Black Leaders (?) And Assimilation

Several years ago I wrote a VDARE.com blog about the sheer impossibility of assimilation for many of today`s human flood in places like southern California. (There are too few native-born Americans among them for the immigrants to assimilate to.)

Assimilation, in particular “patriotic assimilation,” as John Fonte has dubbed it, is obviously a central topic here at VDARE.com. Here`s what Fonte means:

What is “patriotic assimilation”? First, it does not mean giving up all ethnic traditions, customs, cuisine, and birth languages. It has nothing to do with the food one eats, the religion one practices, the affection that one feels for the land of one’s birth, and the second languages that one speaks. Multiethnicity and ethnic subcultures have always been part of our past.

Patriotic assimilation occurs when a newcomer essentially adopts American civic values and the American heritage as his or her own. It occurs, for example, when newcomers and their children begin to think of American history as “our” history not “their” history. To give a hypothetical example, imagine an eight-grade Korean-American female student studying the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

Does she think of those events in terms of “they” or “we”? Does she envision the creation of the Constitution in Philadelphia as something that “they” (white males of European descent) were involved in 200 years before her ancestors came to America, or does she imagine the Constitutional Convention as something that “we” Americans did as part of “our” history? Does she think in terms of “we” or “they”? “We” implies patriotic assimilation. If she thinks in terms of “we,” she has done what millions of immigrants and immigrant children have done in the past. She has adopted America’s story as her story, and she has adopted America’s Founders—Madison, Hamilton, Franklin, Washington—as her ancestors. (This does not mean that she, like other Americans, will not continue to argue about our history and our heritage, nor ignore the times that America has acted ignobly).

In short, if today`s immigrants were patriotically assimilating (according to Fonte most of them aren`t ), then the main concern about immigration (my main concern, anyway) would be the number of immigrants.

So during the recent controversy about whether our U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice should be nominated to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, I was startled to read the following in Wikipedia`s entry for Rice, concerning her 1997 nomination by Bill Clinton to a lower State Department position:

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a longtime mentor and family friend to Rice, urged Clinton to appoint Rice as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in 1997. Rice was not the first choice of Congressional Black Caucus leaders, who considered Rice a member of “Washington`s assimilationist black elite.” [Emphasis added]

Wikipedia`s article cites The Meteoric Rise of the State Department`s Susan Rice from The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (Volume 20 Summer 1998 , p. 40-41) as the source for the quote, “Washington`s assimilationist black elite.” That journal isn`t freely available online, see a pay archive link here, but I was able to access it via Montana State University`s library, so here`s the full passage:

Rice is not without critics. Considered a member of Washington`s assimilationist black elite, she was not the first choice of the Congressional Black Caucus for the State Department position.

(That Rice might be considered an assimilationist sell-out by the Congressional Black Caucus isn`t too surprising. She`s married to “Canadian-born ABC News producer Ian Officer Cameron”—could there be a WASPier name than that?—and shares with him a net worth upwards of $20 million.)

So there you have it. The Congressional black leadership, representing (assuming they truly do) people whose roots in this land go back nearly four centuries, disdains assimilation—if not material assimilation, surely patriotic assimilation. Or at least they did back in 1997, when their chair was the always charming Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

There are, of course, prominent black Americans who are patriotic citizens first, very much of our society. Economist and political philosopher Thomas Sowell anti-affirmative-action crusader Ward Connerly, and talk-radio host Larry Elder come immediately to mind.

So—no revelation here—it`s probably best to regard the Congressional Black Caucus as not leaders but, first and foremost, a coterie of ethnic-grievance hustlers.

Anyway, now we know: For the “black leadership,” the cry goes, “Assimilation? Pfui!”