|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 20, No. 8||August 2009|
What We Call Ourselves
“Race realist” is good, but there is better.
One of the difficulties we have as a movement is that racially conscious whites do not have a satisfactory name. The general public likes to have handy categories into which it can put movements and ideas, and because we do not have a commonly accepted label for ourselves, people have little choice but to use the names chosen for us by our enemies. These are, of course, the usual epithets, such as “racist,” “white supremacist,” and “hate-monger.”
The trouble, as Jared Taylor pointed out in these pages long ago (see “The Racial Revolution,” AR, May 1999), is that what we think about race was so taken for granted by previous generations that they never needed a word for it. Virtually all white Americans, prominent or otherwise, from George Washington to Dwight Eisenhower never had to label their views about race because, to them, they were as natural and normal as breathing.
It was the culture that changed — not the facts about race — and what had been basic common sense for centuries suddenly became known by a slew of ugly names. The word “racist,” for example, wasn’t invented until the 1930s and didn’t become common in the United States until the 1960s. No one would have dreamed of saying Abraham Lincoln had immoral views about race, much less that he was a “racist.” Yesterday’s common sense is now today’s crime, and we have yet to find a generally accepted term that could displace the dishonest formulations others have tried to pin on us.
It is possible to imagine a comparable situation in a collectivist future in which people with children are required to join group-rearing camps where adults must treat all children equally. Parents who care more about their own children or just want to spend more time with them are shunned and called names: “kin-supremacists,” “familists,” “kinder-phobes,” “haters.” What word would these “kin-supremacists” come up with to refer to people who love their own children more than the children of strangers? They would face the same problem we do because no previous generation ever had to invent a word to describe people with normal, healthy feelings.
The media’s insistence on the term “white supremacist” for anyone who departs from multiracial dogma is especially annoying. It evokes — as it is meant to — whip-cracking slave drivers, lynch mobs, and Jim Crow, and only maliciousness or ignorance explains its current use. I have spoken to editors who admitted they haven’t considered why they use the term — only that they have done so in the past, and keep doing so out of habit.
The media invariably call a criminal with swastika tattoos a “white supremacist,” especially if he barks “white power” while being arraigned. Even then, what does the term really mean? Does any white person in America really want to rule over people of other races, as the term “white supremacist” suggests? People who shout “white power” mostly just want to get away from non-whites.
Of course, by reserving the term “white supremacist” for anyone who dissents from racial orthodoxy, the left tries to give the impression that readers of American Renaissance are all dying to tattoo themselves, march around in jackboots, and beat up immigrants, but manage barely to restrain themselves through a colossal act of will that could fail at any time. The clear implication is that people who study racial differences in IQ or care about the survival of whites and their culture are morally no different from thugs who chain blacks to pickup trucks and drag them to death.
This kind of treatment is especially odious in that groups like La Raza and the NAACP get the beatific label of “civil rights” groups. Any white organization that copied the goals and tactics of La Raza perfectly but substituted “white” for “Hispanic” would be nothing more than a band of hate-mongers.
So, how should we refer to ourselves?
First, we can never accept being called “racists.” Ten years ago, Sam Francis wrote in this magazine that “racism” is a “term originating on the left, and has been so defined and loaded with meanings the left wants it to have that it cannot now be used by the supporters of white racial consciousness for any constructive purpose” (see “The Origins of Racism,” AR, May 1999). Nothing has changed since then.
Over the years, various names have been proposed: white nationalist, white separatist, race realist, racial preservationist, “racialist” (instead of “racist”), racially conscious white person, and modifiers such as “pro-white” and “racially conscious.”
These are not awful terms, but they have shortcomings. “White nationalist” and “white separatist” are bold, but rattle too menacingly to gain widespread acceptance. The words “nationalism” or “separatism” have a coercive or even violent ring. Basque, Kurdish, Tamil, and other nationalists have been known to throw bombs. “Separatism” could almost be construed as ethnic cleansing through house-to-house raids, even if an actual white separatist has something gradual, peaceful, and voluntary in mind.
Both separation and nationalism ultimately suggest redrawing boundaries, and that is unsettling to many. For those with the means and the mettle — and an opportunity to explain what they really mean — perhaps these are acceptable terms, but for us wage-earners in the suburbs they are too provocative.
I like “racialist,” though the addition of one syllable to “racist” isn’t likely to change many minds, and most people have no idea what the difference is. In Britain, the two terms are reportedly interchangeable.
“Racially conscious white person” is nice but cumbersome, though I do appreciate the left-fake of “conscious.” I recall hearing a black public official say she thought “racially conscious” simply meant anti-racist, that having a “consciousness” of race meant understanding how wonderful black people are, and how evil whites are. In any case, liberals love consciousness — of the sorrows of the poor, of the plight of the whales, of the agonies of AIDS carriers — so the idea of white consciousness confuses them, but it is hard to work the concept into a crisp, useful term.
Some on our side have suggested abandoning “white” for “European-American” or “Euro-American” but most American whites, for better or worse, don’t think of themselves as “European.” A European is a snooty fellow named Pierre who wears a beret. At the same time, hyphenation is an awkward concession to the left and, at worst, the term can sound like a euphemism: an equivalent of “African-American” for whites who aren’t willing to admit they are white.
“Pro-white” would have some potential if it could work its way into the debate as did the terms the antagonists in the abortion debate managed to promote. “Pro-choice” and “Pro-life” cleverly stake out a “pro” rather than “anti” position, but it took millions of dollars and supporters to get those terms into circulation. “Pro-choice,” especially, is a tour de force; it means nothing at all, but had enough media behind it to replace the more sinister “pro-abortion.”
“Pro-white” has the advantage of meaning exactly what it says, but in today’s climate it would instantly be turned into a weapon, with the implication that the only way anyone could be pro-white was by being anti-black and anti-everything-else. This puts it in the same potentially menacing category as “white nationalist” and “white separatist.”
This leaves us is with “race realist.” It is a good term, and American Renaissance has made some progress in promoting it, but it has shortcomings. First, it has to be explained, since it has no obvious meaning. Second, and perhaps worse, it is clearly a term invented by its own proponents. No hostile or even neutral party calls other people “realist,” or “objective,” or “virtuous,” or any other positive thing, and when people give themselves names like that it strikes outsiders as a pose.
Ayn Rand claimed that she and her followers were Objectivists. That name says nothing about what she thought except that she thought highly of herself. Likewise, American socialists and loonies of various stripes like to call themselves Progressives, a name that would provoke much snickering if the press were not so partisan. Merely calling yourself “progressive” does not mean your policies would bring progress, and claiming to be a realist — even if you are — means nothing to those who disagree.
The worst examples of this kind of inflated self-naming are the various Muslim groups that call themselves, in effect, The Earthly Executors of God’s Will. “Race realist” is nothing like that, of course, but it is not a term our enemies would ever adopt nor one that even the merely curious are likely to accept. We will never be more than “so-called” or “self-proclaimed” race realists to any but our friends.
Obviously, a name should have some connection to beliefs or goals. I say “obviously,” though some might argue that subterfuge is better. Why name yourself at all and give your opponents a target? Because it is very useful to have a label that both we and our opponents can live with and that accurately conveys our views. At the same time, our goals and positions are entirely legitimate. We have nothing to hide, and should describe ourselves accurately.
We have disagreements among ourselves, of course, but there are probably a few points on which all can agree, and it is vital to prevent gross misconception of our goals. Our central position is that the races are different. They are not equivalent and replaceable, and whites are uniquely harmed by this myth.
It is important also that we not shy away from the racial aspect of our positions.
We oppose affirmative action, for example, not especially because it casts suspicion on the legitimate accomplishments of some minorities, but because it is unfair to whites. We oppose unchecked immigration, not because we want to see everyone wait in line, but because it displaces whites. We oppose high taxing and spending, perhaps because we believe in fiscal discipline and free markets, but also because they are largely a transfer of wealth from whites to non-whites. And we want “law and order,” not only because any society must have rules, but also because the disorder often comes from non-whites and we rightly deplore it.
We seek true freedom of association, not forced involvement with other groups. Third-World immigration, “civil rights” laws, and school busing are examples of coercion we oppose. Put differently, we want to be left alone. These are worthy, legitimate, necessary goals, and in a sane world would raise no objections at all.
The left senses the racial element in these positions, of course. That is why, when tax protesters put on their “Tea Parties” last April 15, opponents insisted that their motives could not be purely financial and warned that the gatherings were “racist.” As usual, so-called conservatives shrieked that they were not “racist” at all, and the white cause made no progress.
A better name for us, and the willingness of more whites to accept it, would put an end to this silly game of Whack-A-Mole. To the list of names others have suggested, I propose one I think is better: “white advocate.” This term, along with “white advocacy,” has a number of advantages.
First, it does away with the dissembling inherent in words like “conservative” or “patriot.” Indeed, a “white advocate” could be otherwise a liberal, and have little sympathy for the militarism or flag-waving that are often called patriotism. Second, the term puts “the W word” right where it belongs. No one is misled. Third, it does not have a frightening ring. It suggests a person who speaks up for whites by pointing out injustices done to them, and formulating policies necessary to correct them. Fourth, it is flexible. It does not suggest any specific policy goal, thus leaving room for internal disagreement, and permitting shifts in strategy according to circumstances. A white advocate may wish to repeal all anti-discrimination laws or may simply object when whites are called “rednecks.”
The term “white advocate” has the final advantage of laying the foundation for more accurate descriptions of other groups. The NAACP and MALDEF are not “civil rights” organizations. No one reads about their activities and assumes that they are trying to secure rights for all Americans. They are, respectively, black advocacy and Hispanic advocacy groups, and we should have no objection to their using a variant of the term we use for ourselves. Where there is advocacy there is inevitably conflict. By accurately classifying these so-called “civil rights” groups we make it clear that the interests of blacks and Hispanics will sometimes conflict with those of whites — and that whites have interests of their own that must be protected.
Toward the end of his excellent documentary, “A Conversation on Race,” filmmaker Craig Bodeker laments that whites are allowed only two stances on race: total indifference to it or cruel, bloodthirsty “racism.” Anyone who even hints that whites may have group rights is condemned to the latter category.
Mr. Bodeker is right, and if whites are headed anywhere but to oblivion, this false dichotomy must be destroyed. Whites face an array of serious problems that the media, culture, and politics insist on ignoring. Those who seek justice for whites deserve a name equal to the moral stature and dignity of their cause.
John Ingram is a lawyer, writer, and white advocate.
Supreme Court Throws Whites a Bone
Obama appointees will grab it back.
On June 29, by the narrowest of margins and on the narrowest of grounds, the US Supreme Court rendered a decision that throws a bone to whites, but it is far from eliminating blatant anti-white discrimination in employment. The Court’s reasoning in Ricci v. DeStephano was tortured, but it is worth following because it shows just how absurd legal thinking about race has become. It is also important to realize that whatever small comfort this ruling offers whites will be fleeting. Barack Obama will appoint justices like Ruth Ginsburg, who proved in her dissent that she has no concern for the interests of whites.
Like so many recent decisions in what are comically referred to as “civil rights” cases, Ricci was an exercise in splitting hairs over a concept that is illegitimate to begin with: “disparate impact.” This is the moonstruck idea that unintended or accidental “discrimination” is just as bad as deliberate discrimination, and must be rooted out just as zealously. For Justice Ginsburg and the three other justices who lined up behind her, stamping out accidental discrimination is more important because it affects non-whites. Deliberate discrimination is not a worry because its victims are white.
“Disparate impact” began life as a judicial fiction. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, from which it was conjured, was the first federal law to issue a blanket prohibition on deliberate racial discrimination, or what it called “disparate treatment.” (This was, in itself, a direct assault on fundamental rights of freedom of choice and association. See “Good Reasons, Bad Reasons, or No Reason at All,” AR, March 1993.) The law banned practices in parts of the South whereby some employers refused to consider black applicants or did not accept them for certain jobs. These practices ended, but this did not lead to the rush of black fulfillment liberals had hoped for. Why not?
Their theory was that America was brimming with capable, ambitious blacks who were kept out of high-prestige jobs only because of discrimination. Drop the barriers and the country would be transformed. When transformation lagged, the people who had been shouting for equal treatment quickly started shouting for preferential treatment.
It was in 1971 — only seven years after the Civil Rights Act — that the Supreme Court discovered “disparate impact.” In Griggs v. Duke Power it ruled that a hiring qualification or job standard that appeared racially neutral was actually discrimination if it eliminated more black than white candidates — that is to say, had a “disparate impact.” Until 1964, the power company had hired blacks only as laborers. After the new law was passed, it opened all jobs to all races but required that candidates for higher-level jobs either be high-school graduates or get a minimum score on an aptitude test.
There was never any allegation that these requirements were set up to keep blacks out. However, since blacks were less likely than whites to meet them, the requirements had a “disparate impact,” which the Court found illegal. The Civil Rights Act had never been intended to prohibit accidental discrimination, and it even included language that was meant to permit it. The Court therefore had to twist the law into knots in order to read a ban on “disparate impact” into it, but the times were both desperate and idealistic.
Since 1971, the concept of “disparate impact” has hardened into a series of stiff requirements. If protected minorities meet a job requirement or pass a test at less than 80 percent of the white rate, that is “disparate impact,” and the employer must prove that the test or requirement reflects a “business necessity.” A requirement cannot merely be desirable; it must be a necessity. Put plainly, it is illegal for an employer to require the highest standards for employees — or even commonsense standards.
Most people would consider it reasonable to ban anyone with a conviction for a finance-related crime from a job that requires handling money. Reasonable, perhaps, but illegal. Blacks meet that standard at less than 80 percent of the white rate, so keeping out embezzlers has a “disparate impact.” No one has proven that keeping them out is a “business necessity” for a money-handling job, like being able to count, for example.
There is worse. Even if an employer can prove that his test or requirement is a business necessity — and aside from such things as requiring truck drivers to have licenses or insisting that lifeguards know how to swim, that’s not easy — he must still junk his test or requirement if someone can propose an alternative that is just as relevant but is likely to have less disparate impact. Real job testing has therefore all but disappeared in America because it is just about impossible to devise a serious test of professional competence on which blacks and Hispanics score as well as whites or Asians.
For this reason, many big companies simply hire by rough quota. If they are required by civil service laws to test applicants, they make the test so simple that almost anyone, black or white, can pass. The employer then has a pool of knuckleheads from which he can hire all the diversity he needs.
The classic example of this was a 1991 job test for the New York City Department of Sanitation. Twenty-four thousand people were allowed to take the test, and 23,078 got perfect scores. The city then had no trouble meeting unacknowledged racial quotas. (For a different example, see “Hell on Wheels,” AR, Jan. 1997. An immigrant from Hungary was astonished by the moronic level of the test he took in order to become a New York City subway conductor.)
This is now standard. In September 2006, the City of Chicago issued a press release congratulating itself on the results of its exam for entry-level firemen and emergency-rescue personnel. The city launched a huge recruitment drive for candidates, concentrating heavily on non-whites, and got nearly 20,400 people to take the test. Of that number more than 17,000 or 83 percent passed. Mayor Richard Daley boasted that “the new exam . . . has produced a diverse and qualified candidate pool. Chicagoans deserve no less.” Diverse, no doubt — the mayor was relieved to note that 44 percent of the people who passed were non-whites — but qualified? By setting minimal standards for people who must make life-or-death decisions, Chicago was able to hire all the non-whites it wanted without violating “civil rights” laws.
This was the context of the now-famous Ricci case. The city of New Haven, Connecticut, needed captains and lieutenants in its fire department, and hired a testing company called Industrial/Organizational Solutions (IOS) to write promotions exams that were both related to “business necessity” and would have as little “disparate impact” as possible. There were to be both written and oral parts, each worth 60 and 40 percent of the final score. IOS spent days interviewing incumbent captains and lieutenants to find out what they had to know for their jobs. Company experts followed officers around at work to see what they did. They then wrote job-analysis questionnaires and had officers answer them. At every stage, they oversampled non-whites to be sure their perspectives were included.
IOS then drafted exams for both positions, and made sure they were written at no higher than a 10th-grade reading level — important for avoiding “disparate impact.” The company prepared a set of study materials, for which they got approval from the fire chief and assistant chief. In 2003, the city released the study materials and announced a three-month preparation period until testing day. For the oral part of the exam, IOS recruited high-ranking firemen from outside the city to judge the candidates. Again, IOS oversampled for non-whites, ensuring that every panel of three judges had a white, a Hispanic, and a black.
As is now well known, whites passed both the oral and written exams at about twice the rate for blacks and Hispanics — a classic case of “disparate impact.” Since the city’s civil-service requirements meant candidates had to be promoted from the top of the list — not, as in Chicago, from a mass of mediocrities — only whites were in line for promotion.
Blacks screamed. As Justice Samuel Alito pointed out in an extensive concurring opinion, the local version of Al Sharpton, the Reverend Boise Kimber, screamed loudest of all. A self-professed “kingmaker,” Mr. Kimber has long been an ally of New Haven mayor John DeStefano, and is able to mobilize black voters for him — for a price. As a political favor in 2002, Mayor DeStafano appointed the black preacher to be chairman of the New Haven Board of Fire Commissioners, even though he had no experience or competence in the area. At one point, when recruits with Italian surnames applied to join the force, Mr. Kimber said they would have no chance “because they just have too many vowels in their name[s].” In the resulting uproar, the mayor reluctantly removed Mr. Kimber as chairman of the commission but kept him as a member.
The New Haven Civil Service Board had to certify the results of the promotion test, though Mayor DeStefano could overrule its decision if he chose. At the board’s first hearing, in 2004, Mr. Kimber started shouting about test bias, and was ruled out of order three times. A representative of the black firemen, Gary Tinney, accused the white firemen of cheating — a charge that was proven false. When a white fireman spoke up in defense of the test and got applause from other whites, Mr. Tinney exclaimed, “Listen to the Klansmen.”
Mayor DeStefano was desperate to keep Rev. Kimber happy. E-mail messages that emerged as part of an investigation show that he decided early on to throw out the test results but pretended to deliberate and seek expert opinion. He and his cronies arranged to present an expert witness to the Civil Service Board who would claim that the IOS test was defective and that there were better alternatives that would have less “disparate impact.” That witness, who had not even seen the IOS test, just happened to work for a company that is a direct competitor with IOS. After his testimony, which helped persuade the Civil Service Board to throw out the results, the city rewarded him with a consulting contract.
The official version was that the city abandoned its own test — on which so much care had been lavished — because “disparate impact” proved it was racially discriminatory. What really happened is that, like so many other cities, New Haven trampled on the interests of whites in order to placate blacks. Justice Alito could not have been more plain: “[A] reasonable jury could easily find that the City’s real reason for scrapping the test results was not a concern about violating the disparate-impact provision of Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act] but a simple desire to please a politically important racial constituency.”
The white fire fighters sued, pointing out that they were victims of deliberate discrimination that was allegedly intended to prevent unproven, accidental discrimination. They lost both in district court and on appeal. Neither court even thought a trial was necessary; the whites lost on summary judgment.
So, how did the US Supreme Court rule? Writing for a bare majority of five, Justice Anthony Kennedy admitted he was ducking the central question of whether avoiding “disparate impact” is ever enough of an excuse to discriminate against whites. He ruled only that although the New Haven exams had had a disparate impact, they were designed with great care to test for “business necessity” and to minimize any racial bias that could cause “disparate impact.” He noted that it was only on the basis of statistics that New Haven had thrown out the exams and in so doing it had deliberately discriminated against the firemen who got the best scores. He reinstated the test and ordered the whites promoted.
Justice Kennedy then did something potentially useful. He wrote that henceforth an employer cannot automatically pitch the results of a test just because of a statistical “disparate impact.” There has to be a “strong basis in evidence” that the test would be invalidated because of “disparate impact.” This is a murky standard and no one really knows what it means, but it should make it a little harder for non-whites to challenge exams like the ones New Haven used. The Supreme Court made a point of saying that the test was valid and that blacks have no grounds to sue. Presumably, other exams that are designed with the same care could be considered legal even if they weed out more blacks than whites.
The real problem with the ruling, however, is that four justices — Stevens, Souter, and Breyer along with Ginsberg — dissented, and the position they took is chilling. In the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy acknowledged the tension between banning deliberate discrimination but also forbidding measures that result in accidental discrimination. When “disparate impact” justifies throwing out tests or standards on which whites outperform blacks, it is hard to see that as anything other than deliberate discrimination against whites. That is certainly the way the New Haven firemen saw it. Before the test, no one had any grounds to think it was biased. It was only after the results came in that people discovered its alleged flaws — flaws no one would have thought of if blacks had managed to pass it.
The lower courts and the four dissenting justices see no tension at all between the ban on deliberate discrimination and accidental discrimination. If whites outscore blacks on a test, that is proof the test was biased. Nothing more. If the results are thrown out — because too many whites passed — and the whites are denied promotion, that cannot be discrimination. As the lower courts and Justice Ginsberg explained — and even pretend to believe — the whites have no beef because no one was promoted. Ergo: no discrimination.
In her dissent, Justice Ginsburg rambled on about how wicked fire departments have been in the past and about how few non-white firemen there are. This has nothing to do with the whether the test was fair. She then insisted that there had to be better ways to select officers, arguing that such things as “command presence” cannot be tested on paper. Presumably, the oral part of the test considers these things, but what if she is right? Let us imagine a perfect and objective test of “command presence.” What convinces Justice Ginsburg that blacks would score any better on that than they did on the written test?
Part of the myth of testing — whether it is the SAT or IQ tests or employment exams — is that tests invariably fail to detect ill-defined but vitally important qualities with which blacks are well endowed. If tests could only measure these qualities blacks would do as well as whites. Clearly, some abilities are not measured by written tests, but it is silly to assume, as the anti-testing argument invariably does, that blacks always have more of these qualities than whites do. At one point, it was all the rage to give video-based tests because pencil and paper was thought to discriminate against blacks and miss important abilities. The performance gap didn’t change.
Justice Ginsberg claimed she was not defending the view that racial differences in pass rates alone are enough to throw out any test. She claimed New Haven’s tests could be improved. And yet, “disparate impact” is the only real flaw anyone can point to. It would be hard to imagine what more could have been done to squeeze out “racial bias.” When blacks accused whites of cheating they were admitting that the issue was not bias; the issue was that whites got better scores. We can be certain that if blacks had scored as well as whites no one would have the slightest complaint about the test, and the people who designed it would be hailed as geniuses. But to Ruth Ginsberg and three other justices, the issue is clear: A disparate impact means accidental discrimination through racial bias, even if no one can detect or explain the bias. And this mysterious, inexplicable, accidental bias is grounds for deliberate discrimination against whites who outscored blacks. Welcome to the absurd world of “anti-discrimination” law.
Justice Ginsburg went on to conclude that “the Court’s order and opinion, I anticipate, will not have staying power.” Why would she think that?
The New Haven firemen won on a technicality, not on a declaration of principle. One of Justice Ginsburg’s acolytes, David Souter, will be leaving the Court and will be replaced by Sonia Sotomayor, who will be worse. Barack Obama will appoint more justices like her, and Ruth Ginsberg will start writing majority decisions on race. We know what to expect.
Catching Up With Michael Levin
The author of Why Race Matters speaks his mind.
Michael Levin, who teaches philosophy at the City University of New York, is the author of the race-realist classic Why Race Matters. It remains to this day one of the most rigorous and exhaustive treatments of the evidence for racial differences in IQ and what those differences mean for social policy.
Prof. Levin paid a high price for taking up this subject. From the late 1980s to the mid 1990s, Prof. Levin was the “academic racist” liberal New York loved to hate. The forward to the 2005 edition of his book describes what happened when word of his racial views first became public:
“The uproar was immense. It did not matter that Prof. Levin’s students of all races pronounced him scrupulously fair; or that in philosophy lectures he never mentioned race. Demonstrators disrupted his classes and physically prevented him from speaking in public. The faculty senate called a meeting for which they did not give him enough notice to attend, and convicted him, in absentia, of “racism.” For a time, he was forbidden to teach introductory philosophy. Once, when he went to his office he found the door covered with swastikas and the message, ‘You F***ing Jew.’ A New York City editorial writer wrote that he was ‘a horse’s ass.’
“Perhaps most disturbing, City University’s then-president Bernard Harleson, who is black, made every possible effort to break Prof. Levin’s tenure. Americans are supposed to treasure freedom of speech, and universities are supposed to foster debate, but Prof. Levin had to hire a lawyer to keep from being gagged and fired. It was tenure that saved him. If Prof. Levin had been a junior faculty member he would almost certainly have lost his job.”
Why Race Matters appeared in 1997 but after its initial print run of just 500 books sold out, Praeger Publisher inexplicably failed to reprint. By 2005, second-hand copies — when they were available at all — were for sale on Amazon.com at $500 each. In 2005, the New Century Foundation, which publishes American Renaissance, brought Why Race Matters back into print, and it continues to be one of the foundation’s top sellers. We recently caught up with Prof. Levin and found his views as provocative as ever.
AR: After having written one of the classic studies of race and IQ, as well as several seminal articles on the subject, you appear to have moved on to other things. In what direction are your efforts directed these days?
Michael Levin: I’ve been spending my time on standard academic philosophy. I’ve said everything I think I have to say on race, and I see no point in repeating myself. A broad philosophical view of race is not like a scientific view, which is liable to change in significant details with new empirical research.
More important, perhaps, the country’s reaction to 9/11 made me think that the push for racial egalitarianism was far from the worst problem the country faced, and liberal egalitarians far from the worst and most dangerous people. Liberal egalitarians began to seem to me to be sentimental fools, whereas conservatives were obviously malevolent and murderous. Liberals I saw as driven by silly ideas that led them to advocate measures that were silly (Black History Month), or annoying (speech codes) or unjust (affirmative action). Conservatives I saw as driven by rage and hate.
The liberal mantra is “Wouldn’t it be nice if we all got along and didn’t notice each others’ colors.” The conservative mantra is “Those hippies were having fun while I was busting my balls in school and now I’m getting even. No communists any more? Fine, let’s kill some Moslems. More aircraft carriers, more bombers, we’re Number One. And guns. Everyone should have lots of guns to protect himself from the government. And we need spies everywhere because we’re at war and everyone is trying to kill us.” The belligerence and destructiveness of the right struck me as much more dangerous than the pipe dreams about integration of the left, which had already been popped.
AR: The country as a whole still does not accept the scientific findings on race and IQ. In your view, why is there so much resistance?
ML: My opinion is no better than anyone else’s, since I’m not a social scientist. I suspect a big part is and always has been the sportsmanlike impulse of whites not to kick someone who is down. Blacks already do so poorly in terms of crime, income, employment, and sheer day-to-day existence — everyone knows how much rattier black neighborhoods are than white — that it sounds like gloating to say, “And you’re also dumber.” Decent people aren’t bullies and don’t gloat. White Americans in this respect are pretty decent.
AR: Some people speculate that even many liberals actually understand that genes account, at least in part, for racial differences in achievement but go along with the egalitarian myth because they think some things are best left unsaid. Do you agree?
ML: Yes. I can’t imagine at this point, with so much data flooding in about the importance of genes for virtually every aspect of life, that anybody actually believes that large group differences do not have a significant genetic component. This flood is only going to continue to rise. “Egalitarians” may say they don’t believe it, but they are increasingly just going through the motions. Their denial of the importance of genes is becoming wearier and more perfunctory. They don’t even try to sound as if they believe it any more. They sound like Rumsfield saying the Iraqis have hidden atomic bombs. The subtext is: “Look, you don’t believe it, I don’t believe it, you know I don’t believe it, and I know you know I don’t believe it. We both know it’s b.s., but I’ve got to say it because . . . well, what am I supposed to say ? Am I supposed to admit I was lying all along?”
AR: How do you assess the prospects for public acceptance of the facts about race and IQ? Some day, geneticists will surely discover the alleles associated with high intelligence and will find that they are not distributed equally in all groups. Will our society ever accept these findings and, if so, how will Americans react?
ML: The capacity to deny the facts about race is very robust. I suspect it will manifest in the short term in a look-away strategy. News outlets simply will not cover these discoveries. They will be non-events. Another tactic will be treatment of even decisive breakthroughs as though they are part of the same old interminable nature-vs.-nurture debate. Talking heads from both sides will say, and their saying will be used to show, that it’s the same old, same old. One ploy which has still not reached its sell-by date is to assert that the genes- or-environment dichotomy has been transcended and only ignorant morons still think the influence of genes can be separated out. Geneticists will be found to say this gravely for the camera even though every hereditarian knows that genes do not work in a vacuum, and techniques for isolating genetic influence are well known. The basic holding action will be to convince everyone that nothing is new under the sun.
In the long run new knowledge will be irresistible. In 20 years, maybe a lot less, the genetic basis for race differences in intelligence will be common knowledge. Even today, liberals are having a hard time with medically significant genetic differences. If racial categories are social constructs, how come these socially constructed categories get different genetically controlled diseases and respond differently to the same medications? At some point liberals and egalitarians, confronted with the new genetic data will begin saying, “Oh, everybody knows that,” without ever admitting having been 100 percent wrong. All the old environmentalist shibboleths will disappear down the memory hole.
At the same time, exact knowledge of the genes that control IQ and other traits will likely erode current crude racial classifications. It will become more common to think of people as descended from populations carrying this or that gene than as Africans or Europeans. This will not obliterate large-scale patterns but it may obscure them.
AR: What are the policy implications, if any, of racial differences in average IQ?
ML: What they always were. Whites are not responsible for the relatively poor performance of blacks (and other groups) along socially important dimensions. Blacks do less well than whites educationally because they are less intellectually able. Blacks have lower incomes than whites for the same reason, and very likely because of genetic differences in motivation as well. This does not mean that whites are better than blacks in some absolute sense, although egalitarians are anxious to pin that belief on hereditarians, but it does mean that whites do not owe blacks compensation for deficits that whites did not cause.
AR: In your view, have race relations improved, deteriorated, or stayed the same since the mid 1990s, when you were writing about race?
ML: My sense is that race relations have improved. On a personal level, I find I can jog through Harlem without being bothered, something unthinkable fifteen years ago. At the same time, my sense is that whites are becoming more comfortable dealing with blacks on a day-to-day basis, as day-to-day interracial contact becomes more common.
AR: What are you impressions of Barack Obama, and of the outpouring of enthusiasm that greeted his election?
ML: He impresses me very favorably. He is obviously extremely intelligent. It is a pleasure listening to him, after his stupid, bullying predecessor. He has not gone nearly far enough in apologizing to the world for America’s wars of aggression, and indeed he seems bent on continuing them. This is understandable, perhaps. He is president of a country almost half of whose citizens seem to like the idea of endless war with some Threat to Mankind. If he announced “enough is enough” he might face rebellion. At the same time, as of this writing, he seems to understand that he must cancel Israel’s blank check. It will be interesting to see what happens when Israel attacks Iran. Will he cut off military aid, all aid, diplomatic relations? Will he be able to withstand AIPAC?
The enthusiasm that greeted Obama was probably due to the contrast between him and Bush. He is a grown-up who speaks in complete sentences and actually seems to have given some thought to things. The sheer relief at being rid of Bush and the conservatives accounted for most of the elation.
AR: How will American society change as the proportions of both Hispanics and Asians continue to increase?
ML: I fear we will face the worst of two worlds. On one hand, America will become poorer and dingier and more Third World-like. On the other hand, we will still retain a larger arsenal of weapons than the rest of the world combined. There may well be something in the old European character, inherited by American whites (but perhaps not by contemporary Europeans), that makes them enjoy fighting. Combined with a sense on the part of whites of loss and betrayal at the passing of the old order, and encouraged by Israel-firsters who are good at manipulating this impulse, they may lash out in destructive ways. Apart from 1919-1939, the white America that is passing has been continuously at war with some real or imaginary global enemy for a century. Worse, since it has been protected by two oceans, its casualties have been light. What is going to happen as that changes?
AR: At one time, you were regularly decried in the media as a vicious racist and had a high profile as someone liberals loved to hate. Has this reputation stayed with you? Do your students or colleagues ever mention this?
ML: Occasionally a student mentions it — usually with admiration. It is difficult to know what people say about you behind your back, but what they say to me to my face shows very little concern about my lurid past.
Even the Lefties Are Waking Up — at Least in Europe
In Gouda, the Nationalist Temptation Versus Moroccan “Youth”
Liberation is a major French daily founded by Jean-Paul Sartre in 1973. For years it had a hard-left reputation and was considered the unofficial mouthpiece of the Communist Party. Recently, it has suffered financially and has moved somewhat toward the center, but still glories in its lefty past.
In 2008, for example, to celebrate the student revolts of 1968, it turned over editorial control for one day to a group of students from Nanterre University, not exactly a bastion of conservatism. The following article about the continuing problems of non-white immigration in Holland is therefore all the more remarkable.
Gouda, a little village of 100,000 inhabitants in the middle of Holland, used to be known for its cheese. It still is, but for several months it has also been famous for its “Moroccan problem.” In mid June, because of a wave of street crime by young Moroccans, the city drew up a list of 650 underage vandals, burglars, and recidivists of all kinds — some not even 12 years old — and asked the authorities to prosecute them. The national police refused. “A child of 12 does not understand the long-term consequences of his acts,” explained Hirsch Ballin, the minister of justice.
Since last fall the spotlight has been on Oosterwei, a Gouda neighborhood that has only 2,000 inhabitants but of whom 63 percent are immigrants. Its narrow streets run past three-story brick buildings that bristle with parabolic antennae for receiving foreign broadcasts. Known as “Little Morocco,” half the population of Oosterwei is Moroccan. Most are peasants from the Rif region who came to Holland in the 1960s to work in textile factories — and, of course, their Dutch-born children.
Oosterwei was first in the news last September when bus drivers went on strike rather than drive through it after they were victims of seven attacks in just two months. At first, Wim Cornelis, the Labor Party mayor, played down the violence but had to change his tune when Moroccan “youths” attacked a television crew sent to cover the area. Now he wants the media to stay out completely so as not to “provoke” the inhabitants.
In October, more “youths” stabbed a police officer in the buttocks, and a 34-year-old Dutch woman took a dart right in the face as she distributed flyers. Someone in a group of eight- to twelve-year-olds threw the dart, but the woman got no satisfaction from the police. Her neighbors — some of the few remaining Dutch in the neighborhood — had enough, and sent a delegation to police headquarters to complain about what they go through every day. “Here the children walk on your cars, throw tomatoes and eggs at your windows, and insult you in the street,” complained a baker.
In November, the Popular University of Gouda, which holds night classes, pulled out of Oosterwei. “After 50 different incidents, I just had it with replacing windows and filing complaints,” says Cokky van Leersum-Scheer, the school’s director. The same month, three 14- and 15-year-olds were arrested for trying to set fire to a church. The mayor asked for a special subsidy of 10 million Euros [more than $10 million] to solve the problem, though he had no precise ideas about how to spend the money. In Holland, 20 percent of Moroccans are unemployed, a rate five times higher than that of the Dutch. Many drop out of school, attracted by the example of their elders, many of whom sell drugs.
Punishment does not work. Hans Spekman, a Labor deputy caused a sensation when he proposed that Gouda adopt the very proposals being made by the populist right: “If you fine these kids or give them a warning, they laugh in your face. A prison term just gives them status in the neighborhood. They must be humiliated in the eyes of their community, forced to do public service while dressed in prison garb.”
In January, there was a special summit meeting held to discuss Moroccan crime. Several ministers were present, along with the mayors of four middle-sized towns: Gouda, Ede, Eindhoven, and Nijmegen. Nothing concrete came out of the meeting aside from a decision to assign six more police officers to Gouda.
Discussions continue. The populist right insists that trouble-makers be sent back to Morocco even if they were born in Holland and are Dutch citizens. Paul Andersson Toussaint is a journalist for the center-left daily, NRC Handelsblad. In May, he published a book about the two years he spent living in Slotervaart, a Moroccan neighborhood in Amsterdam. He says Moroccans have no desire to integrate: “In this community, anyone who studies and who gets ahead is considered a traitor. As a white man I am insulted in the streets at least twice a week by people who hate Amsterdam.”
Is the Moroccan problem a Dutch problem? “I don’t want my children to be treated like Moroccans rather than Dutch all the way into the next century,” says Jamal Jaadan, age 33. He is a shopkeeper in Weesp, an Amsterdam suburb, who has been robbed several times without getting any help from the police. He is among those who endorse firm measures against his follow Moroccans. “It takes just 30 youths to terrorize Weesp but politicians from the Flower Power generation think that all it takes to set them on the right track is a pat on the back.” Seen from Holland, France could almost pass for a model of assimilation [see “France at the Crossroads,” AR, Jan. 2006]. The continuing unrest, which underscores the impotence of the politicians, is yet more fuel for the populist right.
This article initially appeared in the July 2, 2009, issue of the French newspaper, Liberation. Translation by American Renaissance.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
Empire State Crumbles
New York State has never been known for gentlemanly politics, even when it was a Dutch colony. Things did not improve under the Anglo/Americans, and the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr was part of the political struggle between the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists.
Recently the state has been treated to a political spectacle that may be its most unbecoming yet. In January, Democrats took over the state senate from the Republicans for the first time since 1965, and now control all branches of state government. Naturally, the New York Times cheered the change, and fawned over the new majority leader, Senator Malcolm A. Smith of Queens. Mr. Smith, like current governor David Paterson, is the first black to hold the position, and his rise was seen as yet another sign of Obama-Era change. “My goodness,” Mr. Smith sighed as he picked up the gavel. “A humble boy from Queens who used to ride a bicycle delivering groceries, and now I’m delivering on a $121 billion budget. This is a great state.”
Mr. Smith’s honeymoon was soon spoiled when Hispanic lawmakers started complaining that he was shutting them out of Senate leadership positions in favor of blacks (whites, of course, were silent about that). In June, two Hispanic senators, Pedro Espada, Jr. and Hiram Monserrate got so frustrated they announced they would caucus with the Republicans — even though they would still be Democrats. The two additional votes would put the Republicans back in the majority, and the grateful GOP offered Mr. Espada the best leadership position they would then command: President Pro Tem of the Senate. (Mr. Espada would not have been majority leader because of a complicated situation that arose when the former lieutenant governor, David Paterson, succeeded Elliot Spitzer after Mr. Spitzer resigned as governor because of a sex scandal.) Many Hispanics thought it was worth stabbing Democrats in the back in order to get power in the Senate. “If you were to poll the Latino members of the Legislature, you’d get a rah-rah response,” said Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera, from the Bronx.
However, there was a split among the Hispanics. Mr. Espada and Mr. Monserrate and most of their Hispanic supporters are Puerto Rican. Dominican lawmakers think breaking ranks is bad for Hispanic solidarity. “There are going to be some individuals who are trying to galvanize this as a lightning rod to mobilize people, when what they are really after is personal power,” says Assemblyman José R. Peralta. Other Democrats say that before Mr. Espada defected to the Republicans he had been demanding extra staff, expensive office space, and potentially illegal pork-barrel spending.
Some blacks think the split opens a dangerous rift in the coalition to keep the heat on whitey. On June 10, Al Sharpton led a protest in Mr. Monserrate’s district, demanding that he return to the Democrat fold, claiming the party “cannot afford to break the coalition” between blacks and Hispanics. Senior Democrats met with the two turncoats, hoping to persuade them to come back, but the Hispanics reportedly refused to cooperate so long as a black remained Senate majority leader. [Nicholas Confessore and Danny Hakim, Latino-Black Rivalry Helped Fuel GOP’s Takeover of State Senate, New York Times, June 10, 2009. Jeremy W. Peters, Role Reversal in the Senate, and Emotions Run High, New York Times, Jan. 7, 2009.] If that is true, the black/Hispanic split is serious.
The situation in Albany became stranger still a week later when Mr. Monserrate suddenly re-defected, once again pledging to support the Democrats’ choice for Senate majority leader. Mr. Monserrate says he was won over by promises that legislation he supports would be brought to the floor for a vote.
However, by turning his coat yet again, Mr. Monserrate left the Senate evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans at 31 to 31. This led to an actual, physical struggle for power. When there is no majority, the first person to grab the gavel gets to preside, so New Yorkers have been goggling at video images of their senators shouting and pushing to get to the podium. Senators now show up with bodyguards and bouncers who can shove people out of the chamber if necessary.
Work on state business has ground to a halt. Governor Paterson has only limited powers over senators, but he used one of the few tools at his disposal to try to get them to behave: To much screeching, he ordered a halt to the per diem and travel expenses senators normally receive, and threatened not to let the Senate adjourn until the leadership struggle was resolved.
Governor Paterson got his job without being elected to it, however, and has little support or influence. State senator Kevin Parker of Brooklyn, who is both black and a fellow Democrat, openly sneers at him. Now that it is known that the governor took drugs in his youth and has been guilty of many infidelities, Mr. Parker says legislators do not need “a coke-snorting, staff-banging governor to lecture us about behavior in government.” Mr. Parker himself is under indictment for felony assault on a New York Post photographer.
Mr. Monserrate, one of the Hispanic senators responsible for the turmoil, is also facing criminal charges for slashing up his girlfriend — she needed 20 stitches in her face. Mr. Monserrate is a former New York City cop who left the force under a dark cloud. He demanded a fat disability settlement, claiming he suffered from “adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.” In 1999, the police department decided that if he was that crazy they had better confiscate his guns. At least he was not the one to whom the Republicans offered the top job.
All this has proven too much for political reporters. Frederic Dicker, who has covered Albany for the New York Post for more than 30 years, is disgusted by this barnyard behavior in the statehouse. He also notes that race relations have taken a particularly nasty turn. He writes that “the all-white GOP conference” regularly berated itself for its lack of diversity, and tried hard to recruit minority Senate candidates and hire non-white staff. Under black leadership, however, there was crude, wholesale housecleaning. According to Mr. Dicker, blacks “fired nearly 200 almost exclusively white workers and replaced them with a large number of minority employees, many of whom were seen by their fellow workers to be unskilled at their new jobs.” Not surprisingly, he adds, “The move produced severe racial tensions, made worse by the fact that, as a high-level Democratic staffer confided, ‘We’ve been told to only hire minorities.’ ”
Mr. Dicker is not optimistic for the future of New York: “The Empire State — once a beacon of progressive state government to the nation — is on the brink of ruin. And it doesn’t look like anything can be done to stop it.” [Frederic U. Dicker, Albany, I Give Up, New York Post, July 5, 2009. Kenneth Lovett and Glenn Blain, Dave Is a ‘Coke Snorting, Staff-banging Governor,’ Says Sen. Parker — Who is Facing Assault Charge, New York Daily News, June 26, 2009. Glenn Blaine and Celeste Katz, Traitor Hiram Monserrate Likens Himself to Jesus, New York Daily News, June 21, 2009. Juan Gonzalez, Sen. Hiram Monserrate Tells News He’ll Return to Dems — Without Sen. Pedro Espada, New York Daily News, June 15, 2009. Roy Edroso, Lawyer Says Monserrate Grand Jury Included Cop, Wants Charges Dropped, Village Voice, May 29, 2009.]
We reprint the following item verbatim and in toto:
Heather Graham, co-star of the hit movie ‘Hangover,’ says she practices witchcraft. Graham claims that her witchy ways even helped get President Obama elected.
The actress says she has a group of friends who call themselves ‘The Goddesses.’ They apparently ‘wish for things’ and ‘a lot of things happen.’ They burn things. They do spells. They call on the wind and the air and storms erupt. Graham calls it ‘amazing’ and ’empowering.’ Other folks might call it spooky. A lot of people were wondering how Obama overcame the odds, beating out Hillary Clinton and John McCain in the 2008 presidential election cycle.
Well, according to Graham, the president owes her one.
‘My friends really wanted Obama to be elected,’ she says, so they all did a spell and ‘then he got elected.’ [James Hirsen, Heather Graham Cast Spell to Elect Obama, Newsmax, June 9, 2009.]
English is the worldwide language of aviation. Pilots and air traffic controllers must speak English, and, since most aircraft repair manuals are in English, aircraft mechanics must be able to read it — unless they live in the United States. One of the largest airplane repair firms, Texas-based San Antonio Aviation (SAA), imports foreign mechanics with limited English to work on airplanes. SAA, which is owned by a Singapore-based corporation, now has more than 100 Mexican and Asian technicians working double shifts.
Some SAA mechanics say many Mexican workers, in particular, cannot even understand what is said at meetings, much less read manuals. One bi-lingual former mechanic says he had to act as an interpreter: “I would be like the Pied Piper to them. They would follow me and ask what was the meeting about, what did the lead mechanic say?” He says he and many other Americans were laid off and that SAA wants to recruit more Mexicans.
John Goglia, a certified aircraft mechanic and former member of the National Transportation Safety Board, reviewed some of the Mexican immigration papers. The documentation, he says, “scares me because it doesn’t state these people are trained, and actually uses a term calling them ‘scientific technicians.’ That’s not an aviation term. When you bring in a person who can’t read the manual you raise the risk. When you bring in a person who doesn’t understand the verbal instructions from a co-worker to his supervisor, you raise the risk.”
SAA repairs planes for Delta Airlines and UPS. They say they have employees on site who make sure the work is done properly, and that the foreign contractors are not a safety risk. SAA president Moh Loong Loh insists that his company is “an equal opportunity employer” and that “our hiring policy is in strict compliance with local, state, and federal regulations.” [Byron Harris and Mark Smith, Shocking: No English? No Citizenship? ‘No Problem’ for Aircraft Mechanics, WFAA-TV (Dallas), June 13, 2009.]
Customer call centers full of foreigners are an increasingly common bad joke. Americans are tired of dealing with “Debbie” in Bangalore, and some companies are deciding that the good will they lose by routing calls to India isn’t worth the savings. Delta Airlines recently said it will close its sales and reservations center in India after Americans complained they could not understand the accent. It says it will keep centers in Jamaica and South Africa, however, because they cause fewer complaints.
JP Morgan, which handles the Florida food stamp program, stopped routing calls to India for a different reason. The Florida legislature made them stop. Florida state senator Ronda Storms (R-Valrico) says, “We should not have any jobs going outside of the country.” [Indian Accent Doesn’t Fly, Little India News (Norwalk, Connecticut), May 5, 2009.]
La Raza Is Warning Us
On June 15, the National Council of La Raza, the largest and most powerful Hispanic pressure group, issued a press release demanding that President Obama and Congress make sure any socialized medicine bill covers all Hispanics. Noting that Hispanics will gain the most from free care, La Raza president Janet Murguia urged lawmakers to avoid any bothersome talk about citizenship or legal status. “Adding layers of immigrant verification and bureaucratic red tape to a new health care system would guarantee that millions of citizen children are effectively barred from accessing preventive care and would raise the cost of health care,” says Miss Murguia. She adds that “immigration reform” will solve the illegal problem eventually, but wants medicine for all Hispanics first.
On June 25, a caller to the Mark Levin radio program said she attended a recent conference on medical system reform sponsored by La Raza. She said the conference began with a La Raza representative saying that “America does not need health care reform, but Latino immigrants need health care reform” and that “Latino children need health care more than whites.” She said that a representative from Senator Robert Menendez’s (D-NJ) office told the audience that he would make sure “the useless barriers of citizenship would not be in this bill” and that “Latino immigrants are the focus of the health care reform.” According to the caller, socialized medicine proponents were told to frame the debate in terms like “streamlining,” and to stress that reform should cover “all communities” and “all families,” because “if the American people find out that this bill is about giving health care to non-citizens, they will rise up against it.” The caller also said the La Raza officials claimed free medicine is now their highest priority, above even amnesty, because illegals would benefit from it more than they would from citizenship. [Doug Ross, La Raza — ‘If the American People Found Out . . . ,’ Director Blue blog, June 27, 2009. Jackeline Stewart, NCLR Calls for Health Reform that Includes All Workers and Families, National Council of La Raza, Press Release, June 15, 2009.]
In 2006, Paul Brathwaite, executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus, complained that only 20 percent of staffers on Capitol Hill were non-white, and Senators have been trying to correct this lamentable state of affairs. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) now has a chief diversity officer, a black woman whose job is to help Senators hire more non-whites. She wants Congress to adopt an equivalent to the “Rooney Rule,” which requires teams in the National Football League to interview at least one non-white candidate every time a head coaching slot becomes vacant — except she wants the rule to apply to all positions. She can look forward to much fruitful work. In the Senate there are only two chiefs of staff who are non-white. In the House, only five white lawmakers have black chiefs of staff, and only four blacks serve as staff directors for either a House or a Senate committee. No one seems to care how few non-white legislators have white chiefs of staff. [Dave Eberhart, Race Critics: Capitol Hill Is Too White, Newsmax, June 26, 2009.]
The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is . . .
June was a violent month in Pennsylvania’s capital, Harrisburg. At least 12 people were shot, including a man who was killed in broad daylight on a busy downtown street. The local chapter of the NAACP decided to ask Governor Ed Rendell to bring in the National Guard. Chapter president Stanley Lawson wants a curfew and martial law for at least 30 days. “The Guard is for floods and natural disasters. I don’t know any more of a natural disaster than of our young people being killed,” he said. “We’re beyond what the Harrisburg police department can do.” Mr. Lawson noted that the Guard was called out to quell riots after Martin Luther King was shot in 1968.
Mr. Lawson says people propose various explanations for the spate of shootings — drugs, robberies, gang turf wars — but the biggest culprit is fear. “Just fear,” he says. “[Young black men] think: ‘I’m going to get them before they get me.’ ” When asked if martial law might violate civil rights, NAACP member Stanley Mitchell, a lawyer, replied, “We have the civil rights [sic] not to be shot.”
Governor Rendell says he will increase state police patrols in Harrisburg, but will not call out the Guard. [Steven Farley, Harrisburg Chapter of NAACP Urges Martial Law, Harrisburg Patriot-News, June 25, 2009.]
More BNP Fallout
British politicians, union leaders and so-called “anti-racists” say the June election of two British National Party members, Andrew Brons and chairman Nick Griffin, to the European parliament has hurt Britain’s international reputation. Claude Moraes, who represents the British Labour Party in Strasbourg, calls BNP officials “neo-fascists” and says people will now think Britain is a “nastier” place. Peter Hain, the cabinet secretary for Wales, calls the BNP successes a “shameful stain on Britain” and urges everyone to “isolate and confront the BNP.”
Union boss Frances O’Grady said the BNP is not a “normal democratic party” but a fascist group “with no place in British democratic life.” Sabby Dhalu of Unite Against Fascism claims “racist attacks” have increased in the areas that elected BNP MEPs, and that “the BNP stands for virtually every form of hatred you can think of.” Former London mayor “Red” Ken Livingstone says party members “are 21st century Nazis.” He helpfully explains that “as in the 1930s, they exploit people’s anxieties in an economic crisis to scapegoat minorities and ultimately threaten all our democratic freedoms.”
Mr. Griffin is unfazed. “The most demonized and lied about party in British politics has made a massive breakthrough,” he says. “The public have had their say and we should respect that.” [Pat Hurst and Alistair Keely, BNP Gains ‘Damaging UK’s Reputation,’ Independent (London), June 8, 2009.]
The British establishment now wants to set the law on the BNP. In late June, the Equality and Human Rights Commission sent a letter to Mr. Griffin warning that the party’s rules for membership — which state that only “‘indigenous Caucasian’ and defined ‘ethnic groups’ emanating from that race” are eligible — may violate the Race Relations Act. The letter also says BNP rules for hiring staff, who must be party members, may be illegal, too. The commission also worries that BNP Euro-deputies will neglect non-white constituents. The letter threatens “litigation or enforcement action” if the party does not offer evidence by July 20 that it doesn’t discriminate against non-whites. The “anti-fascists” are happy but wonder why it took the government so long to act.
Mr. Griffin has dealt with all this before. “It would seem that every ethnic group except the British and specifically the English has a right to all sorts of state-funded organizations to look after their interests, but as soon as the BNP appears on the scene, this right is somehow illegal for us alone,” he says. The party has passed along the letter to its legal department. [Rosa Prince, BNP Ordered to Accept Ethnic Minority Members or Face Prosecution, Telegraph (London), June 23, 2009. Afua Hirsch and Matthew Taylor, Race Watchdog Threatens BNP with Injunction, Guardian (London), June 23, 2009.]
Chesterton May Cause Cancer
G. K. Chesterton was an important 20th-century British author. Best known for his Christian writings, including Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man, he also wrote popular detective stories about the Catholic priest/sleuth, Father Brown. Chesterton influenced many people with his Christian apologetics, among them C. S. Lewis, who credited The Everlasting Man for his conversion to Christianity.
It is therefore something of a surprise that the publishers of the 2008 edition of The Everlasting Man felt it necessary to include the following disclaimer: “This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today. Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race have changed before allowing them to read this classic work.” This prudery led one angry purchaser to complain about the publishers’ “cowardice” and “arrogance.” “Somehow,” he writes, “I find it difficult to imagine that Chesterton would have been cowed by the strictures of political correctness. . . . [T]o print a cigarette-packet-style warning so that parents can prepare their children for the ‘horrors’ ahead is unseemly.”
The Everlasting Man uses the word “nigger” twice. On page 65, Chesterton asks, “Was the worship of a totem like the feelings of niggers about Mumbo Jumbo, or of children about Jumbo?” On page 91, in a passage about creation myths, he writes, “One of its most charming versions was that of some savage niggers, who say that a little pepper-plant grew taller and taller and lifted the whole sky like a lid.”
In his essay, “Why I Am a Catholic,” Chesterton responded to the claim that “Britain is as Protestant as the sea is salt” with the following: “Gazing reverently at the profound Protestantism of Mr. Michael Arlen or Mr. Noel Coward, or the latest nigger dance in Mayfair, we might be tempted to ask: If the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?” “Nigger dance” was an early 20th-century British term for “jazz dance.”
One of Chesterton’s modern defenders lets him off the “racism” hook with the following:
[Chesterton had] no history of American slavery and, in fact, is deeply hostile to Britain’s imperialism, being a confirmed ‘Little Englander.’ He writes oodles of essays belittling the notion of ‘Nordic superiority’ [cf. Eugenics and Other Evils] and such. Indeed, if there is any ‘race’ toward which he harbors a particular hostility it is the Prussian or Teutonic race. But this is to misread him, for what matters to him are ideas, not genes. He does think that different nations have different qualities and characteristics (as does everybody). But he emphatically rejects the idea that there is such a thing as racial superiority, because he is a Catholic. [G. K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man, Wilder Publishing, Ltd., 2008. Jay Nordlinger, Talkin’ Sarah, and &c, National Review Online, July 2, 2009. Mark P. Shea, I Think Chesterton Was a Saint, Catholic and Enjoying It (http://markshea.blogspot.com/2009/07/i-think-chesterton-was-saint.html), July 2, 2009.]
Poland is one of the most staunchly Catholic countries in the world. Although Muslims have been in the country since the 14th century, they are less than 0.1 percent of the population, and Poles like it that way. In 1936, Poland passed a law requiring Muslims to pray for the preservation of the republic and the president during Friday prayers, and the law is still on the books. The government does not recognize Muslim holidays or weddings performed in mosques.
Muslims want all this changed, and the government will oblige. The foreign ministry is working with the Muslim Religious Association on a law to give Muslims time off for religious holidays, abolish the prayer requirements, and legalize marriages in mosques. [Polish Muslims Call for a Change in Law to Recognize Islamic Weddings, DPA, June 17, 2009.]
Odhiambo Joseph, a BBC correspondent, was visiting relatives in Kenya when he heard a neighboring village was on a rampage against witches. He hurried to the scene and described what he saw:
“Villagers, many straight from their farms, and armed with machetes, sticks and axes, are shouting and crowding round in a big group in Kenya’s fertile Kisii district. I can’t see clearly what is going on, but heavy smoke is rising from the ground and a horrible stench fills the air. More people are streaming up the hill, some of them with firewood and maize stalks. Suddenly an old woman breaks from the crowd, screaming for mercy. Three or four people go after her, beat her, and drag her back, pushing her onto — what I can now see — is a raging fire. I was witnessing a horrific practice which appears to be on the increase in Kenya — the lynching of people accused of being witches. I personally saw the burning alive of five elderly men and women in Itii village.”
An elder from Mr. Joseph’s relatives’ village told him this “happens all the time in the western district of Kisii.” The five witches had to die because they had bewitched a young boy. Mr. Joseph later learned that the young boy suffers from epilepsy. [Odhiambo Joseph, Horror of Kenya’s ‘Witch’ Lynchings, BBC News, June 26, 2009.]
Buffalo or Tijuana?
Councilman David Rivera of Buffalo, New York, has introduced legislation that would let residents keep chickens. They would have to pay a $25 fee, keep no more than five hens (no roosters allowed), and keep the coop in a fenced backyard. Coops could be no larger than 32 square feet, and would be sited a minimum of five feet from lot lines. Other rules would require rat-proof chicken feed containers and would bar people from selling backyard eggs or slaughtering chickens outdoors.
One resident, Monique Watts, is pleased the city will pass a new law, but thinks it is too restrictive — especially the ban on sales. “There are organizations that could benefit from this,” she says. “Youth groups could harvest eggs and make money for their programs.”
The city council is expected to pass new regulations by the end of July. [Brian Meyer, Chicken Wings on the Hoof? Buffalo News, June 18, 2009.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — Christopher Jackson’s “A White Teacher Speaks Out” in the July issue is eye-opening and disturbing. Please thank him on behalf of all of us who are never likely to set foot in a majority-black school.
I can’t help thinking there must be some measure of exaggeration in Mr. Jackson’s account, but if there is not, it is clear that there is not much hope for blacks as a group. The country has no more patience for expensive uplift programs, so conditions for blacks are about as good as they are going to get. The small number of capable blacks Mr. Jackson writes about will be snapped up by white society and treated like geniuses and royalty, but what about the rest? I suppose some of them will labor usefully at service jobs, but it sounds as though half the boys will end up in jail and half the girls on welfare.
Are we really to see no end to this self-perpetuating underclass?
Dorothy Calden, Hoboken, N.J.
Sir — I enjoyed reading Christopher Jackson’s account of his school-teaching adventures in the July issue, and I thought your recent series on the “Dangers of Diversity” (see March, April, and May issues) was spot-on. I’m from a small mountain community that is nearly all-white, so I’d never been around blacks or other races, and didn’t give much thought to race.
Unfortunately, at the age of 18, I ended up in state prison, and it is here where I got a taste of diversity. At first I couldn’t see why everyone self-segregated. I also didn’t understand why the majority of white inmates were so full of hostility towards the non-whites, especially blacks. After about six months of living in a dormitory where whites were the minority, I began to understand. Blacks are probably the most disrespectful people one can meet, and they view kindness and respect as weakness. Needless to say, I have soured on diversity. The only good thing that has come out of this is my newfound racial consciousness.
Regarding Sarah Wentworth’s letter in the July issue about the article on black boxer Jack Johnson from the June issue, since when did men like Johnson become “remarkable”? The guy cheated on his wife, beat her so badly she had to be hospitalized, and was reportedly so abusive she killed herself. Yet Miss Wentworth writes, “Like it or not, Johnson must have been a remarkable man.” Wow!
Shawn Rodenbeck, Kern Valley State Prison, California
Sir — Christopher Jackson cannot have been serious when he wrote on page 3 of the July issue that black students commonly dance under chairs, can he? The photograph on page 4 suggests this would be difficult. Perhaps he was using a figure of speech — one not known in British English. Then, on page 7, Mr. Jackson asserts that teaching blacks year after year destroys a teacher’s pathos. Pathos? That cannot be what Mr. Jackson intended to say, can it? Still, I like the whole July issue so much that I will be buying extra copies for friends (and opponents).
Anthony Young, London, England
Sir — In your June issue, you ran an item discussing the relationship between South African president Jacob Zuma and the Afrikaners. Accompanying the item was a photo showing Mr. Zuma prancing on stage with one of his several wives. Mr. Zuma’s first name, Jacob, is Hebrew in origin. In the photo, he and his wife are wearing white track shoes, and Mr. Zuma is sporting a pair of designer eyeglasses. They are also wearing what looks to be traditional African leopard-skin garb. It always amazes me how blacks can take what they want from the decadent West while claiming to be “authentically” black. Is this not a contradiction?
Name Withheld, Oregon
Sir — As the father of sons who love amusement parks, I have spent far more time in them that I would like. However, from an anthropological and racial point of view there is much to be learned in such places. White patrons are mostly fat, badly dressed, tattooed, and pierced in surprising places. However, they are polite and behave themselves.
Blacks are different. They cut in line, yell, and smoke where they shouldn’t. Many of them dress outlandishly. I suspect black behavior sours the staff, who are mostly white but seem harried and impatient. The contrast in behavior between blacks and whites is a good lesson in racial differences for my sons, but can be so extreme it can begin to spoil their fun.
Recently I had a completely different experience at an amusement park and animal preserve called Parc Safari just north of the New York state line in southern Quebec. Virtually all the customers were white — the usual down-market types, but well-behaved and polite. The staff were overwhelmingly white, and uniformly friendly and helpful. I think it must be because they do not have to spend their time telling surly blacks to follow the rules. As the day wore on, a phrase kept running through my head: “What a difference a race makes.”
Alden Ellis, Annapolis, Md.
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