Things fall apart, the center cannot hold...
0 comment Tuesday, May 20, 2014 |
During the recent TV news coverage of the California wildfires, I noticed in the many shots of the crowds at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego that the evacuees were mostly white, with a few minorities visible now and again. I found this surprising, given the substantial Latino presence in that part of the country. However, this article, which is via U.S. Asian Wire, partially explains those shots of mostly white people at Qualcomm:
Ethnic Media Cover the Fires
Elena Shore, New America Media
SAN DIEGO�(U.S. ASIAN WIRE)� Ethnic media are on the front lines of the Southern California fires, covering the effects of the devastation on their communities and providing information for evacuees and those who wish to help.
Hispanic residents who needed to evacuate their homes in San Diego had trouble finding information in Spanish about what to do, reports the Spanish-language publication Enlace.
"I saw a huge cloud of black smoke coming toward my house but I didn�t know what to do," Noemi Orozco, a 38-year-old resident of Ramona, told Enlace. As the fires began to spread on Sunday, Orozco said, she turned on her television but none of the Spanish channels interrupted their programming to provide information.
"I watched the English channels but it was hopeless because I can hardly understand it," said another woman. "At 7:00 p.m., the police came and one spoke Spanish, telling me to leave my apartment because of the approaching danger."
Vianei Salmeron scanned Spanish radio stations Sunday evening for news about the fire, and didn�t find anything, Enlace reports.
On Monday, Spanish television stations began interrupting their regular programming to give the community information about the fire.
Many undocumented immigrants affected by the fires have been afraid to come forward to seek help, Hispanic media report.
The farm workers who live in the open air in the McGonigle Canyon, according to Enlace, are among the most destitute residents affected by the fires.
While some left the area, many of these "invisible victims" remain in the canyons, either because they do not want to or can�t leave.
"We�ve been telling them that they are in an evacuation zone but they don�t want to move because they have all their stuff in the hills and because they�re afraid of the police and the people," Juan Ramon, an activist with the Indigenous Front of Binational Organizations, told the newspaper.
Despite being told to go to Qualcomm Stadium, the majority of Vietnamese residents forced to evacuate fled to their friends' and relatives' homes, CaliToday newspaper reports. Vietnamese families in northern San Diego were surprised when officials knocked on their doors and told them to leave. Several have returned to their own homes but were told to stay on alert if the fires were to change direction.
More than 2,000 Koreans living in the affected areas have fled to local Korean churches.
Instead of checking into evacuation shelters operated by authorities, about 300 Koreans have been staying at the Calvary Korean Presbyterian Church in Linda Vista since Monday night. Korean Hope Church of San Diego and Hanbit Church, both located near San Diego�s Koreatown that sprawls along Convoy Street, each provided shelter to about 100 people.
"People feel more comfortable when they band together with the same race, and some decided to come to church because the shelters they had gone to were crowded," said Young Sung Joo, managing editor of Korea Daily's San Diego bureau.''
The above-excerpted piece was from the New America Media, which is a sort of 'diversity' media outlet, focusing on, well, 'diverse' groups of people, which by popular understanding, is a diversity that excludes whitebread types.
The article should not have surprised anyone; the bit about the Hispanic woman searching the Spanish-language TV stations in vain for news of the fire situation was what I would expect. We all know of many examples of Latinos who live in this country for decades and never become fluent in English, relying only on 'their' media, which keeps them in a very insular little world.
The predictable line, about the Hispanics being 'afraid of the police and the people' is frustrating, because somehow they seem to believe Americans are evil racists who will do them harm, or is this merely spin from the leftist media? If it is true, (and I don't see much evidence of fear among the illegals in my neck of the woods) then the left has much to answer for, because they constantly harp on the idea of 'racism' and 'xenophobia' which is slanderous to Americans, and which leads to more suspicion and hostility, provoking anti-white racism.
Many of the other ethnic groups mentioned above are very isolated. In most West Coast cities there are Korean enclaves, with Korean churches, Korean strip malls devoted only to goods or services to the 'Korean community'. There are also Korean-language TV channels or programming blocks on local stations.
Two ethnic groups which might not experience as much linguistic isolation in this country are the Filipino immigrants and those from India, because of the widespread use of English in those countries. Still there is a degree of insularity there too, despite the familiarity with English.
But the tendency of all these groups to cling together in this country doesn't bode well for the future. Personally I believe that it is human nature for people to gravitate to their own, even those of us who are fascinated with other cultures have a degree of comfort with those most like ourselves. In light of that fact, expecting that alien groups will assimilate and 'integrate' is asking too much, especially when the cultural and genetic differences between us militate against it. Some groups, I believe, are too intrinsically unlike us to ever really become part of the existing American culture, and many of today's immigrants come from cultures and countries that are hostile to us or have existing grievances against us. This also makes 'assimilation' an unlikely prospect. And of course it's a given that the more immigrants from a country, the more they will form enclaves and simply reproduce their own countries within our cities and towns, islands of foreign culture in our midst.
The fact that there are so many people who cannot speak the common language of this country is a problem when it comes to public safety, as the story of the Latina woman who was unable to hear the news in her language. Had it not been for the firefighter who spoke Spanish, she may have stayed behind and perished in the fire. There are countless other stories like this, where a lack of English skills leads to dangerous situations both for the immigrant and for the American who may have to risk his life or lose his life in rescuing non-English speakers who are in harm's way.
But most of all, the overall picture shown in the article is one of a balkanizing America, many countries within one. In a crisis such as a natural disaster, or a terror attack, how can there be the kind of coordination and unity that is needed to preserve order, or to rescue those in need, or to cooperate for the common good? Or will there even be any concept of the 'common good' in a disaster involving such a diverse area?
From what I have read of the Qualcomm situation in San Diego, apart from the problems caused by the illegals hauling away a few truckloads of emergency provisions, things went fairly smoothly; people were civil and patient and behaved in a civilized way, for the most part. This is reflective of the culture of the people involved, and it was made possible by the fact that there was a common standard of behavior and an ideal of mutual cooperation. When a disaster happens in a city made up of a number of different enclaves, and there is no common understanding, we can hardly expect order and civility to prevail. When people such as those illegals act against the common good in favor of their own tribe or clan, this is destructive to the public good. Yet the majority white population is always expected to behave in a more altruistic fashion, thinking of the common welfare, while each ethnic group is given license to look out only for their own tribe. There is an asymmetry here, an imbalance.
But not only in emergency situations are commonalities are needed to make things work, but in everyday life. It's the little rules of human interaction in a culture that act as a social lubricant to minimize friction and misunderstanding. We take small things for granted, such as body language, little niceties of conversation, eye contact, small acts of courtesy, all of which are the things that enable us to get along and to function as a society. The more 'diversity' we have in our midst, the more communication breaks down, and the English language is not all that is needed for good communication; it involves the non-verbal cues and behaviors and signals, too. And when it comes to those from other cultures, especially those widely separated from our own, the greater the potential for misunderstanding and actual conflict, especially when there is an already-existing layer of suspicion and 'distance' between peoples.
Note: after I began this post, I read Rick Darby's latest blog entry on his recent visit to California, and it seems to tie in with the story behind this article. So I recommend that you read Rick's account of his recent experiences in California, as always, very much worth reading.

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