|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 20, No. 5||May 2009|
Prison violence spills into the streets.
“The Dangers of Diversity, Part I” cited examples of the extravagant expressions of support for diversity that have become common in the United States. It also described the wide-spread school violence that has followed the mixing of black and Hispanic students. “The Dangers of Diversity, Part II” described the brutal racial violence that is common in American prisons. Similarly horrific confrontations are now taking place outside of prisons in mixed-race areas, especially in southern California. This article also describes some of the tensions that diversity brings to the workplace.
Prison inmates cannot get away from each other, and this makes racial conflict worse. However, some of the bitterness that characterizes inmate race relations is now spreading into multi-racial neighborhoods. Again, its exceptionally mixed population makes Los Angeles the leading example of just how dangerous diversity can be. What can be described only as a low-level race war reached a crescendo in 2008.
As early as 2000, the Harbor Gateway/San Pedro area became a flash point as blacks moved into what had been a largely Hispanic area. That June, black and Hispanic gangs traded gunfire in San Pedro, leaving one black man brain dead and another shot in the abdomen. The next day in Harbor Gateway, Federico Estrada and a number of friends walked up to a young black man, Danny Dwayne Warren, and shot him to death. Homicide Detective Sam Snyder described the motive as pure racial retaliation.
By 2004, an unincorporated area just north of Watts between Florence and Firestone Avenues had become the scene of what the Los Angeles Times called a “deadly racial gang war.” From just January 2004 through June of 2005, a black gang, the Eastside Crips, battled a Hispanic gang called Florencia 13, producing combined casualties of 44 killed and 200 wounded in an area of just 3½ square miles. The authorities were shocked to find that only about half the victims were gang members. “Violence took a certain turn and became racial war,” explained Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca. “People were killed only because they were black or they were brown.” The department put together a 57-man task force to saturate the area.
By the next year, federal officials had enough evidence to prosecute four Hispanics for trying to cleanse blacks from the Highland Park area (about 15 miles away from Florence/Firestone) in a series of attacks carried out between 1995 and 2001. During the trial, one witness testified that an order had come from the Mexican Mafia prison gang to “kill any blacks ... on sight.” Others stated that they had targeted men, women, and children, and that cliques within the Hispanic gang known as “the Avenues” vied with each other to see which could drive the most blacks out of Highland Park. In 2006, four Hispanics were convicted, and three were sentenced to life in prison. “These defendants will now spend the rest of their lives in federal prison for the despicable act of trying to rid their neighborhood of African Americans,” said acting US Attorney George S. Cardona.
|“They just see a young man of the opposite race and they shoot.”|
Later in 2006, violence returned to Harbor Gateway. After blacks moved in during the 1990s, an informal boundary line was established at 206th Street: Hispanics to the north; blacks to the south. There had been inflammatory graffiti and racially-motivated killings on both sides of the line, but the death of 14-year-old Cheryl Green seemed especially odious. The middle-school student was on the black side of the line talking to friends when a Hispanic walked up to the group and started firing. He hit several other blacks, but managed to kill only Miss Green. The Los Angeles police announced a special peace-keeping effort in Harbor Gateway, but Sheriff Lee Baca warned that the almost random nature of the killings made them hard to prevent. Florencia 13 leaders continued to give orders to kill black rivals but that if a particular black could not be found, then it was, “Well, shoot any black you see.”
“They just see a young man of the opposite race and they shoot,” said Olivia Rosales, a former hate-crimes specialist who prosecuted many Florencia 13 murders from 2005 to 2007. Of the 20 cases she had handled, said Miss Rosales, “most of the victims have not been members of the rival gang.”
Timothy Slack, who is black, grew up in the contested Florence/Firestone area, when it was mostly black. “They were timid,” he said of Hispanics, “but as their numbers started getting bigger, then they started trying to be tougher. They started thinking they could demand stuff.” He said he no longer let his children go to the store or walk through alleys.
|Cheryl Green: killed for being black.|
The tension was affecting everyone. Irv Sitkoff, a local pharmacist, said his employees had to treat people of different races exactly the same because the slightest difference could lead to charges of favoritism. “You’ve got to very careful,” he said. “Before, we didn’t think about it.”
One former black gang member who still lived in Florence/Firestone because he owned property and had family ties there said he expected all blacks would move out: “It’s going to come a time when everybody’s going to have to leave.”
By 2007, blacks were publicly protesting what they claimed was insufficient police protection. In November, a noisy group of activists showed up at City Hall to rail against Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and members of the City Council. “You have one race of people exterminating another race of people,” said a black woman, who demanded that the city do something to stop it.
Canoga Park is another Los Angeles neighborhood that was the scene of sustained racial violence, as Hispanics shot blacks on 12 different occasions, from the summer of 2006 to the summer of 2007. “I feel we have an obligation to let [black people] know that they could be targeted,” said Lieutenant Tom Smart of the Los Angeles Police Department. “I’d like to remind them to be mindful. It’s random.” Ironically, two years earlier, Canoga Park had received the prestigious All-America City designation, largely because of its diverse population, which was 50 percent Hispanic, 28 percent white, 15 percent Asian, and 4 percent black.
In early 2008, race killing moved to the town of Monrovia in Los Angeles County, when two blacks entered the territory of a rival Hispanic gang and killed one teenaged Hispanic girl and wounded another. Police said there had been many shootouts in what they called a “racially charged gang war” in Monrovia and in neighboring cities.
Finally, in June 2008, Sheriff Lee Baca went public with an article in the Los Angeles Times called “In L.A., Race Kills.” He wrote:
“So let me be very clear about one thing: We have a serious interracial violence problem in this county involving blacks and Latinos. Some people deny it. They say that race is not a factor in L.A.’s gang crisis . ... But they’re wrong. The truth is that, in many cases, race is at the heart of the problem. Latino gang members shoot blacks not because they’re members of a rival gang but because of their skin color. Likewise, black gang members shoot Latinos because they are brown. ...
“I would even take this a step further and suggest that some of L.A.’s so-called gangs are really no more than loose-knit bands of blacks or Latinos roaming the streets looking for people of the other color to shoot.”
Later that year, even the mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, had to concede that the city must “face up to” enduring racial conflict and violence between Hispanics and blacks.
|Sheriff Lee Baca: ‘We have a serious interracial violence problem in this county involving blacks and Latinos.’|
Not surprisingly, the county report on hate crimes published that year and covering 2007 found a 28 percent rise over the previous year to a total of 763 incidents. Hispanic-on-black was the largest hate-crime category, followed by black-on-Hispanic. The authors of the report noted that many hate crimes undoubtedly go unreported. During the first half of 2007, Pasadena police investigated 69 cases in which blacks robbed and beat low-wage immigrants. Police Chief Christopher Vincino thought race was at least a partial motive in those cases but said it was “impossible to meet the legal criteria required for official classification.
The killings continued into 2009. In January, three Hispanic gang members were charged with racially motivated murder for shooting a black bowling alley attendant in Canoga Park as he was taking out the garbage. LAPD detective David Peteque explained that the men shot James Shamp “for no reason at all other than the color of his skin.”
Southern California no doubt has the worst black-Hispanic violence because of its demographic mix, but other parts of the country also suffer. In November 2001, a Nevada jury sentenced Damon Campbell to life in prison for killing Carlos Villanueva. Witnesses said the black man shot Mr. Villanueva in an alley east of downtown Las Vegas after saying he did not want any more Hispanics in his neighborhood.
In the San Francisco Bay-area town of Richmond, Hispanics often complain of mistreatment by blacks. In 2006, Philip Herrera was watching a movie at a theater with his mother and girlfriend. Blacks sat in the back and Hispanics in the front. During a scene of interracial dating, blacks started shouting and throwing candy at the Hispanics. When Mr. Herrera stood up to ask the blacks to stop, several men dragged him from his seat and beat him badly enough to give him a concussion. Dozens of other blacks kicked him as he crawled up the aisle to the exit. Outside the theater, blacks attacked at least two other Hispanics while black theater employees looked on and laughed.
Mr. Herrera and his mother said that when black police officers arrived, they refused to enter the theater to look for suspects, refused to take a written report, refused to escort Mr. Herrera’s mother into the theater to look for shoes she had lost, and refused to escort them to their car. Mr. Herrera’s aunt, Aleta Martinez, said there had been black-Hispanic tension for years. “I was born and raised in Richmond, and I’ve lived with harassment and racial discrimination my entire life,” she said. “It’s gotten worse and worse there.”
|He’ll grow up to be just like Daddy.|
The city of Coatesville in eastern Pennsylvania is one of many places that have only recently begun to attract large numbers of Hispanic immigrants. In 2008, Police Chief William Matthews warned that the city’s blacks were targeting Hispanics for rape, robbery, and assault, and warned that “black-on-brown crime” could provoke the formation of violent Hispanic gangs for self-defense.
Increased black-Hispanic contact often brings tension even when it does not degenerate into violence. Many blacks see Hispanics as competitors for jobs and political influence, and resent it when Hispanics increase in numbers and, in some areas, become the dominant population. When black talk-show host Earl Ofari Hutchinson wrote a series of articles favorable to Hispanic immigration he was deluged with letters of outrage. “I have never received so much hate mail from blacks,” he said. “It touched a nerve among black folks, a raw nerve.”
In 2006, the Pew Hispanic Center found that the closer blacks lived to Hispanics and the more contact they had with them, the more they favored cutting immigration. Hispanics likewise had a low opinion of blacks. In a study of various racial groups’ attitudes in Durham, North Carolina, 59 percent of Latino immigrants said that few or no blacks were hardworking, and 57 percent said that few or no blacks could be trusted. By contrast, only 9 percent of whites said that blacks were not hardworking and only 10 percent said they could not be trusted.
Hispanics show their distaste for blacks by short-changing them on tips. According to one study, Hispanic passengers tipped white taxi drivers 150 percent more than they tipped black drivers.
We have already seen in Part I how black students, teachers, and parents resist Hispanic influence in schools; the same drama plays itself out in politics. The city of Lynwood in Los Angeles County used to be black-dominated, but by 2007 it was more than 80 percent Hispanic. Blacks still had considerable power, however, because 40 percent of residents were foreign-born and many could not vote. On the city council, disputes broke down along racial lines. “It’s all about race,” said City Councilwoman Leticia Vasquez.
Sometimes black-Hispanic wrangling is so bad white mediation seems to be the only solution. The two groups were at such loggerheads on the board of the Roosevelt School District in Phoenix, Arizona, that appointing a white man to fill a vacancy seemed to be the only solution. William Weiss said he hoped to bring “calm” to the warring school board.
As Hispanics move east, tensions move with them. Hispanics have congregated in the Mount Pleasant section of Washington, DC, but do not mix with blacks. As one reporter wrote, “A black person dating a Latino in Mount Pleasant and the communities around it is almost unheard of, even though Latinos and African Americans often live close enough to hear each other’s voices through thin apartment walls.” The same reporter quoted Omar Zavala, a Salvadoran activist who had tried to get the communities together, but sounded ready to give up. “There’s minimal contact,” he said. “The dialogue is nonexistent.”
|After the autopsy.|
Another black wrote about his decision to take his son out of a Washington, DC, primary school where half the students and most of the staff were Hispanic. He said black students came home crying because Hispanics teased them about their skin color and hair, and that the school seemed to make little effort to hire or keep black staff. “Diversity can be messier than most of us want to acknowledge,” he wrote. His conclusion? “[T]o all the friends — most but not all of them white — whom I’ve chastised over the years for abandoning the District once their children reached school age: I’m sorry. You were right. I was wrong.”
The South, where racial conflict traditionally pitted blacks against whites, has found a new fault line. When Hispanics in Georgia sought designation as “minority suppliers” so they could get preferential contracts with the state, it was black legislators who banded together to stop them. As Bob Holmes of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus explained, “There is growing competition between blacks and Hispanics, and in the South, it is going to get worse.”
The booming economy of the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina drew many Hispanics in the 1990s, but soon there was tension with blacks. Ana Cabello-Bumpass, who handled rentals for Lee Ray Bergman Real Estate Rentals, said that when Hispanics looked at apartments, “the first thing they ask me is if there are a lot of blacks around, because they do not want to live in a place where there are a lot of African-Americans.” She added that blacks also wanted to avoid Hispanics. “I get the same thing from both sides,” she said.
Once Hispanics arrived in large numbers in an apartment complex, blacks moved out. Thomas Everette, a black man who was still living in Durham’s Parkview complex said that just two years previously it had been nearly all black. “Now it looks like little Mexico,” he said. Mexicans complained that blacks break windows and steal car stereos. “We have nothing in common,” said one. Aura Ventura said that when she and her family moved into an apartment in a black area, neighbors threw eggs at the building.
Jim Johnson, who used to live and teach in Los Angeles, was a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill specializing in inter-ethnic minority conflicts. He said the situation was like South Central Los Angeles in the 1980s.
There is conflict between Hispanics and whites. In 2007, two brothers, Nathan and Sam Corle, were sitting with a friend outside a fast-food restaurant in Grand Junction, Colorado, having a late-night snack when a group of Hispanic men pulled up and got out of a car. According to Nathan Corle, age 16, the Hispanics called them “white boys” and asked if they wanted to fight. He said he laughed because he thought it was a joke, but the Hispanics attacked. During the fight, which left the three whites with black eyes, bruises, and bloody noses, the Hispanics shouted such things as, “We’re going to teach white boys a lesson. White boys are going to die.”
The sad truth is that conflict can break out when virtually any ethnic group contacts another. In South Boston in 2004, hostility between white and Southeast Asian teenagers built up over a period of weeks and climaxed in what was to be a one-on-one fist fight between single combatants from each group. The fight degenerated into a brawl, leaving 16-year-old Bang Mai fatally stabbed.
In 2002 in Brooklyn, New York, a group of young Dominicans ventured into a Bangladeshi neighborhood looking for a bicycle to steal, but a group of Bangladeshis ran them out. The Dominicans returned with reinforcements and began attacking anyone who looked Bangladeshi. Thirty-seven-year-old Mizinor Rahman saw the attacks and dialed 911 from his cell phone. A Dominican screamed, “Who are you calling? The police?” The Dominicans then beat the Bangladeshi immigrant to death.
Hispanics and Vietnamese have been living side by side in Orange County, California, for 20 years but the result has been constant, low-level violence rather than friendship. The subtitle of a 2003 news story about the tension was “How Can the County Stop Vietnamese and Latinos From Duking It Out?” As a 25-year-old Hispanic who grew up with Vietnamese in Orange County explained, “Lots of Vietnamese and Latino immigrants just resent being next to each other.”
There is violence between American blacks and Somali Bantus in Columbus, Ohio. A 1998 brawl in one apartment complex prompted the managers to give tenants cultural sensitivity classes. That didn’t work. In 2004, there was another fight between Somalis and blacks at the complex that involved 60 people smashing each other with bats and bricks and ransacking apartments. Five Bantus went to the hospital. This time, the solution was segregation; all 15 Somali families moved to a different complex.
That same year, a fight at Mifflin High School in Columbus between blacks and Somalis left a 16-year-old Somali boy unconscious. Three Somali girls transferred to a different school because they could not get along with American blacks. “It [violence] happens more than we like to think,” said Hassan Omar, president of the Somali Community Association of Ohio. “And it will only get more complicated as the community becomes more ethnically diverse.”
Blacks have had well-publicized friction with Asians, especially with Korean grocers who set up small markets in black neighborhoods. In the 1980s, blacks picketed, burned out, or even murdered Korean grocers in New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Detroit and Chicago. There were many campaigns to urge blacks not to buy from “people who don’t look like us.”
In New York City, there was so much black-Korean hostility that from 1981 to 1995, blacks launched 15 separate boycotts of Korean-owned groceries. Six lasted for at least a month. One went on for no less than 17 months and ended only when the Korean owner sold his store. Sociologist Pyong Gap Min, who has studied these events, notes that black-Korean conflict has finally subsided. Why? Because new zoning laws have led to the establishment of big-box stores that crowd out small grocers, gentrification has brought many non-blacks to Harlem and Brooklyn, and because the second generation of Korean immigrants have gone on to white-collar careers — not because blacks and Koreans learned to live together.
After the 1992 verdicts in the first trial of the Los Angeles police officers who beat Rodney King, black rioters singled out Korean-owned stores for arson. After the riots, the Los Angeles Black-Korean Alliance, created in 1986 to reduce tensions, fell apart in mutual recrimination and accusations. Outreach efforts had accomplished so little no one had the will to keep them going.
Many Korean businesses that were burned down never rebuilt. The number of Korean shops dropped to perhaps one half the pre-riot figure, more continued to leave, and this finally brought peace. “The black-Korean controversy has dissipated because the fuel has been removed,” explained Ronald Wakabayashi, executive director of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations.
Chinese have been in conflict with blacks, too. An immigrant from China who grew up in Oakland, California, wrote that black grade-school classmates didn’t bother to learn her name and instead called her Ching Chong, Chinagirl, or Chow Mein. In high school, “I was the target of sexual remarks vulgar enough to make Howard Stern blush. When I did respond to the insults, I immediately faced physical threats or attacks, along with the embarrassing fact that the other ‘Chinamen’ around me simply continued their quiet personal conversations without intervening.” The Asians, she wrote, were too small to fight back. She added that Asian children started out with no prejudices against blacks but came to hate them.
Sometimes conflict overseas can spark violence when the same groups live near each other in America. In 2000, after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon angered Palestinians by visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, there was a series of attacks against New York City Jews, and in some cases assailants waved Palestinian flags. Mayor Rudy Giuliani ordered increased patrols of synagogues and Jewish schools.
As we saw earlier, American corporations are among the most enthusiastic boosters of diversity, but what are its effects on the workplace? The number of job discrimination suits filed every year suggests an answer. In fiscal year 2007, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 30,510 formal complaints of racial discrimination, 9,369 cases of national origins discrimination, and 2,880 cases of religious discrimination, for a total of 42,759 cases of job discrimination — 170 every work day — that arose because of diversity. All three categories were up at least 12 percent over the previous year, and it is safe to assume that for every case filed with the EEOC, there are many cases of perceived discrimination that are not formally pursued.
Immigrants are bringing a new kind of discrimination: “colorism,” or complaints based on skin-tone differences among people of the same race. In 2004, Vice-Chair Naomi Earp of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission noted that such cases ran to more than 1,500 in fiscal 2003. Although blacks of different skin tones have long discriminated against each other, Miss Earp reported that the greatest increase in disputes had been among immigrants from India, Pakistan, and South America, who are extremely color-conscious. She warned that as the country became more diverse the problem of “colorism” would get worse.
An EEOC filing is just one way to register a complaint. Many states, counties, municipalities, corporations, and universities have their own grievance procedures. Employees can also file directly in federal court; in 2001, black employees alone filed 21,000 racial discrimination cases. All branches of the armed services, which account for a total of about three million active and reserve personnel, have grievance procedures. The U.S. Civil Rights Commission, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and the state and local equivalents of these offices all exist because of conflicts that arise from diversity. The December 2007 AR cover story presents findings that show workplace diversity generally lowers productivity.
If it were possible to count every case filed in every possible venue, it could well come to hundreds of thousands of diversity-related grievances every year. There are probably tens of thousands of Americans enforcing, adjusting, promoting, and regulating racial diversity. In addition to the emotional trauma for both accusers and accused, the costs of diversity management and the grievance mechanisms it requires probably run into the billions. This is entirely aside from the further billions spent to settle discrimination suits.
Tom McClintock, a former candidate for controller of California, estimated that before a 1996 state ballot initiative was approved to abolish the state’s affirmative action programs, the annual cost just to administer them was from $343 million to $677 million. This figure did not include the cost of private preference programs or the cost of state and local anti-discrimination machinery.
Because there are so many suits with potentially high damages, specialized insurers have arisen to offer protection. “Sooner or later, virtually every medium- to large-sized company is likely to find itself the defendant in a discrimination or sexual harassment lawsuit,” said Robert P. Hartwig, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute. “It is estimated that six out of 10 companies have been named in a discrimination or sexual harassment lawsuit in the past five years,” he added. Why? “The 21st century’s racially and ethnically diverse workforce is a potential powder keg.” In 1990, there were just a handful of companies that sold insurance of this kind. By 2000, there were more than 60.
Such lawsuits have typically been black grievances against white employers, but now accusations can go in any direction. As the Wall Street Journal noted in 2006, “A new wave of race-discrimination cases is appearing in the workplace: African-Americans who feel that they are being passed over for Hispanics.” As Anna Park, an EEOC regional attorney explained, “There used to be a reluctance to bring cases against other minorities. It’s no longer a white-black paradigm. This is a new trend.”
Discrimination runs the other way, too. In October 2005, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin voiced a common complaint among blacks when he asked: “How do I ensure that New Orleans is not overrun by Mexican workers?” This attitude can backfire. In 2007, a federal civil jury awarded a $254,000 verdict to a Hispanic lieutenant in the Inkster, Michigan, police department because he was repeatedly denied promotion for racial reasons. Thomas Diaz convinced the jury that Inkster “promulgated and continued a policy of discriminating in employment against non-African-Americans.”
In 2008, a Los Angeles jury found that black supervisors in the Sheriff’s Department had discriminated against a 19-year Hispanic veteran, Angel Jaimes. They called a group of Latino deputies the “Mexican Mafia,” complained that Mr. Jaimes’ substation “was run by Mexicans and they were going to change that,” and acted out of racism when they took disciplinary measures. The county paid Mr. Jaimes $432,000.
In the new age of diversity, even white plaintiffs have begun to win discrimination cases. In 2008, the city of San Francisco agreed to pay $1.6 million to 12 police officers who had sued in federal court, claiming they had been passed over for promotion because the city wanted black supervisors. Milwaukee was ordered to pay 17 white police officers $2.2 million for the same reason. A federal jury found that the city’s first black police chief, Arthur Jones, had discriminated against them a total of 144 times by promoting less qualified blacks and women. Mr. Jones said he believed the verdict set back the clock and “had a devastating effect on race relations within the department and within this city.”
In 2009, after more than 20 years of legal wrangling, 75 white Chicago firefighters shared a $6 million discrimination award. They had scored higher than blacks on a 1986 lieutenants’ exam but the city cooked the scores and promoted blacks. A jury found that the test had been fair, but the city unsuccessfully fought the decision all the way to the US Supreme Court.
In Atlanta, eight white librarians won nearly $25 million from the Atlanta-Fulton County Library System after a jury decided they had been given undesirable assignments because, according to one black library official, there were “too many white managers” in the downtown branch. This was the fourth time the county had been found guilty of discriminating against whites, and two-thirds of the monetary award was punitive damages, meaning the jury thought the county had acted willfully and maliciously against the defendants.
In 2007, an appeals court upheld a lower court that had found a black New Orleans prosecutor guilty of discriminating against 42 whites and one Hispanic when he fired them and replaced them all with blacks when he took office in 2003. A three-judge panel of the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals set damages against Eddie Jordan at $3.5 million.
In 2007 a white man named Mark Pasternak who worked for New York State as a social worker won $150,000 when jurors found that his black boss, Tommy Baines, had created a hostile workforce by calling him names such as “cracker,” “Pollack,” and “stupid white boy.” Mr. Baines reportedly told him, “You’re a white boy, and I don’t like white boys. Handle it.”
Complaints may be found where they are least expected. In Canada, it is the job of the Canadian Human Rights Commission to fight prejudice, discrimination, and insensitivity, but its highly diverse employees suffer from these scourges themselves. An internal report found deep dissatisfaction among the commission’s 230 employees, who complained of spiteful managers, sexual discrimination, and a “poisoned work environment.” Forty percent of the staff had quit in the previous 12 months, and 37 percent of those who were left were hoping to quit soon.
In the United States, government bureaus that provide social services are often extremely diverse, but they are not free of tension either. Denver’s Human Services Department, which handles child abuse, welfare, child support, etc., is one of the most integrated agencies in the city. In 2001, many of its 1,300 employees and eight of ten department heads were non-white, as were many of its clients. The city hired the Gallup organization to see how employee diversity was working, and was shocked by the findings. Fifty-seven percent of respondents disagreed with the statement that employees were treated fairly without regard to race, sex, age, etc. Sixty-nine percent said they did not trust top management.
The Gallup organization, which had done similar work before, assured the city that people in the helping professions are particularly sensitive to discrimination and vocal about it. Social worker Shanna Ritts, a union representative, said she heard many complaints about minorities discriminating against each other and even about different groups of Hispanics that could not get along. “We have a large group of minority people working, but they clash,” she explained.
Workplace diversity can be dangerous. On August 26, 1997, white and black air traffic controllers in the control tower at La Guardia Airport got into a fistfight when the white used the word “boy” in the hearing of the black controller. The black took the word to be an insult. The tower was out of contact with planes for about a minute, a hazardous situation that is strictly forbidden by federal regulations.
The armed forces are often said to be a model of good race relations, but this may not always be so. Although the study is now more than a decade old, in 1997 the military carried out a huge, congressionally-mandated race relations survey that covered more than 40,000 soldiers. Many reported that race relations were “not at all” good or good only to a “small/moderate extent:” 51 percent of blacks, 37 percent of Hispanics, 35 percent of Asians, 36 percent of American Indians, and 25 percent of whites.
The survey also asked about racially offensive behavior and threats or harm from other military personnel. A striking two-thirds said they had suffered anything from “insensitive language” to physical threats or violence: 63 percent of whites, 76 percent of blacks, 79 percent of Hispanics, 70 percent of Asians, and 76 percent of American Indians. When asked if opportunities for their race have gotten better or worse over the last five years, only 16 percent of whites thought things had improved. This compared with 39 percent of blacks, 47 percent of Hispanics, 50 percent of Asians and 41 percent of Indians. This report was so embarrassing to the Pentagon that it delayed release for two years.
Diversity is constantly promoted in the military, and anyone who is lukewarm about it has no prospects for promotion. Serving officers therefore dare not criticize it. Only after he retired did Army Green Beret Major Andy Messing argue that Special Forces units should be homogeneous because it gave them a better sense of identity. He said that differences — being black, Hispanic, Jewish or even overtly religious — add to the tensions of a grinding training regimen and dangerous combat missions.
Minority journalists have found that diversity is not always a blessing. Black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian journalists all have national professional associations, but formed an alliance in 1988 called Unity to promote more hiring of minorities and coverage of minority affairs. Far from enjoying the benefits of diversity, Unity suffered serious tensions, most publicly over the racial symbolism of the sites for its meetings. American Indians threatened to boycott Atlanta — heavily favored by blacks — because the Atlanta baseball team is called the Braves, and because the Georgia state government helped force out the Cherokees in 1830. Unity held its 1999 conference in Seattle, Washington, shortly after voters approved an initiative to end state- and local-government affirmative action. Many blacks refused to attend.
That year, Unity nearly fell apart. According to DeWayne Wickham, a black USA Today columnist, “What began as a survival mechanism has become an alliance of four organizations that have relatively little in common.” Unity survived, but even in 2008 its web page admitted that the group “may not always be an easy alliance.”
The more intimate the setting, the greater the challenges of diversity. Adopted children, for example, often report they never felt they fit in. In a British study of adults who had been adopted as children, 46 percent of whites adopted by whites said that although it was a positive experience they felt a sense of not belonging. In the case of transracial adoptions that figure jumped to close to 75 percent. Researchers reported that the constant refrain of non-white children adopted by whites was, “Love is not enough.”
There can be worse: The authors of a 2005 study on domestic violence in the United States reached the sobering conclusion that “the incidence of spousal homicide is 7.7 times higher in interracial marriages compared to intraracial marriages.”
One result of today’s immigration-driven diversity is that millions of Americans cannot talk to each other. Los Angeles, which is often said to point the way to America’s future, is home to people who speak more than 120 languages. As the Los Angeles Times has pointed out, this profusion of languages does not unite; it divides:
“The Filipino never hears the Persian radio program; it is impossible to tune in without buying a special radio — sold in Iranian boutiques — that uses a computer chip to receive a specially modified frequency. The Persian speaker never enters the Lithuanian church. The Lithuanian and the Hindi speakers take different freeway ramps into cultures divided by tracts and commercial strips and, most of all, how they speak.”
As immigrants cluster together, sharply-divided language islands arise: Russian in West Hollywood, Farsi in Beverly Hills, Mission Viejo and Laguna Niguel; Chinese in the San Gabriel Valley, Khmer in Long Beach, Armenian in Glendale. Some islands are tiny. Cecilia Miguel, originally from Guatemala, spoke only her native Indian language, Q’anjob’al, and lived a harrowingly isolated life. Authorities took her three children from her and put them into foster care because she could not explain how one got a black eye.
Other Angelinos become islands over time. After enough immigrants move in, earlier inhabitants may find themselves the only ones who do not speak the new language. The city of Monterey Park became famous in the 1980s because of a sudden influx of Chinese-speakers who infuriated whites by putting up signs only in Chinese. Months of tension and debate led to an ordinance that required English in addition to Chinese.
Whites kept moving out and dropped to about 12 percent of Monterey Park’s 60,000 people, making it the first mainland American city to have an Asian majority. There are now Chinese newspapers and cable channels, a huge selection of Chinese books in city libraries, and a large population of Chinese who live from year to year without speaking English.
Bridging the gap between Angelinos who do not have a common language is a constant challenge. Although naturalized citizens are supposed to be able to speak English, Los Angeles County prints ballots and voter registration papers in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Tagalog, and Korean. The California Department of Motor Vehicles translates documents into 30 languages, including Arabic, Greek, Hindi, Polish and Tongan.
Witnesses in trials need interpreters for more than 100 languages, at a huge cost to the state. In fiscal 1998-99 there were 193,909 man days of interpreter work in California trial courts and 91,600 days in Los Angeles Superior and Municipal courts. Sometimes trials must be delayed while the courts search for someone who can interpret exotic languages.
Hospitals often depend on a system of over-the-telephone interpreting that no one finds satisfactory. People have ended up stranded in mental hospitals because no one could understand what they were saying. Inner-city blacks must sometimes have their speech interpreted for doctors from India or China — or even Iowa.
There are more than 100 languages spoken by students in the Los Angeles public schools, and by 2000 the district was spending $3 million a year on translations into just a few of them: Armenian, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Russian, and Vietnamese. The translation unit always had a backlog and dared not advertise itself within the district for fear of being swamped.
Similar problems are moving East. For the 2001-2002 school year, Clark County, Nevada (which includes the city of Las Vegas), was spending so much money teaching English to Spanish-speaking students that other programs had to be “cut down to the bone,” according to superintendent Carlos Garcia. The county had reduced high school transportation, eliminated all middle school sports, and was seeking $77 million more from the state for the year’s English Language Learners instruction. Hispanic students accounted for 31 percent of students and were dropping out at an alarming rate.
Although it is frequently assumed that children quickly pick up English, a study by the California legislative analyst’s office found this is often not so. “We’re suggesting that there are kids who can go all the way through kindergarten to 12th grade and still be considered English language learners,” said Rob Manwaring, a policy analyst who worked on the report.
In 2000, the Supreme Court of New Mexico ruled that it was discriminatory to exclude people from jury duty just because they do not understand English. Since then, courts have been required to provide simultaneous interpreters. The cost runs from $30 an hour for common languages like Spanish to $180 an hour plus expenses for exotic dialects. The interpreters accompany the non-English-speakers into the jury room, but must declare that they served only as interpreters and did not take part in deliberations, which are supposed to be inviolate. So far, New Mexico is the only state to require interpreters for jurors.
Language complicates police work. Los Angeles police once picked up an elderly Korean who was lost and could not explain where he lived. They dropped him off far from home in the middle of the night. He was robbed and beaten and soon died.
In Pennsylvania, when officers pulled Miqueas Acosta over for driving with an expired safety sticker, they read him his rights in Spanish, but then spoke to him in English before searching his car. They found a kilo of cocaine worth $100,000, but Bucks County prosecutors could not use it as evidence because a Superior Court judge ruled police should have waited for an interpreter before proceeding with the search.
|“The incidence of spousal homicide is 7.7 times higher in interracial marriages compared to intraracial marriages.”|
Charges also had to be dropped against Mahamu Kanneh, who was accused of repeatedly raping a seven-year-old girl, because the courts spent three years looking for an interpreter for Mr. Kanneh’s tribal language, Vai, which is spoken only in Liberia and Sierra Leone. A Maryland judge found that Mr. Kanneh’s right to a speedy trial had been violated. Mr. Kanneh had arrived in the United States as a refugee and attended high school and community college, but claimed he still needed an interpreter.
A family of Oaxacan Indians managed to run a massive, East Los Angeles heroin smuggling ring for two decades, in part because they communicated in an impenetrable code: Mixteco Bajo, an Indian language that is spoken 2,500 miles away from California in southern Mexico. “The language — that stalled us,” said Larry Zimmerman, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department’s lead detective on the case. In March 2009, officers arrested 48 members of the family, finally ending an operation that was making profits of roughly $2 million a month.
Linguistic diversity now means states must establish basic language standards for certain professions. In 2003, Wilfredo Laboy, superintendent of schools for Lawrence, Massachusetts, put two dozen of his teachers on unpaid leave for flunking a mandatory English proficiency test. It then became known that he, himself, had failed the test three times, though he complained he should not have to take it. “I’m trying to understand the congruence of what I do here every day and this stupid test,” he said. Later the Spanish-speaker managed to pass the test, and got a $6,000 raise added to his salary of $156,560.
Spanish is so well entrenched in some parts of the country that English has essentially disappeared. In 1999, the Texas border town of El Cenizo voted to conduct its monthly City Commission meetings and all other official business in Spanish. “I understand it is the United States, but what happens if people want to know what is going on?” asked Mayor Rafael Rodriguez.
Miami has also gone through phases of recognizing Spanish as an official language, and language remains a serious fault line. Since 1998, Florida has had a standardized high school graduation test, known as the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test or FCAT. It tests knowledge at only the 10th-grade level but 2003 was the first year it had real bite: students who could not pass did not get a diploma. At Miami Senior High, nearly 90 percent of students were not native speakers of English, and no fewer than 100 of 500 seniors failed. In May, 200 students demonstrated outside the school, waving signs and chanting “No FCAT.” Their main complaint was that they had to take the test in English. “We are a Hispanic-based society,” said Gerrter Martin, who failed twice. “My dreams are [over],” said Jessica Duran. “I want to be a doctor and because of that I can’t do it.” State Rep. Ralph Arza, who was also a Miami High teacher, said he would introduce legislation to offer the FCAT in languages other than English, but as of 2008, the test was still being given only in English.
Semi-official Spanish has cropped up in Texas. In 2002, candidates for the Democratic primary for the Texas governor’s race debated publicly in both English and Spanish. Businessman Tony Sanchez and former Texas attorney general Dan Morales spoke in English for an hour and then switched to Spanish to talk about such things as racial preferences and relations with Mexico. Mr. Sanchez lost points by occasionally speaking English during the Spanish portion, and by pointing out that English is the “primary language” of Texas. One voter, Carlos Rivera, who watched the debate, accused Mr. Sanchez of “pandering to non-Hispanics.”
Some English-speaking Americans are wary of the extent to which Spanish has taken root in the United States. A Rasmussen poll taken in 2007 found that 82 percent of white voters and 78 percent of black voters thought employers should be allowed to require English only on the job. Only 45 percent of Hispanics thought so. The same poll found that only 13 percent of black or white voters thought that requiring English was a form of racism or bigotry.
This series may or may not continue, at the discretion of the editor.
Racial differences are real and increasing.
Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending, The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution, Basic Books, 2009, 288 pp., $27.00.
The 10,000 Year Explosion is such a subversive book it is surprising it was brought out by a mainstream New York publisher. The authors, both of whom teach anthropology at the University of Utah, steer clear of politics, but the scientific findings they describe have such obvious policy implications that they will reduce liberals to spluttering incoherence — if liberals can bring themselves to read the book.
This volume shatters one of the obligatory doctrines by which the Left lives: that Homo sapiens hardly evolved at all after modern man ventured out of Africa, and that although groups differ in appearance their brains are identical. This is clearly nonsense, but the great strength of this book is to have marshaled so many contemporary genetic discoveries that prove it is nonsense. Far from slowing down, evolution has been speeding up, and the authors argue that for the last several thousand years it has been roaring along 100 times faster than during the Stone Age, making different populations increasingly unlike each other. “The biological equality of human races,” the authors write, is “about as likely as a fistful of silver dollars all landing on edge when dropped.”
If one accepts the theory that modern humans first evolved in Africa and began colonizing the rest of the world 50,000 to 60,000 years ago, it is obvious that there has been enormous evolutionary change since that time. Zulus and Danes presumably had a common ancestor about the time humans left Africa, but are now so different from each other that standard taxonomies might well classify them as separate species.
Nature is full of dramatic change. When fish are trapped in caves they lose their eyesight in just a few thousand years. Rapid evolution also occurred when the sea rose at the end of the last Ice Age, 11,500 years ago, and herds of elephants were cut off from the mainland on what became islands. Size is not an advantage on an island, and the fossil record shows that the elephants shrank in height from 12 feet to three feet in just 5,000 years. Elephants have about the same 20-year generation span as humans.
Professors Cochran and Harpending point out that even more rapid evolution is taken for granted by ranchers and farmers, who are constantly raising stock that did not exist 100 or even 15 years ago. They note that every breed of dog has evolved from wolves, which were domesticated 15,000 years ago, and that most of the breeds we recognize today are only about 200 years old. A Russian scientist managed to breed tame foxes in just 40 years — ten generations — by selecting only for tameness and friendliness. The pet foxes lost their musky, fox smell, wagged their tails when they were happy (which wild foxes do not), and liked to lick people’s hands.
People consciously direct the evolution of plants and animals, but the authors point out that the process is no different from the rigors of natural selection — just quicker. Much as the race deniers hate to admit it, humans in different environments evolved in sharply different directions. As the authors conclude, “We expect that differences between human ethnic groups are qualitatively similar to those between dog breeds.”
What, however, caused human evolution suddenly to speed up ten to twelve thousand years ago? For Professors Cochran and Harpending, the short answer is “agriculture.” It did so in two ways: by sharply increasing the number of people and by radically changing the environment in which they lived.
More humans meant more children, and therefore more mutations. Most babies are born with about 100 mutations, all but one or two of which are in DNA that does not seem to do anything and therefore have no effect. Those that make a difference are usually harmful or neutral but it is the occasional helpful mutation that drives evolution. Sixty thousand years ago, before the expansion out of Africa, there were perhaps only about 250,000 humans. By the Bronze Age, 3,000 years ago, there were 60 million, so a mutation that would have taken 100,000 years to occur could appear in just 400 years. Evolution was painfully slow among Paleolithic proto-humans because beneficial mutations show up so rarely in tiny populations.
Large populations are therefore a reservoir of new mutations and their size hardly slows down the propagation of good genes. According to the authors, a genetic leg up is like the flu, and can sweep through a population of 100 million in only twice the time it takes to go through a population of just 10,000.
The power of agriculture
Agriculture also brought perhaps the most dramatic change in the biological and social environment our species has ever experienced. Farming meant that for the first time in their existence Homo sapiens stayed in one place, and could therefore own more things than they could carry with them. They could become wealthier than their neighbors, and had to guard possessions against theft. Farmers could produce more food than their families needed, and this gave rise to commerce, division of labor, artisans, and non-productive elites. This social environment was completely new.
|“Eventually [after the adoption of farming] there must have been many people with personality types that hadn’t existed at all among our forager ancestors.”|
Of particular significance from an evolutionary point of view were the change of diet, domestication of animals, and population densities. The first agricultural diets had little variety and were not nearly as nutritious as the meat humans had been eating for millennia. With little protein in their diets, farmers were as much as five inches shorter than hunters, and any mutations that helped farmers get more out of a cereal diet got around quickly. At the same time, the widespread use of fire to prepare and soften food meant people could evolve smaller teeth than those necessary during the Paleolithic period.
Domestication and herding meant living with animals, and people began to catch their diseases. At the same time, villages produced heaps of rubbish that attracted rats and other disease carriers. New kinds of pestilence ran through populations that were far denser than before, so there was a high demand for genes that gave resistance to disease. Farmers invariably discovered fermentation, so selective pressure also began to weed out excessive susceptibility to alcohol.
In dense communities, in which wealth could be accumulated and traded, complex speech is more important than among hunters. Ownership of land and livestock required new rules and ways to enforce them. People had more to think about, more possessions to look after, and thieves and con men to deal with. All this pushed evolution in new directions.
The nature of agriculture changed human nature. Farming requires more planning and self-restraint than hunting; at the very least, farmers must save seed corn for the next year no matter how hungry they get during the winter. Meat, on the other hand, goes bad in a few days, so hunters gorged themselves rather than save. Farming favored deferred gratification.
Likewise, if farmers worked hard they could make permanent improvements to their land and build safe, comfortable houses. There was no incentive for hunters to build things or accumulate anything they could not move. Once their bellies were full they goofed off until the next hunt. Farming favored mutations that produced steady toilers.
People who lived in densely packed, permanent settlements also had to control anger and violence. If hunters had nasty neighbors they could just move away. Farmers could not abandon their farms, so they had to learn to live with people they did not like. Once governments arose, people had to submit to rulers, and the impulse to reach for a weapon was no longer so adaptive. As the authors explain, “Eventually there must have been many people with personality types that hadn’t existed at all among our forager ancestors.”
There is direct, genetic evidence that agriculture caused rapid genetic change. Sophisticated techniques can indicate how recently distinctive genetic patterns evolved in different populations, and more new genes were sweeping through European and Asian populations about 5,500 years ago than at any time before or since. The huge changes brought on by agriculture were probably the cause.
Sooner or later?
Professors Cochran and Harpending point out that some groups took up farming long before others, and that this explains a lot. Australian aborigines never farmed, and the American Indians of Illinois and Ohio started farming only 1,000 years ago. Both groups never drank alcohol before the white man showed up, and are highly susceptible to alcoholism. Fetal alcohol syndrome is about 30 times more common in these groups than in whites.
Aborigines and American Indians suffer in other ways from only recently having adopted a farming diet. Type 2 diabetes is related to a sensitivity to carbohydrates and a metabolic tendency to obesity. It is four times more prevalent among Aborigines and 2.5 times more prevalent among Navajos than among whites.
Sub-Saharan Africa was also late to take up agriculture — 7,500 years after it arose in the Middle East — and this helps explain why intelligence differences alone do not explain differences in black and white behavior. When the two groups are matched for IQ, blacks are still more likely to be criminal, shiftless, or have illegitimate children. This is probably due in part to the persistence of the smash-and-grab mentality that suits hunters but is gradually bred out of farmers.
Professors Cochran and Harpending note that this probably explains why it is so hard to teach African Bushmen — who never made the switch to farming — to be herders rather than hunters: they eat all their goats. The Chinese, on the other hand, who have been farming a long time, appear to have had virtually all the genes associated with attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity bred out of them.
The authors of The 10,000 Year Explosion understand that population differences of this kind mean that some peoples create civilizations and others do not. Noting that some nations have leapt into the industrial age while others are stuck in poverty, they conclude:
“If the root causes of these differences are biological changes affecting cognitive and personality traits, changes that are the product of natural selection acting over millennia, conventional solutions to the problem of slow modernization among peoples with shallow experience of farming are highly problematic.” The authors propose no “unconventional” solutions.
Some aspects of modernity simply cannot appear without the intelligence — and the genes — necessary to support them. The authors argue that “the scientific ‘revolution’ may well have resulted from modest changes in gene frequencies affecting key psychological traits.” They explain that science probably arose only after a society had a certain minimum number of people who had the temperament to be interested in puzzles and were smart enough to solve them. There also had to be a level of communication within society that allowed ideas to circulate so that smart people could benefit from the discoveries of others. Not all societies, in other words, have the genetic basis for science.
The brain has evolved differently among different groups just as have skin color, body type, and facial features. The authors write that there are recent variants of genes that affect synapse formation, axon growth, formation of the layers of the cerebral cortex, and brain growth. “Again, most of these new variants are regional,” they add. “Human evolution is madly galloping off in all directions.”
Sometimes, even what appear to be racial similarities are actually differences that merely resemble each other. The authors point out, for example, that although both Asians and Caucasians have much lighter skins than ancestral Africans, the genetic mechanisms that shut down melanin production are different in the two races. In both Asia and Europe it was useful to let in more sunlight for vitamin D synthesis, but evolution found different ways to do it.
The same is true for lactose tolerance, a surprisingly interesting subject to which Professors Cochran and Harpending devote many pages. They point out that before the domestication of cattle, there was no need for humans to be able to digest milk after they were weaned, and all populations were lactose intolerant until a mutation that occurred about 8,000 years ago among European herding people. Dairying produces about five times as many calories per acre as raising cattle for slaughter, and milk is very nutritious, so it was a considerable advantage for adults to be able to drink it. The mutation therefore swept through Europe.
Thousands of years later, people living in what is now Sudan and Ethiopia developed a tolerance for milk, but their mutation was different from the one that appeared in the north. The authors point out that the ability to drink milk is so advantageous that it would have spread through Africa if even just a handful of northerners had ventured into the area during the Bronze Age. The absence of the northern gene suggests how little contact there was with people south of the Sahara.
Professors Cochran and Harpending speculate that lactose tolerance may even account for the spread of the Indo-Europeans. Around 3,000 BC, nomads who were to have a far-reaching impact began to move out of an original Indo-European homeland that may have been in Anatolia or southern Russia. They eventually spread their language and culture not only throughout Europe but to Central Asia, the Iranian plateau, and the Indian subcontinent. Some three billion people now speak the more than 400 languages and dialects that comprise the Indo-European language group, making it the largest in the world. How did the Indo-Europeans cover so much ground?
The authors think it may have been because they were among the first to be lactose tolerant, and this changed their society in several important ways. First, because it is much more nutritionally efficient to milk cattle as well as eat them, the first milk drinkers could produce denser populations than farmers or other herders. Also, cattle are both valuable and portable — they transport themselves — so herders inevitably become rustlers, which leads to a warrior tradition. Farmers, who had to defend fixed targets, were no match for mobile cattlemen who could attack wherever and whenever they liked. Finally, milk-drinkers had a better diet; there is evidence that Indo-Europeans were up to four inches taller than the people they overran.
The Indo-Europeans appear to have gone on a conquering spree that lasted several thousand years. They are likely to have been a dominant elite that forced their culture on subject peoples but then moved on before they were absorbed. The strong, established states of the Middle East managed to fend them off, but Indo-Europeans were invincible in colder areas where the growing season was short and their superior diet gave them the greatest advantage.
Professors Cochran and Harpending point out that there was yet another independent development of lactose tolerance, which took place on the Arabian Peninsula among drinkers of camel milk. They suspect that the same results — good diet, mobility, a tradition of raiding — helped the Arabs achieve their remarkable sweep across North Africa and into Europe that was stopped only in 732 — by other milk drinkers.
A less speculative subject the authors treat at length is the evolution of resistance to disease. It is well known that diseases for which the Indians had no immunity helped the Spanish conquer the New World, and The 10,000 Year Explosion explains why the Indians were so vulnerable. Their ancestors crossed the land bridge from Asia some 15,000 years before the Spanish showed up, and did not bring with them the crowd diseases that sprang up after the rise of agriculture. Also, they passed through cold areas on their way to the Americas, and this killed off many infectious bacteria. Finally, they exterminated most of the large animals in the Americas (which had evolved independently of man and had not developed defenses against hunters), and thus had very few domesticated animals from which they could catch diseases. There was therefore little pressure on Indians to develop strong immune systems.
What is more, during the period when Europeans were being winnowed by plague and pestilence, Indians were probably evolving weaker immune systems. Indeed, they have lower rates than Europeans of type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis, which are caused by overactive immune responses.
The Indians’ first contact with Old-World diseases was devastating. Caribbean island tribes were even more vulnerable than those on the mainland, and the Arawak and the Taino were almost completely wiped out. It was Indians in the high Andes who best resisted the Spanish because the invading bacteria often did not survive in the cold, and because Indians were better adapted than Europeans to the thin air.
There are no precise records of early death rates, but more recent epidemics give us an idea. An 1827 smallpox outbreak among Mandan Indians in what later became North Dakota killed 1,475 out of 1,600. The Surui, a small Brazilian rain forest tribe, first made contact with outsiders in 1980. Six years later, despite the efforts of modern medicine, 600 of 800 were dead, mostly of tuberculosis.
Professors Cochran and Harpending point out that it is wrong to accuse the Spanish colonizers of deliberately eliminating native populations. They note that the conquistadors wanted to rule over a populous empire, not a wasteland of corpses. Moreover, when the Spanish conquered the Philippines less then a century later, there was no sharp drop in the population, because Filipinos had resistance to European diseases.
The authors also explain that when Europeans first explored Africa they, too, were decimated by unfamiliar diseases. British soldiers in the Gold Coast could expect to lose half their number in a year. Without the development of medicines for malaria, yellow fever, and sleeping sickness, the colonization of Africa would have been impossible.
On an entirely different subject, The 10,000 Year Explosion has a long chapter that proposes an explanation for how Ashkenazi Jews became the smartest people in the world. Trading and money-lending were high-IQ jobs, and in 1,000 years, or about 40 generations, European Jews appear to have increased their average IQs by about 12 points.
Jewish intelligence seems to be genetically associated with such diseases as Tay-Sachs, Gaucher’s, and familiar dysautonomia, which are up to 100 times more common among Jews than European gentiles. People with one copy of these genes appear to have an IQ advantage whereas two copies cause the disease. Professors Cochran and Harpending write that over time, advantageous mutations with such dangerous side effects are usually replaced by more benign mutations. The persistence of these odd mutations in Jews suggests they are recent.
One highly speculative but stimulating chapter considers the possibility that Neanderthals might have made crucial genetic contributions to Homo sapiens. There is no doubt that something important happened 30 to 40 thousand years ago. New tools, improved weapons, art, sculpture, and more efficient use of fire made big changes in what was still a Stone Age existence. These changes took place only in Eurasia — nowhere else — and Professors Cochran and Harpending are convinced they would not have come about without some important genetic change.
As it happens, this Stone Age flowering took place during the 10,000 years or so during which modern man and Neanderthals competed against each other in the same territory. Neanderthals are gone and we are not, so it is safe to assume Homo sapiens were superior — perhaps in intelligence, language, or resistance to disease. However, the authors believe there must have been genetic mixing with Neanderthals, and explain that even if just a few Neanderthal genes were useful to modern man, they would have spread through populations while the useless ones were eliminated. “It is highly likely that out of some 20,000 genes, at least a few of theirs [Neanderthal’s] were worth having,” they write. The authors concede that the genetic evidence is inconclusive — Neanderthal DNA is hard to come by — but they cite cases of “introgression,” in which wild species have acquired useful mutations from other populations.
Readers will have to judge the case for Neanderthal introgression for themselves, but it is typical of the free-wheeling thinking that makes The 10,000 Year Explosion such a pleasure to read. Professors Cochran and Harpending follow the data wherever they lead, which means they cheerfully trample basic assumptions on which the mainstream worldview depends.
This book is therefore yet more proof that science is always the ally of race realism. The better we understand the genome, the more irrefutable our views become. Scientists, along with anyone who cares about the truth, increasingly take it for granted that populations differ not just in susceptibility to disease and reactions to drugs but in average IQ, typical personality, and the ability to achieve civilization. The real question is when, after decades of suppression, sensible views of race will again influence policy. By blowing yet another great hole in today’s poisonous orthodoxy, Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending have hastened that day.
|IN THE NEWS|
PC at the VA
For the past ten years, the Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, which has cared for many Second World War veterans, displayed military memorabilia in the hallways of its outpatient clinic. One item was a period newspaper, dated Aug. 14, 1945, with the headline, “Japs Surrender!” A new employee of the hospital complained that the headline was offensive, and asked the director to take it down. After consulting the Ethics Office of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, the director replaced the paper with one from the same day whose headline simply said “Peace.” Spokesman Linda Jeffrey says the hospital wanted “to find something of equal historical significance that was not offensive,” adding, “we are a healing institution and we are certainly not wanting to create a hostile work environment.”
Floyd Mori, national executive director of the Japanese American Citizens League, says the VA made the right decision. “Although it’s of World War II vintage,” he says, “we feel it sends a wrong kind of a message to today’s generation and so we’re concerned about it, we’re glad it was taken down.”
Many veterans are incensed, calling the decision a “disgrace” and a “betrayal,” and have urged people to complain to the VA. National veterans’ groups, however, are not getting involved. “When we fight a battle with the VA, it’s to ensure that the medical care at those hospitals is top notch,” says Steve Short of the American Legion.
In 1986, the US House of Representatives decided that the term “Jap” is “racially derogatory and offensive” and recommended using “Jpn” as the “appropriate” and “racially inoffensive” abbreviation for “Japan” and “Japanese.” [Pete Winn, VA Hospital Pulls ‘Japs Surrender’ Headline from Historical Display, CNS News, March 11, 2009.]
Black National Anthem
In 1919, ten years after it was founded, the NAACP adopted “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” a hymn based on a poem by black author James Weldon Johnson, as the official Negro National Anthem. Rev. Joseph Lowery of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (Martin Luther King’s old outfit) quoted from the song during the closing prayer at President Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremony, as did the Rev. Sharon Watkins when she preached at the National Prayer Service the next day. Last year, a black singer upset many in Denver, Colorado, when she substituted the song for the “Star-Spangled Banner” during a state-of-the-city ceremony (see AR, September 2008).
In February, as part of a Black History Month program at Lakeview Elementary School in Lincoln, Nebraska, two teachers asked students to stand while they sang the “black national anthem.” Russ Roberts, who has two children at the school, complained that it gave students the mistaken impression there are two national anthems — one for blacks and one for everyone else. He also said it promotes “segregation” and leads to “polarization and bias.” Lakeview, which has something called a “multicultural school/community administrator” explained that the teachers who sang the song have their “hearts in the right place” and that the song is “part of history.” [Margaret Reist, Parent Objects to ‘Second’ National Anthem, Lincoln Journal Star, March 9, 2009.]
Chipping Away at 209
Ever since it was enacted in 1996, opponents have been fighting to overturn Proposition 209, the California voter initiative that banned racial preferences in state contracting, education, and public hiring. Court challenges at both the state and federal levels have failed, but the pro-preferences crowd keeps chipping away at the color-blind rules Californians voted for.
In March, for example, a state appeals court approved a school integration plan in Berkeley that was clearly an attempt to circumvent 209. Instead of classifying students by race, the city classified small neighborhoods on the basis of household income and parents’ education as well as race. It then assigned students to schools in a way that achieved a mix by neighborhood that was largely a proxy for mixing by race.
This is the first time since Prop. 209 that an appeals court has upheld a school integration plan in California, and liberals are happy. “This is an important victory for those who understand the importance of a diverse learning environment and believe that opportunity should be equally afforded to all,” says John Payton, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which filed a brief in support of the Berkeley school district.
San Francisco has simply defied the preferences ban and still doles out contracts on the basis of race and sex. In 2000, white-owned Coral Construction sued the city for discrimination and won in 2004, but the case has been on appeal ever since. On March 18, the California Supreme Court may have tipped its hand when it asked the state’s Attorney General to explain why the ban on racial preferences in government contracting does not violate federal equal protection laws “by making it more difficult to enact legislation on behalf of minority groups.” [Pamela A. MacLean, Calif.’s Affirmative Action Ban Again Under Court Scrutiny, National Law Journal, March 19, 2009.]
As usual, “equal protection” requires unequal protection for favored groups.
Speaking to a largely Hispanic audience of both legal and illegal immigrants at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in San Francisco on March 14, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) condemned raids by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE): “Who in this country would not want to change a policy of kicking in doors in the middle of the night and sending a parent away from their families? It must be stopped ... I think it’s un-American.” She went on to say: “You are special people. You’re here on a Saturday night to take responsibility for our country’s future. That makes you very, very patriotic.” After she finished speaking, the crowd chanted “Si, se puede,” or “Yes, we can.”
Mrs. Pelosi’s fellow congressman, Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) arranged the meeting as part of his 17-city, cross-country tour called United Families, which he says is supposed to “put a human face on the immigration debate.” Mr. Gutierrez is also collecting petitions asking President Obama to stop deportations “that are tearing our marriages, families and children apart.”
Rick Oltman of Californians for Population Stabilization, a group that opposes illegal immigration, filmed Mrs. Pelosi’s remarks. “Exhorting illegal aliens for taking responsibility for our country’s future ... I really resented that comment,” he said. “I think it was pandering to the crowd but also insulting to American citizens who consider themselves to be patriotic, who obey the rule of law.” [William Lajeunesse, Pelosi Tells Illegal Immigrants that Work Site Raids are Un-American, Fox News, March 18, 2009.]
The Obama administration seems to agree with the speaker and Mr. Gutierrez. In February, ICE agents conducted an immigration raid at a plant that manufactures engine parts in Bellingham, Washington, arresting 28 illegals. This was the first workplace raid since Mr. Obama took office, and it appears to have taken Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano by surprise. In March, Mrs. Napolitano ordered an end to raids, including what would have been the administration’s second, an operation at a military-related facility in Chicago that was expected to net at least 100 illegals. A senior DHS official says ICE is shifting its focus, and will now go after businesses that hire illegals. [ICE Workplace Raid Caught Boss Napolitano by Surprise, AP, Feb. 26, 2009. Spencer S. Hsu, DHS Signals Policy Changes Ahead for Immigration Raids, Washington Post, March 29, 2009.]
In late March, ICE released most of the people caught during the Bellingham raid, explaining that they can stay in the country because they could be called as witnesses in the investigation against their employer for hiring illegals. ICE also says they can work legally while they wait. [John Stark, Yamato Workers Freed as Immigration Probe Continues into Bellingham Company, Bellingham Herald, March 31, 2009.]
It is hard to imagine that after this they will actually be deported.
Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva recently met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in Brasilia to discuss the global slump. Speaking at a joint press conference afterwards, President Lula da Silva told reporters, “This crisis was caused by the irrational behavior of white people with blue eyes, who before the crisis appeared to know everything and now demonstrate that they know nothing.” “I do not know any black or indigenous bankers,” he added, “so I can only say [it is wrong] that this part of mankind which is victimized more than any other should pay for the crisis.” Caught off guard, the brown-eyed Mr. Brown kept a stiff upper lip, saying only, “I’m not going to attribute blame to any individuals.” His staff later explained that Mr. Lula da Silva’s remarks were intended for “domestic consumption.” [Jonathan Wheatley, Brazil’s Leader Blames White People for Crisis, Financial Times, March 27, 2009.]
Norwegians won’t be going to the polls for another six months, but if parliamentary elections were held today, the winner could well be the anti-immigrant Progress Party led by Siv Jensen (see “Race in Scandinavia — an Update,” AR, December 2005). Several polls have Progress gaining on the ruling Labor Party, with one giving it the support of nearly a third of the electorate, which would put it in the lead. The party has been helped by the financial crisis and by Labor bungling.
Although 51 percent of Norwegians say radical Islam is a threat to Norway, Labor tried to pass laws that would let Muslim policewomen wear the hijab and would ban criticism of anyone’s religious or spiritual beliefs. Public reaction was overwhelmingly negative and the government backed down. Miss Jensen, who warned of the “sneak Islamization” of Norway, says her party is growing because it has “the clearest stance on these policies and has credibility in this regard.”
Anita Marie Dahl Solheim, who works as a clerk at the port of Sandefjord in southern Norway, is increasingly typical. “I will vote for the Progress Party because of their policies on transport, elderly care, and not least immigration, as the current policy has veered completely off track,” she says. “[Immigrants] generally do whatever they want and nobody ever puts their foot down.”
As Torkel Brekke, professor of culture studies and oriental languages at the University of Oslo, explains, “People are losing their jobs, the economy seems to be going into recession but people are focusing on these issues instead. It tells you how important issues of identity are to small European countries and how people feel insecure about immigration.” [Marianne Stigset and Meera Bhatia, Norway Anti-Immigration Opposition Party Wins Support, Bloomberg News Service, March 27, 2008.]
In 1981 in Philadelphia, former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, born Wesley Cook, murdered a white police officer named Daniel Faulkner. He claims to be a victim of a “racist” justice system that denied him a fair trial because prosecutors excluded blacks from the 1982 jury that convicted him of first degree murder and sentenced him to die.
Mr. Abu-Jamal has published several books, written columns for lefty journals, and even conducted radio broadcasts from prison, and is now the darling of the American and European Left. He has appealed his case several times, and managed to get his death sentence thrown out on the basis of faulty instructions to the jury. The conviction, however, still stands.
Mr. Abu-Jamal had been asking for a new trial, arguing that an all-white jury did him wrong, but on April 6, the US Supreme Court let stand a ruling of the Third US Circuit Court of Appeals upholding his conviction. The State of Pennsylvania has asked the Supreme Court to reinstate his death penalty, but the justices have not yet acted on that request. Even if the state cannot get the death penalty reinstated, the Supreme Court’s refusal to take up his case means Mumia Abu-Jamal will spend the rest of his life in prison. [Supreme Court Lets Philly Officer Killer’s Conviction Stand, AP, April 6, 2009.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — I think the first page of last month’s issue sums up the “Dangers of Diversity” in just a handful of paragraphs: blacks vs. Arabs in Michigan, Hmong vs. whites in Arkansas, Hispanics vs. Indians in California, Indians vs. Somalis in Minnesota (of all places!), Indians vs. blacks in North Carolina, blacks vs. Somalis in Massachusetts and New York, and blacks vs. Jamaicans, also in New York. This is not a problem that is confined to one state or region, or occurs between just two groups of antagonists. Diversity is a problem for everyone, everywhere. The evidence you’ve presented is incontrovertible — surely the liberals must see that too — and yet we are still told diversity is our greatest strength. The diversity über alles mindset is insane.
Roy Jones, Uniontown, Pa.
Sir — What struck me as I read Parts I and II of Jared Taylor’s “The Dangers of Diversity,” aside from the utter relentlessness of the facts, is the sheer inefficiency of the diversity racket. Our country must spend hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars managing diversity. We need diversity officers and diversity training and diversity propaganda for virtually every public and private enterprise, from schools and the military, to hospitals and the DMV. One wonders how much GM has to spend each year on “diversity” and how much it adds to the price of a car. How much less would college tuition be if students didn’t have to support the campus diversity bureaucracy? Diversity drives up the cost of medical care, insurance premiums, taxes, and just about everything produced it this country. And what do we get in return? The litany of social disorder and violence Mr. Taylor has so thoroughly chronicled in his articles. White people are incredible suckers.
Jim McMillan, Ft. Worth, Texas
Sir — Dax Crockett Stewart wrote in the March issue that the term “white trash” refers only to whites, rich or poor, who “run with non-whites.” I grew up in the South during segregation (I’m 65 years old, born and raised here), I hold a degree in linguistics, and I think Mr. Stewart’s definition is too narrow. The term “white trash,” as I understand it, refers to people who are slovenly, lazy, probably dirty, unintelligent, manage their resources poorly, and behave like non-whites in some ways — hence it would be no surprise if they consorted with them. This need not always happen, however; oftentimes “white trash” I knew (some were my own relatives) took great pains to be sure not to associate with non-whites. This said, I would certainly accept Mr. Stewart’s definition as a partial meaning of the term.
As to the dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, dates the expression to 1831, and defines it as “a member of an inferior or underprivileged white social group.” It is interesting that the definition uses the word “inferior.” A “nigger” is defined merely as “socially disadvantaged.” Evidence of anti-white bias in dictionary definitions?
D. Tyrone Crowley, Prattville, Ala.
Sir — I was glad to see Nicholas Stix’s article about race murders in Seattle. I moved here from Arkansas seven years ago for professional reasons and have been dismayed at how blindly liberal this city is on race. Whites who must deal with blacks have an unspoken understanding that, on average, they cannot be expected to behave like whites. Whites who get their only information about blacks from Newsweek and NBC live in a dream world.
About 70 percent of the population of Seattle is white and only about 9 percent is black. That makes for a pleasant, attractive city in many ways, but it means Seattle is the perfect example of how absence (of blacks) makes the head grow softer. The presence of a tiny, despised, “white power” movement makes the rest of the whites all the more eager to prove they are idiots.
It takes a New Yorker like Mr. Stix to point out what our half-a-million whites refuse to see.
Fred Holder, Seattle, Wa.
Sir — In his April review of Frank Borzellieri’s book about his adventures on a Queens school board, Peter Bradley wonders why so few whites have run for office as white advocates. I share his disappointment at the rarity of a Frank Borzellieri, but I think fear of social disapproval is still the main reason. Most of my friends have dissident views on race, but would they ever express them in public or to a stranger? No. They cannot bear the thought that they might be shunned or despised.
I think the same sentiment holds back potential candidates. When it comes to race, whites are the most fearful, conformist group in America. It takes an unusual man and an even more unusual woman to brave relentless, hateful criticism. Whites still have physical courage — our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan show it all the time — but that is as part of a group. On their own and outside the group, whites are cowards.
This is therefore part of the value of publications like AR: to show whites that they are not alone and that they can speak the truth without being shunned or squashed.
Carol Cogswell, Staunton, Va.