November 6, 2007

In what can only be a breath of bad air for the aging, mostly white soldiers of the anti-immigrant movement, a report in today’s San Jose Mercury News revealed that 70% of all Mexicans in California are U.S. citizens. While this news is neither unexpected nor surprising to those of us that track both Latino demographics and the concomitant white fear it inspires, it will be to those who track Mexicans and other Latinos like hunted animals.

Predictably, mainstreamed hate groups like the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform (FAIR) responded with their stock-and-trade “Decline of the West” discourse as in this statement by FAIR’s Ira Mehlman,

“The state generally is becoming a two-class society . . . The outlook in California, I don’t see it as being all that rosy,” Mehlman said. “What we’ve been saying all along is that unless you control this influx, what happens is wages get driven down. In this case (Mexican immigrants) are going to other places, but it is not a good thing to drive down the wages in any market.”

Such gloom and doom predictions hide the even more hideous anti-Latino fears and hate lurking deep in the bosom of white California as documented in journalist Dale Maharidge’s book, “The Coming White Minority”. Carol Swain of Venderbilt University also captures similar sentiments among whites in California and across the country. Her must-read “The New White Nationalism” correctly locates the primary barrier to integration not among blacks or Latinos, but in the ascendant white nationalism that also informs the reborn KKK and the noveaux Minutemen as well as Lou Dobbs and the increasingly-right-leaning Democrats, including “progressives” (just look at most of the reader comments on ANTYHING I’ve written about immigration for the Huffington Post or Alternet.)

For an interesting thought experiment, you might want to contrast the white gloom about migration with the rosier outlook among immigrants themselves as discussed in books like UC Berkeley prof and friend David Hayes Bautista’s La Nueva California. Bautista’s book sheds needed light on the meaning of trends like the Mexican citizenship news of the day.

Those of you not fortunate enough to live in or know the Golden State might want to follow more closely what happens in California, the bellwether for technological, demographic and political trends. Many of your cities and regions are experiencing Californiaization, a confluence of trends like the citizenship news that travel from West to East. Such dislocations – geographic, racial, political, etc.- as those of California cause great consternation among former majorities unused to being abandoned by big capital like the rest of us. Short term electoral, legislative thinking can only deepen your demise-and you’ll be driven co-dependent-like by their fear and gloomy scenarios rather than focus on your own agenda.

So, think long term, check out the sunny state of (at least some) things in California.


  1. Katie Says:

    “unused to being abandoned by big capital like the rest of us”


    Great quote.

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