Skip to comments.HOW THE GRANDSON OF JEWISH IMMIGRANTS BECAME AN ANGLO-SAXON, NATIVIST, XENOPHOBE...
Posted on 04/03/2003 4:38:48 PM PST by EveningStar
HOW THE GRANDSON OF JEWISH IMMIGRANTS BECAME AN ANGLO-SAXON, NATIVIST, XENOPHOBE IN THREE EASY LESSONS
A speech by Don Feder to the Federation for American Immigration Reform
October 15, 1999
This speech is titled "How the Grandson of Jewish Immigrants became an Anglo-Saxon, Nativist, Xenophobe, in Three Easy Lessons."
Let me read something really silly that was published in a political column on Aug. 30, 1990: "What is said about the new immigrant (Hispanics, Asians, Caribbean blacks) today, was said yesterday of the Irish, Jews, Slavs, and Italians. It was false then; it's equally false now...Immigrants do not come here looking for handouts...Immigrants have a positive impact; on employment: taking jobs Americans don't want..." I could go on at length but you get the drift.
The article is, cliched, utopian, disconnected from reality. What kind of a numbskull, lame-brained, nut-wit could write such drivel?
Now, here's something from a column by the same writer three years later (on June 14, 1993): "In the past, I confess, my thoughts on immigration were clouded by emotion and tinged with nostalgia." The author goes on to observe that today's immigrants are, by and large, "impoverished, unskilled, poorly educated and far less capable of assimilation than were their predecessors."
The columnist asks rhetorically: "Is it racist or xenophobic not to want to see one's country become the Balkans of the Western Hemisphere? A nation is more than a geographic entity or a conglomeration of disparate, disputatious groups that happen to share two rooms and a bath."
I am the author of both columns.
I'm sure you've heard the old joke: "When I was 18, I thought my father was an idiot. By the time I was 28, he seemed pretty smart. It's amazing how much the old man learned in 10 years." By the same token, it is astounding how much America learned about immigration between 1990 and 1993.
But, seriously, the facts were always there. All it took to achieve enlightenment was a willingness to allow reality to overcome sentimentality. Among other things, I discovered that:
While America has 4.5 percent of the world's population, we take in more than half of its permanent immigrants.
In the 1990s, our foreign-born population grew 4 times as fast as our native-born population. Today, 10 percent of our people were born outside the United States, compared to 7.9 percent in 1990. In the past 30 years, America's Hispanic population doubled. Latinos will soon be our largest minority.
The poverty rate for immigrants is roughly twice that of white Americans. In Texas, immigrants comprise 8 percent of households, but receive 22 percent of public assistance. Twenty years after the great influx of legal immigrants form South East Asia, 30 percent of their households were still on welfare.
In 1993, California spent $1.4 billion to incarcerate illegal aliens and educate their children. That year, illegals accounted for two-thirds of the births in LA public hospitals and half of the kids in its juvenile justice system. Almost half of the students in the Los Angeles Unified School System are classified "English-limited."
There are an estimated 300,000 non-citizens in prison, on probation or on parole in this country. Of the first 6,000 rioters arrested in Los Angeles in 1992, when South Central exploded after the first Rodney King verdict, roughly one-third were illegals.
We all know the proverbial immigrant success stories, the Vietnamese girl who comes here as a young child and winds up the high-school valedictorian, the computer programmer born in India, the Chinese physicist, the Korean grocer, the Cuban-American congresswoman. They are inspiring - and they are very much the exception.
Unfortunately, too many Americans generalize on the basis of personal experience. To wit: "I know immigrants who are hard-working, well-educated, willing to assimilate, therefore all immigrants are Frank Capra, Albert Einstein or the Vietnamese valedictorian."
What concerns me far more than the economic aspects of immigration is its effect on cultural cohesion and national identity. In South Florida, Southern California, Texas, the Southwest, and sections of almost every major American city, there are people who want to live here, but don't care to know where "here" is, in a historical, philosophical sense.
They are changing America in alarming ways. Islam is now our fastest growing religion. You can't say the word "Christmas' in most public schools today. But in New York City, they're accommodating Ramadan.
In March, 1998, a little-publicized federal law went into effect criminalizing the practice of genital mutilation of women under 18, a delightful custom prevalent in 28 African nations. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are 150,000 women and girls of African descent in this country who have been or are in danger of being so maimed.
More than 50,000 members of the Caribbean Santeria cult have settled in South Florida, where they are enhancing the state's diversity by sacrificing chickens, goats and other small animals in voodoo rituals.
In Lincoln, Neb., in 1997, two Iraqis were arrested for marrying sisters, ages 13 and 14. Such unions are common is Arab lands. Since America must now adapt to immigrants (rather than the reverse) perhaps we should abolish our culturally insensitive laws against statutory rape.
Equating today's immigrants, overwhelmingly from the Third World, with the Irish, Italians, Slavs and Jews of 100 years ago is a soothing but strained comparison. The old immigrants actually had things in common with the American majority of their day.
All of the aforementioned groups were European. Three were Christian and the fourth practice the religion from which Christianity sprang. All came from societies that respected law and had common concepts of justice, liberty and personal responsibility.
The afore-cited facts helped me to overcome an emotional handicap - the tendency to see all immigrants as my maternal grandfather.
I loved my grandfather and I admired him. He came to this country penniless. He was grateful to be an American and so proud of his adopted land. He loved America fiercely, worked hard and raised his children to be good citizens of this great republic.
All he asked of America was the rights he was denied in the Old Country - to earn a living without anyone's leave, to raise a family unmolested, to practice his ancient faith free of fear.
It's easy for the children and grandchildren of such immigrants to get caught up in a huddled-masses thing, to see immigration of the 1990s as their family's experience writ large.
And yet, there really are significant differences between the immigration of 1880-1920 and today's immigrants. For one thing, the times are radically different. When my grandfather, Israel Whitman, came here, there was no welfare, no SSI, no food stamps, no subsidized housing, no Medicaid.
Equally important, there was no bilingual education, no bilingual ballots, no dumbed-down citizenship tests, no quotas, no multiculturalism, no militant racial interest groups, no chip-on-the-shoulder minorities clamoring for what they perceive to be due.
When my grandfather arrived on these shores, immigrants were required to fit in. The country was not expected to change to accommodate them.
Today, we ask next to nothing of newcomers. You don't want to learn English? Fine don't learn English. You don't want to work? Here's a welfare check. You don't want to assimilate? That's OK too. You have no interest in learning of our history and heritage? You don't identify with our past? Why should you? After all, America is now a multicultural boarding house. Why should the boarders be expected to identify with the tables and chairs in their furnished rooms?
The Jews gave the world the Bible. Irish monks preserved Western civilization during the Dark Ages. Italy was the embodiment of the Renaissance. Over 90 percent of our new immigrants are non-white. Many come from caudillo cultures where corruption is rampant and a mañana work ethic prevails.
I hasten to add that this doesn't make it impossible for them to assimilate _ after all, Americanism has always been about belief, not blood - it just makes it harder. In an ideal world, race and ethnicity would be largely irrelevant. Unfortunately, liberals have given us a country where they are increasingly relevant, where more and more we are at each other's throats over quotas, preferences, whether or not victim-group history will be taught in our schools and who did what to whom 150 years ago.
Our own racial problems we must deal with. But why augment an increasingly ugly situation? Why, oh why, must we import division, conflict and hostility?
As I said earlier, cases constructed entirely of anecdotes are suspect. Still, let me relate three stories to give you some idea of the fraying of national identity under unrestrained immigration.
In his monograph "Huddled Cliches," Lawrence Auster tells the story of a "very bright Bengali-American student who told her college English class that the word 'American' is 'Orwellian' because it imposes an identity on her that she doesn't feel. "I am not an American. I'm Bengali." Well, good golly, Miss Bengali.
At a 1995 symposium on American identity, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, a young man who called himself a "Latino activist" testified: " I am not an American. There is nothing about me that is American. I do not want to be American, and I have just as much right to be here as you." To which The Wall Street Journal's open-border boys would respond, "Ole!"
Where formerly we had Memorial Day essay contests, today, many California schools have compositions for Mexican Independence Day (Cinco de Mayo). Here are some excerpts from an award-winning essay of a few years back. The student declares himself a "Mexican and an American," not a Mexican-American _which would be bad enough- and note the order of precedence.
Of this Mexican national holiday, the teen writes: "My impulses and desires are linked to this day. (Not to the 4th of July or Thanksgiving, which probably have no emotional significance for the him). The young man insists "Cinco de Mayo represents my birth, who I am and will become," the young man insists. This isn't nostalgia for the old country, but ethnic separatism that constitutes social dynamite, which would blow this country apart.
A New York Times story of June 29, 1993, titled "A Fervent 'No' to Assimilation in New America," reported on a survey of 5,000 8th and 9th graders with a foreign-born parent. Of the Mexican-American kids, 56 percent said they preferred their parents' native tongue to English, as did 49 percent of Vietnamese. Only 35 percent of Haitians consider America the best country to live in.
Therein lies a tragedy in the making. The old immigrants were grateful to be here and touching in their eagerness to adapt to their adopted land. As a whole, the new immigrants are decidedly ambivalent. They want the economic/political advantages of living here while maintaining their old loyalties. They demand that their children be educated in Spanish, Chinese, Russian or Lao and instructed in the swellness of the countries they couldn't wait to leave.
All of this is a major problemo. A nation without common ground cannot long endure.
America has a language that has bound generations of our people. (It happens to be the language of when-in-the-course-of-human-events, we-the-people and one-nation-indivisible.) Americans have a history dating from the Jamestown settlement and spanning almost four centuries. And we have a national ethos, shaped by our historical experience and political institutions - our triumphs and our tragedies.
All are under assault by unrestrained immigration, by immigration based not on national interest but guided by libertarian, free-market dogma and informed by a mushy altruism. America has quite enough unemployment, welfare, illiteracy, crime, disease, racial/ethnic animosity and social decay. There is no logical reason to import these maladies.
Nothing will have a greater impact on our nation's future than the decisions we make on immigration today. What kind of America will our children and grandchildren inherit - the multiculturalists' fantasy of Diversity Disneyland, where a rainbow of smiling faces celebrates their differences or Rwanda with high-tech machetes, Kosovo without the kindness, Bosnia from sea to shining sea?
My grandfather may have come here from the Pale of Settlement, and yours from the sunny shores of Napoli, or a village in the Auld Sod, or Old Mexico, but we are Americans now. Our first thought must be to the preservation of our national patrimony. I think my grandfather would have understood.
Why would anyone call the Irish Anglo-Saxon?
They are rather proud of being Celts.
The rest of the Anglo-Saxons are also of Celtic origin. The nuances are more cultural than ethnic.
The numbers tell the tale. In 100 years, between 1850 and 1950, some 4 million Irish came here. Some 6 Million Italians. Some 3 Million Poles. Perhaps 4 million Jews. Maybe 10 Million of everyone else, among whom were a lot of British.
Suppose some 50 Million in total came during that 100-year period. The Latinos have topped that number in just 40 years. They now outnumber African-Americans, and certainly every other distinct ethnic group.
Folks, this ain't a "Melting Pot," it's one big bowl of chili, in which ethnic groups other than hispanic hopefully can still just add a bit of flavor.
Interesting that in all its postings it hasn't garnered more replies.
That was a good year. When the police ran off, and the Korean citizens broke out their arms and stood their ground...That's what the second amendment is all about...They are a well armed community without a doubt.
Oh, and the only reason all those illegal aliens were arrested, was because they are all hard working, good family people that are doing jobs others wont.....
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