American Renaissance archives

American Renaissance magazine
Vol. 16, No. 8 August 2005

CONTENTS

Demography Is Destiny
The Untold Story of White Slavery
Free Spirits
O Tempora, O Mores!
Letters from Readers

COVER STORY

Demography is Destiny

A recent speech delivered in London by Jared Taylor.

Many or few? It makes all the difference.

I have been asked to speak on the subject, “Demography is Destiny.” The phrase is attributed to the 19th century French mathematician and philosopher, August Comte (1798–1857), who is known as the “father of sociology.” By it he meant that as a rise or fall in birth rates works itself out over the decades, it affects everything in a society. He would therefore have understood immediately the significance of something now happening in many nations of the West: The average number of children each woman has is closer to one than to the 2.2 necessary to maintain the population. When a society does reach a birth rate of one child per woman, each generation is half the size of the previous one, and that society is headed for extinction.

It is, indeed, worrying that birth rates are so low in the most advanced, Western countries, as well as in certain successful Asian ones. No one has a definitive explanation of why the world’s richest women have the fewest children, but the self-absorption that seems to accompany material wealth seems to be a big part of it. If Westerners really do think about their motives for refusing to reproduce — if the problem is not pure narcissism — the thinking probably runs like this: “The world is overpopulated anyway, so a shortfall in my country will be made up for by people in Africa or Latin America.” In other words, millions more Guatemalans and Nigerians will make up for fewer Italians or Germans. The assumption, of course, is that all human populations are essentially interchangeable. We shall come back to this assumption later, for it is a crucial part of how demography becomes destiny.

There is one aspect of the demography question August Comte did not anticipate, and that is immigration. Immigration of the kind we have today — millions of aliens moving into already-settled territory, taking up residence or even citizenship — is a recent thing. It is not that people did not move about in the past. But up until just a few decades ago, if your people wanted to move into someone else’s territory, they would fight you. People did not willingly step aside and let large numbers of aliens settle on their land.

The spread of Arabs across north Africa and into Europe, the peopling of whole continents by Europeans, the Japanese penetration of Asia — this was not immigration. It was conquest. The unopposed arrival of large numbers of unarmed aliens into already-occupied territory is something new.

There is a clear pattern to this unprecedented movement of peoples. It is a mass migration from the Third World to the developed world. Put in racial terms, it is non-whites moving into lands that were previously all or overwhelmingly white.

There are two reasons for this. One is that Westerners have created the most successful, agreeable societies in the history of mankind. In material terms, for an African to move to Europe or for a Honduran to move to the United States represents an instant, astonishing advance. It is hardly surprising that millions of people are desperate to leave their hard-scrabble lives for even the crumbs of the wealthiest societies ever known.

Will millions more Guatemalans and Nigerians will make up for fewer Italians or Germans?

The second reason for this pattern is that only Western — white — societies permit immigration. There are countless Indonesians and Filipinos who would love to live in Japan, and enjoy the wealth the Japanese people have created for themselves, but they cannot. The Japanese forbid it. The Japanese understand that demography is destiny, and they have the quaint preference that their destiny remain Japanese. The same is true for the people of South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and even Malaysia. They understand the importance of demography, and they want to keep their destinies in their own hands.

In the West it is obligatory to believe — indeed, it is considered immoral not to believe — that all populations are essentially replaceable. If Caribbean blacks or Bangladeshi Muslims come to this country [Britain], they will turn into good little Welshmen, or Englishmen, or Scots. And to the extent that they do not, whatever differences remain will ginger up the poor, colorless local stock.

This view — that it is desirable to supplement or even replace one’s own people with aliens — is the greatest threat the West faces. We have faced great threats before — the Mongol invasions, the Arab advance, Turks at the gates of Vienna — but these were physical, armed threats that we met with physical force. Never before have we been psychologically unmanned, never before did we believe that welcoming the Arabs or opening our borders to the Turks would lead to “enrichment” or bring the benefits of “diversity.” This delusion, if it persists, will be our death knell.

Part of the idea that Europeans can be successfully and happily replaced by non-whites is the trendy view that race is not a biological category but a sociological or optical illusion. Never mind that people of different races differ greatly in appearance and behavior; or that they can be distinguished unerringly by DNA comparison at just 100 randomly-selected sites; or that they may react differently to medical treatment. Anyone who is incapable of detecting important differences between, say, an Australian Aborigine and a Dane, or an African Pygmy and a Korean is just plain ... brilliant. Because only very intelligent people could possibly persuade themselves of something so obviously wrong and stupid.

Craig Ventner of the Human Genome Project in America once famously claimed that all humans are essentially identical twins. Every institution in the West has fallen into line with this view that racial or ethnic differences are so trivial that only demons or morons could notice or care about them.

Rwanda genocide
Rwanda: the fruits of diversity.

In fact,when different peoples mix, for whatever reason, two things happen. The first — without fail — is conflict. When the Arabs of Northern Sudan and the blacks of Southern Sudan meet each other, they do not say to themselves, “Here is my biological equivalent, my identical twin,” and then fall into each others’ arms. Instead, they say to themselves, “These people are different from us, and I find these differences repulsive.” They then go on to kill each other with no compunction.

The same consciousness of differences is at the root of every wholesale conflict anywhere in the world. Whether it is Hutus hacking Tutsis to pieces in Rwanda, or Sinhalese and Tamils blowing each other up in Sri Lanka, whether it is ex-Yugoslavia or Palestine, it is always the same: Wherever people are most diligently killing each other it is because people who differ in some significant way are trying to share territory. The very diversity that we in the United States and you in Britain are constantly being exhorted to “celebrate” is the cause of the most intensely murderous conflicts anywhere.

Today, it is not war of the conventional kind that creates mountains of corpses; it is the frictions of “diversity.” The UN did a careful study of the period from 1989 to 1992, and found there were 82 conflicts that created more than a thousand deaths. Of this number, 79 — no fewer than 79 out of 82 — were the result of religious or ethnic hatred within borders. These were fights inside countries, not between them. This is how the world celebrates “diversity;” with guns and knives and anything else people can lay their hands on.

The United States has its share of conflict, of course. So far, we have not piled up corpses by the thousand, probably because the majority white population has submitted supinely to ridicule, demonization, and dispossession. However, the United States now has plenty of violence that does not even involve whites, and the seeds have been planted for much worse to come.

Blacks and Hispanics each now make up about 13 percent of the US population. Hispanics are increasing much more rapidly than blacks, and are pushing them out of many poor parts of the western United States. It is between these two groups that friction is worst.

California high schools have become a juvenile version of Sudan or Sri Lanka. Blacks and Hispanics somehow do not think of each other as interchangeable groups of identical twins. The constant threat of violence hangs over schools with large numbers of blacks and Hispanics, and newspapers duly report lunch-time riots and after-school brawls, in which a black and a Hispanic begin to fight and hundreds of students then square off along racial lines. It may take dozens of riot police, and helicopters hovering overhead to stop the mayhem. If it were not for uniformed police patrolling the halls, and metal detectors to keep out smuggled weapons, the body count in the high schools might put California on the UN’s list.

Just last May, a rumor ran through the schools of Los Angeles that the Hispanics had chosen May 5th — the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo — to launch an all-out attack on black students. As it turned out, there was no mass violence. Perhaps the increased police presence discouraged the Hispanics or maybe there never was a plan, but this was such a believable rumor that 51,000 students stayed home from school that day. This was about one in five middle and high school students or nearly twice the usual rates of absence.

We find similar racial violence in prisons in the United States. Many are in a constant state of lockdown, which is to say that the men are cooped up in their cells and not allowed to mix. If they mingle in the chow line or in the exercise yards, blacks and Hispanics and sometimes whites — who are now the least aggressive prison group — will be at each others’ throats. The conflict is so predictable, and the consequences so disagreeable that the one constant demand from prisoners is for segregated housing.

Japan does not wish to become...

Segregation would make life easier for guards, too, since levels of violence would drop sharply, and prison authorities would be spared the embarrassment of the dead and wounded. Segregation would make prisons safer, happier, and cheaper to run. It would be an obvious improvement.

It is so obvious, in fact, that up until this year, California practiced racial segregation for new arrivals. The system kept them in segregated, two-man, evaluation cells while guards decided whether to put them in minimum, medium, or maximum security. In February, the US Supreme Court told the lower court to apply a stricter legal standard to this policy. Segregation will probably have to be scrapped, and death and injury rates will go up.

This is a perfect example of the contemptible hypocrisy that goes into racial policy-making in the United States. Supreme Court Justices insulate themselves almost completely from the effects of “diversity.” They do not live integrated lives, nor do they make their children mix with lower-class blacks or Hispanics. They are part of one of America’s dirty secrets: that the purpose of a college education is to give people the right attitude towards minorities and the means to live as far away from them as possible. The proper attitude is, of course, the one that will doom us if we do not throw it off: that all groups are equivalent and interchangeable.

The people who make the rules for the rest of us will never have to live in the horrible intimacy of an American prison. Prison would be bad enough for people all of the same race. It is outright cruelty to force integration — that is to say constant tension and the ever-present threat of violence — upon people who want nothing more than to live apart from each other.

... Cambodia.

The hypocrites who make our policy do not hesitate to practice separation in their own lives. Bill Clinton, the Great White Father who probably preached more bubble-headed nonsense about diversity than any other President, is a good example. When he moved out of the White House, did he glide into the heart of the multi-racial Shangri-las he claims to be building for us? Of course not. He bought a house in Chappaqua, New York, about as white a town as it is still possible to find in America. No Mexican neighbors for him. No rowdy blacks in the neighborhood schools.

“Diversity” is a priceless thing, but he will generously forego it so that people less well-off than himself can thrive in enriched environments where neighbors speak no English, keep chickens, and park cars on the front lawn. Not for his but for others’ children the thrill of having classmates who call them “white m***** f*****r,” beat them up, and steal their lunch money. After all, lower-class whites are likely to be “racist,” so they badly need edifying exposure to blacks and immigrants.

Of course, Mr. Clinton is no different from millions like him. Our rulers who bray the loudest about “diversity” are least likely to practice it. I’m sure the same thing is true in Britain: In their mating and migratory habits, people who run the Labour Party are indistinguishable from the ones who vote for the BNP.

Somehow, no matter what people pretend in public, they do not live their lives as if populations really were interchangeable. Given a chance, almost all people seek the company of people like themselves. Race is real; race is durable; it is the most prominent fault line in any society.

And this brings us to the second thing that happens when populations mix: differences remain. Unless populations are racially similar and intermarry at a high rate — as European immigrants have done in the United States — they keep their differences generation after generation.

Blacks are perhaps the best example of this. Wherever you find them, whether they have arrived recently in Britain or Canada, whether they have been present for centuries as in the United States and Haiti, or for millennia as in Africa, they behave the same: high rates of poverty, crime, drug-taking, illegitimacy. Every country makes up its own excuses for this: there was slavery in America, colonialism in Africa, international meddling in Haiti, and, of course, white “racism” everywhere and always.

Other groups keep their traditions, too. In Britain and Europe you are discovering how much Muslims resist assimilation. They do not come here hoping to become Frenchmen or Germans or Englishmen. Many come with the explicit intention of conquering the continent in the name of Islam. People everywhere — and whites are the only ones who do not understand this — are loyal to the traditions of their ancestors.

Border Patrol Sector Headquarters
Reconqering the Southwest.

Let us imagine the shoe on the other foot. Let us imagine millions of Europeans were emigrating and choosing to live under Third World governments. Can any of you imagine moving to Cambodia or Pakistan and assimilating? Even after several generations, would your descendents be indistinguishable from natives? Would you want them to be? These questions answer themselves. And yet Cambodians, Pakistanis, Nigerians — people from everywhere — are supposed to come to Britain or the United States and assimilate without moving a muscle.

In the United States, it is not yet Muslims who expect to conquer us, but Mexicans. Twenty million of them — one fifth of the population of Mexico — already live among us, and hundreds of thousands more pour across the border every year. Let us imagine what southern Texas would be like if Mexico were able to conquer it militarily and occupy it. Mexicans would drive out Americans. They would speak Spanish rather than English. They would be loyal to Mexico and celebrate Mexican holidays rather than American holidays. There would be the usual Mexican mix of vote-buying, bribe-taking, bad schools, crime, and government corruption.

Of course, what I am describing is exactly what we find already in those parts of the United States that are thronging with Mexicans. In other words, the United States is suffering the consequences of defeat and occupation while doing almost nothing to stop it. Healthy societies send their sons into combat to avoid disposession. A healthy people will bleed itself white before it submits to what Mexicans are doing to us.

Mexicans understand that demography is destiny. That is why they call the repossession of the American southwest a reconquista, or reconquest. They aim openly to retake by peaceful means the land they lost in the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848. Assimilation? They laugh at the idea. Their spokesmen do not hesitate to tell Americans that our future is Spanish-speaking, that mixture, or mestizaje, will leave us all brown-skinned and dark-haired. It is only those who are being conquered who are deliberately blind to the process.

Europe’s conquerors may not proclaim their goals quite so openly. They come in smaller bands, from different countries, without quite so coherent a plan as the one Mexicans have for us. But they, too, know that demography is destiny, that with numbers comes power, and that they will remake the white man’s homeland in their own image as soon as they have the power to do so.

Most of the time, those of us in the West are not supposed to notice that we are losing our countries. If we actually do open our eyes to what is happening, we are supposed either to be indifferent or even think displacement is a good thing.

Here is Charles A. Price, Australia’s senior demographer, writing in 2000:

Future Welshmen?
“Some people think that a steady replacement of Anglo-Celts by other ethnic groups is highly desirable. ... Personally, replacement does not worry me so long as Australian values remain: free speech; freedom of religious worship; equality of the sexes; reasonable equality between social classes (i.e. no aristocracy); and so on.”

Let’s think about this a moment. To begin with, there is no guarantee that if Australians are replaced by Asians or someone else, the things Charles Price seems to approve of will persist. What he is describing — if you add representative government and rule of law — is the kind of society whites generally build and take for granted. Except for when they suffer the blight of Communism, whites get this sort of thing right — and non-whites get it wrong. In the countries that are sending potential replacements for Australian Anglo-Celts you do not find the sort of thing Mr. Price wants to preserve.

It is therefore fantastically naïve for Mr. Price to think Australian society will remain unchanged after the people who established that society are pushed out. Even if all he cares about is behavior and not people — even if he doesn’t care whether it is his descendants or Somali Bantus who are behaving like “Australians,” if there is the slightest risk newcomers will behave differently that is reason enough to keep them out. Once again we find a breath-taking willingness to believe the preposterous: that any population can be transformed into any other population because all people are equivalent.

In fact, if all Charles Price really cares about is preserving certain forms of behavior, why even insist on a population of human beings? Why not have intelligent robots practicing freedom of speech and worship? I will tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that wouldn’t satisfy me. If I were an Australian, I would want Australians doing these things, not robots and not Chinese or Indonesians.

We have yet another example of the suicidal belief that all peoples are interchangeable. Likewise in 2000, the former French Security Minister Jean-Pierre Chevènement said that because of declining birth rates, Europeans should accept millions of immigrants over the next 50 years, and that governments should actively promote miscegenation as a way to combat racial friction.

This is monstrous. Widespread miscegenation in Europe and elsewhere would mean the end of whites — but only of whites — as a distinct people. We are fewer than ten percent of the world’s population, and in a few generations we would be gone. The other races, far more numerous than we, would remain.

On esthetic grounds alone we have reason to be outraged by what Mr. Chevènement says. I like the way our people look. I want my grandchildren to look like my grandparents. I don’t want them to look like Anwar Sadat or Fu Man Chu or Whoopi Goldberg. I want them to look the way my people have looked for thousands of years, and for that I have no apology.

Obviously, there is more to it than esthetics. A nation is not just a cultural continuity, it is a biological continuity. Given determined, world-wide resistance to assimilation, especially when assimilation must cross racial lines, cultural continuity is impossible without biological continuity. Only Mr. Price’s Anglo-Celts — or men of kindred stock — are likely to be truly Australian.

The desire to see one’s people survive and prosper is natural, healthy, and moral. Nor need it imply the slightest hostility towards other groups. This is the parallel I would draw: I love my children more than I love the children of strangers. I love them not because they are more intelligent or better looking or more gifted or more musical or more athletic than everyone else. I love them because they are mine, and I make tremendous sacrifices for them I would never make for anyone else. This does not mean I am hostile to the children of others. I can be quite fond of some of them. But my children come first.

We have larger loyalties that are analogous to our feelings for our children. Whether it is our nation, our ethnicity, or our race, there are broader groups for which we feel a familial loyalty. Our nation or race is, in effect, our extended family in the largest sense, and our feelings for our extended family are a dilute, but broader version of what we feel for close kin. We have these feelings because this group is biologically and culturally part of us in a way no other group can be.

Who will sing your songs, pray your prayers, celebrate your heroes, honor your traditions, venerate your ancestors, love the things you love? Only your family, your extended family. Only your extended family will carry your civilization forward in a meaningful way. Only the biological heirs to the people who created a civilization have ever maintained, cherished, and advanced that civilization.

Chard cartoon
The demographic question as seen by
cartoonist Chard in the French weekly
Rivarol. (See ‘Rivarol Fights Back,’
AR, Oct. 2003.)

It is for their extended family that men go to war. In every war Britain ever fought, whatever the government might say or think, the men who fought and died fought for their nation, their extended family.

And just as we instinctively put our children before the children of others, we should put our race and nation first. In every other context we do this without the slightest hesitation, because for any group to survive, its members must put its interests first. General Motors cannot survive if its employees think GM’s interests are no more important than those of Ford or Chrysler.

And the fundamental interest of any nation or race is survival as a people. We have a right — an absolute right — to be us, and only we can be us. We have a right to be left alone in our homelands, to take part in the unfolding of our national identities free of the unwanted embrace of people unlike ourselves. Every other race and nationality understands this. We are the only dupes who pretend to believe that if our country fills up with the children of others rather than our own children, it will still be our country.

In closing, I note that it is fashionable, if only in white countries, to argue that national or racial loyalty is not just outmoded but wrong, that it is the abiding bigotry of our age. Here we find the logical, lethal conclusion to which we are led if we believe all peoples are equivalent. If we really are no different from Algerians or Zulus, they, too, are part of our extended family and have equal call on the loyalties we feel for men of our own stock. If we are compelled to believe this, the most obvious steps we must take to survive as a people, the most elementary distinctions we must make all become immoral and indefensible.

It is, instead, this campaign against racial and national loyalty that is the great bigotry of our age. It is like telling parents their children should be no more precious to them than anyone else’s children, that it is immoral to play favorites. It is as monstrous to tell a man to turn his back on the people who share his heritage, his culture, his ancestry, and his destiny as it is to tell him to turn his back on his children.

This twisted imperative is a recent invention of the West, and has currency only in the West. Let us hope it dies as quickly as it has grown, for unless we are able to rekindle what our ancestors took for granted — a sense of the larger biological connectedness to nation and culture — then just as surely as demography is destiny, our destiny will be oblivion. AR

Adapted from a speech delivered at a conference hosted by RightNow! magazine in London on May 28, 2005.

• • • BACK TO TOP • • •
BOOK REVIEW

The Untold Story of White Slavery

Whites have forgotten what blacks take pains to remember.

Robert C. Davis, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003, 246 pp., $35.00.

As Robert C. Davis notes in this eye-opening account of Barbary Coast slavery, American historians have studied every aspect of enslavement of Africans by whites but have largely ignored enslavement of whites by North Africans. Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters is a carefully researched, clearly written account of what Prof. Davis calls “the other slavery,” which flourished during approximately the same period as the trans-Atlantic trade, and which devastated hundreds of European coastal communities. Slavery plays nothing like the central role in the thinking of today’s whites that it does for blacks, but not because it was fleeting or trivial matter. The record of Mediterranean slavery is, indeed, as black as the most tendentious portrayals of American slavery. Prof. Davis, who teaches Italian social history at Ohio State University, casts a piercing light into this fascinating but neglected corner of history.

A Wholesale Business

The Barbary Coast, which extends from Morocco through modern Libya, was home to a thriving man-catching industry from about 1500 to 1800. The great slaving capitals were Salé in Morocco, Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli, and for most of this period European navies were too weak to put up more than token resistance.

The Barbary Coast

The trans-Atlantic trade in blacks was strictly commercial, but for Arabs, memories of the Crusades and fury over expulsion from Spain in 1492 seem to have fueled an almost jihad-like Christian-stealing campaign. “It may have been this spur of vengeance, as opposed to the bland workings of the marketplace, that made the Islamic slavers so much more aggressive and initially (one might say) successful in their work than their Christian counterparts,” writes Prof. Davis. During the 16th and 17th centuries more slaves were taken south across the Mediterranean than west across the Atlantic. Some were ransomed back to their families, some were put to hard labor in north Africa, and the unluckiest worked themselves to death as galley slaves.

What is most striking about Barbary slaving raids is their scale and reach. Pirates took most of their slaves from ships, but they also organized huge, amphibious assaults that practically depopulated parts of the Italian coast. Italy was the most popular target, partly because Sicily is only 125 miles from Tunis, but also because it did not have strong central rulers who could resist invasion.

Large raiding parties might be essentially unopposed. When pirates sacked Vieste in southern Italy in 1554, for example, they took an astonishing 6,000 captives. Algerians took 7,000 slaves in the Bay of Naples in 1544, in a raid that drove the price of slaves so low it was said you could “swap a Christian for an onion.” Spain, too, suffered large-scale attacks. After a raid on Granada in 1566 netted 4,000 men, women, and children, it was said to be “raining Christians in Algiers.” For every large-scale raid of this kind there would have been dozens of smaller ones.

The appearance of a large fleet could send the entire population inland, emptying coastal areas. In 1566, a party of 6,000 Turks and Corsairs sailed up the Adriatic and landed at Fracaville. The authorities could do nothing, and urged complete evacuation, leaving the Turks in control of over 500 square miles of abandoned villages all the way to Serracapriola.

When pirates appeared, people often fled the coast to the nearest town, but Prof. Davis explains why this was not always good strategy:

Barbary pirate galley
A Barbary pirate galley.
“More than one middle-sized town, swollen with refugees, was unable to withstand a frontal assault by several hundred corsairs, and the re’is [corsair captain], who might otherwise have had to seek slaves a few dozen at a time along the beaches and up into the hills, could find a thousand or more captives all conveniently gathered in one place for the taking.”

Pirates returned time and again to pillage the same territory. In addition to a far larger number of smaller raids, the Calabrian coast suffered the following increasingly large-scale depredations in less than a 10-year period: 700 captured in a single raid in 1636, 1,000 in 1639 and 4,000 in 1644. During the 16th and 17th centuries, pirates set up semi-permanent bases on the islands of Ischia and Procida, practically within the mouth of the Bay of Naples, from which they took their pick of commercial traffic.

When they came ashore, Muslim corsairs made a point of desecrating churches. They often stole church bells, not just because the metal was valuable but also to silence the distinctive voice of Christianity.

In the more frequent smaller raiding parties, just a few ships would operate by stealth, falling upon coastal settlements in the middle of the night so as to catch people “peaceful and still naked in their beds.” This practice gave rise to the modern-day Sicilian expression, pigliato dai turchi, or “taken by the Turks,” which means to be caught by surprise while asleep or distracted.

Constant predation took a terrible toll. Women were easier to catch than men, and coastal areas could quickly lose their entire child-bearing population. Fishermen were afraid to go out, or would sail only in convoys. Eventually, Italians gave up much of their coast. As Prof. Davis explains, by the end of the 17th century, “the Italian peninsula had by then been prey to the Barbary corsairs for two centuries or more, and its coastal populations had largely withdrawn into walled, hilltop villages or the larger towns like Rimini, abandoning miles of once populous shoreline to vagabonds and freebooters.”

The Calabrian coast suffered the following increasingly large-scale depredations in less than a 10-year period: 700 captured in a single raid in 1636, 1,000 in 1639 and 4,000 in 1644.

Only by 1700 or so, were Italians able to prevent spectacular land raids, though piracy on the seas continued unchecked. Prof. Davis believes piracy caused Spain and especially Italy to turn away from the sea and lose their traditions of trade and navigation — with devastating effect: “[A]t least for Iberia and Italy, the seventeenth century represented a dark period out of which Spanish and Italian societies emerged as mere shadows of what they had been in the earlier, golden ages.”

Some Arab pirates were skilled blue-water sailors, and terrorized Christians 1,000 miles away. One spectacular raid all the way to Iceland in 1627 took nearly 400 captives. We think of Britain as a redoubtable sea power ever since the time of Drake, but throughout the 17th century, Arab pirates operated freely in British waters, even sailing up the Thames estuary to pick off prizes and raid coastal towns. In just three years, from 1606 to 1609, the British navy admitted losing no fewer than 466 British and Scottish merchant ships to Algerian corsairs. By the mid-1600s the British were running a brisk trans-Atlantic trade in blacks, but many British crewmen themselves became the property of Arab raiders.

Life Under the Lash

Land attacks could be hugely successful, but they were riskier than taking prizes at sea. Ships were therefore the primary source of white slaves. Unlike their victims, corsair vessels had two means of propulsion: galley slaves as well as sails. This meant they could row up to any becalmed sailing ship and attack at will. They carried many different flags, so when they were under sail they could run up whatever ensign was most likely to gull a target.

A good-sized merchantman might yield 20 or so sailors healthy enough to last a few years in the galleys, and passengers were usually good for a ransom. Noblemen and rich merchants were attractive prizes, as were Jews, who could usually scrape up a substantial ransom from co-religionists. High clerics were also valuable because the Vatican would usually pay any price to keep them out of the hands of infidels.

At the approach of pirates, passengers often tore off their fine clothes and tried to dress as poorly as possible in the hope their captors would send to their families for more modest ransoms. This effort would be wasted if the pirates tortured the captain for information about passengers. It was also common to strip men naked, both to examine their clothes for sewn-in valuables and to see if any circumcised Jews were masquerading as gentiles.

If the pirates were short on galley slaves, they might put some of their captives to work immediately, but prisoners usually went below hatches for the journey home. They were packed in, barely able to move in the filth, stench, and vermin, and many died before they reached port.

Bastinado
Bastinado: a common punishment.

Once in North Africa, it was tradition to parade newly-captured Christians through the streets, so people could jeer at them, and children could pelt them with refuse. At the slave market, men were made to jump about to prove they were not lame, and buyers often wanted them stripped naked again to see if they were healthy. This was also to evaluate the sexual value of both men and women; white concubines had a high value, and all the slave capitals had a flourishing homosexual underground. Buyers who hoped to make a quick profit on a fat ransom examined earlobes for signs of piercing, which was an indication of wealth. It was also common to check a captive’s teeth to see if he was likely to survive on a tough slave diet.

The pasha or ruler of the area got a certain percentage of the slave take as a form of income tax. These were almost always men, and became government rather than private property. Unlike private slaves, who usually boarded with their masters, they lived in the bagnos or “baths,” as the pasha’s slave warehouses came to be called. It was common to shave the heads and beards of public slaves as an added humiliation, in a period when head and facial hair were an important part of a man’s identity.

Most of these public slaves spent the rest of their lives as galley slaves, and it is hard to imagine a more miserable existence. Men were chained three, four, or five to an oar, with their ankles chained together as well. Rowers never left their oars, and to the extent that they slept at all, they slept at their benches. Slaves could push past each other to relieve themselves at an opening in the hull, but they were often too exhausted or dispirited to move, and fouled themselves where they sat. They had no protection against the burning Mediterranean sun, and their masters flayed their already-raw backs with the slave driver’s favorite tool of encouragement, a stretched bull’s penis or “bull’s pizzle.” There was practically no hope of escape or rescue; a galley slave’s job was to work himself to death — mainly in raids to capture more wretches like himself — and his master pitched him overboard at the first sign of serious illness.

When the pirate fleet was in port, galley slaves lived in the bagno and did whatever filthy, dangerous, or exhausting work the pasha set them to. This was usually stone-cutting and hauling, harbor-dredging, or heavy construction. The slaves in the Turkish sultan’s fleet did not even have this variety. They were often at sea for months on end, and stayed chained to their oars even in port. Their ships were life-long prisons.

Other slaves on the Barbary Coast had more varied jobs. Often they did household or agricultural work of the kind we associate with American slavery, but those who had skills were often rented out by their owners. Some masters simply turned slaves loose during the day with orders to return with a certain amount of money by evening or be severely beaten. Masters seem to have expected about a 20 percent return on the purchase price. Whatever they did, in Tunis and Tripoli, slaves usually wore an iron ring around an ankle, and were hobbled with a chain that weighed 25 or 30 pounds.

Some masters put their white slaves to work on farms deep in the interior, where they faced yet another peril: capture and reenslavement by raiding Berbers. These unfortunates would probably never see another European for the rest of their short lives.

Christian slaves were often so plentiful and so inexpensive, there was no point in caring for them; many owners worked them to death and bought replacements.

Prof. Davis points out that there was no check of any kind on cruelty: “There was no countervailing force to protect the slave from his master’s violence: no local anti-cruelty laws, no benign public opinion, and rarely any effective pressure from foreign states.” Slaves were not just property, they were infidels, and deserved whatever suffering a master meted out. Prof. Davis notes that “all slaves who lived in the bagnos and survived to write of their experiences stressed the endemic cruelty and violence practiced there.” The favorite punishment was the bastinado, in which a man was put on his back, and his ankles clamped together and held waist high for a sustained beating on the soles of the feet. A slave might get as many as 150 or 200 blows, which could leave him crippled. Systematic violence turned many men into automatons. Slaves were often so plentiful and so inexpensive, there was no point in caring for them; many owners worked them to death and bought replacements.

The slavery system was not, however, entirely without humanity. Slaves usually got Fridays off. Likewise, when bagno men were in port, they had an hour or two of free time every day between the end of work and before the bagno doors were locked at night. During this time, slaves could work for pay, but they could not keep all the money they made. Even bagno slaves were assessed a fee for their filthy lodgings and rancid food.

Publicslaves also contributed to a fund to support bagno priests. This was a strongly religious era, and even under the most horrible conditions, men wanted a chance to say confession and — most important — receive extreme unction. There was almost always a captive priest or two in the bagno, but in order to keep him available for religious duties, other slaves had to chip in and buy his time from the pasha. Some galley slaves thus had nothing left over to spend on food or clothing, though in some periods, free Europeans living in the cities of Barbary contributed to the upkeep of bagno priests.

For a few, slavery became more than bearable. Some trades — particularly that of shipwright — were so valuable that an owner might reward his slave with a private villa and mistresses. Even a few bagno residents managed to exploit the hypocrisy of Islamic society and improve their condition. The law strictly forbade Muslims to trade in alcohol, but was more lenient with Muslims who only consumed it. Enterprising slaves established taverns in the bagnos and some made a good living catering to Muslim drinkers.

One way to lessen the burdens of slavery was to “take the turban” and convert to Islam. This exempted a man from service in the galleys, heavy construction, and a few other indignities unworthy of a son of the Prophet, but did not release him from slavery itself. One of the jobs of bagno priests was to keep desperate men from converting, but most slaves appear not to have needed religious counsel. Christians believed that conversion imperiled their souls, and it also meant the unpleasant ritual of adult circumcision. Many slaves appear to have endured the horrors of slavery by seeing it as punishment for their sins and as a test of their faith. Masters discouraged conversion because it limited the scope of mistreatment and lowered a slave’s resale value.

Ransom and Redemption

For slaves, escape was impossible. They were too far from home, were often shackled, and could be immediately identified by their European features. The only hope was ransom.

Sometimes, the opportunity came quickly. If a slaving party had already snatched so many men it had no more room below deck, it might raid a town and then reappear a few days later to sell captives back to their families. This was usually at a considerable discount from the cost of ransoming someone from North Africa, but it was still far more than peasants could afford. Farmers usually had no ready money, and no property other than house and land. A merchant was usually willing to take these off their hands at distress prices, but it meant that a captured man or woman came back to a family that was completely impoverished.

Most slaves bought their way home only after they had gone through the ordeal of passage to Barbary and sale to a speculator. Wealthy captives could usually arrange a sufficient ransom, but most slaves could not. Illiterate peasants could not write home and even if they did, there was no cash for a ransom.

Stephen Decatur fighting Tripoli pirates
Stephen Decatur fighting Tripoli pirates in 1804.
He is on his back but will shoot his attacker
with a small pistol in his right hand.

The majority of slaves therefore depended on the charitable work of the Trinitarians (founded in Italy in 1193) and the Mercedarians (founded in Spain in 1203). These were religious orders established to free Crusaders held by Muslims, but they soon shifted their work to redemption of Barbary slaves, raising money specifically for this purpose. Often they maintained lockboxes outside churches marked “For the Recovery of the Poor Slaves,” and clerics urged wealthy Christians to leave money in their wills for redemption. The two orders became skilled negotiators, and usually managed to buy back slaves at better prices than did less experienced liberators. Still, there was never enough money to free many captives, and Prof. Davis estimates that no more than three or four percent of slaves were ever ransomed in a single year. This meant that most left their bones in the unmarked Christian graveyards outside the city walls.

The religious orders kept careful records of their successes. Spanish Trinitarians, for example, went on 72 redemption expeditions in the 1600s, averaging 220 releases each. It was common to bring the freed slaves home and march them through city streets in big celebrations. These parades became one of the most characteristic urban spectacles of the period, and had a strong religious orientation. Sometimes the slaves marched in their old slave rags to emphasize the torments they had suffered; sometimes they wore special white costumes to symbolize rebirth. According to contemporary records, many freed slaves were never quite right after their ordeals, especially if they had spent many years in captivity.

How many slaves?

Prof. Davis points out that enormous research has gone into tracking down as accurately as possible the number of blacks taken across the Atlantic, but there has been nothing like the same effort to learn the extent of Mediterranean slavery. It is not easy to get a reliable count — the Arabs themselves kept essentially no records — but in the course of ten years of research Prof. Davis developed a method of estimation.

For example, records suggest that from 1580 to 1680 there was an average of some 35,000 slaves in Barbary. There was a steady loss through death and redemption, so if the population stayed level, the rate at which raiders captured new slaves must have equaled the rate of attrition. There are good bases for estimating death rates. For example, it is known that of the nearly 400 Icelanders caught in 1627, there were only 70 survivors eight years later. In addition to malnutrition, overcrowding, overwork, and brutal punishment, slaves faced epidemics of plague, which usually wiped out 20 to 30 percent of the white slaves.

From a number of sources, therefore, Prof. Davis estimates that the death rate was about 20 percent per year. Slaves had no access to women, so replacement was exclusively through capture. His conclusion: “[B]etween 1530 and 1780 there were almost certainly a million and quite possibly as many as a million and a quarter white, European Christians enslaved by the Muslims of the Barbary Coast.” This considerably exceeds the figure of 800,000 Africans generally accepted as having been transported to the North American colonies and, later, to the United States.

The European powers were unable to stop this traffic. Prof. Davis reports that in the late 1700s, they had a better record of controlling the trade, but there was an upturn of white slavery during the chaos of the Napoleonic wars.

American shipping was not exempt from predation either. Only in 1815, after two wars against them, were American sailors free of the Barbary pirates. These wars were significant operations for the young republic; one campaign is remembered in the words “to the shores of Tripoli” in the Marine hymn. When the French took over Algiers in 1830, there were still 120 whites slaves in the bagno.

Why is there so little interest in Mediterranean slavery while scholarship and reflection on black slavery never ends? As Prof. Davis explains, white slaves with non-white masters simply do no fit “the master narrative of European imperialism.” The victimization schemes so dear to academics require white wickedness, not white suffering.

Prof. Davis also points out that the widespread European experience of slavery gives the lie to another favorite leftist hobby horse: that the enslavement of blacks was a crucial step in establishing European notions of race and racial hierarchy. Not so; for centuries, Europeans lived in fear of the lash themselves, and a great many watched redemption parades of freed slaves, all of whom were white. Slavery was a fate more easily imagined for themselves than for distant Africans.

With enough effort, it is possible to imagine Europeans as preoccupied with slavery as blacks. If Europeans nursed grievances about galley slaves the way blacks do about field hands, European politics would certainly be different. There would be no groveling apologies for the Crusades, little Muslim immigration to Europe, minarets would not be going up all over Europe, and Turkey would not be dreaming of joining the European Union. The past cannot be undone, and brooding can be taken to excess, but those who forget also pay a high price. AR

• • • BACK TO TOP • • •
BOOK REVIEW

Free Spirits

The “rednecks” who conquered a continent.

James Webb, Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America, Broadway, 2004, 384 pp., $25.95.

Who are the Scots-Irish, what sort of people are they, and what was their role in building the United States? James Webb, a retired Marine, Vietnam veteran, novelist and former Navy Secretary, has given us a best-selling portrait of this people in Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America. Of Scots-Irish descent himself, he describes his people as America’s “invisible ethnic group.” Why “invisible?” Because they were among the first unhyphenated Americans. They considered themselves the norm, and never organized to promote their own interests.

Born Fighting is carefully researched but written engagingly for the layman.Mr. Webb’s story begins with the Scots at the time of Hadrian’s Wall, and continues right down to the American Scots-Irish of the present. Mr. Webb weaves his own family history and varied personal experience into this history, which ends with the “good ol’ boys” — often slurred as “red necks” and “white trash” — who gave us country music and NASCAR racing. Perhaps Mr. Webb’s major contribution is his portrait of the Scots-Irish character and values. Through the mists of time they are consistently individualistic and war-like.

Probably Scots-Irish.

The Scots-Irish hail from the Scottish Lowlands, and in particular from the English border regions. In the early 1600s, many Lowlanders moved to Ireland, some because powerful Scottish lairds planted them there as a check on the Catholics, others because they wanted land. This dual geographic origin accounts for the name “Scots-Irish.” Although a few early adventurers settled in New England, the first large boatloads of Scots-Irish families arrived in Pennsylvania in the 1720s and 1730s, when the largely Quaker colony recruited them as a buffer against Indians. The pacifist Quakers did not see eye-to-eye with just-war Calvinists, but it was said that the former could sleep better with the latter on guard. Again, hunger for land seems to have driven the newcomers across the water, as well as repressive religious laws in Ireland.

As the Scots-Irish gained a reputation as Indian fighters, Governor Gooch of Virginia invited a new generation to settle the river valleys of Appalachia and the Shenandoah Valley in the 1750s. The plain-spoken Scots-Irish did not always get along with the Cavalier aristocrats who dominated the coastal South, but pampered gentlemen lived in greater security because of them. The Scots-Irish had large families of “youngins,” and wanderlust pushed them toward the farther ranges of the continent: Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Ohio Valley in the 1790s, and then on to Texas in the 1820s, and California and Oregon in the 1830s.

Why were the Scots-Irish more willing than others to venture into unknown and dangerous Indian country? The English and the Germans gave the Scots-Irish the tools for frontier work — New Englanders like Colt and Marlin manufactured firearms, and the Pennsylvania Deutsch made Conestoga wagons — but tended to stay home.

Mr. Webb focuses on martial prowess. As the title of his book suggests, the Scots-Irish have been at war at least since the time the Romans built Hadrian’s Wall to keep them out. The Scots later fought the English in a long series of border wars, and in the 1600s the Lowland Scot settlers in Northern Ireland found themselves at war with the Catholic Irish. If they were not fighting external enemies, the Scots fought each other in clan feuds. They brought feuding with them to the Appalachians, and the fighting between the Hatfields and the McCoys is only the most famous. Moving to the wilderness and taking on Indians was just another chapter in a long history of warfare. The Scots and Scots-Irish have played a very disproportionate role in fighting wars for both Britain and America. These people were bred to conquer a frontier.

All this fighting made the Scots-Irish unruly, and they had a strong distrust of distant, top-down authority. They have been very anti-aristocratic, and would accept leadership only conditionally. They have been strong populists and adherents to Andrew Jackson’s ideas of democracy. They have been fervently Protestant, but on the frontier many Scots-Irish left the Presbyterian Church for the less structured Baptist and Methodist churches.

Mr. Webb writes that the Scots-Irish were imbued with “free-spirited individualism,” and valued initiative, self-reliance, independence, and personal honor. They were not crassly materialist, and of all the peoples of America, they stand out as the most individualist. Their individualism was tempered, however, by strong loyalties to extended families or clans, and by growing patriotism for their new country. They had what could be called “collective individualism.”

Mr. Webb often points out how different his people were from New England Puritans, Quakers, and Virginia Cavaliers. He claims this pattern of individualism pre-dates the Protestant Reformation, and is rooted in historic Celtic traditions of bottom-up loyalties, that is to say, organic loyalties to family and clan rather than feudal loyalties imposed by overlords. This clashed with the aristocratic Anglo-Norman top-down approach. William Wallace, the famous leader for Scottish independence, was a commoner who was sometimes at odds with the Scottish aristocracy. For the Scot, loyalty to leaders has always been conditional. The idea that loyalty could be withdrawn was formalized in the Scottish Presbyterian Covenants of the 1600s, and, most famously, in the Declaration of Independence.

Stonewall Jackson
“Stonewall” died fighting.

Most of the English, Germans, and others settled in the relative safety of the coasts, and went further west only after the Scots-Irish had pacified the wilderness. The communal Catholic peoples from continental Europe who came later did so well after the frontier was settled, and most clustered in already-established cities.

The frontier was not a place for aristocrats or authoritarian communal cultures. With its vast distances and constant dangers, it required self-reliant people who would not worry about the edicts and whims of distant bureaucrats, aristocrats or prelates. The dangers of the frontier also gave rise to a particular kind of North American soldier, the ranger. Like the US Army Rangers of today, frontiersmen operated in small units, behind enemy lines, and lived by their wits. It was the Scots-Irish ranger who helped defeat the Indians and the British. The Scots-Irish were also prominent in fighting the Mexicans in Texas and the southwest, and they were the backbone of the Confederate Army. It may be that without the Scots-Irish the country would not have extended past the Appalachians, leaving the white man restricted to the eastern seaboard. Madison Grant’s Conquest of a Continent pays tribute to the pioneering role of the Scots-Irish.

Scots-Irish pugnacity, individualism, and hatred of hierarchy were the perfect combination for conquering a frontier. Some prominent Scots-Irish risk-takers were David Crockett, Merriwether Lewis, William Clark, Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston, Ulysses S. Grant, and “Stonewall” Jackson.

But if the Scots-Irish won the frontier, and helped build the nation, how can they keep what they won? Born Fighting describes how European communal cultures began to take hold in the later 19th century, noting that today, “in political terms race and ethnicity continue to define government entitlements and inevitably, power.” Should Scots-Irish also organize collectively? They make up a good share of white blue-collar America, and are hurt by downsizing, outsourcing, and immigration. Mr. Webb asks why they have not formed voting blocs, and concludes that to “act collectively would require that they alter their historic understanding of what it means to be an American.” Mr. Webb then considers “the final question in this age of diversity and political correctness: whether they [the Scots-Irish] can learn to play the modern game of group politics.” If they do, Mr. Webb believes his people may “hold the future direction of America in their collective hands.”

However, it is hard to imagine a Scots-Irish political force that would not attract other whites. If there ever is such a force it may well once again serve as the advance-guard for less war-like whites. Here is yet another frontier — a political frontier — that the Scots-Irish may have to conquer, but one that will require more expanded loyalties than those they have traditionally shown. This may be the destiny of the descendents of Crockett and Old Hickory. Rednecks, unite! AR

Mr. Greer is of Scots-Irish descent and lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

• • • BACK TO TOP • • •
IN THE NEWS

O Tempora, O Mores!

Surprise Attack

The Bulgarian nationalist “Attack” party, whose slogan is “Give Bulgaria back to Bulgarians,” surprised the country by winning nine percent of the vote in national elections on June 25, making it the fourth most popular party. Attack will get 21 seats out of 240 in parliament. The party criticized Turkish and Gypsy minorities during the campaign — Turks make up nine percent of the population, and other non-Bulgarians make up six percent. The party’s leader, Volen Siderov, says that if it is admitted into the governing coalition, it will ban Turkish-language television and require that Turks add “ov,” the typical ending for Bulgarian names, to their names. All other parties have ruled out a coalition with Attack.

The party’s platform calls for the abolition of ethnic political parties and separatist organizations — the ethnic Turkish party Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms won 13 percent of the vote in the elections. Attack also calls for Bulgaria to withdraw from NATO and sever ties with the IMF and World Bank. [Bulgarian Nationalist Party Attack: We’ll Assimilate the Minorites, Journal of Turkish Weekly (Ankara), June 27, 2005. Bulgaria’s Socialists Win Most Seats, Election Commission Confirms, Deutsche Presse Agentur, June 29, 2005. Bulgarian Nationalists Reject Cooperation with Other Parties, Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (Sofia), June 26, 2005.]

On the Warpath

Indian nationalist movements in South America have grown in recent years. In 2001, the Peruvian Mestizo Alejandro Toledo won the presidency, in part because of his appeals to Indian pride. Campaigning as “a stubborn Indian rebel with a cause,” he won handily in the majority-Indian nation. After his victory, supporters chanted “Pachacutic returns!” an allusion to a legendary Inca king [see “Pachacutic Returns,” AR, July 2001]. Pachacutic has become an international symbol of Indian nationalism, with parties named after him in Ecuador and Bolivia. In 2002, Lucio Gutierrez, a Mestizo, won the presidency of Ecuador with the backing of Indian nationalist groups.

Indians are also gaining power in Bolivia, where they make up 60 percent of the population. Bolivia has two Indian nationalist parties. The Movement to Socialism, headed by Evo Morales, has 21 percent of the seats in parliament. Mr. Morales has spoken of “uniting Latin America’s 135 Indian nations to expel the white invasion, which began with the landing of Columbus in 1492.” The other Indian party, the Pachacutic Indigenous Movement, is led by Felipe Quispe, who espouses violence. A former member of the Shining Path guerillas who was convicted of terrorism in the 1980s, Mr. Quispe talks of restoring the ancient Incan empire in Bolivia and Peru. Although his party received six percent of the vote in the last elections, Mr. Quispe took his men out of Bolivia’s parliament last year to prepare for what he calls an “inevitable resumption of armed struggle.” [Martin Arostegui, Indian Movement Seeks ‘To Expel White Invasion,’ Washington Times, June 24. A Political Awakening, Economist, Feb. 19, 2004.]

Indian power.

Bolivian Indians have sought power in the streets as well as at the ballot box, and have succeeded in toppling the last two presidents, both of them white. In 2003, 60 people died during clashes between Indian protestors and the army, and the unrest forced then-president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada out of office.

Indians have been protesting on and off this year by blockading streets and striking. Their immediate grievance is Bolivia’s rich natural gas and oil fields. Mr. de Lozada’ successor, Carlos Mesa, wanted to encourage foreign investment by giving favorable deals to multi-national companies. The Indian nationalists want the fields nationalized. Mr. Mesa tried to appease Indian groups by levying a stiff tax on the multi-nationals, but to no avail.

The protests came to a head in early June. A gasoline shortage caused by blockades kept most traffic off the streets in the capital La Paz. Protestors cut off the city’s water, and blocked all but one road into the city, leading to food shortages. Police fired tear gas to dispel thousands of demonstrators but miners, who joined the protesting Indians, threw sticks of dynamite at police. Indian guerillas took over seven oil fields, and Pres. Mesa warned that the country was “on the verge of a civil war.” [Bolivian Oil Crisis Verges on Civil War, All Headline News, June 8, 2005. Bill Cormier, Riots Continue after Mesa’s Offer to Quit, AP, June 8, 2005.]

Pres. Mesa resigned on June 9; Eduardo Rodriguez of the Supreme Court took over and promised to call elections later this year. The mobs have dispersed, but Indians promise more protests unless oil and gas are nationalized and the constitution is revised to grant more power to Indians. Meanwhile, the wealthier and predominantly white eastern provinces are calling for greater autonomy. [Corralling the Gas — and Democracy, Economist, June 9, 2005.]

IQ Flap

Back in 1971, a group of black students and parents sued to prevent California from giving IQ tests to blacks, claiming they were biased, and resulted in disproportionate numbers of blacks being assigned to remedial classes. In response, California stopped giving IQ tests to blacks in 1986, but still uses them for everyone else. Now, blacks are claiming they can’t get into remedial classes because there is no easy way for them to prove their IQs are low enough. Instead, they have to get subjective teacher evaluations, which are not always forthcoming.

Last year, Pamela Lewis, who is white, wanted her six-year-old mulatto son to take an IQ test to see if he qualified for special education speech therapy. School officials turned her down, and told her she would have to change his paperwork to reclassify him as white if she wanted him tested.

Seventeen-year-old Dominique Miller was falling behind and asked to take an IQ test so she could get special education. “They said I couldn’t take the IQ test because I was black,” she says. On June 10, Miss Miller joined a group of other black high school students to lobby state lawmakers and education officials to lift the ban. They say it was well-intentioned but is now outdated. [Black Children Denied IQ Tests in California, FoxNews.com, July 2, 2004. Eric Stern, Teens Lobby to Take IQ Tests, Modesto Bee, June 11, 2005, p. B1.]

Comic Episode

The most popular comic books in Mexico feature the character Memin Pinguin, and have been published since 1945. In their heyday during the 1960s, millions of people bought the comic every week; now it sells 80,000 copies a week. Memin Pinguin is a black caricature: He has simian features and speaks with a Cuban accent; he is also a bit dim and gets into scrapes. His white friends tease him, but the mockery is gentle. [More on Memin Pinguin, Mile High Comics, Comicon.com, June 30, 2005.]

Memin Pinguin

In June, Mexico released five stamps featuring the character as part of a commemorative series on Mexican cartoon characters. American blacks, already irritated by President Vicente Fox’s remarks that Mexicans do jobs in America “not even blacks” want, were furious. Jesse Jackson said the stamps “insult people around the world.” NAACP President Dennis Courtland Hayes found it “inexplicable that the Mexican government would not comprehend the insensitivity.” Even a White House spokesman complained that “Images like these have no place in today’s world.” [Mexican Stamps ‘Insult People around the World,’ AP, June 30, 2005. Jackson Blasts Mexico over Postage Stamp, AP, July 1, 2005.]

This only irritated Mexicans. A Mexican embassy spokesman said Mexicans did not interpret the character “on a racial basis;” it was no more offensive than Speedy Gonzalez, the classic American caricature of Mexicans. Mr. Fox himself said the cartoon was universally loved in Mexico, and that he himself was fond of it. He refused to consider having the stamp withdrawn. [Morgan Lee, Mexico’s Fox Says New Stamp not Racist, AP, July 1, 2005.]

The artist who draws the comics, Sixto Valencia Burgos, also does not understand the fuss. He says he always made Memin “the good guy,” and that he even used the comic to protest American “racism.” In one episode from the 1960s, Memin and his friends travel to Texas, where a waitress tells him, “Here we don’t serve Negroes, Mexicans, or animals.” Memin’s friends stand by him and fight for him in the scuffle that follows. [Monica Campbell, Columnist Defends Stereotyped Image on New Mexican Stamps, San Francisco Chronicle, July 4, 2005.]

The outcry against the stamps provoked a buying spree in both Mexico and the US. So many people bought the stamps that the first batch of 750,000 sold out in two days, and on E-Bay, the price of a set of five reached $127.50, 45 times face value. One Mexican standing in a long line outside a post office suggested he was buying the stamps to spite Americans: “They’re the racists. They’re worse than we are, but they just want to belittle us, like always.” [Mark Stevenson, In Mexico, Stamps Become Symbol of Resentment against United States, AP, July 1, 2005.]

Whether Memin comics insult blacks, there is no doubt some Mexican comics are deeply insulting to whites. A pornographic comic entitled “Sangre de Lobas” (Blood of the She-Wolves) tells the story of a blonde, white woman captured by a tribe of Blackfoot Indians. When the Blackfoot chief leads his newly-captured wife into camp, the squaws warn him not to mix his blood with “this paleface.” The blonde uses sexual practices that disgust the tribe to gain the chief’s favor and introduces him to liquor; the whole tribe then turns into drunks. After a brave rejects her sexual advances, the white woman tells the chief he tried to rape her. The chief fights the brave but is defeated. The squaws then gang up on the blonde and tear her hair out, leaving her grotesquely disfigured. She goes back to white society and ends up a ghastly and pathetic prostitute. [Hecho en Mexico: The Trouble with White Women, SignalStation.com, Oct. 18, 2002.]

Real Hate Crimes

A white-on-black hate crime in Howard Beach, a white neighborhood in Queens, New York, has been much in the news. At about 3 a.m. on June 29, Frank Agostini of Howard Beach was walking home when two blacks, Richard Pope and Richard Wood, commented on the necklace he was wearing. Fearing the blacks wanted to rob him, Mr. Agostini ran away and found two acquaintances, Nicholas Minucci and Anthony Ench. The three took Mr. Minucci’s car and went looking for the blacks.

Al Sharpton in Howard Beach
Whites in Howard Beach demonstrate
against Al Sharpton. The “Free Fat Nick”
signs refer to Nicholas Minucci, who has
been charged with a hate crime.

When they found them, the blacks had been joined by a third, Gerald Moore. Mr. Minucci threw an aluminum bat at Gerald Moore; the blacks fled but the whites eventually caught Mr. Moore and beat him. Mr. Minucci did the worst damage when he fractured Mr. Moore’s skull with the bat. Mr. Ench stole the man’s sneakers and a bag containing another pair of sneakers. The whites may or may not have used racial slurs during the crime. Mr. Minucci and Mr. Ench have been charged with assault and hate crimes. One of the blacks, Richard Pope, has admitted he was in the neighborhood to steal a car, and all three blacks have criminal records. [Michelle O’Donnell and William K. Rashbaum, White Men Attacked Three Black Men in Howard Beach Hate Crime, the Police Say, New York Times, June 30, 2005. William K. Rashbaum and Kareem Fahim, Man Says Robbery Fears Preceded Attack with Bat, New York Times, July 2, 2005. Marc Santora and William K. Rashbaum, Two Men with Differences, and Many Similarities, New York Times, July 4, 2005.]

The crime has received a great deal of attention, partly because there was a famous (and even more ambiguous) “hate crime” in Howard Beach in 1986. Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent the day after the beating denouncing the attack and promising it would be prosecuted to the maximum extent of the law. “I cannot stress it enough,” he said, “we are going to live together and nobody, nobody, should ever feel that they will be attacked because of their ethnicity, their orientation, their religion, where they live, their documented status, or anything else.” Al Sharpton came to town with 40 followers, and talked about marching through the neighborhood. [Jim Rutenberg and Corey Kilgannon, Bloomberg Vows Strong Response in Bias Attack, New York Times, July 1, 2005. Kareem Fahim, Restraint as Sharpton Visits Howard Beach Attack Site, July 5, 2005.] According to Google News, there have been 424 news stories about the incident across the country.

People in Howard Beach explain that many in the area have been attacked by blacks, and that the failure of police to stop black crime has led to a spirit of vigilantism. They say the men attacked the blacks to protect their turf, not because of race. [Ray Sánchez and Daryl Khan, Howard Beach Attack, Newsday (New York City), July 1, 2005.]

That same week, there were two black-on-white murders that were undeniably motivated by racial hatred, but neither received much attention. On the same day as the Howard Beach attack, Phillip Grant murdered Concetta Russo-Carriero, a legal secretary, in a parking garage in White Plains, a suburb of New York City. As Mr. Grant explained, “I was thinking that the first person I see this morning that looks white, I’m killing them;” “I wanted someone who lived a lily-white lifestyle and was a closet bigot;” “I never seen her before, and I didn’t care. As long as she had blond hair and blue eyes, she had to die.” He had no remorse because he believed he was in a race war. His only regret was that if he had known biological warfare, he could have killed even more whites. Mr. Grant was a convicted rapist who had been living in bum shelters since his release from prison in 2003. [Richard Liebson and Christine Pizzuti, Suspect on Tape: Victim ‘Had to Die,’ Journal News (Westchester, NY), July 6, 2005. Leah Rae, States Grapple for Ways to Hold Repeat Rapists, Journal News (Westchester, NY), July 3, 2005.]

The mayor of White Plains has not made speeches about the need for racial tolerance, and no march is planned. An article on the reactions of White Plains residents points out that none of them said anything about race. Instead, they spoke of the need for more security and for the death penalty. [Joe Ax, White Plains Slaying Outrages Residents, Journal News (Westchester, NY), July 7, 2005.] A Google News search turned up just over 100 articles on the incident.

A black-on-white murder in Seattle, Washington got the same treatment. On June 26, Samson Berhe shotgunned Michael Robb, a popular tennis coach at a local high school, after Mr. Robb stopped his car on a Seattle street, possibly to help Mr. Berhe. The men did not know each other, and Mr. Berhe had talked about how much he wanted to kill white people. One of his neighbors said Mr. Berhe told her, “I’m going to kill all the white people.”

There has been no public outcry. Prosecutors have not even charged Mr. Berhe with a hate crime, although they are thinking about it. [Noel S. Brady, Teenager Accused in Coach’s Murder Spoke of Killing Cops, Whites, King County Journal (Kent, Wash.), July 1, 2005.] Google News lists only 91 stories on this crime. As usual, when whites hurt blacks, it’s racism; when blacks kill whites it’s just crime.

Fallaci’s Wisdom

Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci faces trial in her home country on charges of “villifying” Islam in her recent book, The Force of Reason. In it, she argues that Europe will soon become a Muslim dominion because the West has lost the courage to defend itself.”

Oriana Fallaci
Oriana Fallaci.

Miss Fallaci, who lives in New York City, is sticking to her guns. “Europe is no longer Europe, it is ‘Eurabia,’ a colony of Islam,” she says, “where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense. Servility to the invaders has poisoned democracy with the obvious consequences for the freedom of thought, and for the concept itself of liberty. The increased presence of Muslims in Italy, and in Europe, is directly proportional to our loss of freedom.”

She believes the West is committing suicide, and that the signs are everywhere. “Look at the school system of the West today. Students do not know history! ... You cannot survive if you do not know the past. We know why all the other civilizations have collapsed — from an excess of welfare, of richness, and from lack of morality, of spirituality. The moment you give up your principles and your values, the moment you laugh at those principles, and those values, you are dead, your culture is dead, your civilization is dead. Period.” She is not entirely without hope. Although she is an atheist, she is encouraged by what the new Pope, Benedict XVI, has said about Islam and the crisis of faith in the West.

Miss Fallaci’s trial is set for June 2006. Ill with cancer and in her mid-70s, she has no intention of attending. She could be sentenced in absentia to two years in prison. [Tunku Varadarajan, Prophet of Decline, OpinionJournal. com, June 23, 2005.]

Hating History

When students at Jefferson Davis Middle School in Palm Springs, Florida, come to class in 2007, it isn’t just the building that will be new, but the name as well. After two years of thinking, a renaming committee has proposed the strikingly creative name of Palm Springs Middle School. The majority of students at Davis are black or Hispanic, with whites at just 26 percent. Those who want the name change say it’s wrong to send black children to a school named after the president of the Confederacy. “I don’t think we should name a school after Adolf Hitler,” says school board member Debra Robinson, who is black. “It’s really at that level with Jeff Davis. I don’t think we should name schools for anybody that represents intolerance or straight-up hatred.” [Cynthia Kopkowski, Middle School May Lose Confederate-Era Name, Palm Beach Post, June 22, 2005.]

Stone Mountain, Georgia
Davis, Lee, and Jackson carved into the
rock face at Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Their names on schools are said to do
emotional damage to black children.

There are at least 30 schools in the South named after Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, or Robert E. Lee, and many more named after other notable Confederates such as Turner Ashby, Nathan Bedford Forrest and J.E.B. Stuart. If Erenestine Harrison has her way, there will soon be fewer. Miss Harrison, a black college instructor and substitute teacher in Hampton, Virginia, has started a petition drive to change the name of Hampton’s Jefferson Davis Middle School. Noting that between 60 and 70 percent of Davis’s students are black, Miss Harrison worries that children may suffer emotional damage from the name of the school. “Confederate heroes are not looked up to in the black community,” she says. “Would Jews send their children to Adolf Hitler Elementary School?” Miss Harrison claims she has collected 400 signatures on a petition supporting the name change.

The people of Hampton appear to be made of sterner stuff than those of Palm Springs. The local school board has greeted her campaign largely with indifference, and the local superintendent, who is black, says her main concern is “high student achievement.” Miss Harrison originally wanted to remove Robert E. Lee’s name from an elementary school, but “reevaluated” after studying the general’s personal qualities

It is not just Confederate heroes who have got to go. A few years ago, New Orleans yanked George Washington’s name off an elementary school, replacing it with that of Charles Richard Drew, a black surgeon and Howard University professor. Even Booker T. Washington is under attack. Black journalist and author George E. Curry calls him “an accommodationist who defended segregation,” who was therefore more palatable to all-white Southern school boards than W.E.B. DuBois, who was an “uncompromising” foe of racism. Mr. Curry wants equal numbers for DuBois and Washington. “If we can’t get one of the black Booker T. Washington schools renamed for DuBois,” he says, “at least we should have his name replace that of Confederate rebels.” [Brian Willoughby, What’s in a School Name, Tolerance.org, June 2005.]

Mount Rushmore
Two slave-holders and two “racists.”
They’ll have to go, too, some day.

Berkeley, California, is no stranger to the name game. In 1968, James Garfield Middle School was renamed for Martin Luther King, and in the 1970s, Abraham Lincoln Elementary became Malcolm X Elementary. When Columbus Elementary had to be rebuilt after earthquake damage in 1999, it was rechristened Rosa Parks Elementary, but only after a big fight over whether Cesar Chavez Elementary wouldn’t be better.

There was a two-year movement to change the name of Thomas Jefferson Elementary School because he owned slaves. “It’s very clear that the name is offensive to a significant part of the population,” says kindergarten teacher Marguerite Talley-Hughes, who is black. “There’s no reason why we can’t have a name that everyone likes.” This spring, after considering a list that included Cesar Chavez and Sojourner Truth, the school chose Sequoia, after the tree, and submitted its proposal to the school board.

Supporters of the name change flocked to the school board chambers in late June, expecting the board to rubber-stamp the decision. To the surprise of all, the board voted three-to-two against the change, with board president Nancy Riddle casting the deciding vote. Sequoia supporters were shocked and outraged. Many started singing “We Shall Overcome,” while opponents shouted, “Get over it!” The disappointed crowd stormed out of the chambers, while one black man shouted, “White people win! Niggers lose! That’s the message.” [Patrick Hoge, School to Vote on Renaming Jefferson Elementary, San Francisco Chronicle, March 22, 2005. J. Douglas Allen-Taylor, Board Vetoes Jefferson School Name Change, Berkeley Daily Planet, June 24, 2005.]

Black History a Must

Beginning this fall, high school students in Philadelphia will be required to take a course in African and black American history. The three other required social studies courses are American history, world history, and geography. In most school districts, black history is an elective — Philadelphia is the first to require it. Two thirds of the district’s 185,000 students are black.

The course will use a textbook called The African American Odyssey by Darlene Hine, which covers everything from the beginnings of the human race to the flowering of “classical African civilizations” to the US civil rights movement and black nationalism.

Not all parents are happy. Miriam Foltz, who is white, considers it an insult. “There are other races in this city. There are others cultures that will be very offended by this,” she says. “How can you just mandate a course like this?”

District officials agree that it would be better to offer classes that reflect all cultures — they are already thinking they may have to start offering courses in Hispanic history — but say black history has been ignored for too long. “This isn’t about being politically correct,” says chief executive officer Paul Vallas. “We have a whole continent that has been absent from most of our textbooks.” [Susan Snyder, Phila. School Mandate: African History, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 9, 2005, p. A1.]

Blacks are delighted. Julian Bond, national chairman of the NAACP calls it “splendid” and “wonderful.” Jesse Jackson says the requirement is an “asset to truth.” Black poet Maya Angelou thinks it is “brilliant.” “The truth is,” she says, “this country was built for hundreds of years on the work of slaves, and the slaves were African Americans.” Miss Angelou thinks it will be particularly good for white children to understand the impact and legacy of slavery. [Martha Woodall, Nationally, Praise for the Decision, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 22, 2005, p. A10.]

Pennsylvania State House Speaker John Perzel opposes the requirement. In a letter to the chairman of the school reform commission, he asked it to reconsider, saying students should master reading, writing, math, and American history before worrying about African history. Besides, he writes, “most of these kids will never go to Africa. They have no affinity to Africa.” He also worries that the mandate is divisive, and notes that when the Irish were the predominant ethnicity in Philadelphia there were no classes in Irish history. [Susan Snyder, Perzel Roils African Studies Debate, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 22, 2005, p. A1.]

Studying African history is supposed to boost black self-esteem and improve school performance, but no one can show evidence for this claim. AR

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Letters from readers
LETTERS FROM READERS

Sir — In his article, “The Racial Ideology of Empire” (February 2005), Jared Taylor mentions the use of colonial troops by the Allies in both World Wars. What he does not mention, and perhaps did not know, was that after the First World War, France stationed thousands of African troops in its German occupation zone, the Rhineland. These soldiers were alien not only to the Germans, but to all of European culture. As you can see from the following excerpt from Charles Bracelen Flood’s 1989 book, Hitler: The Path to Power, the French deliberately stationed black troops in the Rhineland to humiliate the Germans. Hitler, of course, took full advantage of this humiliation, although he wrapped it up neatly in an anti-Semitic package by blaming it on Jews.

From page 93:

“Towering above all other things that the Germans found infuriating was the presence in the French zone of twenty-five thousand colonial troops from France’s African possessions. These tribesmen ranged in appearance from olive — and brown-skinned Moroccans to black Senegalese. Illiterate, speaking no European language, and recognizing only the authority of their French officers, these men came from societies in which women were either cloistered or treated as little more than beasts of burden.

“The French authorities maintained that stationing Malagasy and Algerians and other dark-skinned soldiers in the Rhineland was not meant as a humiliation. According to this explanation, priority was being given to the demobilization of metropolitan Frenchmen who wanted to be reunited with their families, and to make this possible, colonial troops were being used as occupation forces. In fact, the French had other white troops they could have used in Germany, and even when they saw the enraged German reaction, they kept the African regiments in place.

“Inevitably, there were cases of rape. The German press exploded with a campaign against the ‘black shame’ being imposed by France, and reaction in the United States prompted the secretary of state to cable a request that the commander of the American occupation forces make an inquiry into the situation. Relying on French statistics, the report sent to Washington included figures totaling sixty-eight alleged rapes, with a disposition of twenty-eight convictions, eleven acquittals, twenty-three cases in progress, and six cases in which the accused could not be found. ‘These cases have been occasional and in restricted numbers,’ the report said in its conclusions, ‘not general or widespread. The French military authorities have repressed them severely in most cases and have made a very serious effort to stamp the evil out.’

“Some knowledgeable Germans were later to admit that there had been widespread exaggeration in the stories of rape, and some accounts were apparently complete fabrications, invented as propaganda. Rapes had occurred, however, and the impact of these African troops on the German psyche was overwhelming. Germans everywhere believed the French had deliberately turned loose a savage horde of blacks who were raping a blonde Fräulein every hour. One thing was clear: the garrisoning of these troops on German soil was a priceless gift to the nationalist-racist groups throughout Germany.”

Name Withheld

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Sir — The very useful article on Phil Rushton and Arthur Jensen’s IQ findings in the previous issue suggests that home environment plays essentially no role in shaping adult IQ. However, it would be short-sighted to discount its role in shaping other behavioral norms and values. In the same article, we are informed that Asian and white mothers give their children “a great deal of care,” while black mothers give less. This investment in our children must have important long-term consequences or we would not have evolved this way. It is possibly related to the socialization of children, and helps explain why most whites show a great deal of consideration and compassion towards others.

There is more to being a parent than IQ. The fact that “motherliness” is relatively lacking in black women means their race is more incompatible with our race and civilization than the IQ gap alone would suggest. Although the article does not mention this, I suspect “motherliness” would correlate with IQ, but would be considerably higher among white and Asian women than black women even after controlling for IQ.

Jason Lande

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Sir — Once again, I read with great interest the account by readers of how they became racially conscious. I have no doubt experience plays an important role in forming that consciousness. For one of your readers, trying to lead a “drug rap group” of mostly young blacks was a pivotal experience.

However, genes must play an important role. Some of your readers did not need a jarring experience with non-whites to understand the importance of race. They write as if they always understood that blacks, in particular, are simply different from us.

Heritability studies produce estimates of the genetic contribution to all sorts of things we would ordinarily expect would come from the environment: Attitudes towards the death penalty (51 percent heritable), apartheid (43 percent), divorce (40 percent), socialism (26 percent), and Bible truth (25 percent).

It would be surprising if something so basic as the desire to preserve one’s people did not have a strong genetic element. What is surprising is that this desire is so weak — or has been so successfully suppressed — in white people.

Brad Hamilton, Mansfield, Ohio

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