multiple ethnic groups seeking a discrete cultural--and legal--identity. The outstanding illustration of the corporate model is to be found in the political arrangements between Quebec and Canada.
Both models assume a central state government as well as an essentially stratified economic system. The liberal model is based on the acceptance of the existing stratification system. It views society as a meritocracy and does not question its economic system, although it requires equal opportunity and permits the state to intervene so that no group is totally oppressed. It is the role of the state managers to see that all group conflicts, whether class or ethnically based, are managed so as to maintain the order of the society. The corporate model adds a unique dimension. Economic and political equality are viewed as also being group characteristics. The role of the state is to assist each group in achieving parity. Theoretically, then, if the distribution of privilege, wealth, and power is the same in the minority society as it is in the majority society, then corporate pluralism has been achieved. The fact that both societies could have large numbers of poor people and great differences between the wealthy and the rest of the population is considered irrelevant to these models.
Beyond these models, economic and cultural differentials are generating considerable conflict. There is a general perception that immigrants are taking the jobs of native workers as well as competing for existing public and social services in the community. Consequently, the majority of Americans want to halt immigration, and they want also to declare English as the "official language."
Peter Brimelow, in the excerpt from his book, writes that an "ethnic and racial transformation" is taking place. As a consequence, American core values are seen as being threatened by the high immigration of so many diverse cultural groups. Brimelow views the new immigrant stream as less skilled than earlier streams, offering unneeded, unskilled labor power, providing no economic benefit to the society, while using health, education, and welfare services at the expense of the citizen taxpayers. For Brimelow, the United States has always "had a specific ethnic core. And that core has been white."
David Cole, in contrast, views Brimelow's position as the "New Know Nothingism" and presents a response to what he labels the five myths of immigration. Cole argues that the new immigrants, like their predecessors, are assimilating and that they pay more in taxes than they cost in benefits received.
Geoffrey Nunberg, in his essay "Lingo Gringo," focuses exclusively on the issue of learning the language. As the fulcrum of assimilation, language learning is critical. Nunberg reports that the majority of immigrant parents, in fact, want their children to learn English. Further, the writer refers to surveys of language usage indicating that perhaps as many as 97 percent are proficient in English. "English- only," he writes," is an irrelevant provocation. It is a bad cure for an imaginary disease."
Portes, Alejandro, and Ruben Rumbaut ( 1990) Immigrant America: A Portrait. Berkeley: University of California Press.