Gingrich urges the abolishment of bilingual education

OK, I love a data challenge :)

You can find lots o’ census data here.

In 1880, which I think was roughly the end of the first big wave of non-English immigration:

Out of a population of 50.16 million, 6.68 million (13.3%) were foreign born. The two biggies were German/Austrian (2.04 million, 4.1%) and Irish (1.85 million, 3.7%). IIUC, Boston was the epicenter of Irish immigration, but only 17.7% of that city was Irish born.

In 1930, roughly the end of the second big wave:
Out of a population of 137.01 million, 14.20 million (10.4%) were foreign born, with the leading sources being Germany/Austria (1.98 million, 1.4%) and Italy (1.79 million, 1.3%). I didn’t find the city by city data, but I doubt any one city had a massively disproportionate share of German or Italian immigrants.

In 2003, population was 282.9 million, with 33.5 million foreign born (11.8%), of which, 17.5 million (6.2%) were born in Latin America.

I only saw regional data (on a slightly different measure, and in 2000, not 2003) by state, which is rather course, because I think the large concentrations of Hispanic population in Florida, Texas, and California are all concentrated in the southern areas/cities of those states. Note that per that same table, in 2000, 12.1% of the population 5 and over lived in a household that spoke Spanish at home (higher than the foreign-born Latin American population because it includes U.S. born people who speak Spanish at home, too.) AFAIK, the 1880 and 1930 censuses did not have data on the language spoken in the home, so it’s not possible to make a direct comparison there.

BTW, census data apparently DOES include illegal immigrants.

Now possibly I picked the wrong dates or nationalities for my historical comparisons, but I think I’ve probably got it right. I’d also imagine the Latin American origin/Spanish speaking population has increased non-trivially since 2000/2003. Anyways, in the directly comparable data, as of 2003, the Latin American origin foreign born population was about half again bigger than the German-origin population in 1880, which was the largest non-English speaking wave I found in 1880 or 1930.

Note: There may be small rounding errors throughout my numbers…

The numbers don’t support the claims you made.

  1. High percentage of immigrants. The immigrant levels as a percentage of the population were comparable in both the 1880s, 1930s, and now.
  2. Geographically concentrated. You can’t use language spoken at home as a immigrant proxy - it’s more of a proxy for “abandonment rate of pre-immigration culture” and “how many generations of immigrant descendants in said culture are there.”
  3. If you’re going to treat all of latin american immigration speaking a language as a defacto seperatist culture like the French in Quebec, then you should probably treat basically all the eastern european immigrants from who knows where that happened to speak one language…ok, it’s ridiculous, I can’t finish typing it. Seriously, I don’t get it. Guatemala and Mexico are not the same place.

Did you read my original post?

I was talking about single language immigration groups (hence the phrases “large scale spanish-language immigration” and “such a high percentage of immigrants speaking one non-English language”). That’s what I compared.

Yes, in my second post, I threw in overall immigration data for info, but that wasn’t part of my original theory. I also threw in data on the overall population at each census. Perhaps you’d like to suggest that that refutes my claim that the US population has shrunk dramatically in the last 120 years…

Did you read my second post?

I said “it’s not possible to make a direct comparison there [language spoken at home]” because the data isn’t present (that I could find) for the earlier periods. Which is why my primary comparison was on the best data point I could find that was in all censuses - nation of origin for foreign born population.

Err, I hate to break this to you Jason, but those immigrants from Poland and, say, Romania? They don’t speak the same language. None of the Eastern European groups that DO speak the same language constituted a very large portion of the population (or at least, they were smaller than the groups I did spotlight - Germans and Italians in 1930). And you know, this thread and my posts are about language education and language groups.

Wow another out of context over-reaction thread on QT3 P&R.

Who woulda thunk it?

Ok, stepping back, how is a bunch of immigrants from different countries that happen to speak the same language something special? My point was that the Eastern European nations were all geographically in the same place and shared some culture the same way the “latin american” ones do. I don’t see what’s so magic about language.

Seriously? You don’t see what’s so special about the basic set of concepts and terms we think with?

I’d say that’s pretty much language independent, al least if you exclude oddities like those languages that only have words for 1, 2 and many.

As for this particular matter, while I agree that anyone lacking a solid grasp of English anywhere in the world in this century could be considered an analphabet, a statement like “learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto” would be considered trollbait in any self-respecting online community, while somehow Newt can get away with it in that so called “real life” thing.

And being bilingual protects the brains!

What’s language independent? Thinking? Of course. But language can impose certain subtle - biases, or modes of thought. And mathematics is almost a language of itself, so that’s not exactly a good example for trying to diminish the effect of language on our thought process. But I agree that being bilingual is good - it allows you more conceptual tools, and exercises the brain. I just disagreed with Jason’s glib dismissal of language as a differentiating factor between people.

Well, if you read the post that was a followup to, Phil says that when you have a group fo immigrants who all happen to speak the same language it somehow turns into them having a harder time assimilating. “Language is important” isn’t a casual explanation for that theory, which was my point.

Except there is no guarantee it will happen all by itself just because it has thus far. If you dont think there are going to be serious US/Mexican culture/language clashes in our future then you must not live anywhere near the Southwest.

English or GTFO.

Technically true, but I think the historical evidence is on my side on this one now isn’t it? If you have anything beyond xenophobic hispanic hatred to back up the assertion that hispanics won’t be able to integrate, I’d be interested to hear it.

Well now, depends what you mean by serious. I’m sure it won’t be anything huge by historical standards. And, FYI, I live in the midwest. There are towns in my state where, due to big meat packing plants attracting immigrant labor, native english speakers are the minority. Curiously, this has failed to be a serious problem and armageddon has been inexplicably postponed.

If we do have “serious” race/culture problems, people with attitudes like that will be the cause.

IMHO the problem with Dominican kids in New York is that they DON’T learn Spanish. They can speak “grandma” level. The problem is not that they are Dominican, but that they go to crappy New York schools, thereby picking up crappy English.

It is much more difficult for an adult to pick up an extra tongue. Working command and fluency are possible, of course.

All immigrants know they need to learn English and push their children to. You learn English from watching G.I. Joe and having schoolmates ask how many hairs you have down there. My cousins in Miami unfortunately lived in a highly-Hispanic neighborhood and ended up with much poorer English than I did. My cousins in Toronto spent their time with all these FOB Chinese so their English blows too.

This implies economic and social isolation is the problem.

Racism is a very interesting topic. Unfortunately, I find it is difficult to discuss over the internet. Too many things will sound very mean. You can’t see the empathy behind people’s words as they point out problems they’d very much like to help fix.

As a token for those who may think racism in the US is limited to “white people” to darker-skinned people, it’s not. I’ve been yelled at “to go back where you came from” only four-five times in New York. I was ching-chong’ed in the Dominican Republic daily. They even have a specific song (with lyrics and all) to make fun of Chinese people.

Went to Barcelona this Christmas and they had their own bloody version too. In Catalan. Blue-blooded bullshit. Everyone’s a little bit racist, but some people are worse than others.

Yeah, let’s make sure everyone only gets educated in one language… but it shouldn’t be English. It should be an artificial language such as esperanto, and everyone in the world should have learn it ;). And make it easy to read/write, and not have bullshit grammar rules.

Excellent post, wisefool.

I’m on board with this.