April 1, 2010

Hispanics May Become Ethnic Majority in US (Say Goodbye to Taco Bell?)

[Think Goodbye to Taco Bell?]

For months now, Conservatives have been advocating a boycott of the US Census, arguing  that “it asks too many questions and reflects increasing government intrusion into private matters.” I suspect the British find this amusing, and the Guardian UK has run a rather snarky story on this issue:

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann(R-MN), a virulently conservative, anti-Obama Republican from Minnesota, has urged supporters to give only the number of people living in their household, saying nothing more is required by the constitution.

“And I know for my family the only question that we will be answering is how many people are in our home,” she told a newspaper. “We won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that.”

Glenn Beck, a Fox News presenter and one of the loudest voices on the American right, attacked the plan to include undocumented immigrants in the count, and said he too would only answer the question on how many people lived in his household.

“Government in the last couple years has not proven itself to accomplish anything, maintain data properly, get money to districts properly,” Eric Odom, a prominent organiser in the anti-government “tea party” movement, told the Guardian. “I don’t want them to have my private information and I don’t trust them to get anything right. If you want to know my name, my age, where I live, you can find that on my website, but to go any further is out of the realm of acceptability.”

Michael Johns, a former speechwriter for George Bush Sr, put conservative mistrust of the census down to fears the Obama administration would inappropriately politicise the operation.

“The tea party movement has legitimate concerns about the integrity of the process,” Johns said in an interview.

This year’s census will ask 10 questions, including name, age, sex, whether the respondent owns or rents a home, and questions about race and ethnicity. The census form does not ask about immigration status, and the information is confidential.

Apparently, Congressman (R-TX) and libertarian favorite Ron Paul is also opposed to the Census:

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), the only “no” vote on a resolution (H.Res. 1096) encouraging census participation, explained in an op-ed that the decennial count “has grown far beyond what the framers of our Constitution intended.” There’s a “Public Servant’s Questionnaire” making its way around the internet; self-described “limited government” types can use it to make life difficult for census takers who knock on their doors (after said protesters refuse to mail back their forms).

The anti-immigration “think-tank” (using that term lightly), “Center for Immigration Studies” (is irony part of the GOP stance these days?), has also jumped on the boycott bandwagon. Its Director, Mike Krikorian, feels that the ethnicity questions are “clearly illegitimate” and “none of the government’s business.” Rather than simply boycott the form, however, Krikorian is telling his audience to check “Some other race” and write-in “American.”

A Hispanic DNC source (speaking on condition of anonymity), suggests that the conservatives are playing right into their hands with their boycott and in marking the “other” ethnicity box. “Hispanics are overwhelmingly voting for Democrats, and always have, so we have been planting seeds about Hispanics – especially the illegals – not returning the Census forms. The GOP wingnuts took the bait with their own boycott, not realizing they were giving us ethnic majority status. Once this is done, we will be able to redistrict the country so that we can control local, state, and national political seats.”

It seems, in Texas at least (and Arizona also seems to be following suit), that conservatives are listening the Bachmann and Beck. According to the Houston Chronicle:

In Texas, some of the counties with the lowest census return rates are among the state’s most Republican, including Briscoe County in the Panhandle, 8 percent; King County, near Lubbock, 5 percent; Culberson County, near El Paso, 11 percent; and Newton County, in deep East Texas, 18 percent. Most other counties near the bottom of the list are heavily Hispanic counties along the Texas-Mexico border.

Meanwhile, CBS News and many other outlets are reporting that Hispanics are filling out the Census at a rate of about 90% (which confirms the information given by my DNC source).

What boycott? Close to 9 in 10 Hispanics say they intend to participate in the 2010 census, with immigrants more likely to say the government count is good for their community and that personal information will be kept confidential, according to a new poll.

Can you smell the irony? The LA Times has more numbers:

Overall, about 85 percent of Hispanics say they already have sent in their census form or definitely will do so, up from 65 percent in early March. But among immigrants, the rate increases to 91 percent, compared to 78 percent for U.S.-born Hispanics.

With Republicans pledging to boycott the 2010 census  (and, in general, GOP loyalists see the Census as less important than do Democrats), Bachmann, Beck, Paul, and Krikorian (not to mention the Heritage Foundation, who was very supportive of a Hispanic boycott) may be handing the country over to the brown-skinned people Hispanics they so publicly loath.

Thanks to these fine, patriotic Americans for giving another ethnic group a chance to become the majority in the US for the next ten years (by which time time, Caucasians likely will be a legitimate minority).

The Hispanic DNC source offered some final thoughts:

“When this whole Census nonsense is done, and we are in control, there will be no more Taco Bells and Taco Time – that wretched crap is not Mexican food. That will be the first order of business.

After that, Cinco De Mayo will become a national holiday, and we will require all school children to learn Spanish. Buenos dias, amigo.”

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