Sunday, June 09, 2002

The Immigration problem Send this entry to: Spurl Ma.gnolia Digg Newsvine Reddit

The immigration problem Steve Sailer points to this Washington Post article about the difficulties of children born to immigrants (those that are born in this country) who can't speak their "native" tongue or English very well. As Steve says, it's depressing. I feel some empathy for these children, when I entered Kindergarten I knew very little English-I'd been in the US for only a year and my father was always in the lab and my mother was getting over severe postpartum depression after having my younger brother. I didn't play with any of the neighborhood children (my parents wouldn't let me out), so my communication skills were rudimentary at best. It took me about two years to finally get the idiosyncrasies out of my English (Bengali doesn't have gendered pronouns, so I kept using "he" for both males and females, which would of course give the girls an excuse to try and beat me up). But I can't really understand why immersion isn't working for any of these kids. But then I read this:
"This is not like how it was when I grew up, where kids just crawled around on the dirt floor, and if they put something dirty in their mouths, it was okay," she said through a translator. "I'm realizing kids don't just raise themselves."
The woman that spoke this is a semi-literate menial worker-I mean that with all the negative connotations it conveys. She's likely raising her children the same way she herself was raised-and those that favor the cultural/environmental explanation for difficulties in assimilation can point to this as a prime example. My brother and I, and many of our acquaintances as young children, were the sons and daughters of graduate students. We might have had a hard time getting our bearings, but there were certain expectations and certain values that certainly helped us out, and actually gave us an advantage over a typical native-born child. Almost all of us were from the middle to upper classes of our native countries (usually generally destitute countries like India, Bangladesh or China), and the seemingly r-selected strategy that the above woman employed wasn't something that we were burdened with. Of course, I'm still a little perplexed as to why these children have difficulties communicating after 5 years or so. One could of course wonder-perhaps their genetic intellectual endowments simply aren't that great. Judging by their parent's socioeconomic status in their native countries, this might be a valid observation (see Steve Sailer's Mexico's caste system for a detailed elucidation). Then again, the native educational system isn't helping when it assumes that they have to be literate in Spanish to ever learn English (say what? I'm illiterate in Bengali and I can read and write English. Please, no snickers).

Principles of Population Genetics
Genetics of Populations
Molecular Evolution
Quantitative Genetics
Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics
Evolutionary Genetics
Molecular Markers, Natural History, and Evolution
The Genetics of Human Populations
Genetics and Analysis of Quantitative Traits
Epistasis and Evolutionary Process
Evolutionary Human Genetics
Mathematical Models in Biology
Evolutionary Genetics: Case Studies and Concepts
Narrow Roads of Gene Land 1
Narrow Roads of Gene Land 2
Narrow Roads of Gene Land 3
Statistical Methods in Molecular Evolution
The History and Geography of Human Genes
Population Genetics and Microevolutionary Theory
Population Genetics, Molecular Evolution, and the Neutral Theory
Genetical Theory of Natural Selection
Evolution and the Genetics of Populations
Genetics and Origins of Species
Tempo and Mode in Evolution
Causes of Evolution
The Great Human Diasporas
Bones, Stones and Molecules
Natural Selection and Social Theory
Journey of Man
Mapping Human History
The Seven Daughters of Eve
Evolution for Everyone
Why Sex Matters
Mother Nature
Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language
R.A. Fisher, the Life of a Scientist
Sewall Wright and Evolutionary Biology
Origins of Theoretical Population Genetics
A Reason for Everything
The Ancestor's Tale
Dragon Bone Hill
Endless Forms Most Beautiful
The Selfish Gene
Adaptation and Natural Selection
Nature via Nurture
The Symbolic Species
The Imitation Factor
The Red Queen
Out of Thin Air
Evolutionary Dynamics
The Origin of Species
The Descent of Man
Age of Abundance
The Darwin Wars
The Evolutionists
The Creationists
Of Moths and Men
The Language Instinct
How We Decide
Predictably Irrational
The Black Swan
Fooled By Randomness
Descartes' Baby
Religion Explained
In Gods We Trust
Darwin's Cathedral
A Theory of Religion
The Meme Machine
Synaptic Self
The Mating Mind
A Separate Creation
The Number Sense
The 10,000 Year Explosion
The Math Gene
Explaining Culture
Origin and Evolution of Cultures
Dawn of Human Culture
The Origins of Virtue
Prehistory of the Mind
The Nurture Assumption
The Moral Animal
Born That Way
No Two Alike
Survival of the Prettiest
The Blank Slate
The g Factor
The Origin Of The Mind
Unto Others
Defenders of the Truth
The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition
Before the Dawn
Behavioral Genetics in the Postgenomic Era
The Essential Difference
Geography of Thought
The Classical World
The Fall of the Roman Empire
The Fall of Rome
History of Rome
How Rome Fell
The Making of a Christian Aristoracy
The Rise of Western Christendom
Keepers of the Keys of Heaven
A History of the Byzantine State and Society
Europe After Rome
The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity
The Barbarian Conversion
A History of Christianity
God's War
Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople
The Sacred Chain
Divided by the Faith
The Reformation
Pursuit of Glory
Albion's Seed
From Plato to Nato
China: A New History
China in World History
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
Children of the Revolution
When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World
The Great Arab Conquests
After Tamerlane
A History of Iran
The Horse, the Wheel, and Language
A World History
Guns, Germs, and Steel
The Human Web
Plagues and Peoples
A Concise Economic History of the World
Power and Plenty
A Splendid Exchange
Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD
Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations
A Farewell to Alms
The Ascent of Money
The Great Divergence
Clash of Extremes
War and Peace and War
Historical Dynamics
The Age of Lincoln
The Great Upheaval
What Hath God Wrought
Freedom Just Around the Corner
Throes of Democracy
Grand New Party
A Beautiful Math
When Genius Failed
Catholicism and Freedom
American Judaism

Powered by Blogger
Creative Commons License

Terms of use


Razib's total feed: