Recently on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” former news anchor Tom Brokaw said he happens to believe “that the Hispanics should be working harder on assimilation,” including doing more to ensure their children learn English.

We need to correct the record, because a man who many Americans still look to as a paragon of honesty just botched this one.

Brokaw offered his diagnosis as part of a supposedly balanced analysis of America’s demographic future. On the one hand, he said, some whites are racist and simply don’t want grandchildren of mixed heritage; on the other, he surmised, Spanish speakers are failing to meld into the broader national community.

Incorrect. Over the generations, America’s 50 million-plus Latinos see their educational attainment rise sharply, their homeownership rates increase, their poverty rates decline and their intermarriage rates spike. All are telltale markers of assimilation.

Among second-generation Americans of Hispanic ancestry, just 6 percent continue speaking mostly Spanish at home. By the fourth generation, just half of U.S. adults with Hispanic ancestry even call themselves Hispanic.

As pressure grew on Brokaw to apologize, a predictable chorus of folks who think America routinely overreacts to statements not deemed politically correct howled at a supposed attempt to shut down debate.

Nonsense. Brokaw in the end did the right thing. He apologized for being wrong — because he was wrong.

Editorial by New York Daily News


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