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Tom Brokaw 'Apologizes' for Offensive Comments About Hispanics

"I am sorry, truly sorry, my comments were offensive to many," Brokaw posted on Twitter.

Veteran journalist Tom Brokaw "feels terrible" about comments he made regarding Hispanics.

On NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, during a panel discussion on American perceptions of immigration and building a wall, Brokaw's comments resulted in a fury of backlash.

Myth: All Latino Immigrants Will Likely Become Democrats

"But the fact is, on the Republican side, a lot of people see the rise of an extraordinary, important, new constituent in American politics, Hispanics, who will come here and all be Democrats," Brokaw said.

Latinos overall are 64 percent leaning Democratic, but that trend decreases the longer the Latino has been in this country.

"Latino registered voters who are Spanish dominant are more likely than those who are English dominant or bilingual to say they are conservative," according to Pew Research Center.

Steve Phillips, a national political leader, civil rights lawyer and author of "Brown Is The New White," explains that the "new majority" of voters not only includes Latinos, but all progressive people of color and progressive whites who are actually making the real difference in terms of the Democratic Party.

Fear of 'Brown Grand-Babies'

Brokaw said that when he questions "people" on their stance on immigration, "inter-marriage" and "brown grand-babies" are an issue.

"I hear when I push people a little harder, 'I don't know whether I want brown grand-babies,'" he said. "I mean, that's also a part of it. It's the inter-marriage that is going on and the cultures that are conflicting with each other."

Hispanic or Latino is not a race — there are white Latinos, Black Latinos and Asians Latinos. More than 60 percent of Latinos identify as white. Further, by the 4th generation, 50 percent of Americans with Latino ancestry no longer identify themselves as Latino. Latinos who married non Latinos are much more likely to be higher educated.

Aside from being racist, "brown grand-babies" are not factually an "issue."

Myth: Latinos Don't Assimilate

"Hispanics should work harder at assimilation," Brokaw said. "That's one of the things I've been saying for a long time. You know, they ought not to be just codified in their communities but make sure that all their kids are learning to speak English, and that they feel comfortable in the communities. And that's going to take outreach on both sides, frankly."

Yamiche Alcindor of PBS, another panelist on the show, jumped in stating: "I grew up in Miami, where people speak Spanish, but their kids speak English," she said. "And the idea that we think Americans can only speak English, as if Spanish and other languages wasn't always a part of America, is, in some ways, troubling."

In regard to assimilation, Latino and "American" cultures don't conflict much. Americans with Hispanic ancestry who identify as Hispanic or Latino decreases across immigrant generations. Political scientists Jack Citrin, Amy Lerman, Michael Murakami and Kathryn Pearson found no evidence that Mexican and other Latin American immigrants are assimilating more slowly than did previous waves of immigrants.

Mark Hugo Lopez, director of global migration and demography at Pew, posted on Twitter that English proficiency in Latino communities has been on the rise for years:

A 2016 survey by Pew found that "some 88% of Latinos ages 5 to 17 said they either speak only English at home or speak English 'very well,' up from 73% who said the same in 2000."

"And among Latinos ages 18 to 33, the share who speak only English at home or say they speak English "very well" increased from 59% to 76% during this time."

In many cases, there's a battle among Spanish-speaking migrants to maintain their native tongue with their children.

It appears that Brokaw's concerns are unwarranted.

It should also be acknowledged that many non-English speaking Europeans, who migrate to the United States, choose to stay within the confines of their own communities. Is Brokaw also holding those groups to that standard?

NBC News did not comment on Brokaw, who still serves the network even though he officially retired in 2004.

He did attempt to apologize via Twitter later that Sunday.

Can't really call this an apology. Then, he deflected to what he had done to help highlight the accomplishments of Cesar Chavez.

Brokaw continued to center himself instead of actually apologizing.

The Conversation (2)
L. Allen Garvin29 Jan, 2019

I like Tom Brokaw and I won't vilify him for his comments. I'd like to comment on one point if I may. I don't believe he meant to be offensive. Perhaps he's speaking as a person from earlier generations, such as myself, who saw immigrants who totally assimilated into the American culture. I had friends who were first generation Italian, German, and from a number of Asian and Middle Eastern countries. My friends learned English with our help and through their own hard work and determination. Bilingual education, advertising, etc. was not in place at the time. Once my friends assimilated language wise (they didn't give up their culture), they did very well academically and otherwise. Our generation does not look at assimilation as an entirely negative proposition.

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