Who Put The ‘Hispanic’ In Hispanic Heritage Month? : NPR

Interesting history and example of how political level, civil organizations and officials responded to needed change:

And then by 1980, the term Hispanic shows up for the first time on a census form. How did that happen?

One wouldn’t necessarily think of [President Richard] Nixon as a champion of Latino rights or Latino identity. But he was open to hearing Latino concerns, in part because he grew up in Southern California, in a context where he knew Mexican-Americans existed. And they were different. Their lives were different; their experiences were different from whites. In 1972, he created the first comprehensive ‘Hispanic vote’ political campaigns at the presidential level that the country had ever seen. Nixon had what he called “amigo buses” that roamed around the Southwest but also the Northeast and into Florida. Those that roamed on the East Coast played salsa and cumbia and those that roamed in the Southwest played mariachi. This was before the Democratic Party did anything close to this. And the Nixon administration also pressured the Census Bureau to create an advisory board comprised of the Mexicans and the Puerto Ricans, who were incredibly loud, and also some Cuban sympathizers that had been big contributors to Nixon. One of the biggest points of debate is: What would this group be called on the census?

How did they choose the term ‘Hispanic’?

Some of the advisory members said, “Hey, why not use ‘brown’? We don’t fit into these white, black, Asian categories. That’s not us.” Now, if you’re a demographer, if you’re a statistician, that seems like an incredible nightmare. You know, brown can mean Filipinos. Brown can be Native Americans. Brown can be South Asian Indians. This was a complete non-starter.

They went down the list. Latin American. One of the problems is that Latinos were seen as foreigners, invaders and not inherently American. And one of the jobs of the advisory board was to really show that Latinos were an American minority group, like African-Americans — a minority that stretched from coast to coast and that were patriotic, that fought in wars, that contributed to American history, that built American cities. So when a term like Latin American was used, right away, it seemed to strike discord because it was seen as too foreign.

Hispanic was never a term that everybody loved, but it was a term that got a lot of support from within Latinos in the Nixon and, later, the Ford administration.

And, then, how did they make it stick?

The Census director called all the Latino advocacy groups that were being set up in Washington, D.C. — the National Council of La Raza; the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and said: “HELP.” NCLR set up town halls in places like Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, showing people the new census form and telling them, “Look, we’re Hispanic. This is us. This is our chance. This is our category!” The second phone the Census director picked up was to Spanish-language media. At that time, the company that would later go on to be called Univision was growing rapidly. They ran documentaries, commercials, even a day-long telethon, where different performers from across Latin America came out. Each of them held out the census form and says, “Hey, remember to fill out the census. We’re Hispanic on the 1980 census. This is important for us.”

How did we get from arguing for totally separate identities like Mexican, Puerto Rican and Cuban, to me calling myself a Latina?

Because it takes on a life of its own! Once the category was made, everything from political groups to civic organizations to every other media group that would emerge, would draw on census data. As soon as the census numbers came out, Latino lobby groups could then run the numbers and say, ‘Look, this is what Latino poverty looks like; this is what Latino educational attainment looks like.’

They could go up to the Department of Education, for example, and say, “Latinos are the second-largest minority group. And yet, our educational attainment pales to that of whites. Send money to our schools.”

The same exact thing happened in the market. As soon as the numbers came out, Univision releases the first Hispanic marketing manual, in which they take figures like income, and they call it “Hispanic buying power.” And they take the census report and make pitches to McDonald’s and Kellogg’s and everybody else. And they start to slowly grow.

During the 1980s, Latino political organizations started to demand that not only should we have a Hispanic category in the census, but we damn well should have it on birth certificates. Michigan, Georgia, Louisiana — they still categorize Latinos as whites. And there was a large political push among these groups, with even Spanish-language media writing to them and saying, ‘Look, put us down as Latinos. We’re not white. We’re distinct. We’re different.’


Trump has started a brain drain back to India

Positive impact for Canada:

So many [foreign hi-tech] workers have been frustrated that attorney Brent Renison sought class-action status for a lawsuit filed last year in U.S. District Court in Portland. He argued, in part, that the H-1B lottery was arbitrary and capricious. The suit asked the court to order the government to process visa petitions in the order they are filed and compel the government to establish a waitlist like the one used for green card petitions. The government prevailed.

“Some people are moving out of the country, taking valuable skills with them,” Renison says. “Some people are choosing not to come. If this persists, were going to lose a lot of the foreign students we educate.”

The system was barely functioning as it was. Applications for work visas already were so clogged in the federal bureaucracy that in recent years even Ivy League graduates couldn’t be certain of receiving one. Getting a work visa hasn’t guaranteed stability, as Sahay, the data architect, knows.

Employers can sponsor immigrants’ green cards, or permanent visas, but the approvals process is backlogged. The federal government places caps for green cards on each country each year. Indians seeking permanent residency say it’s routine for them to linger in line for a decade or more. Up to 2 million Indian workers here and abroad may be waiting in a green card backlogthat could take a decade or more to clear if there are no changes to the system, says David Bier, an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute think tank.

Those concerns may add to the shortage of highly skilled technology workers in the United States, just as Canada or Singapore vie for those same people.

Every other startup company, says Vish Mishra, an investor with Clearstone Venture Partners, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, has operations based overseas or recruits workers in India, Eastern Europe, Canada or Israel.

“You’re not going to have, all of a sudden, 200,000 [American] people filling the gap that exists. What are businesses going to do? Businesses have to import talent,” he says.

Canada has become more attractive just since the U.S. presidential election. The country granted temporary work visas to 1,960 Indian nationals in all of 2015, and 2,120 total in the fourth quarter of 2016 and first quarter of this year.

In November, Canada announced that as of June, the country would speed the processing of standard visas and work permits to two weeks for highly skilled talent working for companies doing business in Canada. The move, the government says, will help companies grow and fuel job growth for Canadians.

Meanwhile, in the United States, tech workers and engineers are bound to established companies that filed paperwork for them years back. Almost everyone in the Indian tech community knows a weekend entrepreneur who desperately wants to start his or her own company but can’t quit work because they would be visa-less. Meanwhile, friends and family in India beg them to come home and bring their ideas to India’s own booming silicon valleys.

Rishi Bhilawadikar, a user-experience designer in the Bay area, says that tenuous life lived by so many educated Indian workers — in America, but not really of America — spurred him to shoot a feature film.

In For Here or To Go, made over the course of more than seven years, the characters weigh whether America has lost its promise for young, mobile Indians. The idea bubbled up, Bhilawadikar says, after he read research that showed how certain laws keep some immigrants from fulfilling their potential, driving many back home or to countries with more welcoming policies, such as Canada and Chile.

Source: Trump has started a brain drain back to India

Whites Have Huge Wealth Edge Over Blacks (but Don’t Know It) – The New York Times

The Yale researchers suspected that many people would not get the answers right.

“I’m a person who studies inequality, who should really know how inequality looks,” said one of the psychologists, Michael Kraus, who researches the behaviors and beliefs that help perpetuate inequality. “And I look at the black-white gap, and I’m shocked at the magnitude.”

Black families in America earn just $57.30 for every $100 in income earned by white families, according to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. For every $100 in white family wealth, black families hold just $5.04.

If Mr. Kraus, of all people, is taken aback by these numbers, what are the odds that most Americans have a good understanding of them? The answer, he and his colleagues fear, has broad implications for how we understand our society and what we’re willing to do to make it fairer.

Americans, and higher-income whites in particular, vastly overestimate progress toward economic equality between blacks and whites, the psychologists reported Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Americans believe that blacks and whites are more equal today than they truly are on measures of income, wealth, wages and health benefits. And they believe more historical progress has occurred than is the case, suggesting “a profound misperception of and unfounded optimism” regarding racial equality.

“It seems that we’ve convinced ourselves – and by ‘we’ I mean Americans writ large – that racial discrimination is a thing of the past,” said Jennifer Richeson, who was another of the study’s authors, along with Julian Rucker, a doctoral student. “We’ve literally overcome it, so to speak, despite blatant evidence to the contrary.”

To understand how people have perceived that progress, the researchers asked blacks and whites of varying income levels to estimate answers to the questions above in both recent years and historically. They also asked about how much black workers with a high school diploma but no college degree earn relative to whites of the same education level, and how the earnings of blacks and whites with a four-year college degree compare.

The present-day results, aggregated across several surveys used in the study, are compared here with actual government data:

The researchers suspect that the answer in part has to do with how little exposure Americans have to people who are unlike them. Given how economically and racially segregated the country remains, many Americans, and especially wealthy whites, have little direct knowledge of what life looks like for families in other demographic groups.

But the pattern this study identifies isn’t simply about lack of access to accurate information. As Mr. Kraus points out, popular videos and charts regularly circulate on social media highlighting the startling levels of inequality in America. And yet, many people who click on them forget about the severity of inequality just long enough to be surprised by it again in the future.

“Despite this information being out there, we don’t really take it in,” Mr. Kraus said. This happens “in a way that suggests that maybe we’re motivated to forget it, or motivated to distort it in our own minds.”

He and Ms. Richeson suspect that we also overgeneralize from other markers of racial progress: the election of a black president, the passage of civil rights laws, the sea change in public opinion around issues like segregation. If society has progressed in these ways, we assume there’s been great economic progress, too.

We’re inclined, as well, to believe that society is fairer than it really is. The reality that it’s not — that even college-educated black workers earn about 20 percent less than college-educated white ones, for example — is uncomfortable for both blacks who’ve been harmed by that unfairness and whites who’ve benefited from it.

“It’s very difficult to consider the possibility that some of what we’ve achieved or gained is due to forces that aren’t our own individual hard work,” Ms. Richeson said. “That’s hard to grapple with, especially in American society. We really believe in egalitarianism and meritocracy.”

These findings suggest that the motivation to see the world as fair may be even stronger in this context than stereotypes white Americans hold, for instance, equating blacks with poverty.

The researchers found in some additional surveys that whites answer these questions more accurately when they’re first asked to consider an America where discrimination persists. If we want people to have a better understanding of racial inequality, this implies that the solution isn’t simply to parrot these statistics more widely. It’s to get Americans thinking more about the forces that underlie them, like continued discrimination in hiring, or disparities in mortgage lending.

It’s a myth that racial progress is inevitable, Ms. Richeson said. “But it’s also dangerous insofar as it keeps us blind to considerable inequality in our nation that’s quite foundational,” she said. “Of course we can’t address it if we’re not even willing to acknowledge it.”

And if we’re not willing to acknowledge it, she adds, that has direct consequences for whether Americans are willing to support affirmative action policies, or continued enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, or renewed efforts at school desegregation.

Research Shows Spanish Speakers Take Longer To Learn English. Why? : NPR

Likely a mix of all three explanations:

A recent study out of Philadelphia tracked kindergartners who were learning English and found that four years later there were major discrepancies between which groups of students had mastered the language.

Students whose home language was Spanish were considerably less likely to reach proficiency than any other subgroup. And, on the extreme end, Spanish speakers were almost half as likely as Chinese speakers to cross the proficiency threshold.

The study, conducted by the Philadelphia Education Research Consortium, just looked at English learners who entered the district as kindergartners in 2008 and their progress through the end of third grade.

But this phenomenon isn’t specific to Philadelphia. “I have never seen any study that has looked at this question and not found this trend,” says Ilana Umansky, who studies English acquisition at the University of Oregon.

Earlier this year, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a 415-page report on English learners. The report cited 12 studies — dating back to 2004 — that found this gap between Spanish-speaking English learners and other groups.

But to date, no research has been able to determine why.

So, we emailed or spoke with about two dozen researchers, teachers, and students to hear how they would explain this trend. Predictably, there’s no consensus, but here are three basic theories.

Spanish saturation

There are nearly 150,000 Spanish speakers in Philadelphia, according to the American Community Survey. The numbers are even greater in New York City, where Jose Garcia arrived in 2012, at 11 years old, after emigrating from the Dominican Republic.

Garcia moved to the heavily Hispanic Washington Heights neighborhood in upper Manhattan. At home, he spoke Spanish. In school, classmates spoke Spanish. When he watched television, he often tuned into Spanish-language news.

“So it wasn’t like a big challenge for me,” Garcia says.

Eventually, Garcia moved to Philadelphia and weaned himself off Spanish media by watching American movies like The Fast and the Furious. But he considers his early months in New York wasted time, compounded by the fact that many of his friends didn’t seem all that interested in learning English.

“They didn’t wanna learn it as fast because they didn’t need to use it,” he says. “They were speaking Spanish already. So they had a way to communicate with each other.”

But Nelson Flores, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, grew up in an area of Philadelphia with a lot of Spanish speakers, too, and he says that’s not always the case. In fact, he doesn’t think the Spanish-language achievement gap has much to do with language at all.

Family income and segregation

Flores contests the notion that Spanish speakers aren’t learning English — at least in the way we typically understand language acquisition.

“We’re not talking about the ability to communicate in English,” Flores says. “We’re talking about the ability to do grade-level content in English.”

Flores believes a lot of the students who score below proficient in English can speak and comprehend the language with ease. Many of them, he says, can speak English better than Spanish.

So why aren’t they testing well? Flores believes it’s because Latino students are disproportionately living in isolated, high-poverty neighborhoods and learning in isolated, high-poverty schools.

High-poverty schools, Flores points out, tend to receive fewer resources and less-experienced teachers. Plus, these schools have to deal with the compound effect of having so many students who experience trauma, transience and other disadvantages.

It could be true that Spanish-speaking English learners in Philadelphia are generally poorer than, say, Vietnamese-speaking students, but it’s unlikely family income totally accounts for the achievement gap.

It’s no surprise that researchers studying this trend in the past have used income-based controls — such as whether a child qualifies for free or reduced lunch. Those researchers have still found Spanish speakers lagging.

Family background

If you look only at family income, you might assume many immigrant groups come from relatively similar socioeconomic backgrounds.

“Immigrants often look low-income because they’re in transition,” says Patricia Gandara, a UCLA professor who has studied this trend in California. “They may have been physicians in their home country, but now they’re having to work as a cook.”

Many of the proxies we use to measure poverty or disadvantage trace back to how much money a family makes. But in the case of immigrant groups, that may mask some crucial differences.

A 2009 analysis led by Hunter College professor Donald Hernandez found, for instance, large discrepancies in the relative education levels of many immigrant groups. Adult immigrants from East Asia and the Middle East were among the most likely to have a high school or college degree. Adult immigrants from Mexico and Central America were among the least likely to have made it to high school.

Researchers Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou came to similar conclusions when they compared Mexican and Chinese immigrants. They found that, relative to their parents, the children of Mexican immigrants progressed further educationally from one generation to the next. But the children of Chinese immigrants progressed further overall, in large part because their parents started many steps ahead.

The logic here is pretty simple: Parents who attended college are better able to help their children with homework or connect them to resources.

Tip of the iceberg

These were just three theories we heard when we asked about the language acquisition gap, not all of them.

For instance, many people pointed to societal biases against Hispanic students, arguing that teachers and administrators have lower expectations of them than Asian students because of deeply ingrained stereotypes.

Right now, it’s hard to isolate the cause of this gulf between Philadelphia’s Spanish-language English learners and everyone else. It’s possible — maybe likely — that all of these theories have some shade of truth to them.

USA: Fast Track to Citizenship Is Cut Off for Some Military Recruits – The New York Times

This US program inspired a comparable preference in Canada for citizenship applicants who had enrolled in the military in C-24:

Mohammed Anwar enlisted in April 2016 in the United States military through a program that promised him a fast track to citizenship. His ship date for basic training, expected within six months, was postponed twice. “It was common knowledge that there were delays because of new security checks,” said the 27-year-old Pakistani national, who lives in Jersey City.

Each month he donned a uniform and, as required, attended drill training with his Army Reserve unit in Connecticut.

Last week, Mr. Anwar got a call from his recruiter informing him that his enlistment had been terminated. “I was shocked, confused and angry that the United States government didn’t keep up with its commitment to me,” said Mr. Anwar, who was to work as a nurse.

The reason behind the decision to cut Mr. Anwar from the military remains unclear to him.

In the last week, recruiters have rescinded contracts for an unknown number of foreign nationals who had signed up for Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest, or Mavni, a program introduced in 2009 to attract immigrants with certain language and other skills that are in short supply into the armed forces.

More than 4,000 Mavni recruits have been in limbo since late last year, when the Department of Defense began introducing additional vetting. The protracted process has indefinitely delayed basic training for many enlistees, making it more difficult for recruiters to meet their targets. Recruiting stations are flooded with calls from many concerned that their lawful presence in the country could lapse while they await clearance.

“Emotionally, I can’t move forward with my life,” said Mr. Zhu, 27, who has master’s degrees in engineering from Columbia University and the University of Wyoming. “I am sure my contract is on the verge of being rescinded,” he added, because enlistees must report to training within two years of signing a contract.

Paul Haverstick, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed that the Army must discharge recruits who have not shipped to initial military training within two years.

“Unfortunately, some Mavni recruits have been unable to complete the increased security screening required by the Department of Defense to ship to training within two years of enlistment,” he said, adding that the Army is still seeking ways to help those who have been affected.

“The Mavnis have become a huge problem for the recruiting command because they can’t ship out to their training until they complete mandated background checks,” said Margaret Stock, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve who helped create the program. “If they can’t ship out, they aren’t doing the Army any good.”

Ankit Gajurel, a Nepalese mechanical engineer who enlisted in the Army Reserve in May 2016, recently had his training date postponed for the second time. But several of his references had been contacted by security officials, and he had been told by his recruiter that his “counterintelligence interview,” one of the last steps in the vetting process, would be scheduled for November.

Apple, Facebook, Google and scores of businesses are imploring President Trump to protect the Dreamers – Recode

Yet another example where Trump is forcing corporations to take a stand:

The chief executives of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google joined roughly 300 business leaders urging President Donald Trump late Thursday to continue protecting children brought illegally to the United States from being deported.

Since 2012, the U.S. government has allowed those children — young adults now known as Dreamers — to continue living in the country as long as they obtain and renew work permits under a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

But Trump on Friday is expected to eliminate that legal shield entirely. Months after promising to approach the issue with “great heart,” the president reportedly is expected to order the government to cease granting work permits for undocumented young adults to stay. Meanwhile, the roughly 800,000 currently registered in DACA would not be allowed to obtain additional work authorizations once their current approvals expire.

The move would fulfill one of Trump’s most controversial promises from the 2016 presidential campaign — yet it already is prompting a wide array of businesses to issue a collective rebuke of the White House.

“Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy. With them, we grow and create jobs,” wrote the corporate executives in a joint letter. “They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage.”

The missive was organized by FWD.us, the immigration reform group backed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Other signers include the leaders of Airbnb, LinkedIn, Lyft and Netflix, as well as Laurene Powell Jobs, the founder of the Emerson Collective, and some executives outside of the tech industry, like Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors.

In a post on his own Facebook, meanwhile, Zuckerberg himself stressed: “We need a government that protects Dreamers.”

“Today I join business leaders across the country in calling on our president to keep the DACA program in place and protect Dreamers from fear of deportation,” he continued. “We’re also calling on Congress to finally pass the Dream Act or another permanent, legislative solution that Dreamers deserve.”

Broadly, Trump’s expected announcement may only worsen his already strained relationship with corporate America. In August, a number of high-profile executives opted to stop advising him on economic issues because of his comments on a different matter: The neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, Va.

In Silicon Valley, though, the move toward ending DACA adds to a special, longer-running strain between tech titans and the Trump administration. Immigration is an issue of immense personal and professional importance to the tech industry, which employs a number of foreign workers and long has sought to hire more. Other tech engineers have families abroad, and some of the region’s founders and executives themselves are immigrants who have tried, unsuccessfully, to sway Trump in recent months.

Previously, the likes of Apple, Facebook and Google had opposed the White House as it advanced policies to rethink high-skilled visa programs, limit legal immigration and halt incoming immigrants and refugees from Muslim-majority countries. And even before Trump announced his plans to end DACA, tech leaders pleaded with him to reconsider.

Earlier Thursday, Microsoft estimated that 27 of its workers — from engineers to sales associates — would be affected by the change to DACA. The company’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, even tried to issue an early plea to the White House: “We care deeply about the DREAMers who work at Microsoft and fully support them,” he said. “We will always stand for diversity and economic opportunity for everyone.”

Uber, meanwhile, similarly came to the defense of the Dreamers, noting in a statement that their “contributions make America more competitive and they deserve the opportunity to work, study, and pursue the American dream.” The defense of DACA comes days after Uber appointed a new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, who himself is an immigrant from Iran — and a fierce critic of Trump’s approach to those issues.

Trump’s expected announcement comes partly in response to 10 state attorneys general, which threatened to take the administration to court over DACA if it did not eliminate the program by Sept. 5. Going forward, though, Congress can still codify the program into law, but lawmakers long have struggled in that aim.

“The 800,000 people, and dreamers like them, they deserve a permanent legislative solution,” stressed Todd Schulte, the leader of FWD.us, in an interview late Thursday. He said lawmakers had a choice — pass a law or risk become “a nation that says we’re going to see hundreds of thousands of people pushed out of the workforce.”

Initially, Trump himself appeared to waver on the issue, a fierce opponent of DACA during the campaign who later said, as president, he would approach the Dreamers with “great heart.”

Ahead of the decision, tech executives had been some of the more vocal, aggressive lobbyists on behalf of preserving DACA. In June, for example, Apple CEO Tim Cook specifically urged Trump to show compassion for the Dreamers. The private comments came at a reception to conclude the first day of Trump’s “tech week,” a five-day focus on ways to modernize the government with the industry’s help.

Source: Apple, Facebook, Google and scores of businesses are imploring President Trump to protect the Dreamers – Recode

U.S. Muslims are religiously observant, but open to multiple interpretations of Islam | Pew Research Center

Usual interesting survey results from Pew, along with some comparisons with Christianity and Judaism in America:

For American Muslims, being highly religious does not necessarily translate into acceptance of traditional notions of Islam. While many U.S. Muslims say they attend mosque and pray regularly, sizable shares also say that there is more than one way to interpret their religion and that traditional understandings of Islam need to be reinterpreted to address the issues of today.

By some conventional measures, U.S. Muslims are as religious as – or more religious than – many Americans who belong to other faith groups. Four-in-ten (43%) Muslim Americans say they attend mosque at least once a week, including 18% who say they attend more than once a week, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey. An additional 32% say they attend once or twice a month, or a few times a year. These attendance levels are comparable to those of U.S. Christians, 47% of whom say they attend services weekly or more, and greater than the 14% of American Jews who say the same.

A majority also say that they pray at least some or all of the salah, or ritual prayers required of Muslims five times per day. Among all U.S. Muslims, fully 42% say they pray all five salah daily, while 17% pray at least some of the salah every day. A quarter say they pray less often, and just 15% say they never pray.

And nearly two-thirds of U.S. Muslims (65%) say that religion is very important in their lives, similar to the share of U.S. Christians who say the same (68%), and higher than the share of U.S. Jews who say this (31%). An additional 22% of Muslims say that religion is somewhat important in their lives, while fewer say that religion is not too or not at all important to them.

At the same time, American Muslims openly acknowledge that there is room for multiple interpretations of the teachings of Islam. A majority (64%) say there is more than one true way to interpret the faith’s teachings, while just half as many (31%) say there is only one true way to interpret Islam. And it’s not just less-religious Muslims who express this sentiment: While 72% of Muslims who say religion is somewhat (or less) important in their life say they are open to multiple interpretations, a majority (59%) of those who say religion is very important in their life also say there is more than one true way to interpret the faith. Among U.S. Christians, there is a similar balance: 60% say there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their religion, while 34% say there is just one true way.

About half (52%) of all U.S. Muslim adults also say that traditional understandings of Islam must be reinterpreted to reflect contemporary issues, while 38% maintain that traditional understandings of Islam are all that are needed to address today’s issues. On this question there is more of a difference of opinion among Muslims when it comes to how important religion is in their lives. Those who say religion is very important in their lives are evenly divided (43% say traditional understandings should be reinterpreted vs. 46% who say traditional understandings are all that is needed), while about seven-in-ten (71%) of those who say religion is less important express the view that Islamic teachings need to be reinterpreted.

Source: U.S. Muslims are religiously observant, but open to multiple interpretations of Islam | Pew Research Center

Ethnic Outbidding for White People: A Story About Populism in Canada Versus the United States – NYTimes


Not much new but good overview and reminder to NYTimes readers that we too have our dark side:

Breitbart News, the online news site often associated with the alt-right, has grown so powerful that when its former editor, Stephen K. Bannon, lost his White House job last week, it was widely assumed that Breitbart’s influence would only grow.

As this was happening, across the border in Canada, another right-wing media organization known as Rebel Media, which is often compared to Breitbart News, was imploding so severely it was seen as potentially auguring the implosion of Canadian right-wing populism itself.

The shift in Canada reveal something important about one of the biggest stories of the last year, events initially described as a “global populist wave.” Though the wave was later qualified down to just right-wing populism and just in Western countries, it increasingly looks even narrower than that.

The decline of Rebel Media, contrasted with the success of Breitbart, exemplifies something we’ve been saying for a while. The “populist wave” is actually quite specific to individual countries. And, most important, in each Western country where it appears, right-wing populism enjoys support among only about 15 to 25 percent of the population. (Those numbers are based vaguely on a 2016 study by the political scientists Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris.)

Whether that fractional support becomes an isolated fringe or a major political power comes down not to anything as fuzzy as culture or values, but to nuts-and-bolts political institutions.

It’s worth running through the sordid details of Rebel Media’s bad week. Faith Goldy, a correspondent, praised Charlottesville’s white nationalist marchers in a live video from the scene. Her video referenced “white racial consciousness” and the “JQ,” shorthand for the “Jewish question.”

A national backlash eventually led the site’s founder, Ezra Levant, to fire Ms. Goldy. But something had changed, maybe for good, with Rebel Media’s place in Canadian politics.

Conservative politicians openly denounced the organization. Andrew Scheer, the leader of the Conservative party, said he wouldn’t give Rebel Media any more interviews until it changed its “editorial direction.”

High-profile staffers and contributors quit. One, Caolan Robertson, released a video accusing Rebel Media of exploiting its supporters for donations it didn’t need. Mr. Robertson also accused Mr. Levant of offering him money to keep quiet. (Mr. Levant has accused Mr. Robertson of attempted blackmail.)

But Canadian journalists see broader forces at work. Jonathan Kay, in an article for The Walrus, wrote that Rebel Media failed in its mission to become the American Fox News or Breitbart because, in Canada, “structural barriers make the creation of this kind of conservative ecosystem impossible.”

Americans generally understand that politics work a bit differently in Canada, but wrongly assume Canadians are simply predisposed to be more liberal. In fact, those “structural barriers” against right-wing populism are more technical, and less particular to Canada, than you might think.

Amanda explained those structural barriers in an in-depth article this summer. The short version: Canadian politicians and civil society groups spent two generations engineering their political system to be highly tolerant of diversity and highly intolerant of something called ethnic outbidding.

Stephen Saideman, a political scientist and friend of the column, has defined ethnic outbidding as “when politicians compete for the support of a particular ethnic group, leading to ever greater demands to protect that group at the expense of others.”

This process can turn politics into a zero-sum competition between ethnic groups who come to see one another as threats. Right-wing populism, in the West, can often function as a kind of ethnic outbidding for white people.

If you want to know how Canada did this and why so many other diverse countries have failed, read Amanda’s story. Of course, we’re not denying that racism and right-wing populist politicians exist in Canada. Rob Ford became Toronto’s mayor after running on a populist platform. But, compared to the rest of the West, the country stands out for its resistance to populism. (And even Mr. Ford cultivated a multi-ethnic voter base.)

That resistance happens through institutions, and you see them working, for example, in Mr. Scheer’s disavowal of Rebel Media. Before any liberal readers rush to award Mr. Scheer a medal of courage, you should know that he was acting within his immediate political interests.

Political norms in Canada are unusually intolerant of overt white nationalism, which has strong and increasingly open support in the United States and much of Europe. The country’s electoral and legislative systems make it very difficult for a party to win power without heavy support from racial minorities.

And Rebel Media’s power, even before this week, was waning. This spring, when some politicians embraced Rebel Media, seeking to reproduce populists’ successes elsewhere, those candidates instead found defeat.

This summer, when reporting for Amanda’s story, we visited a Rebel Media conference in Toronto. Though we had only stopped by for the day, it was clear that this was a movement on the decline.

In a long and thoughtful article on Rebel Media, Richard Warnica of The National Post wrote that Mr. Levant, intentionally or not, is “forcing people to pick a side.”“

Nothing The Rebel did this week, as Conservatives and contributors edged away, was substantially different from what it had done two months ago, or six months ago or last year,” Mr. Warnica added.

What changed is Canada’s conservative establishment, which rejected Rebel Media. That is a marked difference from the conservative establishment in Britain, which embraced populism, or the conservative establishments in the United States and France, which tried to reject populism but instead were overcome by it.

The story of Rebel Media is of course a story of personalities and what unfolded between them. But it is also, like just about every major news story from the last year, a story about institutions.

Steve Bannon’s Nationalism Is a Click-Scam Disguised as a Movement

Money quote (same applies to Rebel Media):

Second, nationalist populism isn’t a political philosophy or a real governing framework. It’s a con targeting the furious and the febrile, a Facebook click scam disguised as a movement. It’s nothing more than grunting, economically ignorant revanchism against a catalog of imaginary, opera-buffa villains. It requires a constantly expanding catalog of people to blame for an economy that changed more due to technology than a sinister cabal of brown people from faraway lands.

Source: Steve Bannon’s Nationalism Is a Click-Scam Disguised as a Movement

Survey Finds Correlation Between Perception Of Discrimination, Votes For Trump : NPR

Overall, not terribly surprising except for the dramatic shift among Republicans over the past two years:

The recent violence in Charlottesville, Va., amplified an ongoing struggle in America about who experiences discrimination and to what extent. Many of the white nationalists who rallied in Charlottesville, for example, feel that white people are discriminated against as much as, or more than, minority groups.

Questioning others’ experience of discrimination isn’t limited to fringe protest groups. Perceptions of discrimination vary heavily across the U.S. population as a whole, as a June study from the Public Religion Research Institute showed. And those differences tend to fall along partisan lines.

The survey found that a plurality of Americans — 42 percent — perceive “a lot of discrimination” against three groups: black people, immigrants, and gay and lesbian people. But the partisan gap is large: Sixty-one percent of Democrats believed this of all three groups, compared to 19 percent of Republicans.

PRRI broke down the numbers by state. When the states’ perceptions of discrimination are lined up against states’ votes for Trump in 2016, it shows a clear negative correlation — places where there was bigger perception of discrimination had a lower likelihood of voting for Trump. Reliably liberal California and reliably conservative Wyoming reside at opposite ends of the spectrum.

It’s a relatively strong correlation, with an r value of -0.69 (that’s a statistical measure that tells the strength of correlation on a scale of -1 to 1 — a measure closer to 1 or -1 means a strong linear relationship, while a measure closer to zero means a weak linear relationship).

And while states that tend to perceive less of this discrimination also tend to be whiter (85 percent-white Wyoming, for example), and white people also tend to perceive less discrimination against blacks and immigrants than other racial groups do, the white share of a state’s population does not correlate to the discrimination data as well as support for Trump does. The r-value between those two series is around -0.44.

The data don’t say anything about the direction of correlation (standard journalist disclaimer: “correlation is not causation”), but it’s easy to see how this relationship might exist. Trump, after all, made opposing political correctness one of his (literal) rallying cries. Wherever 2016 voters’ attitudes about discrimination came from — whether stirred up by Trump or brought on by outside forces (or both) — he certainly took advantage of these feelings.

To Robert Jones, the founder and CEO of PRRI, it makes sense for perception of discrimination to be a partisan issue.

“I think that goes to a broader worldview thing of, it fits with a conservative bootstrap theory,” he said, ” ‘If you fail there’s no one to blame but yourself.’ ”

But one PRRI datapoint suggests that something shifted among Republicans between 2015 and 2017. Just two years ago, 46 percent of Republicans believed there was “a lot” of discrimination against blacks. As of this year, that figure was 32 percent. Among independents, however, that figure held steady between those two years (it went from 59 percent in 2015 to 58 in 2017), as it held relatively steady for Democrats (going from 80 to 77 percent).

And it’s not just PRRI’s data. A study on the 2016 presidential election found a “relatively strong indication that racism and sexism were more important in 2016 than they had been in previous elections.” The effects were particularly strong on the Republican side, with the impact of racism and sexism (as defined by the researchers) much stronger in 2016 voters’ choices than in 2012 or 2008, according to the survey by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and MacWilliams Sanders Communication.

Source: Survey Finds Correlation Between Perception Of Discrimination, Votes For Trump : NPR