|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol 3, No. 4||April 1992|
The Late Great City of New York, Part II
By William Robertson Boggs
Part I of this article described the shifting composition of New York’s population. Whites are now a minority in a city that, 30 years ago, was nearly 80 percent white. More than a third of the population is foreign-born. The middle-class is fleeing high taxes and mounting squalor; the only income group that is increasing in numbers is people who make less than $10,000 a year. One in eight New Yorkers is on welfare and one in six works for some level of government. The city spends $10 billion a year on handouts for its increasingly third-world population. Part II examines some of the consequences.
Because feeding an army of welfare recipients now takes priority over virtually everything else, New York City has cut spending on basic city maintenance. In 1991, the city closed the lower deck of the Manhattan bridge, a major link between Manhattan and Brooklyn. After years of neglect, an engineer finally decided there was a good chance a truck would fall through it. [Calvin Sims, Truck ban is announced for a bridge, NYT, 1/4/91, p. B1.] A subway line that used to cross the bridge has also been closed. Of all the bridges in the city, 56 percent are “structurally deficient,” and 70 percent can no longer bear the weight for which they were originally designed. [George Will, Manhattan dreams and nightmares, LA Times, 5/26/91.] The city recently had to close several that were built in the 1930s and had never even been repainted. [Stephanie Strom, New York City names a new chief of bridges, NYT, 5/8/91.] It would be hard to think of a clearer indictment of a city. Today’s New Yorkers cannot even maintain what yesterday’s New Yorkers had the wit and energy to build (see sidebar below, “The Glory That was Greece …”).
Library service has also come under the ax. In 1991, for the first time in its 50-year history, the Brooklyn Public Library’s main branch at Grand Army Plaza found it could no longer stay open every weekday. It is now closed on Mondays, and no one knows what day of the week it will sacrifice next. All across the city, libraries are on short weeks and are open for short hours. [Brooklyn main library cuts days, NY Newsday, 2/5/91, p. 29. William Bunch, Crown Heights’ youth services hurting, NY Newsday, 8/28/91, p. 30.]
One cost the city need no longer worry about is the maintenance of public toilets; it has simply shut them down. As New York’s population changed, its citizens could no longer be trusted not to copulate, murder each other, shoot up drugs, or simply live in public toilets. Ever larger numbers of sidewalk derelicts now defecate wherever they can. What could have been a solution to this problem appears certain to drown in liberal red tape (see sidebar below, “Down the Toilet”).
Another “cost saving” comes from shutting down subway passageways that have become too crime-ridden to leave open. In 1991, the Transit Authority announced the wholesale closing of 15 entrances and passages, after a woman was raped in a tunnel that connects two Manhattan stations. [Calvin Sims, 15 more areas in subways to be closed, NYT, 3/29/91, p. B1.]
The dwindling tribe of white New Yorkers can insulate itself to some degree from the collapse. It glides from well-guarded office buildings to doorman-patrolled apartments and never visits the barbarian lands that are just a subway ride away. Nevertheless, when young children are taught to dive for cover if shots ring out, and when school windows look out over fornicating crack addicts, a city has passed an important milestone on the road to perdition. Probably no one, at the close of the Peloponnesian War, looked out from atop the Acropolis and declared that the age of Athens had ended.
The city might do well to block off a few more. An estimated 25,000 people live beneath the streets of New York City, in thousands of miles of subway and utility tunnels. Some of these passages are so old that no one even has maps for them. Subway workers can tell whether the population of “mole people” is waxing or waning by how often a train hits a body and derails. In 1990, that happened about once a week. Maintenance men have been threatened by mole people so often that many are afraid to venture into the tunnels to work the tracks. Late-night passengers, waiting on platforms, have been attacked by grimy men who come swarming out of the tunnels. [Jennifer Toth, “Moles” set up towns in bowels of New York, Miami Herald, Sept. 9, 1990, p. 1.]
People like these, along with drug users, AIDS carriers, vagrants, and third world immigrants, have brought back to New York City a disease that was thought eradicated in the 1960s: tuberculosis. Until recently, doctors and nurses never saw a single case in all their clinical training. Now they see plenty. The populations who get the disease do not come in for treatment until they are thoroughly sick and extremely infectious. Many do not have the discipline to stick to the six-month treatment necessary for a cure. By 1990, the disease was spreading so rapidly that in some parts of the city it was as prevalent as in third world countries. Even healthy people living ordinary lives were beginning to catch it, and editorial writers were muttering about quarantine. [Ann V. Bollinger, TB alert: no one is safe, NY Post, Oct. 15, 1990, p. 4. Also Keeping TB under control, New York Post, Oct. 22, 1990, p. 16.]
The city’s public hospitals, overwhelmed with crack babies, AIDS patients, and shot-up drug dealers, are in no position to deal with a new challenge. It now takes an average of 10.3 hours for a seriously sick patient to be transferred from the emergency room to a regular bed. Even Detroit, the next slowest city in the country, manages it in an average of 4.4 hours. [Emergency, LA Times, Aug. 28, 1991, p. A19.] Every week, 300 patients give up hope of ever seeing a doctor, and leave emergency rooms, untreated. [Mark Mooney, Memo: Hundreds a week “give up” on city’s hosps, NY Post, May 3, 1990, p. 11.]
Harlem hospital, operated largely by blacks, is unquestionably the worst in the city. Its staff is notoriously rude and lazy, its equipment in bad repair, and its records incomplete. Its very accreditation as a public hospital is in perpetual doubt, and many of its staffers got their jobs through connections rather than competence. One of the hospital’s veteran nurses carries a card in her wallet that says: “Do not take me to Harlem Hospital in an emergency.” [E.R. Shipp, For the sickest patients, an ailing hospital, NYT, 4/7/91, p. 1A.]
The hospital, the largest employer in Harlem, is becoming ever more like the neighborhood it serves. Harlem’s 100,000 residents die of AIDS at 20 times the national rate and of homicide at seven times the national rate. Infant mortality is higher than anywhere else in the nation, and the life expectancy of a Harlem man is less than that of someone living in Bangladesh. [Shipp, ibid.]
Schools for Scandal
New York’s public school system is staggeringly corrupt, inefficient, and expensive. In 1961, when the system could actually provide an education, it employed 49,669 teachers and staff. During the next 30 years, while the number of school-age New Yorkers dropped by one fifth, the number of school system employees grew by 74 percent. [Christopher Byron, Where have you gone, Roger Marris?, NY Magazine, 6/10/91, p. 32.] The city now has more education bureaucrats than does all of Western Europe. [George Will, Manhattan dreams and nightmares, LA Times, 5/26/91.]
Students, 80 percent of whom are non-white, get precious little education. Fewer than half can read at grade level [Joelle Attinger, The decline of New York, Time, 9/17/90, p. 44.] and forty percent fail to finish high school. [Last one out of Gotham, close the door, Economist, 10/20/90, p. 21.]
From 1985 to 1989, the city spent more than $120 million on a special program to keep the most likely truants from dropping out. Guidance counselors gave career and family advice, and social workers visited homes. Services costing $8,000 per pupil were lavished on 150,000 specially chosen participants — to no discernible effect. They kept on dropping out. Program administrators concluded that by the time students got to high school there was nothing that could be done to help them. [Joseph Berger, Dropout plans not working, study finds, NYT, 5/16/90, p. B1.] Though no one would dare say so publicly, New York has run up against one of the hard, cruel facts of 20th century America: It is nearly impossible to beat a high school education into a population of welfare-bred hooligans and dullards.
Another vast sinkhole for public money has been the school system’s “special education” program. Unlike regular teaching, “special ed” is protected from funding cuts by state law and court rulings. One in eight of all public school students is now found to be “handicapped” — double the number of 12 years ago — and thus entitled to special handling. Screening alone costs $3,000 per child for a total of $240 million a year, and the 119,000 “specials” cost $16,746 a year to teach — more than twice the $7,107 for regular students. They get classes of no more than a dozen students and the services of an army of therapists. The results? Only five percent of “specials” ever rejoin the mainstream, and only 17 percent manage to graduate. This near-total failure costs taxpayers more than $2 billion a year. [Joseph Berger, Costly special classes serve many with minimal needs, NYT, 4/30/91, p. A1.]
New York’s “regular” students are so prone to violence that the city spends $29 million every year on armed guards in schools — $29 million it cannot spend on laboratory equipment, band instruments or field trips. In 1988, New York began a weapons-detection program that has now been extended to 14 high schools and one junior high school. [Karl Zinsmeister, Growing up scared, Atlantic Monthly, June, 1990, p. 65.] Nursery schools haven’t joined the program yet, but they may have to. Late in 1990, Brooklyn teachers found that one of their three-year-olds had come to class with a loaded pistol. [Don Broderick, Tot, 3, packs loaded gun to nursery school, NY Post, Dec. 6, 1990, p. 3.]
At Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, so many students have been shot and stabbed in recent years that a class room has been set aside permanently for use by grieving friends. [Rob Polner, Mourning 101, NY Post, April 26, 1991, p. 5.] Early this year, a student shot and killed two school mates just a few hours before Mayor David Dinkins visited the school. In some New York City day-care centers, children barely old enough to talk are trained to hit the floor whenever they hear shots ring out. [Joelle Attinger, The decline of New York, Time, Sept. 17, 1990, p. 39.]
Enough children have been shot for their sneakers or jackets that some parents buy bullet-proof vests for them. Police agree that body armor will stop bullets but suspect that since a vest costs as much as $500, it may be even more attractive to thieves than a pair of $90 sneakers. [William Cormier, A sign of modern times, Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/9/90, p. 3A.]
Many school children are surrounded by abominations. There is so much prostitution in the streets around Public School 40 in the Bronx, that children must sometimes be held late to wait for the fornications to finish. There is so much gang warfare on the block that teachers sprint into class from the parking lot when they come to work. The children no longer use the school yard for fear of flying bullets. At Public School 76 in Queens, teachers find the school grounds littered with needles, crack vials, and condoms when they come to work in the morning. [Stuart Marques, Sex, drugs near PS 76 in Queens, NY Daily News, Oct. 23, 1990. Also Paul La Rosa, Prison of fear, NY Daily News, Oct. 14, 1990, p. 3.]
At Public School 43 in the Bronx, the sun never shines into many of the classrooms. Teachers keep the shades drawn and push students’ desks away from the windows. The school looks down on a vacant lot that has become an open-air market for drugs and sex. If the children could look out the windows they would see addicts pushing needles into their arms and crack users fornicating. [Paul La Rosa, Garden of evil, NY Daily News, Oct. 7, 1990, p. 3.] This year, in an attempt to combat the spread of AIDS in the high schools, New York City began distributing free condoms to students.
In the midst of these horrors, race-based politicking goes on as usual. In 1970, increasingly non-white schools run by non-white teachers demanded and got an unprecedented degree of autonomy from the “racist” central bureaucracy. The demand for same-race “role models” quickly brought in a flood of inexperienced, ill-prepared teachers and administrators.
By late in 1988, local autonomy had flowered into scandalous mismanagement. One black principal, Matthew Barnwell, was late or absent nearly four out of five school days. When he did show up, he was often drunk, and spent the day watching television. Staff who didn’t have connections simply bought their way into jobs. One quarter of Mr. Barnwell’s teachers were regularly late or absent. He kept his $60,000-a-year job for years, and got into the news only when he was arrested for using crack cocaine.
Thanks to local autonomy, charges of incompetence — unlike criminal charges — could be brought against Mr. Barnwell only by his local school board. At the time he was arrested, Mr. Barnwell’s entire board was under investigation by the District Attorney for taking drugs, stealing school property, and cooking the books. [Joseph Berger, Inertia of New York’s school system: shaky tenure of Matthew Barnwell, NYT, Dec. 27, 1988.]
At another school, one board member was a heroin addict, who lived on the street in a cardboard box. At her school, classroom aides often got their jobs through patronage, and some were illiterate; they couldn’t even fill out a job application form. One acting principal drove a van up to the school and loaded it with stolen school supplies. [Blumenthal and Verhovek, Patronage and profit in schools: a tale of a Bronx district school, NYT, Dec. 16, 1988, p. A1.]
Perhaps most pitiful of all were the results of school board elections held in corrupt jurisdictions just a few months after news of the scandals. Only seven percent of eligible voters turned out — an all-time low — and virtually all incumbents were re-elected. [Bitter lessons in N.Y. schools, SJ Mercury, June 22, 1989, p. 8A.] By 1990, nearly a third of New York’s 32 local boards were under investigation for corruption [Joelle Attinger, The decline of New York, Time, 9/17/90, p. 44.] — to the usual chorus of cries that such investigations were “racist.”
A Hideous Misery
The very texture of life in New York City today would astonish anyone who knew the city 50 years ago. Its cracked sidewalks and unswept public spaces are littered with human wreckage. From the interstices of a once-great city there oozes a hideous misery far more vile than the silent, ancient poverty of Africa or Asia. It is little wonder that 60 percent of the people who live there think the future will be worse than the present [Elizabeth Kolbert, Region around New York sees ties to city faltering, NYT, 12/1/91, p. 1A.] and would leave if only they could. [Joelle Attinger, The decline of New York, Time, 9/17/90, p. 39.]
New York, like so much of the country, is a monument to bankrupt policies. It is caught in the vise of a foolish immigration policy that floods it with non-whites, and an equally foolish welfare policy that taxes the responsible to support the irresponsible. It is a city run on white, liberal principles, increasingly inhabited by a non-white population to whom principles of any kind are unknown. It practices welfare of a Scandinavian lavishness, but on a population with no homogeneity and coherence — without which welfare becomes pure confiscation. It is a city that has poured out its wealth upon the alien, the defective, the criminal, and the dissolute.
Libraries must close, but every dim-witted single mother must have a comfortable home for her brood. Street-cleaning is haphazard, but unteachable students must have expensive therapies of every kind. The sidewalks stink of human excrement, but no public toilets may be built unless cripples can use them. Bridges could come crashing down, but crack babies must be saved, at all costs, to become blighted, burdensome children.
It is still possible, in the whiter parts of Manhattan, fleetingly to believe that New York City is still the center of the universe, that it will always bewitch and enchant. But the heartbeat of the city is no longer European. The barbarians are not at the gates; they are within the citadel. Another Detroit is in the making.
The Glory That was Greece, and the Grandeur That was New York
When Napoleon and his men campaigned in Egypt in 1798, the Egyptians of the day were living in tents among pyramids they could not understand and could not have built. Likewise, when the Italians occupied Libya in 1911, they found Arab tribesmen living in complete indifference among the magnificent Roman ruins of Leptis Magna and Sabratha.
Civilizations come and civilizations go. They collapse when the people who built them are overrun by vigorous barbarians or when their own descendants are too degenerate to carry on the work of their forefathers.
Do we not see the signs of collapse in the steady decay of New York City? If enough crack babies are born, eventually no one will know how to operate an incubator. If enough immigrants arrive, the Brooklyn Library could become the mausoleum of a dead language and a dead culture.
When will a major bridge be closed for servicing — and simply stay closed because the city cannot manage the repairs? How many subway lines will be shut down, either because they cannot be maintained or because their stations are too crime-ridden to be used? What tribes of hunter-gatherers will camp beneath the arches of a once-mighty bridge, or in tunnels that were once a city’s arteries?
Is this too fanciful a vision? Already in New York City, armories that once rang to the tramp of marching soldiers have become fetid shelters for the “homeless” — acres of dirty beds where men in uniform used to drill. Already there are rows of buildings in Harlem and the Bronx, where prosperous people once lived, but which are now empty shells. Beneath the grime and graffiti, there is architecture and workmanship that sprang from another age, another civilization, another mind. Is the welfare tribe that lives amid the wreckage of yesterday’s middle-class virtues so different from the nomads who pitched their tents at the base of the pyramids?
Down the Toilet
The 1930s, Mayor La Guardia’s era, were the golden days of the New York City public toilet. There were nearly 1,700 of them scattered around the city, and one could use them without fearing for either one’s life or one’s wallet. Now, there are practically none.
The French firm of JC Decaux has offered to build hundreds of compact, free-standing, self-cleaning public toilets for the city — at no charge. They would cost 25 cents per use, and the company would make money by selling advertising space on the kiosk-like exteriors.
The plan, which sounds like a perfect solution to a worsening problem, is likely to be derailed. First, a state law requires that public toilets be free to the public. Second, federal law requires that public facilities be accessible to people in wheel chairs. This would require structures the size of a New York City studio apartment, which would be much more expensive. [Down the toilet, WSJ, 7/22/91, p. A8.]
As is so often the case these days, the law is an ass. Pay toilets would discriminate against the poor. Kiosks cannot accommodate wheelchairs. Thus, in the name of “civil rights” New Yorkers continue to be assaulted by stench and filth.
To Each His Own
The Disuniting of America, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., W. W. Norton & Co, 160 pp., $14.95
Reviewed by Jared Taylor
Arthur Schlesinger is a distinguished historian best known for A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House. He is an unabashed liberal, and has seen much of what he hoped for come to pass: civil rights laws, affirmative action, non-white immigration, and “inclusion” of all kinds. But Professor Schlesinger is a thoughtful liberal, and he is genuinely worried. He sees that non-whites are repudiating the majority culture as never before, and he fears that if the current ethnic upsurge continues it could tear the nation apart.
The Disuniting of America may be a more important book than Prof. Schlesinger realizes, for it can be read as the first line of an epitaph — an epitaph to the disastrous policies that destroyed the United States of 40 years ago and that threaten the nation’s European character. Prof. Schlesinger still claims to believe in the magical capacity of the United States to transform Guatemalan refugees and Haitian boat people into admirers of Thomas Jefferson, but the scales are beginning to fall from his eyes. “[T]he mixing of peoples [will be] a major problem for the century that lies darkly ahead,” he warns. Even liberals are beginning to notice that something has gone seriously wrong with the great American experiment in multi-racialism.
Misuses of History
Because Prof. Schlesinger is a historian, it is natural that his book should be about the ways in which non-whites, especially blacks, are using invented histories as a way to carve out separatist identities. He fully recognizes the extent to which history is the basis of a nation’s understanding of itself (see AR, Feb. 1992), and quotes the Marxist historian Eric Foner: “A new future requires a new past.” Every non-white group in the country is peddling its own version of American history and hopes to use it as a weapon against the white man.
Blacks have taken the lead in this game, and Prof. Schlesinger neatly lays bare the lunacies and contradictions in what they say. The ostensible reason for Afro-centric history is that “Euro-centric” history is a pack of lies that insults and demeans blacks. Sermons about a glorious African past will transform ghetto punks into noble black men. Prof. Schlesinger despises this attempt to turn history into therapy.
In any case, there is no evidence that America’s admiration for ancient Greece ever gave Greek immigrants any intellectual or moral advantages. Jews and Asians have done very well in America without public schools to tell them how wonderful their ancestors were. Nor is there any evidence that “Euro-centric” education did any damage to W.E.B. DuBois, Ralph Ellison, or Martin King. Prof. Schlesinger suspects that Afro-centrists are driven as much by hatred of Western Civilization as by any real hope that new history books will keep young blacks from drugging themselves and shooting each other.
And yet, much as they claim to despise European culture, one of the Afro-centrists’ main aims is to prove that their ancestors created it. Black Egyptians are supposed to have invented everything from geometry to airplanes, only to have this wonderful knowledge stolen form them by Greeks. As Prof. Schlesinger points out, knowledge cannot be completely removed from its owner the way an object can; yet the Afro-centrist view requires us to believe that whatever the Greeks learned, the Egyptians thereupon ceased to know.
Ultimately, however, as even many blacks realize, it is folly to think that a knowledge of hieroglyphics or Egyptian cleansing rituals will do an American child the slightest good if he can’t read English. This doesn’t worry the Afro-centrists; they are educating Africans-in-exile, not Americans.
Another trend that Prof. Schlesinger laments is bilingual education. As he correctly points out, its effect — and perhaps its purpose — is not to teach immigrant children English but to keep them immersed in their mother tongues for as long as possible. The new waves of Hispanics are no more enchanted with the idea of adopting Anglo culture than are blacks. Prof. Schlesinger quotes one Hispanic who puts it this way: “The era that began with the dream of integration ended up with scorn for assimilation.”
What Will Hold the Center?
Prof. Schlesinger seems genuinely wounded that non-whites are turning up their noses at his culture just when he has been at such pains to make it “inclusive.” He also sees it as a betrayal of one of America’s most central doctrines: “the unifying vision of individuals from all nations melted into a new race.” He concludes with the uncertain hope that by reasserting Western values, an increasingly disparate America can be forged, once more, into a new unity.
Prof. Schlesinger’s disappointment and confusion stem from his own version of an invented American past, in which multi-racialism was, somehow, always the ultimate goal. Although it is perfectly clear that the Constitution was written for whites and not for blacks or Indians or anyone else, Prof. Schlesinger shares the near-universal view that multi-racialism was a predestined consequence of American democracy. To point out that this was nothing of the sort is to point out the obvious; racial equality, integration, and non-white immigration were radical departures from everything that Washington, Lincoln and even Wilson believed in. The “tolerance” and “inclusion” that are supposed always to have characterized America are entirely new doctrines.
Prof. Schlesinger sees the present as no different from the past; just as European ethnics blended together to become a new people, so will the new non-white immigrants. He concedes that race is a greater barrier to blending than was European nationality, but says he believes that “the historic forces driving toward ‘one people’ have not lost their power.” Of course, there have never been any historic forces driving blacks, whites, Indians, and Hispanics toward “one people.” They may have lived within the same national boundaries, but they have always remained distinct.
An obvious first step to counter the ethnic divisiveness that Prof. Schlesinger fears, would be to stop immigration, or to limit it to the European stocks that did become “one people.” This idea must be rejected, we are told, because it “offends something in the American soul.” Even if this were true — repeated polls show that Americans think the country has enough immigrants — Prof. Schlesinger surely understands that the forces of divisiveness could extinguish America’s soul.
Prof. Schlesinger is still a prisoner of the view that America is uniquely exempted from the lessons of history. Although he writes fearfully of renewed ethnic conflicts abroad, he believes that America can dispense with the ancient ingredients of nationhood: common religion, common tongue, common heritage, common ancestry. What, then, makes Americans American?
Democracy to the Rescue
Prof. Schlesinger, like so many others, falls back upon a national identity so threadbare, so improbable, that only the most credulous could believe in it. The “American democratic faith,” he says, is “what binds all Americans together.” Ours is a democracy in which most citizens cannot name their congressmen, in which not one in 500 can name his state legislator, in which Presidents are elected with the votes of less than a quarter of the electorate. Ours is a democracy in which voters despise politicians; one in which men of wisdom and integrity do not even enter, much less win, elections. Democracy will bind us together?
There are European countries in which democracy actually presents voters with real choices, where a far higher number of citizens vote, where men of some stature are voted into office. But no, democracy is America’s unique gift and treasure.
And are we to assume that Mexican peasant-women have their babies in American hospitals so that their children will benefit from the Bill of Rights and the separation of powers? Will democracy bind Cambodian tribesmen to the bosom of America any more successfully than it has Hopis and Navajos? Non-whites come to this country because they want jobs, money, and welfare, not because they want to join the PTA and become registered Democrats.
Not even the people who invented American democracy feel about it as Prof. Schlesinger thinks complete strangers will. It was not an appeal to representational government that sent Pickett’s men up the rise at Gettysburg, but the cry, “For Virginia; for your wives and sweethearts!” The marines didn’t land on the beaches of Guadalcanal, full of devotion to the Constitution, but of hatred for the people who bombed Pearl Harbor.
The unifying power of democracy is nothing compared to that of blood and soil. Non-whites will not give up their racial birthright in exchange for the ballot. For blacks and Hispanics, democracy is a racial head-count, a chance to push out the white man and replace him with one of their own. Increasingly, in America, the very democracy that Prof. Schlesinger thinks will bind us is numerical proof of how divided we are.
On the last page of his book, Prof. Schlesinger writes: “Our task is to combine due appreciation of the splendid diversity of the nation with due emphasis on the great unifying Western ideas of individual freedom, political democracy, and human rights.” What does this fine-sounding sentence even mean? It is precisely in the name of freedom and human rights that non-whites insist on going their own ways.
Nor will history save Prof. Schlesinger’s “splendidly diverse” America. As he writes on the next-to-last page, “People with a different history will have differing values. But we believe that our own are better for us. They work for us; and for that reason, we live and die by them.” This is the very thing an Afro-centrist might say! These are the very words on which Prof. Schlesinger’s unity in diversity will founder.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
Set-Asides by the Wayside
In 1989, the Supreme Court stopped the widespread practice of setting aside fixed percentages of public contracts for non-white companies. Thousands of such companies, many of which had never competed in the private market, have failed or are foundering. Ralph Thomas, head of the National Association of Minority Contractors says, “Most of the minority community’s business comes from government programs, and when these programs are struck down, they no longer have a place to sell their services.”
Philadelphia’s recent experience is typical. After set-asides were ended, the percentage of contracts awarded to black businesses shrank in just one year from 25 percent to 3.5 percent. Since set-asides bypassed the usual open bid contract process, they raised the cost of city business. Rather than give thanks for the cost savings, the black city administration has gone to court to try to get the old program reinstated. [Michael Hinds, Minority business set back sharply by courts’ rulings, NYT, 12/23/91, p. A1.]
AIDS on the March
Although there are probably more than one million people in the United States who carry the AIDS virus, many do not come down with full-blown cases of the disease for ten years or more. During the eight years from 1981 through the end of 1989, 100,000 people developed the disease, but the second 100,000 cases took only two years to appear. By Dec. 31, 1991, 206,392 Americans had gotten the disease, and 133,232 of them had died.
From the outset, AIDS was a disproportionately non-white disease. Among the first 100,000 people who got AIDS, 27 percent were black and 15 percent were Hispanic. This meant that blacks were nearly three times as likely to get AIDS as whites, and Hispanics were 2.4 times as likely. The second 100,000 cases have increased those ratios to 3.6 and 2.9. [AIDS cases in U.S. now top 200,000, NY Post, Jan. 17, 1992, p. 3.]
The methods by which AIDS is spread are well understood, and blood bank testing has made it nearly impossible to get the virus through a transfusion. In other words, AIDS is now a disease that can be almost entirely avoided through good sense and self control.
AIDS is likely to become an increasingly black and Hispanic disease during the 1990s. It is estimated that it costs about $85,000, on average, to treat an AIDS patient until he dies. [Leroy Schwarz, The medical costs of America’s social ills, WSJ, 6/24/91, p. A10.]
Head Start, Poor Finish
Of all the social programs left over from the 1960s, Head Start has the best reputation. The theory is that a year or two of intensive help for 3- to 5-year-olds will make up for poverty, illegitimacy, ignorant parents, and all the rest. A recent study shows that Head Start-type programs do some good for a while, but the effects quickly wear off.
J. S. Fuerst of Loyola University has tracked 684 black children who attended specially-funded programs that were so intensive that Mr. Fuerst calls them “Head Start to the fourth power.” The children stayed in these programs for two to seven years, and had significantly better test scores than a control group. Ten years later, after the children had returned to regular schools, their performance was practically indistinguishable from that of children who had not gotten the special instruction.
Mr. Fuerst has not, of course, concluded that supplemental training for poor black children doesn’t work. He thinks they just aren’t getting enough of it. He suspects that poor black girls can get by with four to six years of intensive help, but poor black boys need seven to nine years to make up for bad beginnings. [Barbara Kantrowitz, A Head Start does not last, Newsweek, 1/27/92, p. 44.]
Dr. Frederick Goodwin, once the head of the government’s Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration, has lost his job because of what the Congressional Black Caucus calls an “extremist and appalling view of the problems of the nation’s cities.”
What was Dr. Goodwin’s crime? In a seminar on urban violence, he said this:
If you look, for example, at male monkeys, especially in the wild, roughly half of them survive to adulthood. The other half die by violence. That is the natural way of it for males, to knock each other off, and … the same hyperaggressive monkeys who kill each other are also hypersexual, so they copulate more and therefore they reproduce more to offset the fact that half of them are dying.
So far, so good, but then Dr. Goodwin stepped over the invisible line:
Maybe it isn’t just the careless use of the word when people call certain areas of certain cities jungles, that we may have gone back to what might be more natural, without all of the social controls that we have imposed upon ourselves as a civilization …” [Black Caucus expresses concern over remarks by health official, NYT, 2/28/92. Also Spencer Rich, Federal health official resigns, citing controversy over remarks, Washington Post,2/28/92, p. A4.]
Oh, dear. Although humans are, genetically, 96 percent the same as chimpanzees [Boyce Rensberger, Science and sensitivity, Washington Post, 3/1/92], it is against the rules to draw conclusions about human nature from animal studies, especially if such studies upset certain tender sensibilities.
Age vs. Purity
Eatonville (FL) and Princeville (NC) have populations that are 100 percent black. Are they hoping to attract white families the way 98-percent-white Dubuque (IA) hoped to attract black families? (See AR, Dec. 1991.) No. They are locked in a struggle over which is the oldest all-black town in America. Princeville, incorporated in 1885, is clearly older than Eatonville, which was established two years later. However, Eatonville stakes its claim on purity; Princeville had about 45 white residents when it was incorporated and they didn’t move away until about 1900.
Why the fuss? Both are villages of just a few thousand, and are struggling to stay afloat. Residents want their town to be designated in the National Register of Historic Places as the oldest all-black town in America. They reportedly think this will attract tourists. [Constance Johnson, A place to be free, US News and World Report, 3/2/92, p. 21.]
But what would happen if a white person moved in? If the town could no longer claim to be all-black would it no longer be a Historic Place?
Happy Trails in Houston
Houston (TX) has a population to gladden the heart of a multiculturalist: whites are 40 percent and dropping, blacks and Hispanics are both 28 percent and growing. Here are a few local news items (murders, rapes, and assaults excluded), all from the month of February.
A group of Hispanic parents held a press conference at an elementary school to complain that their children were being taught too much black history. [Hispanic parents protest, Houston Chronicle, 2/22/92.]
Before he even started his job, the new police chief faced criticism because he is white. “We want to know if he is going to regress to that good-old-boy mentality,” said an official from the League of Latin American Citizens. Black groups didn’t like his color either.
A report on the police department found that although Houston is only 40 percent white, the police force is 72 percent white. The city is trying desperately to change this, but classes at the police academy are still two-thirds white. Few non-whites can be persuaded to apply for the jobs and when they do, they are often unqualified.
White police officers formed a Caucasian-American Police Group to fight discrimination against whites.
A white judge offered to let a black, repeat sex offender out on probation if he would voluntarily undergo castration. The NAACP was furious. “This is merely an effort to set a precedent and open doors of opportunity to castrate thousands of black males legally,” said a spokesman.
The city fretted because although most of the bus drivers are black or Hispanic, 35 of the top 44 jobs at the bus company are still held by whites.
Down the road in Dallas, the transit authority has voted to start work on a rail line that would run from the center of town to non-white south Dallas. Twenty-nine percent of the job was set aside for minority- and woman-owned firms. Blacks were angry because the low-bid companies were all owned by Hispanics, Asians, and women; no blacks. All five of the black members of the transit authority’s board voted to hold up construction until blacks got contracts. A black school board member vowed to lead a transit strike if blacks didn’t get contracts.
Back in Houston, the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) thinks that Hispanics don’t get proper care in local hospitals because not enough staffers speak Spanish. The regional manager for the HHS Office for Civil Rights says that millions of dollars in federal money could be withheld unless hospitals find enough Spanish-speakers. The city’s interim health director says the city already pays bonuses to people who can speak both Spanish and English, and is hunting furiously for more — tough luck for native-born whites who want to be nurses.
Just another month in the multi-racial paradise.
Finger in the Dike
Late in January, New Jersey became the first state to pass laws that would end the practice of increasing welfare payments whenever a woman on the dole has another child. Of course, anything remotely resembling a stick must be accompanied by generous carrots. New Jersey welfare mothers can now marry and still get their checks, and will not lose a penny of public support if they take jobs that pay up to half their welfare income. The idea is to encourage them to marry and get jobs. [Wayne King, Florio signs an overhaul of welfare, NYT, 1/22/92, p. B1.]
California may be the next state to stop automatic raises for dole-takers who have more children. The state has one of the most extravagant handout programs in the country. Most recipients get paid as if they had a job with a pre-tax salary of at least $1,300 a month. Welfare shoppers come from all around the country — and from across the border — to feed at the public trough.
California citizens will soon get a chance to vote on an initiative that would keep handout checks at the same level no matter how many babies a women had. It would also pay welfare-shopping newcomers no more than they were getting on the dole in their home states — except for illegal aliens who must, according to federal court rulings, be treated like California residents. If a dole-taker moves, legally, from Mississippi he would get low, Mississippi rates. If one moved, illegally, from Mexico, he would get high, California rates. [Debra Saunders, Welfare reform, California style, WSJ, 2/25/92.] Foreign bums get preference over domestic bums.
In New York City, bums congregate in the shadows of shut-down bridges that yesterday’s New Yorkers built but that today’s New Yorkers cannot maintain (see cover story). Miami is having trouble keeping the lights turned on. Derelicts living under the freeways steal copper wiring out of street lights as quickly as the Florida Department of Transportation can put it in. The department has given up replacing wire in the lights on Interstate 395. It says that until the bums are moved some place else, people will have to drive in the dark. [Dan Holly, I-395 to remain half-lit, Miami Herald, 2/2/92, p. 1B.]
Waiting for the Revolution
Communism may be dead in Russia, but it’s still alive in America. The Revolutionary Worker of Feb. 23 has this to say about illegal immigration:
Proletarians and progressive people should welcome this! As Chairman [of the Revolutionary Communist Party] Bob Avakian says, “… [W]e want to open the back door and knock down the back fence and invite a lot of other people to take part… We want to invite them all in and make it even more strategically favorable, not only in terms of revolution in the U.S. but in terms of revolution all over.” [U.S. calls for more racist roundups on the border, RW, 2/23/92, p. 4.]
Liberals have usually been pretty quiet about the fact that massive, non-white immigration gives them a natural political constituency. At least the Communists are honest about it.
The following news item is reproduced, verbatim and in toto, from the Orange County Register of Dec. 11, 1991:
“Wilding” attacks: San Diego police are investigating 50 unusually savage assaults that they liken to New York City’s notorious “wilding” attacks perpetrated by youthful robbers for the sake of committing violence.
Police said the young attackers are black and their victims, 46 men and four women, are white. The victims were attacked in the Hillcrest and North Park neighborhoods.
There is no evidence they are hate crimes, Detective Steve Baker said.
In February, a Miami legal secretary named Pam Crumpler was shot to death in the street in the presence of her husband. She was very popular in the legal community, which raised $20,000 with which to reward informants. Newspapers publicized a telephone number for tips, and the Miami Herald did its best to help readers find the suspects. Mrs. Crumpler’s husband had chased the killers all the way to the getaway car, which the paper described as follows:
… a late ’60s or early ’70s midsize, General Motors model — possibly an Oldsmobile Cutlass — with a white top over faded green or brown. The car had tinted windows, over-sized rear tires and a loud muffler.
Good job on the car; what did the suspects look like? The Herald did not see fit to mention their race. [Jeff Leen, Slain secretary fondly remembered, Miami Herald, 3/1/92, p. 5B.]
North Dakota has a population of 634,000 — about the same as that of Washington (DC). North Dakota spends $100 per capita every year on law enforcement, and Washington spends $900. Last year, there were nine murders in North Dakota and 489 murders in Washington. North Dakota is 95 percent white; Washington is 24 percent white.
The Los Angeles Times, musing on these differences, observed: “All the elements that keep crime low in North Dakota — family stability, a homogeneous population, an absence of slums, drugs and poverty — are attributes that may be gone forever in many American cities.”
As it happens, North Dakota also has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the country, yet only three of its nine murders were committed with fire arms. [David Lamb, N. Dakota: flavor of mild West, LA Times, 2/5/92, p. 1.] National gun control activists would be happy to punish white North Dakotans because of the crimes of black Washingtonians.
All in a Day’s Work
Running a watch shop in Los Angeles can be exciting, especially for anyone who deals in the Rolex watches popular with drug dealers. Lance Thomas, owner of The Watch Co., has shot to death five would-be robbers in the past two and a half years alone. In several cases, the robbers opened fire first, and the police have ruled that every killing was justified.
The mother of Char-Ru Currie and Tony Currie disagrees. Mr. Thomas shot them to death during an attempted robbery, after they wounded him in the neck and shoulder. Says the grieving mother, “I just feel that someone needs to do something to stop him because he’s a danger.” [AP, Police scrutinize store owner who’s killed 5 in self-defense, SJ Mercury, 2/23/92, p. 8B.]
The Vatican has put the canonization of Pierre Toussaint on the fast track because the Pope wants more black saints (see AR, June 1991). Many blacks are unhappy, though, because they don’t think Toussaint was a good “role model.”
Rather than join in the slave revolt in Haiti, he accompanied his French master to New York, where he became a high-class hair dresser. He made enough money to buy the freedom of several of his friends, but chose to remain a slave until his master died. He was, by all accounts, devoted to caring for the sick and the poor. On his death, in 1853, the New York Evening Post ran an admiring obituary with the headline, “Uncle Tom not an apocryphal character.” That is just what blacks think is wrong with him. [Deborah Sontag, Canonizing a black: Saint Uncle Tom?, NYT, 2/23/92, p. 1.]
Protect the Blood
Excessive Development of Fat in the Head
Hall 25 of the National Museum of Natural History has been shut down. The exhibit, Human Origins and Variation, was assembled in the 1950s and 1960s, and is, of course, “racist” by today’s standards. The example of homo sapiens is a white man, and the exhibits on human variation include such unfashionable observations as: “Excessive development of fat on the buttocks (steatopygia) is common among Bushman and Hottentot women.” A corrected exhibit will take $9 million and several years to complete. In the mean time, the national museum is mute on the subject of evolution. [Joel Achenback, Butting skulls at the Smithsonian, Washington Post, 2/2/92, p. 14.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — Thanks for putting me on to the trail of The Invented Indian (AR, December 1991). I now have the book, which is every bit as good as you said it was. Reading it, I thought it’s high time someone did The Invented Blackman.
It would hardly take a team of top-notch archaeologists to discount the discovery of the North Pole by blacks, the invention of geometry by Africans, and all the other fanciful claims made by the PC professors and textbook writers. The sad thing is that these myths are getting into grade school and high school texts.
Someone out there in AR Land should be able to give us The Invented Blackman. The book would almost have to be a periodical because ridiculous new claims appear every day.
R.T. Osborne, Athens, Ga.
Sir — I was interested to read in your March issue that Rev. Timothy Mitchell of the (black) Ebeneezer Missionary Baptist Church thinks that racism was one of the reasons why a black crowd of rap music fans rushed the doors to an event and crushed nine people to death.
Rev. Mitchell has been back in the news, commenting on a series of interracial incidents that took place in our “gorgeous mosaic” of a city in January. Things got off to a lively start when a group of young Albanian immigrants roughed up a 15-year-old black boy, stole a few dollars from him, and smeared white shoe polish on his face. “Now you’re white,” they said, in words that were reported all across the country. This led to a series of small-scale interracial skirmishes that culminated in the abduction and rape of 15-year-old white girl by two blacks.
According to the Village Voice, Rev. Mitchell says it would be wrong to classify the rape as a bias crime:
“Rape is rape; white or black. I read that the child says one of the black men told her she was being raped because she was ‘the perfect white girl’ and that he asked her ‘Have you ever been kissed by a black man?’ If he had called her a white epithet or said ‘I’m gonna fix you for what is happening to my people,’ then it’s bias. But I don’t think, based on the statements she claims were made to her, that this is a bias case.”
Rev. Mitchell has the shoe polish case figured out, too:
“I’m fed up with how easily imbued white immigrant groups are with American racism. Some of them believe that in order to be American one has to be a racist and oppress black people.
Name withheld, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Sir — Bill Cosby thinks AIDS was invented in the laboratory by whites so they could kill blacks (AR, March 1992)? I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. Joseph Lowery of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (Martin Luther King’s old outfit) say this about drugs:
“African-Americans are pretty much convinced that there is a nation-wide assault on black life. The marketplace for drugs is very intentionally placed in the black community. Because wherever the marketplace is, that’s where the war zone is, so they can kill each other.”
Of course, no one “places” a black market anywhere. It simply follows demand.
Peter Elgin, Charleston, S.C.
Sir — I expect you will receive several letters from women who are not the partisans of Anne Moir and David Jessel that Thomas Jackson appears to be (see review of Brain Sex, AR, March 1992). However, I prefer to take exception to the broader issue of why you decided to review such a book in the first place. By including a piece on sex differences in a publication that constantly points out race differences, you seem to be suggesting that white males are the standard by which all the rest of us are to be judged.
Mr. Jackson’s lame attempt to justify his review on the grounds that there are “striking parallels between the study of sex differences and study of race differences” simply reinforces the notion of the “otherness” of women. Surely, AR,like all publications that write frankly about race, should take steps to include women, not exclude them.
Paula Crozier, Billings, Mont.
Sir — Are you folks looking for trouble? It’s one thing to offend a lot of people by writing the facts about race; but why pick a fight with women. I admit that everything those people wrote in Brain Sex may well be true. They certainly confirmed many of my observations of some 45 years. But it is possible to take that Jefferson quote in your masthead too literally.
Our great struggle is to defend against dispossession by non-whites, and we need all the allies — men and women — we can get. It only stirs up trouble to take a provocative stand on a tangential issue. It wouldn’t win AR any friends to take an all-guns-blazing position on abortion, say, or Christianity. Why make an exception for sex differences?
Name withheld, San Diego, Cal.