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A Cuban conservative explains why many Hispanics see government as a benefactor from the day they come to America

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Devastating "downward assimilation" of Hispanics in America, and how progressives helped cause it.

[instory-book ISBN="9780804137652"]

Mike Gonzalez, a Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, has a new book out titled "A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans." In the book, Gonzalez examines the history of Hispanics in America, Democratic electoral dominance among, and the disastrous effects on Hispanics broadly, and how and why conservatives must break the liberal hold on Hispanics, beginning with working to change the culture.

In an interview with TheBlaze Books, we asked Gonzalez -- who immigrated to America from Cuba in 1974 -- about how and why Hispanics (with the exception of Cubans) came to overwhelmingly vote Democratic, which he argues coincides with the period in which Hispanic immigration (legal and illegal) to America exploded.

Gonzalez notes that it was in the time of the civil rights revolution, sexual revolution, and Great Society passage and implementation -- the 1960s and 1970s -- that America's fundamental institutions, including schools, explicitly turned against teaching citizens civics, and working to inculcate in them the age-old American values that had been passed on from generation to generation to that point:

Maybe in the 1960s we began to be overly optimistic about the durability of the [American] experiment and we thought we didn't need to assimilate any more, or maybe on the contrary we became embarrassed about our values and we didn't think we should teach them any more. Either way we stopped, and what we do today is almost the opposite, which is we use all of our institutions to aggressively instill multiculturalism, rather than assimilation into these founding values.

[sharequote align="center"]"[W]e use all...our institutions to aggressively instill multiculturalism, rather than assimilation"[/sharequote]

At the same time as our educational institutions succumbed to progressivism, and began to propagate it, so too did our government shift, seeking to redistribute wealth and power to specific racial and ethnic groups, including Hispanics, who had to that point according to Gonzalez seen themselves as white.

The artificial designation by government of Hispanics as a separate group, with legitimate grievances that needed redress through entitlements, had grave consequences. As Gonzalez asserts:

In the case of Hispanics...they [government racial classifications which broke out Hispanics as a group] were done with the express purpose of administering affirmative action, of collecting data so they could administer affirmative action to these groups, and that is why I think the effect has been nefarious.

Gonzalez continues, in a portion of our interview which you can listen to below at 4:31:

[The] Mexican-American rank-and-file did not want this [the labeling]...but the activists did. They saw the spoils system that was being created in the aftermath of the civil rights movement, and they said, "Well we want to...get in there too. We want to be designated as one of the minorities, so money can start going to the barrio."

...To me what that does is that it starts right away, right away, to associate government interference with success, because your success depends on the government...apportioning what your participation in society will be: what your participation in the labor force will be, what your participation in government contracts will be, and what your participation in the universities will be.

...Now we're a country of immigrants...the left always says that, but they forgot what that implies. For 300 years starting with the Germans and the Scotch-Irish in the 1600s and the 1700s, we had successive waves who made it in this country against much discrimination, against much segregation. They all faced it, and they all made it through their own determination.

[sharequote align="center"]"[W]e're a country of immigrants...the left always says that, but they forgot what that implies"[/sharequote]

So after 300 years of a collective history of this, with each country proving itself, and thereby through this competition improving not just its own group but improving the country, the federal government for the first time in the 1970s decides that it must act. It must take a hand in this, in apportioning participation. What this does is it gets rid of the process that I've just described of each group trying its darndest to succeed by its own merit.

But it also begins to associate in the minds of those coming in -- and don't forget that most of the Hispanics in the country today came in after 1965 or are the descendants of people who came in after 1965, including myself and my family...-- from the beginning these immigrants associate government as a benevolent actor, as a benevolent benefactor, and that's what affirmative action does, and it has a very corrosive effect I think.

During the interview, we also discussed a number of other issues including:

  • Why illegal immigration exploded beginning in the 1960s
  • Why a substantial percentage of the Hispanic population has experienced "downward assimilation"
  • Whether Hispanics who come from countries with values different from those enshrined by the Constitution such as property rights will bring those values here, or assimilate in the American system
  • Why Gonzalez believes we need to fight against multiculturalism
  • How Texas succeeds while California fails
  • Why Gonzalez is optimistic about the fate of the Hispanic community in America, and the ability for conservatives to appeal to them, in spite of numerous trends from out-of-wedlock birth to poor education levels to lack of savings that foretell disaster

 

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