From Tom Brokaw to Samuel P. Huntington: Assimilation Politics is White Supremacy
By Irene Sanchez
The Southwest Political Report
Tom Brokaw, acclaimed journalist went on Meet the Press Sunday January 27, 2019 to discuss border politics.
During this discussion Brokaw said a few things that were disturbing including the fact that he thinks “Hispanics” need to assimilate more. I will not debate on how much certain groups assimilate or don’t as I’ve seen commentators of Latino decent attempt to argue how Latinos do assimilate. Doing this doesn’t help but to only continue to uphold ideologies rooted in white supremacy. Why you may ask? Due to the way in which colonization happened, we were demanded to give up or language and also culture throughout history and today.
Since before 1848, there has been violence enacted on indigenous peoples then also later Mexicans in the area of the U.S. that is now known as the Southwest. Land wasn’t the only thing white settlers led by Stephen Austin took when they came to Texas in the 1820s, they began to take lives with vigilante groups such as The Texas Rangers, taking the law into their own hands and lynching many Mexicans in order to take land and serve their larger goals of making them foreigners and therefore “illegal”.
Promoting the false idea that Mexicans and other Latinos are perpetually foreigners is false and has persisted throughout time because it justifies the states criminalization of our very existence and therefore allows people to not only continue to say harmful things, but enact physical violence against members of our communities. The fear of the “other” and the idea that these groups and people like were protecting themselves from the “other” meaning Mexicans during this time. This type of ideology lives today and was what allowed people in groups like the Minutemen to kill Briseña Flores and her father in 2009.
Samuel P. Huntington, has influenced many people during his career being paid to push this assimilationist agenda and invoking fear of Latinos while working as a Professor and director at Harvard University for nearly half a century. At one point he was on C-SPAN Book Notes commenting on how the U.S. has never had an issue with “Hispanics” before 1960.
It is (or really isn’t if you’re like me) hard to believe that a political scientist at one of the most prestigious if not the most prestigious university in the world could say something like this
“Well, I think the Mexican immigration and the Hispanic immigration generally during the period since the 1960s is a phenomenon we’ve never really had before.”
Why would this be a problem never had before? Did Mexicans and Hispanics just begin coming to the U.S.?
Huntington dedicated his entire career to upholding fear and invoking hate like his report titled “The Hispanic Challenge” shows:
“The persistent inflow of Hispanic immigrants threatens to divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages. Unlike past immigrant groups, Mexicans and other Latinos have not assimilated into mainstream U.S. culture, forming instead their own political and linguistic enclaves—from Los Angeles to Miami—and rejecting the Anglo- Protestant values that built the American dream. The United States ignores this challenge at its peril.”
Brokaw did what he felt he had to do and that was echo the voice of not just people he has spoke to and perhaps his own beliefs, but his words echo something much deeper and darker in U.S. history that has continued throughout centuries and that is white supremacy.
“A lot of this we don’t want to talk about but the fact is on the Republican side, a lot of people see the rise of an extraordinary important new constituency in American politics — Hispanics, who will come here and all be Democrats,”
“I hear when I push people a little harder, ‘I don’t know whether I want brown grandbabies.’ That’s also a part of it. It’s the intermarriage that’s going on and the cultures that are conflicting with each other.”
“Conflicting with each other” Brokaw said, maybe he and the people he pushed harder to speak were influenced by Huntington’s book Clash of Civilizations or maybe they never got the chance to read the late Harvard Professor’s grand contributions, or perhaps they were all just influenced by that one part of U.S culture called white supremacy that we all live under and many of us still refuse to accept.