|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 16, No. 2||February 2005|
The Racial Ideology of Empire
The roots of our crisis go deep into our past.
It is not difficult to find expressions of racial consciousness from prominent whites who lived only several generations ago. Colonization and empire-building probably brought out the frankest of these sentiments. British explorer and capitalist Cecil Rhodes, for example, stated at the turn of 20th century: “We are the first race in the world, and the more of the world we inhabit, the better it is for the human race.” At about the same time, British Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain explained that “the spirit of adventure and enterprise distinguishing the Anglo-Saxon race has made us peculiarly fit to carry out the working of colonization.” The French took a similar view, with even a socialist like Leon Blum noting in 1925: “We recognize the right and even the duty of superior races to draw unto them those which have not arrived at the same level of culture.” The brief American experience of traditional empire brought out the same sentiments. After annexation of the Philippines in 1899, Senator A.J. Beveridge wrote of “the mission of our race, trustees under God, of the civilization of the world.”
It would be easy to conclude from statements like this — and there are many — that race has been a consistent part of Western consciousness, and that only recently have whites lost their way. That would be a mistake. During the ages of discovery and colonization, whites rarely held well-considered or consistent views of race. Their actions and opinions varied widely in time and from place to place. Europeans often felt superior to the primitive peoples with whom they came into contact, but during the entire modern period, there have always been whites who held anti-”racist” views of the kind that prevail today. Since the Second World War, opinion has certainly shifted in a markedly unhealthy direction, but Europeans have never had a sound, generally-accepted understanding of race. An examination of some of our past mistakes may throw light on the mistakes we are making today.
Despite a lack of consistency about race, a few principles do emerge from the imperial period. The most obvious is that almost without exception, it has been the whites who were most distant from non-whites who took the most benign view of them. It was always the metropolitan authorities — whether in Britain, Spain, France or Portugal — who pushed for gentler and even equal treatment of colonial subjects. The men on the ground understood that empires could not be run on egalitarian principles. Whites who spent the most time overseas and who knew non-whites best were the ones who were least sentimental about them.
At the same time, whites have long had a tendency to be squeamish and hypocritical about race. Even at the height of empire, colonial authorities were full of false piety, mouthing high-sounding nonsense they did not believe. Except for people on the front lines of empire, there has been a surprising unwillingness of Europeans to assert racial interests, even when they understood and believed in them. Timidity about race is nothing new.
It is important to bear in mind that although we tend to think of empire as whites ruling non-whites, this is only one kind of empire. Anti-“racists” love to talk about overseas empire because it is such a gratifying example of “white supremacy,” but whites have had no compunction about ruling each other. Europeans ended up with large African and Asian empires only because it was easier to subjugate non-white primitives than to conquer fellow Europeans, but the history of the West is of endless efforts by whites to dominate other whites.
Even after the discovery of America, Spain ruled Portugal, and tried to invade Britain. Napoleon made himself emperor of vast European territories without much thought of possessions overseas. Even when overseas empire was most vigorous, when Chamberlain and Rhodes were glorying in bringing British rule to lesser breeds, they fought their most savage colonial war against whites — the Boers. When they boasted about the British race, they meant the British people, not the white race. Even Hitler, presumably the most race-conscious empire-builder of the 20th century, conquered fellow Europeans rather than build an overseas empire, and had an alliance with the non-white Japanese.
This brings us to another rule that governs the history of race and empire. Even among men who had no illusions about race — soldiers, for example, who killed natives to make way for empire — there was nothing remotely like pan-Caucasian solidarity that transcended European nationalism. From the very beginnings of colonialism through the Second World War, Europeans enlisted non-whites in their wars with each other. There was some hesitation about teaching imperial subjects how to kill white men, but only because it might be harder to keep ex-soldiers as subjects, not because having them shoot whites was a betrayal of racial loyalty.
Non-white allies went into action against whites as early as the 1580s, when Francis Drake used Indians in his raids on the Spanish. During the French and Indian War, both sides recruited friendly natives, and both sides let their allies torture and mutilate captives, some of whom were white. Torture shocked British and French commanders, but it was the price of alliance.
During the Revolution, the British offered freedom to American blacks who revolted against their owners, and the first principle of colonization meant the British were much more successful than the revolutionaries in attracting Indian allies. Indians learned very quickly that it was the people farthest away who liked them most, and they wanted British rather than American rule.
As the young republic expanded, both Spain and England regularly armed Indians and set them against Americans. Andrew Jackson wanted Indian lands, but his main reason for shipping tribes West was to remove potentially dangerous populations that could be stirred up by Europeans. Neither Americans nor their enemies had any scruples about encouraging Indians to kill whites.
Later, the British fielded regiments of Gurkhas and other Asians. The French had their North African Spahis and Harkis, as well as the famous Tirailleurs Sénégalais, made up of blacks from all over West Africa, not just Senegalese. They used colored troops mainly to control colonies — always deploying them so they never had to fire on their own people — but during the First World War they had them fight Germans. Sixty-four thousand Indian troops died for Britain, many in Europe. France mobilized 555,000 colonial troops, of whom 78,000 died. During the Second World War, the British raised 1.8 million Indian and 375,000 black soldiers. Although Germany defeated it early, France still managed to field 160,000 blacks.
Such, then, is the checkered racial history of colonialism. Overseas empire certainly meant whites ruling over non-whites, but it was not based on coherent racial principles. The one great achievement of empire was to turn whole continents white, but the collapse of empire and the non-white immigration that followed, has made it a very bad bargain, certainly for Europeans.
All the great European empires followed the same patterns, and the British furnish as good an example as any of racial incoherence and even naïveté. A surprising example of the latter was the establishment of the first permanent settlement in Jamestown in 1607 (see AR, Jan. 2004). By then, the Spanish had been in the New World for over a century, and had a reputation for massacre. The English were determined to do better, bringing civilization and Christianity to what they expected would be grateful natives. As one backer of the Virginia Company wrote of the Indians he had never seen: “Their children when they come to be saved, will blesse the day when first their fathers saw your faces.”
The colonists did not consider themselves superior to the “naturals,” no matter how primitive. They reasoned that the ancient Britons had been savages, civilized by the Romans, and that this process would be repeated. Although the colonists considered themselves racially different from Africans and “Moors,” they thought the Indians were born white and turned dark from exposure to the sun and to skin dyes.
The president of the colony, Edward-Maria Wingfield, was so determined to set a loving example that he forbade construction of fortifications and training in the use of weapons. The colony was only ten days old when hundreds of Indians attacked it. If the English had not panicked them with canon fire, the Indians would probably have massacred them all. It was only after this edifying encounter that the colonists built their famous three-sided stockade.
The Indian reaction to colonization was the mirror-image of what became the rule in European attitudes towards natives: The tribes that lived closest to Jamestown hated the English and tried to kill them. The more distant ones were friendly and willing to trade.
Despite frequent attacks, the English did not give up hope that benevolence would win over the Indians. After the first conversions to Christianity, they set aside 10,000 acres for a college where Indians would be instructed in the faith. One English leader, George Thorpe, was especially insistent on kindness to Indians, and even publicly hanged dogs whose barking had frightened them.
As the years went by, Indians and colonists began to mingle, with hired Indians working together with the English in shops and in the field. The appearance of friendliness was false. In 1622, Indians carried out a carefully-hatched extermination plan, turning on the colonists with whom they worked, killing as many as they could. In some areas, they lost the element of surprise and therefore killed only 400 of Jamestown’s 1,200 whites. For Thorpe, the special friend of the Indians, they reserved a particularly cruel death and elaborate mutilation. The remaining colonists launched a war of revenge, but after a year or so relations returned to an appearance of friendliness.
Amazingly, in 1644, Indians carried out an identical sneak attack, and managed to kill 400 to 500 people. This time, the English retaliated mercilessly, and in 1646, the Virginia General Assembly noted that the natives were “so routed and dispersed that they are no longer a nation, and we now suffer only from robbery by a few starved outlaws.”
What is remarkable about Jamestown is the behavior of the English, not that of the Indians. The English approached the Indians with as much good will as it was probably possible for colonizers to approach the colonized. It was the Indians who recognized that colonization meant dispossession, and they resisted in every way they could.
Eventually, of course, the English lost their illusions. By 1690, Governor John Archdale of the Carolinas was praising God for the diseases that killed so many natives: “The Hand of God has been eminently seen in thinning the Indians to make room for the English.” Still, it is sobering to note that even 400 years ago, whites were capable of dangerous illusions in their dealings with non-whites, though they did come to their senses before it was too late.
The British colonization of India was a remarkable contrast to that of Virginia, despite the fact that it began at virtually the same time (the East India Company started operations in 1613). The men in India did not think Asians were born white, and had no desire to change or civilize them. They were there to trade, make money, and expand British power. For the first 200 years, they would not even allow missionary work, and yielded reluctantly to the pressures that arose from religious revivals back in England. In 1813, the year missionaries first arrived, Governor Thomas Munro of Madras expressed the prevailing view of experienced India hands:
“I have no faith in the modern doctrine of the improvement of the Hindus or of any other people. When I read, as I sometimes do, of a measure by which a large province has been suddenly improved, or a race of semi-barbarians civilized almost to Quakerism, I throw away the book.”
The reforms crusading liberals then forced on India were a classic example of people who knew nothing about a country overruling administrators who had lived their all their lives. As the old hands had predicted, Indians reacted badly to evangelism, and were annoyed by the abolition of suttee, or the practice of burning widows. Although slavery was not widely practiced in India, its abolition throughout the empire in 1833 was another instance of reform-minded people from thousands of miles away meddling in affairs of which they had no experience.
Indians appear to have been reasonably content to be ruled by the British, but wanted their culture and religions left alone. Men like Kipling, who spent years in India, understood that “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,” but missionaries and crusading liberals thought they could turn Indians into Englishmen. The Indian mutiny (also known as the Sepoy Rebellion) of 1857-1858 was in large part a reaction to these fashionable reforms. The attempt to make East and West meet ended in blood and tears, and British reformers redirected their zeal overnight to putting down the “ungrateful wogs.”
Yet another example of home-country illusions being forced on administrators who knew better led to what became known as the “white mutiny.” In 1880 the liberal Gladstone government appointed George Robinson (later Marquess of Ripon) as Viceroy of India. He arrived brimming with reform, and proposed a law that would have given Indian judges and juries the power to try Englishmen accused of local crimes. India men were outraged at this blurring of the line between rulers and ruled that they considered essential for doing their jobs. Resistance was so intense the measure was watered down, and any white defendant called before an Indian magistrate got the right to demand a jury that was at least half British or American.
The huge debate that erupted over this issue, both in India and England, damaged relations between whites and Indians. Until the new viceroy made an issue of it, everyone took it for granted that the English were tried by English judges. Forced to defend this tradition, whites had to make racial arguments that stirred up needless resentment.
Empire required a firm sense of the white man’s fitness to rule, but it was not usually necessary to express this in explicitly supremacist terms. It was a delicate balance of confidence, sensitivity to Indian dignity, and industrial power that allowed Britain to rule 250 million Indians with never more than 900 civil servants and 70,000 soldiers. The British were conscious of this balancing act, and understood that a ruling race had to maintain a certain demeanor. As a man in the Indian Civil Service explained in 1900:
“To the peasant the visit of a ‘saheeb’ or a casual meeting with one … will be talked of for days over the village fire and remembered for years. The white man will be sized up shrewdly and frankly. So take heed unto your manners and your habits.”
George Orwell, who served in Burma, noted that “a white man mustn’t be frightened in front of natives; and so, in general, he isn’t frightened.” Sir Francis Younghusband, who was born in India, and who led a British force into Tibet, wrote of the psychological basis of empire:
“No European can mix with non-Christian races without feeling his moral superiority over them… It is not because we are any cleverer than the natives of India, because we have more brains or bigger heads than they have, that we rule India; but because we are stronger morally than they are.”
These sentiments were reflected in the sense of duty to which upper-class Britons were bred. By 1880, Britain was rearing complete generations to standards of “Anglo-Saxon manhood” that would prepare them to rule. Fairplay and Christianity were essential ingredients of the master-race mentality, and the men who could pass the stiff examinations required to join the colonial civil service were rightly proud of their incorruptibility.
The empire was a source of great pride and excitement for ordinary people who never left Britain’s shores. Publications like Boys of the Empire (started in 1900) ran articles like “How to be Strong” and “Empire Heroes.” There was a Boys Empire League, which promoted interest in the colonies, and the Boy Scouts were originally a patriotic organization. Scouting’s founder, George Baden-Powell, had fought the Ndebele in Rhodesia, and expressed strong views of empire to his young charges:
“Your forefathers worked hard, fought hard, and died hard to make this empire for you. Don’t let them look down from heaven, and see you loafing around with your hands in your pockets, doing nothing to keep it up.”
An ABC for Baby Patriots, published in 1899, caught the spirit with rhymes like:
“C is for Colonies
“Rightly we boast
“That of all the great nations
“Great Britain has most.”
In the Victorian era, Pears Soap advertisements had copy like this:
“The first step towards lightening the white man’s burden is through teaching the virtues of cleanliness. Pears’ Soap is a potent factor in brightening the dark corners of the earth as civilization advances.”
One group to whom the British believed they were bringing civilization was Africans. Of all the peoples they encountered, however, blacks (and Australian aobrigines) appear to have struck them as the most alien. Whites could imagine that American Indians were of the same stock as themselves, and India hands admired Indian high culture, but with only a few exceptions, Africans appear to have struck whites as a lower race. The first blacks arrived in Jamestown in 1619, at the time when the English were still wondering if Indians were not sunburned white people. There were no such illusions about the new arrivals, and the colonists did not hesitate to treat them as a servile race.
In 1681 on Barbados, Governor Richard Dutton argued that black slaves should be treated with Christian kindness, but “as to make negroes Christians, their savage brutishness renders them wholly incapable.” Another 17th century Englishman wrote of Africans that “the men and women go so alike, that one cannot know a man from a woman but by their breasts, which in the most part be very foule and long, hanging downe low like the udder of a goat.” One Caribbean planter wrote that when African women bent over to tend crops, their breasts touched the ground, giving the impression from a distance that they were six-legged creatures. It would be hard to find such harsh descriptions of people of other races.
The impulse to see all races as equal nevertheless survived. British idealists established Sierra Leone in 1787 as a haven for freed slaves, and its backers believed sincerely that with proper instruction Africans could be brought up to the level of Europeans. Illusions of this kind might thrive among members of Christian tract societies back home, but they rarely lasted long under the tropical sun.
The explorer David Livingstone began his career as a missionary with the London Missionary Society, but gave up preaching in the early 1840s, because he was making no progress:
“It must be difficult or rather impossible for Christians at home to realize anything like an accurate notion of the grossness which shrouds their minds … Their ideas are all earthly and it is with great difficulty that they can be brought to detach [themselves] from sensual objects.”
Africa was the graveyard of high expectations. Even the founder of the London Missionary Society, Robert Moffat, could not maintain his optimism, writing of Africans that “Indifference and stupidity form the wreath on every brow: Ignorance — the grossest ignorance — forms the basis of every heart.”
Civil servants met with the same disappointments. Activists had pushed for emancipation, confident that freed slaves would be reborn as ambitious small-holders. Freedom led, instead, to drunkenness and idleness, while productivity plummeted.
The same metropolitan naïveté greeted the suppression of a black insurrection in Jamaica in 1865. Governor Edward Eyre, using methods similar to those adopted during the Indian mutiny just a few years earlier, had about 200 people executed. On Jamaica he was heralded as the savior of civilization, and he was shocked to be summoned before a commission in England to answer for his actions. The hearings badly fractured public opinion, with prominent men lining up on both ides. Eyre was removed as governor but never officially sanctioned, and went to his grave a hero to white Jamaicans and convinced he had been shabbily treated by his country.
It was a classic case of people who knew of blacks only second-hand second-guessing people who had lived among them for years. Eyre’s dismissal made it hard to take firm action elsewhere in the empire for fear of the reaction back home. Sir Garnet Wolseley, a tough soldier who saw service in dozens of colonial engagements had Eyre in mind when he wrote: “I have to think of the howling Societies at home who have sympathy with all black men whilst they care nothing for the miseries inflicted on their own kith and kin who have the misfortune to be located near these interesting niggers.”
As with Indians, colonial administrators in Africa thought it vital to maintain a certain attitude towards natives. Lord Lugard, who spent many years governing Nigeria in the early 1900s, held that whites should immediately rebuff any “insolent familiarity” from blacks, who would naturally be subservient if treated properly.
Lugard worried that some of the British straggling into the colonies did not have the natural air of superiority empire required: “The type of Englishman, in the shape of the trader, whom we meet in these parts, is too awful for words to describe; they are all more or less counter-jumpers of the worst type and biggest bounders into the bargain.” (“Counter-jumpers” are people whose natural position is subservience — serving behind a counter — who jump over the counter to mix with their betters.)
Still, the conviction that non-whites — Africans in particular — did not have the capacity to manage their own affairs lasted well into the 20th century. A 1937 National Geographic article caught the prevailing view: “The Baganda are a pleasant and courteous people and quick to emulate the white man in clothing and ways of living. They train easily, whether as domestic servants, scouts or seamstresses.”
In some circles, this paternalist view continued into the mid-century, especially among men who really knew blacks. The great French Protestant missionary, Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965) was the Mother Theresa of his time, a Nobel peace prize winner admired for his saintly qualities. Not long before his death, in his 1961 From My African Notebook, he wrote:
“I have given my life to alleviate the sufferings of Africa. There is something that all White men who have lived here like I have must learn and know: that these individuals are a sub-race.
“They have neither the mental or emotional abilities to equate or share equally with White men in any functions of our civilization. I have given my life to try to bring unto them the advantages which our civilization must offer, but I have become well aware that we must retain this status: White the superior, and they the inferior.
“For whenever a White man seeks to live among them as their equals, they will destroy and devour him, and they will destroy all his work. And so for any existing relationship or any benefit to this people, let White men, from anywhere in the world, who would come to help Africa, remember that you must maintain this status: you the master and they the inferior, like children whom you would help or teach.
“Never fraternize with them as equals. Never accept them as your social equals or they will devour you. They will destroy you.”
By this time, of course, people who had no direct experience of non-whites were drowning out the warnings of men who knew better, and the process of decolonization was well on its way.
What eventually brought about the end of empire? What ended the conviction that Anglo-Saxons were “peculiarly fit to carry out the working of colonization”? The two world wars undoubtedly had a lot to do with it. The agonized soul-searching that followed the first great war, especially, seems to have affected the way Europeans felt about everything they did. For men who prided themselves in their ability to run the affairs of others, it was a terrible blow to have, themselves, blundered into unspeakable carnage.
The Second World War, following just 20 years later, further exhausted the metropolitan powers. The United States, which emerged as the dominant superpower, was aggressively anti-colonial despite the explicitly racial laws that still governed its internal relations with blacks. (This is just another example of the racial incoherence of empire: Jim Crow America opposed European rule in Africa.)
At the same time, at least among Indians and Asians, a class of Western-trained intellectuals was beginning to arise, whom it was difficult to hold in subservience. Empire always depended ultimately on force, and as time went by the British became reluctant to use it.
The 1919 “Amritsar massacre” reopened the wounds left by the controversy over Edward Eyre’s handling of the 1865 Jamaica uprising, and showed how the British were changing. During a period of nationalist disturbances, General Rex Dyer — an India man born in the Punjab — banned “all meeting and gatherings” in the province. When 20,000 people flouted his order and demonstrated in Amritsar, he marched 50 Gurkha and Baluchi troops into the town square and ordered them to fire on the crowd, killing 379 and wounding 1,500. Demonstrations immediately stopped, and Dyer was a hero — at least at first. The Sikhs, who hated the Punjabis, made the general an honorary Sikh at the Golden Temple.
Horror mounted back home, however, and Dyer was hauled before a commission. He explained that he wanted to “strike terror into the whole of the Punjab” in order to forestall rebellion. The British no longer had the stomach for striking terror, and Dyer was forced to resign his commission. (An interesting sidelight of the Dyer investigation was the interrogation of the Baluchis and Gurkhas who did the shooting. They said they enjoyed mowing down plainsmen.) As in the Eyre case, prominent people split over the Amritsar action, with men who knew India backing the general. Churchill condemned the shootings while Rudyard Kipling contributed to a sympathy fund that raised more than £26,000.
Earlier men who fought for Britain — Robert Clive (1715-1774), Lord Kitchener (1850-1916), and John Nicholson (1821-1857), who helped put down the mutiny) — probably would have acted as Dyer did. The difference was that Britain would have backed them.
Until the waning days of empire, most Britons had a high sense of national destiny, and believed their nation was a powerful force for good. However, when increasingly well-educated subjects wanted self-rule it became difficult to deny them. The British certainly had the means to silence colonial elites but no longer had the will. In 1937, Hitler explained to Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax how to control Indian nationalism: “Shoot Gandhi, and if that does not suffice to reduce them to submission, shoot a dozen leading members of [the] Congress [movement]; and if that does not suffice, shoot 200 and so on until order is established.”
Britain was no longer capable of measures like this, which was probably just as well. By the time India became independent in 1947, the exhaustion of two world wars, pressure from the United States, and the sophisticated tactics and demands of Indian activists left Britain little choice. One incident from the final days of the Raj showed just how far the former rulers had fallen. While the last viceroy, Louis Mountbatten, was negotiating the final withdrawal, his wife Edwina was carrying on an affair with Jawaharlal Nehru, the most prominent nationalist after Gandhi, and India’s future prime minister.
Independence has, of course, led to results that any student of race could have predicted: Moderate success for some Asian and Middle-Eastern peoples; chaos for most Africans. It is now the backwash of empire in the form of non-white immigration that is the most unhappy legacy for the European powers. If, indeed, the loss of confidence that led to decolonization lead inevitably to massive non-white immigration — and it seems to have done so without exception — empire was a catastrophic mistake for the imperial powers.
Hypocrisy and Failure of Will
Given the aftermath of empire, it should perhaps not be surprising to learn that its history is one of constant tension between frank assertions of white supremacy and the insistence that all men are brothers and equals. It is probably a reflection on the nature of whites that the latter view has always assumed a sheen of high morality. For at least two centuries, race has been a subject on which the more one ignores both the scientific evidence and the testimony of experts, the more enlightened one can appear. No doubt this is why even with empires at their most powerful, men who knew better shrank from blunt assertions of racial interests.
Immigration policy — the very policy that is today determining the future for whites everywhere — seems always to have been fertile ground for hypocrisy and evasion. In light of the current debate over efforts to stem the Third-World influx, it is instructive to note that only rarely have whites had the stomach to say openly that they wanted to keep their countries white.
Surprising as it may seem, in the Victorian era the British tried to maintain the fiction that all imperial subjects, of all races, were on an equal footing. Therefore, when the whites who ran the South African colony of Natal wanted to pass laws preventing immigration from India, the colonial ministry overruled them. The British understood the desire to keep out Indians, but would not permit outright exclusion. In 1897, both sides reached a compromise, according to which immigrants had to arrive with at least £25 sterling and be able to speak a European language. This law successfully excluded the vast majority of Indian immigrants by means of regulations that appeared to be race neutral. Indirect measures of this kind became known as “the Natal formula.”
In the years before it became an independent commonwealth in 1901, Australia had considerable autonomy, but did not have complete control over immigration. Its leaders wanted laws to exclude Asians, but Joseph Chamberlain — the secretary of state for the colonies who was so insistent on the virtues of the “Anglo-Saxon race” — explained this was impossible. In 1897, he asked Australians to:
“… bear in mind the traditions of the Empire, which makes no distinction in favor of, or against race or color; and to exclude, by reason of their color or by reasons of their race, all Her Majesty’s Indian subjects or even all Asiatics would be an act so offensive to those people, that it would be most painful, I am quite certain, to Her Majesty to have to sanction it.”
Chamberlain wanted a “white Australia,” but would not approve overt racial restrictions, writing of the importance of “legislation that will prevent undesirable immigration without making distinctions based entirely on color.” Australia therefore worked out its own version of the Natal formula: Any immigrant would have to write a passage of 50 words dictated in a European language by an immigration officer.
There was no secret about the law’s purpose. An official of the Australian Department of External Affairs explained how the test was supposed to work:
“It is not desirable that colored persons should be allowed to pass the test, and before putting it to anyone the Officer should be satisfied that he will fail. If he is considered likely to pass the test in English, it should be applied in some other language of which he is ignorant.”
A non-white who seemed likely to pass the test in English, could be made to take it in French or Polish!
Australia passed other evasive legislation. In 1855, it had already kept out Chinese immigrants who came tightly packed in the lower decks of ships. Pretending to take an interest in the comfort of shipboard accommodations, colonial authorities ruled that no vessel could bring in immigrants at a ratio of more than one person to every ten tons of displacement. In 1888, they raised the requirement to every 500 tons of displacement. These were apparently race-neutral laws designed to keep out people of a specific race — a Natal formula before the phrase was even born.
The Canadians also resorted to subterfuge. In 1908, when there was no direct steamer service from India to Canada, legislation required that immigrants come “from the country of their birth” on “a continuous voyage on through tickets.” The provision was aimed at Indians, but lawmakers could not bring themselves to write their real intent into law.
Lessons for Today
What is perhaps most instructive about studying racial policies of the past is to discover how little has changed. When whites leave Southern California, complaining about “crime,” or when they claim to be looking for “good schools” and somehow end up buying houses in white neighborhoods, they are reinventing the Natal formula. They are using ostensibly race-neutral grounds to achieve racial results, whether they realize it or not.
Something else that has not changed is the desire to downplay or even obfuscate the racial consequences of policy — except that the anti-”racists” are now doing it. The backers of the Immigration Reform Act of 1965 claimed it would have no racial impact, and would leave the makeup of the country unchanged. Racial preferences for non-whites get the anodyne name “affirmative action” or even the frankly deceptive “equal employment opportunity.” Transfers of wealth to blacks are “anti-poverty programs.” The dispossession of whites is “diversity” or “enrichment.”
Something else has changed even less: People who know nothing about non-whites still think they are experts on race relations. The less whites actually know, the more confidently they lecture other whites who have spent years among blacks or Asians. From the 1940s to the 1990s, Scandinavians who had never clapped eyes on a black told Americans and South Africans how to behave. Northerners berated Southerners with equal authority. Even today, the politicians and editorialists who bray the loudest about Southern or redneck “racism” live in gilded white ghettos and send their children to private schools. There is probably no other subject for which mouthing clichés passes for learning, and moral fervor trumps a lifetime of experience.
The preponderance of opinion has certainly shifted over time, but whites seem always to have had a predisposition to tread lightly when it comes to race, to hide racial interests behind non-racial generalities, and to be strongly attracted by the appearance of generosity and broad-mindedness that attaches to egalitarianism and the renunciation of racial loyalty. When non-whites were colonial subjects and not in a position to push their way into Europe, these tendencies had only local consequences — one is reminded of the Jamestown massacre of 1622. Now, they are potentially fatal.
Even on racial matters, however, whites are capable of learning. Just as the Jamestown colony eventually lost its illusions, liberals can abandon racial romanticism in the face of hard experience. The current ferment in Belgium and Holland over immigration is a sign that romanticism is dying. When Americans actually have a chance to express themselves — in referenda on racial preferences or benefits for illegal aliens — they invariably show good sense.
Today, with the possible exception of Iceland, no white nation is free of non-white immigration. Scandinavians can no longer wrap their denunciations of Americans or South Africans in the conviction that if they were in our places they would work miracles of reconciliation and uplift. They are in our places now, and the first-hand experience of race is sobering.
If this were empire, it is as if the people back home now have an inkling of what Edward Eyre faced in Jamaica or of why Rex Dyer opened fire in Amritsar. Far fewer people can shelter their illusions behind walls of ignorance.
Will whites wake up in time to save their civilization? If they do, they will look back in gratitude to the men who knew the world best, who thought about it hardest. They will wonder why, during the 20th century, Europeans ignored the warnings of men like Albert Schweitzer, and did not listen to Rudyard Kipling when he wrote: “A man should, whatever happens, keep to his own caste, race and breed. Let the white go to the white and the black to the black.”
Rehabilitating (and Denaturing) the White Australia Policy
A leftist defense of Asian exclusion.
Keith Windschuttle, The White Australia Policy, Sydney: Macleay Press, 2004, 370 pp., $Aust. 34.95 (soft cover)
Racial realists who would like to bring common sense to the Australian debate over race and immigration will be disappointed by a recent book that claims to defend the “White Australia Policy.” It promises much but delivers little because the author refuses to take race seriously. In this book, Keith Windschuttle, a former Marxist academic turned independent neo-conservative, counters the orthodox leftist charge that the “White Australia Policy” — which, until it received the coup de grâce in 1974, limited immigration largely to whites — was “racist.”
This is a direct assault on the academic establishment. Over the last 40 years, New Left historians have routinely portrayed Australia as a racist pariah nation, comparable to South Africa. The “dispossession” and allegedly “genocidal” treatment of the Aborigines following British settlement in 1788 is commonly cited as the principal count in the indictment against Australia, but the White Australia Policy adopted in 1901 by the newly-federated Commonwealth comes a close second. Ever since the “Sixties” generation began its long march through the institutions, Australians have learned to approach their past in a self-hating mood of enthusiastic shame.
Mr. Windschuttle is no stranger to controversy or to issues of race. He poses as a fearless foe of the academic establishment, but his targets are often sitting ducks. Two years ago, he launched the first serious scholarly assault on the claim that British colonists carried out systematic genocide against the natives of what is now the state of Tasmania. His book, The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, carefully combed through the documentary evidence, easily refuting that charge and provoking a storm of more or less ineffectual outrage within university history departments.
Standard historical accounts of race relations in Tasmania have been premised on the leftist fiction that white Australians always hated and despised Aborigines. By going back to the original sources, Mr. Windschuttle overturned the conventional wisdom. His investigations revealed that “only” about 120 were killed by white settlers. Most damaging of all to the reputation of the historical profession, he demonstrated that the “genocide” story was based on the misrepresentation and outright fabrication of documentary evidence.
Now, hot on the heels of his controversial revision of the “black armband” view of Aboriginal history (everything whites ever did was bad), Mr. Windschuttle has set out to upset yet another academic applecart.
On a formal level, it is easy to absolve the “White Australia Policy” of “racism,” since the policy did not explicitly prohibit non-white immigration. Instead, prospective immigrants were required to pass a dictation test by writing out 50 words in a European language selected by immigration officials. However, both the intent and the practical effect of the dictation test were sharply to limit colored immigration. Mr.. Windschuttle maintains that the White Australia Policy, far from being the reactionary spawn of a racist nation, grew out of a long-established, progressive program intended “to extend both the freedom and the dignity of labour.”
How can this be? Mr. Windschuttle argues that the policy was really a campaign to prevent importation of cheap coolie labor from Asia, and that it grew out of earlier movements to end slavery and the transportation of convicts to Australia. Therefore, opposition to Asian immigration was not grounded in fears of “racial contamination.” Instead, politicians wanted to protect the standard of living of Australian workers and prevent the emergence of “a racially-based political underclass” that would undermine Australia’s egalitarian democracy.
This argument strains credulity. Australians were determined to create a new Britannia. For most, it was self-evident that antipodean Britons, too, were white Europeans, bound by what Alfred Deakin described as the “crimson ties” of kinship to the mother country. Mr. Windschuttle would have us believe that they were proto-Boasian anthropologists, confident that, once liberated from their historically-conditioned culture of servility, Chinese and Indian laborers would be indistinguishable from white Australians of British stock.
Mr. Windschuttle concedes that some “unequivocally racist” elements supported the restriction movement. Indeed, he savors the irony that, in the early 20th century, the most sympathetic audience for racial nationalism were the bohemian writers, artists and intellectuals of the leftist intelligentsia. He notes that this élite, then famously associated with the Bulletin magazine, bears an “uncanny resemblance” to the “chattering classes” now: “[T]hey agree on almost everything, with the conspicuous exception of immigration policy, where their positions are reversed.”
By contrast, Mr. Windschuttle insists, mainstream Australians have never subscribed to biological theories of race. Influenced instead by the universalistic principles of both evangelical Christianity and the Scottish Enlightenment, they have refused to treat white Europeans as superior and other races as inferior.
Mr. Windschuttle also argues that because the White Australia Policy was never based on racial nationalism, it could be — and was — readily jettisoned once the original, legitimate justifications for it lost their potency: “The proof that Australia wore the policy lightly was the ease with which it discarded it.” He emphasizes that dismantling the policy in the 20 years from the mid-1950s onward “required no major cultural upheaval and was accomplished with a minimum of fuss by liberal politicians with values similar to those held by the original sceptics and critics when immigration restrictions were introduced in 1901.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Windschuttle’s rehabilitation of the White Australia Policy is premised on a familiar, if pernicious, tenet of neo-conservatism: Like those who claim that the United States is a “creedal” or “concept” nation, Mr. Windschuttle maintains that the operating premise of Australian society is the proposition that all people are equal in principle and in potential. Accordingly, Australia’s national identity is “based on a civic patriotism,” thereby fostering “loyalty to Australia’s liberal democratic political institutions rather than to race or ethnicity.”
Mr. Windschuttle’s argument with the academic establishment is pitched as a matter of historical fact: Was the White Australia Policy “racist” or not? But on the issue of race itself, there is no difference between the two camps. Both Mr. Windschuttle and his leftist antagonists agree that race “is an unscientific category,” a thoroughly modern, bad idea, and that “races” have no biological or genetic foundation.
Mr. Windschuttle even suggests that to take any other view “is to betray one’s ignorance of the subject.” In fact, to anyone familiar with the rapidly expanding literature on the genetic character of racial differences, Mr. Windschuttle’s dogmatism classes him among what Steve Sailer of UPI calls “race flat-earthers.”
Race matters for a lot of reasons and it is of particular relevance to any analysis of the White Australia Policy. But not for Mr. Windschuttle. He recognizes the seemingly insuperable cultural barriers alienating mainstream Australians from other racial groups, particularly the Chinese. Nevertheless he asserts that it is a fundamental error “to slide from the concept of culture to that of race.” Humans, he would have us believe, are infinitely malleable.
But what if racial differences are, in large part, biologically or genetically grounded? What if cultures, too, are not simply social constructs but instead have a substantial biological component? A racial realist looking at the historical facts provided by Mr. Windschuttle could easily conclude that the decision to abandon the White Australia Policy was a potentially catastrophic error that ought to be reversed as soon as possible.
Mr. Windschuttle does demonstrate that explicitly racialist ideologies have had little appeal to opinion leaders in Australia. But that may mean only that Australians, like other ethnic groups tracing their ancestry to Europe, are predisposed to individualism, exogamy and small nuclear families and, as a consequence, show little ethnocentrism.
What Mr. Windschuttle describes as a creedal commitment to racial egalitarianism may be a defining characteristic of a distinctive European racial identity not shared by other peoples. Kevin MacDonald of UC Long Beach explains Western “cultural” traits as an evolutionary adaptation to the rigors of life in cold, difficult climates. Natural selection favored the reproductive success of individuals capable of sustaining “non-kinship based forms of reciprocity,” not just those who were loyal to the tribe. Over time, individualistic social structures encouraged the emergence in England of the common law of property and contract and, later still, the emergence of impersonal corporate forms of business enterprise, all requiring cooperation between strangers rather than tribalism and restricted loyalties.
The distinctive culture that emerged from the interaction between the genotype of the English people and their environment can be understood as what Richard Dawkins calls an “extended phenotype,” an extension of biology into behavior and culture. Like the spider’s web or the beaver’s dam, the extended phenotype of Western civilization is part of a biocultural feedback loop linking our genes with our environment over countless generations.
Other races have produced their own distinctive extended phenotypes that can easily conflict with the biocultural interest Western societies have in their own survival. The Chinese, for example, took an evolutionary path favoring centralized, authoritarian regimes, placing a premium on clannish behaviour and downplaying the worth of individual creativity. The result has been a people marked by high average intelligence — but more conformity and hierarchy than in Northwestern European societies — as well as rampant xenophobia and ethnocentrism.
Faced with competition from such highly cohesive ethnic groups, individualistic Australians remain oblivious to the threat to their own genetic interests. Unlike Mr. Windschuttle, fellow Australian Frank Salter (see “What We Owe Our People,” AR, Jan. 2005) has not become a darling of the local media, despite (or, more likely, because of) his work showing the connection between ethnicity and trust. White Australians now find themselves outgunned: Western-style “old boy” networks are notoriously permeable, and no match for the systematic in-group solidarity practiced by other groups that manage to gain access to and work within the extended phenotypes of Western societies.
Westerners ignore this competition at their peril. Mr. Windschuttle, of course, is confident that immigrants will lose their racial identities and take on the individualistic norms of Western culture, and is not worried by the replacement of white Europeans by Chinese or Arab Muslims. Like most fashionable Australians, he has “accepted this with equanimity,” perhaps even “with a sense of self-congratulation.” For him, Racial consciousness is an embarrassing social disease, not an essential ingredient of collective identity.
Racial realists who read his book will discover ample evidence that if all white Australians are as tender-minded as Mr. Windschuttle they certainly will be displaced by immigrant groups much less sensitive to charges of racism. One example: Mr. Windschuttle writes that the most violent race riots in Australian history were led, not by murderous white racists, but by Japanese pearl divers determined to eliminate competition from Timorese rivals. There were three such riots in Broome, Western Australia, in 1907, 1914, and 1920. The last lasted a week, and involved more than half the town’s population of 5,000. Seven people were killed and more than 60 seriously injured, dwarfing the casualty figures for the worst of the anti-Chinese goldfield riots of the mid-nineteenth century.
Almost every immigrant group in Mr. Windschuttle’s book, not to mention the Aboriginal population, shows just such a strong sense of racial solidarity and an aggressive determination to advance its collective interests. By contrast, “educated” white Australians, leftist “idealists” and even right-wing “ratbags” (a common Australian term of abuse for conservatives) remain strangely indifferent to the survival of their ethno-nation.
Mr. Windschuttle is right to defend the White Australia Policy against leftist attack, but does it for the wrong reasons, claiming that it really was not an expression of white racial interests. It is, of course, precisely on the grounds that it did defend the genetic interests of the founding stock that the White Australia Policy should be rehabilitated. By failing to tackle the mythology of racial egalitarianism, Mr. Windschuttle’s book has become part of the problem.
Andrew Fraser is associate professor in the Department of Public Law, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
The Mexican government is handing out a guide that tells Mexicans how to immigrate illegally to America. First published in December by Mexico’s Foreign Ministry, the 32-page booklet, called The Guide for the Mexican Migrant, is in comic book format and is distributed as a free supplement to El Libro Vaquero, a popular cowboy comic book. Mexico plans to hand out 1.5 million copies in five Mexican states that send many migrants to America, and in consulates in the US. An illustrated English translation of the guide is on the AR home page at www.amren.com. The book offers advice on how to cross the Rio Grande and the desert. It tells migrants that thick clothing will increase their weight when wet and make it hard to swim. Border-crossers should avoid walking in the desert when the heat is intense and follow power lines or train tracks if they get lost. They should add salt to their water because it will help them retain liquids.
The book also gives advice on how to deal with Border Patrol officers: “Don’t throw stones or other objects at the officers, since this is considered a provocation.”
Once they have reached the US, they should lie low. “Avoid attracting attention, at least while you are arranging your stay or documents to live in the United States. The best formula is not to alter your routine of going from work to home.” “Avoid family and domestic violence. This is a crime in the United States, just as in Mexico.”
The book contains a disclaimer saying it is not intended to promote illegal immigration and warns against crossing the border illegally. However, it offers no information about how to apply for a visa.
Mexican authorities say the book is intended only to keep border-jumpers safe. “We are not inviting them to cross, but we’re doing everything we can to save lives,” says Elizabeth Garcia Mejia of Grupo Beta, a Mexican government agency concerned with the welfare of Mexican migrants.
The reaction of the US government to the book has been mixed. A Border Patrol spokesman defended the book. “If they’ve already gone ahead and made that decision to cross illegally … then anything that helps protect their lives is worth it.” However, a Homeland Security official said his agency was shocked to hear of the book and that the US was seeking an explanation from Mexico.
The reaction among immigration-control groups was not mixed. According to John Vincent of Americans for Immigration Control, “It really looks like the Mexican government is encouraging illegal immigration. It shows the contempt Mexico has for our laws.” Others have pointed out that Mexico encourages illegal immigration because the $15 billion migrants sent home from the US last year was Mexico’s second biggest revenue source, after oil. [Chris Hawley, Mexico Publishes Guide to Assist Border Crossers, Arizona Republic (Phoenix), Jan. 1, 2005. Guía del Migrante Mexicano (Mexican Migrant Guide), Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Relations website.]
Mexico has produced other guides with tips for border-crossers, though not in comic book form. Grupo Beta also has agents at the border telling illegals such things as how much water to take and what clothing to wear. These lectures typically end with, “Have a safe trip, and God bless you!” This summer Grupo Beta put water barrels for illegals in the desert just south of the Arizona border. [Mexico Puts Water Barrels in Desert for Migrants, Reuters, Jun. 9, 2004. Solomon Moore, Mexico’s Border-Crossing Tips Anger Some in U.S., Los Angeles Times, Jan. 4, 2005.]
Three Grupo Beta members were among the 42 Mexican government workers arrested in March by Mexican authorities for smuggling illegal aliens into the US. Police officers and employees of the National Immigration Institute, Mexico’s border enforcement agency, were also part of the gang. They told border-crossers about police raids, illegally freed captives, and let others cross with false documents. Most of the immigrants were Brazilians, Cubans, Central Americans and Asians. [Louie Gilot, Mexican Officials Accused of Trafficking Immigrants, El Paso Times, Mar. 25, 2004. Dudley Althaus, Mexico Casts Net On Human-Smuggling Trade, Houston Chronicle, Mar. 24, 2004.]
Mexico also sponsors the Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior, or the Institute of Mexicans Abroad. This group uses databases of Mexicans in the US to gather crowds to pack the galleries of state legislatures and city councils whenever there is a vote on immigration. Such a crowd was on hand during the California legislature’s debates in 2003 over whether to give driver’s licenses to illegals. When an assemblyman complained, “This bill paves the way to Aztlan!” everyone in the gallery stood up and applauded. When the city council of Holland, Michigan debated whether to accept Mexican consular IDs, a Mexican official brought a mob of his compatriots to the meetings. The meetings became so contentious that the city council postponed the decision. [Matt Hayes, Is Mexico Thwarting U.S. Immigration Enforcement? FOXNews. com, Mar. 18, 2004.]
Police and the FBI in Philadelphia are looking into armed robberies by a gang dressed in burkas, the traditional head-to-toe robe Muslim women wear. Police say the burka bandits have struck convenience stores, restaurants, and gas stations at least ten times, and have held up four banks. Police aren’t sure if there is a single gang, or copycats. Although it is hard to identify a robber in a burka, police are looking for a black man and a black woman, and a third person of unknown sex and age. They think there may be as many as five people in the gang. [G.W. Miller III, Burka Bandits, Philadelphia Daily News, Dec. 22, 2004, p. 3.]
One to Miss
Warner Brothers is filming a movie version of “The Dukes of Hazzard,” a popular ABC television series that ran from 1979 to 1986. It was about two “good ole’ boys,” Bo and Luke Duke, and their comic adventures in fictional Hazzard County, Georgia. The program is perhaps best known for the car driven by the heroes: a bright orange 1969 Dodge Charger called the General Lee, with a big Confederate Battle Flag painted on the roof and a horn that played a few bars of “Dixie.” The car became a pop-culture icon; fans bought more than $100 million worth of General Lee licensed products.
Despite the enduring popularity of the General Lee, studio executives are afraid that if they keep the flag on the car they will be accused of promoting “racism.” They want fans of the television program to watch the movie, and are afraid they will be angry if the flag is gone. Therefore they will keep the flag, but point out that it is an “inappropriate symbol of the dark past.”
In a draft version of the script, a mechanic paints the flag on the roof while repairing the car. The Dukes do not notice, and are surprised when some people cheer as they drive around and others boo. It takes a run-in with black college students for the Duke boys to understand that the battle flag is not “cool.” When they insist they “don’t want to oppress anyone,” the blacks leave them alone.
DaimlerChrysler, which plans to bring back the Dodge Charger next year, considered doing a cross-promotional tie-in with the film, but decided against it, fearing the Battle Flag would “elicit a negative response.” [John Lippman, Flag-Wavering: Adapting ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ Proves Tricky for New Film, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 24, 2004.]
A Profile in Madness
Ethnic advocacy and civil liberties groups have used claims of racial profiling to try to stop private companies and government agencies from enforcing the law against non-whites. For example, due to lawsuits filed by the Department of Transportation (DOT), airlines are almost powerless to keep terrorists off their flights. The man most responsible for the suits is DOT secretary Norman Mineta, who once said that a grandmother from Vero Beach, Florida should get the same scrutiny as a young Saudi man. DOT has brought lawsuits against American, Delta, United, and Continental Airlines for screening potential terrorists. Though American kept only 11 passengers out of 23 million off its planes in late 2001 and early 2002, DOT still charged them with discriminatory conduct that would “result in irreparable harm to the public” if not stopped.
American took these precautions during government warnings of imminent terror attacks. The airline appears to have acted sensibly: in Paris, it tried to keep shoe-bomber Richard Reid from boarding the flight he tried to bring down. If French authorities had not forced the airline to let him on, he might have been added to the list of discrimination victims in DOT’s lawsuit. American kept others off flights because their names were similar to those on terrorist watch lists. American settled its government lawsuit for $1.5 million, to be spent on employee “sensitivity training.” The other airlines also had to spend money for “sensitivity.” Due to “disparate impact” laws, the courts can judge even race-neutral security regulations discriminatory if they affect people of one race more than others.
The risk of being charged with racial profiling prevents the government from taking basic steps to protect Americans. Before the attacks of Sept. 11, intelligence agents were so tied down by civil rights lobbies they could not investigate what was going on in a radical mosque until someone associated with it committed a crime. Government agencies have more freedom to investigate Arabs now, but operate under severe restrictions. Last year, when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) asked the Census Bureau to produce a report on the demographics of Arabs, Arab organizations and civil libertarians said this could lead to discrimination. Although the information the Census gave the DHS was publicly available and could have been put together by anyone who understands computers, DHS promised to ban such requests in the future.
The civil rights brigade has struck such terror into immigration agencies that they are afraid to do their jobs. This summer, when the Border Patrol conducted sweeps in Hispanic neighborhoods in California, the Los Angeles Times, La Raza, and other pro-immigrant groups complained of “racism.” Asa Hutchinson, the Department of Homeland Security undersecretary in charge of borders, agreed, denouncing the sweeps as racial profiling. He sent a memo to Border Patrol agents explaining that “preventing racial profiling is a priority mission of this department,” and even announced a special training class to stamp out profiling. [Heather Mac Donald, Homeland Security? Not Yet, City Journal, Autumn 2004.]
White Political Prisoner
Roy Bennett, a farmer in Zimbabwe’s Chimanimani district, won a seat in parliament in 2000 as a candidate of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the country’s main opposition party. He is a moderate and was popular among blacks as well as whites. He was one of three whites in parliament, and he persistently protested the injustices of Robert Mugabe’s regime (See AR, July 2003).
The government is hostile both to whites and to the MDC, and shortly after the elections, supporters of Zanu-PF, Mr. Mugabe’s party, attacked Mr. Bennett’s farm. They killed two farm workers, raped others, slaughtered cattle, and made Mr. Bennett’s pregnant wife sing ZANU-PF songs in the rain. She miscarried her child. Zimbabwe courts ordered the attackers to stop, but the state and police ignored them. [Judi McLeod, Zimbabwe’s Loneliest Prisoner, Canada Free Press, Dec, 13, 2004.]
On May 19, 2004, Zimbabwe’s Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, told Mr. Bennett in parliament that he would never return to his farm because he was being punished for the sins of his ancestors, who were “thieves and murderers.” Mr. Bennett lost his temper and hit Mr. Chinamasa — though no one was injured. [Zimbabwe MP’s Brawl in Parliament, BBC News, May 19, 2004.]
Normally, a minor assault would be punished by a small fine, if at all. However, a parliamentary committee dominated by Zanu-PF members tried the case and sentenced Mr. Bennett to a year in prison with hard labor. He currently shares a filthy, lice-infested cell with 38 other convicts and his skin is blistered from working in the searing sun. Initially his guards forced him to work bare-headed, but now he is permitted to wear a hat. [First Score for ‘Free Bennett’ Campaign, Sunday Argus (Cape Town), Dec. 19, 2004.]
Mr. Bennett’s friends and family have organized the Free Roy Bennett Campaign to publicize his plight. According to the campaign website (www.free roybennett.com), “Free Bennett” graffiti is appearing throughout the country, and the campaign has received e-mail and letters of support from thousands around the world, including some foreign governments. [William Saunderson-Meyer, Graffiti Highlights Rough Deal for Roy, Sunday Argus (Cape Town), Dec. 18, 2004.]
On May 24 police arrested Rev. Joe Buckner, Sr., president of the Rapides Parish, La. chapter of the NAACP, on charges of drug possession, firearms possession by a felon, and conspiracy to produce crack cocaine. (The nature of Rev. Buckner’s previous felony conviction is not public information.) Rev. Buckner said he was “looking forward to my day in court to prove I am innocent of all charges.” The state NAACP president, Ernest Johnson, claimed the arrest was police retaliation. In a radio interview, he said Rev. Buckner had been involved in controversies with the police. “So we know that whenever you stand up for what’s right, you have to be prepared for whatever comes at you because, you know, for every action there is a reaction.” Rev. Buckner’s supporters held a march in front of the Rapides Parish Courthouse. [Bill Summrall, Area Has Drug Problem, ‘But We’re Working On It,’ Town Talk (Alexandria, La.), May 27, 2004.]
At trial in December, police played tapes of conversations between Rev. Buckner and an undercover officer who sold him cocaine. At first, Rev. Buckner was defiant, turning his back to the prosecutor when she questioned him, but finally, he broke down and cried, threw up his hands and said, “Whatever the questions, the answer is yes.” His lawyer persuaded him to plead guilty to all charges, and Rev. Buckner will serve seven years in prison. [Mandy M. Goodnight, Buckner Pleads Guilty, to Get 7-Year Sentence, Town Talk (Alexandria, La.), Dec. 17, 2004.]
Police arrested Lettie Malone, president of the Mobile chapter of the NAACP, for assault and reckless endangerment on Dec. 22, after witnesses saw her pistol-whip Sheletha Dailey and fire shots at her and her mother. Police found a handgun in Miss Malone’s home like the one witnesses say she used. Miss Malone claims it was just an argument, and that police are retaliating because she filed a complaint against an officer for using racially insensitive language — a charge police say is “absolutely false.” [Mobile NAACP President Charged with Assault, AP, Dec. 22, 2004.]
A federal court convicted Monroe Saulter, president of the Rio Grande, Tex. chapter of the NAACP, of Medicare fraud on Oct. 22. Mr. Saulter owned Quality Therapy Services, a rehabilitation and physical therapy company. He admitted that he defrauded Medicare by charging for phony business expenses and spending the money on himself. He will serve a one-year prison sentence. [Valley Man Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding Medicare, KGBT 4-TV (Harlingen, Tex.), Oct. 22, 2004.]
Unringing the Bell
In 1871, the Reconstruction-era government of North Carolina ordered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) to admit blacks. Instead the University closed its doors for four years, until Reconstruction ended. To signal the reopening of the all-white University, Cornelia Phillips Spencer, a Confederate widow, writer, historian, and daughter of a prominent faculty member, tolled the bell in UNC’s South Building. For years, UNC students have re-enacted the bell ringing, and in 1994 the University introduced the Bell Award, given each year in honor of Mrs. Spencer to the woman who has made the biggest contribution to UNC.
Two years ago, Yonni Chapman, a black graduate student researching “black freedom and the university” began protesting the Bell Award, saying it honored a “white supremacist.” (Like most Southerners at the time, Mrs. Spencer did not think blacks and whites could live together as equals.) Mr. Chapman also says the campus is littered with buildings named for Ku Klux Klan members and segregationists, and even has a statue of a Confederate soldier.
Last fall, UNC held a symposium to examine its past, and UNC Chancellor James Moeser decided to retire the Bell Award. He says he took a survey, asking several potential recipients if they would accept the award, now that its background was better known. “Their answer was ‘no,’” he says. “A university-wide award ought to be an unalloyed honor and joy. With our current understanding of Mrs. Spencer, the Bell Award is no longer that. As someone said, we now have an award with an asterisk beside its name.”
Chancellor Moeser says he hopes ending the award will stop further efforts to sanitize the campus. Mr. Chapman of course thinks “the victory is incomplete and flawed,” and he would be “dismayed” if UNC did not purge the campus of other “white supremacists.” [Anne Blythe, UNC-Chapel Hill Ends Bell Award, News and Observer (Raleigh), Dec. 17, 2004. Spencie Love, UNC Denigrates Campus Champion’s Memory, Chapel Hill News, Dec. 21, 2004.]
Coasties on Guard
In 1999, the economy of Ecuador nearly collapsed, prompting a mass exodus of illegal immigrants to the United States and Europe. The Ecuadoran government estimates as many as one fourth of it 13 million people fled, and more are leaving all the time.
Since the attacks of Sept. 11, the US Coast Guard has been “pushing our borders out” to the coast of Latin America, intercepting boats trying to smuggle illegals. Since late 2001, the Coast Guard has seized 37 Ecuadoran boats and detained 4,575 illegal aliens. Officials say the sweeps have caught illegals from dozens of countries all over the world. For the last two years, the guard has been sinking unseaworthy boats it seizes — it sets them on fire and blasts them with .50-caliber machine guns.
This upsets people who make a living smuggling people, and annoys the Ecuadoran government. Segundo Moriero-Vegos owned a fishing boat sunk by the Coast Guard in Feb. 2004. He says he “unknowingly” rented it to smugglers who loaded it with 103 illegal aliens and says the Americans “should have brought my boat back here and put it in the hands of Ecuadoran authorities.” His government has protested the sinkings, prompting the US to withhold $7 million in aid. The Ecuadorans say that if the US doesn’t stop, it will end the lease on an American military base used to fight the drug trade.
Other critics note that if another country seized and sank American boats on the high seas we would call it an act of war. They also point out that the best way to keep illegals out is prosecute the American companies that hire them. “As long as we aren’t willing to close our own internal border by pursuing interior enforcement how can we go into other countries?” asks Robert Leiken of the Nixon Center. [Bruce Finley, US Takes Border War on the Road, Denver Post, Dec. 19, 2004.]
Carr Bros. Escape Death?
Jonathan and Reginald Carr, the black killers sentenced to death for torturing and killing five whites in December 2000 (see “The Wichita Massacre,” AR, Aug. 2002), may not have to face execution after all. On Dec. 17, the Kansas Supreme Court invalidated the state death penalty law under which the Carrs were sentenced. The justices ruled that the law unfairly favored a death sentence because it required jurors to impose capital punishment when the reasons prosecutors gave to justify it merely equaled the arguments against it. Under the law, a tie meant the death penalty.
“It puts a thumb on the death side of the scale,” says public defender Rebecca Woodson, who challenged the law. She believes the 4-3 decision means the “death penalty is gone” in Kansas. Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston, who prosecuted the Carr Brothers, agrees. “This is an enormously significant decision that, unless overturned by the United States Supreme Court, will invalidate every death sentence in Kansas,” she says. Miss Foulston plans to appeal. [Ron Sylvester and Steve Painter, Kansas High Court Rules Death Penalty Unconstitutional, Wichita Eagle, Dec. 17, 2004.]
Revisionism in SA
Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, was named in 1855 in honor of Andries Pretorius, the hero of the Battle of Blood River, one of the most significant events in Afrikaner history (see “The Great Trek,” AR, June 2004). White South Africans celebrated Dec. 16, the date of the battle, as the Day of the Covenant, a sort of Afrikaner Thanksgiving, until the black ANC government changed it to Reconciliation Day. Now blacks want to rename Pretoria itself.
The 142-member city council wants a new name — Tshwane — by the end of this year. Tshwane reportedly means “we are the same” or “we are one because we live together.” It is also the name of a Ndebele chief whose people lived in the area until they migrated north in the mid-1800s. Mayor Smangaliso Mkhatshwa says that while he understands that whites and businessmen object to the new name, if a majority wants it, opponents will have to live with it.
Pretoria is just one name the ANC government wants to sacrifice in order to promote black identity. Its Geographic Names Council examines thousands of place names it considers racist, insulting, or outdated. Eastern Cape Province, for example, may rename itself KwaNtu, Ekhaleni or KwaXhosa. Western Cape Province may keep its old name, but is thinking of changing 11,000 place names. The resort town of George, named after King George, would become Outeniqua. Northern Province already calls itself Limpopo, and has renamed many cities and towns. It has now started on airports and hospitals. Many black South Africans want to change the name of the whole country to Azania. [Michael Wines, All Together Now: Make It ‘Marching to Tshwane,’ New York Times, Jan. 4, 2005.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — Raising the racial consciousness of white Americans (or perhaps I should say white North Americans since I am Canadian) is a complex task. Europeans live in nation-states that have some historic ethnic base, but white North Americans are descended from many different European ethnic nations. They now live in a single nation-state, whether the US or Canada, and many have therefore lost their ethnic identities. A good first step toward awakening racial consciousness is to rediscover ethnic roots.
I come from the Scots-Irish segment of the wider Scottish nation. When I was doing research on my family tree I came in contact with, and joined, the Seattle-based chapter of the Clan Gregor Society. From my new found kinfolk I learned that in the Pacific Northwest there is a very active Scottish-American community. Events like the Highland Games and Celtic festivals attract large crowds. Among my ethnic kinfolk I also found I can discuss “forbidden” subjects with greater ease.
The Scots-Irish were originally from the Scottish Lowlands, and in the 1600s they settled Northern Ireland. In the 1700s, about 50,000 Scots-Irish crossed the Atlantic as families or clans and settled in the back country of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the Carolinas. Later waves of this hardy and adventurous breed loaded up wagons and headed West. The descendents of those Scots-Irish who remained in Ireland, the Ulster Unionists, have recently been making contact with their American cousins. One result has been a series of cultural exchanges between Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Nashville, Tennessee.
Many scholarly and popular books about the Scots-Irish have appeared on both sides of the Atlantic. One of the best is Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America, by James Webb, a retired Marine officer, former Pentagon official, and author of Fields of Fire. This book takes the reader right back to the Scottish nation at the time of Hadrian’s Wall. As the title suggests, one of the central themes is the unruly nature of the Scots. Mr. Webb notes that the “unreconstructed redneck” so hated by American elites is a Scots-Irish phenomenon. Fearing that knowledge of the Scots-Irish may disappear, Mr. Webb writes, “My culture needs to rediscover itself, and in so doing regain its power to shape the direction of America.”
This almost sounds like a call for racial consciousness. Even non-Scots will find the book intriguing, and may be encouraged to rediscover their English, German, Dutch, Scandinavian or Italian roots, as the first stop on a journey to greater racial awareness.
Alex Greer, Victoria, B.C., Canada
Sir — The current black government of South Africa is all set to change hundreds of place names. This is not democracy but sheer racialism. It is also cheek. Instead of governing the country for all, it is using its power to transform South Africa into a black republic.
The “Iziko” Cape Town Castle museum (built by van Riebeek’s men in the 17th century) now displays “70,000 years of South African history.” South Africa is 353 years old, not 70,000; there was no South Africa before 1652. The intent is to pass off the idea that South Africa “belongs” to the ANC government, hence its right to change all the place names.
If Europeans had not landed here, South Africa would be what it was 70,000 years ago — a sparsely-populated wilderness, ruled by warring black tribes. So to whom does South Africa rightfully belong, and who has the right to change its names? The people who founded and built the country, or the people who are stealing it?
Ralph Pentecost, Oranjezicht, South Africa
Sir — The articles you published in the November issue about slavery reparations (“What Do We Owe Blacks” and “No, We Owe Them Nothing”) both failed to mention that we have already spent trillions of dollars in reparations in the form of welfare payments that have overwhelmingly benefited blacks and other non-whites. As of 1998, just over 30 years into Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society,” the US had spent more than $5 trillion on anti-poverty (welfare) programs with precious little to show for it. As Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation wrote at the time, “For $5.4 trillion, you can buy every factory, all the manufacturing equipment and every office building in the United States. With the money you have left over, you can buy every airline, railroad, trucking firm, every telephone company, every radio and television broadcasting and cable company, every power company, every hotel and every retail and wholesale store.” Mr. Rector estimated another $2.38 trillion would be spent between 1998 and 2003, but God only knows how much more good money chased after bad. Whatever the amount, I’m sure that the portion that went to house, feed, and otherwise succor blacks far exceeds the value of whatever they produced during the slavery era.
As dismaying as it is to read through the litany of welfare programs (there are at least 80 at the federal level, from the Weatherization Assistance Program to the Needy and the Family Foods Distribution Program, to Day Care Assistance for Families “At-Risk” of Welfare Dependency), what’s even worse is that we who pay for them never get the slightest gratitude from recipients. That must be why they call these programs “entitlements.”
A reader in Florida
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