Maybe Harvard scholar Samuel Huntington and conservative political activist Patrick Buchanan were right several years ago when they predicted that soon enough, the U.S. would be lousy with Latinos, mostly Mexicans.
It’s already happening, but not to the extreme these two xenophobes predicted in their best-selling books that warned that if the population and migration trend continued – which it has – a wealth of Americans would soon be speaking Spanish and eating tacos.
Huntington, who died in December 2008, was a political science professor who wrote best-selling books on the world’s social makeup, including, in 1966, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, which portended that future international conflicts would occur less over ideological disputes and more due to cultural differences.
You could say the Afghanistan and Iraq disputes, pitting the world’s Islamic factions against the world’s infidels, principally the U.S., gives some substance to Huntington’s pronouncements.
Then Huntington came out in 2004 with Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity,” which posits that, at the current rate of Latino immigration, overwhelmingly Mexican, the U.S. stood the threat of becoming a bifurcated nation by dividing the nation into two peoples, two cultures and two languages.
Huntington, by most accounts a brilliant academic, said in a separate essay that a clue to this was that in 1998, “Jose replaced Michael as the most popular name for newborn boys both in California and Texas.”
Then came Patrick Buchanan, the provocative political gunslinger, who failed miserably in his three races for president but was better at tweaking the national conscience with his alarmist discourses.
In his aptly titled State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, Buchanan warned we were being overtaken by Latinos, mostly Mexicans.
“This is not immigration as America knew it ... This is an invasion, the greatest in history. Nothing of this magnitude has ever happened in so short a time.”
Buchanan was talking mostly about illegal immigrants crossing the southwest border and added that, if not curtailed, it would mean the end of the United States as we know it and the cities of the southwest will look like Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana, as some do already.
Many would find Buchanan’s dissection preposterous and Huntington’s jingoistic in spite of his learned reputation, yet the latest Census figures, released in February, reveal a phenomenal growth of the authentic Latino population in the U.S., mostly Mexicans, during the last decade, growth expected to continue into the next decade.
You can look at the Census numbers and interpret them whichever way you want, and some can be bewildering, but the numbers in their rawest form are unassailable. The U.S. Latino population – mostly Mexican – has become a force to contend with and, according to trends, is on course to become the dominant group, particularly in the southwestern states.
The Census counts currently 48.4 million Hispanics, making them the nation’s largest race minority as of 2010. Worldwide, only Mexico with 111 million has a larger Hispanic population.
The projections are that by July 2050, Hispanics will number 132.8 million, or 30 percent of the nation’s population.
Forty-seven percent of the Hispanic-origin population lives in California or Texas, with California numbering 13.7 million and Texas 9.1 million. Latinos are the largest minority group in 21 states.
Sixteen states have at least a half-million Hispanics. New Mexico’s population is almost half Latino, mostly Mexican. In one year, Alabama increased its Latino population 6.6 percent.
Mexicans account for 66 percent of the Hispanic-origin people in the U.S., followed by Puerto Ricans with 9 percent, Cubans 3.4 percent, Salvadorans 3.4 percent and 2.8 percent Dominicans. In one year alone, between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2009, the U.S. Hispanic population increased 3.1 percent.
You think you know where most are coming from – Mexico – and why those U.S. olive green-uniformed immigration cops are going crazy manning detection radar and constructing barriers along the border – and still they come.
Actually, the U.S. illegal population is only about 12 million, two-thirds Latinos and, yes, mostly Mexicans. However, the rest of the explosive Latino population is U.S.- born or legal, and Latinos have one of the highest birth rates in the country, so they ain’t going to go away soon.
Twenty-six percent of children 5 or younger were Hispanic. All in all, Hispanics account for 22 percent of children younger than 18. The median age of Hispanics in 2009 was 27.4 years compared to 36.8 years for the entire U.S.
In July 2008-09, California had the largest Hispanic numerical increase with 312,000, followed by Texas’ 300,000 and Florida’s 105,000 – but it is Texas whose Latino growth – mostly Mexicans – is called phenomenal.
The Texas population grew to 25.1 million, accounting for nearly 25 percent of the nation’s total growth since the last count, and Latinos, mostly Mexicans, provided two-thirds of the increase, Census officials said.
Non-Hispanic Whites now make up only 45 percent of the Texas population, down from 52 percent in 2000, and if their numbers continue to shrink, they could be on their way to becoming what was once unthinkable in Texas – the minority group.
I never thought I’d ever see my native Texas “going Mexican,” but the signs become more obvious every time I visit my home turf in the Rio Grande Valley, which is several times a year.
Anglos are less ubiquitous, and in ways, their customs are now becoming the exception or are conforming to Latino ways, although many Latinos have corrupted the language and their traditions into an ersatz ethnic lifestyle, if at all.
Latinos, mostly the younger generations – speak to me in English or in barely pidgin Spanish or cyberspeak gobbledygook, and in a weird sort of way, I feel ostracized all over again in this reformist Latino age.
Carlos D. Conde, award-winning journalist and commentator, former Washington and foreign news correspondent, was an aide in the Nixon White House and worked on the political campaigns of George Bush Sr. To reply to this column, contact Cdconde@aol.com.