|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 18, No. 4||April 2007|
Hispanic Consciousness, Part I
Hispanics are loyal to race and homeland, not America.
Traditionally, when Americans thought of race, they thought of the often painful history of relations between blacks and whites. This view is out of date; the United States now has several racial fault lines rather than just one. The scarcely-noticed handful of Hispanics present in the 1950s has become the largest racial minority in the country.
Like blacks, many Hispanics have identities — racial, ethnic, or national — that prevent full or even primary identification as Ame-ricans. Immigrants from Mexico, who account for two thirds of all Hispanics, are especially ambivalent and often even hostile towards the United States. It is part of their national culture to see the United States as an imperialist power that humiliated and dismembered Mexico after the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848. Many openly preach reconquista or reconquest — at least culturally, and perhaps even politically — of those regions of the American Southwest that were once Mexican.
There are already parts of the United States in which people live in exclusively Spanish-speaking environments, where they have no need to be part of the larger culture. If Hispanic immigration, both legal and illegal, continues at its current pace, these areas will grow, and become increasingly isolated and alien. At the same time, through sheer force of numbers, Hispanics are imposing their language, politics, and cultural preferences on other Americans.
Blacks have been part of the United States for hundreds of years. Brought involuntarily, they have a historic and moral claim on America. Hispanics, whose presence in large numbers is recent and unplanned, do not have the same claims, but this has not prevented them from making similar demands. They have been quick to assume the mantle of victimhood, to attribute poverty or social failure to racism, and to take advantage of preference programs originally established for descendants of slaves. Even Hispanics who have just arrived in this country do not hesitate to accept advantages in the name of “diversity” or “equal opportunity” that are denied to whites.
Hispanics are therefore very much like blacks in their vivid sense of their own group interests, their tendency to see the world in starkly racial/ethnic terms, and their reluctance to adopt the broader American identity whites think necessary for integration and assimilation. This racial/ethnic identity is kept fresh by the continuous arrival of new immigrants. However, even if immigration were to stop tomorrow, there are now enough Hispanics — especially Mexicans — to maintain a particularist, parochial identity indefinitely. In the space of just a few decades our country has established a second group of Americans with many of the most disturbing characteristics of blacks: racially distinct, with an inward-looking identity, suffering disproportionately from poverty, crime, illegitimacy and school failure.
Who are the Hispanics?
In 2005, there were 42.7 million Hispanics in the United States. They made up 14.4 percent of a population that was 66.9 percent white, 12.3 percent black, 4.2 percent Asian, 1.4 percent Pacific Islander, and 0.8 percent American Indian.
A large majority of Hispanics — 66 percent — are of Mexican origin. No less than 20 percent of the population of Mexico now lives in the United States, and one out of every seven Mexican workers has migrated here. Many more would like to come: According to a recent survey, almost half of all Mexicans said that they would move to the United States if they had the chance.
The 33 percent of Hispanics who are not from Mexico have mainly the following origins: 17 percent Latin American, nine percent Puerto Rican, and four percent Cuban. The characteristics of these populations are often quite different, with Cuban immigrants generally more economically successful than those from Mexico, Central America, or Puerto Rico.
Between 2000 and 2005, the Hispanic population increased at an annual rate of 3.7 percent, no less than 14 times the growth rate for whites, and more than three times the black rate. This increase was due both to high birthrates and to immigration of about 800,000 Hispanics every year. Much of this immigration was illegal. The best estimates are that Hispanics account for 78 percent — and Mexicans for 56 percent — of the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.
When they become US citizens, Hispanics remain emotionally attached to their countries of origin. In a poll taken by the Pew Hispanic Center only a few months after the Sept. 11 attacks, at a time when most Americans were feeling deeply patriotic, only 33 percent of citizens of Hispanic origin considered themselves first or only American. Forty-four percent still described themselves as their original, pre-immigration nationality (Mexican, Salvadoran, etc.), and another 22 percent considered themselves first or only “Latino or Hispanic.” It is likely that U.S. citizens of Mexican origin have an even weaker American identity than other Hispanics because they are surrounded by compatriots and their country of origin is so close. When citizens and non-citizens of Mexican origin are taken together, 55 percent consider themselves Mexican, 25 percent Latino or Hispanic, and only 18 percent American. For non-Hispanics, it is unsettling to learn that that so many fellow Americans do not feel a primary loyalty to the United States.
Most Americans believe that a willingness to learn English is a prerequisite to assimilation and full participation in American life, but this does not appear to be a high priority for many Hispanics. According to a 2006 poll conducted by Investor’s Business Daily, only 19 percent of Hispanics spoke mostly or only English at home. Eighty-one percent spoke only or mostly Spanish. Even Hispanics who are comfortable in both languages maintain a strong preference for Spanish; according to a poll by P.C. Koch, nearly 90 percent of bilingual Hispanics get their news exclusively from Spanish-language sources.
A Yankelovich survey in 2000 found that 69 percent of Hispanics said Spanish was more important to them than it was five years ago. In 1997 that figure was 63 percent. During the same period the percentage of Hispanics who expressed a desire to fit into American society dropped from 72 to 64 percent.
In 2003, 44 percent of Hispanics did not speak and read English well enough to perform routine tasks, up from 35 percent in 1992. English illiteracy therefore increased for Hispanics during the decade, whereas it declined for every other major population group. Fifty-three percent of working-age residents in Los Angeles County have trouble reading street signs or filling out job applications in English.
Just how firmly rooted the Spanish language has become in parts of America was clear when 200 students demonstrated in front of Miami Senior High in Miami, Florida. They were protesting the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), which is the official state test students must pass to get a high school diploma. Their complaint? They had to take the test in English. “We are a Hispanic-based society,” explained Gerrter Martin, who had failed the test twice. “My dreams are over,” said Jessica Duran, who had also failed. State Rep. Ralph Arza promised to introduce legislation to offer the FCAT in Spanish.
Hispanic resentment should not be surprising. “In Miami there is no pressure to be American,” explained Cuban-born Lisandra Perez, head of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University. “Our parents had to hassle with Anglo society, but we don’t; this is our city,” explained one US-born Cuban. In Miami, this attitude is common. “They’re outsiders,” said one successful Hispanic of non-Hispanics. “Here we are members of the power structure,” boasted another. For people like this, a requirement that high school graduates be able to speak English is an alien and incomprehensible imposition.
The sentiment that Hispanics need no longer adjust to the United States — that the United States will adjust to them — is not limited to cities like Miami and Los Angeles where Hispanics have been present for decades. Salt Lake City, Utah, is hardly a traditional Hispanic stronghold, but it saw its Hispanic population increase 138 percent during the 1990s, from 84,597 to 201,559. Early immigrants tried to learn English and American ways but once there were enough Hispanics to create a parallel society, many gave up the effort. As Archie Archuleta, a city employee who works as an administrator for minority affairs explained, “Most of us don’t push for assimilation. We push for accommodation.”
Dan Pena, an American-born Hispanic who is a chef at a restaurant in Chaska, Minnesota, says it is silly to expect Hispanics to assimilate. “When Europeans came here, home was an ocean apart. For Mexicans, it’s a river, just 60 feet wide.” Jose Salinas, another Mexican immigrant to Minnesota agrees: “I maybe want to stay here. But even if I do, I can’t forget my country, my family, my traditions.”
Dominicans, one of the largest immigrant groups in New York City, feel equally ambivalent about assimilation. As Nelson Diaz who was active in Dominican politics in the city explained: “[W]e are always thinking about going back. The first thing everybody does as soon as they make some money here is to buy a house back home and then a car. Dominicans don’t buy houses here because they don’t think they live here.”
“Rich Latinos remain ambivalent toward America just as much as poor ones,” explains Roberto Suro, formerly of the Washington Post and now at the Pew Hispanic Trust. “In fact, wealth may make it even easier to avoid full engagement with the new land.” Mr. Suro explains the consequences of this sense of detachment. He notes that as many Hispanics as blacks rioted in Los Angeles in 1992 after the verdict in the Rodney King beating trial. Why? “To most [Hispanic] people here, this is still a foreign place that belongs to someone else.”
Some Hispanics insist there is really nothing in America to which immigrants could assimilate anyway. David E. Hayes-Bautista, a sociologist at UCLA, explains that the Hispanic experience shows that “being American simply mans buying a house with a mortgage and getting ahead — there is no agreement anymore on culture, only on economics.” Jorge Ramos, anchorman for the Spanish-language television network Univision explains the absence of anything genuinely American in slightly different terms: “I believe that this country’s two main characteristics are its acceptance of immigrants and its tolerance of diversity . . . That’s what it means to be American.” In other words, what Americans have in common is nothing more than a willingness to have nothing else in common.
This assertion that there is nothing to assimilate to is disingenuous; Hispanics scorn those among their people who assimilate too far. Just as blacks judge each other according to whether they are “black enough,” some Hispanics keep an eye on who is “brown enough.” At one time Linda Chavez was considered as a possible labor secretary in the George W. Bush administration, but came under sharp attack from Hispanics who mocked her as the “Hispanic who doesn’t speak Spanish.”
Nor can a conservative be truly Hispanic. “It’s kind of like if you are black and conservative, there is no way you are really black,” explained Rosemarie Avila, a trustee on the Santa Ana, California, school board. “If you are going to be Latina, you have to be a Democrat. Otherwise you are not truly Latina.” She should know. Other members of the all-Hispanic school board say she is a fake because of her conservative politics.
Hispanics show typical patterns of ethnic nepotism — living among, voting for, and hiring people like themselves. Three Arab employees successfully sued the Azteca chain of Mexican restaurants found in Oregon and Washington state. “The managers at these Azteca establishments made it very clear, by their verbal abuse and physical actions, that they did not want anyone other than those of Hispanic descent working in their restaurants,” explained lawyer Tony Shapiro after the chain settled for an undisclosed sum.
Likewise, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a federal discrimination suit against a Hispanic grocer, Compare Foods, in Charlotte, North Carolina. The store carried a wide range of Hispanic foods, flew Central and South American flags, and greeted shoppers with Hispanic music. The EEOC accused the store of firing long-term workers simply because they were not Hispanic.
Hispanic groups routinely monitor employers, demanding proportionate hiring of fellow Hispanics. Entirely typical was a report by the National Hispanic Leadership Association, an umbrella organization that represents 40 different Hispanic groups, blasting the federal Office of Personnel Management for “failing to promote more government hiring and retention of Hispanic employees.” The report gave the agency a failing grade for its efforts.
As for racial solidarity in housing, a black woman named Aretha Jackson, who worked for the San Fernando Valley Fair Housing Council tracking racial discrimination in apartment rentals, quit her job in disgust, convinced that Hispanic discrimination against blacks was so widespread nothing could be done about it. Sharon Kinlaw, who is with the same organization, pointed out that Hispanic landlords not only kept out non-Hispanics, they often rented only to people from their own country. “You have the Guatemalans versus the Mexicans versus the Salvadorans,” she said. Chancela Al-Mansour, a lawyer with Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County reported, “I’ve heard people saying, ‘Well, he’s from another state [within] Mexico.’ And the apartment manager only rents to people from the same state in Mexico. Our fair housing laws haven’t even anticipated that.”
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of Orange County, California, quickly learned the importance of Hispanic solidarity. When she campaigned under her married name of Brixey, she lost a bid for a seat on the Anaheim City Council. She found that her maiden name of Sanchez has a much better resonance among the voters she needs to reach.
Like blacks, Hispanics have set up a number of organizations to advance specifically Hispanic interests. The oldest is the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), founded in 1929 in Corpus Christi, Texas. As the word “citizen” in its name suggests, it was originally open only to US citizens, and promoted assimilation and patriotism, stressing that Mexican-Americans were American, not Mexican. It supported President Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback,” which deported one million illegal aliens back to Mexico. LULAC has since changed dramatically. Membership is now open to illegal aliens. It wants Hispanics to speak Spanish, and fights recognition of the central role of English. It supports preferences for Hispanics in hiring, contracting, and college-admissions, and its attitude toward immigration is summed up in the words of a former director Jose Velez: the Border Patrol is “the enemy of my people and always will be.” Needless to say, “his people,” are not the American people.
One of the reasons LULAC stopped pushing for assimilation is that it had to compete with more radical Hispanic organizations that were robbing it of support. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), set up in 1968 by break-away LULAC members, was modeled on the NAACP-Legal Defense Fund. It has litigated in support of social benefits for illegal aliens, for affirmative action for Hispanics, and against border control, but it appears to have larger aspirations. One of its first executives was Mario Obledo, who has also served as California secretary of health and welfare. In an interview on radio station KIEV in Los Angeles on June 17, 1998, he warned listeners: “We’re going to take over all the political institutions of California. California is going to be a Hispanic state and anyone who doesn’t like it should leave. If they [whites] don’t like Mexicans, they ought to go back to Europe.” That same year, President Bill Clinton awarded Mr. Obledo the Medal of Freedom.
The third major national Hispanic organization, also founded in 1968, has the most explicit name: National Council of La Raza (NCLA). La raza means “the race” in Spanish. Hispanic activists often use this term for Hispanics as a group, just as blacks call other blacks “brothers.” Like the other groups, NCLA promotes official recognition of Spanish, increased immigration, preferences for Hispanics, and amnesty for illegal immigrants.
La Raza was delighted when Alberto Gonzalez was appointed the nation’s first Hispanic attorney general, and held a reception for him in 2005. Janet Murguia, former executive vice chancellor for university relations at the University of Kansas, and president and CEO of La Raza, chaired the event, during which she announced, “We are going to put our people [Hispanics] first.”
Hispanics feel the demographic wind in their sails, and routinely boast about their increasing power. They take it for granted that it is only a matter of time before they push aside the old “Anglo” power structure.
Professor José Angel Gutierrez of the University of Texas explained his views to a Hispanic audience in 1995: “We have an aging white America. They are not making babies. They are dying. It’s a matter of time. The explosion is in our population. You must believe that you are entitled to govern . . . Se estan cagando cabrones de miedo! (They [whites] are sh****** in their pants with fear.) I love it!” In 2004, at a Latino Civil Rights Summit, he added, “We are the future of America. Unlike any prior generation, we now have a critical mass. We’re going to Latinize this country.”
Mike Hernandez of the Los Angeles City Council, echoed the same sentiments in1996: “Somos Mexicanos (we are Mexicans)! Mexico, some of us say, is the country this land used to belong to! . . . We are the future, we will lead the Western hemisphere!”
Armando Navarro, a professor at the University of California at Riverside, made a similar boast in1995: “[T]ime is on our side, as one people as one nation within a nation as the community that we are, the Chicano/Latino community of this nation. What that means is a transfer of power. It means control.”
“We are everywhere, and there is no occupation or activity in this country that escapes our influence,” says Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos. “This century is ours.” Aida Alvarez, who was head of the Small Business Administration for President Bill Clinton, campaigned for Al Gore against George Bush in 1999, proclaiming that “the 21st century will be a Latino century, no doubt about it.” “The long-anticipated Latino majority has arrived,” says David Hayes-Bautista, director of UCLA’s Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture. “They [Hispanics] will be defining the American dream.”
What do Hispanics means when they talk about transfer of power, of the century belonging to them? Gloria Molina, Los Angeles County Supervisor, explained: “[W]e are politicizing every single one of those new [Hispanic] citizens that are becoming citizens of this country . . . And our vote is going to be important. But I gotta tell you that a lot of people are saying, ‘I’m going to go out there and vote because I want to pay them back.’”
It is jarring for whites to learn that immigrant groups may want “payback” from America.
Hispanics in power are not likely to “celebrate diversity” the way whites are encouraged to do. John Fernandez is a teacher at Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles and spokesman for the Coalition for Chicano and Chicana Studies. He wants the staff and the curriculum to reflect the new Hispanic majority and nothing else: “Under the guise of diversity comes a disempowerment of the Latino community. I don’t see how people unfamiliar with our language and culture and customs can deal with our problems.” His conclusion: “Educating for diversity is a crock.”
Behind this increasing talk of power and control is the indisputable fact that the Hispanic population is growing rapidly, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the population. Hispanics see sustained mass immigration as the key to eventual dominance, and many therefore fight desperately against any measure to control even illegal immigration.
These sentiments were clearly on display in the spring of 2006. In response to immigration-control measures voted in the US House of Representatives but rejected in the Senate, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators thronged the streets of American cities, demanding amnesty for illegal immigrants, and an end to border controls. A massive, multi-city demonstration on May 1 was dubbed “A Day Without Immigrants,” in which illegal workers were to walk off their jobs, proving by their absence how vital they are. Despite appeals from organizers that they refrain from doing so, many demonstrators carried Mexican or other Latin American flags. Tens of thousands of demonstrators were, themselves, in the country illegally, leading some observers to wonder whether there had ever been a precedent for open, mass demonstration by law-breakers against the laws they have themselves broken.
Large numbers of Hispanics believe that the United States simply does not have the right to control its southern border, and that it is illegitimate even to try. Beginning in 2000, listeners to KROM, the leading Spanish-language radio station in San Antonio, Texas, began calling in to report where they had seen Border Patrol activity. The on-air hosts then broadcast the information so illegal immigrants and border-crossers could avoid those areas. They called agents limones verdes (green limes), because of their olive-green uniforms and the green stripe on their vehicles. Spanish-language stations in other cities have begun doing the same thing.
Even Hispanics whom one would expect to respect the law take the same position. Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), for example, does not like the word “amnesty” to describe legalization of illegal immigrants: “[T]here’s an implication that somehow you did something wrong and you need to be forgiven.” His seems to think that it is the border that is illegal, not crossing it without permission.
American cities with large Hispanic populations commonly refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. In 2006, for example, the predominantly Hispanic Los Angeles suburb of Maywood passed a unanimous resolution to prohibit its police from working with immigration authorities, and rejecting in advance any future federal law that might require such cooperation.
What perhaps best reveals the racial element of Hispanic activism, however, is the reaction to grassroots efforts to stop illegal immigration. The Minuteman Project was founded in 2004 by Californian Jim Gilchrist to help stop illegal border-crossing. In 2005, it gained national attention with “citizens’ border patrols,” which camped out at the border to report illegals. The Minutemen, as they called themselves, did not oppose legal immigrants — who are overwhelmingly non-white — and denounced racism. Their sole aim was to enforce current immigration laws, but Hispanic opponents invariably called them “racist.” The League of United Latin American Citizens, for example, defined the Minutemen on their web site as “racists, cowards, un-Americans (sic), vigilantes, domestic terrorists.”
Juan Maldonado, the Democratic Party Chairman of Hidalgo County, Texas, speaks in equally intemperate terms: “[T]he Minutemen are the epitome of hate, fear and ignorance. We are unified to stop this racist movement from entering our region.”
In October 2006, demonstrators rushed the stage and prevented founder Jim Gilchrist from speaking at Columbia University. They shouted down a black spokesman for the movement, Marvin Stewart, calling him a “black white supremacist.” As police began escorting people out of the auditorium, indicating that the event had been canceled, they began chanting “Si, se pudo. Si, se pudo. (Yes, we could.)”
Hispanics see their interests in openly racial terms, and think of their growing numbers and influence as a triumph for their race. This is why they call a racially neutral group like the Minutemen “racists” and “white supremacists.” This language reveals their own racial/ethnic chauvinism, not that of people who oppose illegal immigration.
The same reflexive racialism was behind a 2006 confrontation at Washington State University between John Streamas, a Hispanic assistant professor of comparative ethnic studies, and a white student named Dan Ryder. The two argued about illegal immigration, and Prof. Steamas called Mr. Ryder a “white shit-bag.” Mr. Ryder complained that someone who teaches in a department that stresses tolerance and diversity should not use such language. Prof. Streams was unapologetic, saying “I don’t care about the hurt feelings of one white person. The feelings of one little hurt white boy who’s got all his white-skinned privilege are nothing . . .” Prof. Steamas clearly saw an argument about immigration in racial terms.
Some local authorities are desperate to do something about the overcrowding, loitering, and drain on social services often associated with an influx of illegal immigrants. Predictably, Hispanics attack such measures as “racism.” Hazleton, Pennsylvania, was among the first towns to pass an ordinance that would fine landlords or employers who rent to or hire illegal immigrants. Anna Arias, a Hispanic who served from 2003 to 2005 on the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs, warned that the ordinance would make Hazleton “the first Nazi city in the country.” When other cities have debated similar ordinances, council meetings have been swamped with Hispanic activists making similar charges.
Many Hispanic voters, therefore, support candidates strictly on the basis of their position on Hispanic immigration. Many vote Democratic for other reasons as well, but some who would ordinarily support Republicans have threatened to abandon the party if it takes a stand against illegal immigration. Hispanic pastors have traditionally supported the GOP because of its position on abortion and same-sex marriage, but ethnic identity comes first. Rev. Danny de Leon is pastor of Templo Calvario in Santa Ana, considered the biggest bilingual Hispanic church in America. “A lot of people are saying, ‘Forget being a Republican. I want to go to the Democratic Party,’” he explained. “It’s a shame that one issue [immigration] has divided many of us that have been in the Republican Party for a long time.”
Pastor Luciano Padilla, Jr. of the Bay Ridge Christian Center in Brooklyn used to take the Republican position on social issues, but turned against Republicans when they began to oppose illegal immigration and amnesty. “We will have to look at where we put our allegiance in the future,” he explained. Rev. Luis Cortes, Jr. is a Republican who founded the annual National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast that featured President George Bush every year from 2002 to 2006. His Philadelphia-based Esperanza USA claimed a national affiliate network of more than 10,000 churches. He, too, reconsidered his support for Republicans: “If voting is about personal interest, how are Hispanics to vote? They will vote against those guys [who oppose illegal immigration],” he said. The Republicans may be right about everything else, but what matters most to these men is the racial interest they have in bringing more people like themselves into the country.
Mexico and American Hispanics
The 30 million American residents of Mexican origin show considerable ambiguity about the United States. It will be recalled that according to the Pew Hispanic Center, only 18 percent think of themselves first and foremost as American. The rest show in a variety of ways where their loyalties lie.
The most obvious and widespread way is by sending money outside the country. In 2005, American Hispanics sent an estimated $20 billion to Mexico, making immigrant remittances the second largest source of foreign exchange for Mexico, after oil imports and ahead of tourism. These remittances are so important to the economy that former Mexican president Vicente Fox called Mexicans living in the United States “national heroes.” In 2005, immigrants sent $12 billion to Central America and $22 billion to other South American countries, which means that immigrants sent approximately $55 billion out of the US economy.
A lot of this money goes straight to Mexican governments at various levels. In 2004, there were an estimated 500 Mexican federations or mutual aid societies in the United States that raised money for Mexican home towns or home states. That year, they helped fund 1,435 public works projects in 300 cities and towns. These included installing street lights, paving dirt roads, putting in sewers.
For states like Zacatecas that send a lot of workers to the United States, these citizen groups are a vital source of revenue. When the officers of the Federation of Zacatecas Clubs in North Texas were sworn in in 1997, Zacatecas Lt. Governor Jose Manual Maldonado Romero was on hand to encourage contributions. “You may be here, but your hearts, your blood, part of your spirit is over there with us,” he said.
Seventy-six percent of the population of Santa Ana, California, is Hispanic, and Mexican consul Luis Miguel Ortiz Haro encourages people from all parts of Mexico to form associations to send money home. In 2006, there were associations for at least the states of Michoacán, Sinaloa, and Nayarit. As Nayarit native Dely Delegado explained during a festival that attracted the state’s governor: “It was like Nayarit was here. We saw our people and our governor. They even had dancers doing the estampa, and you can’t find that in another state.”
Many Mexicans send more money home to Mexico than they spend in the United States. As John Herrara of the Latino Community Credit Union, which has five branches in North Carolina, explains, “[T]hese working-class folks are sending real money back home.”
These working-class Hispanics also happen to be the ethnic group least likely to have medical insurance, and to require treatment at public expense. Thirty-three percent of Hispanics are uninsured, vs. 11 percent of whites and 20 percent of blacks. The majority of immigrants from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala lack medical insurance.
Many Americans question the priorities of people who regularly send money outside the United States rather than spend it here. They question the morals of people who then throw themselves on public charity when they go to the hospital. Curiously, the Federal Reserve Bank has established Directo a Mexico, a program in cooperation with the Mexican central bank, to make it easier and cheaper for Mexicans to send money home, regardless of their legal status.
Mexicans show their deepest loyalties in other ways. Immigrants from other countries naturalize after an average of seven years of eligibility, but until recently, Mexicans waited an average of 21 years before renouncing Mexico and becoming American. “For many Mexican natives, it was like you’re giving up your life, your heritage, if you apply to become an American,” said Leonel Castillo, a federal commissioner of immigration and naturalization under President Jimmy Carter.
In 1998, however, Mexico eased the pain, and permitted its citizens to retain Mexican nationality even if they naturalize. Under the new regulations, Mexicans who had already lost their citizenship by naturalizing even had the right to reclaim it by applying at a Mexican consulate. One who took immediate advantage of this offer was 59-year-old Magdalena Flores Gonzalez. She had come to America 33 years earlier, had four children in the United States, and became a citizen in 1992. “We were born in Mexico,” she said, gesturing to others who were in line at the consulate to get their citizenship back. “This is all about going back to a reality, the reality that we are Mexicans.” Ericka Abraham Rodriguez felt the same way. For her, naturalization in 1991 was a betrayal. “When I gave up Mexican nationality, I felt like a lost person. You lose part of your roots, part of your history.” She, too, was glad to become Mexican again in law as well as spirit.
By 2006 nearly 100,000 US citizens had reclaimed Mexican nationality, in a gesture many would think gives the lie to their oath of naturalization, in which they swore “absolutely and entirely [to] renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty.” Since 1998, the vast majority of Mexicans who naturalized also retained Mexican citizenship, which suggests that their first act as an American citizen was perjury.
Spanish-language media encourage Hispanics to become US citizens — but not really become American. Early in 2007, newspapers and television joined church groups and Hispanic activists in a campaign called Ya Es Hora. ¡Ciuda-dania! (It’s time. Citizenship!) La Opinion, a Los Angeles newspaper, published full-page advertisements explaining how to apply for citizenship, and the Spanish-language network Univision’s KMEX television station in Los Angeles promoted citizenship workshops extensively on the air. A popular radio personality named Eddie Sotelo ran a call-in contest called “Who Wants to be a Citizen?” in which listeners could win prizes by answering questions from the citizenship exam: What are the three branches of the U.S. government? Who signs bills into law? What is the Fourth of July? Legal resident William Ramirez explained to a reporter why he wanted to become a citizen: “I can do better for my people. I can help with my vote.”
In January 2006, Mexican pop singer and actress Thalía (her real name is Ariadna Thalía Sodi) became a naturalized American but reassured her Mexican fans that she didn’t really mean it. Speaking in Spanish, she explained: “This morning I acquired United States citizenship. Nevertheless, under the laws of my country, Mexico, I can also have Mexican citizenship . . . Just like some of my Latino friends such as Salma Hayek, who is just as Mexican as I, and Gloria and Emilio Estefan, among others, I feel that this step will give me the opportunity to contribute to and support even more the Latin community in the United States. I am of Mexican nationality, and I will always be a proud Mexican in heart and soul.”
There are many like her, who remain Mexican in heart and soul, and some have surprising last names. George P. Bush, nephew of President George W. Bush is only half Mexican — his father, Florida governor Jeb Bush, married a Mexican-born woman — but when he campaigned for his uncle in 2000 he sounded altogether Hispanic. He appeared in a television ad in which he said, in fluent Spanish, “I’m a young Latino in the United States and very proud of my bloodline. I have an uncle that is running for president because he believes in the same thing: opportunity for everyone, for every Latino.”
At a Republican rally he again explained in Spanish that his mother had instilled in him the values of Cesar Chavez, who organized Mexican farm workers. “She told me we have to fight for our race, we have to find the leaders who represent us,” he said. About his uncle the candidate, he said, “This is a president who represents the diversity of our society, who we can count on to change the Republican Party to represent our views.” Needless to say, “our race” was la raza, and “our” views were those of Hispanics.
George P. Bush does not have dual citizenship — not yet, anyway — but some of those who do take what some might consider liberties. In 2003, four Americans living in the United States ran for at-large seats in the Mexican Congress. On July 6, Manuel de la Cruz of Norwalk, California, became the first American citizen to win a seat in the Congreso de la Union. The next year, 2004, he was elected to the legislature of the Mexican state of Zacatecas. When he was naturalized 33 years before that, the Los Angeles resident took the oath of allegiance. Each time he took his seat in a Mexican legislature, Mr. de la Cruz swore an oath of allegiance to Mexico.
In the 2003 elections Jose Jacques Medina of Maywood, California, lost by just a few votes. Mr. Medina, who fled to the US in the 1970s because of alleged “political crimes,” said that if he had won a seat he would keep his home in Maywood. “I am Mexican,” he explained, “but I will always live in California, fighting for the emigrant Mexicans who live here.” Both he and Mr. de la Cruz favored giving Mexicans in the United States formal representation in the Mexican congress. After all, they argued, 20 percent of the country lives in el norte, and they need official representatives.
Because so many Mexicans living in the United States can vote in Mexican elections, politicians routinely cross the border to campaign. There was considerable discussion about making the United States a formal voting district for the presidential election in 2006, but Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez opposed the idea. He was not worried that Americans would be insulted if their country were treated like a Mexican province. He was afraid American authorities might use Mexican election day to identify and catch illegal immigrants who turned out to vote.
Other Mexicans show their loyalties in more visceral ways. On Feb. 15, 1998, the US and Mexican national soccer teams met at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The largely Hispanic crowd was overwhelmingly pro-Mexican. There were boos and catcalls during the National Anthem, and Hispanics threw beer and trash at the American players before and after the match. Anyone in the stands who supported the American team was hooted at, and some were punched or spat on. Hispanics sprayed beer and soda on a Mexican-American man who held a small American flag. The game could have been played in any American city with a large Hispanic population; the Mexican team would have had the home-field advantage.
In another demonstration of loyalty, Hispanic legislators pushed through a bill in 2000 establishing Cesar Chavez Day as a state holiday in California. In 2001, the City Council of Dallas, Texas, nearly did away with Presidents Day to make room for Cesar Chavez Day, but in the end added the farm labor organi-zer’s name to Labor Day. Likewise in 2001, Hispanic legislators introduced a bill in the New Mexico legislature that would have officially changed the state’s name to Nuevo Mexico. When the bill was defeated in committee, sponsor Miguel Garcia said “covert racism” may explain the defeat. Congressman Joe Baca of California and other Hispanic congressmen have regularly introduced bills in the House that would make the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo an American national holiday. These bills have gone nowhere — so far.
Perhaps the quaintest sign of Mexican loyalty is the inextinguishable desire to go home some day, even if it’s in a box. When an illegal immigrant dies in the United States, their families nearly always manage to have the body shipped home, but even the majority of naturalized US citizens report that they want their final resting place to be Mexico. In 2002, more than 1,200 corpses left for Mexico from Los Angeles airport alone, despite the $1,500 fee funeral homes charged for shipping a body. As one Mexican farmer explained, emigrants “don’t want to lose their identity as a Mexican. What they want is to find a way back to be here, even if they come back dead.”
Part II will appear in the next issue.
Men of the West, Stand and Fight!
Flemish nationalists inspire American audience.
On February 23, the two top leaders of the Vlaams Belang party (VB) addressed a group of nearly 100 Americans in Arlington, Virginia. Now the largest party in Belgium, the VB is one of the most successful European political parties battling for immigration restriction and local autonomy. Party spokesman Philip Dewinter and chairman Frank Vanhecke stressed to an enthusiastic audience that their struggle is America’s struggle, that they are fighting for the preservation of Western Civilization everywhere. The meeting was organized by the Robert A. Taft Club, a conservative group that brings speakers to the northern Virginia area.
Mr. Dewinter, who spoke first, immediately revealed his Confederate sympathies by saying how pleased he was to be speaking “on the good side of the Potomac River.” He opened with a salute to the “visionary” Patrick Buchanan, noting that the book Death of the West was a warning to all Western people. Europe, he said, is where the conflict is sharpest because the continent “is about to be taken over without a fight by people who are hostile to Western Civilization.” The newcomers are largely Muslim, with the effect that “Europe is gradually turning into Eurabia.”
Mr. Dewinter spoke of a serious demographic crisis, pointing out that the average European lifetime fertility of 1.2 to 1.4 is far below the replacement rate of 2.2. Unless Europeans start having more children, the white population of the continent could drop from 738 million in 2005 to 606 million by 2050. Some countries will suffer more than others with Bulgaria, for example, likely to lose 40 percent of its population. “We are living on a dying continent,” Mr. Dewinter warned, “but we are not dead yet.”
Muslims living in Europe, he said, have a lifetime fertility of 3.5, and this high birth rate combined with immigration of as many as two million non-Westerners a year could spell the end of the West as we know it. No one is sure exactly how many Muslims live in Europe, but estimates run from 15 to 50 million, and since 2000, Mohammed has been the most common boy’s name in Brussels, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam. Mr. Dewinter quoted Libya’s Muammar al-Gaddafi who, citing the highest estimate, predicted that “the 50 million Muslims in Europe will turn Europe Islamic in a few decades.” This is, indeed, the fate the VB works to prevent. “Islam is a primitive religion,” said Mr. Dewinter, that could “lead Europe back to the Dark Ages.”
The party spokesman pointed out that not one European country has been able to integrate its Muslim population, and said that this reflects the desire of Muslims to keep their own way of life rather than become European. They come, he said, only because they are “attracted to our generous welfare system,” and their hatred for Europe was perhaps most vividly on display at the end of 2005 in France, during the riots that he called an “ethnic and civil war.”
“We oppose immigration by people who are alien and even hostile to our European and Western values,” said Mr. Dewinter, heaping scorn on a Belgian government that still encourages immigration. He reminded the audience that the VB stands for the independence of Flanders from Belgium, a country artificially created as a buffer zone between neighboring powers only in 1830. As for his homeland, he said, immigrants who come with no interest in the language and history of Flanders should “love it or leave it.”
In conclusion, he brought the audience to its feet by addressing Americans directly. “We share the same Western civilization,” he said. “Join us in our struggle for Western survival!”
Party chairman Frank Vanhecke spoke next, noting that the evening’s program consisted of “two convicted and proud political criminals.” (Both men have been convicted under Belgium’s suffocating anti-free speech laws.) This was because although “Europe is at war with a growing number of religious fanatics who want to destroy our way of life, the European establishment is at war with people like us!”
He reminded the audience that in 2004, the Supreme Court of Belgium declared the party “a criminal organization” on the basis of 16 quotations from party-related literature. Most, he pointed out, were statistics on crime rates and welfare payments, but the Supreme Court concluded that the VB published them with the intention of inciting hate. “How can one know our intentions” he asked, “and how can one become a criminal by telling the simple truth?”
He explained that Belgium has discovered a new crime: Islamophobia. Its first alleged outbreak was in December 2005, when Mr. Dewinter gave an interview to The Jewish Week., Asked why “Jews should vote for a party that espouses xenophobia,” Mr. Dewinter replied: “Xenophobia is not the word I would use. If it absolutely must be a ‘phobia,’ let it be ‘Islamophobia.’”
The Belgian Socialist Party has now joined an appeal to the Belgian Council of State (the supreme court in cases of administrative law) that is likely to result in “defunding” for the Vlaams Belang, or the withholding for one year of the millions of dollars the state turns over to the party annually on the basis of its electoral record. Belgium bans private campaign finance, so defunding would be a very heavy blow, but the VB has already set aside a substantial sum in the expectation of losing the case. As Mr. Vanhecke explained, Belgian elites have decided that the VB is an enemy of the state, and since “it is illogical for the state to fund its own enemies,” the government will starve the party.
Mr. Vanhecke predicted his party will suffer further attacks from opponents who care nothing for democratic principles or the will of the people. “Freedom of speech is absolutely essential,” he said. “We ask US citizens to protest this lack of free speech in Europe.” If Americans do nothing, he warned, they too will be strangled by European-style totalitarianism. “We are fighting for the West,” he explained; “we are fighting for you.” He, too, brought the audience to its feet, with a ringing quotation from The Lord of the Rings: “Men of the West, stand and fight!”
The two leaders were together at the podium during the lively question and answer session that followed. In answer to what the future would bring, Mr. Dewinter replied simply, “The next step is to take power — it will happen.” As for raising the birth rate, “We defend traditional values,” he explained, “and have always opposed abortion and such aberrations as gay marriage.” He said that in this sense, European survival was ultimately a question of moral values “and those values must return.”
Mr. Dewinter explained that the left supports Muslim immigration for two reasons. First, “multiculturalism is a new religion” that has replaced the horror that was known as Communism. Second, because the VB has attracted so much of the working class, the Socialists are “in search of new voters.” He pointed out that in neighboring Holland 80 percent of Muslims vote Socialist because they want more welfare and because the left panders to them. In Belgium, some public schools already serve Halal meals in conformity with Muslim dietary laws. Even worse, immigrants can become Belgian citizens after just three years; they need take no test, profess no loyalty, and show no proficiency in French or Flemish. It is now a race to see whether Europeans can take back their country before foreigners dominate it completely.
Mr. Dewinter pointed out that European socialists have made an intolerable bargain: “They have to hate their identity and way of life if they are to maintain their political power.” The whites who remain in the leftist parties are also signing their own death warrants as the new electorate votes in fellow Muslims — what Mr. Dewinter calls Islamosocialism — rather than support the Europeans who first welcomed them.
Whenever anyone criticizes multiculturalism, he explained, its supporters point to the United States as a successful example. “Is multiculturalism working in America?” he asked with a smile. “No, no,” cried the audience.
Mr. Vanhecke went on to explain why so many of the left’s traditional, blue-collar voters support the VB. “They are confronted on the first line by the problems of the multicultural society,” he said. They cannot buy their way out of crime, miserable schools, and militant Islam that openly despises Europe. He added that “young people are beginning to vote massively for our party.” They have seen what immigration does to their schools, and some also vote for the Vlaams Belang as a form of adolescent rebellion. More white-collar voters and intellectuals are moving to the party, however, as more begin to realize that despite what the left preaches, civilizations are not equal, that what Europe has created must endure.
For American patriots and race realists who, themselves, have no voice in government, the evening’s double lecture was an inspiration. The audience was heartened to see attractive elected officials, articulate in a language not their own, calling for a defense of the West. The VB’s platform — an end to Third-World immigration, primacy of European values, demographic recovery, deportation of illegals, local autonomy — is very close to what readers of American Renaissance would endorse.
It is clear that at least in Flanders men of the West will stand and fight.
Return to Halifax
Enemies of free speech are defeated.
A second visit to Halifax, Canada, which initially faced the prospect of complete sabotage, turned out to be a substantial success. My views were heard, the enemies of free speech were humiliated, and a professionally-produced video of a good debate on racial diversity is now available to the public.
In the previous issue, I described how a January visit to Halifax ended in my being shouted down by masked lefties and being shoved out of a meeting room — a meeting room I had rented so I could give a lecture on the drawbacks of racial diversity (see “Free Speech? Not in Canada,” AR, March 2007). Many people in Halifax thought this was the perfect way to treat a “racist,” but one man did not. This was Peter March, professor of philosophy at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. A man who tests the limits of free speech himself (see sidebar) Prof. March was appalled at what happened and determined to have me back to Halifax.
The January trip was to have been a debate with David Divine, a black professor at Dalhousie University, also in Halifax, but Prof. Divine got cold feet. Prof. March offered to stand in for Prof. Divine, I accepted, and he started making arrangements. He found it was nearly impossible to organize the debate. Prof. March could persuade no academic department at either Dalhousie or Saint Mary’s to act as sponsor, and no hotel was likely to host an event that might be disrupted. With the help of the Canadian college professors union, Prof. March finally got his own university at least to supply a lecture hall, but Saint Mary’s set harsh conditions. Unlike ordinary university events, we were to pay for cleanup and security — no fewer than six Halifax police officers — at a cost of $1,200. AR reluctantly agreed to pay.
Because my earlier visit to Halifax made such an impression — television reports and news stories went on for days — there was no problem with publicity. Prof. March was certain we could fill the 250-seat hall he had secured, and there was sure to be plenty of media.
I arrived in Halifax on Monday, March 5, the day before the debate, and was besieged by reporters writing articles in anticipation. Professors at both Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s were shrieking because I might have a chance to speak after all. Isaac Saney, an adjunct professor of international development studies (whatever they are) at Dalhousie issued a statement that began by calling on all right-thinking people to demonstrate against “the proliferation of racism at Saint Mary’s University.” Prof. Saney then worked himself up into a fine, totalitarian lather:
“This so-called ‘debate’ is a provocation against the people of Canada and Nova Scotia. It is an attack on the rights of all. The opposition against this false ‘debate’ reflects the finest Canadian democratic tradition and declares that Halifax will not be a harbour for racism and fascism. We must ask why the Canadian state has allowed this ‘master race supremacist’ from the United States to re-enter the country.”
Prof. Judy Haiven of Saint Mary’s also thought she should decide who gets to speak and who doesn’t. “I think people who preach hate shouldn’t be given a platform,” she said. She thought it was so important to demonstrate against me that she was prepared to take time off from her important research on “how cultural capital accrued through tradition and maintained by performance, festival and exhibition, can breathe new life into economically depressed communities.”
Hyperventilation impresses Canadian academics — so much so that Saint Mary’s decided it could not lend its name to an event that might criticize racial diversity. When I checked into my hotel, I had a message from Prof. March: Saint Mary’s had pulled the plug. Its excuse? It had conducted a “review” of the security situation, and “new information” led it to conclude that “there is a higher level of personal risk and need for increased security than the university has the capacity to provide.”
What new information? Aaron Doncaster, one of the people who had broken up my meeting in January, claimed on a lefty blog that he had received an e-mail message from someone saying that if Mr. Doncaster made a move against me during the debate, he would be cut open with a knife. Mr. Doncaster added that he would show this threat to Saint Mary’s and get them to cancel the debate. Prof. March called the threat utterly bogus, noting it was made on an “obscure blog, with an obscure complaint by an unnamed person.”
Others were just as spineless as Saint Mary’s. Prof. March and I had agreed to go to the studio at Halifax’s CNJI radio, “News 95.7,” for some advance sparring the morning of the debate. At news of the cancellation, any sensible radio station would have leapt at the chance to be the one place an aroused public could go to hear what we had to say. Not “News 95.7.” It told us to get lost. By this time, it began to look as though my trip was a complete waste.
Fortunately, Halifax has more than one radio station, and competitor CJCH set aside more than an hour for us on Rick Howe’s Hotline program. The studio was crammed with reporters and TV crews, and Prof. March and I gave an abbreviated version of our debate. My arguments are summarized in “Banned in Halifax,” in the February 2007, issue. Prof. March was unable to cite a single strength that racial diversity gives a country but insisted there is a “moral imperative” to make it work. Racial problems in the United States, he argued, are explained by centuries of mistreatment of blacks by whites.
People have various ways of showing how confused they are. Before our program began, host Rick Howe, who otherwise moderated skillfully, announced sententiously that Canada has laws against hate speech, and that if he thought a crime was about to be committed in his studio, he would halt the debate. Station manager Scott Bordnarchuk also explained to reporters that the usual seven-second broadcast delay would ensure that no “potentially hateful material” got on the air. Needless to say, no laws were broken.
After the broadcast, Prof. March and I were surrounded by as many reporters and cameras — perhaps a dozen — as would have been present had the debate gone forward that evening. One of the first questions to me was whether I had ever had sex with a black or other non-white woman. “What’s it to you?” I said. “Next question.”
The television reporting that evening was reasonably good, mentioning that I had come with so many facts and figures that the debate was “lopsided.” The newspapers in effect conceded that I won the debate by refraining from saying that anyone had won.
As we left the radio studio, Prof. March told me that Saint Mary’s was considering securing a venue and hiring a professional crew to film a full-length debate, with the rights to be turned over entirely to us. I was skeptical, but sure enough, he called a few hours later. He was in the middle of negotiations with the university. It would arrange and pay for the filming, he said, but there were conditions: There were to be no guests, no media, and I was not even permitted to tell anyone that the filming was about to take place. Prof. March could get no explanation from the university why media could not be present, but I thought the Saint Mary’s proposal was better than nothing, so I agreed.
Later, I got a call from a reporter who had got wind of something, and found myself in the ridiculous position of having to say I could tell him nothing. We laughed about the absurdity of this hush-hush approach, and it was clear he thought the university people were behaving like fools.
Later that evening, Prof. March drove me to an apartment building on the Halifax waterfront, where we put on the entire debate before the camera. The disk will soon be available for sale at amren.com. The audience consisted of three people from St. Mary’s University, including Chuck Bridges, vice president for public affairs. After the debate, I had the pleasure of telling him the university’s behavior had been contemptible.
Saint Mary’s has, in fact, taken a considerable beating. No one was fooled by its claim that it canceled the debate for fear of violence. It canceled because it could not face the simpleton leftists to whom it thinks it must answer. Clutching at the merest pretext was better than the disgrace of having let a “racist” speak on campus — and everyone in Halifax knows this.
Why did Saint Mary’s offer to tape a private debate? Did it have qualms of conscience? Hardly. It had violated an agreement with Prof. March, who could haul the university before the professors union for suppressing his free speech rights. Prof. March is a man who demands his rights, and the university knows it.
On balance, therefore, my second venture into Canada was a success. AR saved the $1,200 it would have spent on police officers and cleanup. The radio debate and the press coverage led to a radio appearance in Toronto and to interviews from several student newspapers outside Halifax. There are now possibilities for other debates elsewhere in Canada, and some American campuses may be interested.
Halifax is typical of overwhelmingly white areas, where people have little experience with minorities and therefore think they know all about them. It is a pleasant, trusting place, whose people have no idea of the benefits they reap from cultural and racial homogeneity. Let us hope some become aware of what is at stake before it is too late.
The Redoubtable Peter March
Peter March, the 62-year-old philosophy professor who debated me is something of an institution in Halifax. Never afraid to stick his neck out, he infuriated Muslims and liberals last year when he posted on his office door the famous series of Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Saint Mary’s, timid and conformist as ever, wailed about the hurt being done to the feelings of Muslims, but Prof. March stood his ground, pointing out that hurt feelings are the price to be paid for freedom of speech.
Prof. March has been criticized as a publicity hound, but he is the only man in Halifax who made a real effort to make sure my views were heard — and it took an enormous effort. In several private conversations he proved himself keenly intelligent and happy to explore even the most controversial questions. This is not to say that he departs from orthodoxy on race — indeed, he defends it passionately — but he can listen to an unfamiliar argument and formulate a stout rejoinder.
Prof. March won no friends by inviting me to Halifax. If I was the most reviled man in the city that week, he was surely the second most reviled. But it is men like him, who understand and act on principle, who define our civilization and made it great.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
No More Whites, Please
New Zealand is enjoying an immigration boom, courtesy of Great Britain. More and more Britons are moving permanently to New Zealand, attracted by its natural beauty, open spaces, and a strong economy. British immigration is at its highest since the early 1970s, with 22,400 arriving just last year. This influx, along with smaller numbers of Americans and Canadians, does not sit well with Maori nationalists, who charge that the government is trying to prevent the “browning” of New Zealand.
Maori are 13 percent of the population, a figure expected to grow rapidly because their birthrate is twice that of white New Zealanders. The Maori Party, which has just four seats in parliament, wants the government to limit immigration from white countries. Party founder and co-leader Tariana Turia says, “The prediction is that we are going to see a considerable browning of New Zealand with Maori, Pacific Islanders and Asians, and maybe this is the way the government combats it. We aren’t playing the race card because we are not talking about Asian immigration.” Many Asians are kept out by a new law that sets a minimum English proficiency requirement.
New Zealand won’t ban white immigrants anytime soon. The country suffers from a shortage of skilled labor that some call “crippling,” and long-time prime minister Helen Clarke calls the Maori Party’s demands “ridiculous.” [Paul Chapman, British Immigrants Face a Hostile Reception After Maori Call for Curb, Telegraph (London), Feb. 27, 2007.]
The family of Martin Luther King has made a comfortable living by copyrighting virtually every word the great man ever wrote or said, and ruthlessly enforcing those rights. In 1993, for example, the family sued USA Today for reprinting the “I Have a Dream” speech on its 30th anniversary. The newspaper paid a reprint fee and court costs (see “Milking the Dream,” AR, Feb. 2002). This sort of thing is not uncommon, says John Blake, author of Children of the Movement, a book about the families of civil rights activists. Most activists got no financial benefit from their work, but their children have other ideas. Many families start with the intent of preserving a legacy, only to end up making money off the family name.
Such may be the case with the family of Rosa Parks. Back in 1998, Rosa Parks wrote a new will, leaving the rights to her name and likeness to the non-profit foundation she ran with her long-time business associate Elaine Steele. When Parks died in 2005, Miss Steele assumed control of the Rosa & Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development and signed a deal with an Indianapolis firm that markets dead celebrities. The deal has already brought in more than $140,000, and Parks’ 13 nieces and nephews want some of the money.
Last year they sued Miss Steele, claiming she exerted “undue influence” on Parks when she rewrote her will. They say she deliberately kept them from visiting Parks, and that she was a poor steward of the many gifts Parks received, even once temporarily misplacing the Congressional Medal of Freedom awarded to Parks by Congress in 1999. For her part, Miss Steele maintains that Parks was lucid and in control of her affairs up to the end of her life, and that she wanted to ensure the Rosa & Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development would continue after her death. Miss Steele has retained several high-priced lawyers to represent her, including the late Johnnie Cochran’s law partner, Jock M. Smith. Former president Bill Clinton was among one of several possible witnesses on the defense list. In order to prevent the case from turning into a spectacle that would “dishonor” Parks’s legacy, Wayne County, Michigan, probate judge Freddie Burton, Jr. issued a gag order preventing anyone connected with the case from discussing it publicly.
The case was to go to trial in February, but settled just a few days before opening arguments. Details of the agreement are secret, but Frederick Toca, lawyer for family, says, “We are very excited, very pleased.” [Ronald J. Hansen and Paul Egan, The Fight for Parks’ Legacy, Detroit News, Feb. 16, 2007. Paul Egan and Darren A. Nichols, Rosa Parks’ Estate Won’t be Fought for During a Trial, Detroit News, Feb. 18, 2007. Paul Egan, Judge Refuses to Lift Gag Order in Parks’ Case, Detroit News, March 1, 2007.]
After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the incompetence of its black mayor, Ray Nagin, made the problems worse. At one point during the disaster, Mr. Nagin reportedly hid in a hotel room far above the flooded streets. Despite it all, voters reelected Mr. Nagin to another term, no doubt in part because of his pledge to keep New Orleans a “chocolate city.”
Now Mayor Nagin is considering a $77 billion lawsuit against the US Army Corps of Engineers, claiming that the levees broke because of the corps’s incompetence. He says it owes the city not only for lost infrastructure, but lost revenue from taxes, business and tourism, and damage to the city’s image. The city picked the $77 billion figure out of the air. “We looked at everything and just kind of piled it on,” explains Mr. Nagin. “We got some advice from some attorneys to be aggressive with the number, and we’ll see what happens.” [Mayor Nagin: We ‘Piled It On’ in Suit Against Army Corps of Engineers, AP, March 3, 2007.]
The Border Patrol is advertising for a few thousand men to reach its authorized strength of 18,000. It has run ads in the programs of sporting events like the NBA’s all-star game and the NCAA’s “Final Four” college basketball game. This year the agency wanted to advertise in the NFL’s “Super Bowl” program. This was too much for the NFL. According to spokesman Greg Aiello, the league wants to avoid being seen as taking sides in the immigration debate, calling it “very controversial.”
The NFL may be ducking the immigration issue to preserve a possible Mexican market. The professional football league wants to go global, and Mexico City is a leading contender for the first international franchise. As Commissioner Roger Goodell puts it, “We love Mexico. We have a great fan base there. It’s growing every day.” [Liza Porteus, NFL Defends Decision Not to Print Border Patrol Recruitment Ad in Super Bowl, FoxNews.com, Feb. 15, 2007.]
Jonathan Saint Preux is a Haitian immigrant who works as an immigration lawyer in New Jersey. In May 2005, he was one of 139 Haitians who attended a White House event to celebrate “Haitian-American Heritage Month.” He’s also probably a crook. In October 2006, federal prosecutors indicted Mr. Saint Preux and his wife for preparing hundreds of fraudulent immigration documents for Haitian illegal immigrants. They claimed falsely that they were living in the US before 1982, and therefore qualified for a special Haitian amnesty program. Mr. and Mrs. Saint Preux face up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
A month after the indictment, Mr. Saint Preux went to Washington, DC, to attend yet another White House function. When asked what he was doing there, a White House spokesman said “thousands of guests” are invited to White House parties. She declined to say whether guests are screened for federal indictments. [Jeff Whelan, Indicted Lawyer, White House Guest, Star-Ledger (Newark), Feb. 8, 2007.]
Fact vs. Fantasy
The New York City Police Department recently reported that the majority of people subjected to “stop-and-frisk” searches are black. Naturally, Al Sharpton threatened to sue.
Mr. Sharpton’s bluster drew a strong response from Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute, author of the book Are Cops Racist? According to victims and witnesses, she notes, blacks “committed 68.5 percent of all murders, rapes, robberies and assaults in New York last year” although they were just 24 percent of the city’s population. Whites, at 34.5 percent of the population, committed just 5.3 percent of those crimes. “In other words,” she continues, “violent crimes are nearly 13 times more likely to be committed by blacks then by whites.” Given this disparity, it is not only “reasonable but inevitable” that police would frisk more blacks than whites.
The figures released by the NYPD show that not enough blacks are being frisked — they were 55 percent of all targets, well below their 68.5 percent share of violent crime. Eleven percent of frisks were of whites — more than double their share of the city’s violent crime. [Heather Mac Donald, What’s Behind Stop & Frisks? High Black Crime, New York Daily News, Feb. 7, 2007.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — I was intrigued by Mr. Legrand’s article in the March issue about the reaction to the inclusion of the mulatto girl in the National Front campaign posters. I think the “purists” are missing the point. There is a deeper political strategy involved in the poster, namely:
1. In politics, you have to campaign in the existing environment. You cannot campaign in a make-believe world where everyone already shares your ideology. Thus, in an environment where being “racist” is a political disadvantage (and where the front has a reputation as a party of grumpy old white guys) the National Front must find some way to blunt the opposition’s attack. If putting a mulatto in hip-huggers on a campaign poster helps achieve this objective — and, in the process, helps the front win votes from younger voters who might not otherwise support a “racist” party — that is smart politics.
2. Nothing succeeds like success. Politics is about power, and the viability of any candidate or party depends on whether the public thinks the candidate or party has a realistic chance of winning. As things now stand in France, the front cannot win power because its vote is limited by the “racist” label. Fighting back against that label (as the mulatto poster girl seems intended to do) can create the impression that they are a serious threat. It’s “bandwagon” psychology, and will attract more voters.
Rodney, Blake, New Mexico
Sir — Thank you for Mr. Legrand’s analysis of campaign policy within the French National Front. For those of us who care about the survival of the West, European politics are as vital to us as our own. It is extremely useful to know what strategies our comrades are following, and AR is one of the few publications that really cover that beat. Let’s have more articles about Europe.
Sarah Wentworth, Richmond, Va.
Sir — My name is Jackie Thornhill, I am a 25-year-old woman from Halifax, NS. As a supporter of racial diversity, and as someone who considers your views extremely disturbing, I am writing to share my displeasure with your activities in Halifax. I support free speech, and do not condone the protestors who prevented you from speaking, or threats to your personal safety. I also do not support the decision of Dalhousie University to cancel the debate.
What I can tell you, as someone who attended Dr. Divine’s presentation, is that it is grossly inaccurate and inappropriate to call Dr. Divine a coward as you did. It is troubling that you would use such language to describe a man who has committed his entire career to helping communities thrive, and to positioning himself as an advocate for those who are less privileged than you. I question whether you have the capacity as a human being to see beyond the white, privileged academic discourse that appears to have little relevance in terms of how people actually live their lives. Racial integration does work in Halifax, and in Canada.
Are you saying that Canadian society would be better off were we to resort to the segregation of races? Does this mean that you actually believe that persons of color ought to be treated as less valued than white folk? I think you need to re-examine your knowledge of Canadian history and remember that Aboriginal persons were the first to inhabit this land, that white society has already evolved from segregation because it is a primitive and extremely abhorrent way of life. I hope you remain in America, and stay out of Halifax. Our town does not need your right-wing nonsense, and as we embrace diversity, you can continue to spew hatred and misguided privilege.
Mr. Taylor, you are a coward. You are so afraid of your own white privilege you can’t bring yourself to see that we are all human, whatever color we are, and that the freedom of persons of color to have the same rights as white people is the foundation of Canadian society.
Jackie Thornhill, Halifax, Canada
Sir — What motivated the mob that threw Mr. Taylor out of the meeting room? No doubt it was the militant ideology of diversity, so ruthlessly enforced in Canada that no one dares dissent. But also, were the demonstrators not suffering from the mental strain of believing something that is manifestly untrue?
In all the coverage of Mr. Taylor’s visit here, no one has ever listed the strengths of diversity. Even the fanatics must have noticed this.
Name Withheld, Halifax, Canada
Sir — You are too kind in your March review of the collection of Sam Francis essays published under the title, Shots Fired. I was probably one of the first to buy a copy and was very disappointed by editor Peter Gemma’s choices. He obviously went out of his way to avoid race thus, in my view, betraying the memory of Sam Francis. There is no question that Dr. Francis was a brilliant man who wrote insightfully on many subjects. However, there is also no question that the subject dearest to his heart was white, Western civilization, and the agony of our dispossession.
At the same time, some of the essays Mr. Gemma included were relics from the archives that should have stayed there. The longest chapter in the whole book — 42 pages — is a 20-year-old pamphlet about churches giving “sanctuary” to illegal immigrants. We have whole cities now doing the same thing. Of the thousands of pages Dr. Francis wrote, there is better material than that — even for someone who wants to avoid race.
Alan Porter, Long Beach, Cal.
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