|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 20, No. 11||November 2009|
Integration at its Worst
Prison life for white men.
I am an indigent prisoner and cannot afford a subscription to American Renaissance, but I did see the July issue. I laughed out loud reading Christopher Jackson’s article, “A White Teacher Speaks Out.” His portrayal of black students was spot-on, and compelled me to write this account of my own experiences with blacks in prison. Of course, there is no real humor in Mr. Jackson’s portrayal; the truth is tragic. The impact of blacks on the larger society and especially on the white children caught in the surroundings Mr. Jackson describes is nothing less than devastating.
What made me laugh was Mr. Jackson’s portrayal of the way black students speak. The guards here say such things as “Who you be?” and “Where it be at?” It’s deeply insensitive of us, no doubt, but white prisoners entertain each other by mimicking the unique forms of black speech. Mr. Jackson’s description of his students applies to a great many black adults as well.
As an inmate in a Texas prison, I am surrounded by blacks and people of other races and must deal with them every day. I have become intimately aware of their traits and mannerisms. I’m sure my experiences are paralleled in many other prisons, and are a precursor of what the country as a whole can expect if we continue down the road on which we are traveling.
Like the students Mr. Jackson describes, black prisoners are loud, brash, aggressive, and violate rules almost by nature. Very few show the slightest remorse for the crimes for which they were imprisoned. Instead, they blame “da man” or the system run by “da man.” Mr. Jackson’s students talk endlessly of “racism.” So do adult blacks — at least prisoners do. They scheme and fantasize endlessly about ways to beat “da man” or “break the oppression.” When they are not talking about sex, drugs, crime, or rap music they are whining about how the white man has made their lives miserable. This is how they justify making our lives miserable.
I am housed in an area of the prison known as “administrative segregation,” most commonly referred to as “seg” (see next article, page 7). Why am I here? I was “confirmed” as a member of a white “racist” prison gang.
Any white man in a Texas prison who joins one of the many gangs is “confirmed” as a member of a Security Threat Group (STG) and goes to seg. In many cases, a man ends up here for nothing more than having pro-white literature or showing any kind of racial pride or awareness.
|It’s not a matter of if whites will face attacks, but of when, how often, and how we fight back.|
Once a man is listed as a member of an STG, he goes into a nationwide database and is even listed on government “terrorist” watch lists. He stays in that database for years after he is released. When police officers check our names, even during a routine traffic stop, they are cautioned to “treat the situation as if it were a felony takedown,” and to consider us “armed and dangerous.” This classification has nothing to do with our criminal records — most whites are in prison for non-violent crimes — and even less with any allegedly “terrorist” activities. We become STG members simply because we have shown white solidarity.
The STG database is supposed to be available only to law enforcement agencies, and other officially approved groups. It is my impression that organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League may have access to it because they are supposed to be fighting “racism.” As you can see, the STG designation causes big problems for prisoners.
Why, then, do we join prison gangs? Prison administrators will tell you it is because we are “racists,” “hate-mongers,” and — always the most potent — “Nazis.” They will tell you we want to participate in organized crime and overthrow the government, and that we believe in crazy conspiracy theories. To be fair, there are a few gang members who fit this mold. However, whites start and join prison gangs for none of these reasons. White gangs have very little real structure and engage in very few organized activities inside prison, much less beyond prison walls. I know. For several years, I was a high-ranking member in one of the largest white prison gangs in Texas (see page 8).
The number-one reason whites join prison gangs has nothing to do with criminal intent, ideology, or even racial views. They join for survival.
In prison, whites are a minority, especially in high-security and violent areas. As a result, other groups — especially blacks — prey on them. I am not talking about the normal advantage-seeking that characterizes most groups when they are in the majority. I am talking about a palpable, usually violent hatred of whites commonly shown by blacks and other non-whites as soon as they get an edge on whites. Whites have to make common cause with each other for protection.
Whites in jail — and even more so in prison — are set upon as soon as they walk through the door. Most whites, especially younger ones, are completely unprepared. Most have no experience of violence beyond a few school-yard fights. They have an ingrained sense of fair play. They have had only the most superficial interaction with people of other races. They have also been brainwashed to think we are all the same and “racially equal.” They are in for a painful education.
|In prison, whites learn very quickly that they need a racial consciousness in order to survive. That is just as forbidden here as it is on the outside, so we are the ones who are punished because of racial conflict.|
If he is very lucky, a new convict quickly gets the help of an older, more experienced white man who can prepare him for what is to come. This older man is usually a member of a gang, though the authorities have not yet confirmed him as one. That is why he is still in the general population. Usually, though, youngsters are simply thrown to the wolves. They are subjected to intimidation, coercion, threats of rape and beatings, and eventually, inevitably, they are attacked. It’s not a matter of if whites will face attacks, but of when, how often, and how we deal with them.
As much as it pains me to write this, not all of our young men have a warrior instinct. Many break weak in the face of terrifying odds and end up “riding.” This means they have “a man” — usually black — to whom they “pay protection” in the form of commissary money and/or sexual submission. You can imagine the ridicule and degradation.
Not all whites break weak. Many stand up for themselves, which means they must fight against odds that are always stacked against them. There is essentially no chance for diplomacy or compromise, since many blacks and others see prison as their chance to get back at the white man.
Attacks often come in the form of a “back door.” A group of non-whites will surround a white and take turns attacking him. Every minute or so a fresh one takes over the fight, never giving the white a chance to rest. Eventually he is so worn out and beaten that he can hardly raise his fists, much less defend himself. Another form of assault is the “clique action,” in which the whole group attacks the white man all at once.
These are the most common forms of attack. It is very seldom an honorable, one-on-one attack because their sole intention is either to hurt the white man or make him break weak so they can show dominance over him. Another reason blacks avoid a fair fight with a white is that they cannot stand the stigma of being beaten by a white. They are supposed to think all whites are weak so to lose to one is deeply humiliating. Whites who stand up for themselves therefore face severe beatings against very bad odds. They may suffer permanent damage and even death.
Some men are more vulnerable than others. They may be effeminate or have no ability to fight. Some men are better at talking their way out of trouble than others. Gang members, of course, are usually left alone because of the threat of retaliation by other members.
Some men, out of desperation, arm themselves with a “shank” or home-made knife (see sidebar, “Shank Culture”). This is effective because, for whatever reason, blacks, especially, are afraid of being stabbed or cut. This is a risky strategy, though, because it is a serious infraction to be caught with a weapon, and often results in criminal charges. Can you imagine the frenzy of righteous indignation whenever a white, “racist,” “hate-group” member stabs a minority? Needless to say, it does not matter that he was usually left with no choice if he was not to part with his last shred of dignity.
I would say 80 percent of blacks and Hispanics are already members of street or prison gangs when they get here. Thus they already have a group to which they can turn for protection. Almost no whites are members of anything when they arrive, but a large majority end up joining. They see that the only whites who have some security either carry a shank or are members of gangs that will fight for each other — in short whites whom the other races fear. It’s only natural for these young whites to try to make their lives easier.
I cannot think of a single white gang here in Texas prisons that started on the outside. That is simply not the way the vast majority of our people live. And even now, after many years of existence, essentially none of these gangs has any true organization beyond these walls. This is not the case with the non-white gangs. The Crips, Bloods, Gangster Disciples, Mexican Mafia, Texas Syndicate, Raza United, and Azteca — just to name a few — are vast criminal empires. Most started outside prison as criminal gangs and simply maintain their structure on both sides of the wall.
White gangs are lumped in with criminal gangs of this kind, but even worse, they are the only ones labeled as “racist” or “supremacist.” So the irony is that although most of the blacks and Hispanics come here as full members of racially exclusive street/prison gangs who hate whites, we are the ones who are called “haters.”
The administration understands this, of course, but claims it has no control over how they classify us. At the same time, most of the lower-level guards are non-whites who share the same enmity towards us as the other prisoners.
The courts have ruled that no matter how much sense it would make to separate prisoners by race, that is impossible because it would be discrimination against minorities. It does not matter that whites are the ones who suffer most from integration, society must protect the “civil rights” of those who prey on us. The irony is that most of the young whites who suddenly find themselves in this hell never had a “racist” or “hateful” thought until they came to prison and learned the truth.
Whites therefore join prison gangs because they want to survive. They need comrades in a hostile world. They are knowingly put in a position in which, in order to survive with any dignity or self-respect, they must take steps that will leave them labeled as “haters” and even “terrorists.”
There are other consequences. No one in seg can take part in rehabilitation — no education, job training, or drug abuse programs for us. Since all candidates for parole are expected to have gone through programs of this kind, the consequence is that as a “confirmed” gang member in seg, I have no chance of parole. At the same time, all the experts will tell you that training of this kind helps inmates return to society, but there is none of that for us.
I should point out that Hispanic gang members, like whites, are automatically classified as members of STGs. For reason not clear to me, members of black gangs are not automatically classified as members of STGs, and therefore are not automatically put in seg. Because they remain in the general population, blacks are usually required to take rehab classes, and this helps their reintegration into society — at least for those who want to go straight. Their chances of parole are also much better simply because they are not in seg and are not listed as part of an STG.
This “hate group” and “racist” label makes it hard for us to find work after release, and it also has an effect on our access to various government programs. And this is all because we chose to stand and fight against the hatred of those who blame the white race for every failure of their own race.
I assume that non-whites go into the STG database too, but less frequently than whites. Gang Intelligence (GI) officers have told me that because we are the “racists” and “haters” we are the troublemakers and have to be tracked even after we are released. It suits the staff to go along with the myth that racial trouble all comes from white “haters.”
The policy is really the same here as it is in the rest of society. It is perfectly normal for blacks, especially, to hate whites, so no one pays special attention to it. In prison, whites learn very quickly that they need a racial consciousness in order to survive. That is just as forbidden here as it is on the outside, so we are the ones who suffer most from racial conflict. Whites who never thought in terms of race are forced to do so once they get here — and are then punished for something that was forced on them by blacks and Hispanics who had a strong racial consciousness long before they were even arrested. Don’t even get me started on how unfair this is and what we must go through on account of this malicious double standard.
Many people believe that since we are criminals, we have put ourselves in this situation and deserve whatever we get. I agree that we are responsible for our own actions and their consequences. I can’t tell you how sick I am of people who prey on society and then start screaming about “rights” once they get here. Blacks are notorious for this. But it is wrong to force integration on prisoners and then punish whites for doing — belatedly and less effectively — what the others have been doing all along.
Whether he realized it or not, when Mr. Jackson was describing black students, he was describing black adults, too. Most whites never see blacks except at work. They never see blacks in groups or in their own neighborhoods. At work, blacks seem polite and normal. However, once the requirements of the job are lifted they are likely to behave differently. What Mr. Jackson described in his students is what you could call the natural state of blacks and it follows many of them into adulthood.
You will perhaps have noticed that even black politicians and teachers find it hard to speak standard English, to use grammar correctly, or to structure their sentences properly. Many use multi-syllabic words completely out of context in an attempt to sound more educated.
But black behavior can go much deeper than language, and when the rules of white society are lifted, different patterns emerge. Mr. Jackson wrote about the overt sexuality of black boys, of how boldly they approach white girls. In prison their sexuality is almost out of control. I am no prude, and believe that what two heterosexuals do voluntarily is their business. However, there are commonly accepted sexual proprieties that many blacks ignore.
It is always easy to tell when a female guard, nurse, clerk, etc. is walking the hall because of the tremendous noise that follows her. Blacks will stand in the doors of their cells or line the windows three or four deep, screaming and yelling sexual suggestions and abuse. All women get this treatment: old, young, attractive, homely. Even grandmotherly types who are doing something that benefits inmates, like passing out mail, get the same treatment. Blacks honestly seem to believe that all women, especially white women, are sluts. “Dem hos be want dat nigga dick!”
Sexual aggressiveness doesn’t end with yelling. Blacks expose themselves and masturbate at the sight of these women, whether it is in the infirmary, in the day room, in the chow hall, in church, in their cells with their cellies, on the sidewalk, or in a group. They ejaculate through the bars, on the floor, against the walls. They seem to have no idea how repulsive they are. Whites — at least the ones who stand up for themselves — will not put up with this kind of public perversity, and it has been the cause of plenty of riots.
A few women seem to enjoy the attention. Some encourage the men by talking dirty or helping them masturbate. Some even have intercourse with prisoners. They may do this in exchange for stamps, which they used to be able to turn in at the post office for money, or even just for a candy bar or a soda. These are extreme cases, and they are usually black women. Most blacks at least seem to take the screaming in stride, and even pride themselves on being “down.”
When there are no women to leer at, blacks spend hours talking about which women are “good” for which purposes, how to lure female guards into areas where they can be seen, what strokes are best for masturbation, which are the best lubricants, etc. Blacks who masturbate in public call each other “gun slingers” and “jack artists.”
|Aftermath of a California prison riot.|
Blacks will sometimes masturbate in the shower area while they stare at a man’s buttocks. I assume they are fantasizing about having sex with the man. This kind of thing has led to many fights.
Technically there are rules against masturbating in public and theoretically it can bring criminal action. However, this happens only if a guard wants to go to the trouble of pressing charges and a prosecutor agrees to take the case. Most of the time, the DA would think it was a waste of taxpayers’ money.
When guards see men masturbating they will usually stop it, at least while they are in the area, but take no disciplinary action. It is so common among blacks that the guards just don’t have the time or energy to do all the paperwork it would take to enforce the rules. Most of the female guards simply learn to tolerate it or overlook it. I’ve seen plenty of white women work here for just a few days, before they break down and quit. The vast majority of guards are black, especially the women.
Finally, since you are wondering, I will tell you what I am in here for: drugs. This is my third time in prison. My first jailing I can more or less excuse as the act of a crazy 17-year-old high on drugs: In 1984 I robbed a dope house. The second time was in 1995 when I did a deal on the spur of the moment, trying to help out a friend. This time I really have no excuse. A few years ago I started using again and got strung out on methamphetamines. I never thought I could get strung out, since I have always considered myself a strong-minded person, but it happened. I had a successful construction business, a good life, and the best woman a man could hope for — that’s finished now — and I threw it all away for dope.
My charges are a little complicated, but they all have to do with drugs. I’m serving eight concurrent five-year sentences, which is like doing one five-year sentence. I have done about a year and a half, and although I am theoretically up for parole every year, as I explained, I have essentially no chance for parole and no change of getting out of seg.
However, the point of this article is not to write about me. It is to write about what some of us who are already racial minorities have to live with. Our enemies assert that it is nothing but circumstances that make people bad. Nonsense.
There are millions of white men and women in America who have no idea what we are facing. They can afford their delusions because they can still live their lives more or less apart from people of other races. I can imagine America in 50 years when we are a minority and have lost all power. God help us then!
I am well aware of the Hollywood stereotype of prisoners: They all run around with shanks, stabbing each other. That’s not the case, at least in Texas, and I doubt other states are much different. There are criminal penalties for having a weapon and stabbing someone is a serious offense. Hispanics are more likely to carry and use knives — that just seems to be their nature.
Whites mainly want to be left alone and will arm themselves only as a last resort in self defense. Even blacks are reluctant to use knives or face someone who has one, even though they are generally the most violent. Often the mere threat of using a knife prevents trouble.
I have a story from years ago when I was in the general population. There had been tension with blacks — a very common thing — and we fully expected a riot to break out in the recreation or “rec” yard. At that time we often buried shanks in the dirt part of the rec yard so they would be available in case of trouble. It was too risky to carry a knife or keep one in your quarters, and the rec yard was where there was most likely to be fighting.
These hidden shanks were no secret to the other inmates or even the staff, and from time to time guards swept the yard with metal detectors. On that day, when we got out on the rec yard, it was only me and two other whites — only two others who were prepared to fight, anyway — facing 60 or 70 blacks. I don’t know how many it would have taken to whip the three of us, but I know they were all going to attack us!
My brothers and I immediately went for the shanks, but they were gone! The staff had swept the field. We assumed we were in for a severe beating, with or without the shanks. We decided we had nothing to lose, however, if we decided to act as if we had found them. We walked boldly up to the leaders and made our demand (one of them had stolen a brother’s radio, and we wanted it back). The whole time, we kept our hands in our pants as if we were carrying knives — and they bought it. The three of us made the whole pack of them back down. It makes a good story now, but I was scared to death.
Unfortunately, far more often than not, when you are outnumbered there is no way to face down an attack. But it shows you how valuable the mere threat of a weapon can be.
When we offered to pay Mr. Lacy our usual fee for this article, he pointed out that because he was fined for his offense, 10 percent of any money entering his criminal account is applied to the fine. Because he was sentenced in 2008 to eight concurrent five-year sentences, 10 percent is taken out for each sentence, leaving only 20 percent for Mr. Lacy. Instead, he asked for books and a subscription to AR. Readers may write to Mr. Lacy, care of AR.
Administrative Segregation is just a fancy name for what people used to call solitary confinement. The idea is to reduce direct, physical contact with guards or other inmates to zero.
To begin with, we do not go to the chow hall for meals. They make up trays for us in the kitchen, roll them down the halls in “hot boxes,” and bring them to our cells in open tray carriers. Usually, by the time they push it through the slot in my door, the food is cold.
The only times we leave our cells are for showers and visits to the recreation or “rec” yard. We are supposed to get a shower every day and two hours of rec five days a week. I have been on this unit a year and a half, and I have never seen rec four times a week, much less five. Usually, it’s two days. Sometimes we don’t get a shower every day, either. The guards say it is because of staffing shortages.
Maybe there are shortages because it takes a lot of work to move us around. We go out one at a time. Whenever we leave a cell — for whatever reason — we are strip searched. We must then turn our backs to the door and put our hands out backwards through the food slot. Only then does a guard open the door. Wherever we go we are escorted by one or two guards armed with riot batons and mace. They treat us this way because seg is supposed to be only for violent, dangerous inmates. The reality is that most of the whites are here for no reason other than STG status (see main story).
Going to rec is like moving from one cage to another. The rec yard is a box made of steel posts and chain link fencing. It is under a pavilion, so you can’t even get any sun. You are in there by yourself with nothing but a basketball goal and a ball — usually flat. They replace the balls maybe once a year.
In the winter, hardly anyone goes to rec or even to the shower. It’s freezing cold at rec, and the water is ice cold in the shower. The water is cold in our cells, too, but we can heat it. They sell hot-pots in the commissary or we can use home-made heating elements. Even in the summer, many men bathe in their cells. They find it degrading to be strip-searched just to go 30 feet down the hall where guards — male and female — watch you take a shower. Where do we bathe in our cells? In the toilet, actually. Believe, me we keep our toilets clean — well, most of us do.
I’m in a unit of 61 cells — one man per cell. The amount of isolation can vary from unit to unit, but in most units you can at least talk to your neighbors even if you can’t see them. I’m in a “good” wing. There is only one black — except one more moved in today. We have established rules among ourselves and maintain a certain level of respect. Usually that is not possible if there are many blacks in the unit. They spend hour after hour screaming and arguing, or they use the walls or bunks like drums, in what is called “busting a beat.” They also like to yell rap lyrics as loud as they can. Don’t forget: the unit is made mostly of concrete and steel, so noise carries. Most people are astonished to learn that “administrative segregation” units can be terrifically noisy, but in our unit we have relative calm most of the time. We can talk to each other.
What do we do in seg? There is no television and no telephone. You are allowed books, magazines, and other reading matter, but you have to supply most of that yourself. There is a library in the prison system, and you are allowed one book a week. If you are lucky you get one about every two weeks. For anything more than that you need money for subscriptions and purchases from outside. Most of us don’t have money; we are not paid to work in Texas prisons, and you can’t work in seg, anyway. This means reading material is swapped, traded, sold, etc. until it is falling apart. As you can imagine, any pro-white material is very hard to come by, especially anything new or up to date.
How do I spend my time? I do a lot of reading and writing. I don’t have a computer or a typewriter so I write by hand. When I don’t have someone to write to, I usually have some writing project going. I exercise. I draw — not that I’m an artist. I like to play chess when I can find someone who plays. We number each square and call out our moves to each other.
That’s me, though. Every man has to find his own way of dealing with seg, and some just can’t. It affects everyone one way or another. After years of seg, many find they can’t carry on a conversation or deal with people normally.
How do you get out of seg? For people who are here for real, disciplinary reasons I think they get a review every six months, or it may be every year. But once you are a “confirmed” gang member, you are pretty much back here for the rest of your sentence. In Texas, the only way to get out is through GRAD, or the Gang Renouncement and Disassociation program. Honestly, it’s a joke.
There is a two-year investigation period that begins when you tell them you are no longer a gang member. During those two years, the GI (Gang Intelligence officer) will monitor your mail and literally tear your cell apart looking for incriminating material. If you send or receive anything “questionable” you fail the investigation and are out of the program for good.
|Many men find it degrading to be strip-searched just to go 30 feet down the hall where guards — male and female — watch you take a shower.|
Here’s an example of how it works: I wrote my father a normal, family-oriented letter. It was deemed to be a “gang related” letter written in code. Believe me, my father has absolutely nothing to do with gangs or criminal activity. I asked the GI what the letter really meant, if it was written in code. He said they hadn’t broken the code, so they didn’t know. Then, of course, I wanted to know how the hell they even knew it was in code, if they couldn’t break the code? I mean, how much could I hide in “I love you, Dad”? This sort of thing happens all the time.
Possessing a copy of American Renaissance would be enough to wash me out of the investigation, as would any correspondence with AR’s editor. But don’t worry, I gave up on GRAD long ago. I’ll be back here for the duration, just like most of the other white guys who are classified STG.
The Prison Gang: Aryan Circle
At one time I was a high-ranking member in the Aryan Circle (AC) prison gang. I joined as one of the original 100 members back in late 1987 or early 1988. AC is now several thousand strong, and although it has some presence in other states, it is still mainly a Texas organization. We started the gang to protect whites. At that time, the only other white gang was the Aryan Brotherhood, and it did not protect all whites on principle; often it helped non-whites prey on whites who were not in the brotherhood.
AC began with high aspirations. Its stated goal was: “The betterment and advancement of the white race,” and it was supposed to embody the principles of “love, loyalty, honor, and respect.” The original members actually lived by these ideals, but as AC grew, it sacrificed quality for numbers. Gradually, it evolved more towards a criminal/gang-banging mentality. This was especially true for the younger men. They had it easier than we did because we had already done the initial organizing, and they wanted to go in a different direction. On paper, the goals and principles remain the same, but the reality is far different.
My highest rank in the gang was director, which is the fifth highest rank in AC. For a short while, I was vice president — the next rank up — but I didn’t really act as a vice president. I resigned not long after the promotion, so I don’t claim that rank. As a director, I was responsible for administration — keeping things organized and keeping everyone informed of policy, changes in rank, etc. I was also in charge of “special projects,” many of which I started myself. These included an education department, a legal action team, and release orientation. Release orientation is important because prisoners have to know how to support themselves legally when they get out. In the mid- and late 1990s we were actually making good progress in these areas, but those programs are just memories now.
I left Aryan Circle in 2000. There was violence within the gang, and an increasingly criminal, dope-oriented way of life. Cut-throat, back-stabbing prison politics were wearing me down. Unfortunately, I had invested a lot in AC, and after my release I got back in touch with many of the brothers. That was what got me involved with drugs and back in prison, where I am now. I was still trying to support the original ideology, but most of the men were going in a different direction and I got dragged along. I’m not trying to make excuses; that’s just what happened. I am still in contact with some members but I have nothing to do with them as an organization.
Aryan Brotherhood and Aryan Circle are the biggest white gangs, certainly in Texas, but there are some smaller ones that have sprung up over the years. There are some good men in all of them. Most, to one degree or another, promote a pro-white identification, and give white prisoners a group to which they can belong. Most of the time they do make things easier for young, naive whites just coming in to the system. But, at the same time, they are run by criminals and they steer people in unhealthy directions.
I was too idealistic. I thought AC could be a positive influence for our cause, to help prisoners become honorable, racially conscious white people who could get out of prison and change their lives. I was wrong.
The fact is, if you go fishing in a septic tank you are usually going to come up with waste. If you build an organization from a certain type of people you’ll get predictable results. Unfortunately, it took me many years — many wasted years — to realize this. There are still some honorable men in these gangs but they are fighting a losing battle.
I have thought of writing a book about white prison gangs, about the dangers and advantages of joining one. I’d like to open the eyes of current white gang members to the destructive nature of what they are doing. I’d like somehow to get through to them that they have a responsibility and an opportunity. If they can have a positive influence on whites inside prison, they could have an effect on the outside, too.
A Christian reappraisal of the Old South.
Gary Lee Roper, Antebellum Slavery: An Orthodox Christian View, Xlibris, 2009, 329 pp., $29.99 ($19.99 softcover).
Something about the contemporary American South puzzles me: How can Southerners, whose liberal attitudes about race and historical interpretation put them comfortably in the national mainstream, condemn their ancestors’ practice of African slavery while still revering their region’s antebellum culture and the heroism of the men and women who defended it during the Civil War? The short answer is that the New Southerners — and there seem to remain few Southerners of the unreformed kind — cannot sustain this balancing act, just as no decent person can admire the ingenuity and panache with which a pedophile seduces his victims. Even the ostensible nobility of Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson becomes venal and ugly when seen as a buttress to the allegedly absolute evil that was slavery.
I believe the future of Southerners as a self-identified people requires them to come to terms with their slavery-based past in some way other than by repudiating it. They must, in other words, undertake a moral rehabilitation of historical Southern slavery. To this end, Rev. Gary Lee Roper has written Antebellum Slavery: An Orthodox Christian View. As he explains:
“The partisans who write books praising the virtues of the South and our glorious heroes more often than not fall all over themselves apologizing for slavery. I repeat, if our ancestors — who were citizens of the antebellum South, slaveholders or nonslaveholders — necessitated us, their descendants, to make copious apologies for a culture they all tolerated, those ancestors deserve only our contempt not our adulation.” (Italics in original.)
Rev. Roper offers us history of the best kind. This book is about the past, informed by a present-day perspective, and meant to further the author’s aspirations for the future. Rev. Roper sees a lethal threat to Southerners in their widely felt need to apologize for slavery. In his view, apologies themselves are immoral acts; they voice regrets for an institution that was not evil in his view and therefore does not now require retrospective penitence.
Rev. Roper argues from the Bible that slavery is not morally objectionable. He writes that like all legitimate institutions, including the family and government, it is subject to abuse, but it is not on that account inherently depraved. Although secular critics will disagree, Rev. Roper writes that slavery came into being because of man’s fallen nature and is a condition that results from Original Sin.
|Rev. Roper says this was the exception.|
Most Christians today reject Rev. Roper’s Christian defense of slavery. Hilaire Belloc was among those who argued that the whole tenor of Christianity goes against affording slavery the slightest moral status. This is ahistorical nonsense. Rev. Roper conclusively shows that both the Old and New Testaments accepted slavery without qualifications. Particularly instructive is St. Paul’s admonition to a runaway slave, Onesimus, to return to his Christian owner.
The history of the Church confirms Rev. Roper’s inferences drawn from the Bible. Neither the early Church Fathers nor the Church Councils nor hardly any Christian authorities until about 1800 denounced slavery as an immoral institution. Rev. Roper refutes the view that early Christians merely tolerated Roman slavery in order to avoid persecution. Christians were prepared to face a martyr’s death by refusing to honor heathen idols. If slavery were the moral absolute that modern Christians claim it is, the early Christians could have condemned it as readily as they did pagan worship. They did not.
Readers determined to be unreceptive to Rev. Roper’s book accept the conventional view that Southern slavery was uniquely wrong because, as a racially based system of chattel slavery, it perpetrated worse outrages than did other kinds of forced servitude. Rev. Roper debunks this myth with much evidence and cogent argument.
First, there is the testimony of the former slaves themselves. From 1936 to 1938, more than 2,300 were interviewed as part of the Depression Era’s Federal Writers’ Project. Much to the consternation of the government’s liberal interviewers, 86 percent of comments about former slave masters were positive (for a sample of these findings, see “Forgotten Black Voices,” AR, Sept.-Oct. 1993). Many facts render these comments credible.
Black families were not often separated. Children were sometimes sold away from parents, and spouses were occasionally separated, but comprehensive sales records from 1804 to 1862 for the city of New Orleans, the largest market in the South’s inter-regional trade, show that this was very unusual. Rev. Roper notes that white families in the North also suffered involuntary breakups because of financial panics and factory layoffs.
Contrary to myth, family life in most slave households was patriarchal, strong, and stable — exactly as the owners wanted. Sexual morality was strict, even among unmarried adults. To the extent that valid comparisons are possible, Rev. Roper shows that domestic violence in slave households was probably less than among blacks today. The illegitimacy rate was certainly much lower.
|It was not only Southerners who argued that white factory workers ...|
Were slaves not routinely beaten, poorly fed, and treated badly? No. Beatings only made slaves sullen and hostile. Rev. Roper explains that good treatment and incentives, including cash, worked better. Some planters even shared profits with their slaves. Nor were work demands nearly as onerous as Hollywood suggests. On most plantations, very little work was done in August because of the crop cycle and the summer heat. August became a time of relative relaxation, with barn dances, church meetings, opportunities for courtship, etc.
The slave diet was generally nutritious. A typical slave received about six ounces of meat daily. According to several modern scholars whom Rev. Roper cites, the slave diet exceeded today’s government dietary standards.
Rev. Roper convincingly argues that Southern slavery was not even remotely akin to the “work-them-to-death” pattern of slavery in other contexts, such as the mines of classical antiquity, the North-African galleys and farms, or the plantations of French-ruled Haiti. Slavery in the old South was not an easy life, but neither was that of Northern workers. In 1858, Senator James Hammond of South Carolina replied to a Northern attack on Southern slavery by arguing that so-called free workers were really no different from slaves. “The sole difference,” he said, “is that our slaves are hired for life and well compensated. . . . Yours are hired by the day, not cared for, and most scantily compensated.”
|... were no better off than Southern slaves.|
Some Northern workers agreed. In 1834, one bitter white worker expressed his resentment of upper-class white women in verse:
Their tender hearts were sighing
As the negro’s wrongs were told
While the white slave was dying
Who gained their father’s gold.
|From the Rwandan genocide.|
Northerners made moral arguments for abolition but capitalists had other reasons for it. Many thought slaves had too much leisure, and believed more work could be wrung out of them as free laborers than as slaves.
Rev. Roper argues that Southern slavery not only avoided being superlatively awful, it was advantageous to blacks. Here his case is such an assault on mainstream thinking that some readers will have to make an effort to remain open-minded. Rev. Roper writes that slavery’s main benefit was to bring slaves to Christianity. He also notes that slavery in Africa was widespread, of longer standing, and could be far more cruel than American slavery. For example, on the death of Freempoony, king of the West African Akim tribe, his followers reportedly broke the bones of several thousand of his slaves and buried them alive. (Rev. Roper cites a 19th century source but does not say when this incident occurred.)
The contemporary benefit, Rev. Roper asserts, is the quality of life enjoyed by today’s descendents of slaves. Rev. Roper was witness to starving children during travels with a missionary in Africa, and readers are no doubt aware of atrocities committed in Darfur and of the recently ended civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Is it so outrageous to think that the American progeny of slavery are better off than if they had been born in Africa?
Rev. Roper’s defense of Southern slavery does not mean he regrets its end. He rejoices in the freedom of blacks, but he writes bitterly about the horrific way in which Divine Providence effected their freedom. His orthodox Christian readers might prefer he were more humble and, if one dare say so, Augustinian in his acceptance of the fruits of Lincoln’s War. St Augustine noted that God often works his will inscrutably through Christian peoples, and surely this includes those on both sides of the slavery divide.
|Better off there or here?|
To be fair, Rev. Roper does sometimes take this view, as when he writes that “God has opened our knowledge to machinery and technology,” thus making slavery obsolete. Machines have replaced animals as well as slaves. An Augustinian would say that God’s influence can be inferred from the scientific and industrial revolutions that arose, not coincidentally, in the Christian West.
Nonreligious readers, among whom I count myself, would appreciate an expansion of Rev. Roper’s arguments beyond his Biblical approach. He could have cited the work on racial differences of such authorities as Arthur Jensen, Richard Lynn, Philippe Rushton, and Michael Levin. These race realists argue that innate, genetically rooted differences in intelligence and individual character help explain both interracial relations and cultural/behavioral differences between races. This perspective supports many of Rev. Roper’s observations about how Southern antebellum slavery actually worked.
Rev. Roper may have chosen not to include this perspective because he clearly disdains naturalistic interpretations of human affairs. He may also feel that race realism threatens to undermine the Christian promise of universal brotherhood in Christ. Finally, Rev. Roper may fear — perhaps not correctly — that the conclusions of the race realists would offend blacks, a people for whom he bears no ill will and, instead, seems to have a high regard.
Unfortunately, the excellent content of Antebellum Slavery is not always well edited. There is repetition and too many errors in grammar and punctuation. Numerous digressions also detract from the book. A two-page diatribe against Horace Mann’s educational philosophy adds nothing to a discussion of the abolitionists. Similarly, an account of deplorable conditions in modern Haiti is not relevant to Southern slavery, although Rev. Roper could have put this in the wider context of race realism.
Readers will be well rewarded, however, if they focus on the essential arguments of Antebellum Slavery. This fearless and unequivocal defense of the Old South will be useful for all who seek to understand the fallacy of apologizing for slavery, and Rev. Roper has taken an important step toward restoring the self-respect not only of Southern whites but all Americans. Rightly understood, Antebellum Slavery fosters legitimate pride in blacks as well as whites; unwarranted, morally flawed apologies benefit no one.
Mr. Woltermann lives in Fort Recovery, Ohio.
How the Army’s Equal Opportunity Program Saved Me From Myself
I have been wrong my whole life. It took me 36 years to figure it out. Now I am ashamed of myself. In fact, I am not just ashamed of myself, I am also ashamed of my race: the white race. I sincerely want to thank the Army’s Equal Opportunity program for finally showing me the way.
I grew up in Austin, Texas, in a mostly Mexican-American neighborhood. Many of my childhood friends are Mexican-American, as is my stepfather. My stepfather, my friends, and my parents’ friends all welcomed me with open arms. Because of the school busing program in Texas, I was bused to a majority-black high school. The school and students welcomed me with open arms.
| Brigadier General Belinda Pinckney, director
of the Army Diversity Task Force.
Before I joined the Army in October 1993, my friends were mostly of Mexican heritage, some were black, and fewer were white. We all got along. We all knew we were of different races, but we didn’t care. All we cared about were sports and girls. Many years later, I married a Korean woman and now we have two children. Race was not a factor in my life.
That all changed when I joined the Army in 1993. From the beginning, I was introduced to the Army’s Equal Opportunity program. I was taught that only white soldiers where capable of racism and that minorities had to be on the lookout for white racism at all times, everywhere. I expressed doubts about that to the black EO advisor, but she persisted in saying that whites were inherently guilty of racism while minorities were incapable of it. I thought about that lesson for years but I didn’t believe it.
Later, on during an assignment in Korea, another black EO advisor told me the same thing. Eventually, I approached my brigade EO advisor about this question. She said the same thing: Only whites can be racist and minorities are incapable of racism. In fact, she even accused me of racism for bringing up the subject.
For eight months, I researched Army regulations and publications to determine where the EO advisors were getting this idea. I found out that the Army’s definition of racism actually excludes minorities from the possibility of being racist. The definitions of discrimination and prejudice exclude minorities. At the time, I believed the Army’s EO program was wrong. I thought all people, regardless of race, could be racist. I brought my concerns to many EO advisors, but all said the same thing: only whites can be racist, and minorities can only be victims of racism. One particular senior EO advisor told me, “It’s not in the nature of blacks to be racist.”
I continued my research. I found the Army’s Equal Opportunity Representative Course. Studying it, I learned that the course is filled with example after example of how the white race contributed little or nothing to American history and society. The course teaches that a substantial number of inventions claimed by white people were actually stolen from black inventors. The course mentioned in passing that in colonial times whites “took better care of their cows than their own children.”
I was outraged. I voiced my concerns to my brigade/base EO advisor, but she accused me of racism simply for bringing up the matter. I attempted to file a formal EO complaint against the US Army EO program because of its teachings, but the EO community refused to permit it. I made several attempts to file complaints, but no one would hear of it, including my own chain of command. My brigade commander told me to stop communicating with the EO office.
|Since I am racist because I am white, by extension, this means all other white soldiers are also racist.|
Eventually, I tried to file an Inspector General (IG) complaint about the inequalities of the Army’s EO program. I explained how my chain of command refused to accept a formal EO complaint from me and how the Army’s EO program violates its own policies of promising equal treatment to people of all races. The IG wrote to tell me that my IG complaint had been referred to the very organization about which I was complaining: the Army EO program. The Army IG let the Army EO program decide whether or not its own program was guilty. Needless to say, I never heard back from the IG office or the EO program.
Shortly after my last EO complaint attempt, I sat in on an EO class given by the brigade/base EO advisor. Again, the message was consistent: Whites are always, without exception, guilty of racism. Many white soldiers approached me after the class to tell me how guilty they felt. The class was clearly a great success! I continued my research.
I discovered more than a dozen Army EO documents dating back to 1962. According to the EO documents from the 1960s and 1970s, anyone could be racist. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the definition of racism was changed so that it applied only to whites.
I began a transformation. I learned that whites have built “white privilege” policies into the Army, and that whites still benefit from them. Thanks to President Obama, his nominee for the Supreme Court taught me that white males are inferior to Latinas. Former President Carter even said a few days ago, “There is an inherent feeling among many in this country [he later said he meant white people] that an African-American should not be president.” Translation: white Americans are inherently racist.
|Be all you can be.|
For the last four months, I have studied the Army’s EO program harder than ever. I have finally found the truth. Yes, I am racist. I am racist because of the color of my skin, not because of anything I did or said.
Since I am racist because I am white, by extension, this means all other white soldiers are racist. All white soldiers must therefore be investigated in accordance with Army policy. Racism is not tolerated in the Army. Therefore, white soldiers should not be tolerated in the Army.
I never paid attention to race until I joined the Army. Now, I see race in everything. After several years, I have come to my senses. Now I realize that I am the problem, not the Army’s EO program. Now I believe, as the EO program teaches, that I am ultimately responsible for all the ills faced by minorities. I am heartily ashamed of myself. I am certain that the Army’s EO program is proud to hear me say that. After all, isn’t it one of the objectives of the Army’s EO program to blame whites for all of society’s ills? Thankfully, it worked for me. My new mission is to help the Army’s EO program so it can work for all other soldiers.
The author has served in the Army for 16 years and holds the rank of Chief Warrant Officer.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
Prisoners Reach Out
After the US Supreme Court ordered an end to California’s limited use of segregation in its prisons in 2005, Joshua Englehart, a former inmate of San Quentin, wrote in the Los Angeles Times that “mixing races and ethnic groups in cells would be extremely dangerous for inmates.” Mr. Engelhart noted that segregation “is looked on by no one — of any race — as oppressive or as a way of promoting racism. It is done for their own safety, and they know it ... This ruling will strike dread in the hearts of all California inmates when they read about it.” (see “California Prison Segregation to End,” AR, May 2005.) Events have proven him right.
The California Institution for Men in Chino is about 40 miles east of Los Angeles, and has been struggling to implement the Supreme Court decision. Prison spokesman Lt. Mark Hargrove explains that because of the ruling, more white, black, and Hispanic inmates are being forced to share cells, which has led to more racial tension.
|The fruits of integration.|
On August 8, a fight broke out between black and Hispanic inmates in a 200-man dormitory, and guards were quickly overwhelmed. They pulled back and sounded the alarm as violence spread to the entire facility. Thirty minutes later, an 80-man crisis team arrived, but there was so much violence — hand-to-hand-fighting, mainly between black and Hispanic gang members — that they dared not go in. They watched as prisoners built barricades out of furniture and fought in the prison yards and on rooftops. The next day, after 11 hours of fighting, guards were finally able to control the exhausted prisoners.
The riot injured 250 inmates, and sent 55 to the hospital. Remarkably, no one was killed, nor were any guards hurt. Lt. Hargrove said prisoners smashed windows, tore down gates, and used whatever they could as weapons. “Inmates broke out glass and used shards as knives,” he explained. “They used pieces of metal, wood, whatever they could break off the walls, pipes.” He noted that while there were injuries among all races, “there are a greater number of injuries among Hispanic and black inmates.” Prisoners completely burned down one dormitory and damaged others so badly they were uninhabitable. The prison put some inmates in tents and sent others to nearby prisons. [Solomon Moore, Hundreds Hurt in California Prison Riot, New York Times, Aug. 9, 2009.]
Tale of Two Illegals
Carlos F. Boc, 29, is a Guatemalan who entered the US illegally from Mexico when he was 16, and has lived here ever since, most recently in Framingham, Massachusetts. Out of work, broke, and with no place to live, Mr. Boc turned himself in to the Framingham police and asked for help to go home. He showed a false birth certificate, a stolen social security number, and a driver’s license with his picture but another man’s information. Mr. Boc said he had stolen his former roommate’s identification after the man moved back to Puerto Rico two years ago. The officer on duty arrested him on charges of identity fraud and forgery, felonies that subject Mr. Boc to deportation. At trial he plans to plead guilty and not to protest his deportation order — a happy ending, though the taxpayer will still pay for his air ticket. [Norman Miller, Identity Theft Suspect Hopes to be Deported for Trip Home, MetroWest Daily News (Framingham), Sept. 29, 2009.]
Jorge-Alonso Chehade is also an illegal alien. He came to the US from Peru on a tourist visa with his parents and stayed. He enrolled (illegally) in high school and went on (illegally) to the University of Washington. In March, he visited Bellingham, Washington, but ended up going north on Interstate 5, rather than south. He realized his mistake only after the last exit before the Canadian border. Unable to turn around, Mr. Chehade had to go through customs where he could not prove US citizenship or legal residency.
The Canadians turned him back and the US Border Patrol detained him for two weeks until he posted bail. Unlike Mr. Boc, Mr. Chehade is determined to stay in the US, and has learned how to pull the right strings. He used Facebook to moan about his plight, and also got sympathetic coverage in the Boston Globe and other papers. He is now a poster boy for the DREAM Act, federal legislation pushed by xenophiles that would grant permanent residency to illegals who graduate from college or join the military. Both of Washington’s senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, have written letters on his behalf to immigration authorities, and Washington congressman Jim McDermott has sponsored a private bill asking Congress to grant him residency.
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wants him out. “This individual had ample access to due process and immigration proceedings,” says spokesman Lorie Dankers. “The judge found he did not have a legal basis to remain in the United States. ICE has the responsibility to carry out the judge’s order.” A judge has issued a removal order for Mr. Chehade, meaning he could be arrested at any time. [Manuel Valdes, Wrong Turn on Highway May Lead to Washington Man’s Removal, AP, Oct. 1, 2009.]
Physician, Control Thyself
Cleveland Enmon was a black emergency-room doctor at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton, California. On June 1, Jerry Keith Kubena arrived at the emergency room in cardiac arrest, but Dr. Enmon couldn’t revive him. Kubena was wearing an expensive Rolex wristwatch when he came in. Nurses later noticed the watch was gone, and that there was a wristwatch–shaped bulge under Dr. Enmon’s coat. They called security, who ordered everyone to remain at his station while police investigated. Dr. Enmon ignored the order and walked out of the ER into the parking lot, where a nurse saw him throw the watch into the grass. The hospital fired him, and in August, a grand jury indicted him for grand theft.
In September, Kubena’s adult children filed a wrongful death suit against Dr. Enmon and the hospital, claiming he deliberately let Kubena die so he could steal the watch, and that the hospital revealed the theft but covered up his negligence. [Jason Kobely, Doctor Charged with Stealing Patient’s Rolex, USA Today, Sept. 28, 2009.]
African Family Values
South African law recognizes “traditional” polygamous marriages — the president, Jacob Zuma, has at least three wives, some say four — so a man with a string of wives doesn’t attract attention, unless he marries several at once. Milton Mbhele, 44, a municipal manager, already had at least one wife and 11 children when he married three more women in a single ceremony on September 26. Mr. Mbhele says the joint service saved time and money.
The youngest wife, 23-year-old Smangele Cele, says she won’t mind sharing Mr. Mbhele with three other women. “It is because of the way in which he shows his love for me. He loves me in all ways.” She says the wives will live in separate houses, with their husband rotating in and out, and that she can be friends with the other wives. [Nkemeling Nkosi, South African Man Marries 3 Women at Same Time, AP, Sept. 26, 2009.]
In the previous issue, we noted that Detroit is the only major city in the country without a national chain grocery store. The reason, of course, is that supermarkets cannot make a profit. They spend fortunes on security but there is still too much employee and customer theft. Detroit’s poverty makes it hard to sell high-profit, upscale items, and also gives the city an unusual consumption pattern. Many people buy food only on the first of the month, when welfare arrives, and stay away until the next check comes. Unlike convenience stores, chain grocers cannot easily increase staff just for the busy period.
Another problem is that customers are scared. “Sometimes even the people that live in the neighborhood don’t feel safe shopping in the store,” said supermarket expert David J. Livingston. “They’ll drive right past that Detroit store to go to a suburban store where they feel more comfortable.”
In 2007 there were 155 grocery stores — defined as any place that sold meat and produce — within the city’s 139 square miles. There were also 1,000 convenience stores, including gas stations and liquor stores, that sold some type of food. This helps explain why so many Detroiters eat potato chips rather than nutritious food. Most independent food stores in Detroit are owned and operated by Chaldeans, an Iraqi Christian people.
A 2003 University of Michigan study found that the city should support 41 supermarkets of at least 40,000 square feet of space but that there were only five grocery stores with over 20,000 square feet. [Joel J. Smith and Nathan Hurst, Grocery Closings Hit Detroit Hard, Detroit News, July 5, 2007.]
Parable from Nature
As many as 40,000 ring-necked parakeets live in London and in the southeast of Britain. No one knows exactly how the birds, which are native to the Himalayan foothills, got there (some say they escaped from the soundstage during the filming of “The African Queen” in the 1950s) but they do a lot of damage to native species and crops. Parakeets are 16 inches long (including tail feathers) and can live for 25 years. They are larger and more aggressive than most native birds, so it is easier for them to find food and roosting areas. A flock of a few hundred can destroy a grape crop in a day. Matthew Heydon, who works for Natural England, the government’s conservation agency, says the problem will only get worse as the parakeet population grows and spreads. Natural England has declared the birds a pest and lets landowners shoot them or destroy their nests without a license.
Many animal rights activists liken this to “racism.” “If there is a problem — for example with the birds taking fruit — then we have to take steps to deal with it. If you start to label it as alien then that is some sort of racism. Eco-xenophobia is the label I would use,” says Dr. Ian Rotherham, Director of the Environmental Change Research Unit at Sheffield Hallam University. Matthew Frith, Deputy Chief Executive of the London Wildlife Trust, says the parakeets are as “British as curry,” and agrees it is dangerous to label the birds as a pest “just because they are foreign.” “The biodiversity in our country is a mix of native and non-native just like the social make-up of this country,” he adds.
Natural England chief executive Helen Phillips insists that invaders must be controlled. “Non-native species are a major threat to global biodiversity,” she says. [Louise Gray, Parakeets Cull is Racist, Say Wildlife Experts, Telegraph (London), Oct. 2, 2009. Plan to Legalize Parakeet Shoots Branded ‘Racist’ by Wildlife Experts, Daily Mail (London), Oct. 2, 2009.]
Saving the Japanese
Japan has a population of 127.3 million, but experts says that could drop to 100 million by 2050 unless Japanese have more babies. The total fertility rate — the average number of children each woman has in her lifetime — has declined, from 2.16 in 1971 to 1.26 in 2005 (the US fertility rate is 2.1). In 2008, the fertility rate improved slightly to 1.37, still among the lowest in the world.
No one really knows why the rate is so low, but since the 1970s Japanese have been marrying later. Also, since the prolonged economic slump that started in the 1990s, more men — considered breadwinners in Japan — cannot afford a family. Children are expensive, and women are rebelling against the tradition that leaves them with all the child care. “Parents are also having a hard time making work and childrearing compatible,” says Yasuko Oshima, a senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute.
Japanese society is ageing. Since 1970, the number of Japanese over 65 has tripled, hitting 22 percent of the population in 2008. The percentage could increase to 32 percent by 2030.
Japan’s new prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, is determined to raise birthrates by helping pay for children. In August, Mr. Hatoyama’s Democratic Party broke the Liberal Democratic Party’s 50-year hold on power, in part because it promised various subsidies. Under Mr. Hatoyama’s plan, families would receive 13,000 yen ($144) a month per child under 15 in 2010, and 26,000 yen a month in 2011. [Takehiko Kambayashi, How Japan Plans to Have More Babies, Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 29, 2009.]
Not Just for Women
A commercial on Indian television shows two men standing on a balcony. One is light-skinned; the other dark. The dark skinned man turns to his friend and says, “I am unlucky because of my face.” His friend replies, “Not because of your face, because of the color of your face.” The fair-skinned man tosses his friend a jar of whitening cream. The commercial ends with the darker man several shades lighter and getting the girl. Similar commercials are a staple of the airwaves in India and Pakistan.
“We always have a complex towards a white skin, towards foreign skin or foreign hair,” says Jawed Habib, who owns a chain of 140 salons in India and elsewhere. “We Indian people, we Asian people are darker, so we want to look more fair.”
Skin whiteners were once marketed only to women but they have become popular with men. A recent survey found sales are booming in rural India, and sales for male grooming products in general are increasing 20 percent a year. Emami Ltd., which produces “Fair and Handsome” whitening cream, boasts that it is “doing extremely well in Gulf countries and the Middle East as well.”
Brinda Karat, a member of India’s parliament, has lodged formal complaints about the advertisements: “Basically if you need a job you have to have white skin. If you want a good partner, a companion, you need white skin and you always seem to get it once you’ve used the fairness cream. Basically I think it’s completely racist and highly objectionable.” She says the ads exploit a bias against dark-skinned Indians. “What does it do to dark persons’ self esteem?” she asks. “I think it should be stopped.” Ads for marriage partners often list “fair” as one of the preferred characteristics.
Manufacturers say they are just giving people what they want. Deepak Rajput, who uses whitening cream, sees nothing wrong. “Everybody wants to look handsome and beautiful, why not me?” [Sara Sidner, Skin Whitener Advertisements Labeled Racist, CNN, Sept. 9. 2009.]
Some Progress in Norway
Norway held parliamentary elections on September 14, and the results were a disappointment for the nationalist right. Pre-election polling showed a very tight race, and nationalists led by Siv Jensen’s Progress Party were hoping to win power. Instead, Norwegians voted to keep the Red-Green coalition of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s Labor Party, the Socialist Leftist Party, and the Center Party, which together won a slim majority with 86 of 169 seats.
The Progress Party did well, slightly increasing its share of the vote to 22.9 percent and winning the second-highest number of seats (41, behind Labor’s 64). They might have done better but for Miss Jensen’s decision to play down opposition to immigration and focus on economic issues, such as roads and education. Miss Jensen’s approach made strategic sense; for the first time, the Conservative Party, Norway’s second-largest opposition party, said it would have been willing to work with the Progress Party in a coalition. However, two other center-right parties, the Christian Democrats and the Liberals, ruled out working with Progress, mainly because of its stance on immigration. The Christian Democrats and the Liberals may have paid a price for spurning Progress: Between them, they lost eight seats, thus returning the leftists to power.
This election may have been more about economics than anything else. Prime Minister Stoltenberg used Norway’s North Sea oil money to stimulate the economy and help Norway weather the economic crisis. As Norway recovers, Norwegians may again notice how poorly the 10 percent of the population made up of non-white immigrants is fitting in. With the parliament nearly evenly split between left and right (86 and 83 seats, respectively), Miss Jensen’s Progress Party could be just a few special elections away from power. [Andrew Ward, Norway’s ‘Thatcher’ Eyes Poll Chance, Financial Times (London), Sept. 13, 2009. Karl Ritter, Norway’s Leftist Government Poised to Stay in Power, AP, Sept. 14, 2009.]
Tintin, the comic strip adventure character created by the late Belgian artist Georges Remi under the pen name Hergé, is a cultural icon in Belgium, where he serves as a unifying figure to people sharply divided along linguistic and cultural lines. Tintin first appeared in the late 1920s, and his earliest adventures depict non-whites in ways that jar sensitive modern audiences. Tintin in the Congo, written in 1930 and 1931, is said to be especially offensive. In one drawing, an African woman bows before Tintin, proclaiming, “White man very great! White mister is big juju man!” In 2007, British “anti-racists” removed the book from children’s shelves in libraries, complaining that in Tintin cartoons Africans “look like monkeys and talk like imbeciles.”
Two years ago, a Congolese named Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo sued Tintin’s Belgian publisher, Moulinsart, accusing Tintin in the Congo of promoting “racism and xenophobia.” He is seeking symbolic damages of one euro, but also wants Moulinsart to stop publishing the book. The Belgian courts have so far ignored Mr. Mondondo’s suit, but his lawyer is threatening to file the case in France and go “all the way to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.”
Moulinsart says the lawsuit is “silly,” and that the book must be seen in its historical context: “To read in the 21st century a Tintin album dating back to 1931 requires a minimum of intellectual honesty. If one applied the ‘politically correct’ filter to great artists or writers, we could no longer publish certain novels of Balzac, Jules Verne, or even some Shakespeare plays.” That doesn’t convince Mr. Mondondo’s lawyer, who says, “When the album was written there was no legal disposition incriminating racism. In 2009 there is. This isn’t about history but the law.”
Lest readers think this kind of foolishness is confined to Europe, in August, the Brooklyn, New York public library removed the book from circulation after a reader complained that it “had illustrations that were racially offensive and inappropriate for children.” [Henry Samuel, Tintin ‘To be Sued’ For Congo Book, Telegraph (London), Sept. 1, 2009.]
‘Just a Paddy like Us’
Thousands of people lined the streets of Ennis, Ireland on September 1 to cheer on and welcome home an American descendent of one of Ennis’ native sons: Cassius Clay, better known as Muhammad Ali. Mr. Clay’s Irish great-grandfather, Abe Grady, emigrated to Kentucky in the 1860s and married a freed slave. One of their grandchildren, Odessa Lee Grady Clay, gave birth to Mr. Clay in 1942. Mr. Clay’s Irish ancestry was publicized in a documentary by two Irish television producers in 2002.
Ennis pulled out all the stops to welcome Mr. Clay. Schools closed early, streets were festooned with red, white, and blue, and shop windows displayed posters honoring the three-time heavyweight champion. His visit to Ennis Town Hall was broadcast live on big-screen televisions outside, while traditional musicians played. Mayor Frankie Neylon proclaimed Mr. Clay Ennis’ first “freeman,” an honor conveying him special privileges, the most valuable of which is free parking.
Mr. Clay, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, did not address the crowd, but his wife Yolanda did: “When you look at Muhammad’s pugilistic skills and his loquacious ways, I am sure if his great-grandfather was alive, he would swear it came from him.”
Former Irish national champ Jim O’Sullivan recalled sparring with Mr. Clay back in the 1970s, and wished he had known then that Mr. Clay was “just a Paddy like us.”
After leaving the town hall, Mr. Clay visited his relatives. Imelda O’Grady, a distant cousin, said of the meeting, “It was unreal; it was a privilege. When he saw his relations he was delighted. I think he was emotional — by God, I was certainly emotional.” [Shawn Pogatchnick, Boxing Legend Ali Traces Roots to Irish Town, AP, September 1, 2009. Gareth A. Davies, Muhammad Ali Touches a Corner of Ireland with His Visit to Ennis, Telegraph (London), Sept. 1, 2009.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — Mr. Henderson is right (“Why Have Asians Not Dominated?” October) to say Asians have not yet dominated, but they will. Even if they could not have invented Western science they have absorbed it at a great rate and apply it diligently. They may stay a step or two behind in the most advanced areas, but they will soon be close enough to defeat us where it matters: in world markets and on the battlefield.
We are also helping them tremendously by practicing “diversity,” which increases our internal tensions and lowers our productivity. At the same time, as Nguyen Ai Quoc pointed out in his article (“The Rise of Asian Race Consciousness,” September and October) Asians are stealing our military technology; we make it easy for them by our foolish emphasis on “diversity.”
The Chinese may not have known what to do with an ocean-going fleet after Admiral Zheng He died, but they do now. They have gotten over their magnificent indifference to events beyond their borders and are securing raw materials, markets, and sea lanes. They have not been weakened by soft-headed notions of universal brotherhood as we have, and will be ruthless in advancing national interests. Twenty or 30 years from now, there will be nothing in the West to stand up to their relentless quest for dominance.
They will not be kindly overlords.
Thomas J. Chambers, Redwood City, Cal.
Sir — I’m of mixed race — half Chinese — and Robert Hendrson’s article about Asians sickens me! Americans of Asian descent actually do dominate the United States, along with Americans of Jewish descent, in finance, entrepreneurship, technology, and at the nation’s premier universities.
I suppose by “dominate,” Mr. Henderson means: Why haven’t American-Asians wailed about constant discrimination from every other race in the United States despite the fact that Asians contribute a large portion of this nation’s brain power?
Well, here’s the reason: Unlike the majority of African-Americans and Latinos, most American-Asians do not have anything to prove. Although many Americans still consider Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans (for most white Americans, they’re all the same!) to be laundromat owners, chinks with nail files perpetually in their hands, Chinese food take-out delivery people, or eternal gooks, Asians are vital to the two most financially and culturally important states — New York and California — and to the Ivy League universities. Just see how many American-Asians work at Goldman Sachs, attend Stanford and Yale, and, if admission were strictly by merit, how completely they would dominate UC Berkeley and UCLA.
It isn’t due to our “weak” or “submissive” nature that we don’t have an Asian Al Sharpton. It’s because most American Asians educate themselves and within a generation or two have financial security and professional degrees that many generations of African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans have yet to achieve.
Sir — The September and October articles about Asians in America were outstanding. While I was living as a soldier in Korea, I met Koreans with US citizenship in the Army. To a man, they were untrustworthy, showed little initiative, and were hostile or borderline hostile to whites. Many had fully imbibed the multi-cultural, anti-white propaganda taught in the schools. I’ve tried to write an article about this but have never been able to express it properly. Nguyen Ai Quoc did a great job.
Mr. Nguyen might have touched on the extraordinary level of anti-Americanism in Korea. Nearly any American action the Koreans find “offensive” can lead to massive protests. Beef imports, accidents involving GI’s stationed in Korea, or perceived slights of any kind bring thousands to the streets. These riots are hate-soaked and must be seen to be believed.
Since the end of the Cold War, American support for South Korea is unjustified, even foolhardy. Continued American involvement there is probably the result of typical US government inertia but I suspect it is also because South Korea wants to keep its defense costs down. The recent humiliating junket taken by former President Clinton to visit North Korea was the result of Asians with US citizenship getting in trouble for interfering in affairs that are of concern only to Asians.
Duncan Hengest, Va.
Sir — Prof. Nguyen Ai Quoc’s article was very interesting. I think the fact that many Asians have stopped assimilating is a good thing. We should encourage this — it helps further the cause of racial separation. Diversity ultimately means displacement, so the farther Asians and other non-whites turn away from whites, their society, and their culture, the better.
It was also heartening to read Ryan Lanier’s piece on the British National Party’s Red, White and Blue Festival (“A Celebration of the BNP,” October). It is good to know that a celebration of white heritage can still draw a large crowd in modern Britain, but I have to wonder for how much longer such events will be legal, given the British government’s hostility to the BNP.
Shawn Rodenbeck, Kern Valley State Prison, Delano, Cal.
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