Chinese Voters Came Out in Force for the GOP in NYC, Shaking Up Politics

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Yves here. The saying, at least as far as consumer trends goes, is “As goes California, so goes the nation.” So it’s early to call New York City as a harbinger of the US as far as the Chinese vote is concerned. However, it’s not hard to think that Chinese parents who have invested heavily in their children’s eduction, both in money terms and their own time, are upset at the way elite and likely not so elite universities find ways to downrank academically excellent Chinese applicants, often resorting to stereotypes about nerdiness, to keep Chinese students from being markedly over-represented. Elite school have long had quotas, against private schools being overrepresented, against Jews who as a group, like the Chinese, also overachieve.

However, the repudiation in New York City didn’t come from affluent districts where voters might also have wallet reasons to decide the Republicans might not be so terrible. The reversals happened in middle and working class ‘hoods. And while education does not appear to be the main issue (hate crimes and Manhattan NIMBY-ism leading Chinese districts to be favored spots for housing the homeless), it did rate. The city under de Blasio has been pulling funds out of programs for gifted students.

By Rong Xiaoqing, Clifford Michel, Suhail Bhat and Will Welch. Originally published at THE CITY on November 11, 2021

Curtis Sliwa mayoral posters adorned businesses along Eighth Avenue in Sunset Park’s Chinatown, Nov. 9, 2021.Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

After casting his ballot in the early morning on Election Day, Ray Huang made more than a dozen trips to poll sites in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood.

Each time, he brought with him one or two Chinese residents who came to vote for Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa, just as he did.

They weren’t alone: While Sliwa notched 29% of ballots cast citywide and 24% in Brooklyn, in central Sunset Park he got 46% against Democrat Eric Adams, city Board of Election data shows. In this hub of the neighborhood, known as Brooklyn’s Chinatown, 70% of residents categorized themselves as Asian in the 2020 census.

Across the five boroughs, Sliwa scored 44% of the vote in precincts where more than half of residents are Asian — surpassing his 40% of votes in white enclaves, 20% in majority-Hispanic districts and 6% in majority-Black districts.

It was not difficult for Huang, a Sunset Park resident since the 1980s and an emerging community leader, to persuade people he bumped into in the neighborhood to choose the Republican candidate, he said. Many of them had just participated in a demonstration Huang had organized six days before.

The Oct. 27 protest, targeting a homeless shelter the city plans to build on Eighth Avenue and 65th Street, attracted more than 1,000 New Yorkers not only from Sunset Park but from all over the city.

Sliwa marched with the protesters and addressed the crowd — vowing to stop building homeless shelters if elected.

Adams, during his own campaign, chose Sunset Park as the place to unveil a proposal to turn vacant hotel rooms in the boroughs outside of Manhattan into supportive housing units for homeless people.

Voters like Huang noticed the contrast.

“Where is Adams when we need him?” Huang asked.

Note: Totals do not include absentee ballots
Source: NYC Board of Elections
Will Welch / THE CITY

A Visible Dent

Chinese New Yorkers make up the largest share of the city’s rapidly growing Asian population, which reached nearly 1.4 million in the 2020 census, accounting for more than half the city’s overall growth since 2010. Asians now represent nearly 16% of the city’s population, a record.

In 2019, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs tallied nearly 418,000 New Yorkers it identified as being from China, accounting for nearly half of all Asian immigrants in the city. About 56% of Asian immigrants are naturalized citizens, according to MOIA — making them eligible to vote.

Homeless shelters are just one in a series of issues that galvanized many Chinese voters to align themselves with GOP candidates for mayor and City Council this year.

Other catalysts, according to activist leaders, include proposed reforms to specialized high school admissions and gifted and talented programs, plans to build new jails in areas that include Manhattan’s Chinatown, and bail reform reducing pretrial incarceration.

A wave of hate crimes targeting Asian Americans during the pandemic has heightened a sense of urgency about public safety and law enforcement. Asian anger and frustration have, for the first time, left a visible dent in a city election.

In the City Council, Republicans have flipped one formerly Democratic Brooklyn seat in a district where Asian New Yorkers make up 18% of the population. The GOP is also favored to win a Queens district that is 36% Asian.

In Asian-concentrated communities from Flushing to Bayside in Queens, to Sunset Park and Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, Sliwa led Adams from a few dozen to a few thousand votes — winning outright in 137 out of the city’s 317 majority-Asian election districts.

GOP Takes Note

Rising Republican party leaders have noticed the trend. They include Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-L.I.), who’s running for governor with the backing of the New York State Republican and Conservative parties.

Zeldin has already been meeting regularly and holding fundraisers with Asian-American activists and community leaders, according to his campaign, and will be adding additional events in the coming months, according to his campaign.

“Like so many New Yorkers, they’re concerned about public safety, the quality of their kids’ education, the rising cost of living and how the politicians controlling Albany aren’t fighting for the priorities most important to them,” said Katie Vincentz, a spokesperson for Zeldin’s campaign.

“They are incredibly upset that the Democratic Party dismantled a lot of laws that kept the community safe, like the bail reform,” she told THE CITY.

“There has been a war against the gifted and talented program by the de Blasio administration,” she added. “The gifted and talented program and specialized high schools are tools that give many Asian Americans, mostly immigrant families, opportunity. Especially with the Chinese community, education is so incredibly important.”

‘We Are Also Minorities’

Candidates like Zeldin could get a boost from Asian New Yorkers like Ling Fei, a popular conservative WeChat blogger who owns a computer repair shop.

On Nov. 6, Fei hosted a Zoom meeting with more than 30 Chinese activists – many of whom had campaigned for Sliwa — to discuss the strategy to mobilize voters for next year’s midterm and gubernatorial elections.

“After the protest against the homeless shelter, many protesters who were eager to vote found they hadn’t registered as voters,” said Fei, who came to the U.S. for graduate school in 2000 and cast his first ballot 18 years later.

He told the activists his goal is to help register 4,000 new Chinese voters in Sunset Park, preferably for the Republican Party, in the next one or two years. “We have a big untapped pool of voters, and many of these unregistered voters are new immigrants who are conservatives,” Fei said.

Huang was also on the Zoom meeting. A registered Democrat who says he is not considering switching parties anytime soon, Huang said he cast his ballot based on candidates’ values, not parties.

After a pause, he added: “But the values of the Republican Party resonate more with Chinese voters.”

Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) tweeted her alarm after seeing the Nov. 2 election results in her area of northeast Queens — and warned her fellow Democrats to wake up and start connecting with Asian voters.

Until this year, Meng had served as vice chair of the national Democratic Party and had worked hard to reach out to Asian voters in red states from Georgia to Texas.

In an interview with THE CITY, Meng lamented that complacency had set in when it came to blue turf like New York, where Democrats feel safe and therefore haven’t invested resources.

She also described a kind of invisibility for Asian-Americans within her own party’s public voice.

“When our Democratic leaders talk about issues facing minority communities, oftentimes they are only talking about Black and Spanish communities,” said Meng. “But our community is the fastest growing community. And we are also minorities.”

‘We’ll Be Invincible’

A major turning point arrived in the summer of 2018, when thousands of previously non-political Asian New Yorkers protested de Blasio’s call to abandon the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) because of racial disparities in the city’s elite classrooms.

The exams are the sole basis of entry to top high schools, including the majority-Asian Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech.

“I had never participated in any protests until the SHSAT,” said Phil Wong, a freelance translator and a father of three who came to the U.S. from Hong Kong in 1974 when he was 6.

Wong became a member and then the chair of the Community Education Council 24 in Elmhurst, a position he held until June. He was one of the parents who sued the city over the specialized high school reform in 2019, a case that is still pending.

He is now the president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York, leading campaigns to keep the SHSAT and gifted-and-talented programs. More recently, his group has taken on race-focused education, using “critical race theory” as a term of derision.

“The Democrats’ race-based so-called education equality reminds me of the Cultural Revolution in China,” said Wong, a registered Democrat who said he is considering switching to the GOP.

Wong campaigned for Sliwa along with two other Republican candidates, Queens Councilmember-elect Joann Ariola and Manhattan district attorney candidate Thomas Kenniff, who lost to Democrat Alvin Bragg.

On Election Day, Wong worked from dawn to dusk, distributing fliers.

“I was so tired that I slept until 11 a.m. the next day and still got up with shaking legs. But I had no choice. To get their children a better education was the reason that many Chinese came to this country,” he said.

Pedestrians in Flushing, Queens Hiram Alejandro Durán/THE CITY
While education may have been the tinder, it was not the only issue that stoked the fire.

Robert Jin, a Queens insurer, said he got involved in politics in recent years because he believed “the city and the country were going in a wrong direction.”

He threw a fundraiser in Flushing last month for Sliwa that attracted 140 people and generated $110,000, after public matching funds.

Jin said he can’t believe Sliwa lost. But he told his WeChat followers there was no need to shed tears.

“We Chinese are awakening for the first time. And we’ll be invincible in next year’s governor election,” Jin said.

This story was originally published by THE CITY, an independent, nonprofit news organization dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that serves the people of New York.

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      1. Altandmain

        I think that my earlier comment got eaten.

        It is not going to work. I’m a Chinese Canadian myself and I can tell you that most of the folks swapping are due to policy decisions.

        Asians take academics very seriously. The affirmative action policies will not be well recieved at all.

        Nor will any soft on crime approach. There is very little appeal to the “woke” approach in a time of high hate crime.

        I’m disappointed on the homeless shelter stance though by Asians. I suspect that this is because many of the hate crime attacks unfortunately did come from the homeless.

        1. James Simpson

          Indeed. It’s important to put more men in prison because US prisons are largely empty, right?

          many of the hate crime attacks unfortunately did come from the homeless

          based on what evidence? Either provide good quality studies to back up this hateful claim or apologise and withdraw it.

    1. dermotmoconnor

      Hobsbawm tried to warn about the dangers of idpol back in the early 90s. None of these fools would listen then or now of course.

      QUOTE: So what does identity politics have to do with the Left? Let me state firmly what should not need restating. The political project of the Left is universalist: it is for all human beings. However we interpret the words, it isn’t liberty for shareholders or blacks, but for everybody. It isn’t equality for all members of the Garrick Club or the handicapped, but for everybody. It is not fraternity only for old Etonians or gays, but for everybody. And identity politics is essentially not for everybody but for the members of a specific group only. This is perfectly evident in the case of ethnic or nationalist movements. Zionist Jewish nationalism, whether we sympathize with it or not, is exclusively about Jews, and hang—or rather bomb—the rest. All nationalisms are. The nationalist claim that they are for everyone’s right to self-determination is bogus.

      That is why the Left cannot base itself on identity politics. It has a wider agenda…

      Now the wider agenda of the Left does, of course, mean it supports many identity groups, at least some of the time, and they, in turn look to the Left. Indeed, some of these alliances are so old and so close that the Left is surprised when they come to an end, as people are surprised when marriages break up after a lifetime. In the USA it almost seems against nature that the ‘ethnics’—that is, the groups of poor mass immigrants and their descendants—no longer vote almost automatically for the Democratic Party. …

      …yet, the common interest of Irish, Italian, Jewish and black Americans in the Democratic Party did not derive from their particular ethnicities, even though realistic politicians paid their respects to these. What united them was the hunger for equality and social justice, and a programme believed capable of advancing both…

      But this is just what so many on the Left have forgotten, as they dive head first into the deep waters of identity politics. Since the 1970s there has been a tendency—an increasing tendency’ to see the Left essentially as a coalition of minority groups and interests: of race, gender, sexual or other cultural preferences and lifestyles, even of economic minorities such as the old getting-your-hands-dirty, industrial working class have now become. This is understandable enough, but it is dangerous, not least because winning majorities is not the same as adding up minorities.

      First, let me repeat: identity groups are about themselves, for themselves, and nobody else. A coalition of such groups that is not held together by a single common set of aims or values, has only an ad hoc unity, rather like states temporarily allied in war against a common enemy. They break up when they are no longer so held together. In any case, as identity groups, they are not committed to the Left as such, but only to get support for their aims wherever they can. We think of women’s emancipation as a cause closely associated with the Left, as it has certainly been since the beginnings of socialism, even before Marx and Engels. And yet, historically, the British suffragist movement before 1914 was a movement of all three parties, and the first woman mp, as we know, was actually a Tory.

      Secondly, whatever their rhetoric, the actual movements and organizations of identity politics mobilize only minorities, at any rate before they acquire the power of coercion and law. ..

      That, by the way, makes two pragmatic reasons to be against identity politics. Without such outside compulsion or pressure, under normal circumstances it hardly ever mobilizes more than a minority—even of the target group. Hence, attempts to form separate political women’s parties have not been very effective ways of mobilizing the women’s vote. The other reason is that forcing people to take on one, and only one, identity divides them from each other. It therefore isolates these minorities.

      Consequently to commit a general movement to the specific demands of minority pressure groups, which are not necessarily even those of their constituencies, is to ask for trouble. This is much more obvious in the USA , where the backlash against positive discrimination in favour of particular minorities, and the excesses of multiculturalism, is now very powerful; but the problem exists here also.

      1. James Simpson

        That’s so true. When the Left attempts to use particular groups and makes the assumption that, because it develops policies for them it will attract their votes in large numbers, it will usually fail. Many non-white groups, if they have any particular cultural and political character at all, are probably more likely to be conservative than socialist. Why would, for example, Muslims vote Left, when the Left (and I’m a socialist) is secular, rather antipathetic to supernaturalist cults and promotes solidarity rather than inward-looking communities and families?

    1. Carla

      Democratic ‘diversity’ is code for “division” of pre-existing and long standing communities into feudal demographic tranches managed by the Democrats.
      This started a long time ago with the forced construction of housing projects in neighborhoods with strong Catholic parishes all over America.

      In 1994, the Chinese parents were the first to to successfully sue the San Francisco School Board to prevent further erosion, through forced busing, of their their children’s ability to succeed.

      Mostly Asian Lowell (STEM) High School, is the focus of the same battle today. If San Francisco ever elects a conservative mayor, it will most likely be an Asian. Many of them experienced Mao’s Long March and are not going to allow it to happen through our public institutions that have enabled them to prosper.

      1. James Simpson

        So true. It’s important for ethnic groups that they succeed and who cares about anyone else? It’s interesting that most political activism on the Left and Greens is almost entirely white. This is in part because of some ingrained, subconscious racism, but I suspect much more because it’s of little interest to people who are looking only for personal and family success and don’t want the status quo altered.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Making Shit Up is against our written site Policies. You are already in moderation for previous violations. One more like this and you are done.

          The most recent political activism in the US was Black Lives Matters. You are trying to sell that that was driven by whites?

          And in NYC, the other recent reasonable-scale political action was by deliveristas. You gonna maintain that that’s a bastion of white jobs, um, gigs?

  1. Stan

    “But the values [sic] of the Republican Party resonate more with Chinese voters.” So does the flame to moths, and values have nothing to do with instinctive reaction. Whatever the identity wrapper, exclusively self-interested voters will always be hopping back and forth between the frying pan and the fire, and they can never be “invincible”.

    1. MonkeyBusiness

      Just an anecdote. I live in the Bay Area, and I used to workout with an Asian American trainer. He told me that his parents had voted enthusiastically for Trump. In fact according to him, quite a few of his parents’ cohorts had done the same thing.

      I just watched that video and many of the people marching seem to be on the older side, so I think the more accurate statement might be: “But the values of the Republican Party resonate more with OLDER Chinese voters.”

      1. Stan

        Some more anecdotes… I am obligated by marriage into association with young and old Chinese people who voted for Bolsonaro, then watched in surprise as Bolsonaro went on and on about communist Chinese “monkeys” being responsible for spreading China Flu in Brazil. As it killed hundreds of thousands of people inside Brazil, their beloved president could not be bothered with much more than a “E daí!?” (“So what!?”) When Manaus could not dig graves fast enough during an oxygen shortage, one of Bolsonaro’s many health ministers — from the military of course — declared “oxygen has nothing to do with public health”.

        Like almost all US (R)&(D) voters I knew, none of the BR voters I refer to take any responsibility for their political choices, and could care less that Brazil was never more functional and respected than when despised Lula was in office. (Brazil also had a robust public health infrastracture when PT commies were busy destroying The Brazilian Family and God. Now, not so much.) All but one of this extended family hate communists. Among them is one with an unseemly infatuation for Xi Jinping, though his parents barely escaped Shanghai as Mao’s PLA took over, revenge at the top of the menu. This hearty immunity to cognitive dissonance is beyond my ken, but I do expect it from idpol-folk cuz ah was bow-ern in Texas.

        I lived in the Sunset district in SF for some years, encountering quite a bit of bizarre-think among the Chinese diaspora there, so it does not take much imagination to understand what’s going on in some predominantly Chinese populated NYC neighborhoods. To be fair, again, I have spent time with many of my spouse’s relatives in China, and some of them are solidly grounded in reality. I met some very impressive, big hearted people in China. My personal experiences show me there are outstanding people to be found anywhere, but chances of meeting them are slim.

    2. Gareth

      Is it pure self-interest for people to be upset with a party that wants to sacrifice the quality of public education in their communities in order to appease that party’s fringe? Sounds like people are voting with their children’s futures in mind.

      1. Stan

        There is an extremist, right-wing fringe on both wings of The Party, and it has zero interest in all things public.

      2. James Simpson

        I assume you’re referring to those Republicans that want to destroy public education, believing it to b riddled with supposedly harmful anti-racism, pro-LGBTQ+ propaganda. Or have I misread your meaning?

        1. Stan

          You have misread my meaning, but that’s understandable. The Party is the thing that calls itself Demoratic or Republican, where both centers, constantly trying to out-right the other, agree on the most important issues. THE most important issue both wings of The Party agree on has been the running of offensive, unwinnable wars for business and entertainment purposes. The trillions washed through Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, etc., not only helped re-build suburbs around the Pentagon and Langley, they also funded many flag-wagging psychopaths who thoroughly enjoy the forever torture/kill binge.

          Domestically, two of the most important issues agreed on were (a) the militarization of federal, state and local “law enforcement”, while (b) destroying the US’ middle & working class for the benefit of the military, police unions, and garchs. These two complimentary domestic policies nicely dovetail with the most important mutually agreed on foreign policy — THE one mentioned above — and convincing bs-gorged, scared voters there are critically important differences between the (R) & (D) wings of The Party is a piece of cake.

          The public’s wellbeing is of no concern to Democratic and Republican Party policy makers, and evidently, of no concern to voters who prefer one wing over the other.

  2. MP

    I mean, I think this is generally just an issue when you are the core and the rest of the world is the periphery; the immigrants you bring in are largely going to be wealthier and more reactionary than the people in the country itself, ie the reason they’re here and the reason they have any political clout to begin with. Coming from “Hong Kong in 1974” screams to me like Cubans in Miami, and I think that’s just the bigger issue of having a democracy in an imperial country, where the voting base is, again, going to be more reactionary and protective of their currently-existing interests than trying to raise the tide for all ships.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    I know its an easy short hand, but so often putting people in a box labled ‘Asian American’ or ‘Chinese American’ is enormously reductive. Years back I spent time in Flushing, NY, and it was striking just what a contrast there was even in the relatively recent Chinese influx. From the point of view of a Chinese person, there is a world of difference (including language) of someone from a Fujian or Chengdu background. There was even a very distinct cultural and political cleavage between the ‘ABCs’ and the more recent immigrants.

    Of course, a very high percentage of mid to late 20th Century Asian immigration was the result of war, with most coming from the more upper class and frequently very right wing and any communist elements of China, Korea and Vietnam. The notion that these people would happily buy into even centrist Dem politics was always a nonsense. They were there for the taking for the Republicans, and thats what they’ve done. And they won’t be a moderating influence either – some elements of the Korean and Chinese diaspora make plenty of Republicans look like hippies in comparison.

    I strongly suspect that the incompetence of Democrat strategists will lead very quickly to a fundamental re-alignment. And to think that just 4 years ago many were predicting that the Republicans would fall apart as an electoral force thanks to Trump.

    1. Laura in So Cal

      I don’t know what the voting rules are in NYC, but I’ve always thought that only Americans voted in American elections. If you are born here, you are an American. If you have chosen to become a US citizen, you are an American. I found the use of the term Chinese without even the “-American” attached really jarring. Just another way to divide the electorate up according to race and ethnicity so we don’t have to think about class or ideas, or why people vote the way they do.

  4. FluffytheObeseCat

    Adams is the nearest thing to a Republican the city Democrats have produced in decades. He ran on a law and order platform. He’s a former cop and proud of it. And he is a dark skinned black man who outrages the New York PMC when he speaks about Christmas.

    This article spins the Chinese American switch to Republicanism in the most favorable way possible. However, overt disdain for the lower classes of native born, multi generational Americans is real common within this community. It’s often poorly hidden, if hidden at all. The size of the switch in this mayoral election was considerable. I strongly believe that reflexive contempt for a Democrat candidate who is obviously and unashamedly of the Black community played a part in it.

    I can tell you the deep red southern precincts of Staten Island vote Republican for the same reason. Nobody tries to pretend otherwise. They aren’t praised for it, and no one minces around the edges of this fact in public discussions because the Italian Americans who dominate there have been declared White in recent decades.

    I’m real sure no other ethnic interest groups should get more of a pass on this matter than the jabrones of Staten Island.


    More evidence that the Democrats wokism strategy of building a coalition of the non-straight white males assumes an automatic solidarity between the disparate groups in that umbrella that isn’t always there, or requires more maintenance than is being given. I don’t think it’s a given that Asian Americans (Which, as the other PK pointed out, is really an umbrella itself and not a singular demographic) will gravitate towards the GOP, but neither can the Dems treat getting the majority of Asian American votes as a given from now until the sun implodes.

    As far as the Specialized High School debate, I say a pox on both houses. Regardless of if there’s minute shifts in admissions that getting a few dozen more black and hispanic students into the specialized high schools, or things remain the status quo, the vast majority of black and hispanic, and for that matter Asian and white students, will not be going to those high schools. Yet, all the political oxygen is being sucked up by the SHSAT debate, leaving the majority of public high school student ignored. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the realm of the NYC public school system that gets all the attention is also the one most likely to produce workers that will enter the neoliberal PMC world, so of course that’s all they’re going to focus on and allow within the Discourse.

  6. GeoCrackr

    Adding to the rest of the observations already made: an acquaintance of mine spent several years living in various places in China and Hong Kong. Discussing his time there when he got back, one of the things he reported is that racism is widespread and virulent among the Chinese, rivaling the worst reports of pre-Civil Rights era America (minus the lynchings, perhaps – at least he didn’t speak of any). Interestingly, he was a target of that himself – in the more interior cities of mainland China (where they don’t get a lot of foreign visitors) he did not get the “white guy pass” that Americans/Europeans get in much the world. So I can’t say I’m at all surprised that the Chinese community in the US would find a home in the GOP.

  7. tommy strange

    Please research turnout. I think this is a valid point and post….the democrats don’t deliver….but you also have to look at turnout…

    1. John

      Democrats assume all will be well because they wish all to be well. “Those” people by whatever definition of “those” is your preference will vote for Democrats because they have always voted for Democrats while other sets of “those” people vote for Republicans. Democrats take “them” for granted. Republicans do the scut work of turning out their voters and just maybe perhaps delivering for them instead of ignoring their wishes.

      The Democratic party in the City and nationally is in a death spiral that is unacknowledged by the know-it-alls who believe they are in charge. Keep thinking that and see where it takes you

  8. Peter L.

    Thanks for posting this. I read it with real interest, because I’ve been involved in education activism in NYC for several years. It is beyond frustrating that left-ish and liberal education activists, my friends, are so dismissive of any concerns about getting rid of the gifted and talented program, and the Special High School Admission Test (SHSAT), the single hurdle kids must jump to get into the most prestigious high schools.

    It is a firmly held assumption among my activist group that any opposition to the plans to get rid of the SHSAT is motivated by racism against people classified as Black or Latino. The majority of kids attending Stuyvesant are classified as Asian, and this is out of line with the overall population in the City. This has been interpreted as a bad thing in and of itself. That is, it is not seen as an indicator of other problems, but a bad outcome that can be rectified by simply assuring that certain race categories are represented according to their proportions in NYC overall.

    There are serious problems with the gifted and talented program, and the admissions procedure for getting into the most prestigious schools in New York. However, I feel we are entering into the worst of all possible worlds in which people are set against each other by Republicans using racism and Democrats (and some liberal/left activists) falling victim to their own racist outlook. Absolutely miserable situation.

  9. Dave in Austin

    In my experience the difference between immigrant groups is “Education-obsessed/upwardly mobile” vs “low education/ just get by”. Asians vary- Chinese and Koreans are the former while Hmong are usually the latter.

    Within Hispanics, I know Mexican Jews and middle-class Columbians in the first group and Mexican construction laborers and ther wives in the latter group… with the interesting note that the lower-middle class girls go to junior college, like to dress well in an office and have no intention of getting pregnant right now. The boys make better money working construction, spend part of it on a new pickup truck on time, and have figured out that the girls they want to date expect them to show up clean and spiffy… in other words these kids are following the path of the low-end Irish and French Canadian kids I grew up with.

    Democrats I know in the ruling class don’t notice the difference; immigrants are immigrants. But every car salesman can tell the difference in an instant. Give one hint of disrespect to the construction guys and thier girlfriends and it is instantly “No Sale”.

    Other big dividers: The education obsessed don’t buy on time, they drive solid older cars and buy real estate, especially the most rundown/needs work house in a good school district. The “get bys” have very little idea that deferred gratification can have huge rewards. One of the rewards for me is that I occasionally sit down with one with pencil and paper and lay out the choices. Once they learn to think in numbers and “what ifs” they catch on fast- they aren’t stupid, they just inherited the wrong cultural capital.

  10. Sue inSoCal

    Thanks for this. It’s quite thought provoking on many levels. It’s difficult for me to think that voting for Republican education “plans” would not be detrimental in this case. But I’m not certain if any educational plans are viable anymore.

    As far as identity politics, there are surprises, and then there are surprises. The Italian American “white card” is a rather significant issue. (I can’t recall the book, but this is specifically discussed. And I have relatives. Let’s leave it at that.) My guess is that the Hispanic/Latinx population in general could well be next, similar to the Cuban population. There’s also significant intermarriage between the Irish and Italians. (See Kevin McCarthy, et al)

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