Hispanics actually are assimilating
Veteran TV anchor Tom Brokaw apologized last week for advising Hispanic-Americans to “work harder on assimilation” and to “make sure all their kids are speaking English.” The real problem with Brokaw’s comment was not that it was offensive, said Noah Smith; it was that it was factually wrong. A 2016 Pew survey found that 80 percent of Hispanics ages 18 to 25 speak only English or are bilingual. Second-generation Hispanics speak English at the same rate as second-generation European immigrants. As Hispanic families work hard to realize the American Dream, their household income is steadily climbing, to 74 percent of that of white households. Their economic mobility is very high. “Perhaps the ultimate act of assimilation is intermarriage,” which is proceeding “at a dizzying pace”: Nearly 60 percent of third-generation Hispanic-Americans marry someone who isn’t Hispanic. Among fourth-generation Hispanic-Americans, 56 percent no longer even identify as Hispanic. These facts won’t allay the resentment of people who actually fear Hispanic assimilation and the influence it will have on our melting-pot American culture. But make no mistake: Hispanics are following the same path blazed by previous waves of Italian, Irish, Polish, German, Jewish, and other immigrants.