|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 19, No. 4||April 2008|
2008: Another Successful AR Conference
Race is an Illusion
Jared Taylor Lecture Cancelled at MSU
O Tempora, O Mores!
2008: Another Successful AR Conference
Thugs and loonies protest in vain.
Despite the best efforts of leftist thugs to shut it down, the eighth biennial American Renaissance conference was a great success, described by many veterans as the best they could remember. Held in Herndon, Virginia, over the weekend of February 22 through 24, the conference drew a near-record attendance of more than 260 activists from all across the United States, and from as far away as South Africa and Great Britain.
Sabotage efforts had begun as early as last October. An assortment of “anti-racist” groups tried to pressure the conference hotel, the Crowne Plaza Dulles Airport, to dishonor its contract with us and refuse to let us meet. They bombarded the hotel with telephone calls and emails, and even tried to browbeat the hotel owners and management company. The general manager stood his ground, issuing a statement saying the hotel did not discriminate against customers because of their political views.
The conference itself began with registration on Friday afternoon, followed by a reception and remarks from the AR staff. Jared Taylor described the demonstrators’ threats to the audience, and warned that spies invariably sneak into the conference under false names and affiliations. “So let me present to you our opponents,” he said. “On the outside, thugs and barbarians. On the inside, sneaks and deceivers. Thank God we are not like them.” Conferees spent the rest of Friday evening in conviviality that lasted well into the night.
The first speaker on Saturday morning was Philippe Rushton, the eminent psychometrician from the University of Western Ontario, who spoke about the heritability of racial differences in IQ. He first noted that the measured IQs of black Africans, which have consistently been found to be about 70, do not mean they are retarded. Instead, it is best to consider Africans as having the intelligence of normal 11-year-olds. The smartest black Africans — engineering students — have IQs as high as 103, and it is reasonable to assume that they have IQs 30 points above the average, as would be the case for top students in the United States. Calculating backwards, we again arrive at an average IQ of 70 for the black African population as a whole.
Prof. Rushton warned that despite optimistic predictions, India will not grow to become an economic superpower as he says China will. Although there are many smart Indians, their average IQ is 85, meaning that India will be outdistanced by China, where the average IQ is something over 100.
Prof. Rushton noted that it is common to argue that the meager, unpleasant surroundings in which low-IQ people live drag down their intelligence, and that this, rather than genes, causes racial differences. On the other hand, one would expect low-IQ people to create meager environments for themselves, and there is a mass of evidence to suggest that the causation is far more IQ-to-environment than environment-to-IQ.
Transracial adoption studies, for example, show that children reared by people of different races end up with IQs closer to the average for their own race than to that of their adoptive parents. Likewise, non-whites have now lived for many generations in the United States and Europe, and their IQ scores are only slightly improved by better surroundings. Prof. Rushton cited the scores of second-generation North Africans living in Holland, whose average IQ of 89 is only a few points higher than the average in North Africa. “Genes,” explained Prof. Rushton, “keep culture on a leash.”
When the IQs of identical twins separated at birth are tested, their scores are very close on some tests and not so close on others, which suggests that certain abilities are more heritable than others. Similar testing of siblings has shown the same differences in heritability. Prof. Rushton pointed out that the racial performance gaps are greatest on those tests for which results are most heritable, which supports the view that racial differences in IQ are largely caused by genes.
By now there are many mixed-race populations whose IQs have been carefully tested, and results are consistent with genetic explanations: Their average IQs tend to be mid-way between those of the parent populations. Finally, there is a clear correlation between brain size and IQ. Australian Aborigines, the population with the lowest recorded average IQ of 60, have the smallest brains, and North Asians have the largest brains. Findings such as this are very difficult to explain in terms of the impoverishing effect of environment.
Prof. Rushton noted that although the mainstream media do not yet report studies of this kind, they are published in top-notch journals and are generally accepted by scholars in the field. It will be only a matter of time before they become widely known.
The next speaker, Eugene Valberg, called upon many years of experience in South Africa to describe how Africans think. He said his interest in the subject was piqued by a conversation with Africans about gradation. How, he wanted to know, would a Zulu speaker describe a coconut as half-way up a tree? That can’t be expressed, was the answer; the coconut is “up” the tree or not, and its relative location cannot be expressed. Dr. Valberg has since found that Africans often have a hard time understanding gradation, and tend to think in terms of one extreme or the other.
He noted that African languages do not need dictionaries. Because they have no written literature, everyone who speaks them knows every word in the language. The resulting poverty of vocabulary reflects a poverty of expression and thought.
Today, non-native concepts have found their way into African languages, but it is important to distinguish between indigenous words and those that have been borrowed from Europeans. For example, there are now imported words in the Zulu language for “promise” or “obligation,” but Africans have a hard time understanding them.
Perhaps most characteristic of African thinking is an absence of abstraction. Africans rarely get beyond the concrete, present-oriented, visible, and tangible. Because the future is not tangible, it is difficult for Africans to think about it realistically. A man who is healthy may not understand the purpose of medical insurance. His mind may run no further than “I’m not sick now.” Likewise, the need to maintain machinery is often lost on Africans. If the motor is running fine now, why change the oil? Because Africans often cannot imagine things that do not exist, they cannot work seriously towards future goals.
Dr. Valberg argued that without abstract thinking it is hard to imagine the feelings of others. At the worst extreme, Africans can torture each other with astonishing callousness, and at the everyday level, they are often indifferent to or even unaware of their own rudeness or inconsiderateness. To be considerate requires an ability to imagine the feelings of others.
South Africa is often called the rape capital of the world, but Dr. Valberg believes Africans do not fully grasp the concept of rape. They have been told that “rape” is a bad thing, yet most African men do not think it wrong to force a woman to have sex. This unthinking acceptance of the actions that constitute rape makes it difficult to prosecute rapists. Dr. Valberg also said that for most Africans, romantic love does not exist, and sex is the only thing that draws men and women together.
Lack of abstract thinking can be an advantage. Africans are almost never introspective or self-conscious. They are only rarely neurotic, and Dr. Valberg suspects that impotence is essentially unheard of among them.
Dr. Valberg noted that although American blacks have higher IQs and operate at a higher level than African blacks, they exhibit many of the same tendencies.
Fred Reed, the man behind the popular Internet site “Fred on Everything,” has lived in Mexico for many years and spoke on “Mexico From the Inside.” He said it is important to understand the country that is sending us so much of its population.
He began by pointing out that many Americans have a cartoon image of Mexico. Burros and sombreros are still to be found, but are rare. The country is not crime- and disease-ridden, and many cities are safer than parts of the United States. He said the police are not omnipresent and that most people are not afraid of them. Unlike in the United States, people do not go through metal detectors to get into public buildings. Government services, when the authorities get around to providing them, are generally adequate, and Mexico benefits from not having a black underclass. Mr. Reed noted that if Mexico were a hell-hole, it would not be home to an expatriate population of 50,000 Americans.
Why, then, do so many Mexicans want to leave? The population mix is part of it. Perhaps 10 percent of the population is white, and they are the government and professional elite. They live well and seldom come north. The mass of immigrants are Mestizos, who make up some 60 percent of the population, although there are increasing numbers of non-Spanish-speaking Indians who are emigrating as well. There is little work for them in Mexico, and manual labor pays practically nothing.
There are distinctly Third-World qualities about Mexico, and immigrants are bringing them to America. There is widespread disregard for law and regulations. Anyone who can, cheats the authorities, and Mexicans ignore traffic regulations — you take your life in your hands on the roads. Mexicans also have contempt for schooling, which translates into high dropout rates among emigrants to the US.
Some of Mr. Reed’s most interesting observations had to do with the mañana attitude, which is a reality and not a caricature. Many Mexicans really do live in the present, and have little sense of urgency about anything. Many lack ambition, and seem not to care about their communities.
Mexicans go to the United States for one reason: money. They have been taught since infancy that the Southwest United States was stolen from them and believe, practically without exception, that any Mexican has the right to move to America. Although we think of the coyotes who charge money to take illegals north as ruthless exploiters, Mexicans see them as providing a necessary and legitimate service.
Mr. Reed illustrated his talk with illuminating photographs from his own collection.
The first speaker after lunch on Saturday was Martin O’Toole, a lawyer and amateur historian who has done considerable research on the Civil War. He began by pointing out that the war has since led to a mass of disagreements: what were its causes, what were its goals, what should the war even be called? Ironically, he said, there was one area in which North and South were in agreement: They could not conceive of free blacks and whites living with each other in the same society.
In the North, the percentage of blacks was invariably tiny, and blacks could rarely vote, serve on juries, or marry whites. They were nominally free, but were not full citizens. Some Northern states, when first establishing their constitutions, voted to exclude slavery but voted by even larger margins to exclude free blacks. The vast majority of Northerners wanted nothing to do with blacks. In the South, 37 percent of the population were black, and even Southerners who opposed slavery thought it a necessary means of keeping blacks in order.
Most Northern soldiers were willing to fight to preserve the Union, but not to free slaves. Abolition became a war aim for political reasons, and was not popular among soldiers.
Mr. O’Toole noted that the Northern attitude towards blacks accounts for the collapse of Reconstruction after the war. Once the slaves were freed, Northerners had little interest in forcing the South to accept blacks as social and political equals when they would not have accepted this themselves. Mr. O’Toole pointed out that until 1952, federal law did not officially permit naturalization of non-whites as US citizens.
Mr. Taylor argued that the view that race is some kind of sociological illusion will be the first building block of “race fantasy” to crumble. Everyone instinctively understands the reality of race, and no one who needs a kidney will ever say, “Don’t bother with tissue matching; we are all brothers under the skin.”
He speculated that one reason many whites are reluctant to accept the reality of racial differences is that they feel sorry for blacks. It seems too cruel that on top of crime, poverty, illegitimacy, and disease, blacks are afflicted with low intelligence as well. He added that whites have repeatedly hesitated to speak in terms of race and IQ, even when their way of life depended on it: Southern segregationists spoke of States’ rights, and the Rhodesians opposed black rule in the name of fighting Communism.
Mr. Taylor noted that the most plausible argument against white racial consciousness is the fact that all wars in history reflect group consciousness, and that in the past, whites have caused much bloodshed. He pointed out, however that all people in history have conquered their neighbors when they could, and that whites were particularly successful at this only because they were more technologically advanced. In fact, it was whites who first advanced the revolutionary idea that might does not make right, and that power should be used with forbearance. Whites have been racially passive for 50 years, yet they are invariably portrayed as the racial aggressors.
Mr. Taylor concluded by pointing out that many whites cannot be reached with rational arguments and that we must make a moral as well as logical appeal. “We cannot simply be right,” he said. “We must be better.” We must never give our opponents a chance to describe us as mean-spirited, spiteful, or dishonest, and by our superior moral example we will win the support of those whose minds may be closed to rational arguments.
Paul Gottfried, who is a professor of humanities at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, drew on his recent book, Conservatism in America: Making Sense of the American Right, to discuss the failures of the American Right. He noted that there was a genuine Right in the United States before the Second World War — it was anti-interventionist, hated big government, and was loyal to the traditional culture of the United States. After the war and into the 1950s, the United States had no authentic conservative movement, and what passed for such a movement was mainly Catholic traditionalism combined with fervent anti-Communism. It had no real social constituency and was preoccupied with “values” rather than with a traditional social order and national heritage. It did not seem to realize that “values” were a shaky foundation for a movement because they can always change, and because the Left frequently claims similar “values.”
One of the Right’s great mistakes — especially in the case of William Buckley’s movement — was to so crave respectability that, as the country moved to the left, it excommunicated old comrades who stood their ground. Prof. Gottfried notes that as times changed, different excuses were given for “throwing people off the bus,” but accusations of racism and anti-Semitism were always favorites.
The abandonment of what was thought to be one essential conservative position after another was inevitable after the infiltration and eventual takeover of the movement by neoconservatives, a largely Jewish group of former liberals and Communists who now dominate most right-of-center publications and institutions. It is now obligatory even for “conservatives” to sing the praises of Martin Luther King, Jr. and FDR, both of whom were scorned by pre-neocon conservatives.
Prof. Gottfried is pessimistic about whether any meaningful conservative movement is possible in America. What passes for conservatism today is a lap-dog opposition that grants all the premises of the Left and then argues over a few details. Perhaps never in the history of politics has the Left had such an emasculated, accommodating opposition — because it is not really an opposition.
Of all the possible opponents to the dominant Left, Prof. Gottfried said he thought a libertarian opposition had the best chances. As for an opposition of the kind an AR audience would find satisfactory, he noted that the country has veered so sharply to the left in the last 40 years that it would take a radical reordering of the zeitgeist for such an opposition to emerge from marginalization.
On a more optimistic note, Prof. Gottfried praised certain parties and intellectual movements in Europe, which are putting up a stiff fight for the traditions of the West. These, he noted, should be the models for an eventual resurgence of a promising American Right.
After Prof. Gottfried’s remarks, Gordon Baum of the Council of Conservative Citizens gave a brief summary of the activist work his organization has been doing in many parts of the country.
The speaker after the Saturday banquet was Ashley Mote, an independent member of the European Union representing Great Britain. He began by pointing out that multiculturalism is a contradiction, and that Britain is committing suicide through uncontrolled immigration. A nation, he pointed out, is defined by shared values and culture, and any dilution is dangerous.
Mr. Mote pointed out that although the British people are jealous of their sovereignty, their rulers have handed over much authority to the European Union. Mr. Mote finds the EU, in whose parliament he serves, so tyrannical and unrepresentative that he refers to it as the European Soviet Union. One of the EU’s great tyrannies is to set a Europe-wide immigration policy and then let any immigrant admitted anywhere move to any member country. The result has been millions of aliens pushing into Britain to take advantage of high living standards. Mr. Mote estimates that his country can reasonably support 30 million people but immigration has raised the population to double that figure. The newcomers are not British, and their presence is destroying a priceless, traditional way of life. For Mr. Mote, the only solution is for Britain to reassert its own national standards and to leave the European Union.
How to bring this about? By setting an example. Mr. Mote said there is a small island now part of Britain that, according to ancient law, has the right to seek independence. Although he would not identify the island, he said its inhabitants are nearing the stage of seeking complete independence. The most likely name for the new country would be Britannia, and it would permit dual citizenship for Americans and others whose views are compatible with an explicitly British heritage. Like many other small nations, the island would raise money by issuing coins and postage stamps.
Mr. Mote sees the value of Britannia not so much in what it would accomplish for its own citizens but as the precedent it would set as a breakaway territory from the European Union. He concluded by pointing out that when he has explained this plan to nationalist colleagues in the European Parliament, their enthusiastic reaction is, “Be sure to leave the door open when you leave.”
The program on Sunday morning began with the second-ranking official in the French National Front, Bruno Gollnisch. Mr. Gollnisch serves on the Central Committee of the National Front, has been shadow foreign minister, and now represents the party in the European Parliament.
Mr. Gollnisch underlined the importance of the parliamentary grouping in the Euro-parliament he helped found: Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty. It is essentially an alliance formed by the National Front, the Freedom Party of Austria, the Vlaams Belang of Flanders, and Bulgarian nationalists (Mr. Mote is also a member). Parliamentary groups can hold hearings, initiate legislation, and influence policy in many ways.
Mr. Gollnisch spoke of how vital it is to defend Europe’s heritage, including its ethnic heritage, from immigration. He also stressed the importance of maintaining European independence from Washington.
In both these respects, each European nation must be able to determine its own policies, but the European Union is increasingly taking on the character of a superstate. Officials in Brussels, who are not answerable to European peoples, are able to subordinate the member nations to their wishes. Their ultimate goal is to reduce the powers of members to less than that of American states.
Mr. Gollnisch especially decried the Lisbon Treaty of December 2007, which has ridden roughshod over traditional rights. He finds it particularly pernicious because it includes much of the language contained in a proposed new constitution for the European Union that was rejected by the French in a referendum. For example, it establishes a president of the EU, who is unelected, and therefore not subject to democratic control. Most crucially, immigration policy is now set by the EU rather than by individual nations. Mr. Gollnisch noted that even in historical terms, the emergence of a superstate violates the long-standing European tradition of an “equilibrium of powers.”
Mr. Gollnisch explained that many Frenchmen agree with the National Front’s views on sovereignty and French identity. The party did poorly in the last elections because Nicolas Sarkozy stole many Front ideas but without any real intension of applying them as policy. Mr. Gollnisch expressed confidence in the long-term future of the party because it reflects the sentiments of so many voters, and concluded with one of the Front’s main slogans, “Patriots of all countries, unite!”
Michael Walker, editor of The Scorpion, gave a rousing talk on what all of us can do for our cause as individuals. He noted that our race has been declining for the last 50 years and that all of us are committed to reversing that decline. To this end, he made several concrete suggestions. First, we should always be entirely clear about what we think and believe. We should never have one story to tell inside the group and another to outsiders. We must think through our positions, and then be entirely candid about them. Second, we should never apologize. We should state our positions with complete confidence and never back down.
Third, we should reject the false categories of optimism and pessimism. Pessimists can work themselves into a dismal state that makes them wonder why they should even bother. Optimists are usually political figures who promise instant and unrealistic success — leaving their followers downcast. “If it is your duty to work for our race,” he said, “optimism and pessimism have nothing to do with it.”
Fourth, he urged us to avoid “cranks and historians.” Cranks, who seem irresistibly drawn to our movement, are the sort of people one would not comfortably introduce to one’s mother or professional associates. It is best to stay away from them. “Historians” are people who want to characterize our struggle in terms of some aspect of the past, and this usually causes trouble. A fight over whether Lincoln or Churchill or even Hitler was good or bad is a distraction from our common struggle. Mr. Walker said he does not, himself, care for the French tricolor, as it is the flag of the Revolution, but this would never interfere with his support of French patriots who honor the flag.
Mr. Walker also emphasized the contributions women can make to our movement. Unlike men, who have romantic ideas about what they can accomplish, women are practical and understand the importance of basic material objectives. He also pointed out that our age is one that has been increasingly feminized, so a movement dominated by male perspectives is likely to drift out of touch. Young people are also important to a movement, and they may be attracted by activities that are more fun than political.
Mr. Walker explained that alliances can be vital but they must always be approached practically. One need not like one’s allies in order to work towards common goals, and alliances can be close, loose, or temporary, as appropriate. Some associations can bring our movement out of marginalization; others need not even be publicly acknowledged.
Mr. Walker concluded that if we bear these principles in mind we will no longer be part of movements that do not move and false dawns that never come.
Sam Dickson was true to his now-traditional AR role in closing the conference. He began by pointing out how many young people were in the audience, and marveled at the independence of mind now required for a young American to resist anti-white indoctrination. He noted that the governments of virtually every white nation are at war with their own people, and suggested that no monarch of past ages ever treated his own people with such savagery.
Mr. Dickson wryly suggested that the old story of the emperor’s new clothes should be retold to reflect our own times: Instead of being praised for his good sense, the child who points out the emperor’s nakedness would be arrested and expelled from school, and his parents would be judged incompetent guardians and sent to a reeducation camp.
The main theme of Mr. Dickson’s remarks was the importance of a homeland for American whites. He noted that there are precedents for such homelands, most notably the creation of Israel as a homeland for Jews. He pointed out that unlike Israel, which required the replacement of one population with another, the United States has for centuries been the home of large numbers of whites, who could reach generous agreements on allocation of territory with populations of other races.
He compared the longing of American whites for a homeland to the longing of the native Irish for homes of their own at a time when so many were tenants to absentee landlords. He read the poem An Old Woman of the Roads by Padraic Colum:
O, to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heap’d up sods upon the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall!
To have a clock with weights and chains
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled and white and blue and brown!
I could be busy all the day
Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store!
I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed and loth to leave
The ticking clock and the shining delph! . . .
And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day,
For a little house — a house of my own —
Out of the wind’s and the rain’s way.
Mr. Dickson added that a desire for home or homeland is one of the most basic and legitimate, and that only when whites have a secure territory they can call their own will their future as a race and culture be assured.
With this benediction, and the hope of seeing everyone again at the next AR conference, a very successful weekend came to a close.
The Dog That Did Not Bark
One reason security was high during the conference is that something called the Jewish Defense Organization had threatened violence. The JDO is an offshoot of the Jewish Defense League, and even the Anti-Defamation League calls it an “extremist” organization.
According to the JDO, the AR conference was a Nazi rally that had to be stopped at all costs. They gave the silly name “Operation Nazi Kicker” to their plans to pressure the hotel to cancel its contract and, if that did not succeed, to disrupt the conference physically.
Several Jewish supporters of AR tried to explain to the JDO that AR is hardly Nazi, but quickly discovered they were dealing with crazies. One man who tried to reason with the JDO found his home address and telephone number posted on the JDO web page. “Jared Taylor is a Nazi pig,” a JDO spokesman explained to a reporter, when he was told several of the conference speakers were to be Jews.
It is the wild reputation of the JDO that helped explain the heavy police presence, both inside and outside the hotel. Never before has the conference site been cordoned off with police barricades or festooned with yellow crime-scene tape. On the morning of the much-ballyhooed Saturday-morning demonstration, the police even had bomb dogs in for a sniff, and there were officers on the roofs.
And how did the JDO spend its Saturday? As if they had only just learned on what day we would be meeting, they sent word that they could not take part in the demonstrations because they were observing the Jewish Sabbath.
Race is an Illusion
We are only “racialized” to be black or white.
Bruce Baum, The Rise and Fall of the Caucasian Race: The Political History of Racial Identity, New York University Press, 2006, 341 pp., $45.00.
It would be difficult to think of a subject on which more foolishness has been written than race. Many of the books published on race today are so wrongheaded it is hard to believe normally functioning humans actually wrote, edited, proofread, printed, and tried to sell them. The Rise and Fall of the Caucasian Race is a good example.
The author, Bruce Baum, is an assistant professor of political science at the University of British Columbia. Like all academics these days, he claims there is no such thing as race, but he goes farther: He wants to show us where this false idea came from, and just how nefarious were the motives of the white men who invented it. His view — widely shared by social scientists in North America and laughed at by everyone else — is that people are not born with race but are “racialized” by society. The people we know as “Caucasians” “racialized” themselves as “white,” and “racialized” Africans as “black,” Asians as “Asians,” etc., and in so doing justified their own oppression of other “races.”
Even if only as an attempt to solve an intellectual riddle, it is worth trying to puzzle out what this means. The idea seems to be that what we call “race” is based on physical differences so trivial no healthy person would even notice them. Having fastened upon these meaningless, superficial differences, “white” people then rigged the world so that people they “racialized” as non-white ended up on the bottom.
Sometimes we get the impression that there need not even be physical differences between groups for some people to be “racialized” and oppressed. Prof. Baum quotes someone named Kenan Malik: “It is not ‘race’ that gives rise to inequality, but inequality that gives rise to race.” Prof. Baum adds: “The nature of modern society has created inequalities between different groups and these have come to be perceived in racial terms.” “Groups of people have been made into ‘blacks’ and ‘whites,’ ” he explains, “and this was a social and political process.”
Race, in other words, has no independent existence. Certain bad people somehow got the better of certain unoffending and almost indistinguishable other people and then declared, “We’re Caucasians and you’re not.” They then went on, generation after generation, to use this who-is/who-isn’t trick to grind down the ones who weren’t.
As Prof. Baum tries to explain, “While there are no white and black races in the biological sense, there have been (and still are) white and black racialized groups, and these racialized group identities have had and continue to have enormous social, cultural, and material consequences.” Somehow, the people whites have “racialized as dominant” stay dominant, and the people they have “racialized as inferior,” stay inferior.
We will return later to just how silly all this is, but we must negotiate much silliness in order to grasp what people like Prof. Baum are saying. Race, he says, was literally invented by white people in the 16th and 17th centuries as a justification for mistreating other people, and he will tell us how.
Where Race Came From
Prof. Baum reluctantly concedes that people other than whites have occasionally noticed group differences and disliked strangers. He insists, however, that this was mere ethnic prejudice, which is not nearly so vicious as full-blown racism, which was invented by whites. Hutus and Tutsis may massacre each other, but this is only “ethnic prejudice.”
According to Prof. Baum, whites probably invented race as a way to justify slavery. He quotes a fellow student of the subject who puts it bluntly: “Slavery produced racism.” It was the Atlantic slave trade that drove whites to the delusion that they were white and Africans were black, and “this divide was arguably the pivot on which racial thought was further elaborated.” Once whites got a taste for dominance, “all that remained for the full elaboration of the concept of race was for intellectuals and scientists working in the fields of ‘natural history’ and biology to use the term to classify supposedly distinct types of human beings in a systematic way.” The stage was set for centuries of racism.
Much of this book is a history of racial classification, and especially of the origins of the term “Caucasian.” Prof. Baum reports that the word “race” is first found in Italian and Spanish in the late 1300s, and meant “of common origin or descent.” He adds that the Frenchman Francois Bernier (1625-88), an avid world traveler and popular travel writer, was the first to use the word in something like the modern sense to mean varieties of humans. His contemporary, the British philosopher and admirer of Bacon, William Petty (1623-87), was typical of the pioneering generation of early race scholars. He noted that Europeans and Africans differed remarkably in skin color, type of hair, and shape of nose, lips, cheeks, and skull. “They differ also in their Naturall Manners, & in the internall Qualities of their Minds,” he added.
As science progressed, classifications became more refined. The celebrated Swedish taxonomist Carl Linnaeus (1707-78) first published his Systems of Nature in 1735. As he updated it through 10 editions, Linnaeus tried out several sets of categories for human classification but eventually settled on four “varieties:” Americanus, Europaeus, Asiaticus, and Afer. He categorized people, just as he did plants and animals, and his descriptions of appearance and behavior include the details any careful observer of the period would have thought significant.
Where did the term “Caucasian” come from? It is usually associated with the German naturalist Johann Blumenbach, but Prof. Baum reports that it was another German, Christoph Meiners (1747-1810), who first used the expression in 1785, when he divided man into two great branches, Caucasian and Mongolian. It is not entirely clear why Meiners called white people Caucasian, but it was widely believed in Europe that after the Flood, the Ark came to rest not far from the Caucasus, and that this was where Europeans originated. Like many people who later promoted the term “Caucasian,” Meiners also thought the Georgian people who lived in the area were especially beautiful.
It was the far better known Blumenbach (1752-1840), however, who popularized the term “Caucasian,” when he used it in the 1795 edition of On the Natural Variety of Mankind. Like Meiners, he considered Georgians and Ossetians especially handsome. He studied skull shapes as a part of racial classification, and thought the skull of a Georgian female was the most beautiful in his collection. Blumenbach was unusual for his time in expressly rejecting the idea that races differed in mental abilities.
The French naturalist Georges Cuvier (1767-1832) adopted and promoted the term “Caucasian” — along with the idea that Georgians were beautiful — as did the American Samuel George Morton (1799-1851). Like Blumenbach, Morton studied skulls, and found racial differences in cranial capacity that corresponded to differences in intelligence. Within a generation, therefore, the term “Caucasian” became widespread, and men like John Stewart Mill and Charles Darwin used it.
Whether or not they adopted the term “Caucasian,” Immanuel Kant, George Buffon, John Locke, and David Hume all wrote intelligently about human biological differences, which they referred to as race. Kant, for example, concluded that racial characteristics were irreducibly biological, given that these characteristics persist from generation to generation, and that racial mixes produce what are clearly half-breeds. Like most men of his time, Kant did not think highly of Africans, concluding that they “have by nature no feeling that rises above the trifling.”
As for calling whites “Caucasians,” it was not long before scientists began to point out the geographical eccentricity of applying this term to Europeans, and to suggest that Georgians weren’t all that good-looking anyway. For a time, according to Prof. Baum, the idea of a Caucasian race fell into relative eclipse, as Europeans turned upon themselves the urge to classify. (Prof. Baum takes the absurd position that this was in order to “racialize” European class differences.) The invention of the cephalic index, calculated by dividing the breadth of the skull by its width and multiplying by 100, was one of the bases for dividing whites into Nordics, Alpines, and Mediterraneans. The American race scholar Madison Grant was greatly taken with this typology, which nevertheless fell out of favor by the 1930s or 1940s.
Prof. Baum writes derisively about the work of these pioneering scholars, emphasizing their disagreements and occasional contradictions. Despite his sneering, however, it is clear that they were simply trying to understand their world. As Europeans explored more obscure corners of the earth they discovered unfamiliar peoples, and were naturally curious about their origins and how they might be related to each other. It was also natural that they should consider themselves superior to these primitives.
Some of their assumptions and disputes — Voltaire thought blacks and whites were a different species; there was disagreement over whether whites had developed from non-white ancestors or whether non-whites had degenerated from early white ancestors — may seem odd today, but were entirely understandable at a time before paleo-anthropology or genetics.
More to the point, Prof. Baum provides no evidence that any of the men he discusses were trying to justify slavery or any kind of mistreatment of non-whites by classifying varieties of man. His assertion that they had impure or non-scientific motives appears to reflect his refusal to recognize the value of human taxonomy and his deep suspicion of anyone who would study race.
There are, of course, heroes in this book: people such as Franz Boas, Ashley Montague, and Stephen Gould, who downplayed race and were among the first to promote the idea that race is a myth. Naturally, Montague gets a lot of attention, along with his 1942 claim that “the idea of ‘race’ represents one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of errors of our times, and the most tragic.” Even Montague, however, does not quite measure up because he showed some grip on reality by writing, “Truth will not be advanced by denying the existence of large groups of mankind characterized more or less, by distinctive inherited traits.” Prof. Baum thinks this gives the idea of race too much credit.
What, in Prof. Baum’s view, brought the race scientists around at last to the view that race is unimportant? Here he admits that pure science had very little to do with it, noting that from the 1930s onwards, people injected egalitarian ideas from other fields into the study of race. In other words, the currently fashionable view that race is irrelevant is the result of deliberate attempts to subvert science through ideology. After claiming, and failing to prove, that the early scholars had non-scientific motives, Prof. Baum confesses that his heroes deliberately bent their research to political ends.
Prof. Baum therefore takes the view that race has never been studied objectively. He simply happens to like the race-is-a myth fad because it fits his ideology, and even admits he thinks ideology is what leads to truth: “Democratizing” movements such as feminism, decolonization, and anti-racism “have often revealed limitations of existing theories about the world and generated advances in human knowledge.” He cites no examples of such advances.
For a book that claims there is no such thing as biological race, The Rise and Fall of the Caucasian Race devotes almost no space to this subject. Prof. Baum’s only “scientific” argument is the old chestnut that there is more genetic variety within populations than between them. He then goes on to draw the incorrect conclusion that this means a black could be more genetically similar to a white than to other blacks (see “Race Denial: The Power of a Delusion,” AR, June 2003; “The Genetics of Race,” AR, July 2006). He even argues that although race can sometimes be a useful medical category — it is now well established that there are distinct population differences in how certain drugs work and certain diseases develop — this is only because race “provides information about the social circumstances and lifestyles of patients.” He insists that as groups become more equal, race will become medically meaningless. We are left wondering why the heart-failure drug BiDil, which does not work on whites, nevertheless works on blacks who have high incomes, are married, and speak standard English just as well as it works on ghetto miscreants.
Prof. Baum is relieved that Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, the Stanford geneticist who has done pioneering work in charting the genetic distances between populations, rejects the use of the word “race.” He fails to point out, however, that Cavalli-Sforza’s “populations” and the genetic distances between them correspond almost perfectly with the findings of physical anthropologists who freely used the R-word (see review of Cavalli-Sforza’s Genes, Peoples, and Languages, AR, August 2000).
Prof. Baum also makes much of the fact that students of race have seldom agreed on how many races there are, and draws from this disagreement the non sequitur conclusion that race must not exist. In any discipline, there are lumpers and splitters, that is to say, people who like large, inclusive categories, and people who like fine distinctions. What is the best way to classify motor vehicles? Some people would be satisfied with a division between cars and trucks. But then where would you put school buses? Other people would insist that convertibles, two-seaters, and SUVs were distinct classes, while others might say they were all cars. There would be disagreement on how to classify motorcycles and whether even to include gas-powered golf carts. Prof. Baum would say that these disagreements mean there are no meaningful categories of motor vehicles and that all motor vehicles are really the same.
Prof. Baum gets into tangles like this because he will not face the obvious. He would insist that all races or human groups are equal; but if that is so, how did whites manage to enslave blacks and not the other way around? And how did whites manage to paralyze entire races for centuries simply by “racializing” them as inferior? The moment whites said they were black, Africans apparently collapsed into helplessness from which they have yet to recover. The truth, of course, is that Africans and Australian Aborigines were primitive long before any white man came along to “racialize” them, and would have stayed primitive with or without white men.
Even more fundamentally, if there is no such thing as biological race, how do white people tell themselves apart from the people they are trying to “racialize” and dominate? Might it be that people are born with physical traits so striking and unmistakable it is natural to group them by these traits?
Prof. Baum would probably admit that he can distinguish unerringly between Pygmies and Danes. He would perhaps admit that if Danes keep marrying Danes and Pygmies keep marrying Pygmies, they will look just as different 1,000 years from now as they do today. Prof. Baum is adamant that these striking differences do not amount to something we should call race. What, then, should we call them? Is it evil even to notice them? And why is it wrong to wonder whether the hundreds of thousands of years of separate evolution that produced those differences did not also produce mental differences?
Ultimately, the race deniers fear the truth might knock the props out from under their illusions. Ideology comes first, and then the facts, and we can tell from how he writes how slavishly Prof. Baum hews to ideology.
According to Prof. Baum, Columbus did not discover America; he “discovered” it. It is not European natives but European “natives” who resist non-white immigration. Prof. Baum even feels compelled to assert his ideological superiority over authors he cites with approval. He quotes a 1937 passage from one of his heroes, Frankfurt School founder Max Horkheimer, about “the world which is given to the individual and which he [sic] must accept . . . ” Prof. Baum would have written “he or she,” and wants to be sure we know it. He quotes another passage about the “major ethnic groups of man [sic].” Correct ideology comes even before common sense, much less inconvenient facts.
What are Prof. Baum’s policy recommendations? In his circle, there is a brisk debate over whether the word and concept of race should be completely junked because any talk of it, even of the most earnestly anti-racist kind, might “reify” a false concept. As Prof. Baum frets, “There are risks involved in using racial categories in efforts to overcome racism — most important, this practice may perpetuate racialist thinking despite the most vigilant efforts to critique ‘race.’ ”
Prof. Baum finally concludes, however, that the risks must be run. Colorblindness will only perpetuate inequality and let “racists” off the hook. Anti-racists must therefore face the demon head-on: “People who have been racialized as Caucasians must acknowledge our historically racialized identities as Caucasian — along with the social and material advantages it entails — even as we work with others to end the myth of a ‘Caucasian race.’ ”
But how would we know we had destroyed the myth? Prof. Baum doesn’t say. He does urge upon us the goal of “planetary humanism,” but when he finally descends from abstractions to practical advice, he says only that whites should support racial preferences for non-whites. Or should they? Racial preferences are based on race, which we know is an illusion. He says classifying by race is as irrational as classifying people as witches, but how do we know whether the university has admitted enough blacks and American Indians if we don’t classify by race? It is hard to know how to fight racism when there is no such thing as race.
The best stance may simply be to adopt Prof. Baum’s basic contempt for whites. He writes that the race that called itself “Caucasian” is “bound up with various crimes against humanity during the past two centuries, even if it has not yet been called into account for its role in these crimes,” so anything that hurts or insults whites can presumably be seen as calling them to account. Prof. Baum also believes that aside from the invention of racism, there is probably nothing of cultural value that could be characterized as white. Whites could conceivably disappear and little of value would be lost.
Some day, academics will look back on books like this and see them for the insulting nonsense they are. In the meantime, they are the sort of thing university presses publish and employees of the state teach to our children.
Jared Taylor Lecture Cancelled at MSU
Thugs prevail over free speech.
Early in February, the Michigan State University chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom (MSU-YAF) announced it had invited Jared Taylor to speak on campus about how diversity and multiculturalism threaten our society. Mr. Taylor would hardly have been the first controversial speaker MSU-YAF has hosted. In the last year and a half, we have sponsored talks by former presidential candidate Tom Tancredo, Chris Simcox of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, and Nick Griffin of the British National Party, as well as many others.
I have been forced to withdraw Mr. Taylor’s invitation, because of a combination of factors that have resulted in a serious abridgement of free speech at MSU.
First, the National Young Americans for Freedom, which serves as the umbrella organization for all campus YAF chapters, threatened to revoke our YAF charter if the talk went forward. Chairman Erik Johnson’s excuse was that YAF does not officially recognize multiculturalism as a threat to the United States. He cited as his authority something called the Sharon Statement, a YAF founding document, according to which “the forces of international Communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these [American] liberties.” Congressman Tancredo, Chris Simcox, and Mark Krikorian were somehow forgiven for failing to work this theme into their comments, but Mr. Taylor’s talk would have been off-limits because multiculturalism is not covered by the Sharon Statement. Despite the incoherence of its position, National YAF was adamant: We were not to host Mr. Taylor. If we defied National YAF, we would have lost our charter and would no longer have been an official student organization with the right to host events on campus.
The university, run by the usual fanatical advocates of diversity, also threw obstacles in our path. We had scheduled Mr. Taylor’s talk for Wednesday, March 19. Suddenly, the university told us that date was impossible. It had been understood from the beginning that the talk would require police security, and the university claimed security would be possible at only one lecture hall — and that hall had become mysteriously unavailable that day.
La Raza and MEChA can have events any day. They can also hold them anywhere because their opponents are civilized, and require no police presence. Conservative groups, however, are stifled through a combination of strong-arm tactics and bureaucratic harassment.
Mr. Taylor may yet come to Lansing, however. I have passed his name on to a local activist who arranges talks in the area, and I understand discussions about a possible lecture have already begun.
The cancelation may well have spared Mr. Taylor a certain amount of unpleasantness. Many of our events have been violently disrupted by left-wing students who have more in common with Hitler’s Brown Shirts than they care to admit. When Congressman Tom Tancredo spoke at MSU last year, a La Raza activist attacked the seven-months pregnant wife of the Olivet-YAF chairman. Others kicked and spat on me. Protesters pulled the fire alarm twice, and followed us after the event to a restaurant and slashed our car tires while we were inside. All this made national news; the president of the MSU College Republicans and I discussed these outrages on The O’Reilly Factor, and Mr. Tancredo appeared on Hannity & Colmes.
When Chris Simcox of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps spoke at MSU, the Aztlan militants were so disruptive that the university police called for reinforcements from the city of Lansing. The police cleared the room of trouble-makers, arresting four of the worst, and Mr. Simcox was able to give his talk. Protesters waited outside the building, however, and police had to push them away from the doors as we came out. I overheard one officer suggest to another that they should have brought shields and helmets.
When Nick Griffin of the British National Party spoke on how Islam is taking over Europe, protesters beat a piñata made to resemble him. They shouted so much that Mr. Griffin had to end his talk early. Just as they did when Mr. Tancredo spoke, protesters set off the fire alarm. Later, MSU-YAF members had to run for their lives from a lynch-mob of protesters armed with sticks and bats. Videos we have uploaded to YouTube.com capture only part of the chaos leftists were able to provoke when these men tried to speak.
I have no doubt that if Jared Taylor had spoken at MSU, he would have faced similar opposition and disruption. Various leftists including Students for a Democratic Society were already announcing plans to do everything possible to prevent Mr. Taylor from delivering his talk.
On Thursday, February 21, the student government of Michigan State University approved a bill requesting the university to define the supposed difference between “hate speech” and free speech. This craven move resulted directly from the lectures my group has sponsored, and is intended stop speakers the leftists do not like. It is not certain whether the university will establish “hate speech” guidelines or how they would be implemented. In a sane world, the student government would be censuring people who violently disrupt meetings, but it instead wants to do the protesters’ work for them by preventing the meetings in the first place.
What our opponents have done — and what cowards at the university and in “conservative” organizations permit them to do — could not be a more eloquent expression of the poverty of leftist thinking. Unable to refute our views in civilized debate, incapable of understanding the First Amendment, their brutish tactics reflect their brutish natures. They are the best possible demonstration of the very point Mr. Taylor had intended to make: that multiculturalism is a serious threat to what is left of Western Civilization on this continent.
Kyle Bristow is the former chairman of the Michigan State University Young Americans for Freedom.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
Mexican president Felipe Calderon went to Harvard in February to lecture Americans on how important illegal Mexicans are to America, and to warn us not to let “anti-immigrant sentiment” creep into the presidential election. He was especially angry about the public outcry that derailed Pres. Bush’s amnesty bill. “The worst thing that happened in this country is this anti-Mexican or anti-immigrant perception of people,” he explained, adding that “it is important to change the perception that the Mexicans are the enemy.” As Mr. Calderon sees it, American wealth and Mexican labor are both a problem and a solution: “You have two economies. One economy is intensive in capital, which is the American economy. One economy is intensive in labor, which is the Mexican economy. We are two complementary economies, and that phenomenon is impossible to stop.” [Steve LeBlanc, Mexican Prez Decries Anti-Immigrant Tone, AP, Feb. 11, 2008.]
After Harvard, Mr. Calderon flew to Chicago where he spoke directly to Mexican illegals, calling them “heroes:”
“I know that you have risked your lives in order to give opportunities to your children, to your families. I know that in each one of you there’s a history of heroism and also a history of pain.
“A history of heroism because it is not easy to leave your country, your house, your nation and to cross the border risking it all. A history of heroism because each year more than 400 Mexicans die trying to cross the border, perhaps more than in any another part of the world.
“I come here, to Chicago, to Illinois, because I know that my duty as president, especially in the difficult moments that the undocumented are passing, of harassment, of clear discrimination in some cases, my duty is to echo the voice of all the Mexicans, the voice of all of Mexico telling them we are with you.”
He then explained what he wants from the US: “We want that the extraordinary cultural, social, and economic contribution of the Mexican migrants in the United States be recognized.” [Calderon Tells Mexican Invaders They Are Heroes, The Watchdog, Feb. 13, 2008.]
Last year, Arizona legislators passed one of the toughest anti-illegal immigration laws in the country, making it a crime for employers to hire illegal aliens, then thought to be 11 percent of the workforce. Local sheriffs have also begun enforcing federal immigration laws. The crackdown, together with the slowing economy, appears to be driving out illegals. In the last quarter of 2007, apartment vacancy rates in Phoenix rose from 9 percent in 2006 to 11.2 percent. In Hispanic neighborhoods, the figure was 15 percent. State Rep. Russell K. Pearce sees this as a sign of success. Illegals have begun to understand that “we don’t have the red carpet out for [them].”
“It is like a panic here,” says Elizabeth Leon, a legal Hispanic immigrant employed as a day care worker. She says she knows two families who have fled Arizona, abandoning their children. Juan Jose Araujo is also a legal immigrant but his wife is not. She wants the family to go back to Mexico to escape what they consider to be “a growing anti-immigrant climate.” “We don’t have family or anything in Mexico,” says Mr. Araujo, who has lived in the US for 24 years. “I wouldn’t have anywhere to go to there, but we have to consider it.”
Businesses are bleating about “labor shortages” and urging lawmakers to reconsider the law. Several have already introduced bills to create a state-run guest-worker program, and Gov. Janet Napolitano is promising to work with the Labor Department to make it easier to bring in more migrant labor. [Randal C. Archibold, Arizona Seeing Signs of Flight by Immigrants, New York Times, Feb. 12, 2008.]
Stereotypes Die Hard
According to a poll sponsored by a leftie outfit called New American Media, many non-whites in America — blacks, Hispanics, and Asians — have a more favorable view of whites than they do of other non-whites. Sixty-one percent of Hispanics, 54 percent of Asians, and 47 percent of blacks said they would rather do business with whites than members of the other two groups. Other interesting findings: Forty-four percent of Hispanics and 47 percent of Asians are “afraid of African-Americans because they are responsible for most of the crime.” Half of blacks say Hispanic immigrants “are taking jobs, housing, and political power away from the black community.” More than half of blacks and 46 percent of Hispanics say Asian shopkeepers do not treat them with respect.
Asians and Hispanics, many of whom are recent immigrants, are optimistic about the “American Dream,” and believe hard work is rewarded. More than 60 percent of blacks say there is no American Dream for them.
“The poll reaffirms that while race relations between ethnic groups and whites grab the headlines, there are also serious racial problems between minority groups in America,” says Sergio Bendixen, an expert on Hispanic and multilingual polling. “Blacks feel they are left out of the American Dream and are being displaced by newcomers, and each group buys into the negative stereotypes about the other two.” [US Minorities Don’t Trust Each Other, AFP, Dec. 12, 2007.]
According to a new study from the Pew Research Center, America in 2050 will be more crowded, more Hispanic, more Asian, and less white. Pew predicts a total population in 2050 of 438 million — a 48 percent increase over the 296 million in 2005. Of the additional 142 million Americans, 117 million — 82 percent — will be immigrants or children of immigrants who came since 2005. Overall, Pew expects one-fifth of the population to be foreign-born, twice the 10 percent figure from the previous great wave of immigration that peaked early in the 20th century.
The black percentage of the population will remain stable at 13 percent, while the number of Hispanics will rise from 14 percent to 29 percent, or 127 million. Asians, at 40 million, will be 9 percent of the population. In 1965, whites were 85 percent of the population, but will be a minority of 47 percent by mid century. [Jeffrey Passel and D’Vera Cohn, Immigration to Play Lead Role in Future US Growth, Pew Research Center, Feb. 11, 2008.]
About 3 percent of the students at Denver Public Schools — 1,800 or so children — are in the gifted and talented program. Although the system is 57 percent Hispanic, IQ tests determine entry to the program, so 75 percent of the gifted are white.
Critics complain that IQ tests are unfair to Hispanics and students who may lack “the same life experiences” as more affluent classmates. “They may be bright children but may not know what plaid is,” says Diane Howard, principal of the strangely named Polaris at Ebert Elementary School, which is for gifted students. “Or their concept may not have involved a vacation. Or they may have never been on an escalator.” Miss Howard will scrap the IQ test in favor of what she calls a more “holistic” approach, which includes teacher nominations, as well as artwork and writing. Students will also get extra points if English is not their native language or if they are poor. “We want to find the gifts that these children have, not exclude them,” she says.
Schools everywhere are under tremendous pressure to classify more non-whites as gifted. Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue a California school district because there were too few “gifted” blacks and Hispanics. Many districts are moving away from traditional testing, and even the National Association for Gifted Children supports the “holistic” approach. “Standardized tests are tipped against children from underserved populations and children from diverse backgrounds,” explains executive director Nancy Green. [Jeremy P. Meyer, Minorities, Poor Get ‘Highly Gifted’ Lift, Denver Post, March 4, 2008.]
Love Him, Love Him Not
On Feb. 24 at a rally in Chicago, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan lavished praise on Barack Obama: “This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better. This young man is capturing audiences of black and brown and red and yellow. If you look at Barack Obama’s audiences and look at the effect of his words, those people are being transformed.”
He then compared Sen. Obama to Wallace Fard Muhammad, founder of the Nation of Islam, who also had a white mother and black father. “A black man with a white mother became a savior to us,” he said. “A black man with a white mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall.” [Farrakhan Hails Obama as ‘Hope of Entire World,’ AP, Feb. 25, 2008.]
Britain’s official race man, Trevor Phillips, has a different view. Taking for granted that Mr. Obama’s success reflected nothing more than white guilt, Mr. Phillips writes, “If Obama can succeed, then maybe they [whites] can imagine that [Martin Luther] King’s post-racial nirvana has arrived. A vote for Obama is a pain-free negation of their own racism. So long as they don’t have to live next door to him.” He also notes that, “Obama has yet to win convincingly in white districts adjacent to black communities.” He dismisses talk of Sen. Obama as “the harbinger of a post-racial America:” “In truth, Obama may be helping to postpone the arrival of a post-racial America and I think he knows it. If he wins, the cynicism may be worth it to him and his party. In the end he is a politician and a very good one: his job is to win elections.” Mr. Phillips doesn’t believe Sen. Obama will become president, but if he does, he will not be another JFK, but rather another Bill Clinton, with the same combination of “charm, skill, and ruthless cynicism.”
Mr. Phillips doesn’t believe there will ever be a “British Obama,” partly because there are not enough blacks in Britain to “produce such a high-achiever,” but also because, “Black Britons can’t bring centuries of white guilt to bear with the devastating impact that African-Americans have done for two generations.” [Hannah Strange, Obama Victory Will Prolong US Racial Divide, Says British Equality Chief, Times (London), Feb. 28, 2008.]
Coloring the News
Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC, the Society of Professional Journalists adopted new guidelines for avoiding “racial profiling.” Here are examples:
- Do not represent Arab Americans and Muslims as monolithic groups. Avoid conveying the impression that all Arab Americans and Muslims wear traditional clothing.
- Use photos and features to demystify veils, turbans and other cultural articles and customs.
- Seek out and include Arabs and Arab Americans, Muslims, South Asians and men and women of Middle Eastern descent in all stories about the war, not just those about Arab and Muslim communities or racial profiling.
- Cover the victims of harassment, murder and other hate crimes as thoroughly as you cover the victims of overt terrorist attacks.
- Make an extra effort to include olive-complexioned and darker men and women, Sikhs, Muslims and devout religious people of all types in arts, business, society columns and all other news and feature coverage, not just stories about the crisis.
- When writing about terrorism, remember to include white supremacist, radical anti-abortionists and other groups with a history of such activity.
- Avoid using word combinations such as “Islamic terrorist” or “Muslim extremist” that are misleading because they link whole religions to criminal activity . . .
- Consult the Library of Congress guide for transliteration of Arabic names and Muslim or Arab words to the Roman alphabet. Use spellings preferred by the American Muslim Council, including “Muhammad,” “Quran,” and “Makkah,” not “Mecca.” [Diversity Guidelines, Society of Professional Journalists (spj.org).]
A new study from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) finds that young Americans know very little history or literature. A survey of 1,200 students found that only 43 percent knew the Civil War was fought between 1850 and 1900, and only 52 percent could identify the theme of George Orwell’s 1984. Overall, AEI gave the students a C in history and an F in literature. They were very solid in a few areas, however. Ninety-seven percent knew Martin Luther King Jr. gave the “I Have a Dream” speech, and 77 percent knew Uncle Tom’s Cabin “helped end slavery.” [Greg Toppo, Teens Losing Touch with Common Cultural and Historical References, USA Today, Feb. 26, 2008.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — Regarding your last two cover stories about the failure of integration (see February and March issues), even if a majority of black/non-white PhDs, professors, judges, writers, et al., were indeed “superior” to me, I still would not want integration. I happen to prefer my own race and culture and do not wish to turn my society into a nondescript, Communist-style melting pot — which is surely the intended result.
This is also the view of most white Britons (is there really another kind?) so we will continue fighting to honor, love, and preserve our race and our Anglo-Saxon way of life. And what is wrong with that? Other races are allowed to take pride in their own heritage and origin. Why not us?
Gisela Horton, Poole, Dorset, UK
Sir — Among the many statistics in your well-researched series on the failure of integration, the one that struck me most was about church congregations: 95 percent are at least 80 percent one race. The churches have been among the most tireless boosters of integration and non-white immigration, but fail to practice what they preach. Race and race relations are an endlessly fertile field for hypocrisy, as we all know, but the hypocrisy of churchmen is particularly odious.
I do not understand how liberals cannot be ashamed. Despite their incessant chattering about diversity, they arrange homogeneous lives for themselves. I suppose there is little reason to feel shame when everyone in a society practices the same hypocrisy, but must it not occur to at least a few that America is not as we were promised it would be? Can no one draw the obvious conclusion that our assumptions about race were simply wrong?
Susan Conlon, Provo, Utah
Sir — I think one of the reasons integration failed is that maybe both blacks and whites know subconsciously that forced integration is unnatural and wrong. Integration leads to miscegenation, which is also unnatural and wrong. In spite of the best efforts of the media, most whites (and not a few blacks) agree with Thomas Jefferson, when he said of blacks, “Their amalgamation with any other color produces a degradation to which no lover of his country, no lover of excellence in the human character, can innocently consent.”
Walter Sieruk, Harrisburg, Pa.
Sir — The purpose of this letter is to apologize to all Australian readers of AR for my letter of February 2008 about Peter Wilkinson’s book, which warned against Orientals displacing Australian whites in the professions and management. I still think my general point was important and must be considered, but I know nothing about the specific Australian situation. As Christopher Down pointed out in his letter in the March AR, I was wrong about the Australian legal profession. Mr. Down was also right to criticize me for quoting what a Dutchman said to me about Australians being stupid and lazy. Mr. Down described that statement as “unwarranted.” He was being generous. I was the one who was being stupid. As far as I can remember, I have never met an Australian in my life. We whites are the victims of incessant vilification by non-whites; we should not add to that vilification by repeating nasty, unsubstantiated insults about each other.
Professor Steven Farron, Johannesburg, South Africa
Sir — The March issue of Latina magazine has a long interview with Hollywood flavor-of-the-month actress Jessica Alba. The glossy photo makes Miss Alba — who often plays white women — look unusually dark, no doubt to please Latina’s audience. In the interview Miss Alba says she was hurt by rumors in the Hispanic community that she had turned her back on her Hispanic heritage (her father is a Mexican-American; her mother is white) and felt no pride in her ancestry. Some Hispanics have also criticized her for not speaking Spanish, even though she was born in the US. The article quotes her as saying, “I wish to God that my dad spoke Spanish to me,” and that quotation is prominently featured alongside the glossy photo.
She now claims to delight in her mixed-race ancestry, saying she is happy that both she and Halle Berry, another mixed-race actress (her father is black), are in the spotlight. “This is what America looks like,” she chirps, despite the fact that the actual number of mixed-race people in America is small.
It also appears Miss Alba is having a baby with a man who is half-black and half-Hispanic. “I’m excited for my baby to be brown,” she says. Imagine a white actress’s being excited that her baby was going to be white.
Eric Schroeder, Lawrenceville, Va.