Joel Kotkin offers some fact-based analysis of the The Multiculturalism of the Streets now ongoing in America. Kotkin details how, below the radar, immigrant America is integrating itself into the American economy, and American life more generally. He also notes that the idea that our Southwestern states will become “Spanish Quebecs” is not supported by the evidence:
Linguistic trends show a similar trajectory. Despite fears of an emerging Babel, Latinos and Asians are becoming ever more English-dominant. Ninety percent of Latino high school graduates prefer to speak English over Spanish. This is largely a matter of generational change. The Spanish-dominant first generation is becoming a progressively smaller percentage of the Latino population. By 2040 the second generation is expected to double while the third generation, the vast majority of whom speak no Spanish at all, will expand threefold. As a result, English-dominant Hispanics, who already account for some three-fifths of Latino spending power, will become the prime “ethnic” market.
Though some people won’t like to hear it, the prognosis is for America remaining “the young, dynamic world-nation of the 21st Century”, as I previously predicted.
To be sure, this culture fusion will not please some conservative intellectuals, who will not look kindly on the incorporation of Spanishisms into our daily language any more than the rising popularity of Yiddish words appealed to Henry James a century ago. For the most part, however, this informal, undirected and mostly market-driven form of integration bodes very well for the continued dynamism of both American culture and economy. It guarantees that America will remain youthful, changeable and, very likely, strongly family-oriented. And it points to a major difference within the civilizational West—for most European countries have yet to figure out how to blend and thrive as has the United States.
Contrary to the concerns of some conservative critics, or the hopes of P.C. campus radicals, the emerging American national reality will not be shaped by the pronouncements of either left-wing academics or conservative political warlords. The new America will be more the product of the street-level trends that operate below the radar of intellectuals—just as it always has. If we’re smart, we’ll let what comes most naturally to American society take its course.
Sounds good to me. (RTWT)
UPDATE: Peter St. Andre offers some thoughts in response to the Kotkin article.
(Cross-posted at Albion’s Seedlings)