More on Plantation America

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Bookworm pens an intensely personal essay on what she sees as an emerging permanent underclass composed of Hisapnic immigrants and their descendants, a theme closely related to Timothy Birdnow's article today on the plantation society he sees building in America.

Bookworm offers a politically—incorrect observation:

I'm always stunned by the anti—education attitude permeating the Hispanic community.

She offers a counter—example, and makes it clear that she speaks of widespread [not universal] attitudes, not abilities or in—born traits. And my observation is that it is those mostly those on the bottom of Mexico's economic hierarchy, the most desperate people, who also not coincidentally have the least education and the most skeptical attitudes toward the value of education, who come here illegally. Such attitudes made good sense in the campesino society that Mexico had for centuries, with its hacienda system of virtual peonage.

I have in my circle of acquantances highly educated and accomplished Mexicans. There is nothing in their culture or genes which prevented them from excelling. But they never had to sneak across the border to enroll in Harvard because they came from privileged backgrounds and could play game by the rules. And their numbers are dwarfed by those Mexicans fleeing poverty and lack of opportunity.

Bookworm goes on to make the point that indifference to education all but ensures that even with hard work, a group with such an attitude will not get on the escalator other immigrant groups have ridden upwards. This, she sees, leads to a permanent underclass.

These are difficult issues to discuss because merely raising them renders one vulnerable to criticism for ethnic stereotyping, racism, and all the usual artillery hauled out by the left to silence conservatives.

One way or another, those suffering the legacy of Mexico's particular social and economic history must find opportunities to move up from poverty. We need to face this problem with our eyes open.

Thomas Lifson   4 15 06

Bookworm pens an intensely personal essay on what she sees as an emerging permanent underclass composed of Hisapnic immigrants and their descendants, a theme closely related to Timothy Birdnow's article today on the plantation society he sees building in America.

Bookworm offers a politically—incorrect observation:

I'm always stunned by the anti—education attitude permeating the Hispanic community.

She offers a counter—example, and makes it clear that she speaks of widespread [not universal] attitudes, not abilities or in—born traits. And my observation is that it is those mostly those on the bottom of Mexico's economic hierarchy, the most desperate people, who also not coincidentally have the least education and the most skeptical attitudes toward the value of education, who come here illegally. Such attitudes made good sense in the campesino society that Mexico had for centuries, with its hacienda system of virtual peonage.

I have in my circle of acquantances highly educated and accomplished Mexicans. There is nothing in their culture or genes which prevented them from excelling. But they never had to sneak across the border to enroll in Harvard because they came from privileged backgrounds and could play game by the rules. And their numbers are dwarfed by those Mexicans fleeing poverty and lack of opportunity.

Bookworm goes on to make the point that indifference to education all but ensures that even with hard work, a group with such an attitude will not get on the escalator other immigrant groups have ridden upwards. This, she sees, leads to a permanent underclass.

These are difficult issues to discuss because merely raising them renders one vulnerable to criticism for ethnic stereotyping, racism, and all the usual artillery hauled out by the left to silence conservatives.

One way or another, those suffering the legacy of Mexico's particular social and economic history must find opportunities to move up from poverty. We need to face this problem with our eyes open.

Thomas Lifson   4 15 06