May 23, 2007

Where are the Hispanics on American Idol?

Latinos now must make up about 16-18% of the 16 to 28 age range for trying out for American Idol, and yet they have been almost invisible over the six seasons of the show -- especially Mexicans and Central Americans. The top performers on American Idol consistently look like America in 1957: white and black. The annual Latin music night on the show when the finalists have to sing Gloria Estefan songs is usually a dud because the performers have no feel for the genre. Heck, back in 1957, the kids probably would have done better with Latin music than they do today.

This is another example of the big dog-that-didn't-bark story that nobody notices about immigration. That Mexican-Americans aren't terribly ambitious or accomplished makes mass immigration more popular among the elites at present, since the helots aren't challenging them for the honors. But what does it say about the future?


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

29 comments:

onetwothree said...

So...you're saying Menudo DIDN'T get their start on Idol?

Horatio said...

You should know the answer to this. Amerindians earned their reputation for being taciturn. The large Amerindian component in Latin Americans dilutes the extroversion they may get from their Iberian side. Anyone who has spent a lot of time with people from across the indian-mestizo-white spectrum will notice the pattern of increasing ambition and extroversion.

Anonymous said...

Or alternatively Steve, Mexicans hold to separatist views and don't want to bother competing on AI.

Some Norteno singer, a young man, was killed a while back and some astonishing number flocked to his funeral in Southern California somewhere. Mexican music makes a ton of money, and their singers are extremely popular and wealthy as a result, but they tend to be segregated and thus invisible to the Anglo culture.

There is also traditions that make them mainstream unfriendly. Narco-trafficantes songs, etc. Ranchera music sounds hick-like and stupid to Anglo ears.

Of course the market of 100 million Mexicans just over the border probably has something to do with this. Very likely increased immigration, illegal or otherwise, will result in even more racial and national separatism, with profound and ugly consequences.

A Salma Hayek is the exception. Far more indicative would be a Selina, who most Americans have never heard of but who still acts as some martyred saint for Mexican fans.

African-Americans to achieve great success MUST cross over to white audiences. There simply are not enough black people to make them really rich. Mexican artists don't have to cross over. There are 100 million Mexican fans just over the border.

Dave said...

I'd like to know where the black busboys are. I can't remember the last one I saw who wasn't Mexican.

tommy said...

I was going to say something the same thing as Horatio. It could be the taciturn nature of most mestizos. That might explain why there are so few good Hispanic stand-up comedians also. I notice the same thing with Indians (actually mestizos) in Oklahoma -- they just aren't very bubbly people.

Humorously, the Corrs have a video that features a stereotypically taciturn Mexican mestizo. Guys like him obvious aren't going to do to excel in stand-up or American Idol.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty depressing that the Central Americans and darker skinned Mexicans seem to have so little ambition, even in terms of social influence.

It is well known that the Latin American media is as white as Russian television.

But even in the US, all the most ambitious performers are white, or really white looking, Hispanics like Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, Salma Hayek, Eva Mendes etc.

The darker skinned Hispanics have... who... Carlos Mencia? Not impressive.

This principle also seems to apply to dating, with whites dating the more Spanish looking Hispanics who tend to be more outgoing and aggresive in terms of dating.

Old Right

tommy said...

I was going to say something the same thing as Horatio.

Oops. You know what I meant to say.

Old Right,

The darker skinned Hispanics have... who... Carlos Mencia? Not impressive.

It gets more pathetic: second-rate comedian Mencia isn't even entirely Hispanic. From what I understand, his father was of partial German extraction.

Wikipedia:

Ned Arnel Mencia was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. At the time of his birth, his mother, Magdelena Mencía from Mexico, was engaged in a domestic dispute with his father, Honduran Roberto Holness, and declined to give her son his biological father's last name. The name appearing on his birth certificate is "Ned Arnel Mencía", although Mencia has said that out of respect for his biological father he went by the Holness name anyway, and was known as "Ned Holness" until he was eighteen years old.

Holness ain't no Spanish name, that is for certain.

Anonymous said...

Carlos Mencia is actually half-German, believe it or not. And Salma Hayek and Shakira by birth and culture are half Lebanese Maronite-- an exuberant, eastern Mediterranean culture (Lebanese Christians dominate the Arab world's music industry with an endless number of sultry divas.) So even in the rather thin ranks of internationally successful Latin entertainers, it seems to be mostly Europeans and Christian Arabs.

RKU said...

Interesting...

Presumably, the converse of this argument would be true as well. Hence, since blacks are so hugely over-represented among successful singers, entertainers, sports-stars, and American Idol winners, we should do our best to dramatically increase the inflow of additional black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean...

Anonymous said...

Steve asked a direct question and most all here are ignoring it.

But what does it say about the future?

It means we shouldn't just be afraid of Latinization, we should be terrified. It means the USA dropping in the world rankings of nations in every category. Transparency (corruption), GDP, life expectancy, environment, math & science innovation etc.
If not reversed, eventually it means Latinization of the U.S. economy and the military. And that is indeed the end.

Latin culture is not a culture of innovation or inquiry. It is a culture of hierarchy and despotism. What we call Latin culture today is actually watered-down Arab culture. The Arabs ruined the Spanish. Spain eventually ejected the Moors, but was never the same. And the Spanish people demonstrate to this day a quasi-Arab mentality. That is because of the Arab culture and gene lines. Genes determine IQ, of course. But, just as importantly, genes determine temperament.

White Spaniards are some of the weakest math science people in Europe. And these quasi-Arab people birthed the Latin nations from the Rio Grande down to Patagonia. And every single one of these nations has been a non-performer as far as the rest of the world is concerned. Latin America doesn't lead the world in any pursuit with the possible exception of cuisine (and recreational drugs). Frankly, Spain and Portugal lead the world in few fields of endeavor. I doubt there would've been a very big difference if all the Latin countries were Spanish white. The Spanish whites are not remotely the same people as those Europeans to the north across the Pyrenees. That's the record.

Steve has written about the near complete absence of Latinos in the catalog of scientific achievement. Considering the huge numbers in the Latin world, it is a scary bad record of per capita achievement. Steve has also documented how the pattern is not magically changed once they settle in the USA. Latin Americans are not the equivalent of the Italians or Irish immigrants of the past. That assertion clashes with pesky reality.

And all claims of an "Arab enlightenment" in Moorish Spain are mendacious. That is a myth certain Jewish intellectuals are now promoting along with the supposed superior treatment Jews received as dhimmis in Muslim controlled Iberia. That is all koolaid for the Europeans.

The historical record is such a bitch, if you're a Marxist. And present-day realities aren't easy to explain either. Thank Lenin we have the memory hole, comrades.

malcanta said...

Or how about this...

There is actual discrimination (gasp!) against darker latinos in Hispanic countries, and those societies are still dominated by class systems and unfair land ownership distributions that have existed hundreds of years.

I guess they are not as "enlightened" as their neighbors to the north who use quota systems to ensure overqualified white Europeans get discriminated against. So now when we watch the LA evening news all races are represented, what a utopia!

Anonymous said...

Wow, so the Hispanics really have hardly anything going for them in terms of broad social/cultural influence.

I guess this also explains why they lag, by orders of magnitude, behind blacks in terms political organization - which is a very very good factor for social stability.

James said...

Monday night I was watching Nuestra Belleza Latina show over on Univision. I didn't see the talent competition but at one point they had this Three Amigos character sing the Spanish version of "Miss America" and he was rally good. Different style of singing though. Maybe it wouldn't sound good in English.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of talented Mexican-American singers attended the San Antonio American Idol casting call. I personally know two of them. (San Antonio is an old-Hispanic city like ABQ and Tucson - English dominant) American Idol, were it so quotally inclined, could have picked one of them and the lineup would have been just as strong as they one they came up with.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:12 -- IMHO you do a profound disservice to the Spanish. After a long struggle they pushed out the more mobile Arabs who had a huge manpower advantage in North Africa. They did it largely through military innovation. In the 1500's the Spanish had the best and most deadly armed forces in Europe, and proved it from Italy to Lepanto to the Netherlands. They led expedition after expedition to the New World and in astonishing campaigns conquered native empires at huge disadvantages in manpower, while fighting severe tropical diseases at huge logistical removes. Cortez was nearly annihilated several times by the Aztecs who were no pushover. Same with the Incas.

Cervantes, Spinoza, and others speak to a decent intellectual tradition, though you are right that the Spanish contributed little to Europe's intellectual life after say 1600.

You look to the Arabs (who were pretty much kicked out completely after the Morisco rebellion) for the source of Spain's problems via genetics. Ignoring: the constant threat of subversion from Moriscos, re-invasion from North Africa, and French alliance with the Arabs to thwart Hapsburg ambitions. The Inquisition is a lot more understandable if there are lots of people who's loyalties are suspect. Then there's the New World colonies themselves, extraction-based that like Russia and Arab countries allow valuable commodities (gold and silver instead of oil) to mask the degeneration of manufacturing and industry. Spain lacks much arable land, but somehow they managed (along with the Portugese) to be the pre-eminent explorers in the 1400 and 1500's. What changed? They relied too much on gold and silver from the New World which eventually ran out.

The rigid bureaucracy that characterized Spain's Monarchy and retarded innovation is not an Arab feature (who are a tribal and disorganized people) but one seeking to control and prevent internal subversion (which was a real risk) and is a profoundly Western disease (though China has always had it too). You can find the same thing in the EU, France, or Soviet Union, or NYC. Or the PRC if you prefer.

Given the thin nature (excepting Argentina, which is settled mostly by Italians, English, and Germans) of Spanish genes present in most Latin American nations (which remain a Mestizo mix to mostly Indio), it's more likely negative WESTERN Hierarchical "Big Man" or Caudillo style culture adopted from Spain is the principal risk for large scale immigration.

Mayans, Olmecs, Toltecs, Aztecs, and Incas built big cities. Performed massive feats of engineering. They weren't stupid. But they had massive cultural flaws that led to their downfall. And didn't get Anglosphere ideas of good government but rigid Spanish Monarchical bureaucracies. You could argue that the bloody-mindedness of the Aztecs coupled with the rigid bureaucracy of Spain created the tragedy of modern Mexico today.

jody said...

well, i've written about this a couple times on here. it's because mexicans are pretty average people and are not particularly good at anything. that's not strange - that's the rule, not the exception, among humans.

west africans and east asians are the exceptions, and people notice them because they are so particularly good at certain things. this leads most people, even scientists like rushton and lynn, to completely miss the fact that most other groups are thoroughly mediocre at most activities, and don't even appear on the radar.

that's why i usually laugh when i hear about how white people suck at activity (fill in the blank). they're actually pretty good at everything. they're better than mexicans at everything, which is one of the major problems with replacing europeans with mexicans in the US. expect an across the board decline in all human endeavors when the mexicans take over.

of course, you could get more "hispanics" on american idol by having more white and black people with spanish names on the show. but that's just one of the several reasons the "hispanic" category is extremely stupid, and should be dumped now, before things get any dumber.

jody said...

also, i would question using american idol as a gauge of anything. how many times can they cross the country and still not discover potential stars? aren't they on season 6?

i'd rather just look at the soundscan chart and notice that mexicans rarely appear there, and are only one step up from east asians in the "pretty much not very musical" sweepstakes. many (most?) of the major mexican bands have white guys in them. i think mana for instance is totally white.

Mark said...

Ranchera music sounds hick-like and stupid to Anglo ears.

Bluegrass, country western, R&B, rockabilly, bluegrass, Rock 'n
Roll - no one has ever wanted to listen to hick music.

Most of the music you hear today on most every radio station in the galaxy is "hick" music.

Mark said...

They're taciturn and tolerant of autocrats - kind of like the Asians from which they descend.

Unlike modern Asians, however, they descend from a group that crossed the Bering Strait long before Asian intelligence started to increase.

Mark said...

Cervantes, Spinoza, and others speak to a decent intellectual tradition

Cervantes and Spinoza were both of Jewish descent (partially, in the case of Cervantes.) But you're right about the feats of the conquistadors - they're nothing to scoff at.

But they're military feats point to a certain barbarism. In North America, the English didn't tend to go to war with the Indians unless provoked by circumstances. The Spaniards were a lot more bloodthirsty.

Julio said...

"White Spaniards are some of the weakest math science people in Europe."

Spain expelled its Jews (except for a few conversos or marronos) in 1492. That didn't help them with the math & science.

"Cervantes, Spinoza, and others speak to a decent intellectual tradition..."

Spinoza was a Jew, whose ancestors had been expelled from Spain in 1492. They settled in Holland, which is where Spinoza lived. Cervantes may have been part converso.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see Steve's analysis of the the arch-anglo Morrissey and his Latino fans:
http://arts.guardian.co.uk/fridayreview/story/0,12102,1444740,00.html

Horatio said...

What will be the effect of hispanics on American science? About the same as Italians, not much.

A quick look through the lists of laureates on nobel.se finds one American-born Hispanic in physics (Alvarez) and no American-born Italians. We find one American-born Italian in the prizes for medicine (Ignarro).

guest007 said...

Did Steve contradict on of his previous posts. The culture of South and Central America does not have the tradition of singing in church like blacks in the U.S. have. They also do not have the tradition of church choirs.

Also, look at the high school marching band from an all black high school versus an all mexican high school. That should let people know.

Anonymous said...

There is a whole channel now called MTV Tres. Features non-stop music videos for a majority Mexican-American audience.

One big point that jumps out: the Mexicans are now starting to move away from the Hip-Hop culture. J Lo's new video has a very Mexican/Texan natural feel... very un-Hip/Hop but not so different from an Anglo "country"/cowboy feel.

Quiet mediocrity isn't always a bad thing. Americans are so used to loud braying with nothing to back it up, they don't even notice those qiet, unassuming people right next to them.

Maybe AI is doing something else. It's partaking of the phenomenal American cultural blindness on this whole subject, as if there is a fog obscuring a major change. The whole "immigrant" issue is way, way past the point of a few guys named Jose hopping border fences to go pick strawberries. Hispanics are now more numerous than Blacks. They are part of the economy. They aren't "coming" to a neighborhood near you, Latinos already are your new neighbors. Complete with houses, old ladies, young kids, the works.

It's way past the point of saying "we hate the Latinos, kick them out." Real leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas were not able to bring the freedmen back to Africa. If good leaders couldn't do it, how can the peanut gallery of elected officials we have now do it?

The more interesting articles and comments here talk about what it's like when Anglos live next to Latinos. What are the differences, what are some tips, and so on.

Mexicans are more quiet and less extreme in all ways than whites or blacks. Why don't people talk about Anglo-Latino mixed kids? Maybe because they are able to look, speak and act more or less Anglo. It's like Anglo-Asian hapas. They are just not offensive people.

tommy said...

I'd like to see Steve's analysis of the the arch-anglo Morrissey and his Latino fans

Yes, I've been wondering for some time what the deal is with this Latino-Morrissey connection also. Bizarre.

Anonymous said...

Mark -- I think the accordions in Ranchera turn off Anglo listeners. An artist like say Gretchen Wilson plays country-rock; heavy guitars and rock-like rhythms. Certain instruments (and the polka-style rhythms of ranchera) just act as a turn-off.

I would also not dismiss the warlike achievements of the English either. They tended to downplay their regular massacres of the local tribes (generally the result of tribal massacres of their outlying settlers); the account of the Jamestown settlement and rather idiotic attempts to "Christianize" the local indians vs. military intimidation are pretty instructive. And for their part, the priests accompanying the Conquistadors would rather save souls than massacre them, as ample contemporary documents attest.

But IMHO what is remarkable is how Spanish and Portugese expansion simply stopped around 1600, to be replaced by a near three century English, Dutch, and French expansion. Not only to the Americas but the East Indies as well. Something dynamic must have been at work to explain a failure on one hand and a success on the other.

Horatio: Nobel winners? Was either Marconi or Enrico Fermi? One might question why Italy produced such a gigantic flowering of intellectual achievement: Da Vinci, Machiavelli, Michaelangelo, etc. in such a short time and little afterwards.

Or question why cities first appeared in present day Lebanon and Syria, 15,000 years ago, while European neolithic peoples were nomadic head-hunters and cannibals. Or why Western Europe which had produced nothing of note (excluding Rome) produced the dominant civilization after the decay and barbarism of the Dark Ages? Or why Japan was a backwater of no interest and little achievement until Commodore Perry showed up? Or what happened to take Dark Ages, post Ancient Greece to the Classical periods of astonishing achievements?

IMHO race probably plays a lesser role than people think and is not absolutely deterministic. That culture is a lot more important (and also shapes evolution, with changes taking place rapidly). The neolithic Britons are racially the same now, for the most part, as they were at the time of Stonehenge? Why the astonishing output of the Enlightenment in England but not in say, pre-Boudicea's Britain? [One possible answer: revived Greek-Roman culture plus Latin Christianity plus Anglo-Saxon concepts of law and free-holding gave that society the cultural tools to dominate.]

Which would make IMHO at least a powerful argument for accepting many immigrants from dysfunctional cultures. Look at Mexico's failed culture and see if we want that here.

What is intriguing and disturbing is how much of Indian culture has survived. B Traven (and no he was not the son of the Kaiser) wrote in his stories (including Treasure of Sierra Madre) about how this culture had survived. The same gods still hanging around, sacrifices, belief in magic, clannish-ness, etc. [Lest say Scots feel superior, these attitudes would describe the Scotland of say, William Wallace to a great degree.] But the Scots changed radically and the Mayans of Yucatan have not. Cultures radically resistant to change can be dangerous as they spread non-competitive attitudes.

Horatio said...

Anon
I only included laureates born in the US, though I may have missed one.

Genetics are important, though the right culture is a prerequisite for high achievement. If the Angles and Saxons had conquered Catalonia, we would probably still have an Anglo culture that dominated global politics. However, I doubt Anglo culture would be sufficient to turn the Khoisan into a major player.

Some of the earliest advances were dumb luck coupled with good conditions. As technological and scientific know-how spread, the best cultures and genes began to win out over those who discovered agriculture first.

Anonymous said...

I dont know what this means,but we have an "Ugly Betty" tv show starring a young mexican girl who,while surely not a 'beauty' is still fairly attractive and cute beneath the fake braces and wig;the REAL "Ugly Betty",on the original Spanish language program, is hideous! :(