Mexican
17
Jan

Pew: Asians outnumber Hispanics among immigrants

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While the discussion over immigration, legal and illegal, devolves further into a cesspool of anti-hispanic rhetoric and tantrums over building a wall on our southern border, a shift in who is coming to the U.S. has been in effect for a few years. A recent Pew Research Center survey shows a long-term trend is continuing: that is, more Asians are migrating to the U.S. than Hispanics.

More than 1 million immigrants arrive in the U.S. each year. In 2016, the top country of origin for new immigrants coming into the U.S. was India, with 126,000 people, followed by Mexico (124,000), China (121,000) and Cuba (41,000).

By race and ethnicity, more Asian immigrants than Hispanic immigrants have arrived in the U.S. each year since 2010. Immigration from Latin America slowed following the Great Recession, particularly from Mexico, which has seen net decreasesin U.S. immigration over the past few years.

Asians are projected to become the largest immigrant group in the U.S. by 2055, surpassing Hispanics. In 2065, Pew Research Center estimates indicate that Asians will make up some 38% of all immigrants; Hispanics, 31%; whites, 20%; and blacks, 9%.

But you don’t hear any anti-Indian or anti-Chinese rhetoric coming out of the President’s mouth or fast little twitter fingers. Not yet, anyway. And while there’s been no polling on it that we can see, it’s a safe bet that most Americans assume that the overwhelming majority of immigrants are coming from Mexico and Central America. There may be several reasons for this. First, the media, just by reporting utterances by the President (and others of his ilk) that the U.S. is being swamped by Hispanics/Latinos on the southern border, without pushing back, reinforces this myth.

And it is a myth. Perhaps it’s an undocumented issue, and far more immigrants from Mexico and Central America are undocumented than from elsewhere. Actually, no. Here, again, from Pew:

The number of apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border has sharply decreased over the past decade, from more than 1 million in fiscal 2006 to 408,870 in fiscal 2016. In the first two quarters of fiscal 2017, which started Oct. 1, there have been about 199,000 border patrol apprehensions at the Southwest border, compared with 186,000 for the same period in 2016. Today, more non-Mexicans than Mexicans are apprehended at the border. In fiscal 2016, the apprehensions of Central Americans at the border exceeded that of Mexicans for the second time on record.

Maybe Latino/Hispanic immigrants just have an image problem, made worse by rhetoric by the President (and others of his ilk). Because while nearly two thirds of Americans see immigrants as a boost, rather than a burden to the country, when you break down perceptions of the race of immigrants, the picture is different. From Pew:

Americans also hold more positive views of some immigrant groups than others, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center immigration report. More than four-in-ten Americans expressed mostly positive views of Asian (47%) and European immigrants (44%), yet only a quarter expressed such views of African and Latin American immigrants (26% each). Roughly half of the U.S. public said immigrants are making things better through food, music and the arts (49%), but almost equal shares said immigrants are making crime and the economy worse (50% each).

Interesting to note that Americans view immigration in general far more positively than they view any particular group of immigrants, even the most “popular” immigrant group, Asians. It would be fascinating to dig deeper into these attitudes and where they come from and how they’re reinforced.

There’s much more fascinating immigration data in the Pew report.

06
Jan

Racism’s New Normal

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RFK

Robert Kennedy, building a Rainbow Coalition

Tuesday was the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Robert Kennedy in Los Angeles, minutes after he was projected to win the California primary and was – maybe, we’ll never know – on a path to securing the Democratic nomination for President. It’s just anecdotal, but in my experience, people who were alive and aware at that time, and who were Kennedy supporters, still tear up when they speak of him. Even more so than the reaction of those who remember where they were when his brother, JFK, was killed. They believe that hope was killed on that June day in 1968.

There’s an excellent documentary on Netflix right now, “Bobby Kennedy for President,” which chronicles RFK’s awakening to racial issues of the 60s. The film makes note that he started off that decade as his brother’s Attorney General, wiretapping Martin Luther King and being highly resistant to making overtures to communities of color. Near the end of the decade, and his life, he strongly embraced Black and Latino communities. We can credit Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders for his change of heart. But whether it was political calculation or a sincere evolution – many historians come down on the latter – he was the first politician running for President to not ignore communities of color or at least pay them lip service. Historian Richard Kahlenberg superb has written an excellent paper, “The Inclusive Populism of Robert Kennedy,” making the case that RFK was building an alliance of working-class whites and minorities, a coalition that just might have won.

Fast forward to 2018. Where are working class whites now? Oh yes. They helped propel Donald “Mexicans are rapists” Trump to the White House.

Remember when Presidents of both parties, at least in words, tried to appeal to our better natures? What happened? Was a half-century of progress wiped out with one divisive campaign and one highly divisive and bigoted President. Yes, some of it, at least, we can hope, temporarily.

A recent Washington Post editorial stated that everything we’ve witnessed recently, from the ugly Roseanne tweet that ended her show, to the rise in open racists running for office, are predictable and predicted byproducts of the hate spewed from the resident of the Oval Office:

Can I prove that Trump’s hate-mongering is infecting the culture? No, I can’t, but it stands to reason — and there are signs that it is. This year, there are at least 10 white supremacists running for office — and that doesn’t count failed West Virginia Senate candidate Don Blankenship, who excoriated “China people,” and failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Michael Williams, who campaigned in a “deportation bus.” Organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, and the Southern Poverty Law Center report that the number of hate crimes and hate groups has increased since Trump became president.

I can’t prove that the rise in overt racism is a direct result of Trump’s hate-mongering. But if not that, then what has precipitated it’s ugly rise?

I think reasonable people can agree on a few things. Racism never really left the U.S. It’s just that many racists and bigots were, for a while, afraid to say what they really thought. During that shining illusory interregnum in blatant racism –how quaint the term post-racial society sounds – people with racial animus – as opposed to racial bias, which, sadly affects a much wider swath of America – became resentful about feeling like they had to moderate their views. What was happening was, they were keeping the views out of sight, but within their bubbles, they were free to not only say what they wanted, their sense of white victimization grew. Hey, bubbles reinforce beliefs, don’t they?

Speaking of bubbles, we all live in our own. Here in southern California, a melting pot, salad, whatever metaphor you want to use, of every race, bigotry is generally not cool. Because I live in this region, which is relatively free of overt racism – oh it’s likely there, but tamped down by social norms – I’m left astounded and a little depressed every time I see support for Muslim travel bans, racist rallies, and polls where whites say they’re victims of discrimination.

And now, here we are, in a time where racism, for the time being in at least in a too-large part of the population, is normalized again. We’re a much more diverse nation than 50 years ago, and on the verge of, as you’re probably aware, of becoming a nation where whites are not the majority. And yet, we have an occupant in the White House who has, time and again, shown more racial animus than any major candidate for President since George Wallace, a man who doesn’t use coded dog-whistle terms to speak to racists, but rather, a bullhorn. It should be noted that George “Segregation Forever” Wallace didn’t come close to winning any of his Presidential races. Pendulums swing back and forth. We may be seeing a certain percentage of the white population unleashed and angry that they’ve had to keep their racism under wraps for so long. But it’s pretty clear that Trump gave them the freedom to unwrap it.

Still, America is changing, and it will not become whiter. I fear that America will always have a problem with race. But with more time, and with leaders who, at the very least, accept that this is a multicultural nation, we’ll keep making progress.

While I’m on the RFK-Trump comparison, one more thing. Charles Blow, opinion columnist in the New York Times, has an excellent piece today outlining what he sees as the darkness in Trump, and concludes:

He always disguises his hatred, often as a veneration and defense of his base, the flag, law enforcement or the military. He hijacks their valor to advance his personal hatred.

So I remember that. I center that. I hear “I want to hate” every time I hear him speak. And I draw strength from the fact that I’m not fighting for or against a political party; I’m fighting hatred itself, as personified by the man who occupies the presidency. That is my spine stiffener.

Surely RFK had his detractors. But I seriously doubt anyone made the case fifty years ago that he was a “hater.” Maybe that’s why he’s still beloved by so many who were adults at the time. And I’m trying not to be mean here, but I can’ help wondering how many people get weepy at the memory of Gov. George Wallace, who, to be fair, recanted on much of his racial animosity at the end of his life. And I can’t help wondering, after all the ways Trump has taken us backward into bigotry, after he’s gone, how many people will choke up at the memory of him?

 

 

 

 

19
Jan

Census: white Americans may fall below 50% sooner

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It’s not due to a sudden surge of non-white births, or increasing immigration. In fact, Mexican-Americans are starting to move back home to Mexico in larger numbers.

The drop in white Americans will be due to what the Census considers “white.”

In the past, “white” was the only racial option available to Arab-American respondents, a classification that didn’t truly reflect their social standing and hurt efforts for their political empowerment in post-Sept. 11 America, said Samer Khalaf, president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

“If you are going to classify me as white, then treat (me) as white,” Khalaf said. “Especially when I go to the airport. So yeah, it’s inaccurate.”

For years, many U.S. Latinos also checked the “white” box because options were limited, said Lorenzo Cano, associate director of the Center of Mexican American Studies at the University of Houston. But many Latinos are now opting to check “American Indian” to identify with their links to indigenous populations in Latin America.

Overall, “these changes could reduce the number of people who identify as white,” Cano said.

The proposed changes are not set in stone, though. We hope the changes do happen.

A substantial number of American Latinos have long been flummoxed by the mandate that they identify as white on the Census forms. Adding some granularity, if that is the right word, to Census race identification, could give a clearer view of who makes up America, and allow Americans to more accurately say who they identify as.

29
Jan

Ko-Mex cuisine is a real thing

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We should specify that Korean-Mexican cuisine is big in Korea, but the fact that it’s being driven by Korean-Americans here – restauranteurs like Sid Kim – made us sit up an take notice. From an interview with Kim on NBC news:

Blending Mexican and Korean food seems strange at first — but why do you think they work together?
I grew up mainly on two types of cuisine: authentic Korean food and authentic Mexican food.

When I came home after school, I would look into the fridge to grab a bite to eat, and I’d almost always see some leftover Korean food that my mom had cooked the night before: meats like galbi, bulgogi, spicy pork belly, and seafood such as spicy stir fried octopus and grilled sea bream. Since I was a kid, I would grab a tortilla, throw in those ingredients, and there you have it — Ko-Mex fusion food.

To be honest, I don’t particularly like the world “fusion” to describe the food at Vatos. Fusion to me implies some sort of forced combination. Things like galbi tacos, bulgogi sandwiches, pork belly burgers and kimchi pizzas aren’t fusion foods. To me, they are just food — the food I grew up on.

That Kim spent significant time in California is not a surprise. We’ve seen a blending of Asian and Hispanic cultures in small and big ways here for years. What is the takeaway from this story? We don’t know. But speaking of takeaway, is there a restaurant like this in LA that delivers?