Are Mexicans Leaving Orange County?
Slate blogger Mickey Kaus (he of the boldface) has an interesting post about disappearing Mexicans where he virtually proclaims anecdotal evidence superior to academic studies. As proof of Mexicans disappearing, he cites the comments of an Anaheim Union High School District English teacher on another blog who says her classes are smaller than ever and devoid of immigrant students. For some reason, Kaus bolds the below passage:
"ALL my students, for the first time in my career, have insisted that I eschew their given names and use an anglicized version (e.g. Mary for Maricruz, Judy for Yuridia, Tommy for Tomas, etc.) instead. No one is speaking Spanish inside or outside the classroom."
If Kaus is looking for a trend, he's late to it: Santa Ana Unified has been experiencing student losses (first sentence only--the rest is about the fag-hating Chuck Smith) way before ICE began rounding up and wrasslin' illegals. But what's most mystifying is the above excerpt, as it proves nothing about the types of students left in Anaheim high schools (the teacher never revealed at which school she teaches). Want anecdotal evidence, Mickey? Here ya go:
When I graduated from Anaheim High in 1997, few kids were speaking Spanish in or out of the classrooms--this despite the school already being 90-some percent Latino, and the vast majority of us being kids of immigrants or immigrants themselves (and that counts for everyone: the above teacher says more white and Asian kids are in her classes, but many of the gabachos y chinitos at Anaheim when I attended were actually Romanian and Vietnamese/Cambodian refugees). When I visited Anaheim High to speak before a class last spring, I actually believed the Glenn Spencer hype and thought my alma mater would be swarming with Spanish speakers. Guess what? Nope. Granted, there were some "quiet" (read: español speakers) students in the classes in which I spoke, but no more so than what I remember. Oh, and there were many more students than I remember--way more. Indeed, the portables where I had chemistry and some other class were replaced with more portables.
But the teacher's dumbest comment regards anglicized nicknames. Teachers in my high school days tried to call me Gus (people still try to call me that), but I tell them to call me Gustavo because THAT'S MY DAMN NAME. Conversely, my best friend's name is Arturo but everyone knows him as Art despite sucker is more of wab than me. Again: Anglicized nicknames in Anaheim schools prove nothing except linguistically lazy teachers. Of course, my views above are all anecdotal and probably fly in the face of the actual statistics--but hey, they must be ahead of the trend, ¿qué no?