By Bryan Caplan
Immigration skeptics like Victor Davis Hanson, author of Mexifornia, warn that Mexican culture is supplanting our own. My knee-jerk reaction is to say “Mildly. What’s the big deal?” But a fine essay by Douglas Massey has shown me the error of my ways. In reality, it’s American culture that’s supplanting Mexican culture, and not the other way around:
We influence Mexican culture and society far more than they affect U.S. culture and society. Within Mexico, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Toys ‘R Us, and 7-11 are increasingly displacing Mexican outlets. Even Taco Bell is making inroads, and American cultural traditions such as Halloween and Santa Claus now compete with Mexican celebrations such as Day of the Dead and Three Kings Day.
Linguistically, English-speakers certainly have nothing to fear. English is increasingly spoken in Mexico and is viewed as essential for social and economic advancement. Even the smallest towns and cities in Mexico have bustling English language academies, and English has become a core part of the Spanish spoken by most Mexicans. Within the United States, in contrast, few Anglo-Americans speak Spanish and although it may be widely spoken among new immigrants, there is a rapid shift to English over time. Few of children of immigrants use Spanish rather than English and virtually none of their grandchildren can speak it at all.
Looks like there’s little reason to fear that California will become Mexifornia. But Mexico is well on its way to becoming the nation of Yanquico.