I would however say that this mostly applies to Mexican-Americans. I am not even sure if it applies to Mexicans in Mexico because there is actually a High Culture in Mexico. In Mexico City there is opera and the main paper has a large book review section every week. In other words, a true highbrow intellectual culture, right in the heart of Mexico. It goes without saying that the members of this highbrow culture are White or a lot Whiter than average Mexicans. But in Mexico, White and people involved in highbrow White Mexican culture extends all the way down to 60-7
The high culture of Mexico City compares starkly with the rest of Mexico. Your typical Mexican mestizo is a pretty lowbrow person – he’s probably never read a book in his life nor does he wish to. Nevertheless, even the lowliest cook in a corner market knows how to read and write. They definitely teach you that in Mexican schools and most Mexicans have been to school. And most Mexicans from Mexico, even a lowly corner cook like I mentioned, know something about Mexican history – the Civil War of course and even the clerical contra rebellion afterwards ~1930 that most Americans have never heard of. Every Mexican knows who Emilio Zapata and Benito Juarez are. I was stunned at how many of these very uneducated people had even heard of Frieda Kahlo. How many Americans know who she was? How many Chicanos know even a parallel basics of US 20th Century history? And you will never meet a Mexican-American who knows who Frieda Kahlo is nor do they care to find out. Beyond that, we descend even lower to Mexican Indians, who not only don’t read books but may not even know what a book is. Mestizos believe in some strange saints in their profoundly syncretic Catholicism, but when you get out to the Indian villages, people actually still believe in witches. As you can see, the descent from High Culture down to beyond lowbrow is a steep one indeed. You will nearly break a leg walking too quickly down that slope. The South Americans I have met in the US are not so anti-intellectual as the Chicanos below. South America after all has a much better High Culture than Mesoamerica. South American High Culture is so intact because the culture of Spain still lingers down there to a great degree while it has nearly vanished from Mesoamerica. I have talked to rich people in Lima and Bogota who literally spent half the year in Spain. Literally. I had an Argentine girlfriend once. She often called me Senor instead of my first name (imagine an American girlfriend routinely referring to you as sir) and was in stunned awe of the fact that I was an hombre de letras or a “man of letters.” Intellectualism is a big deal in Argentina. The Salvadorans and Nicaraguans I have met in the US were highly politicized, and I was shocked at how smart they were. You think you are dealing with another “ignorant Mexican in a mini-mart” until you start them off on politics, and they start rattling away and soon leave you in the dust. Every Salvadoran I have ever met has heard of La Matanza (The Massacre), and that happened in 1932. And I’ve not met one yet who could not tell me who Farabundo Marti was (see La Matanza above). How many Americans know who Farabundo Marti was? Most Americans don’t have the slightest idea what either of those things are. It just goes to show that you can take a society with an IQ like Chicanos and supercharge them politically and possibly even culturally if the objective conditions are right. The Colombians, Peruvians, and Chileans I met here and outside the US (not to mention the Argentine woman) had a shockingly deep knowledge of politics for an ordinary person, and the Latin Americans were often as learned as a Spaniard or at least wished to be. How many Americans know who Tupac Amaro was? But the young Peruvian woman I knew all about him and even knew quite a bit about his wife, who is a proto-feminist hero down there to some mestiza and indigena women.. I never asked her who Jose Carlos Mariategui was, but I am sure she could have told me all about him too. Another Peruvian woman I met knew all about Jose Arguedas and his famous novel The Fox Above and Below, which ties in with Mariategui, if you think about it. Arguedas was one of the most famous figures in Peruvian literature and his own daughter, incredibly enough, sat on the central committee of the Shining Path. Sendero was about indigenismo and to a lesser extent feminismo than anything else. They even his name in the formal long name of their group – El Partido Comunista del Peru en la luz del pasado sendero luminoso del Jose Carlos Mariategui or The Communist Party of Peru in the Light of the Shining Path of Jose Carlos Mariategui. Here is a recent comment from a half-Mexican American who agrees with most everything I have said about these people.
As a half-Hispanic raised with Hispanics, I mostly agree with this. My Mexican mother who immigrated illegally to the US paid tens of thousands for in-vitro fertilization, and that’s what pulled me out the ditch. This was evidently high-quality sperm because I still managed to turn out above average. The people around me were impressed that I actually liked to read and learn. When I was young, the other Hispanics were amused that I could memorize the times tables and recite miscellanea about science and history, besides being capable of drawing dragons properly. To give you context, my mother has been living in the US for over 25 years, and still does not understand a drop of English. They have a culture which consists of strong work-ethic (never missing a day of work and so on) followed by self-induced brain death post 9-to-5. They just watch mindless television and do not learn. I discovered my own origins at the age of ten. I also achieved standard atheism at the age of nine (which I consider a standard benchmark for the ability to display rudimentary acts of rationality.) Then it took me years of hard work to unwire all the Catholic stupidity in my mother’s brain. This culture has no concept of logical reasoning, so her mind kept swinging in repetitive loops whenever I tried to carefully and methodically pin her down to the implications of specific arguments. I succeeded in that endeavor, and am now in the process of teaching her where she is actually standing by explaining the crucial insights of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. People may laugh at the fact that she didn’t know the Earth was a sphere orbiting the sun, but yet most ‘educated’ humans alive today are just as ignorant about reality. For example, by not knowing that there is no universal now sweeping forward, or by holding the belief that we are made of little billiard ball particles bouncing around. In my experience, whites at least fake like they want to learn. They’ll say “Oh yeah, that’s cool. Schrodinger’s cat is dead and alive… lol… because it’s all probabilistic, hur dur” or something. Of course, they don’t know jack-shit and also prefer to consume mindless media, but their culture says it’s okay to be smart. Hispanics just don’t give a shit. A lack of intellectual culture is their biggest setback. The ghetto lower-middle income schools I went to were torture. The kids couldn’t do basic algebra; the teachers were underachieving whites who couldn’t get higher paying jobs in other districts or who preferred having less responsibility because black and hispanic parents wouldn’t bitch to them about grades, or have any expectations whatsoever really. And the teachers made no secret about this, they outright told us this was the reason. Also, what you say about Mexicans bringing Mexico is absolutely true. I stayed in La Villita when I went to university in Chicago because some kind family members we barely knew were willing to rent super cheap. As I walked through the dirty streets past yet another leather boot store blasting trumpet music I almost felt ashamed, like ‘How could Mexicans escape to a new country and yet prefer to make it Mexico again?”
Repost from the old site. Most people take it as a given that the USA as a nation and society is and always has been basically White, even mostly British or Northern European White. We have only to look at the authors of the Constitution and signers of the Declaration of Independence to see that all of them where White. And as the Christian fundamentalists love to remind us, they were all “Christians” too. Too bad most of them were actually Deists. It’s true since 1830 or so (see 1830 census figures Excel, pdf ), this has been a majority-White land, and that is the picture most people’s memory and cultural knowledge of this country gives them. But Whites have only been here a short while, and we were immigrants, or actually invaders at first, ourselves. Previously, this land was inhabited 10
In California and the Southwest, we have even had Hispanics (almost all Mexicans) living here before those states were even a part of the US. A Filipino was part of the party that founded Los Angeles before California was even a state. He got sick in Baja and ended up staying there, but he was still present on the voyage. See below where many more Filipinos were already in this country even before 1781. On the eve of the Gold Rush, there were a mere 1,000 Chinese in the US. Only seven of them were in California. But within a year of becoming a state, California was full of East Indians (Hindoos), Samoans/Hawaiians, Mexicans and other Pacific Islanders (Kanakas) and Chinese, all come for the Gold Rush. By 1852, there were 25,000 Chinese alone in California. All of these groups stayed on through the whole decades-long Gold Rush and afterwards remained here as residents in the US. So are West Africans, as this is where many of the American slaves came from. There was a Filipino settlement in St. Malo, Louisiana, in 1763, before the US was even formed. The first Chinese immigrants came to the US in 1820, but before the Gold Rush, only 1,000 or so had arrived. Japanese and Filipinos have been present in Hawaii in large numbers since 1890, and Koreans have been present in much smaller numbers there from 1896. Hawaii was only made into a state in 1959. Cubans have also been here a very long time. Hundreds of Cubans came to St. Augustine, Florida in 1565, over 200 years before there was a USA. Similarly, the first Jamaicans (a party of 20) in America were already in Jamestown, the first White British colony in the US, by 1619. Further, many Jamaicans were included in slave shipments to the US since Jamaica was a way station along the way between Africa and the US. Significant numbers – two large ships full of Chilean and Peruvian miners were in California for the Gold Rush as early as 1848. A couple of thousand Brazilian and Caribbean Blacks also came for the Gold Rush. Note that California did not become a state until 1850. Pakistanis (people from what later became Pakistan) were in the US since the 1700’s and continuing into the 1800’s in Oregon and Washington, working in agriculture, logging and mining in California. The first known East Indian Hindu came to the US in 1790, soon after the Declaration of Independence, as a maritime worker. Mexicans, Samoans, Blacks, Cubans, East Indians, Pakistanis, Chileans, Peruvians, Filipinos, American Indians, Canadians, Japanese, West Africans, Hawaiians, Japanese, Koreans and Chinese have been here in significant, not trivial, numbers, from the very start. They are not, as groups, wholly immigrants or foreigners to this land. They are not foreign to American culture – they are part of the very building blocks of it. Perhaps Germany, Russia, Sweden, France and most of Europe can lay claim to being predominantly White countries for centuries or millenia, but the US cannot. On the inside back cover of a recent issue of American Heritage Magazine was a painting of the Antediluvian American South with some text below. The text took me aback. I shook my head and read it again and again and it’s stuck in my head ever since. It said that in 1825, the US South1 was estimated to be 3
Both the US South, and the nation as a whole, were already White-minority as early as 35 years after signing of the Constitution. Take that, “White America” fools! The White America of movies, TV, magazines, books and memories was just a temporary mirage, a ship passing in the night. Now, as the USA moves back to becoming a White-minority land, we are not changing the basic nature, culture and essence of this nation. We just reverting to our roots. I am not arguing for unlimited immigration to this land (In fact, I want to seriously limit it) and I am a staunch opponent of illegal immigration. Nevertheless, it angers me when White Nationalists act like this is some kind of a “White country”. Nothing could be further from the truth. 1I misremembered the text in the issue – it referred to the US South only, not the US as a whole. A look at the US Census Bureau information (Excel file here, pdf here) clears up the mystery. A 3
Figures for the whole of the US reveal a White majority, however, if we include the Amerindians living in the Louisiana Purchase at that time (recently part of the US in 1825), we can still make a case for a non-White majority in the US. See note 3 below for more on that. 2There were numerically small numbers of Filipinos, Chinese, Mexicans, pre-Pakistanis (people from the land that would later become Pakistan), East Indians and Cubans here in 1825, but they probably added up to less than
3The American Heritage figures quoted have now been called into question (see comments at the end of this post and the comments at the end of the frankly White racist American Renaissancearticle that linked this piece); the suggestion is that Blacks made up 1
The mystery is cleared up in note 1, where the magazine text referred to only the US South, not the US as a whole. Indians were not counted in either the 1820 or 1830 censuses, and may have numbered 8 million in the US at the time (recall that the Louisiana Purchase had just been added to the nation). Figure 12 million Indians in the US and Canada pre-contact, with 9
This leaves us with 7 million Indians in the US in 1825. Further, runaway slaves were clearly not counted, probably 1
What is your response to the fact that Chile, Milton Friedman’s free market experiment, recently became the first Latin American nation to be accepted into the OECD? It’s the first developed Latin American nation, and they had General Pinochet, wow! He wasn’t a socialist, he was pretty right wing. Cato insists that Friedman and his Chicago School boys fixed Chile.
What exactly was the basis for that decision? I’d take Trinidad and Tobago over Chile any day of the week -it’s 2X as rich as Chile. On what basis do they say it’s “the first developed country in Latin America?” Compare Chile to most any country in Europe. Not a pretty picture! It’s not even a very wealthy country. Venezuela is richer. Chile’s been a pretty middle class country for 40 years. Nothing new there. Actually, Friedman’s boys, a bunch of Jews from Chicago, destroyed Chile. They implemented the most radical neoliberal experiment the world has ever seen under Pinochet, and within a few years, it caused one of the worst depressions in modern times. Pinochet quickly threw the Chicago Jews out after he figured out they were selling snake oil, and he reinstituted a lot of state controls, spending, etc. The result was a long slow climb in economic growth out of the Chicago Crash. But that growth was due to a more socialist project, not the neoliberal project. The neoliberals are taking credit for the socialist stuff that came afterward that was put in to undo the damage they caused. By the end of Pinochet’s era, in 1990, the Chilean economy finally matched where it had been under Allende. However, Pinochet’s project did result in massive income redistribution in Chile. Since 1990, Chile has been run in general by socialist parties which have not pursued a radical neoliberal agenda. Income was distributed upwards, in a major way, from the bottom 2/3 to the top 1/3. If Chile were the US, this would be like a massive redistribution of wealth from families earning less than $75,000/yr to families making more than $75,000/yr. This is the sort of income redistribution that makes the Cato Institute party til dawn. Do you agree with such an income redistribution project? Public transit is in shambles, and the public schools are falling apart. You have nice neighborhoods with big houses, but they have private guards, big dogs, high walls and barbed wire fences to keep out the armies of criminals. Meanwhile, the masses teem below. There is a tremendous amount of property crime due to the massive inequality. Chile still has some pretty good health figures because they put in a lot of socialism in 1960-1973, and Pinochet was never able to dismantle it all that much. Privatization of social security has been a dismal failure. Chile is sickeningly classist and racist. The classism and racism would freak out any American. Society has contempt for anyone who works with his hands. The best men are said to have “fine hands,” as if you never did manual labor. If your hands are rough (means you’re a worker) then you’re a no-good derelict loser. Society blames the working class for being poor. It’s said that the reason they are poor is because they drink and gamble away their paychecks and don’t save it for a rainy day, not because they aren’t paid shit. The Indians are hated and ridiculed and regarded as ugly. Chileans hate Peruvians, and one of their complaints against Peruvians is that Peruvians are hideous Indians, whereas Chileans are you know, White people. Except they are 2
Chile is shit. Fuck that country.