|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 13, No. 2||February 2002|
Milking the Dream
How the King family trades on the MLK myth
Martin Luther King, Jr. was undoubtedly the most famous black activist of what is known as the civil rights period. He was an adulterer, plagiarizer, and Communist sympathizer, but even in the 1950s and ‘60s the white establishment was hesitant to criticize so eloquent a spokesman for racial integration. By the time of King’s assassination in 1968, he was an advisor to presidents, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and recipient of countless honorary degrees.
As was the case with Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy, assassination at a time of national prominence probably ensured far greater fame than a full career would have. King was a man of abiding flaws that would have become impossible to ignore. Also, once the traditional “civil rights” program of integration, voting rights, and racial preferences was achieved, he would have had to endorse ever-more radical demands — demands that would have cost white support — to keep from losing the limelight to Black Muslims, Black Panthers, and other militants. Indeed, although King is still an obligatory hero to whites, many blacks now think of him as a trimmer and a Tom, certainly in comparison to someone like Malcolm X.
Assassination, therefore, came at the perfect time to establish a glowing King legacy. It also came at the perfect time to establish for his widow and children a well-paid profession as bereaved family members of the Great Man and official custodians of the legacy.
The very year of the assassination, Mrs. Coretta King established the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. It has some exhibits and a gift shop, but its main job appears to be to cash in on martyrdom. The family’s pursuit of money has been so single-minded it has often made it hard for others to use King’s name and words, and its constant demand for royalties has sometimes blocked even the most favorable portrayals.
The Kings have copyrighted nearly every word the patriarch uttered, and are ruthless about asserting their rights. In 1993, for example, the family sued USA Today, which had celebrated the 30th anniversary of the 1,600-word “I Have a Dream” speech by reprinting it. The family would not relent, and the newspaper finally paid a $1,700 reprint fee, plus the King Center’s considerable legal costs. In the current era of abasement, few were rude enough to point out that such punctilious insistence on intellectual property rights ill becomes the family of a man who was, himself, a life-long plagiarist.
In 1996, the King Center sued CBS because it included excerpts from the “dream” speech in a five-part video series called The 20th Century with Mike Wallace. CBS had filmed the speech in 1963, and not surprisingly thought it had the right to its own archives. The King center thought otherwise, and sued for royalties, giving up only after it lost both in trial court and on appeal.
The saintly veil that has been cast over King and everything he touched has no doubt kept a lot of ugly maneuvering out of the public eye, but by 1987 the pattern was clear. That year, Mrs. King and the King Center sued Boston University to get back 83,000 King papers the university had held since the 1960s. The King Center already had more than 100,000 such papers but wanted every single one. After six years of legal skirmishing, the case went to trial. Boston University produced a 1964 letter from King saying his papers were to become the university’s “absolute property” upon his death. Mrs. King claimed never to have seen the letter. The university then produced a letter she herself had written in 1967 acknowledging the existence of the earlier letter. Mrs. King then switched tactics and insisted King had changed his mind about where the papers were to end up, but could show no evidence for this. A jury — including two blacks and a Hispanic — found for the university in 1987, but Mrs. King would not back down. She kept the appeal process going until she lost decisively in 1995.
When it comes to suing, the Kings judge not by the color of someone’s skin but by the content of his bank account. Henry Hampton is a black film producer who made the now-famous civil rights television series, Eyes on the Prize, which was broadcast in 1987 with a sequel in 1990. In 1992, the family demanded money from Mr. Hampton’s production company Blackside, Inc. because the series used footage of Rev. King. Mr. Hampton offered $100,000. The family sneered at this figure and launched what Mr. Hampton called “an aggressive attempt to get an enormous amount of money,” adding that “they seemed to have the notion that millions of dollars were available.” Several broadcasters that had planned to rerun the series shelved the idea for fear of being dragged into the suit. When the Kings refused to back down, Mr. Hampton countersued, charging that the family’s threats “had a chilling effect on Blackside’s right of free speech.” The parties eventually settled out of court for considerably less than the $100,000 Mr. Hampton had originally offered. The Kings clearly think lining their own pockets is more important than letting other people — no matter how admiring — spread the great man’s wisdom.
Everyone in the family seems to have an eye for swag, and some charge for interviews. According to a German television company, the youngest of King’s children, Bernice, “wanted to have $4,000 or $5,000 for one interview, ten minutes.”
By the time the Kings got into a fight with the National Park Service, their reputation for money-grubbing was so bad even liberals were disgusted. In 1980, the family had asked the Park Service to help administer the part of Atlanta now known as the King Historic District. This sycophantic designation includes King’s house and the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he preached. The feds turned the area into the third most popular historic site in America after the Statue of Liberty and Independence Hall in Philadelphia — and paid the King Center $535,000 a year for the privilege. In 1994, the Park Service started work on an $11.8 million visitor center across the street from the King Center. Although they had known of the project for years, the family waited until construction had begun before pushing for more money. Led by Rev. King’s son Dexter, the family announced the new center would cut into its own gift shop revenues and compete with an “interactive museum” they were thinking of building. As compensation, they asked the Park Service to triple its annual fee to $1.5 million. The service said no.
The Kings then held a press conference to explain that the bureaucrats they had worked with profitably for 15 years were now no better than James Earl Ray. Coretta King said, “The same evil forces that destroyed Martin Luther King are now trying to destroy my family. We are more determined than ever that they who slew the dreamer will not slay the dream.” Dexter King claimed the white man was at it again, trying “to annex this area to control the dissemination of history.” “Our history has always been diluted,” he explained; “we can tell our history. We know best.” Of course, the dream would remain unslain, all accusations of diluting history would be withdrawn, and the government could go ahead with its visitor center if the Park Service would only ante up another $1 million a year.
This was too much even for many blacks. Congressman John Lewis, who had been one of King’s collaborators, sided with the Park Service. Even Joseph Roberts, then minister of Ebenezer Baptist Church, called the King family’s demands “high-handed, dictatorial and undemocratic.” Cynthia Tucker, a black woman who edits the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s editorial page and who never misses a chance to shout “racism,” accused the Kings of “shortsighted leadership” and “profit mongering.” People began to point out that the King Center is supposed to be dedicated to “research, education and training in nonviolent philosophy and strategy,” but all it does is peddle “the legacy.” The Park Service went ahead with its visitor center but left some of the exhibits pointedly empty because the Kings refused to turn over papers and artifacts they had promised.
For years the family took the pious view that King’s image was not to be commercialized, and sued anyone so crude as to try. In 1982 the Georgia Supreme Court upheld its copyright on all representations of King, in a case against American Heritage Products, which was selling statuettes for $29.95. In 1996, however, the lure of lucre won out over piety. The center authorized a Lladro statue and rushed a series of pins and medallions onto the market in time for the Atlanta Olympics. A line of King-image personal checks is now available, and there is talk of a Hollywood biography that could be directed by Oliver Stone. In 1997, the family swung a deal with Time Warner to bring out MLK books, CDs, and a web page. Estimated revenue for the King Center: $10 million a year.
Recently, the Kings rented out the patriarch’s words and image for advertising. Atlanta-based Cingular, a cellular telephone company, and the French telecommunications company Alcatel have both run King ads. In one, King’s voice is featured with several others, including that of Kermit the Frog. There is no telling what could come next, now that Dexter King has visited Graceland — twice — to see how the Elvis “legacy” is marketed.
In 1995, the family once more set its priorities straight by shutting down the King holiday commission. Mrs. King had spent 10 years building up the organization, which promoted celebration of the King national holiday. As soon as it reached a certain prominence, it became a fund-raising competitor to the King Center. It was best to kill the commission — which only promoted King and “civil rights,” after all — so as to clear the field for the center that pays the King family salaries.
Another recent money-grub has once again been over papers. In 1999, the family condescended to let the Library of Congress take custody of the papers still in Atlanta, in a deal that would keep the copyright firmly in family hands. The King Center would no longer have to bother with looking after 100,000 papers, but could still charge fat reprint fees. The family had had the papers appraised for $40 million, so it pronounced itself generous in offering custody for a mere $20 million. The library didn’t see it that way. It expects to have full use of personal papers in its collections, not just the joy of knowing they are there, and gets most of its materials by donation. Its most expensive purchase ever was a $1.5 million 1930 acquisition of medieval manuscripts that included a Gutenberg Bible. Even the U. S. Congress, which will usually do anything in the name of racial atonement, jibbed at $20 million, and the King family is no longer pushing the deal.
The latest example of eye-opening greed is the King family’s demand for a hefty “licensing” fee to let the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial planned for the Washington Mall use the King name. In 1996, President Clinton signed legislation setting aside four acres adjoining the tidal basin, and promising full maintenance for the memorial, but no federal funds can be used to build it. There is a deadline of November 2003, to scrape together $100 million for the thing, but major donors are unwilling to stump up so long as the King family refuses to release the name. Tommy Hilfiger had promised $5 million and General Motors was going to give $10 million, but they will not write checks until the “licensing” problem is cleared up.
A monument on the Capitol Mall is about the highest honor the nation can pay. Leave it to the King family to see it as a chance to screw more money out of people. At one point, they were about to offer the King name for a flat $600,000 but are now back to dickering over a percentage of the money raised for the memorial.
There is some fear that Alpha Phi Alpha, which was King’s fraternity and is the group leading the project, may have to ask Congress to extend the seven-year fund-raising period. General Motors has already provided $750,000 for “setup activities,” but that is long gone. At least a third of it disappeared in September, 2000, in connection with a lavish celebration announcing the winner of the memorial design competition. It would be a blessing to the country if the King family’s greed were so great it kept the Mall free of the memorial, but Congress will certainly vote an extension of the fund-raising period if it is needed, and whites will eventually offer enough money to satisfy the poor, grieving, bereaved family.
Which, of course, is the real problem. It is easy to scoff at the King family’s transparent greed, but who is to blame? Mrs. King and the children can be forgiven for thinking “Dr.” King was the most important American — perhaps the most important human — who ever lived. He and Jesus Christ alone share the distinction of federal holidays on their birthdays. King, who stands far higher in official estimation than such slaveholding wretches as George Washington or Thomas Jefferson, is an American saint who brought the promise of American liberty and democracy to full fruition. It is whites, of course, who have led or at least acquiesced in a canonization they could have stopped at any time. All the black frauds and con-men such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and every one of their local variants would be nobodies if whites didn’t pay attention to them.
But in letting the King myth expand to preposterous size whites have sorely burdened the King family. It is not easy being the child or widow of a saint. We can hardly expect such people to have anything like a normal sense of propriety and even less to dirty their hands in the unglamorous business of “non-violent social change.”
What is more, whites no longer need much help from blacks to promote whatever is meant by “civil rights.” They are past masters at confessing to “racism,” apologizing for their history and culture, and promoting multiracialism and their own dispossession. Why should the King family bother with that sort of thing when whites perform like trained seals already? Far better just to get on with the pleasant business of getting rich.
A good source of information on how the King family profits from “the legacy” is Michael Eric Dyson, “Legacy for Sale,” Emerge, Feb., 2000, pp. 49ff.
King of the Web
The Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change has a glossy web site that is true to form, complete with “terms of agreement,” to which visitors are deemed to have consented when they visit the page. The agreement goes on for 3,600 words of lawyer-talk, and makes it very clear that anyone who wants to use “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s intellectual property, which includes right of publicity to his name, likeness and image; his copyrighted words; and his recorded voice,” will have to deal with something called Intellectual Properties Management (IPM) in Atlanta, Georgia. Not that there is much in the way of intellectual property on the web page. There is not one sentence of King quotations in HTML or electronic text; that would presumably be too easy to copy and distribute.
Every year, the King Center designs a new set of banners and posters to use in celebrating the great man’s birthday, and the 2002 materials went on sale well in time for the Jan. 21 holiday. Here, too, the center is ever vigilant. The on-line illustrations of the publicity materials have digital “watermarks” with the world “sample” stamped on them to discourage copying from the web. It wouldn’t do to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. without paying the King center a fee.
There is an on-line gift shop that sells gimcracks. We find a King Center tote bag (“great for kids!”), as well as a special promotion described as follows: “This unique travel mug has a copper finish and features The King Center logo. The mug is contained in a beautiful drawstring pouch, making it a great gift idea.” The price is $19.99, and the illustration for the “unique travel mug” does not have a digital watermark.
Needless to say, it is not hard to find the donations page, where we learn that “The King Center graciously accepts your donations . . .” Yes, “graciously.” It wouldn’t be like the King center to accept them gratefully.
We Wish You a Phony Festival
Kwanzaa was invented by a black criminal in California.
Earlier this season, countless schools and households celebrated Kwanzaa. They lit black, red and green candles (for black skin, red blood, and the green hills of Africa), and sang songs about the festival’s “seven principles,” such as faith, unity and creativity. Already big among blacks in the United States, Kwanzaa is catching on in Canada, too. Held each year from December 26 until January 2, Kwanzaa is increasingly seen as an appropriate multicultural alternative to Christmas, a holiday considered too religious and “Eurocentric” for public schools. But there is one not-so-insignificant problem with Kwanzaa. While many teachers believe it is an ancient African harvest festival, it was not born in pre-colonial West Africa, but in 1960s southern California. It is the brainchild of African-American radical activist, academic and convicted felon Ron Karenga.
In 1969, two rival radical groups were battling for control of the UCLA black studies program: the Black Panthers and the lesser-known US, or United Slaves, led by Mr. Karenga. Both groups sauntered around campus carrying loaded guns. Perhaps inevitably, violence erupted. As David Horowitz recalls in Radical Son, Black Panther John Higgins was “murdered — along with Al ‘Bunchy’ Carter — on the UCLA campus by members of Ron Karenga’s organization.” After the killing, the FBI infiltrated both groups, and the United Slaves turned to fighting “enemies within.” The result: two female members were tortured by their “comrades” in May, 1970. Both allege Mr. Karenga ordered and participated in their assaults.
In 1999, writer Paul Mulshine published his research into Karenga’s violent past on FrontPageMagazine. Mr. Mulshine found a May 14, 1971, Los Angeles Times report of the victims’ testimony, which read: “The victims said they were living at Karenga’s home when Karenga accused them of trying to [poison] him . . . When they denied it, allegedly they were beaten with an electrical cord and a hot soldering iron was put in [one victim’s] mouth and against her face. Police were told that one of [the other victim’s] toes was placed in a small vise which was allegedly tightened by one of the defendants. The following day . . . Karenga, holding a gun, threatened to shoot both of them.”
Convicted of felonious assault and false imprisonment, Mr. Karenga was sentenced in 1971 to up to 10 years in prison. “A brief account of the sentencing ran in several newspapers the following day,” Mr. Mulshine writes. “That was apparently the last newspaper article to mention Karenga’s unfortunate habit of doing unspeakable things to black people. After that, the only coverage came from the hundreds of news accounts that depict him as the wonderful man who invented Kwanzaa.” Shortly after his release from prison in 1975, Mr. Karenga (now armed, not with a pistol, but a doctorate) took over the black studies department at California State University, Long Beach, which he runs to this day.
And what about Kwanzaa? The festival’s seven days commemorate allegedly “traditional African” principles, such as “collective work” and “cooperative economics,” each referred to by a Swahili name. “Why did Karenga use Swahili words for his fictional African feast?” asks Mr. Mulshine. “American Blacks are primarily descended from people who came from Ghana and other parts of West Africa. Kenya and Tanzania — where Swahili is spoken — are thousands of miles away. This makes about as much sense as having Irish-Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by speaking Polish.” And why would Mr. Karenga schedule a harvest festival near the winter solstice, “a season when few fruits or vegetables are harvested anywhere?”
This month, the religious satire magazine The Door likewise questioned Kwanzaa’s authenticity. “Karenga cobbled together a mishmash of different traditions and languages and blended them with Marxist ideas to reflect a unified African culture that doesn’t exist anywhere,” it reported. Ujamaa, or “cooperative economics” — one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa — is the term the socialist leader of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere, used for his disastrous policy of putting tens of thousands of Tanzanians on collective farms.
“People think it’s African, but it’s not,” admitted Karenga in a 1978 Washington Post interview. “I put it around Christmas because I knew that’s when a lot of ‘bloods’ [Blacks] would be partying.”
Reprinted by permission of The Report News magazine of Alberta, Canada.
The IQ Wars
g-Men may yet win in overtime.
The study of g, or the general factor of intelligence, is perhaps the most controversial area in psychology. Proponents of the g factor argue that it is the psychological basis of most human mental abilities, that it is largely genetic, and that it cannot easily be improved through environmental manipulation (except to some degree by breastfeeding). Much of the controversy has to do with the overwhelming evidence that g is not distributed equally across socio-economic classes and races, and that g’s unequal distribution explains why some people and societies fail while others succeed. If g is a valid concept, it is a profoundly important one, but it has been under constant attack from doctrinaire opponents who refuse to accept the genetic basis for intelligence. Have opponents been so successful that the study of g is now on its last legs? Has political correctness finally suppressed even all mention of IQ and racial differences? It would be easy to think so, but a recent conference on intelligence provided grounds for optimism.
In December 2001, in Cleveland, Ohio, the International Society for Intelligence Research (ISIR) held its second annual conference. Because IQ is too hot to handle, no university could be found to host the scholars who had jetted in from places as far away as Australia, Austria, Germany, and California, so the venue was a Holiday Inn. Among the 40 researchers active in the field were such martyrs to the IQ cause as Emeritus Professor Arthur Jensen (University of California, Berkeley), Philippe Rushton (University of Western Ontario), Linda Gottfredson (University of Delaware) and myself (sacked by Edinburgh University in 1997 for saying too much about intelligence, race, sex, feminism, unwed mothers and pedophilia). Our opponents came too. People like Prof. Earl “Buz” Hunt (University of Washington), Prof. Nathan Brody (Wesleyan University) and Prof. Joseph Fagan (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland) lumbered into action to face pretty hard pitching.
Adding novelty to the discussions was a pair of “ethically concerned” psychologists from Indiana University. They presented a paper denouncing the “insensitivity” of IQ testers and deploring the absence from the conference of “people of color.” In fact, three Asians and a Hispanic were among the 40 authors who reported their findings in 20-minute digests that allowed almost everyone to be a speaker. No blacks had even applied. As it happens, many East Asians are happy with the concept of g, and its invariable finding that their group has the highest average IQ, though they know the subject must be discussed only in academic language and never with the Western press.
Sparks inevitably flew. Phil Rushton, with an anti-apartheid activist as his co-author, shocked the g-doubters with results from IQ testing in one of Africa’s two best universities, Witwatersrand. He has found that the black African students had a mean IQ of only 84. Assuming top-flight university students have IQs at least one standard deviation above the mean, this yields an estimate of an average IQ of only 70 for Africans as a group.
I explained that population differences in g were apparent to Plato, who may have derived his understanding from observations as a slave, and from what seems, in the Symposium, to have been his experience of late-night drinking parties with the lower orders. Unfortunately, few Western philosophers followed Plato’s lead of mixing widely, and after Plato, it was more than two thousand years before g and eugenics were discussed articulately and systematically.
Tim Bates of Macquarie University in New South Wales argued — as I have been explaining to an unreceptive world since 1977 — that “rapid information processing is the basic mechanism underlying g.” Roland Tiu of Case Western Reserve spoke about “the importance of the role of processing speed and IQ in predicting reading comprehension.” Speed of information processing is likely to be governed by the efficiency of the brain at the biological level, and is very unlikely to be influenced by the usual environmental interventions touted by g-doubters. Altogether, the g factor was having something of a field day.
Aghast, the g-doubters resorted to the usual smokescreen of methodological and ad hoc objections. They demanded data recounts and replays down to the last detail. In desperation, they trotted out once more the only strong data set that appears to support the racial-egalitarian view. The mulatto, out-of-wedlock children of German women who lived near US Army bases shortly after the Second World War seem to have average IQs not far off the German average. This overlooks the likelihood that the black fathers were probably more intelligent than the average black grunt. Girls who had lived through Hitler’s war were probably looking for partners with stripes on their shoulders and cartons of cigarettes in their jeeps, not black squaddies of uncertain means.
Critics of g newly returned from another conference in Australia told of the “Abecedarian” Head Start project, which ran from 1980 in North Carolina, and once claimed to have produced IQ gains of up to 25 points. Today, the alleged big gains are forgotten — they were reported only in the very early stages. Still, enthusiasts like to rejoice that after a 20-year expenditure of $11,000 a year, the “disadvantaged” participants show a four IQ-point increase by age 21 — but no reduction in crime or welfare rates as compared to controls. Some breakthrough for the social engineers!
One g-doubter even promised he could eliminate the black-white IQ difference simply by teaching black children the right answers to vocabulary tests. His research showed instruction of this kind doesn’t do any good for white children because they know the words already. But he seemed to think race-targeted “opportunity-giving” would be a fair way to rectify the basic inequalities that result from traditional testing methods. Phil Rushton and I agreed that this man’s work simply makes no sense. He is plainly one of those who feel that any black-white difference is always and obviously due to some “lack of opportunity” for blacks. The liberal-left is now reduced to gibberish about I — well-funded gibberish, of course.
The other side tried to make much of “multiple intelligences.” This idea arises from the fact that high-IQ people are typically found to have unusual cognitive specialties in verbal, mathematical, spatial and memory abilities. These cognitive discrepancies at the high-IQ range impress only left-wing theorists who don’t get out much, and don’t realize differences of this kind are rarely found in ordinary people. The exotic specialties of high-IQ folk are eagerly read by the left to mean that intelligences are really “multiple,” and that all people are wondrously equal in that they all must be good at something.
Our side pointed out that claims for new tests of “multiple intelligence” are essentially fraudulent. Such tests and indeed the “intelligences” themselves are invented at colossal expense at Harvard and Yale in the hope of finding a way out of the political embarrassment caused by the persistent black-white difference in the unitary value of g. Conference organizer Douglas Detterman (Case Western Reserve) and I both explained how and why variation in g is what explains behavioral differences among ordinary people, even if it does not account for special abilities among the very intelligent.
Gerald Barrett, a lawyer from Akron, Ohio, explained how he had several times had “evidence” from the new multiple intelligence “tests” thrown out of US courtrooms because they failed to meet professional standards or legal guidelines. Today in America it is only the legal profession that maintains a semblance of academic standards while many universities have become propaganda agencies for political correctness.
Despite the liveliness of occasional exchanges, the psychology experts were disinclined to acknowledge each other’s brilliance, and applause for the speakers — whether race realist or politically correct — was perfunctory. Asked to comment on Prof. Rushton’s South African discoveries, one of the brightest students at the conference said, first, that Prof. Rushton “should have set aside his obsession with brain size and IQ” — when in fact Prof. Rushton had not mentioned brain size in his talk. The student also said he “had always thought African IQ to be pretty low, so Rushton need not have gone to the rather boring trouble of proving the point.” Such are the rewards for inquisitive and hard-working academics today.
The ignoracism (to use the term of the late Raymond Cattell) that generally characterizes the critics of IQ extended even into the breaks and informal discussions. Asked their opinions on the simplest aspects of race and IQ, attendees would stare resolutely into the middle distance, hoping for the call that would end the coffee break and let them scamper back to hear the next convoluted, g-avoiding presentation. Not even the rise of political correctness in the universities and the reduction of conservatives to five percent of faculty members in America could be discussed in coffee breaks. In this respect, the other side — for which such silence is a primary objective — has arguably triumphed.
Some people refused even to open their ears to opposing views. Although the Indiana “ethicists,” claimed to “come as friends to the IQ community,” they absented themselves when Prof. Rushton described the ultra-sensitive psychometric testing procedures at Witwatersrand — so much did they prefer their own stereotypes to reality. The press also absented itself: Denial is the only way the New York Times can handle the entirely robust and demonstrable phenomenon of IQ.
Fortunately, the graybeards slugging it out in the name of scientific progress were not alone. There were merciful signs of a younger generation bringing reinforcements. From Holland, a young researcher arrived with news of a South Asian IQ of less than 90 — for which finding this former liberal had endured press denunciations comparing him to “the fascist Brand in Scotland.” From Delaware came a young engineer who had converted to psychology so as to study the possibility that the “Flynn Effect” (of rising IQ scores in the 20th century) had been due not to teachers, social workers or other do-gooders but to increased geographical mobility. He theorized that the IQ rise was due to outbreeding and hybrid vigor, as recessive genes were smothered. Harrison Kane the young co-author of my own paper was not able to attend the conference but sent in a major new data set attesting to the overwhelming importance of g in accounting for mental ability variations in 6,000 Americans — a finding also reported by Dasen Luo, an Indiana colleague of Douglas Detterman’s sizable Cleveland team. A convert from a Sydney MA course in commerce proposed a biological theory of intelligence as “neural plasticity in competitive networks,” which is apparently “a general mechanism that adapts the connections in response to the environment.” This is not a theory that conforms well with the environment-is-all view, but Dennis Garlick’s full paper will appear soon in psychology’s most prestigious journal, Psychological Review, so the g-doubters could not sniff openly.
The current generation of young IQ scholars does not enter the field through ordinary academic channels. Because the thought police are everywhere — as those who attended this conference plainly believed — there is little space or funding for realistic psychology. There is not a single university in America or Britain offering a course in scientific psychology’s major discovery: IQ. Edinburgh University remains Britain’s major center for IQ studies, but after I was fired, the department felt compelled to change the name of its Structural Psychometrics Group to Psychometrics Research Group because the previous name was so closely associated with me and my Ph.D. students.
One might have thought psychology would by now be a science (or at least an academic subject) of careful argument and non-anecdotal evidence. Because it is, instead, so ideologically doctrinaire, it often takes unique experiences for students to break into serious IQ studies. In two cases, the young g-backing researchers who presented papers in Cleveland had been impressed by the hounding they had suffered once their names were linked to mine. In another case, a young man had identical twin sisters and also a third, non-twin sister, and was struck by the twins’ remarkable psychological similarities. Yet another young researcher had grown up as the only child of a bright, successful and self-made engineer, and found himself seriously shocked when, at age five, he had to endure the public schools of Australia’s Deep North.
Perhaps it was always this way. I arrived at hereditarian views around 1965, when I was working as a psychologist in Britain’s top maximum-security psychiatric prison. I was amazed to find that the staff and prisoners invariably credited the problems of any adopted prisoner quite uncritically to the fact of having been adopted. I, myself, was adopted (perfectly happily) and knew that was certainly not enough to turn people into psychopathic criminals.
Arthur Jensen, likewise, made a unique, individual move in 1965 to work in London with Hans Eysenck, the arch-critic of the projective (e.g. inkblot-style) tests in which Prof. Jensen was then an expert. And those who attended the Cleveland conference were reminded of the continuing scholarly inquisitiveness of this sprightly 77-year-old — an alertness likely to be put to excellent use for quite a few more years thanks to the longevity that runs in the Jensen family.
Long live individual experience and the powerful curiosity, doubt, and rebellion it encourages! Unfettered curiosity and the willingness to fight convention now furnish the last hope that academic psychology will survive the battering it has had from the West’s newly emerging religion of political correctness.
Mr. Brand is the author of The g Factor: General Intelligence and Its Implications. Its “publisher,” John Wiley & Sons, withdrew the book from bookstores in April, 1996, just a few days after publication, claiming suddenly to find it “repellent.” Mr. Brand, was later fired from Edinburgh University, where had had worked as an academic psychologist for 25 years.
All the News That Fits
Journalism for the new America.
William McGowan, Coloring the News: How Crusading for Diversity Has Corrupted American Journalism, Encounter Books, 2001, $29.95, 278 pp.
Coloring the News has been well received in conservative circles as a brave book that lays bare the liberal prejudices and deceptions of the media. This view is not altogether mistaken, though the achievement is dimmed by the fact that exposing liberal press bias is like shooting fish in a barrel. Former journalist and current Manhattan Institute fellow William McGowan blazes away for nearly 300 pages, and covers a lot of useful ground, but ultimately falls victim to the very thinking he claims to be denouncing. Despite all the reasons he offers to oppose the “diversity” that is corrupting the news and damaging the country, Mr. McGowan is still all for it; it just hasn’t been handled right. Perhaps he also thinks Marxism was a great idea that never had the chance it deserved either.
Coloring the News starts with the assumption that in the old days the press was run by hidebound white heterosexual men who couldn’t write fairly about anyone else. Newspapers needed a stiff dose of exoticism to ensure a kind of representative democracy of the press. Blacks, homosexuals, Hispanics, and feminists would all be objective journalists first, and then bring to bear unique sensitivities to make the news more fair and true. They would win the trust of “excluded” communities, whose grateful members would buy papers and boost sales. Mr. McGowan seems to have fallen for this silly idea, and is disappointed the new recruits turned out to be activists first and foremost.
The way they got their jobs had something to do with it. As Mr. McGowan explains, from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Philadelphia Enquirer on down, big media companies have had open hiring quotas. Many papers enrolled only non-whites in their intern programs, and on recruiting trips to journalism schools the New York Times would sometimes interview only minorities. In 1991, Times editor Max Frankel admitted he hired one non-white for every white, and would hesitate to fire an incompetent black woman. In 1992, publisher Arthur Sulzberger said diversity was “the single most important issue” for the paper. At Time-Warner magazines and the Gannett newspapers, bonuses for executives depended on how diligently they hired and promoted protected classes. As Los Angeles Times publisher Mark Willes explained, “people want to feel like the paper is theirs. They can’t do that if the paper is a fundamentally white male newspaper.”
Many newspapers made sure that coverage was diverse, too, with USA Today famously decreeing every day there had to be a photo of a non-white on the front page, above the fold. Many papers also rated reporters on their sources, marking them down if they quoted too many white men. At the Los Angeles Times, there is a Latino Team that meets every day to ensure Hispanics get the coverage they deserve. At many papers, says Mr. McGowan, there is a vice president for diversity who makes sure the right people are hired and the news has the right tint.
The inevitable result has been open advocacy. Mr. McGowan quotes black journalist Jack White, who explained at a 1997 seminar at the Columbia School of Journalism that he was both a good reporter and a “loyal brother” who got into journalism “to advance the liberation of an oppressed people.” “Many younger journalists,” explains Mr. McGowan, “particularly members of minorities, see objectivity as a reflection of ‘white’ cultural values.”
Managers and editors apparently see nothing wrong with this. They gladly send writers off to associations of black, Hispanic, or homosexual journalists, where there is open plotting about how to slant the news. For the chosen classes, there is no such thing as a conflict of interest.
Mr. McGowan has noticed that racial issues are among the most flagrantly misreported. He writes that the press assumes white America is a hopeless fen of racism, tormenting blacks and Hispanics at every turn. At the same time, the press downplays news that might show non-whites in a bad light — and Mr. McGowan has found editors willing to admit it. For example, in 1990, five police officers in Buffalo, New York, were arrested for corruption, but the Buffalo News did not publish their photos. All were black and, as editor Murray Light explained, there was a “commanding need” for black role models, and to have noted the race of the offenders would have been “devastating.”
Others are candid about how they report political issues. At the time of the ballot initiative in California to eliminate racial preferences, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders explained, “It is the belief [here] that the real job of the paper is to defeat this thing.” Los Angeles Times reporter John Balzar explained why the paper never mentioned that non-white immigrants fresh from Mexico were getting racial preferences over native-born whites: That would be “reckless,” he said, because “we live in a state where feelings about immigrants boil over so easily.”
Almost all the offenders in the Los Angeles “Ramparts” police scandal were Hispanic, but the Los Angeles Times was careful to avoid giving this impression. Likewise, writers at the Washington Post knew that many blacks joining the DC police through preference programs were incompetents and even criminals, but the paper never hinted at a link between affirmative action and the police corruption stories they were later obliged to write. For years, the Washington Post also spiked any unflattering stories about black DC mayor Marion Barry. As Juan Williams, a black who wrote for the paper explains, white editors thought “black politics were in their infancy and it would be unfair to hold them to the same standard.”
Mr. McGowan has noticed that newspapers that give great prominence to bias attacks somehow find other things to write about when the “attack” turns out to be a hoax. When it has given the fakery so much play it cannot help covering the awkward dénouement, the New York Times sometimes likes to point out that even a hoax has the benefit of giving people a chance to “reach out” to other races.
Almost all newspapers adore racial preferences. In both California and Washington state, every major state paper opposed voter initiatives to end preferences — and then had to report that the initiatives passed by large margins. The publisher of the Seattle Times even spent $275,000 of the paper’s money on ads supporting racial preferences.
One of the classic cases of racial foolishness Mr. McGowan reports is the New York Times Magazine’s worshipful account of Patrick Chavis, the affirmative action black who got into medical school ahead of Allan Bakke, and helped bring about the famous 1978 Bakke Supreme Court case. In June, 1995, Nicholas Lemann wrote a glowing cover story about Dr. Chavis’ caring practice, which even won the doctor a trip to Washington for a Senate hearing, where Senator Edward Kennedy crowed about the triumphs of affirmative action.
Just two years later, the Medical Board of California suspended Dr. Chavis’ license, citing his “inability to perform some of the most basic duties required of a physician,” and warning that for him to “continue in the practice of organized medicine will endanger the public health, safety and welfare.” If Mr. Lemann had not been so determined to write puff, he would have learned that Chavis had long been indifferent to the pain his patients suffered, and that many people knew of his incompetence. The Times, of course, considered it wholly un-newsworthy when its favorite example of affirmative action had his license lifted. Mr. Chavis said it was all a racist plot against him, but the Times didn’t report that either.
On the other hand, when two Ivy League university presidents wrote a 1998 book defending racial preferences in college admissions the Times showered it with ink. There was a Sunday book review for The Bend in the River, a review in the daily paper, and a long news feature accompanied by an excerpt in the Week in Review — all capped with a fawning editorial called “The Facts About Affirmative Action.”
Mr. McGowan points out that media coverage of homosexuals is almost as badly slanted. In 1998, in the month after the homosexual Matthew Shepard was murdered, there were 3,007 news stories about him. When, in 1999, two homosexuals kidnapped the young heterosexual boy Jesse Dirkhising, raped him, and killed him, there were only 46 stories in the first month. Not one appeared on the networks or in the national dailies. The Washington Post ran one tiny AP dispatch.
Likewise, when hundreds of thousands of homosexuals marched in Washington in 1993, the major media made them seem clean-cut and normal. It was only those watching unedited C-Span who saw the topless lesbians, the obvious transvestites, and the men in leather harnesses. They also heard one lesbian speaker say she wanted to “fuck” Hillary Clinton, and another say she “wanted to get it on with Anita Hill.”
Mr. McGowan notes that the press went along with homosexuals when they claimed heterosexuals were just as likely to get AIDS as men who let themselves be buggered by a dozen “lovers” every week. This led to needless worry, and testing among people who had essentially no chance of getting AIDS, but also — as Mr. McGowan fails to note — public support for huge government programs to find a cure for what was billed as a disease that could kill anyone but was concentrated among homosexuals.
After the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the Boy Scouts’ right to keep out homosexuals, some papers gave the mistaken impression that scores of companies and school districts withdrew support for the Scouts. This was actually quite unusual, and many groups increased support.
Homosexual journalists are often as partisan as their non-white colleagues. At the 1995 meeting of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association there were seminars on how to write news stories to persuade, as one participant put it, “a majority of people to come out in favor of gay marriage.”
“Women’s issues” often get the same treatment. An official with the National League of Abortion Providers admits he “lied through his teeth” when he claimed there were only about 500 late term abortions every year and only for serious health reasons. This was at the height of the national debate on partial birth abortion, and the press kept on reporting this figure long after it was known there were far more, and that many women had them for reasons of convenience.
Mr. McGowan also covers the cases of Karen Hultgreen and Carey Lohrenz, failures who were pushed through flight training so the Navy could claim women were landing jets on carriers, and of Kelly Flinn, the lady B-52 pilot guilty of adultery and perjury. The media invariably made liars and dangerous incompetents out to be victims of male oppression. During the Gulf War, 36 of the 160 women among the crew of the USS Acadia had to be evacuated for pregnancy disability — yet the press continues to assure us women make dandy sailors, soldiers, and pilots.
Mr. McGowan even takes a poke at the way the media cover immigration: “[N]ews organizations have been too ready to follow a romantic script that exaggerates its benefits and ignores its downsides.” “Instead of questioning whether multiculturalism was something we really wanted, and letting the American public decide,” he adds, “the press treated it as an immutable fait accompli . . .”
He notes that anything unpleasant about immigrants — crime, disease, illegitimacy, welfare chiseling, drug peddling, etc. — gets little coverage. Stories about fake marriages, smuggling, or ID forging read like celebrations of immigrant ingenuity. Mr. McGowan quotes a New York Times story about illegal Bangladeshi construction workers in New York City, who drive down wages for natives and force them out of work, but this is just another example of how “immigrants create niches for themselves in the city’s economy.” Typical New York Times headline: “Immigrants Jam Schools, Invigorate System.”
Mr. McGowan notes that during the 1990s it was nearly impossible to find a news story about immigrants on welfare. However, when late in the decade the federal government looked into cutting back on services, there were suddenly plenty of stories telling us how many of the little dears were doing to be kicked off welfare. Likewise, the New York Times publishes next to nothing about immigrant criminals — until they are deported back to their homelands. Then it writes mournful stories about how unfair it is to dump American-trained thugs on peaceful Third-World countries.
The duty to pander to immigrants can outweigh even feminism. The New York Times wrote that for immigrants from the Jain sect in India, arranged marriages gave them a strong “sense of family and identity.” A feminist at the Times likewise said that though she didn’t care for African genital mutilation, as a white woman she could not denounce it. Any campaign “must be led by African activists.”
Mr. McGowan reports that a few editors may have some dim understanding that “diversity” hasn’t quite worked out as planned. In 1992, publisher Arthur Sulzberger of the New York Times admitted that the various multi-cultis at the paper were “at each other’s throats.” Indeed, the UNITYconference in which all the non-white journalist associations participate is often anything but united. In 1999, the blacks didn’t want to meet in Seattle because Washington was about to vote on an anti-preferences initiative. The Hispanics were happy with Seattle, and the argument got so hot a “diversity consultant” had to be called in to sort things out. As the president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists explained, “We couldn’t get past one group feeling that their concerns were more important than another group’s.”
In 1989 the publisher of the Miami Herald, David Lawrence, decided his paper would go for diversity full tilt and show the rest of the country “how you work it out.” Since then, according to Mr. McGowan, the paper has become a lapdog for the Cuban power structure, and was so busy truckling and cheerleading during the Elian Gonzalez affair that out-of-town papers scooped it several times.
Diversity can backfire in other ways. Patricia Smith, the first black woman columnist for the Boston Globe, had to be dumped in 1998 for making up sources and quotes. She had been doing this for years. Her previous employer, the Chicago Sun Times was on to her, but the editor admitted he hadn’t fired her because she was a black woman.
As for the idea that showcasing non-whites and homosexuals would turn these people into avid newspaper readers, Mr. McGowan assures us it’s been a flop. Middle-class white people are still the main market, and many of them have been driven away by pandering and double standards.
So what is there to dislike in a book that describes so much fraud and foolishness? The fact that it accepts the very assumptions that led to the fraud and foolishness. Here is Mr. McGowan at his worst:
Given the industry’s past sins of racial, ethnic and cultural exclusion, the steps it has taken to enhance minority representation in newsrooms and in news coverage represent a worthy, overdue, and historically necessary event.
A willingness on the part of the media to move away from its history of male condescension and chauvinism in the coverage of women and women’s issues was unquestionably necessary.
With respect to gay and feminist issues, diversity’s enhanced sensitivity has purged news coverage of many of the pernicious stereotypes that governed reporting and commentary in the past.
If the industry really was riddled with “chauvinism,” “exclusion,” and “pernicious stereotypes,” what but hiring quotas, race-preference bonuses, and mandatory pictures of blacks above the fold could have saved it? If reporters were such bigoted swine, there had to be Latino Committees to make sure they covered Hispanics the right way, and monitoring systems to make them call up non-white and homosexual sources.
Most of the time, Mr. McGowan writes as if past wickedness can be so taken for granted there is no need even to give examples of it, but he does produce two. Time, he says, quoting not the magazine but an obscure secondary source, once wrote in the 1960s that homosexuality is “a pathetic, second-rate substitute for reality, a pitiable flight from life” that deserved “no encouragement, no glamorization, no rationalization, no fake status as minority martyrdom, no sophistry about simple differences in taste and above all no pretense that it is anything but a pernicious sickness.”
Never mind the context of the quote, whether it was typical, or whether it is something many Americans today would consider a vigorous and truthful statement — this “ugly backdrop” meant that the press had to hire openly homosexual journalists in order to save its soul.
Here is his only other example of repulsive journalism that justified industry-wide housecleaning. Once more from Time, an Aug. 31, 1970 article described feminist Kate Millet as “an unsmiling thick-eyebrowed sphinx with emerging eyebags and a laser-beam stare that could melt male testicles from 50 yards.”
Whether he realizes it or not, what Mr. McGowan is saying is that these two passages are not just wrong, or unkind, or silly (melt male testicles?). He is saying they are so loathsome they should never have been published, that they are offenses so monstrous they indict every publication in America and justify the wholesale corrective that somehow degenerated into militant self-righteousness. What therefore makes his critique of “diversity” so shallow is his unquestioning acceptance that there was some horrible disease that required treatment in the first place. He doesn’t seem to like some of the effects of the cure, but doesn’t dispute that a cure was needed, and fails to propose one that would have worked better.
Mr. McGowan claims to be disgusted by the ideological conformity of the press, but this is obviously not true. If he really wanted spirited dialogue he would welcome articles that call homosexuality “a pernicious disease” or make fun of homely feminists. He writes of “the worthy goal of enhancing diversity,” one advantage of which is that “the realities of minority life that were once excluded from mainstream view are more accessible.” But he has just told us the opposite is true! His book is bursting with examples of “the realities of minority life” the press won’t touch: Mexican gangs, corrupt black cops, and immigrant welfare cheats, not to mention homicidal homosexuals and pregnant lady sailors.
Even as he catalogues diversity’s horror stories, Mr. McGowan manages to come up with a particularly lickspittle defense of the very thing he is attacking: “Having greater racial and ethnic breadth on staff also pays dividends in moral authority, as minority reporters often enjoy a license to weigh in on touchy issues that white journalists are reluctant to approach.” Apparently whites are such invertebrates they can’t be expected to call a spade a spade, so the press has to hire blacks to write about ghetto crack houses and Mexicans to write about pregnant 14-year-olds. But Mr. McGowan has just told us non-white journalists want to sweep this stuff under the rug. Are we supposed to imagine a New York Times editor telling a young black writer his job is to cover all the sordid black news whites are too squeamish to touch?
Mr. McGowan is clearly a confused man. If he had limited himself to a straight description of what is happening he would have written a much more effective, coherent book. By accepting the foolish assumptions of the diversity boosters, he undercuts his own efforts and disarms his best arguments.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
It Must Be Love
Marcella Anderson is a 21-year-old white woman from Minnesota who had an illegitimate child with a black man. On Christmas Eve, she was in Chicago with mulatto toddler Jasmine, and a three-year-old by another father. She was trying to take the children to the Greyhound station to catch a bus back to Minnesota, and was happy to accept a ride from Sheila Matthews, a 33-year-old black woman she had never met before. When Miss Anderson went to the ticket window, Miss Matthews made off with Jasmine.
Miss Matthews, we now know, has a history of kidnapping, faking pregnancies, and telling men she has had their children. In this case, she had told her convict boyfriend she had had his daughter while he was in prison. The boyfriend got out on parole in May, and wanted to see the girl, who Miss Matthews claimed was living with relatives. Desperate for evidence, Miss Matthews befriended Miss Anderson, stole Jasmine, and carried her off in triumph to her boyfriend in the suburbs.
When Miss Anderson got back from the ticket window and found Jasmine and her new friend gone, she went to police with pictures. Some were broadcast on television, and a few days later one of the boyfriend’s relatives recognized the child and reported the crime. Jasmine and her mother were quickly reunited. The kidnapper is now likely to face jail. She has at least two children of her own, but lost custody of them. The father of her children is in jail for child molestation. [Robert Pierre, Missing Girl Found Unharmed, Washington Post, Dec. 28, 2001, p. A4. Kim Barker and Cam Simpson, Abduction Suspect Was Accused Before, Chicago Tribune, Dec. 30, 2001.]
Our Kind Only
As the nation diversifies, so do the possibilities for housing discrimination. Integration advocates in California have discovered that as soon as immigrants become landlords, they discriminate in favor of their own kind. Some are willing to rent to whites, but it appears that only a minority of Hispanic landlords, for example, will rent to blacks. When the San Fernando Valley Fair Housing Council sent testers into the largely Hispanic area of Panorama City and North Hills, 13 of 20 apartment buildings would not rent to blacks. In Koreatown, 12 of 40 buildings discriminated against blacks, and in South-Central Los Angeles, 13 of 25 buildings discriminated. One black tester, Aretha Jackson, quit her job in disgust, convinced that Hispanic discrimination against blacks is so widespread nothing can be done about it. “I don’t look like scum, you know, I’ve been to school,” she says. “I ring a doorbell, and they won’t even show me anything.”
Sharon Kinlaw, who works as an investigator for the housing council, says landlords of every group discriminate, and none realizes it is illegal: “One thing we’re seeing across the board is, no matter if the managers are white, black, Hispanic or Asian, these folks don’t have a clue about state or federal fair housing law.” She also points out that Hispanics discriminate against each other. “You have the Guatemalans versus the Mexicans versus the Salvadorans,” she says.
Chancela Al-Mansour is a lawyer with Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County. “I’ve heard people saying, ‘Well, he’s from another state [within] Mexico,’” she says. “And the apartment manager only rents to people from the same state in Mexico. Our fair housing laws haven’t even anticipated that.” In fact, courts have already found that illegal.
Needless to say, when immigrants discriminate it’s not as bad as when whites do. “I don’t consider it the malicious kind of white racism we see against people of color,” says Shanna Smith (race unspecified), executive director of the National Fair Housing Alliance. “It seems to be more of a cultural preference . . . But it’s still illegal.” [Sue Fox, Mi Casa No Es Su Casa, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 21, 2001.]
The Babble of the Airways
Diversity brings other sorrows. The San Francisco Bay area has a Mandarin-language television station that immigrants love to watch, and are horrified that the country’s biggest Spanish-language network Univision is about to buy it. Several San Francisco activist groups and politicians have asked the Federal Communications Commission to force Univision to keep the daily 41/2 hours of Chinese programming, which includes news, variety shows and soap operas.
There are more Asians in San Francisco than Hispanics, but they do not have a common language as hHispanics do. Even among Chinese, there are Mandarin — and Cantonese-speakers, but all Hispanics speak Spanish. According to New California Media, an ethnic news network, there are more than 2,500 non-English news organizations in the state, but Spanish is often the only language with an audience large enough to support network television. [Michelle Smith, Ethnic Media Involved in Struggle, AP, Dec. 23, 2001.]
More Human Rights
Charles F. Holman, III is director of the Washington, DC Office of Human Rights, which stamps out discrimination among the district’s 33,000 employees. Mr. Holman, who is black, now faces charges of discrimination in a case filed by two whites. Since his office is the one that handles this kind of complaint, the two women filed their grievance with the discrimination-fighters at the DC public schools.
Laurie Bay says Mr. Holman treated her differently from blacks, requiring weekly activity reports and denying her training. She also says two other black supervisors in the office singled her out for harsh treatment, and that Mr. Holman recently hired a less qualified black woman to replace her. After she complained informally, she says, he gave her an unsatisfactory performance rating. Miss Bay has not worked since Dec. 4, claiming she suffers from a work-related stress disorder. The other white complainant, Shari Acosta, who reported to Miss Bay, says she got similar treatment and that Mr. Holman suddenly fired her without cause.
Blacks have noticed some things, too. Shelly Whiting, who used to work at the office as a receptionist, says she twice heard a black manager make insulting remarks about whites and light-skinned blacks. She says Mr. Holman did not discourage such talk, and definitely treated blacks and whites differently. Tamika Maultsby, a case worker who also resigned, says that with “a lot of [that kind of] stuff going on in the office, it’s just too much.” A source on the security staff for the building says Mr. Holman twice ordered guards to escort employees from the building for no apparent reason. “That’s totally not standard operating procedure,” he said. “You would only do that if someone’s violent or suspected of stealing.”
The problem with Mr. Holman should be resolved soon. Carolyn Graham, the deputy mayor who oversees the Office of Human Rights, has paid an organizational psychologist $19,000 to interview the staff and defuse tensions. [Sewell Chan, Rights Chief Accused of Bias, Washington Post, Dec. 30, 2001.]
Nation of Dropouts
The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the country has an 86 percent high school graduation rate, and that people of all races graduate at about the same rate. Jay Greene, author of a recent study published by the Manhattan Institute says that figure is inflated. He disregarded GEDs and other substitutes, and simply compared the number of eighth graders in one year and the number of graduates four years later. He juggled the numbers to account for demographic change, and found that 78 percent of whites graduate but only 56 percent of blacks and 54 percent of Hispanics. Naturally, graduation rates differ greatly from state to state. In Iowa, 93 percent of all students graduate but in Georgia only 57 percent do. Blacks do best in West Virginia, where 71 percent graduate, and worst in Wisconsin, where only 40 percent graduate. [John Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru, There Aren’t as Many High-School Graduates as You Think, National Review, Nov. 13, 2001. Cheryl Wetzstein, Study: Graduation Rates ‘Implausibly High,’ Washington Times, Nov. 14, 2001.]
Loose Lips Sink Ships
Dan Issel used to make $2.5 million a year as the coach of the Denver Nuggets basketball team. Not any more. On December 11, he got into a shouting match with a fan after a 99-96 loss, and concluded the exchange with: “Go drink another beer you Mexican piece of (expletive).” It was “Mexican” that got him in trouble, not the expletive. Hispanics bellowed and threatened boycott. Mr. Issel made a tearful public apology and groveled to Hispanic leaders. The team first suspended Mr. Issel for four games and fined him $112,000, but that apparently wasn’t enough. On December 26, general manager Kiki Vanderweghe told reporters, “Dan thought it was best for himself, his family and the Nuggets that he step back from coaching.” [Denver Nuggets Coach Resigns Over Ethnic Slur, Reuters, Dec. 26, 2001.]
Loose Lips Sink More Ships
Tarvis Simms is a black man married to a white woman. They have two children and live in Milford, Connecticut. In 1999, they got into a feud with their white neighbors, Wilfred and Michelle Chaisson, over the use of a shared driveway. The Simms say that before long the Chaissons were shouting racial insults at them. They also say the Chaissons “harassed” them by flying a Confederate flag. This led to candlelight vigils, prayer meetings and the formation of something called the Milford Anti-Hate Task Force. In November 1999, police arrested the Chaissons on felony hate crime charges, and in March 2001, the couple pleaded no contest to reduced charges and got suspended sentences.
What makes this case unusual are the conditions a Superior Court judge attached to the plea bargain. The Chaissons had a choice between jail and taking down the Confederate flag, selling their house and moving out of town, and submitting to “cultural diversity training.” They sold the house, moved, and took the training. Now the Simms are suing them for monetary damages in civil court, claiming the Chaissons’ actions hurt Mr. Simms boxing career and made his children get bad grades in school. [Tucker McCormack, Family Sues Over Harassment, New Haven Register, Dec. 29, 2001. Frank Juliano, Milford Bias Victims Suing Former Neighbors, Connecticut Post, Dec. 29, 2001.]
Blacks v. Blacks
There are 269 Somalis in the Boston public schools, and nearly 100 of them attend English High School. American blacks don’t like them. On November 6, tensions escalated into a serious brawl when black students started snatching off the scarves Somali girls wear on their heads. “This was the most angry mob of kids I ever saw,” says Pat Mullane, a teacher. “It was very frightening.” She said the American blacks knocked Somalis to the floor and stomped them, while others linked arms around the mayhem to stop teachers from getting in to break up the fight. There were police officers on campus later that week, and all students were searched with metal detectors. “This is just the beginning,” says one Somali senior. “More will happen.”
Boston Schools Superintendent Thomas W. Payzant is clearly on top of the situation: “When you have students representing many different cultures and some different values, we’re going to need to be sensitive to differences and give young people the kind of tools to understand those differences and respect them without trying to resolve them with inappropriate or illegal behavior,” he says. [Sandy Coleman, Somalis Say Students are Targeted, Boston Globe, Nov. 10, 2001.]
Dat Ol’ Debil Racism
On October 27, the Water Street Tavern and Restaurant Association in Milwaukee sponsored a Halloween costume contest. Master of ceremonies for the contest was a radio personality from a local FM radio station. Station interns picked out 10 particularly good costumes, and then judged the winner according to how loudly the crowd cheered. Alas, the winner was a white man in black face dressed as Aunt Jemima. He wore a padded calico dress with a cloth around his head, and strutted around a makeshift stage carrying a frying pan and throwing pancakes to the crowd. The mostly-white audience whooped with approval. The usual people are distressed. Jerry Hamilton of the NAACP is “sad and distraught” and “really shocked” by the contest, saying there should have been sensitivity standards for the costumes. The radio station has apologized and says it will set guidelines for taking part in promotions. [Tom Heinen and Gary Rummler, WKTO Site Featured ‘Aunt Jemima,’ Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee), Nov. 4, 2001.]
Keeping the Police Busy
As they do in many cities, police officers in Los Angeles must now keep a record of the race of every person they stop. Beginning on Nov. 1, they had to record the “apparent descent” of the person (white, black, Hispanic, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, American Indian or other). They also have to indicate whether they frisked the person and why they stopped him. During the coming year, Los Angeles officers will probably fill out 700,000 such forms.
The reason for the paperwork is that they are presumed to be guilty of racial profiling, and the data are supposed to smoke out offenders. It is all part of a federal consent decree the department entered into with the US Department of Justice, which suspected “racism” on the force. There are now more than 60 police departments in California that gather this kind of information, and several other states also require it.
Of course, no one knows what the data will mean. How many frisked Mexicans is too many frisked Mexicans? Some people have pointed out that anti-gang units do a lot of stopping and frisking, and that gang members “happen to be” black and Hispanic. Also, during commuting hours, there may be a lot of whites driving through Hispanic neighborhoods. Will their presence skew the results?
A recent Los Angeles Times article on the new system even hints there may be good reason to stop non-whites. It cites a study by a University of Southern California professor Howard Greenward conducted for the Sacramento Police Department:
Although more than twice the percentage of blacks were stopped by police for minor violations than are present in Sacramento’s population, racial bias did not seem to explain the disparity, he [Prof. Greenward] said.
Only 14% of Sacramento’s population, blacks represented 42% of suspects described by witnesses to dispatchers and 46% of parolees, both factors that give police additional cause for scrutinizing people.
More important, he said, the high percentage of blacks stopped by police appeared to be tied to targeted law enforcement in high-crime neighborhoods, which happened to be disproportionately black.
Courts have given police wide latitude to stop people in areas where crimes have occurred, and because more blacks lived in such areas in Sacramento, they got stopped more.
Greenward found no significant difference in the racial and ethnic patterns of traffic stops among black, white and Latino officers. He also said the patterns seemed to permeate the ranks and were not limited to the activities of a few rogue officers. [Jill Leovy, Paper Trail Begins on Racial Profiling, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 12, 2001.]
Even in these benighted times, a few people are still willing to look at the facts.
Aiding the Virus
New antiretroviral drugs now make it possible to keep people with AIDS alive indefinitely, but the drugs have to be taken consistently. People on the dole who have AIDS get the drugs for free, but many forget to take them. In a recent study of 1,740 welfare recipients with AIDS who started taking antiretroviral drugs in 1996, 35 percent had stopped taking their free drugs two years later. Not surprisingly, there were racial differences: Thirty percent of white welfare recipients couldn’t manage to keep taking them while 40 percent of blacks couldn’t. As Stephen Crystal of Rutgers University who conducted the study delicately put it, “African Americans still seem to experience barriers not just to initiating these therapies, but perhaps more critically to continuing on them consistently.” Such carelessness can be dangerous to others. People who do not take the drug consistently make it easier for the AIDS virus to mutate into drug-resistant forms. [Charnicia Huggins, US Blacks Delay Start of AIDS Therapy, Quit Sooner, Reuters Health, Dec. 26, 2001.]
Bad to Worse in Zim
Cathy Buckle is a white woman who lives on a farm in Zimbabwe, and writes occasionally about the horrors that beset her country. She reports that although Zimbabwe used to export food, the paralysis caused by farm invasions means the country is running out of food. International relief agencies estimate as many as one million Zimbabweans could go hungry in the months to come. Government authorities acknowledge the crisis and have asked for aid, but they have forbidden aid agencies to distribute the food. “We will not allow strangers to roam around our country interfering,” explained the information minister, saying Zimbabwe would handle distribution. Mrs. Buckle notes that the food crisis will only get worse because the blacks who have invaded white-owned farms are often unable even to grow food for themselves, much less run a commercial farm.
On November 17, a gang of about 500 supporters of President Robert Mugabe rampaged through the streets of Bulawayo, attacking whites. They knocked many to the ground and pulled others from cars and beat them. Most of the victims, both men and women, were old people. Police were present but seemed to be acting mainly as escorts to the mob. [Mugabe’s Mob Rule, Sunday Times (Australia), Nov. 18, 2001.]
Mrs. Buckle writes that white farm houses are being looted with impunity, and that farmers live in fear for their lives. Mrs. Buckle concludes: “We are all alone, powerless and frightened of where, how and when this will stop.”
Hasta La Vista, Baby
For years, Mexican immigrants have been pouring into North Carolina to work in furniture and textile factories. Now, with the economy weaker, some are losing their jobs and going home. The evidence is everywhere. Newspaper reporters learned that sales of charter bus tickets to the Mexican border are up 20 to 40 percent over last year. Apartment complexes that used to be jammed with Mexicans are now reporting vacancy rates of 20 to 25 percent. Mexicans are wiring less money home. The manager of Lupitas Tienda Mexicana on Central Avenue in Charlotte says that on an ordinary weekend Hispanics use her Western Union machine to send home about $70,000. Now they are sending about $40,000. The Mexican National Migration Institute reports that in the two months since the Sept. 11 attacks, 350,000 Mexicans returned from the United States, nine percent more than during the same period last year. [Christina Breen, Numbers in Holiday Exodus Grow, Charlotte Observer, Nov. 17, 2001.]
It is common for Mexican illegals to go home for the holidays and then sneak back in January. Now, with heightened surveillance because of terrorism, it is harder to cross the border, so there is a good chance many of the Mexicans heading south will stay there.
Britain, with its tolerant amnesty laws, has long been a haven for radical Muslims for whom even the Middle East is too hot. Abu Hamza al-Masri is wanted in Yemen for terrorist bombings, but preaches at a mosque in London. Sheikh Omar Bakri was expelled from Saudi Arabia for anti-government activity, but now teach radical Islam in Ealing.
Men like them have found a ready welcome among the millions of British Muslims. Muhammed Kureishi, for example, was born in Blackburn of Pakistani parents and has lived in northern England all his life. He has never been to Pakistan or the Middle East, but is a fervent Muslim who dreams of the day when the caliphate is reestablished and Islam rules the world. “Legally, I’m a Brit,” he says, “but I don’t consider myself British.” Recently he joined some 100 demonstrators in Blackburn, who carried pictures of Osama bin Laden, and chanted slogans like “Muslims of the world unite with the Taliban.” A number of radical clerics have bragged about the number of “Brits” like Mr. Kureishi who have been recruited to fight in Chechnya and Afghanistan. [Sharon Waxman, True Believers, Washington Post, Nov. 23, 2001, p. C1.]
This sort of thing bothers a few people — but not, apparently ordinary Englishmen. The most vocal opponents of radical Islam are the “moderate” Muslims who don’t like foreign preachers poaching on their turf, and who think the crazier ones give them a bad name. They also think that by cosying up to the government they can get financial help for their own religious institutes. Sheik Ahmed Badwi, who runs a training center for clerics called the Muslim College, says he wants the government to shut down some 300 after-hours schools that teach jihad and martyrdom. He says the government should support his school, and make it harder for foreign mullahs to get work visas.
Abdul Haqq Baker, who runs a London mosque, is also a protectionist. He says too many imported preachers can’t even speak English and don’t understand the West. He says they get funding from Arab countries to turn British-born Pakis and Bangladeshis into holy warriors. According to current regulations, if a British mosque sponsors a foreign mullah, he gets an immediate visa, and both Sheik Badwi and Mr. Baker have complained to Home Secretary David Blunkett about this. Mr. Blunkett has agreed to changes that would give preferences to British-trained clerics and make it harder for foreigners to take their jobs. [Paul Martin, London Targets Muslim Radicals, Washington Times, Dec. 28, 2001. p. A13.]
Mr. and Mrs. Shujat Ali of Pakistan are the parents of the first baby born in Australia in 2002. Mrs. Ali speaks almost no English and had little to say about the birth, which occurred at 12:15 a.m., but Mr. Ali pronounced himself pleased that his seven — and five-year-old daughters now have a baby sister. [First 2002 Baby Dad’s Birthday Surprise, Sydney Morning Herald, Jan. 1, 2002.]
Just over a majority of the people living in Miami-Dade County in Florida were born in a country other than the United States. At 51 percent, the figure is the highest for any “American” metropolitan area. In the city of Miami itself, 61 percent of residents are foreign-born. [Andrea Elliott and Jason Grotto, 51 Percent in Miami-Dade Were Born in Other Nations, Washington Post, Nov. 20, 2001.]
Not coincidentally, Miami has the highest poverty rate of any “American” city of 250,000 or more. Thirty-two percent fall below the standard of $17,603 for a family of four or $8,794 for a single person. The city is almost always near the top of the poverty list. In 1990, it was fourth, and in 1980 it was third. As City Manager Carlos Gimenez explains, “This is a city of extremes. You have rich and very rich and you have a lot of poor people. What we don’t have is the middle class.” [Jason Grotto and William Yardley, Miami Herald, Nov. 20, 2001.]
Penis thieves have been spotted again in Africa, this time in Cotonou, the capital of Benin. It is widely believed they can steal penises right out of a man’s trousers with just a handshake. This time, the thieves got their just deserts. In November, alert citizens caught three foreigners of unspecified nationality and burned them to death. College students likewise caught a Nigerian penis thief and gave him a sound thrashing. [Three Alleged ‘Penis Thieves’ Burnt Alive, Agence France Presse, Nov. 24, 2002.]
Hide and Sikh
As part of heightened security in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, airport security guards have been asking Sikhs to remove their turbans for searches. Under pressure from the Maryland-based Sikh Mediawatch and Resources Task Force, the Federal Aviation Administration has now declared it illegal to make a Sikh take off his turban. For Sikhs, the turban is sacred, and a Sikh man may never bare his head in public. Sikhs will also be allowed to carry ceremonial daggers or kirpans on board airplanes, but they must be small,, and packed in their luggage. [Viji Sundaram, Turban Searches Illegal, FAA Says, San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 25, 2001.]
Who Needs Americans?
Last year, executives from Intel, Motorola, and Sun Microsystems lobbied Congress to expand quotas for what are known as H1-B visas, which are granted to scientists and computer specialists. The companies insisted there were not enough trained Americans to keep the industry going, but by the time new regulations were written, the dot-com boom went bust and the economy slowed. There have been 600,000 layoffs in the industry during the last 10 months, but that has not stopped high-tech companies from bringing in a record 163,200 foreign workers during the year on H-1B visas.
Texas Instruments is typical, with 800 H-1B workers who make up three percent of the payroll. In the past year, TI has laid off 2,500 workers but will not say if any of them held H1-B visas. American workers claim the system is mainly a way to recruit docile foreigners who are so grateful to be in the United States they will accept low pay and bad conditions. There is almost no policing of companies who hire H-1B workers, and even some of the immigrants have begun to complain of starvation wages and threats of deportation if they complain. [Jube Shiver, Tech Workers Complaining About Use of Visa Program, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 25, 2001.]
Abu-Jamal Lives (For Now)
On Dec. 9, 1981, Black Panther Party activist Mumia Abu-Jamal shot Philadelphia policeman Daniel Faulkner once in the back, and then again in the face, killing him. He has never denied the crime. Convicted and sentenced to death, Mr. Abu-Jamal has since won the support of European leftists and Hollywood liberals like Martin Sheen, who say he is a victim of a racist justice system. With their support, Mr. Abu-Jamal has conducted a relentless publicity campaign to avoid his sentence. Despite all the noise, Mr. Abu-Jamal’s efforts bore little fruit. In 1995, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence, and denied his attempt at another appeal in 1998. The US Supreme Court rejected his appeal in 1999.
With a new team of lawyers, Mr. Abu-Jamal launched another round of appeals. On Dec. 17, he got lucky. Although he found that Mr. Abu-Jamal had a fair trial, Federal judge William Yohn said the jurors who sentenced him may have been confused by the judge’s instructions and the verdict sheet, and may not have had a chance to consider “mitigating circumstances.” Judge Yohn overturned Mr. Abu-Jamal’s death sentence, ordering prosecutors to hold a new sentencing hearing within 180 days.
The Philadelphia District Attorney was outraged, as was Daniel Faulkner’s widow. Prosecutor Lynn Abraham promised to appeal the ruling, and even if the ruling is upheld and a new sentencing hearing takes place, there is no guarantee the death sentence will be overturned. Mr. Abu-Jamal may yet face the needle.
There was jubilation in Europe, where Mr. Abu-Jamal has become the fair-haired lad of the lefties. “We are pleased,” said Elisabetta Zamtarutti of the Italian anti-death penalty group Hands off Cain. “Abu-Jamal became a symbol because he was a black writer who raised both the question of racial discrimination and the death penalty.”
Sparing this killer’s life will not be enough for his fans. Amnesty International says justice won’t be done until he gets a new trial. Jeff Mackler of something called Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal wants him back on the streets. “If they give him a life sentence without bail, that’s totally unacceptable to us.” [David Morgan, Judge Overturns Death Sentence for Abu-Jamal, Reuters, Dec. 18, 2001.]
Disorder in the Court
For the first time in 26 years, the Illinois Courts Commission has removed a sitting judge from the Cook County Bench. Oliver Spurlock, who is black, was found to have sexually harassed four female prosecutors. Over a period of several years, he made a practice of luring them into his office, where he groped and kissed them.
Judge Spurlock stoutly denied all charges, claiming the women who brought them were “racists” or “drunks.” The commission chose to believe the women. The judge did admit he had managed to get a court reporter into his office and have sex with her, and grudgingly conceded this was a violation of judicial ethics. He has now been bounced from his $127,000-a-year job, and the state agency that disciplines lawyers will decide whether he should be disbarred because of the false testimony he gave during the inquiry. [Abdon Pallasch, ‘An Embarrassment to the Robe,’ Chicago Sun-Times, Dec. 4, 2001.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — The problem raised in Dr. Trask’s January cover story is a crucial one and it is necessary to rewrite the census’ racial classifications, but his proposal is insufficient for two reasons. First, he confuses phenotype (e.g., Nordic) with ethnicity (e.g., Slavs). Second, he puts some groups into the wrong categories. With respect to phenotype, one can argue that Germans are as much Alpinid as Nordic, and aren’t some Balts, Russians, et al. “Nordic” also? With respect to ethnic groupings, Balts are not Slavs, and his catchall Mediterranean group is unsound. Dr. Trask includes not only Southern Europeans (Spaniards, Italians, Greeks), but also Hungarians and Jews. Hungarians are a Finno-Ugric Central European people mixed with Germanic and Slavic blood. As for Jews, genetic studies identify them as a Middle-Eastern people, more appropriately put into that category, or in a separate group of their own.
Most whites identify themselves by ethnicity. Perhaps we should just list all the European ethnicities. If the idea is to get accurate information, the slight inconvenience of a longer list is well worth it. Ethnic groupings such as Celtic, Anglo-Germanic, Slavic, Greco-Latin, Baltic, etc. are a possibility. In either case, a “mixed” category is needed because of the mixing that has taken place among European Americans. Also, since I assume most Jews would not want to be included in the Middle Eastern category, I would suggest a separate category for them. These proposals are more reflective of ethnic realities than ill-defined Nordic, Slavic, and Mediterranean groupings.
Ted Sallis, Tampa, Florida
Sir — Dr. Trask’s ethnic classification scheme is a step in the right direction, but it conflates “race” and “ethnicity.” An ethnic group is defined not only by race and geography but by culture. I suggest four broad criteria for European Americans: (1) Caucasoid features, (2) descent from the native peoples of West Eurasia, (3) Christian orientation, (4) Indo-European (Aryan) language. These factors govern how easily immigrants assimilate. Still, my four criteria are only a rule-of-thumb analytical framework. Each group would have to be judged individually, and many groups we accept do not meet all four criteria.
For example, Hungarians are Caucasians, inhabit Europe, and are Christians. They do not speak an Indo-European language but are clearly 100 percent European. Bosnian Muslims are certainly Caucasian (often even Nordic), are within Europe, and speak an Indo-European language. However, they are not historically Christian, having been converted to Islam during Ottoman rule. Since their loyalty would tend toward an alien civilization, I would not define them as Europeans, and would not readily accept them as immigrants. What about Lebanese Christians? They are racially-mixed Arabs who speak a Semitic language, but are located within historical Europe and are Christian. They are a close call, but I would still accept them as Europeans.
Dr. Trask classifies Armenians with Turks, but that is not correct. Armenians are Caucasoid, speak an Indo-European language, inhabit one of the far outposts of Europe, and are historically Christian. They are clearly far better candidates for the American melting pot than Muslim Turks or Iranians. As the great Madison Grant put it:
“The Armenians, too, have resisted stoutly the pressure of Islam to force them away from their ancient Christian faith. This people really represents the last outpost of Europe toward the Mohammedan East and constitutes the best remaining medium through which Western ideals and culture can be introduced into Asia.”
I am for a broad definition of European-American that is not defined exclusively by physical traits. We are not just white people (although race is of central importance), but are defined by a long and glorious common history. Failure to take account of cultural ties, and undue emphasis on physical traits lead to needless division among us.
Finally, Dr. Trask writes of an “Afghan” ethnicity. The failed state we call Afghanistan is a multicultural hell, made up of contending Indo-Iranian and Turkic tribes.
Sir — Prof. Hoppe makes some interesting points in his book as reviewed in the January issue, but supporters of decentralization cannot explain how decentralized mini-states will defend themselves against massive, centralized powers like China, whose threatening rise has been discussed in AR. The small nations so admired by Prof. Hoppe and his fellow decentralizers can exist only because they are protected by major powers such as the United States. If the United States goes the Hoppe route while China continues its march to superpower status and hegemony, who will protect the small states from Chinese avarice? Who will protect the mini-nations of what was once the United States? Prof. Hoppe’s idea that “private insurance companies” can do the job is absurd. Are Prudential, Allstate, and Metlife going to become nuclear powers, complete with H-bombs, ICBMs, and Trident submarines? Who will be the stockholders of these companies? How will they be kept free from foreign infiltration? What if they go bankrupt?
Ultimately government is not intrinsically good or bad; that is determined by who controls the government, and for what purpose. A racial-nationalist government controlled by an idealistic elite (no “democracy!”) will not necessarily be bad for the white race. In fact it will be needed for our survival.
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