Monday, January 26, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Americans with attitude

navarrette column sig

By
From page A11 | March 16, 2014 |

SAN DIEGO — As someone who is often prodded to declare my allegiance to the United States, I’m envious of a group of Americans that no longer has to put up with such demands.

When it comes to identity, these folks enjoy the best of all worlds. No one questions their loyalty to this country. Yet they are also unapologetically proud of their ethnic heritage. They’ll never fully assimilate. If you don’t like it, that’s your problem. These are Americans with attitude.

For its part, America has never known quite what to do with this bunch. They’re all about paradoxes. They’re patriotic and always answer the call to military service, but a group of them – the San Patricios – once famously committed treason by siding with Mexico during the U.S.-Mexican War.

They’re comfortable in the mainstream, but they have also been accused of segregating themselves. They’ve climbed the ladder and enjoyed many opportunities over the years, but their ancestors suffered discrimination because they were Catholic and spoke with accents. They’re primarily an immigrant population who came here with their heads lowered because their home country failed them, and they know well what it’s like to be picked on and mistreated by nativists and “know-nothings.”

What can we say to this perplexing group of Americans? How about, Happy St. Patrick’s Day?

The 34.1 million Americans who identify themselves as either primarily or partially Irish helped shape this country in the 20th century. They have more in common than many of them may realize with the group that will help shape the next one: the 53 million Latinos in the United States.

Both groups had to overcome stereotypes. In 1914, while fear-mongering politicians such as Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts warned that immigrants (read: Irish) were “diminishing” the quality of U.S. citizenship, people named “Murphy” or “O’Brien” were constantly being depicted in newspaper cartoons as the three “d’s”: dirty, dumb and drunk. In 2014, Latinos are often portrayed by Hollywood and the media according to their own set of “d’s”: domestics, delinquents and drug dealers.

Both groups also had to decipher America’s mixed messages. One minute, we’re told not to segregate ourselves but to blend into the mainstream. The next, we have obstacles in our way to keep us from the mainstream. A century ago, there might not have been a need for the Irish to congregate in South Boston if the blue bloods on Beacon Hill hadn’t been so inhospitable.

One difference is that while the main wave of Irish migration to the United States lasted almost 100 years – from the 1840s to the 1930s – there was a clear beginning and ultimately an end. With Mexican migration, there are peaks and valleys but there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. This worries those who think that having a constant flow of people streaming across the U.S.-Mexico border will make it harder for those on this side of it to fully assimilate.

Not this again.

It’s an illogical worry. America has always changed immigrants as much as immigrants change America. Just because you still hear Spanish being spoken in the Southwest doesn’t mean that Latinos aren’t, by the second generation, conversing almost entirely in English. In fact, while many media companies still make the common mistake of approaching Hispanic consumers in Spanish, more than 80 percent of U.S. Hispanics now speak either English entirely – or a combination of English and Spanish.

As they navigate the messy immigration debate, Americans should pause to think about the history of migration to the United States. They’ll conclude that what the nativists of the 1800s and 1900s said about the Germans, Chinese, Irish, Italians and Jews back then sounds a lot like what the nativists of today are saying about Latinos. The fear and paranoia were unjustified then, and the same is true now.

I often refer to the Irish in trying to explain to clueless media executives what Latinos are about. We’re not just at ease in the American mainstream, I tell them. We are the new American mainstream. We’ll go along to get along. But, like the Irish, we will preserve our ethnic identity.

If you don’t like it, then – as our friends say – that’s your problem.

Ruben Navarrette is a columnist for U-T San Diego. Reach him at ruben@rubennavarrette.com.

Ruben Navarrette

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Teen finds entrepreneurial path at young age

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Time for Relay for Life kickoff event

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Fairfield schedules workshop on downtown plan

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Suisun Senior Center offers monthly dance

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
 
Wedding Faire offers one-stop browsing for couples

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Crab feed tradition continues this week

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Local government agencies post meeting times

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
.

US / World

 
Millions of GMO insects could be released in Florida Keys

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Boy shot by Los Angeles deputies treated for graze wound

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
US gas prices fell 13 cents per gallon, but expected to rise

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

2 Marines identified in deadly California helicopter crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Santa Ana winds knock out power to thousands in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Obama to seek wilderness designation for Alaska refuge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Navy wants to increase use of sonar-emitting buoys

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Ukraine: Phone calls prove rebels attacked city, killed 30

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Zambia: Edgar Lungu sworn in as new president

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Greek radical left wins election, threatening market turmoil

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

‘Potentially historic’ storm headed for Northeast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Balloon crew launches in bid to break 2 major records

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Obama: Counterterrorism operations in Yemen not affected

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Zoo offers creepy way for lovelorn to get even with exes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
.

Opinion

Democracy or republic?

By Earl Heal | From Page: A8, 7 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 26, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Do elected officials get it?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 8 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Jan. 26, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Jan. 26, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscope Jan. 27, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
My sister is jobless and homeless and I’m not sure how to help

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

 
Horoscope Jan. 26, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Miss Colombia crowned Miss Universe in Miami

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

‘Birdman’ tops SAG Awards, Redmayne upsets Keaton

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Complete list of winners at 21st annual SAG Awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

.

Sports

Curry leads Warriors to 19th straight home win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Serena Williams to meet Cibulkova in Aussie Open quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Watt gets 2 turnovers, dances in friendly Pro Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Tavares scores 4, Team Toews outscores Team Foligno, 17-12

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Coach K gets 1,000th win as No. 5 Duke tops St. John’s 77-68

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Quinn has led Seattle to record-setting defense

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Chip Ganassi Racing’s ‘star car’ wins Rolex 24 at Daytona

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Patriots’ Browner gets a 2nd chance at a Super Bowl ring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Family attorney: Cubs great Ernie Banks died of heart attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bill Haas pulls away to win Humana Challenge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jeff Gordon to be Fox guest analyst during XFINITY season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sherman doubts any punishment ahead for Patriots

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP Source: Browns WR Josh Gordon fails another drug test

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

AP Interview: Selig says MLB could expand internationally

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Don Johnson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 7 Comments

 
Thomas Clark

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Pickles Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C. Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Word Sleuth Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sudoku Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword Jan 27

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baldo Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baby Blues Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Sally Forth Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Beetle Bailey Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Garfield Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C. Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Peanuts Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Frank and Ernest Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Cryptoquote Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Word Sleuth Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Crossword Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Sudoku Jan 26

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7