November 5, 2007


Viva la revolution!: For decades, Hispanics have existed mainly in the shadows of the American dream. Now they're taking to the streets in their millions, in the biggest march for equality since the Civil Rights movement. And with $1 trillion to spend, millions ready to vote and their own candidate for President, Hispanics hold the key to the new American century. (Paul Harris, November 4, 2007, The Observer)

Eddie 'El Piolin' Sotelo does not look like a revolutionary threat to America. He is short, stocky, with neat dark hair and a broad smile. His nickname means simply 'Tweety Bird' in Spanish. Until 18 months ago, Sotelo was virtually unknown. Though more than a million listeners tuned into his radio show, the majority of America was blissfully unaware of his championing of the rights of illegal immigrants - simply because he did it in Spanish. Then, one day, he publicised protests against a draft law to classify undocumented migrants as felons. Sotelo urged his Hispanic listeners to take to the streets. They answered his call in their millions. In Los Angeles, 400,000 marchers streamed through downtown. A similar number jammed Chicago. In dozens of cities, millions of people were suddenly protesting against a law few other Americans even knew about. And 'El Piolin' was at the front of the marchers. 'More than two million marched. And I am proud that we were peaceful,' he tells The Observer

The demonstrators left a stunned America asking one question: who are these people? The answer, it seems, is simple: they are America's future. The US is currently in the grip of a demographic change the like of which has not been seen since the 19th century. A mass immigration is taking place that dwarfs the flow of Irish, Germans, Jews and Italians that, 100 years ago, saw America rise to a superpower. It is a movement of Hispanic immigrants - legal and illegal - and the explosive growth of their descendants.

In 1950 there were just 4m Spanish-speaking Americans, and the word Hispanic had not even been coined. Now their number stands at 44m, and they have surpassed blacks as the country's largest minority. By 2050 there will be 103m Hispanics - or a quarter of all Americans.

That change has had a huge impact on what it means to be American.

Ah, the fundamental failure of European comprehension. Unlike a nation, it matters little who Americans are as what we are remains unchanged no matter who the immigrants are.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 5, 2007 11:04 AM

We are not yet considering the effect of the reconquista on the politics of so-called "diversity."

I have less trouble that some with the influx of gun-loving, soccer-playing Roman Catholics. We read an article recently about Guiliani's "strange" Catholic way of thinking. Stand the eff by, you witches, you baby-murderers!

Another crunch will come when the guilt-trip concerning persons of African and mixd-African descent attenuates, and their hereditary privileges are withdrawn. I heard an interesting panek discussion on NPR a couple of months ago, buy Blacks takling about immigration issues. "We're all for it!" the Negro talking heads intoned, "Just as long as the new Americans never forget that we are first in line." Homey don't think so.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 6, 2007 5:24 AM