Letter to the Editor, Wall Street Journal, July 21, 1992, by Norman Matloff.
(Background: Peter Brimelow is a British-born naturalized U.S. citizen, whose writings have expressed concern that large-scale immigration will adversely impact American culture.)
Jouralist Peter Brimelow's fears that Third World immigration will change the "American culture" (Tim W. Ferguson's Business Column, "The Sleeper Issue of the 1990s Awakens," op-ed page, June 23) simply do not jibe with reality. Consider hypothetical telephone conversations with two second-generation Americans in Southern California, one person with British lineage, and the other with roots in China. Mr. Brimelow could talk to both people about their values, likes and dislikes, political views and so on. Would Mr. Brimelow be able to guess which person had which ancestry? He certainly couldn't do so from their spoken English, which would be identical, and, more important, he couldn't do it on "character" either. If, for example, one of them mentioned an interest in the Los Angeles Dodgers, this would be no clue in guessing the person's ancestry.
Ironically, Mr. Brimelow probably could guess identity successfully if the two people he chatted with were both white, one from Georgia and the other from Brooklyn; he could distinguish at least on the basis of accent, and likely on the basis of character as well. Since Mr. Brimelow is so interested in cultural uniformity, I wonder if this interregional cultural diversity---something on which I dare say most Americans place positive value---annoys him as much as the interethnic variation he imagines to exist.