I’ve never been one of those that venerated Tom Brokaw as a paragon of a ‘Golden Age’, or at least a Silver or Bronze one, of “Objective Journalism”.
So much for Objective Journalism. Don’t bother to look for it here–not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms. – Stockton
Richard thinks he’s a drunk though it might be a side effect of the treatments for Myeloma and his admitted addiction to Ambien. I’ll try to be more charitable than that and assume he’s in full possession of his faculties.
Here’s a quote from Sunday-
And 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 constituent in American politics, Hispanics, who will come here and all be Democrats. Also, I hear, when I push people a little harder, “Well, I don’t know whether I want brown grandbabies.” I mean, that’s also a part of it. It’s the intermarriage that is going on and the cultures that are conflicting with each other. I also happen to believe that the Hispanics should work harder at assimilation. That’s one of the things I’ve been saying for a long time. You know, they ought not to be just codified in their communities but make sure that all their kids are learning to speak English, and that they feel comfortable in the communities. And that’s going to take outreach on both sides, frankly.
Who you going to believe? Me, or your lying eyes?
(h/t Red Painter and Heather @ Crooks an Liars)
Wow. Who knew Centerist Bothsiderism was so nakedly racist when it supports a nakedly racist Status Quo of White. Male. Privilege?
In fairness Browkaw has also been implicated in several incidents of sexual harassment which is not at all surprising given the chauvinist culture at NBC that thought Matt Lauer’s (who, by the way. has given up any hope of reviving his career and is devoting himself to Sheep Ranching in New Zealand) remote door locking ‘abuse office’ was not creepy at all. And no, I don’t think glowing testimonials from Rachel Maddow and Mrs. Greenspan absolve him.
Tom Brokaw blew it on assimilation. But we can get it right.
By Paul Waldman, Washington Post
January 28, 2019
In the midst of an ongoing debate in which the president of the United States spews out lies about immigrants and immigration on a daily basis, NBC News éminence grise Tom Brokaw decided to do some myth-spreading of his own on “Meet the Press.” After being roundly criticized, Brokaw apologized, but the fact that someone like him believed the things he said tells us a lot about some stubborn misconceptions about immigration that are worth examining.
Let’s be clear about this: The idea that Hispanics aren’t making “sure that all their kids are learning to speak English” is simply false. But we also need to interrogate what we really mean when we talk about “assimilation.”
Let’s start with the language question. Millions of people believe that the current generation of immigrants is less willing than prior generations to learn English, but it just isn’t true. As a 2015 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine put it, “Despite popular concerns that immigrants are not learning English as quickly as earlier immigrants, the data on English proficiency indicate that today’s immigrants are actually learning English faster than their predecessors.” If anything, it’s harder for an immigrant today to get by without knowing English than it might have been for those who came a hundred years ago and slipped easily into self-contained immigrant communities.
Nevertheless, the pattern for today’s immigrants is the same as it has always been: Those who come as adults struggle to learn the language; their children are bilingual, often serving as translators for their parents; and their children’s children speak only English. That’s how it was in my family, and I’ll bet that’s how it was in yours.
But there’s an irony here. When Brokaw says Hispanics “ought not to just be codified in their communities,” it’s precisely because they aren’t staying separate from other Americans that leads people like him to worry that they aren’t assimilating.
When immigrants from Central and South America were concentrated in places like Texas, California and New York, you didn’t see nearly the panic about assimilation that you do today. It’s only when they began to move into places like the Midwest, where they hadn’t been before, that these worries grew so loud. For an older person in, say, Iowa, which had formerly been quite homogeneous, to go down the local supermarket and hear his neighbors speaking Spanish was a shock. In a way, many Americans would rather that immigrants stayed more tightly concentrated in urban ghettos, as was so often the case with previous waves of immigration, so they wouldn’t have to encounter them.
Now let’s talk about the idea of “assimilation.” If today’s immigrants are learning English faster than previous generations, what sort of assimilation are people after? Do we want immigrants to stop eating the food of their countries of origin? Should they stop listening to the music they knew or wearing the clothes they brought with them?
A few people might think so, but I doubt it’s all that many. Something tells me that Brokaw doesn’t stop in an Irish pub or an Italian restaurant and say to himself, “These people should really work harder at assimilation.” I’ll never forget this viral video from 2016 of a jacked-up, shirtless Trump supporter screaming at a group of pro-immigration protesters, “Get the f— out of here! Our country, motherf—-r!,” which he followed with, “Go f—ing cook my burrito, b—-!” and “Truuump! I love Trump!” Get out of here — or on second thought, make me some of your delicious Mexican food, which I so enjoy.
The idea that today’s immigrants aren’t “assimilating” has been a theme of the president’s since the beginning. In August 2016, he gave a speech in which he argued that “not everyone who seeks to join our country will be able to successfully assimilate” and proposed that prospective immigrants be given “An ideological certification to make sure that those we are admitting to our country share our values and love our people.”
Later, his chief of staff John Kelly said that many immigrants are “not people that would easily assimilate into the United States, into our modern society.” But as Politico reported, Kelly’s own grandfather, an immigrant from Italy, “never spoke a word of English and made his living peddling a fruit cart in East Boston.” Somehow that lack of assimilation didn’t prevent his grandson from rising to the highest ranks of the American military and government.
There are a number of ways to think about the “They’re not assimilating” reaction so many people have to immigrants, ranging from more to less generous. You can decide it’s simply racism or tribalism. You can decide it’s a predictable response to societal change, which can be disorienting particularly for older people. But what’s so pernicious about President Trump’s role in spreading the lie about assimilation is that he joins it to equally fictitious claims about immigrants being a source of crime and violence, encouraging people to feel not just uneasy about immigrants but also to fear and hate them.
So here’s the truth: For all the conflicts we’ve had over our history with each successive wave of immigration, it’s precisely our ability to assimilate immigrants that is one of our greatest national strengths. It’s why we’ve had so little terrorism originating in immigrant communities (our biggest domestic terrorism threat comes from right-wing white people).
Those people would prefer it American culture were frozen at a particular moment, generally around the time they were kids. Trump appealed to them in 2016 by saying that he’d build a wall and make America great again, meaning not what it is today but what you remember it being back then when life was simpler, whenever “back then” was for you.
Brokaw grew up in South Dakota and built much of his career on nostalgia for a supposedly superior past, so perhaps it’s not surprising to see him worry that the present, and the present generation of immigrants, are worse in some fundamental way than what came before. When he said what he did, another panelist, PBS correspondent Yamiche Alcindor — who grew up in multicultural Miami and is herself the daughter of immigrants — politely pushed back against “the idea that we think Americans can only speak English, as if Spanish and other languages wasn’t always part of America.”
Let’s start here- HISPANICS ARE WHITE! Just as White as any European (except for Danes and Anglo-Saxons who are extra specially White according to Ben Franklin). Second- the Spanish (and those filthy Portuguese) WERE HERE FIRST! Spanish is the majority language of America if by America you mean the 36 separate countries that make up America North, South, and Central and not our racist little corner of it we call the U.S. of A. or ‘Murika for short.
I’ll not accuse him of dementia but Racist Old White Guy Tom Brokaw should keep his festering gob shut! It’s not 2004 anymore when the sight of
W in a codpiece would send a thrill up your leg and the fact his successor (who he feverishly groomed for the role) proved to be a lying liar (still works for NBC though) is no accident.
It’s simply the way NBC rolls. You would do well not to forget it.