Another day, another innocent person is destroyed by the social media mob for an innocuous expression of free speech. The apostles of diversity police our speech and aggressively enforce a speech code according to “politically correct” liberal dogmas.
First it was Congressman Steve King (R-IA), who was wrongly ostracized by his colleagues for wondering when the term Western Civilization became offensive. A week later it was 15-year-old Nick Sandmann, a junior at Covington Catholic High School, who was confronted at the March for Life by a “tribal elder” banging a drum.
Next in the hot seat was the president of the University of Notre Dame, Father John I. Jenkins. He kowtowed to the Native American Student Association by agreeing to cover up 12 large murals that depict Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World.
The latest victim of self-appointed guardians of diversity was the 78-year-old liberal journalist Tom Brokaw, the longtime NBC anchor. Brokaw, an icon of television news, is also known for chronicling the “greatest generation” of Americans who won World War II and came home to build the greatest country in the world.
In a rare appearance Sunday on Meet the Press, Brokaw commented that “Hispanics should work harder at assimilation. They ought not to be just codified in their communities, but make sure that all their kids are learning to speak English.”
The response to Brokaw’s good advice was fast and furious, to borrow a phrase from the Mexican gun-running operation approved by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. That improper operation, which was politically motivated to justify gun control, instead resulted in the 2010 murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
Aura Bogado, who is described as an investigative immigration reporter at Reveal, said Brokaw was “arguing classic white supremacist talking points in a deeply racist rant on national television.” Julio Ricardo Varela, the founder of LatinoRebels.com, said “It really was a punch in the gut to a lot of people.”
“It was not only factually incorrect, it was also xenophobia in action,” Varela added in his criticism of Brokaw. Liberal commentator Maria Cardona called Brokaw “a little out of touch.”
Cardona also insisted, unpersuasively, that “Latinos absolutely assimilate.” If that were really true, Latinos would be speaking English, but many of them aren’t.
Brokaw’s fellow commentator on Meet the Press, PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor, said: “We need to adjust what we think of as America. The idea that Americans can only speak English, as if Spanish and other languages wasn’t always part of America, is in some ways troubling.”
People who cannot speak, understand, read and write English will never be able to advance socially, economically or politically in our country. It’s not true that “Spanish and other languages” were “always part of America,” given that none of the Founding Fathers spoke or wrote in Spanish.
Within a few hours the liberal Brokaw went on an apology tour on Twitter, tweeting that he is “truly sorry” for his remarks, which he said were “offensive to many.” “I never intended to disparage any segment of our rich, diverse society which defines who we are,” Brokaw continued.
Brokaw even apologized to fellow panelist Yamiche Alcindor, saying she’s a “wonderful colleague and an important voice,” despite the fact that Alcindor’s views were directly contradictory to Brokaw’s. Like many Hispanic activists and lobbyists, Alcindor rejected the whole idea of assimilation.
On Fox News, Geraldo Rivera took a different tack, claiming that Hispanics are actually “assimilating at a rate that’s faster than any other ethnic group in our history.” But the official numbers from the Census Bureau show otherwise.
The American Community Survey enables the Census Bureau to track the number of households who self-report that they speak a language other than English at home. The fraction of U.S. households answering yes to that question has risen steadily over the last three decades, reaching 22 percent in 2017 (the last year numbers are available), which is double the 11 percent in 1980.
Most of the non-English speaking households are concentrated in a few areas close to our southern border, plus a few of our largest northern cities. In 39 U.S. counties, a majority of residents report that they speak a language other than English at home.
Many of those who speak another language at home claim they also speak English well or very well, but further studies have shown that is not the case. Nearly half were found to speak English at a level below basic, also known as functional illiteracy.
Spanish is presumed to be the common language south of the border, but among the people who arrived most recently, many did not speak or understand Spanish. They spoke only indigenous languages such as Q’eqchi’, which meant that U.S. officials were required to find translators to provide medical care.
John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.