Sunday, August 12, 2007

American Values

The Post has a depressing piece about grandson-of-immigrants Tom Tancredo's Endless Immigrant-Bashing tour of Iowa, in which large groups of white people gather to congratulate themselves on how white they all are.

Looking out at the small stores in this small town, Tancredo says, "Sure, there's that nostalgic part of me that idealizes an America that probably never existed. But, an America more homogeneous, yes. It is not a white America, which is something I've heard people attacking me for all the time. We've always been a nation made up of so many different people, but it seemed to me there was more of an attempt to assimilate. So yeah, I long for that."

...Speaking to largely older crowds in town halls, he mostly ignores Iraq and Darfur and universal health care. Where he reaches them is in his pledge to drive the nation's 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants back to their native homes. He speaks against bilingual education, calling English the glue that "holds the country together."

Yeah, I've always been impressed with the linguistic and rhetorical skills of Iowa pig farmers (and I've interviewed quite a few of them over the years.) But since Tancredo brought up the subject of assimilation and glue-sniffing...

Substance abuse increases among recent Hispanic immigrants as they replace their traditional cultural beliefs with those of white Americans, according to new research presented today by Oregon State University assistant professor Scott Akins at the American Sociological Association’s Annual Meeting in New York.

The results were striking. Acculturated Hispanics were nearly 13 times as likely to report using illegal drugs as non-acculturated Hispanics. Acculturation involves the adoption of new cultural information and social skills by an immigrant group, which often replaces traditional cultural beliefs, practices and social patterns....

The study shows that 6.4 percent of whites reported using illicit drugs in the previous month, compared to 7.2 percent of acculturated Hispanics. However, less than 1 percent of non-acculturated, Spanish-speaking Hispanics reported use in the same time period.

“Their percentage/general patterns of substance use are very similar to white patterns of use, which is what we would expect given an acculturation/assimilation model,” Akins said. “When Hispanics acculturate to dominant American society their substance use behavior appears to mimic that of whites, the culture they are acculturating to.”

The research also showed that acculturated Hispanics were almost twice as likely as non-acculturated Hispanics to report current binge drinking and more than three times as likely to report drinking continuously for days in a row without sobering up, also known as bender drinking.

“When people immigrate to the U.S., their patterns of illegal drug use and alcohol abuse increase over time,” Akins said.

So, in a way, Tancredo's really looking out for the Mexicans' best interest. I mean, God help them if they start to act more like white, English-speaking people.

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