Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Debunking the myth of the illiterate peasant

I've written before about the obvious racial underpinnings of the modern nativist movement. It's a cynical politics that seeks to vilify an entire group of people and then too shamelessly capitalize on the raw emotions one provokes. It matters not a bit that the slanders are not true, they are meant only to provoke anxiety and fear of those who are "different" for short term political gains.

Today we have news of another study debunking the bigoted assertions of men like Douglas Bruce. The Washington Post reports,

Immigrants of the past quarter-century have been assimilating in the United States at a notably faster rate than did previous generations, according to a study released today.

Modern-day immigrants arrive with substantially lower levels of English ability and earning power than those who entered during the last great immigration wave at the turn of the 20th century. The gap between today's foreign-born and native populations remains far wider than it was in the early 1900s and is particularly large in the case of Mexican immigrants, the report said.

The study, sponsored by the Manhattan Institute, a New York think tank, used census and other data to devise an assimilation index to measure the degree of similarity between the United States' foreign-born and native-born populations...

The report found, however, that the speed with which new arrivals take on native-born traits has increased since the 1990s. As a result, even though the foreign population doubled during that period, the newcomers did not drive down the overall assimilation index of the foreign-born population. Instead, it held relatively steady from 1990 to 2006.

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