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  #1  
Old 01-14-2008, 10:36 AM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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Default Free Will: Thinking Categorically

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  #2  
Old 01-14-2008, 02:47 PM
ohcomeon ohcomeon is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Interesting. I look forward to Mickey's response to Prof. Massey's view on immigration.
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  #3  
Old 01-14-2008, 04:20 PM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

About public education. I live in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County which by and large is made of incorporated cities. The towns along the coast are majority white and upscale. From the reports in the local newspaper all of the public schools do fairly well to excellent in these cities. So, obviouslly there are at least some high performing governemnt schools.

I live a few miles inland in the city of Hawthorne. From Inglewood to my north and other cities to my south the schools after elementary level are subpar if not bad. Here are represented some of the "dropout factories" that we hear so much about.

Now, why is this the case? After listening to the diavlog the professor did not answer that question. Frankly, I don't know why there is such a stark contrast between these two areas. Perhaps, some one here could enlighten me to why lower income area schools are generally lower performing than higher income areas.

Also, over the past 15 years in the inland South Bay area some of the public schools like Inglewood have had to be taken over for a period of time by the state due to malfeasance and all kinds of other reasons. Recently, I read where the high school system in Hawthorne is broke, fired the school superintendent, and is under a bunch of higher level investigations.

I was a little startled with Massey's assertion that immigrants from Mexico wanted to return home. I am curious which immigrants want to stay and assilimilate and which ones want to return home? Having lived in Los Angeles a good many years it seems to me that immigrants from south of the border want to remain in the U.S. However, this is anecdotel and I lack the stature and education and that the professor has.
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  #4  
Old 01-14-2008, 04:20 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Thanks AGAIN to Will for an intelligent conversation about immigration, a far cry indeed from the nativist drivel pedaled regularly by Mickey Kaus, Lou Dobbs (who has made xenophobia a career and a cult) and dozens of other commentators on the right.

What we've learned from our history is that xenophobia can be highly bi-partisan. But so can anti-xenophobia, compassion, tolerance and inclusion.

The sound data presented by economists and social scientists, as well as the debunking of the lunatic theses of academics like Huntington and blowhards like Tancredo should appeal both to Dems. and Republicans. Unfortunately, the dominant voices in the Republican party have decided to whip up chauvinistic fervor and drown out the voices for immigration reform. It's divisive, frightening and reminiscent of 30s facism.

Especially disturbing in the USA is what Prof. Massey describes as the shift of Mexicans to "despised out group," since it suggests an atavistic resurgence of racism that threatens to negate decades of progress.
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  #5  
Old 01-14-2008, 04:26 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohcomeon View Post
Interesting. I look forward to Mickey's response to Prof. Massey's view on immigration.
Yes, what would Mickey say to the two year "guest worker" proposal?
Great interview. The priceless moment was when Will grinned from ear to ear when Professor Massey called out the typical libertarian trope of "ideal and free markets." Sorry I don't have the time to supply the dingalink - now would be the proper time to do so.
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  #6  
Old 01-14-2008, 05:46 PM
ohcomeon ohcomeon is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

On the education topic, I always think it is interesting when people assume that private schools are curently doing better than the public schools. As you point out, in upscale communties across the US public schools perform well. Similarly, private schools where the wealthy and upper middle class send their children tend to be really good. On the other hand, I grew up in small town Oklahoma. Many of the private schools there were just places where people who didn't trust "the liberal, secular humanist public school teachers," sent their kids. Many of the private schools were so awful that the kids had to have intense tutoring even in local junior colleges to survive. As an aside, you'll just have to believe me when I say the average public school teacher in Oklahoma was no liberal and no secular humanist. They also were not in any union.

I would love to see someone talk about the idea that we could just suddenly become a nation of privately funded schools. I compare it to the current highway situation in Texas. In many parts of the state the traffic far exceeds the lane capacity. To combat this the state government is blessing toll roads that are run by private companies. These roads were built on time and under budget and are wonderful. Truckers avoid them because they are expensive to drive. So do the poor and elderly. But, if the state suddenly de-funded and shut down all the free roads, the toll roads could in no way provide for the transportation needs.

The public schools operate in a similar way. They can't toss out kids because their parents won't participate, or they don't have an adequate IQ, or they have minor mental and behavioral problems. Private schools can and do. The capacity of the private schools is only a fraction of that of the public schools.

I really wish someone would get into these nuts and bolts issues.

Last edited by ohcomeon; 01-14-2008 at 05:55 PM..
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  #7  
Old 01-14-2008, 06:27 PM
dudeman dudeman is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Reforming the housing market to enable more poor & minorities to live in nicer neighborhoods will always have a serious flaw: Middle class & rich white people move away. There are lots of examples in all northern cities that were successfully intergrated, and rascit barriers were overcome. They're alre called 'black neighborhoods' now. Those that don't want to live next to poeple unlike them can't be forced.

This is harming schools in poor & minority areas. Get rid of all property taxes where they support the schools. Replace them with a statewide income tax & sales tax to fund schools, equally.
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  #8  
Old 01-14-2008, 06:55 PM
Trevor Trevor is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Speaking of Will and Grace, has anyone ever seen Will Wilkinson and Sean Hayes (who played Jack on the show) in the same room at the same time? I'm just asking.
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  #9  
Old 01-14-2008, 07:52 PM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

I agree with what you said about the schools. There has to be more than the standard left/right, libertarian/NEA points of views on public education. Why do the high schools in the area where I live stink? I could read editorials from the L.A. Times, watch the school board meetings, read the school statistics until my eyes fell out and still not know why.
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  #10  
Old 01-14-2008, 08:12 PM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

One of my kids went to both public and private schools. She said in the public ones they stressed learning as a group. In the private it was you were to learn as an individual. That was her take on it.

I went to Los Angeles City Schools K-12 and graduated in the early 60's. I never remember learning as a group stressed - far from it. I think it has been said that the urban public schools started nose diving in the mid 60's.
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  #11  
Old 01-14-2008, 09:32 PM
cragger cragger is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Seems like we have a model of success in the public school system that is well tested and has served for many generations.

Bias disclosure - I'm a product of "public" elementary and high schools, and I think I got an excellent education from the latter. Public schools seem to have served the nation well for most of our history. Until fairly recently virtually everyone but a handful of the rich went to public schools. Schools were not expected to provide political or religious indoctrination to anyone's satisfaction. They were there to teach language, math, science, and how to think and learn. Private schools were mostly where the wealthy who wanted for one reason or another to ship their kids off somewhere went. Most of the workforce that brought the US to the growth and prosperity it has enjoyed through the last couple centuries went to public schools.

The problems in some school systems today do not have their genesis in the schools. Back in the day, the crap that goes on in the worst of our schools was just not acceptable among the students. If somebody had thrown a wadded up paper ball at the back of a teacher, let alone threatened one, everyone in my school would have immediately turned on the perp as a complete jerk. (The Bob Wright model, don't accept unacceptable behavior). If parents don't care what their kids do, and a culture grows among the kids that being assholes is cool, blaming the schools for failing to do what they never had to do before and weren't intended to do seems sort of stupid.

In the best case, providing a good education to a subset of our citizens who can afford the best that private enterprise can offer and consigning the rest to the scrap heap looks like the recipe to becoming another third world society, with a small educated wealthy elite, and a large underclass. Extra profits would of course be available for the advocates, preying on the hopes and more importantly the fears of parents. Of course, those parents so inclined can always go the home school route, and make sure that their kids have every limitation of knowledge, experience, viewpoint, preconception and prejudice of those parents but at least the sprouts will be spared from the challenges of the greater world. For a while.
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  #12  
Old 01-15-2008, 12:07 PM
Thus Spoke Elvis Thus Spoke Elvis is offline
 
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Default The "demonization" of illegal aliens from Mexico; assimilation

Does anyone think anti-illegal immigration sentiment would be nearly as high if Mexican doctors, engineers, and scientists were illegally entering the United States?

It's not just the fact that aliens are breaking the law to enter the country (though that certainly plays a big part), it's that the people who are breaking the law are typically low-skilled and uneducated, and are oftentimes illiterate even in their native language.

Last edited by Thus Spoke Elvis; 01-15-2008 at 02:43 PM..
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  #13  
Old 01-15-2008, 12:54 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Hey, BKJAZ, just thought I'd say hello as a fellow SoBay'er. I lived in Hawthorne (right off Broadway & Inglewood) for about 5 years. Then moved to Redondo and recently to Westchester. I too am flummoxed at the difference I saw/read about between the heavily minority school in Hawthorne versus the relatively lily-white area of Redondo. I don't have kids so I pay less attention to education, than parents undoubtedly would, but still even I have noticed that it's like night and day (or black and white). And only about 5 miles apart.

Cheers.
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  #14  
Old 01-15-2008, 01:09 PM
Dee Sharp Dee Sharp is offline
 
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Default Re: The "demonization" of illegal aliens from Mexico; or Don't Worry, Be Happy!

Yay! A discission of immigration that never addresses the issue of culture! One that dismisses any effect on the labor market by citing data from 1980, and that dismisses the crime issue with data that is misleading or wrong! Prof. Massey is the gretest genius ever. He should expand his research into the issue of oil dependency, where careful reliance on 1933 data will show that there is no problem.
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  #15  
Old 01-15-2008, 01:19 PM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Hello! I live near the vacant, unused Hawthorne Mall. We apparently don't have the dough to support a mall. Yet, not too far from here there are busy malls in Redondo Beach and Torrance. Also, I can take Rosecrans Blvd. west from Hawthorne a few miles into Manhattan Beach and it's like another world with all those new 2 million dollar houses going up along the beach. So close yet so far.
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  #16  
Old 01-15-2008, 01:24 PM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
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Default Re: The "demonization" of illegal aliens from Mexico; assimilation

Why should they be literate in there own language? I noticed Vicente Fox's autobiography was printed and released only in English. That's tantamount to Bill Clinton releasing his memoirs or whatever they were only in Spanish.
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  #17  
Old 01-15-2008, 04:10 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: The "demonization" of illegal aliens from Mexico; assimilation

Quote:
Does anyone think anti-illegal immigration sentiment would be nearly as high if Mexican doctors, engineers, and scientists were illegally entering the United States?
Maybe not. Mexican doctors, engineers and scientists do emigrate in large numbers to the US, which is a brain drain problem for Mexico.

Also, you might be surprised to know that the undocumented immigrants are -- on average --- part of a brain drain for Mexico. At least this was true a few years ago when I last looked at the data.

Although Mexicans who come here without papers are less educated than US citizens, they are better educated than the Mexican average josÚ (which bears out the theory presented here last week that immigrants often are the "adventurous" type of person with considerable ambition).
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  #18  
Old 01-15-2008, 05:54 PM
Thus Spoke Elvis Thus Spoke Elvis is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
The sound data presented by economists and social scientists...
What the heck are you talking about, Wonderment? In terms of the economic advantages and disadvantages of illegal immigration, there's no clear consensus, because different economists factor in different variables when assessing the economic impact.

In terms of social science, the most recent studies suggest that low-skilled immigrants from Mexico (e.g., most of the illegal population) do NOT assimilate well, and (unlike other categories of immigrants) their children lag behind in terms of education and wages. The "sound data" purportedly indicating otherwise generally includes pre-1980 data on Latin American migration, which (1) preceded the mass migration of low-skilled workers which took place in the years following (assimilation is faster when fewer people are migrating) and (2) included a significant number of well-educated Cuban immigrants fleeing the Castro regime, a group that doesn't rememble the current wave of illegal immigrants in terms of culture, education, or skillset.

We've already had a thread on this subject in the earlier version of the forum:
http://forums.bloggingheads.tv/phoru...,7653#msg-7653 (linking to study showing lag in progress of children of Mexican immigrants)

http://forums.bloggingheads.tv/phoru...,7695#msg-7695 (discussing additional studies mentioned during thread)

In short, you're being far too flippant regarding the issue of assimilation.

Last edited by Thus Spoke Elvis; 01-15-2008 at 06:21 PM..
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  #19  
Old 01-15-2008, 07:07 PM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
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Default Re: The "demonization" of illegal aliens from Mexico; assimilation

A brain drain from Mexico! Is this some kind of joke? People who by and large have 6th or 8th grade educations or whatever they are is a brain drain. Oh my, this country to our south is in dire straits.
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  #20  
Old 01-15-2008, 08:47 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
In short, you're being far too flippant regarding the issue of assimilation.
I don't recall saying anything about assimilation in this conversation. I'm not sure what you mean by assimilation either. Do you mean attaining a middle class standard of living? Of course, in that regard, there will be a lag among the groups starting at the bottom with minimum wage jobs, exacerbated by being denied services (healthcare and food stamps, for example) because of their "illegal" status.

If you mean by "assimilation" embracing "American" culture and values, I won't even play that game, since I think the groundrules are xenophobic.
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  #21  
Old 01-16-2008, 12:31 PM
garbagecowboy garbagecowboy is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
If you mean by "assimilation" embracing "American" culture and values, I won't even play that game, since I think the groundrules are xenophobic.
Why is it xenophobic to want immigrants (of any culture) to eventually assume American values and become part of mainstream American culture?

First of all, it is going to be to the immigrants' and their families' own economic advantage to learn to speak English, which is a major part of assimilation, but even still, why is it xenophobic for American citizens to want the millions of people who are coming into their country to learn to speak English?

And as far as American values go: America has ethnic or long historical background that either gives people roots in the land or in their countrymen as part of a single race. Therefore American values represent, I contend, a large part of national identity. Is it xenophobic to want immigrants to know and respect the Constitution and Bill of Rights before they are allowed to permanently settle here as citizens?

You are quick to paint everyone who doesn't think everything regarding immigration as it as currently happening in the U.S. is just hunky-dory as being xenophobic. Which, given your low bar for xenophobia, probably includes a majority of the U.S. population, most of whom are themselves descended from immigrants. Is it even conceivable to you that there might be such a thing as an American culture that is threatened by a massive surge of people coming into our country, with neither our government nor the people it represents having any control on how many people get to come in.
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  #22  
Old 01-16-2008, 12:44 PM
bkjazfan bkjazfan is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

I have already been called a bigot and racist on this forum for merely calling people who enter this country illegally "illegals." Yes, the bar for xenophobia is low indeed.
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  #23  
Old 01-16-2008, 03:57 PM
Thus Spoke Elvis Thus Spoke Elvis is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
I don't recall saying anything about assimilation in this conversation.

In the post I was originally responding to, you were critical of "xenophobic" opponents of illegal immigration, and eluded to "sound economic and social data" (my emphasis) supporting the position that such migration is not a problem. I can understand your reference to "economic data" not being intended to refer to illegal immigrants' assimilation in society -- you could very easily have been referring to overall economic impact that such migration has on the U.S. economy (a very debatable point, but one I didn't really attempt to address). But if you weren't referring to intergration/assimilation of illegal immigrants, what were you describing when you wrote that "sound..social data" conflicts with the position of opponents of illegal migration?

Quote:
I'm not sure what you mean by assimilation either. Do you mean attaining a middle class standard of living? Of course, in that regard, there will be a lag among the groups starting at the bottom with minimum wage jobs, exacerbated by being denied services (healthcare and food stamps, for example) because of their "illegal" status.
I start from the premise that a nation should have control over which aliens may enter its borders. This is a position that's reflected in the immigration laws of just about every country in the world, including Mexico. The studies I linked to indicate that illegal immigrants from Mexico are generally low-skilled and uneducated, and their children and grandchildren lag behind far behind the children of other classes of immigrants. I think we have enough problems ensuring that the poor in this country have opportunities for improvement without increasing the size of this population by a couple million every few years, which is what illegal immigration does.


Quote:
If you mean by "assimilation" embracing "American" culture and values, I won't even play that game, since I think the groundrules are xenophobic.
Why do you think that is xenophobic? Don't most immigrants come to this country because they like American society better than their own? What would you say if a million refugees from Afghanistan came to the United States...would you prefer that they maintained their old society's views or would you think it would be better if they adopted those of the country giving them refuge?
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  #24  
Old 01-16-2008, 04:29 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
Why is it xenophobic to want immigrants (of any culture) to eventually assume American values and become part of mainstream American culture?
Because it seems to carry the lazy assumption that a) we all know what "American values" and "mainstream culture" are and b) that conformity to mainstream culture is intrinsically desirable.

Quote:
First of all, it is going to be to the immigrants' and their families' own economic advantage to learn to speak English
,

The English language issue is ridiculous. I live in an immigrant community. It's hard to imagine people who value English language competence and success in English-language society more than Mexicans do.

First of all, it's common sense. A group comes here, making great sacrifices for economic advancement. WHy would they suddenly want to be stuck in the worst-paying jobs in the society they've come to precisely in order to avoid low-end jobs? Do you think the guy who cleans the toilets or rakes the leaves wants his kids to rake leaves and clean toilets too?

Second, all children learn English at school. No one enters the public school system in kindergarten and graduates elementary school without speaking English. In my area the junior colleges and state universities are overflowing with the children of "illegal" workers. Nativists have had to craft special laws to try to keep them out. If a child is born here or comes here at an early age, s/he learns English the same way you did. Period. End of story. There isn't a linguist on the planet who doesn't know how these patterns of immigration work: 1st generation monolingual in Language 1, second generation bilingual, third generation monolingual in language 2.

Quote:
Is it xenophobic to want immigrants to know and respect the Constitution and Bill of Rights before they are allowed to permanently settle here as citizens?
There is nothing particularly deep about the Constitution and Bill of Rights that you can't learn in 10 minutes if you already have a basic knowledge of democracy. Most other democracies around the globe are now set up on a similar model of equality, human rights and checks and balances among legislative, judicial and executive powers. Don't patronize Mexicans by thinking they can't understand what a democracy is. Also, these values are taught in all our public schools, which is where our Mexican immigrants are universally educated. We are not talking about Afghan peasants setting up Sharia communities with their own schools, hospitals and mosques. Everyone knows we are talking about the Southern border, Mexicans who already live in a democracy and who are Christians practicing the "mainstream" religion, celebrating the same holidays. In short, neighbors. Treating these families as if they were Bin Laden is outrageous.

Quote:
Is it even conceivable to you that there might be such a thing as an American culture that is threatened by a massive surge of people coming into our country, with neither our government nor the people it represents having any control on how many people get to come in.
No. I think such a fantasy epitomizes xenophobia: the aliens coming to destroy our civilization and take over.
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  #25  
Old 01-16-2008, 04:45 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Elvis,

Sorry about the confusion over my use of "social" data. I just meant to include other social scientists, in addition to economists, in the consensus.

Quote:
I start from the premise that a nation should have control over which aliens may enter its borders.
Everyone agrees with that.

Quote:
The studies I linked to indicate that illegal immigrants from Mexico are generally low-skilled and uneducated, and their children and grandchildren lag behind far behind the children of other classes of immigrants.
Here's how it works in my view: We invite workers to do our low-end jobs that we otherwise can't fill (picking lettuce, cleaning toilets, etc.). We deny them services that help other people get a leg up in the society (healthcare, food stamps, a life outside the shadows), and then we blame them for lagging behind and want to deport them!

Quote:
What would you say if a million refugees from Afghanistan came to the United States...would you prefer that they maintained their old society's views or would you think it would be better if they adopted those of the country giving them refuge?
As I replied to Garbage Cowboy, comparing Afghanistan refugees to Mexican nannies and strawberry pickers is bizarre. Right-wing radio is full of this sort of propaganda. As a result, we now have a Republican party held hostage by xenophobes who blur the distinction between Al Qaeda and my gardener. The politicians caving in to this wave of hysteria may not be personally racist, but they are creating a very toxic climate of xenophobic fear, resentment and hatred.
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  #26  
Old 01-16-2008, 05:25 PM
Thus Spoke Elvis Thus Spoke Elvis is offline
 
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Default Re: The "demonization" of illegal aliens from Mexico; assimilation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post

Although Mexicans who come here without papers are less educated than US citizens, they are better educated than the Mexican average josÚ (which bears out the theory presented here last week that immigrants often are the "adventurous" type of person with considerable ambition).
Saying that Mexicans are "less educated than U.S. citizens" is a bit of an understatement. While there's data suggesting that Mexicans immigrating to the United States illegally had earned wages in Mexico that were in the average range for that country, that range is pretty pitiful by our standards. Don't forget that a good portion of Mexico could properly be characterized as a Third World country.

And, as I mentioned earlier in this thread, there's a good deal of evidence that they don't do as well in the United States as other categories of immigrants (not just U.S.-born persons), and neither do their children.
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  #27  
Old 01-16-2008, 05:37 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: The "demonization" of illegal aliens from Mexico; assimilation

Quote:
And, as I mentioned earlier in this thread, there's a good deal of evidence that they don't do as well in the United States as other categories of immigrants (not just U.S.-born persons), and neither do their children.
Yes, I would agree that Mexican strawberry pickers do worse in this country than Indian nuclear engineers, Australian nuerosurgeons and Irish stockbrokers.
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  #28  
Old 01-16-2008, 06:00 PM
Thus Spoke Elvis Thus Spoke Elvis is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
Here's how it works in my view: We invite workers to do our low-end jobs that we otherwise can't fill (picking lettuce, cleaning toilets, etc.). We deny them services that help other people get a leg up in the society (healthcare, food stamps, a life outside the shadows), and then we blame them for lagging behind and want to deport them!
No, we didn't invite them, if by "we" you mean the U.S. government via a law authorizing their entry. It is a criminal offense to induce someone to unlawfully enter this country, or to employ such a person. I don't think people who break our laws can be properly considered to be speaking for the country.

It's no surprise that many immigrants begin their lives in the U.S. doing low-skilled labor. That's been the historical practice for immigrants from just about every region. The difference in this case is that, unlike those other categories of immigrants, Mexican immigrants don't seem to adjust too well. Part of this probably has to do with the sheer number of Mexicans migrating to the United States, which provides the illegal immigrant population with less incentive to adapt (if everyone around you speaks the same language, why learn the language of your host country?). A second factor is probably cultural. Immigrants from East and Southeast Asia were fleeing far more dire conditions than most illegal immigrants from Mexico (i.e., war and persecution), but their children have done far better. I think the Confuscian ethics (which prioritize education and providing for your family) have something to do with this, though that's just an assumption.

Quote:
As I replied to Garbage Cowboy, comparing Afghanistan refugees to Mexican nannies and strawberry pickers is bizarre
I don't think either of us intended to suggest that illegal immigrants from Mexico were the equivalent of the Taliban. We were both probably just shocked that you seemed to think it was xenophobic to want immigrants to adapt to the ways of their host country. The Afghanistan example was thrown out to illustrate that point -- nobody, I hope, wants Afghan refugees entering the United States to retain the commonly-held beliefs of that country with respect to women, gays, non-believes, etc.
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  #29  
Old 01-17-2008, 12:20 AM
garbagecowboy garbagecowboy is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

Quote:
Second, all children learn English at school. No one enters the public school system in kindergarten and graduates elementary school without speaking English. In my area the junior colleges and state universities are overflowing with the children of "illegal" workers. Nativists have had to craft special laws to try to keep them out. If a child is born here or comes here at an early age, s/he learns English the same way you did. Period. End of story. There isn't a linguist on the planet who doesn't know how these patterns of immigration work: 1st generation monolingual in Language 1, second generation bilingual, third generation monolingual in language 2.
It may seem ridiculous to you but "bilingual" education where children of immigrants are educated in their native language instead of forced to learn English to take classes in American public schools in English is far from a dead issue. While since 2000 there has been considerable momentum away from teaching students most subjects in languages other than English I guarantee you that the "anti-xenophobe" community in the U.S. does not agree with this policy and would be more than happy to spare immigrant children the burden of having to learn English to be taught in American public schools.
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  #30  
Old 01-17-2008, 12:37 AM
garbagecowboy garbagecowboy is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

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No. I think such a fantasy epitomizes xenophobia: the aliens coming to destroy our civilization and take over.
It may seem a fantasy to you... but as a third generation descendant of immigrants with virtually no connection to the culture of my ancestors, I would say that there is indeed an American culture and values and that it is the only one I know. I share much more in common in terms of language, values, traditions and other facets of culture with my neighbors whose forebears came from all over the globe (and other people scattered all over the United States) than I do with any other cultural group in the world. In short, the distinctive government and cultural institutions, combined with a few to several generations of assimilation amongst a diverse group of immigrant groups has forged a unique American culture: we have a melting pot, not a mixed salad.

And no, the Mexicans coming in are not as different from Americans as, say, Afghans, but I disagree strongly with the statement that a 10 minute civics lecture is plenty to imbue new immigrants with all they need to be integrated into the mainstream of American society in a permanent and sustainable way.

Even in the lily-white community where Bob Wright resides and I spent 4 years, the cultural differences between the Mexican and Guatemalan minorities and the American majority are vast. The immigrants speak a different language at home and in some cases speak very little English, they spend their time in different parts of town, they patronize different stores, and their interactions with the majority usually occur in the workplace, with the immigrants doing menial labor.

Am I worried that these immigrants are going to destroy our civilization? Of course not. Do I have to be a xenophobe to think that this current wave of immigration differs from previous waves, both in the scope and specific nature of the immigration, and that this can present serious problems that will not be addressed by the Panglossian attitude that immigrants are great people and will have nothing but great effects on our country? Having a large fraction of the population that crosses our borders illegally, returns to their home country easily and does not put down roots in this country the same way that previous groups of immigrants have will have unpredictable results. The idea that there is an American culture is not "imaginary." Take a drive across the United States; you will find slight regional variations, but you will be able to use the same language and find the same cultural touchstones, currency and political structures from coast to coast. This is not imaginary, and is virtually unique for such a large land mass; for instance, there is no such cultural homogeneity in Europe, or India, or China. Apparently you think that this is all a figment of my imagination, or immaterial, or that adding millions of illegal immigrants cannot have a deleterious effect, or some combination of the above. I disagree, and I will respectfully make that my final word, because if you think that anyone who believes that there is an American culture that might be hurt by unchecked illegal immigration is a xenophobe then there is no point in further discussion.

Last edited by garbagecowboy; 01-17-2008 at 12:42 AM..
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  #31  
Old 01-17-2008, 12:46 AM
garbagecowboy garbagecowboy is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

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As I replied to Garbage Cowboy, comparing Afghanistan refugees to Mexican nannies and strawberry pickers is bizarre.
Which I didn't do, for the record.
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Old 01-17-2008, 04:17 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

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It may seem ridiculous to you but "bilingual" education where children of immigrants are educated in their native language instead of forced to learn English to take classes in American public schools in English is far from a dead issue. While since 2000 there has been considerable momentum away from teaching students most subjects in languages other than English I guarantee you that the "anti-xenophobe" community in the U.S. does not agree with this policy and would be more than happy to spare immigrant children the burden of having to learn English to be taught in American public schools.
Right-wing mythology notwithstanding, the purpose of bilingual education was to promote and facilitate the learning of the English language. You may argue that immersion programs might be more effective, but to claim that bilingual education was intended to "spare children the burden of having to learn English" is completely contrary to the facts. There has never been any doubt among legislators, courts, school boards, administrators, parents, teachers or students about the purpose of bilingual education, i.e., that children must learn English well. The only doubt is among right-wing radio hosts and their listeners.
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Old 01-17-2008, 05:15 AM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

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Originally Posted by garbagecowboy View Post
It may seem ridiculous to you but "bilingual" education where children of immigrants are educated in their native language instead of forced to learn English to take classes in American public schools in English is far from a dead issue. While since 2000 there has been considerable momentum away from teaching students most subjects in languages other than English I guarantee you that the "anti-xenophobe" community in the U.S. does not agree with this policy and would be more than happy to spare immigrant children the burden of having to learn English to be taught in American public schools.
I don't think you understand the purpose of bilingual education. Maybe you do. Can you play devil's advocate for a moment and explain why educators support the practice?

Hint: It's not because they think teaching English is imposition of a burden. (Where did you get that idea, anyway?)

Last edited by TwinSwords; 01-17-2008 at 05:20 AM..
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  #34  
Old 01-17-2008, 05:23 AM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

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Right-wing mythology notwithstanding, the purpose of bilingual education was to promote and facilitate the learning of the English language. You may argue that immersion programs might be more effective, but to claim that bilingual education was intended to "spare children the burden of having to learn English" is completely contrary to the facts. There has never been any doubt among legislators, courts, school boards, administrators, parents, teachers or students about the purpose of bilingual education, i.e., that children must learn English well. The only doubt is among right-wing radio hosts and their listeners.
Yeah, well said. Let's not leave education to people who actually understand it. You can't trust those fuzzy headed "experts." Let's leave these important decisions it to reactionaries and blowhards who have all of the answers without any of the knowledge or expertise. You can trust them because they're so stupid.

Only stupid people can be trusted to not have been indoctrinated in the Church of Fuzzy Header Liberalism.
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Old 01-17-2008, 05:29 AM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

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Of course, in that regard, there will be a lag among the groups starting at the bottom with minimum wage jobs, exacerbated by being denied services (healthcare and food stamps, for example) because of their "illegal" status.
Good point: And furthermore, integration and upward mobility are both hurt by the modern economic policies which started in earnest with Reagan and have continued under every president since, including Clinton. There is more stratification and less mobility between classes than we have seen in a long time, with the (intended) effect of stranding millions of people in poverty. It's typical of conservatives to blame this on the poor themselves, even in defense of the very policies that created these conditions.

Oh, I have an idea: More tax cuts for the very wealthy!
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  #36  
Old 01-17-2008, 06:03 AM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: The "demonization" of illegal aliens from Mexico; assimilation

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Yes, I would agree that Mexican strawberry pickers do worse in this country than Indian nuclear engineers, Australian nuerosurgeons and Irish stockbrokers.
Something else that seems to have escaped notice by our conservative friends is that American corporations have a hard time putting those Indian nuclear engineers, Australian nuerosurgeons and Irish stockbrokers to work picking fruit.

Maybe a better approach when talking to the conservatives would be to cite Adam Smith's invisible hand: it's the laws of supply and demand which are pulling immigrants across the border in pursuit of economic rewards. This is economics 101, and a true conservative would celebrate it as the genius of capitalism and the exact same process which created the greatest economic power in world history.

The only reason this argument isn't more persuasive to conservatives is because conservatives are complex creatures, and along with their well-founded respect for capitalism, they are also hindered by their loathing for the other and especially the brown other, as well as their numerous irrational fears about infection and invasion.

Still, maybe we can activate a more rational part of the conservative brain by pointing out that there is an irresistible economic draw and a genuine economic need for immigration -- for cheap, unskilled labor.


Another way to approach this that might appeal to conservatives is to play off of their considerable anxiety and fear of a different other than the brown other to the south. Maybe they should be more scared of the yellow others in China and India, two nations which are graduating many hundreds of thousands more engineers per year than we in the United States.

The last data I saw showed China graduating 650,000 engineers per year, and India graduating 350,000, to a piddling 75,000 in the United States. (Thank you, Republicans for undermining education and making it harder to attain! Go wingnuts!)

We will never be able to compete, long term, against these two nations. Perhaps it's time for free college for every American, and a massive increase in immigration so we can maintain our current position as the global leader.

This line of reasoning could appeal to conservatives, more than asking them to respect other human beings. That will never happen, as we know.
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  #37  
Old 01-17-2008, 08:36 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

On somewhat of a tangent: If there's one thing I could change about early education, it would be adding a language course for all students. It's so easy to learn another language when you're young, and so hard for almost everybody starting as soon as age 12 or so, that it's a shame we don't give our kids get this chance. I'd give a lot to be able to go back in time just to get fluent in Spanish. Or any other language, for that matter.

Also, think about how much easier it would be if the kids could babble to each other in two or more languages -- the ESL kids would likely feel a lot less self-conscious -- and would be able to assimilate better -- if they could hear the native English speakers tripping up on words foreign to them.

Of course, one possible outcome would be that the kids would develop their own creole, and then the grups would really be ranting about "you just can't understand young people these days."
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:49 AM
Thus Spoke Elvis Thus Spoke Elvis is offline
 
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Default Re: The "demonization" of illegal aliens from Mexico; assimilation

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Yes, I would agree that Mexican strawberry pickers do worse in this country than Indian nuclear engineers, Australian nuerosurgeons and Irish stockbrokers.
And what about Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Korean refugees? They came from far worse conditions than the average Mexican migrant, and often started out in low-skilled jobs in the U.S., yet their offspring do much better.
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:02 AM
Thus Spoke Elvis Thus Spoke Elvis is offline
 
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Default Re: The "demonization" of illegal aliens from Mexico; assimilation

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Another way to approach this that might appeal to conservatives is to play off of their considerable anxiety and fear of a different other than the brown other to the south. Maybe they should be more scared of the yellow others in China and India, two nations which are graduating many hundreds of thousands more engineers per year than we in the United States.
It's not the color of the immigrants, it's their skill-set and education. As I suggested in my initial post, few people would have a problem with illegal immigration if it was comprised mainly of Mexican doctors, engineers, and scientists. Unfortunately, it's not, and therein lies the problem. We already have enough of an issue dealing with the effects of poverty and low education as it is, without exacerbating it through the addition of a couple million more people every few years.

And I would enthusiastically support increasing our immigration levels to allow the entry of far more East Asian scientists and engineers. That seems like exactly the sort of immigrant that we want -- highly-skilled, well-educated, and with a great history of assimilation. Heck, I think it would be great if our current system prioritized persons like this, as opposed to persons with familial ties to U.S. citizens.
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  #40  
Old 01-17-2008, 02:39 PM
cousincozen cousincozen is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: Thinking Categorically

"I think such a fantasy epitomizes xenophobia: the aliens coming to destroy our civilization and take over."

Maybe sometimes xenophobia is just good thinkin'.
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