Roll Over, Michael Barone—Even Fourth-Generation Mexicans Are Failing

Social scientists get a

lot of guff
for

not being "real scientists”
. But I`ve

always
admired the best ones immensely.

Sure, an astronomer (say) can tell
you with exactitude

when the next solar eclipse will occur.
Still, most
people don`t feel strongly about the timing of eclipses.
It`s easy to be objective when you deal with things
rather than with people.

In contrast, human beings get

passionate
about

what is uncovered by social scientists.
In fact,
much of what social scientists have learned has been

gut-wrenching
for

the researchers themselves,
who typically fall well
to the left politically.

Social scientists can`t always
overcome their biases. But when they do, the results are
admirable.

The newest example: the impressive
multi-generational study of Mexican-American
assimilation carried out by two UCLA sociologists,

Vilma Ortiz
[Email
her
]and

Edward E. Telles
[Email
him
]of UCLA`s

Chicano Studies Research Center
.

Their 2008 book, Generations of Exclusion: Mexican Americans, Assimilation, and Race,
decisively concludes a long-running
debate about Mexican immigrants.

Telles and Ortiz write:

"Despite sixty years of

political
and

legal
battles to improve the education of Mexican
Americans, they continue to have the lowest
average education levels
and the

highest
high school

dropout rates
among major ethnic and racial groups
in the United States. … However, leading analysts,
apparently believing in the universality of
assimilation, argue that this is the result of a large
first and second generation population still adjusting
to American society. … These and other scholars predict
that Mexican Americans will have the same levels of
education and socioeconomic status as the dominant
non-Hispanic white population by the fourth generation."

East Coast pundits, such as

Michael Barone
and

Tamar Jacoby
, frequently suggest that, while Mexican
Americans may appear to be lagging alarmingly, that`s
mostly because they`ve all just recently arrived from
Mexico.

After all, whoever saw a Mexican in

New York,


Washington
, or

Boston
before the last decade or two? So their
future is wide open!

Pigs could have wings
!

This will happen by the third
generation, or maybe the fourth—but in any case, Real
Soon Now
.

Due to "the great, slow,
mysterious absorptive alchemy of assimilation
" (to
quote Jacoby`s

review
in National Review of Barone`s 2001
book The New Americans), the
descendents of Mexican immigrants will no doubt be
flourishing just like the descendents of the Ellis
Island immigrants.