|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 17, No. 12||December 2006|
Changed Overnight: Race in Finland
A Country that is doing just about everything wrong.
Immigration in Finland is a powder keg waiting to explode. Until the mid-1990s, Finland was one of the few Western European nations with almost no non-white immigrants. In just ten years, there has been a dramatic change, and the country is quickly finding itself with the problems that beset its neighbors to the south and west. Due in part to its unique history, Finland is doing just about everything wrong.
As recently as 1995, there were people in the medium-sized western Finnish city of Kokkola who, as one resident put it, “had only ever seen a black person on TV.” Now, the picturesque city of 35,000 has a Sudanese population of over 500 and assorted Somalis. Like so many other towns in Finland, Kokkola suddenly finds itself with a new population that lives largely on government benefits. At the same time, police report that blacks commit violent crimes of a kind to which Finns are unaccustomed. Finland’s capital, Helsinki, which was an almost completely homogeneous city in 1995, now contains outposts of Mogadishu, and even in Oulu in the far north, a gang of Sudanese “asylum-seekers” raped a young Finnish woman with a pair of scissors.
Finns have nothing like the open debate on immigration found in Denmark or Norway. Even Sweden, which is firmly in the grip of racial orthodoxy, is more open about the harm done by immigration (see “Race in Scandinavia,” AR, Dec. 2003, and “Scandinavian Update,” AR, Dec. 2005 and “Report from Sweden,” AR, Nov. 2006). The number of non-white immigrants is still small, but Finland’s unusual history and traditional ethnic mix have led to almost complete silence about a process that is transforming a distinctive and successful Nordic society. The government hides the truth about immigration, and has succeeded in turning race into one of the most powerful taboos in Finnish politics.
Why is Finland blindly aping the racial problems of its Scandinavian neighbors? One of the reasons is scarcely known outside the country: the role of Swedish Finns. Sweden ruled Finland until 1809, and lorded over the Finns, treating them as inferiors and suppressing their language and culture. The Finnish elite started speaking Swedish, and today, although Swedish-speakers, are only about five percent of the population, they continue to wield tremendous power. No one likes to talk about it, but Swedish-speaking Finns are almost a separate nation. They have their own schools, their own churches, their own university, their own (consultative) Parliament, their own towns, and a political party that represents only them. The Swedish Peoples Party has been in almost every Finnish government since independence from Russia (which ruled Finland from 1809 to 1917), giving this minority massively disproportionate influence.
Almost everything in Finland must be in both Finnish and Swedish: movie subtitles, railway station and airport announcements, all public documents, the television news, Parliamentary debates, and even the president’s annual television address. All Finns must study Swedish up until university level, and a certain number of public-sector jobs are reserved for Swedish-speakers. There are parts of Finland where it is impossible to get work if you cannot speak Swedish. These include not just Swedish-majority areas but towns where Swedish-speakers number more than about eight percent, and where absolutely everything must be bilingual by law. The parliamentary system is designed to allow tiny minority parties to maintain seats solely in order to keep the Swedish People’s Party — which gets about four percent of the vote — in the Eduskunta or Parliament.
Even unpleasant historical events that might embarrass this minority are suppressed. After the Winter War of November 1939 to March 1940, the Soviet Union forced Finland to cede Karelia in the east (a tenth of its territory and one fifth of its industrial capacity). Over 400,000 refugees had to be resettled in Finland but many Swedish-speaking towns on the west coast would not accept any for fear of being outnumbered by Finnish-speakers. Official Finnish history books often omit this.
Traditionally, Swedish-speakers have thought of Finnish-speakers as a Mongolian people, and there may be some justification for this. The Finnish language is part of the Finno-Ugric language group and, along with Estonian and Hungarian, is one of the few European languages that is not Indo-European. Some anthropologists have argued that Finns are about half Mongoloid and half European; the Nazis considered only the Swedish-speakers white. Some anthropologists, however, have suggested that only about one quarter of Swedish-speakers are of Swedish descent; the rest are Finns who changed their names along with their language.
As a result of this complicated and not always savory past, powerful Swedish-speaking interests suppress anything that could call attention to race. They fear that free discussion could stir up unpleasant memories and even lead to the loss of their privileged status. If Finns begin to consider immigration from a racial point of view, they may question the position of Swedish-speakers, a position that was once justified in racial terms. The Swedes and other elites want silence on the subject, especially since Finnish nationalists — the very people who doubt the wisdom of Third-World immigration — question the status of Swedish-speakers as well.
This helps explain why the influential Swedish People’s Party has vociferously condemned anyone who has doubts about immigration. Its candidate for the presidency in 2006, Henrik Lax, even built his campaign on the theme of “a Finland of many cultures.” Of course, virtually all immigrants will learn Finnish, not Swedish, and eventually reduce his interest group to insignificance. This is typical of the self-destructive thinking behind those who promote immigration.
Ida Asplund, president of the Finland-Swedes Association, has a different approach to maintaining the Swedish minority’s powerful position. She says Swedish-speakers are generally a different race from Finnish-speakers, and wants the differences established by genetic testing. Miss Asplund, who has been called the “Swedish-Finnish Joan of Arc,” says “Finland-Swedes,” as she calls them, should defend Swedish-speaking areas so as to preserve their race and culture. Far from admitting their privileged position, she argues that Finland-Swedes are a persecuted minority because there are parts of the country where Swedish is not understood. She complains that Finnish-speakers are moving into traditional Swedish-speaking areas and turning them Finnish. She welcomes immigrants who are willing to learn Swedish rather than Finnish, and claims they face “double discrimination” for being foreign and Swedish-speaking.
Miss Asplund therefore promotes multiculturalism, on the grounds that Finland-Swedes are just another minority suffering discrimiation at the hands of the Finnish-speaking majority. Despite its intrest in preserving race and culture, the Finland-Swedes Association is therefore on the multi-culti bandwagon along with everyone else.
Another problem for Finnish nationalists is that, traditionally, Finns are afraid to rock the boat. This timidity goes back at least to the immediate post-war period when Finland was essentially a Soviet satellite. Finland was independent, but Soviet influence was so great and economic ties so close that sovereignty was in some respects only theoretical. “Finlandization” came to mean the client status the West feared other countries might eventually assume.
De facto dictator Urho Kekkonen, who ruled form 1956 to 1981, encouraged this submissive relationship with the Soviet Union. He essentially banned criticism of the Communists for fear it might jeopardize economic relations or even trigger an invasion. His government outlawed all nationalist organizations, and open expression of nationalism remained suppressed until the end of the Cold War. From 1962, he essentially faced no real opposition until declining mental powers led to his resignation in late 1981 at age 81.
Since his time, Finland has edged towards greater dissent and democracy, but the October 1994 referendum on whether to join the European Union showed how difficult it is for the country to tolerate disagreement. Many Finns even felt that a serious wrangle over the question threatened their independence and the very future of their country. The government was desperate to join the EU, and launched what one Finnish professor called “a campaign of textbook Soviet brain washing” for a “yes” vote. Needless to say, it got its way.
Even today, the leader of True Finns, Finland’s small nationalist party, claims that the “psychological legacy of Kekkonen,” or the inability of Finns to disagree or be controversial, prevents his party from having the influence of similar parties in Norway and Denmark.
It is membership in the European Union, however, that has most damaged the country because Finland must now accept asylum-seekers and immigrants just like other member countries. In 1990, there were just 21,000 immigrants in Finland. Most were from Sweden so could easily integrate. By 2005, there were over 140,000 immigrants, though about 40,000 were Russian or Estonian. Many Russian immigrants are native Finnish-speakers — Finnish is the language of Russian Karelia — so integration is relatively smooth. The same is true of Estonians. Estonian is part of the same Finno-Ugric language family, and many immigrants from Estonia are ethnic Finns who emigrated in the 17th century. Even Finland’s tiny Vietnamese minority, which entered in the 1980s as boat people, has integrated reasonably well, starting restaurants and keeping to themselves.
This has not been the case with the Somalis or Sudanese, most of whom have arrived as recent war refugees. It is not easy to get good demographic information on Finland because the authorities do not count by race. They do count by “nationality,” however, and there are now more than 6,500 Somalis living in Finland. About one percent of the population is made up of citizens of non-white countries — this is the lowest level in Western Europe — but this figure does not include naturalized Finns or children of non-whites, who would be “Finns” by birth. Somalis are the largest non-white group — probably numbering about 11,000 if children and naturalized citizens are included.
Three percent of the 500,000 people who live in Helsinki are non-white, and again Somalis are the most numerous group. Needless to say, non-whites clump together in certain areas and, according to police, are responsible for almost 40 percent of all violent crime in the city. This means they are about 20 times more likely to commit violent crimes than the rest of the population. In other large cities we find the same pattern: Finns may get drunk in public or commit traffic offences, but it is Somalis and Sudanese who are behind the growing numbers of muggings and rapes.
This raises difficult questions for the Finnish government. It cannot plausibly blame “Finnish racism” because the Vietnamese and Chinese minorities make little trouble. Nor can it blame poverty. The Russian minority is very poor but not responsible for anything like the same level of criminality. Nor can the government try to distract people by pretending Finland has chosen the path of multicultural harmony, the way the British or the Dutch governments have tried to do. With so few immigrants, that would be absurd. The real issue — the unassimilable nature of Africans — is taboo. Ironically, Finland is rated by Reporters Without Borders as having the freest press in the world. It is free so long as no one writes about immigration or race.
The establishment does its best to sweep problems under the carpet. Newspapers no longer mention the race of criminals. Indeed, they no longer include names, since a non-Finnish name is a dead giveaway. At the same time, it encourages the appearance of token non-whites in the Finnish media, including what is probably a half-Somali weather girl on the national TV channel. There is also a Saturday night program for Somalis in which Finnish girls are rated by Somalis by video-link from Somalia, with the “cutest” girl winning an all-expenses-paid trip to the war-torn mess from which the program’s hosts have fled. It does not appear that any of the “winners” actually collect their prizes.
Six Degrees (http://www.6d.fi/) is another example of the anti-racist propaganda the government encourages. This English-language newspaper, given away in Finland’s larger cities, is highly political and has an overtly anti-Finn, multicultural agenda. It claims to be a cosmopolitan forum through which Finns and foreigners can meet, but one Finn, who felt he had to remain anonymous, summed it up as follows:
“Six Degrees has a constant theme that it’s always hammering home: Finns are ignorant, stupid, ugly, evil and racist, and the only way they can ever be accepted by the rest of the world is to open the borders for everyone to come here (although, of course, Finland is such an awful country and the Finns are such racist bigots that no one would want to come, which is why we must welcome the thousands or hundreds of thousands clamoring to get in).”
A recent article called “Racist Pack Design” was entirely typical, criticizing Finns for allowing “stereotypical” images of Africans on chocolate boxes. Another, called “Stolen Generation,” inveighed against early attempts to give Australian aborigines a European culture, blaming these efforts for all the Aborigines’ current problems. Anyone who opposes multi-culturalism is, of course, “racist.”
It has been a great misfortune for Finland — and a boon to the multiculturalists — that the only well-known politician in recent years who has dared raise the issue of immigration has been something of a buffoon, a former WWF wrestler and boxer named Tony Halme. He was elected to Parliament for Helsinki in 2003 as a member of True Finns Party, with more votes even than the then-Prime Minister. He said people with asylum-seekers as neighbors “sleep either very badly or not at all,” and that all the blacks in Finland should be “put on an island.” This sort of talk does not appear to have hurt his campaign, but the day after the election, he made the mistake of calling the popular president Tarja Halonen a lesbian, and his career has gone downhill ever since.
In July 2003, he was involved in a drug-fuelled fight with his wife in which shots were fired, and an unlicensed handgun was found in his apartment. He ended up in a drug-induced coma, went on trial, received a suspended sentence, but stayed in office. In 2006, his party disowned him when he argued in Parliament that pedophiles should be castrated.
The rest of the “True Finns” are too timid to talk about immigration openly and, in an interview, the leader publicly distanced himself from anything to do with people like Jean-Marie Le Pen. Recently, Mr. Halme suffered an alcohol-related nervous breakdown, which resulted in an involuntary stay in a mental hospital. Finland’s left-wing government could not have picked a spokesman for immigration control more likely to discredit it.
At the same time, the government has been true to the Kekkonen tradition by enforcing conformity. Earlier this year, when the Muslim world went into an uproar over a series of Danish cartoons that mocked Mohammed (see “Cartoon Jihad,” AR, March 2006), Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen took it upon himself to apologise to the entire Arab world, even though not a single Finnish newspaper reprinted the cartoons. Papers in Norway, Holland, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and Italy either reprinted them or published their own cartoons critical of Islam.
Shortly thereafter, the website of a tiny Finnish nationalist pressure group that few Finns had even heard of — Suomen Sisu (suomen sisu.org) — posted the cartoons. In response, President Tarja Halonen and the foreign secretary issued public statements “regretting” their appearance on the site. Before long, the National Bureau of Investigation (Finland’s FBI) was “looking into” Suomen Sisu to see if it had broken a law against “endangering the lives of Finns abroad.” This was too much for even the tame Finnish press, which widely condemned the investigation as well as Mr. Vanhanen’s pointless apology. Suomen Sisu was never indicted, but Finns must have wondered just how much freedom of expression they really have.
August 2004 saw similar repression. The prime minister’s father, Prof. Tatu Vanhanen, is an academic who does research on race and intelligence. In 2002, he published a book with Richard Lynn about the connection between a nation’s average IQ and its wealth (see “The Global Bell Curve,” AR, Dec. 2002). Like Suomen Sisu, he was investigated when he reported his findings to the Finnish press. He was duly branded a “racist,” and the prime minister had to denounce his own father. Fortunately, Prof. Vanhanen escaped prosecution, as well.
One reason why the Finnish government can get away with this kind of highhandedness is that the nationalist right, which is muted even by Scandinavian standards, is so small. In a system deliberately designed to make things easy for small parties, the True Finns have only three MPs out of 200, making them the smallest party in Parliament.
Still, the situation may be changing slowly. The younger generation has little memory of Kekkonen’s dictatorship, and the national fear of dissent may be waning. Although the status of the Swedish-speakers was recently reconfirmed by Parliament, courses in Swedish are no longer compulsory at the university level. The influence of the group that seems most dedicated to blocking discussion of immigration may be declining.
Support for the True Finns has crept up, albeit very slowly, from less than one percent in the 1999 election, to about two percent in the 2003, to almost four percent for the party’s leader, Timo Soini, when he ran for president in 2005.
Perhaps Finland will soon be a freer country. We can only hope so. Denmark, Norway and particularly Sweden have been fundamentally changed by massive immigration. Unless Finland wants to see minarets rising among the saunas, it must drop its fear of talking about race and immigration — sooner rather than later.
Dr. Dutton is a writer who lives in northern Finland.
Slavery in the New World
Even moral exhibitionism can be educational.
David Brion Davis, Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World, Oxford University Press, 440 pp., $30.00.
Thucydides, who gave us his famous 5th century BC account of the Peloponnesian War, is considered the first historian who tried simply to understand events and write about them objectively. Earlier chroniclers filled their accounts with supernatural interventions or wrote “histories” that only glorified their rulers. Thucydides just wanted the facts.
Today we have a new and different kind of history that fails to meet Thucydides’ standards. Its purpose is to demonstrate the author’s moral superiority by condemning historical figures for thoughts and actions that were acceptable in their own time but are now looked upon with fashionable horror. The historian displays virtue by showing his contempt for the past, especially that of his own country and ancestors.
Despite its occasional rambling, Inhuman Bondage, by Yale emeritus professor David Brion Davis, could have been an informative book about slavery had it not been for Prof. Davis’s moral exhibitionism. Even though it is hard to imagine a more futile exercise than to sift 18th and 19th century Americans as “racists” — some he even calls “virulent racists” — passing out epithets is an indispensable part of Prof. Davis’s preening.
How often does Prof. Davis think he has to rail against “racist dehumanization and oppression” or the “horror of human bondage” before readers get the message that he disapproves of slavery? There is much good material in this book, but it is hard to trust a historian who would rather heap scorn on the past than try to understand and explain it.
The Slavery Revolution
Prof. Davis points out that in 1770, on the eve of the American Revolution, slavery was legal and essentially unquestioned in the entire New World, but by 1888, when Brazil freed its slaves, it had completely disappeared. His book is an investigation of that process with a heavy concentration on British and American emancipation. Prof. Davis begins, however, with some general observations about slavery, noting that it is found in all recorded history, and that the Greeks thought the leisure it brought to slave owners was a necessary part of building a civilization.
He notes also that the status of slave has always been associated with darker-skinned people, whether in classical antiquity, India, China or the Middle East. Arabs were the first to enslave blacks on a large scale, and Prof. Davis thinks there may have been as many Africans taken by Muslims as were shipped to the New World. He also writes that it may have been the Moors, who occupied the Iberian peninsula from the 8th to the 15th centuries, who taught the Spaniards to associate slavery with Africans. Just like Christians, Muslims and Jews interpreted Noah’s curse of Ham (actually of Ham’s son Canaan) as justification for African slavery.
Aristotle had taught that some people were slaves by nature, but he never clearly explained how to distinguish such people. With their distinctive physical traits and low level of development, Africans seemed the perfect slave people. Bartholome de Las Casas (1484–1566) was the Catholic Church’s first prominent advocate for the rights of New World Indians, but his solicitude did not extend to Africans — he promoted their importation as slaves so as to spare Indians the burden of forced labor.
And, indeed, the Spaniards wasted no time in providing relief for the Indians. By 1520, just 30 years after the discovery, Africans were arriving in considerable numbers, and Prof. Davis points out that at one time blacks constituted half the population of Mexico City and Lima. 1619 is the famous year in which 20 “negars” arrived in Jamestown, but African slaves were already present in Spanish Florida by the 1560s.
It was the Portuguese who ultimately transported more slaves across the Atlantic than any other nation, and Prof. Davis writes that at one time black slaves were so plentiful in Portugal itself that laborers and sailors could afford them, as well as prostitutes, who were forbidden to employ free servants.
All told, North America received only five to six percent of the Africans who were shipped West. Far more went to Brazil and the Caribbean, where it was cheaper to work a slave to death and replace him with a new one than to breed stock. Prof. Davis estimates that an average of 15 percent of the slaves died during the passage, though the death toll could range from five to 33 percent. Other authors have written that conditions on board were so unhealthful that white crewmembers died at about the same rate as slaves. Prof. Davis suggests there were slave revolts on as many as one in ten voyages, and that slavers had to carry extra crew to keep order.
What Prof. Davis calls “predatory states” rose up in Africa to raid their neighbors and supply white slave traders. He says the machinery of capture and transport to the coast was so well oiled that it continued to operate even after the end of the slave trade, flooding coastal slaving ports with captured blacks for whom there was no longer a market. Although profit was the primary goal, the predators probably enjoyed predation.
Prof. Davis notes that two thirds of the history of slavery in North America was before the Revolution, and devotes considerable space to this period. Slavery was legal and practiced in every state, but the absence of staple crops that leant themselves to plantation agriculture was the main reason it died out in the North.
In 1664, however, when the Dutch gave up New Amsterdam to the British, black slaves were 20 percent of the population. Prof. Davis points out that in 1770 there were 19,062 black slaves in New York — more than in Georgia — and that 40 percent of white households in Manhattan owned slaves. New York City suffered a serious slave conspiracy in 1741, after which the authorities burned 13 blacks at the stake and hanged 17.
Prof. Davis doesn’t like to write about kind masters or loyal slaves because to do so “is to risk losing sight of the central horror of human bondage.” He concedes, however, that 18th century slavery was often paternalistic, with close relations between slaves and masters. Owners encouraged slave marriage and tried to keep families together. In some areas, slaves were on the “task system,” where-by masters allotted work that energetic slaves could finish by early afternoon so as to devote the rest of the day to private plots. Masters often bought this produce from slaves, who accumulated property they could pass on to their children.
Slavery varied greatly by region. In the 18th century, slaves were 40 percent of the population of Virginia but only four percent in Connecticut. In the South, Indians bought and sold large numbers of slaves, and many took their human property with them when they marched West over the “trail of tears.”
The Revolution had a temporary, alleviating effect on slavery. Many Americans concluded that “created equal” should apply to blacks as well as whites, and in 1777 Vermont became the first region in the New World to abolish slavery. Massachusetts and New Hampshire quickly followed, as did Pennsylvania in 1780. Some slaves defected to the British expecting freedom, but many were disappointed. Some ended up enslaved again in the Bahamas, and others became beggars in London before they were shipped off to the questionable benefits of freedom in Sierra Leone.
Many American leaders disliked both slavery and the presence of blacks, and wanted to couple abolition with “colonization,” or the export of freed blacks “beyond the reach of mixture,” as Jefferson put it. Carried along by the sentiments of revolutionary egalitarianism, in 1784, the Continental Congress came within one vote of approving Jefferson’s proposal that slavery be banned in the entire trans-Appalachian region. Twenty years later, such a close vote would have been unthinkable.
Prof. Davis points out that emancipation in the North was different from that in the South at the end of the Civil War. Called “gradual emancipation,” it freed no one for the first 20 years or so. People who were slaves at the time the bill was passed — even young children — remained slaves for the rest of their lives; children born to slave women after that date, however, were to be freed when they reached a certain age, usually in their early 20s. After abolition, it was possible to sell a young slave who was about to reach the age of freedom to a new owner in a slave state. This was theoretically illegal, but there was little to prevent it. Emancipation of this kind involved essentially no financial penalty to slaveholders.
Gradual emancipation took place in 1799 in New York, in 1804 in New Jersey, and not until 1848 in Connecticut. Thus, there were still slaves in the North at the time of the war. There were even a few elderly slaves in Pennsylvania, which had “abolished” slavery in 1780. A one-year-old in that year would have been 82 by 1861 — and still a slave, even though his children were free.
Upper Canada passed a similar bill in 1793, whereby future children of slaves were to be free at age 25, but all Canadian slaves were freed in 1833 when Britain decreed abolition throughout the empire. Many freed Canadian slaves emigrated to Sierra Leone.
Prof. Davis admits grudgingly that it was in the interests of slave owners to keep their property healthy and happy. He also writes that travelers in the South often reported that masters wanted to be “popular” among their slaves, an ambition probably lacking among Brazilian or Caribbean masters. He also concedes that since 72 percent of masters had fewer than 10 slaves, they knew them well, and probably had reasonably good relations. At the same time, many masters took pains to encourage Christianity in the slave quarters because the Bible enjoins servants to obey masters. Likewise, many masters took pride in what they considered their decent, Christian treatment of their property.
It is embarrassing to contemporary historians that there were not more slave mutinies in the South. Prof. Davis notes that plantations with 50 slaves or more had an average of only 1.5 white men on the premises, so blacks could have easily overpowered them. Insurrection was more common in Brazil and in the Caribbean, but this is not surprising. All-male gang slaves, who knew they were going to be worked to death, and had no hope of having children or grandchildren had little to lose. In the South, even during the war, when white men were at the front, there were hardly any slave revolts to speak of.
At one time it was common to speculate that American slaves did not revolt because they were brutalized into a state of paralysis, but the most obvious explanation is surely correct: Many slaves may have wanted freedom but did not find their lives so intolerable that they were prepared to commit violence and risk death for it. In the 1930s, elderly ex-slaves gave interviews as part of a Depression-era government project. Scholars rarely mention this today because so many of them spoke fondly of slavery and of their departed masters (see “Forgotten Black Voices,” AR, Sept-Oct. 1993). A certain resigned contentment was probably not unusual.
Prof. Davis makes much of the slave rebellion on Haiti at the turn of the 19th century, and clearly wishes blacks all over the New World had massacred their masters. There has been some speculation as to whether Haiti was an inspiration for other slaves or not. Denmark Vesey, who planned an 1822 rebellion in Charleston, South Carolina, took a great interest in Haiti, and appears to have thought it might be an ally in a revolt, but it is difficult to know what most slaves thought.
For a time, abolitionists believed black-run Haiti would be a shining example of what emancipation would achieve. They predicted lush prosperity, with Haitian merchantmen cruising the world’s seas. This only proves how far back white naïveté goes. In the 1820s, as Haiti sunk into misery, President Jean-Pierre Boyer invited free blacks from America to come help build the country. At least 6,000 arrived from the Philadelphia area, but thousands returned disillusioned. Better to live in a slave-holding society run by whites than in black-run chaos.
One of the stupidest things Prof. Davis writes is about the revolution in Haiti: “The slaves and free descendants of slaves defeated not only their masters but the most formidable armies of Spain, Britain, and France.” The Europeans hardly sent their “most formidable armies” to Haiti, and once they got there they were ravaged by disease. To suggest that Haitians defeated imperial France in the field the way Wellington and Blucher did at Waterloo is an example of the woeful pandering that now passes for history.
The abolitionist movement in Britain was perhaps the first social movement of the modern kind. Millions of people marched and petitioned, pressuring the government to do something it would certainly not otherwise have done. Years of agitation culminated in 1833 in freedom for 800,000 blacks throughout the empire, and total compensation of 20 million pounds — a huge sum — to owners. A few hard-headed observers were not caught up in the excitement. One predicted abolition would substitute “eight hundred thousand savages for the same number of slaves.”
Twenty years later, it was clear that abolition had been an economic disaster. Free blacks refused to work for wages, and became loafers and subsistence farmers. Caribbean plantation land plummeted in value and exports dried up. In 1843, the British made a formal offer to the United States to pay the ocean passage for free blacks willing to go the West Indies and work under contract. When that failed, the islands imported hundreds of thousands of East Indians or “hill coolies” to work in the fields.
By 1857, the Times of London reported that abolition had “destroyed an immense property, ruined thousands of good families, degraded the Negroes still lower than they were, and, after all, increased the mass of Slavery in less scrupulous hands,” by which it meant Cuba and America. Benjamin Disraeli called emancipation “the greatest blunder in the history of the English people.”
One reason the abolition movement was so popular in Britain is that most Britons had never seen a slave or even a free black. In America, people had more experience. Consequently, abolitionists were a minority, and even people who wanted freedom for slaves assumed that free blacks would be colonized. Not surprisingly, the movement was dominated by women, who outnumbered male activists three to one. Still, there were white abolitionist nuts like Wendell Philips who wrote in 1859 that he rejoiced “that every five minutes gives birth to a black baby; for in its infant wail I recognize the voice which shall yet shout the war-cry of insurrection; its baby hand will one day hold the dagger which shall reach the master’s heart.”
Prof. Davis does a good job of describing the events that led up to secession, and the process whereby the war to save the Union became, at least in part, a war to free the slaves. He notes that if the war had ended in a quick Union victory, much of the social system of the South could have remained intact. Lincoln would probably have been content with gradual emancipation and colonization rather than instant abolition.
Prof. Davis describes the little-known emancipation of slaves in the District of Columbia in 1862, which was the only case of compensated emancipation in American history (compensation was the norm in other countries). The federal government paid $300 per slave, and offered ex-slaves $100 to emigrate. A measure forcibly to deport the district’s free blacks lost in the Senate only when the vice president cast his vote to break the tie.
There has been much analysis of the cynical and political nature of Lincoln’s own Emancipation Proclamation — that it “freed” only those slaves in the Confederacy over whom he had no control, that it’s purpose was to dissuade France and Britain from recognizing and aiding the Confederacy, that it had to wait for a Union victory — but Prof. Davis goes further. Lincoln did not believe Congress had Constitutional authority to meddle with slavery in the states, but he claimed he had the authority, as a war measure, to free the slaves of anyone “in rebellion.” Prof. Davis explains that the proclamation really was a practical, war-fighting measure in the sense that Lincoln believed many slaves would walk off the job, shutting down the Southern economy.
This was not all. In his initial proclamation of September 1862, Lincoln implicitly called for slave insurrection, and even Yankees understood what that implied. Former governor of New York Horatio Seymour remarked in horror that it was a “proposal for the butchery of women and children, for scenes of lust and rapine, and of arson and murder.” Lincoln himself expected revolt and massacre, noting that because of the proclamation, “the character of the war will be changed. It will be one of subjugation and extermination.” Later, he told Ohio congressman William Holman he was disappointed blacks had not revolted. For the most part, however, there was jubilation over the proclamation in the North, where most people believed emancipation would cripple the South and stop the war. Such is the background of what is taught to school children as a humanitarian gesture towards our black brothers.
Prof. Davis concludes that the Civil War was well worth fighting, a “good war,” because it freed the slaves. In other words, untold destruction, and the death of 600,000 whites was a proper price to pay for the advancement of blacks.
Race and Slavery
Prof. Davis notes that the economics of slavery is still a subject of debate — people disagree as to whether it was more productive or profitable than free labor. Would America have developed more rapidly if all those blacks had been wage earners rather than slaves? This debate is fruitless so long as it ignores racial differences. British abolitionists believed post-revolution Haiti would become a model of prosperity because they did not understand the differences between blacks and whites. For the same reason, they did not anticipate the post-emancipation collapse of the Caribbean economies.
If the Haitian slaves had been white they would have established a free-labor economy, the country would have prospered, and it would not be a pest hole today. The same is true of Barbados, Jamaica and the rest of the British Caribbean. The English would not have had to import “hill coolies” to do the work free blacks refused to do.
This is why the economics of slavery cannot be examined apart from race. White free labor was more efficient and productive than white slave labor, because free whites were enterprising and ambitious. Black slave labor was probably more efficient than black free labor because freed blacks subsided into indolence. The history of Africa tells the same story: Africans lived better under colonial and white rule than they do under black rule.
The likelihood that black slave labor was more efficient than black free labor does not, however, justify the laughable claims Prof. Davis makes for slavery: “Our free and democratic society was made possible by massive slave labor.” Slavery “prepared the way for everything America was to become.” It was “basic and integral to the entire phenomenon we call ‘America.’” Can he really believe this? Canada and Australia developed more or less in parallel with the United States without “massive slave labor,” and entire regions of the United States had hardly any slaves at all. The South would have developed differently without slaves, but it would certainly have developed; we can only imagine it richer and happier today if it had never imported Africans.
Propaganda in the form of history does both blacks and whites a terrible disservice. Let us review some of Prof. Davis’s central themes: The death of 600,000 whites was justified because it advanced the interests of enslaved blacks. Prof. Davis would no doubt argue that blacks today are poorer than whites and more likely to be in jail because of continuing white “racism.” Once he has accepted the principle of killing whites in the name of racial justice, how many white deaths would he accept if the slaughter would raise blacks to the level of whites: Another 600,000? One million? If not, why not?
Let us explore his thinking further: Violence against the slave master was always justified, and it would have been good if all black slaves had massacred their white masters as those in Haiti did. The United States is prosperous and free because of slavery. Where does this leave us? If the ancestors of many white Americans deserved to die at the hands of blacks, if death is appropriate expiation for racist oppression, if whites are rich and free because of the past labor of black slaves, why shouldn’t today’s blacks kill whites and take their property? Some do, of course, and justify it as payback for “oppression” and “racism.” They have learned the very lesson Prof. Davis seems to be trying to teach.
Will Prof. Davis ever understand the damage he is doing? Not likely. He writes about the “once celebrated voyage” of Columbus, he assures us — despite the evidence — that Thomas Jef-ferson had children with Sally Hemings, and urges us to believe that “tyranny is a central theme of American history, that racial exploitation and racial conflict have been part of the DNA of American culture.” He routinely calls Americans and Britons “racists,” but somehow forgets to use the word with Arabs, Cubans, and Brazilians who also had black slaves.
Prejudices like these disfigure what could have been a genuinely illuminating book.
A Knock on the Door: Writing for AR
Coming out of the closet is not always easy.
I published my first article with a racial theme in the October 2001 issue of this magazine. Entitled “Rearing Honorable White Children: Instilling Racial Identity and Responsibility in Today’s World,” it resulted in a bit of an adventure for me that did me some good. This is an account of that adventure.
After the article appeared — much of it dealt with homeschooling — I used it in an education course I teach at the University of Vermont. It was the first time I had assigned a reading that reflected a white racial perspective, and I can’t say much came of it. I distributed the article with a flood of disclaimers: “This is a controversial article.” “Even though I wrote this, that doesn’t mean I support what these parents say.” “Don’t feel you have to go along with the ideas in it.”
Looking back on it, I wonder what made me assume I had to all but apologize for the article. Teachers often give students material that rails against “white racism,” and “white privilege,” but don’t go into that kind of shuffle. Where did I pick up the idea I had to do that?
As for my students, all of them white, they by and large kept their reactions to themselves. Most of them stared into the floor and waited out an uncomfortable experience. I didn’t help the process. I stood in the front of the room, shifty-eyed and nervous, no doubt giving the appearance I thought I was doing something underhanded. I didn’t press students to explore the views of the parents I quoted in the article, and I didn’t offer any analysis myself. Both the students and I were relieved to move on to other matters as quickly as possible.
One afternoon late in December of that same year, there was a knock on my office door at the university. It was a large young man who told me he was from the campus newspaper. Behind him was another good-sized fellow holding a camera. The reporter had a copy of “Rearing Honorable White Children” in his hand, and said someone had told the paper I was using it in class.
I asked who told him about the article (as if it mattered), and he said he wouldn’t say. I assume it was a student. Faced by these two young men, who seemed to fill up the entire doorframe, I was afraid and flustered. I felt as if I had been caught committing a crime.
They inched their way into the office and I backed up. “This is a controversial article to be using in a class,” said the reporter. “Can I interview you?”
“Right now?” I gasped.
I froze. They seemed to be blocking the doorway. I didn’t invite them in, but they kept drifting farther in, and I kept backing up. Eventually I sat at my desk while they remained standing looking down at me.
The reporter went on: “You wrote in here that these parents you talked to think their culture and race are ‘hammered relentlessly.’ And then you said they have legitimate concerns.”
“Well, actually,” I quavered, “I didn’t write that about their having legitimate concerns. That was the editor’s choice. What I wrote was that these parents are convinced they have legitimate concerns, and the editor took out some words to tighten the sentence and made it sound like I was saying that.” This was a lie; the sentence was exactly as I wrote it.
I didn’t have the presence of mind to say: “Some people, including you, may think this is controversial, but the key issue is whether the article is true, whether it reflects accurately how these parents view things and how I view them, and the article is true. And anyway, what’s so controversial about wanting to raise honorable white children? Would you be here if the article had been about black parents who want to raise honorable black children?” And instead of the editor-changed-the-meaning fabrication, I could have said simply, “Yes, I think these parents are right.” And I could have been calm and proud and confident and acted like I have a right to be in the world and say what I think, and I could have looked the reporter in the eye.
But in late 2001 I did none of that.
“Could we take your picture?”
“No, no!” I pleaded. “I don’t want my picture taken. I’m a very private person. I don’t want any pictures of me in the paper.” What was that speech all about? Did I think other people could go public but I had to stay in the shadows? Yes, I did. Where did that idea come from?
Finally, looking up at the two of them and trying desperately to compose myself and at least do a reasonable imitation of a university professor, I said, “This is a really sensitive topic and I’m not very good at speaking extemporaneously (where’d I get that idea?), so how about if you e-mail me some questions and I’ll e-mail back the answers?”
The reporter said that would be all right, and he and the photographer left. I immediately went home and ate junk food and read sports magazines and didn’t answer the phone — my long-standing strategy for coping with threat and fear.
I had the e-mail exchange with the reporter, and the article in the student newspaper was published in January 2002 on the front page, with the headline “UVM [University of Vermont] Professor Publishes Controversial Article on Raising White Children.” When it came out I skimmed it and hid it away. That was another coping strategy: pretend something doesn’t exist. Now I’m reading the article carefully for the first time, and it is really quite benign. It quotes me as saying, “I wouldn’t presume to tell white parents — or black parents or Native American parents or Jewish parents or Amish parents — how they should raise their children. I believe strongly in the freedom of conscience, and I think all parents have a right to raise their children with their own traditions or not. To me, that right is at the core of what America is all about, in contrast to a totalitarian society. Increasingly, the schools feel mandated to reshape the hearts and minds of students to conform to their own favored ideologies — ideologies that are contrary to these families’ [the ones I describe in the article] deepest convictions.”
The campus newspaper article followed what I’ve learned is standard practice when writing about anybody suspected of being politically incorrect: it quoted “watchdog groups.” The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League in particular stand ready by the phone with a list of pejorative labels to attach to anyone they don’t like. In my case, the ADL said American Renaissance and its web site were “racist” and “insidious.” I have never found a reporter who asked for evidence for charges like this, or who questioned the motives or objectivity of “watchdogs.”
But even taking into account the obligatory watchdog smear, the story was even-handed. My experience with it conformed to a pattern I have begun to recognize: I am convinced the sky will fall, but it doesn’t. Where did I get the notion something terrible will happen if I get caught speaking favorably about white people?
And more, where did I get the assumption — which I had — that I am helpless and unable to strike back at anyone who attacks me, that I simply have to endure anything any representative of orthodoxy wants to dish out? With that kind of thinking, it is no wonder I hid out for so long. Lying low makes sense if you believe others can hurt you whenever and however they want.
About a week after the campus newspaper article, a reporter from the Burlington, Vermont, newspaper contacted me about the AR piece — he’d seen the campus paper. I was a little stronger this time, but basically repeated the same pattern: I would reply only to e-mail questions, and there would be no pictures.
The article, “Professor Examines Race-Based Education,” was quite fair to my views, as I read it now carefully for the first time. There are the “watchdog” quotes, this time from someone else at the Southern Poverty Law Center, who explains that American Renaissance is at the “intellectual racist end of things” and “paints a little sunnier face on hate.” But the article accurately quotes my explanation for why my article would not have been published in a mainstream journal: “The rules of the game in scholarly publication are that if you write about people who have a strong white, or European American, racial consciousness, make sure you point out how off-base they are, and whatever you do, don’t say anything positive about them.” This was progress for me. And I made another step forward with my declaration that I agreed with the families’”basic contention that their heritage and race have been under siege over the last generation and more.”
A radio call-in show appearance and then a television interview the next week went still better (the media people are sheep; all this came from the AR article). Not great — I babbled and played “nice guy” in both instances (trying, I suppose, to suggest that anybody who wags his tail as I do is too innocuous to be a threat) — but the television interview was a little better than the radio shot, so I was coming along. I was learning something basic: to speak unapologetically, without equivocation, and tell the world the truth.
A few months later, I got a call from a person named John Dicker, who wanted to write an article for Seven Days, a popular free weekly “Vermont news, views, and culture” tabloid. This time I agreed to a face-to-face interview and to pose for pictures. The result was a ten-by-fifteen-inch photo of me looking stern on the front page of the May 8, 2002 issue. The article was called “The White Stuff: Professor Robert Griffin: Open-Minded Academic or Aryan Apologist.”
In the article, Mr. Dicker pointed out that “Rearing Honorable White Children” appeared in American Renaissance, a journal he said “links inferior intelligence, criminal activity and sexual depravity to non-whites” (I wonder where he got that?). He noted that AR’s editor, Jared Taylor, “heads a nonprofit foundation that has been classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).” And he quoted African-American Van-derbilt professor, Carol Swain, as noting that Mr. Taylor “is more sophisticated than your average Klansman” but is in the same basic category. I was sorry they tried to discredit me by taking hits at Jared.
Dicker quoted me accurately as saying: “I don’t want anyone to feel that he has to be deferential or sacrificial to some other group or step aside… You could say, if you were black, ‘I identify with my race and I care about my people and I’m going to live my life committed to their well-being and I’m going to join with others. I don’t think it would play very well if you said, ‘I’m white, I’m proud of being white, I feel in solidarity with other white people and I’m committed to furthering the well-being of my people.’ I think that would be labeled as neo-Nazi or racist.” He also quoted me correctly as saying that the writing I had been doing “has made me more conscious of race from a white perspective. It has become a lens that I see the world through much more than before.” I was getting better.
Several weeks later, Seven Days printed a letter to the editor from Lorrie Smith, a resident of Burlington and a “white ally in the struggle against racism,” part of which read as follows (ellipses in the original):
“I am troubled, however, by the suggestion that white supremacy can be studied for its ‘integrity and courage and dedication’ without reference to its moral depravity. White supremacy and neo-Nazism are not neutral ‘lifestyle’ choices, but ideologies with long histories and complicated contexts. To imply that the separatist affirmation of ‘white’ or ‘European American’ heritage (as if such a thing were monolithic or racially pure in the first place) is equivalent to the affirmation of ‘black’ heritage … is not only a distortion of history and a misleading appropriation of multi-culturalist language, but disingenuous cynicism of the worst sort …
“… ‘White nationalism’ can never mean the same thing as ‘black nationalism,’ an ideology of self-determination and pride in response to centuries of racist oppression. I am concerned that the work of scholars like Professor Griffin erases these distinctions and bestows dignity and legitimacy upon organizations founded in fear and hatred.”
The next week, Seven Days printed my reply, which included the following (ellipses in the original):
“[S]elf-proclaimed ‘teacher and scholar of race studies and African-American literature’ Smith manages to smear the people I have been investigating with every negative label and association in the standard mud-slinging repertoire (except the KKK, she missed that one): among them, racism, white supremacy, neo-Nazism, the Holocaust, hatred, moral depravity, and oppression… If you buy her line — and I must say, many people do — you’ll accept the double standard that the minority pride and self-determination she affirms in her letter are good, but the very same things in white people are bad.
“The late comedian Lenny Bruce told a joke about a guy who, when caught in the act of cheating by his wife, says to her, ‘Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?’ I’d like to think that in matters of race more and more white people are getting past the Orwellian newspeak that has been coming at them for decades and starting to look hard at reality for themselves. That is what I’m doing.”
I was beginning to stand up for myself — and my race. Not bad. I remember after the two from the school newspaper left my office that first time thinking, “I wish I’d never written that damn AR article.” Now I’m glad I did.
Sweden’s transformation into a multi-racial society has meant that some very alien cultural practices have arrived. One is female genital mutilation, common mainly in East Africa, but also found in some parts of the Middle East. In Somalia, almost all women undergo it. In Europe it was, of course, non-existent before whites decided that Somalis and anyone else can be absorbed into Western societies.
In Sweden it is not only illegal to do it, it is illegal for immigrants to take their daughters back home and to have it done there. There are tens of thousands of Somalis and other East Africans in Sweden now, many of whom are unlikely to have stopped doing something that is nearly universal in their countries of origin. However, there have been very few convictions because most Somali women don’t want to press charges against their own families, particularly given the strong Somali clan mentality.
In practice, therefore, the laws against female genital mutilation have been virtually meaningless, and Liberal Party member of parliament, Nyamko Sabuni, an immigrant from Congo-Kinshasa, has a solution. On July 17th, she published an article in Sweden’s biggest newspaper, Expressen, proposing that the government forcibly inspect the genitals of all junior high school girls. Her proposal was not warmly received. A week later, another prominent Third-World Liberal Party member, Chilean immigrant Mauricio Rojas, pointed out in the same newspaper that since genital mutilation is found only among Somalis and a few other immigrant groups, only those girls should have their genitals inspected. It made no sense, he wrote, forcibly to inspect ethnic Swedish girls and members of groups that have never mutilated genitals.
Of course, when it comes to race, common sense is considered offensive. Mr. Rojas was condemned much more passionately then Mrs. Sabuni. Leftists and fellow Liberals blasted him for being “racist” and for forgetting the key principle of equal treatment.
The insanity of “equal treatment” in this case is obvious. Everyone knows female genital mutilation is strictly limited to a few immigrant groups and that examining everyone for it would be unconscionable government intrusion. And yet, while the Expressen’s editors, for example, don’t really favor that, they seem to think it would somehow be better than limiting the search to the groups where everyone knows it exists.
This is not the first time Mauricio Rojas has gotten in trouble for saying something obvious. Since he was named spokesman on integration for the Liberal Party, he has pushed for a much tougher attitude on immigrant crime and welfare use. He says immigrants will be better received if they obey the law and get off the dole. (This is not a pro-white stance; he wants more immigrants.) Most immigrants and liberals dislike this kind of reasoning, and think Mr. Rojas is a sellout.
Because of this latest controversy, Mr. Rojas was not named Minister of Integration in the newly elected centre-right government, though before the debate on genital inspection, he was the natural choice. Who got the job? Mrs. Sabuni. Her proposal isn’t likely to go anywhere, but at least it was not the kind of thought crime Mr. Rojas committed when he suggested looking for female genital mutilation only among people who practice it.
Mr. Widmark lives in northern Sweden.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
The Treason of the Elites
Non-white and specifically Muslim immigration is the greatest threat facing European countries but the Belgian political establishment is more afraid of domestic nationalists.
During municipal elections in 2000, the conservative Vlaams Blok (VB) won a third of the vote and 20 of 55 council seats in Antwerp, Belgium’s largest city. Besides its core Flemish nationalist vote, the VB won support for its tough anti-immigration platform. There have been recent reports on the measures the ruling Socialists then took to stop the VB: They struck a deal with the one group guaranteed to oppose the VB at every turn — Muslim immigrants. They gave non-citizens the right to vote in local elections, and passed a “Quick Citizenship Bill” that confers Belgian citizenship virtually on demand to any immigrant who has lived in the country for three years — in some cases just two years.
As then-Antwerp mayor Leona Detiege explained, “The Vlaams Blok is currently overrepresented because the immigrants are not allowed to vote.” In addition to eliminating this obvious injustice, the ruling parties sought to have the VB banned. They got their wish in late 2004 when a judge found the Vlaams Blok guilty of “racism” and dissolved it. It immediately reconstituted itself as the Vlaams Belang (see “Vlaams Blok, RIP,” AR, Jan. 2005).
VB leader Filip Dewinter understands how the deck is stacked against his party in Antwerp: “The number of potential voters for our party is declining year by year. Currently a quarter of the population are immigrants. These people do not vote for us. Every year 4,000 indigenous Antwerpians move out and 5,000 immigrants move in.”
The result? In municipal elections held in this city of 450,000 on October 8 of this year, the Vlaams Belang made little progress. It was up by only half a percent, winning the same number of seats as in 2000. Relying heavily on the Muslim vote, the Socialist Party won the largest percentage (33.5) and captured the most seats (22). Seven of its newly-elected city councilors are Muslim. The establishment “conservative” party, the Christian Democrats, also ran Muslim immigrant candidates, two of whom were elected.
The VB may have the last laugh. Even though the party’s urban vote remains flat, its support in suburbs, small towns and the country is surging. [Paul Belien, Turning Red: Immigrants Tip the Balance in Belgian Local Elections, Brussels Journal, Oct. 9, 2006.]
It isn’t just people who are suffering in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. The nation’s exotic wildlife, a source of tourist income, is being slaughtered by hungry poachers and poorly-trained game wardens. Recently, wardens killed an elephant that was getting too close to a village rather than try to chase it away. They “kneecapped” it with small-arms fire to bring it down, and then shot it more than 40 times. Western tourists were “disgusted and heartbroken” by the cruelty.
The South Africa-based International Fund for Animal Welfare describes the state of Zimbabwe’s animal preserves — many of which, along with white-owned farms, were seized by the Mugabe government — as “absolutely outrageous.” Spokesman Christina Pretorious says poachers are eating antelopes and rhinos, and using them in native medicines. Hwange National Park, a 5,400 square-mile animal preserve used to have more than 2,000 lions. Now there are only 18 males and 200 females. [Angus Shaw, Zimbabwe Game-Park Conditions ‘Outrageous,’ AP, Oct. 19, 2006.]
Race and Robbery
The Home Office tracks crime in Britain. A detailed study of robberies it published in 2003 only recently came to our attention. Tucked away on page 26 are statistics about race and violence. In Birmingham, for example, blacks are just six percent of the population but are 64 percent of the robbery suspects. Whites are 69 percent of the population but are 85 percent of robbery victims. Asians are proportionately more likely to commit robberies than whites but manage to be robbed very infrequently (the tables on this page show crime rates and ethnic mix by area).
A few simple calculations (which the report fails to make) lead to stark conclusions. On a per capita basis, blacks in Birmingham are no less than 70 times more likely to commit robbery than whites [(64/6) ÷ (11/69)], and Indians are seven times more likely. Blacks are about 74 percent more likely to be robbery victims than whites — undoubtedly because they live among other blacks — but Asians are less than one tenth as likely as whites to be robbery victims. All this suggests Asians are more careful than blacks about not robbing each other, and that both groups are quite willing to rob whites. Although the report does not include a breakdown of specifically how many blacks, for example, were robbed by whites, Asians or other blacks, it is safe to assume that any given black is many hundreds of times more likely to rob a white than the other way around.
The author of the report warns against drawing the obvious conclusions, asking the reader to: “consider wider socio-economic and demographic factors that mediate the levels of risk between different ethnic groups. Research suggests that these are more important in determining victim-offender characteristics than ethnicity itself.” This is the usual mush: Non-whites are more likely to be young, poor and live in ghettoes, and it is therefore social characteristics rather than race that make them criminals. [Jonathan Smith, The Nature of Personal Robbery (Home Office Research Study 254), homeoffice.gov.uk, Jan. 2003.]
Brown and Proud
A new study has found that ethnic pride makes people happier. Psychology professor Lisa Kiang of Wake Forest University asked 415 US ninth-graders to keep track of worrying events like exams and homework assignments, and to record how they felt — whether they were happy, sad, nervous, etc. Ethnic pride reportedly kept them calm.
In Prof. Kiang’s stilted terms, “Adolescents with a high ethnic regard maintained a generally positive and happy attitude in the face of daily stressors and despite their anxious feelings. So, having positive feeling about one’s ethnic group appeared to provide an extra boost of positivity in individuals’ daily lives.” Prof. Kiang thinks society ought to encourage strong ethnic identity — at least for minorities. She studied only Chinese and Mexican students. [Ethnic Identity Gives Teens Daily Happiness Boost, newswise.com, Oct. 22, 2006.]
Brown and Not Proud
We reprint the following item verbatim and in toto:
“Brown University acknowledged yesterday that its cofounders were linked to the slave trade. It said it would establish memorials, forums, and a center to educate its students and the public about slavery.
“A 106-page report, ‘Slavery and Justice,’ released on Brown’s website, said that members of the family for whom the Providence, R.I., school is named were slave owners. Family records show that the four Brown brothers owned at least 14 slaves in the early 1770s, the report said.
“It recommended that the university sponsor forums on slavery, rewrite its history to include the Brown family’s role in the slave trade, and create a research center on slavery and justice.
“Brown said it would ‘pay particular attention’ to recruiting students from Africa and the West Indies.” [Brown University Liked to Slavery, Bloomberg News, Oct. 16, 2006.]
Your New Neighbors?
First came Hmong tribesmen from Southeast Asia, and then the Bantu from Somalia. The next group of primitives scheduled to arrive in the US, courtesy of the State Department and United Nation High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), is from Burundi via Tanzania. Although the civil war in Burundi is over, the refugees will not be going home because the UNHCR thinks they would face “particular reintegration problems.” Many were born in Tanzania and might not fit in back home, but the Tanzanians certainly don’t want them. The first of 13,000 Burundians will start arriving by end of March 2007. They probably will not be the last. There are 200,000 Burun-dian refugees in camps in Tanzania, and the UNHCR wants them settled as quickly as possible. [Burundi Refugees to Settle in US, BBC News, Oct. 17, 2006.]
The Truth Hurts
President Bush’s No Child Left Behind program requires schools to give students standardized tests, the results of which are supposed to show which students are doing badly. Schools are then supposed to get them up to snuff (see “Fantasy and Fraud: No Child Left Behind,” AR, Feb. 2004). Of course, all the testing does is demonstrate the well-known racial achievement gap: Whites and Asians perform well and blacks and Hispanics do not.
Emily Matras is the editor-in-chief of the Red & Black, the student newspaper at Hillsborough High School in Hills-borough, Florida. She got the results for her school from the Florida Education Department website, and wrote an article, illustrated with a table, describing the performance gap. At the last minute, Principal William Orr ordered that the article be removed. The staff stayed at school until 8 p.m. the night before the paper came out, snipping out the article with scissors. The staff also stapled a note to each issue explaining that the school offered to reprint the issue without the offending article, but that the staff chose not to delay publication.
Student journalists were baffled. “It [the article] did not condone anything immoral. It didn’t talk of drug use or pregnancy or teen violence,” says features editor Simone Kallett. “It was a very fact-based article.” So why the censorship? As Principal Orr explained, “If it’s something that has a potential to hurt students’ self esteem, then I have an obligation not to let that happen. I don’t think it’s the job of the school newspaper to embarrass the students.” [Letitia Stein, School Newspaper Censored, St. Petersburg Times, Oct. 24, 2006.]
More Diversity, Less Trust
Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam has briefed both former President Clinton and Prime Minister Tony Blair. He has also discussed his work at Buckingham Palace. His best known book, Bowling Alone, examines how modern society promotes alienation by undermining traditional notions of community. This does not make him a conservative. His advice to the British, struggling to deal with unassimilable Muslims? “What we shouldn’t do is to say that they should be more like us. We should construct a new us.” Societies, he says, “have been socially constructed, and can be socially reconstructed.”
Prof. Putnam’s latest research looks at the relationship between ethnic diversity and trust, and paints a “bleak picture” of diversity’s “corrosive” effects. His conclusion: the more diverse a community, the less likely its members are to trust peolple. “In the presence of diversity, we hunker down,” he explains. “We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it’s not just that we don’t trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don’t trust people who do look like us.”
While ethnic diversity is bad enough, racial diversity is worse. In communities of many different races, people “don’t trust the local mayor, they don’t trust the local paper, they don’t trust other people and they don’t trust institutions,” Prof Putnam says. “The only thing there’s more of is protest marches and TV watching.” He found that Los Angeles — ”the most diverse human habitation in human history” — has the least amount of trust.
It is not possible to get copies of Prof. Putnam’s diversity research. It’s conclusions run so counter to the “diversity is strength” mantra that he is withholding publication until he can come up with proposals to mitigate diversity’s dangers. Publishing without that, he says, would be “irresponsible.” [John Lloyd, Study Paints Bleak Picture of Ethnic Diversity, Financial Times (London), Oct. 8, 2006.]
Assistant editor Stephen Webster and his wife Alicia are pleased to announce the birth of their second child, Bradford Hamilton, born on Oct. 30. He joins older sister Samantha, who celebrated her first birthday in September. Mother and baby are doing well.
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — I was amused by the idea in Part III of “Black Racial Consciousness” of a future Museum of Racial Egalitarianism, dedicated to an ideology that was false and suicidal but finally discredited. I would love to be curator — what a wealth of material we would have! It would be fun to display movie clips and commercials full of black geniuses alongside real reports of school test scores. You could have Jared Diamond jabbering about how New Guineans are smarter than we are, and then show how New Guineans actually live. But I suppose the most telling exhibit would be a graphic representation of the unequal group distributions of genes for intelligence, diligence, running speed, rhythmic ability, etc. It’s a pity we won’t be building the museum any time soon, but when the day comes, virtually every big city in the Western world would be an appropriate location for it.
Ellen Hope Caldwell, Rumson, N.J.
Sir — I greatly enjoyed both Mark Richardson’s article on the Jonestown massacre, and the conclusion of Jared Taylor’s series on black racial consciousness. Readers may be interested in a parallel between the two. Mr. Taylor discusses the absurd conspiracy theories blacks subscribe to about evil whites. Certainly then, if there was a crazed multiculturalist whose largely black followers killed themselves, it must have been the fault of “the man.” Indeed, within weeks of the massacre, black political activist Dick Gregory was claiming that the CIA killed the Jonestown members and used their bodies to smuggle heroin into the US. Other theories were that Jones himself was a government agent trying to undermine the credibility of black churches, or the CIA and/or FBI were behind the attacks on Jones to discredit his multiracial paradise. Jones and his followers are certainly not the last to drink the Kool Aid.
Finally, according to a scholar of Guyan-ese origin, Khaleel Mohammed, one reason Guyana was so hospitable to Jones-town was that the ruling People’s National Congress “sought to fully exploit for the Afro-Guyanese voters, the Afrocentrism that had become rampant based on the Black Power movement in the US. Jim Jones coming to Guyana with a group of predominantly African Americans to escape his own country’s racism showed that Guyana was somehow a model of tolerance at best; at the very least it was a haven for people of African origins, regardless of their citizenship. Guyana was … becoming the South American land of promise for the African people.”
Alexander Hart, Virginia
Sir — I was fascinated to learn from the November issue that the “white skin privilege” people are actually trying to gather data to support their theories. They will soon think better of this, of course, because “white skin privilege” is like Freudianism: It is pure speculation and introspection, and falls apart on analysis.
One can imagine several tests for the theory. Match black and white high school students for grades and SAT scores, and then compare the college admissions offers they get. Who wants to bet we would find “black skin privilege?” Or compare the number of white and black college football players to the number who make it to the pros. Looks like more black skin privilege to me. Linda Gottfredson of the University of Delaware has found that if you match blacks and whites for age and IQ, the blacks earn higher salaries. More black privilege? And then there is the problem of East Asians. They do better than whites in school, commit fewer crimes, and make more money. There must be “yellow skin privilege” floating around out there, too.
As Mr. Jackson noted in his review, the idea of “white skin privilege” is a particularly idiotic example of the idiocy whites cling to when, in spite of every effort to help blacks get ahead, they persist in staying behind. Dat ol’ debbil racism just will not go away!
Paul Hollander, Lexington, Ky.
Sir — Your October review of State of Emergency quotes a number of remarkable passages from Patrick Buchan-an’s new book: “Language, faith, culture, and history — and, yes, birth, blood, and soil — produce a people, not an ideology.” And likewise: “We are conducting an experiment rooted neither in common sense nor the American experience, but in an ideology that declares, against all historical evidence, that people of every country, creed, culture, or civilization are equally and easily assimilable into America, and all have an equal right to come here.”
These are arguments AR readers have heard and made many times, but it is remarkable to find them in the pages of a mainstream book. My question is this: How does Pat Buchanan get away with it while the rest of us would be pilloried for saying the same things publicly?
Oliver Knight, Boston, Mass.
Sir — Mikael Widmark was as interesting as ever in his report on the Swedish elections, but I was particularly struck by the advantages European countries enjoy from having parliamentary systems. If the United States had such a system, surely a race-realist list would win at least 10 or 15 percent of the vote. Can you imagine a race-realist caucus of 50 congressmen? Such a group could hold hearings and investigations, and some of its members might end up as committee chairmen. The impact would be enormous.
Sarah Wentworth, Richmond, Va.
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