in the economy that limit opportunities for blacks.
The deep irony here, Steinberg points out, is that it was the black protest movement that created the conditions for immigration reform.
Frederick Lynch, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College and author of "The Diversity Machine," said that corporate, political and academic elites were only too happy to redirect affirmative action from the difficult work of addressing discrimination against blacks to the broader, more prospective agenda of corralling diversity. And politically, Lynch said, while Republicans make high-profile overtures for black support, it is clear that the real prize is the growing Latino vote.
So it was left to a hurricane to put the question of race and poverty back on the front page and the forefront of public concern.
"In many ways," Lynch said, "New Orleans is a quick flashback to what was."
"As all of us saw on television, there's also some deep, persistent poverty in this region," President Bush told the nation Sept. 15, speaking from Jackson Square in New Orleans. "That poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action."
"Poverty, Race & Katrina: Lessons of a National Shame," read the cover of the Sept. 19 issue of Newsweek over a close-up photo of the tear-streaked face of a black child.
In fact, race and poverty are tightly linked in New Orleans. The city has not been a big destination for immigrants. Before Katrina, it was only 3 percent Hispanic and 2 percent Asian. It was more than two-thirds black, 35 percent of whom lived in poverty, those most likely left stranded by Katrina.
Nationally, Hispanics are nearly as likely as blacks to be poor. A California earthquake might have put barrio poverty on Newsweek's cover.
Perhaps. Because, true or not, Hispanic poverty often is viewed as transitory, even a rite of passage for newcomers who arrive with nothing. The national narrative for Latinos is one of surging ascendance.
When Antonio Villaraigosa was elected mayor of Los Angeles in May he landed on the cover of Newsweek: "Latino Power -- And How Hispanics Will Change American Politics." Where the issue with the black Katrina survivor on the cover mapped "the geography of destitution," the Villaraigosa issue mapped the "New Latino Nation."
In the Sept. 25 Los Angeles Times, contributing editor Gregory Rodriguez, a fellow at the New America Foundation, wrote a piece headlined, "La Nueva Orleans: Latino immigrants, many of them here illegally, will rebuild the Gulf Coast -- and stay there."
Already, he said, Washington was greasing the skids by suspending the Davis-Bacon Act that would have required government contractors rebuilding the Gulf to pay prevailing wages, and by suspending sanctions against employers who hire immigrant victims of Katrina who cannot prove their legal status.
New Orleans will be rebuilt, Rodriguez predicted, and, in its new makeup, "look like Los Angeles."
Hyperbolic, perhaps, but the pattern is plain to Hutchinson. "The vibrant new ethnic group in America are Hispanics," he said, while the interests of African-Americans "are falling by the wayside."
Sept. 29, 2005
(Jonathan Tilove can be contacted at email@example.com.)
Not for commercial use. For educational and discussion purposes only.
Darn it! They had the minority market cornered up to then!!! And then THE MAN gave it away.
In my posts concerning American Blacks, I have been saying all along that both Hispanics and Asians are bypassing American Blacks as if the Blacks were stnding still. In the real world of America today Blacks have very little political power and it is diminishing all the time. Shame to say, they brought this situation upon themselves by their own hands in supporting their failed Black leadership, who today, are nothing but Black Racists and the failed Democrat Party that has kept them trapped in the grip of economic slavery for over fifty years. I am not even sure that if every Black voted Republican tomorrow they could reverse their fate! Methinks, they will be stuck at the bottom of every success parameter for a long, long time!!! They did this to themselves, and have no one else to blame. Their only hope is to dump their present leadership, and drop the Democrat Party like a bad habit immediately. Reality, truth abd demographics are right out there for all to see plainly.
This was supposed to go down the memory hole. Who let it out?
"Aaww geez" PING
You just wait. There'll be some black to claim it's a white conspiracy to shove the black race further into minority status by offering the flood of illegal aliens jobs without resistance.
Some will eventually say whites have got to keep the black man down - even if hispanics and asians are used to accomplish the task.
< s >It's a conspiracy! </ s >
No race -- white or black-- should have political power. Politics should be about ideas not stupid prejudices.
THAT won't last. The way the Prez and the Republican Party have become big spenders, we're all going to be broke before long. Even IF, we aren't broke, Hillary is planning to take from us to give to the poor, so anyway we look at it, we won't be wealthy for long.
I view this as a very, very good thing. Due to abortion and the increase of percentages of other non-white ethnic groups, any progress through the political realm for American blacks has all but evaporated.
Black America has needed a "do or die" moment for a long time. Bring it on!
If you want a Google GMail account, FReepmail me.
They're going fast!
Fascinating article. Blacks must move away from the failed Democrat plantation. This is their only hope. Democrats offer them nothing but continued misery.
This is old news. I know some of the folks at CNN en Espanole and when this was announced last year they all chanted 'We're number one! We're number one!'(of course it was more like 'Somos el números uno! 'Somos el números uno!)
Well, only partly. Guys like Immanuel Cellar had worked for 40 years to reverse the 1924 act, along with a parade of leftist fellow travelers. This was just their moment.
The most important thing about Hart-Cellar's passage was the fact that it was the result of colossal lies, such as Teddy The Future Swim Champ's speech claiming that "The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society". Robert Kennedy predicted 5,000 immigrants from the entire Asia-Pacific Triangle, 'after which immigration from that source would virtually disappear.'
I'll leave it to you to decide if they were just clueless or intentionally lying.
Richard Nixon's, too, since his Census Bureau created "Hispanics" and "Asians" out of thin air.
Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen, "IQ and the wealth of nations". (Praeger, 2002) have a bit different take on the situation. To chuck the leadership is relatively easy [at least in theory it is known how to do it]. To raise an IQ of a large population is much more difficult - nobody knows how to do it or even whether it is doable at all using known means.
I was waiting to see how many posts before a trenchant comment on the monstrosity that was the 1965 Act.
Only waited until post #13. Not too bad. The situation here is not so hopeless after all. But I hope in the future the first post after any article referencing Hart-Cellar cuts to the heart of the matter as poster Regulator did: The 1965 Immigration Act was and remains 100% pure Marxism. It should be reviled now. And down the road reversed.
I agree with you. I have been warning our people about this very thing for some time. It would be a good thing, if it led to change. However, even this late in the game, many of us either refuse to see what is ahead, or just don't know how to change.
It is interesting you mention abortion. I often tell people that we play right into the eugenicists hands when we walk into one of Margaret Sanger's legacies. We listen to the liberals when they tell us there is nothing wrong with us killing black babies, but when they suggested doing that very thing sixty years ago, we were all up in arms.
When Bill Clinton took office and spent all of his political capital on getting homosexuals into the military, we should have realized something was up. As it was, some fooled themselves into thinking he was a great president for black people -- the first "black president." If you ask them what exactly he did for black people, you never get much of an answer.
As it is now, I wonder whatever happens to a dream deferred. When it is finally apparent to all of us that the illusion of political power is gone, what will we do? I really don't have an idea about what the reaction will be. But I wonder.
Demography is destiny, Utopian.
The Latinization of the USA is an economic catastrophe for blacks and a cultural catastophe for the country. Latin culture is the legacy of Moorish Spain. It is Arab influence that makes Spain the quasi-white backwater that it's been since Ferdinand and Isabella.
Latin culture has zero respect for math or science. This by itself is a calamity for all Latin nations. Add Latin culture's disregard for the rule of law and you get a succession of backward societies from the Rio Grande to Patagonia.
I urge readers to check the ranking of nations based on transparency i.e. corruption. Then I urge readers to check the rankings of nations based on gross domestic product or per capita income. You won't find any Latin nations remotely near the top. And after doing this checking you still think that the Latinization of the USA is a positive trend I think there may be a job for you in Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
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