|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 19, No. 2||February 2008|
Integration Has Failed (Part I)
Each new generation defies the liberals.
Meredith Brace of San Diego, California, believes in integration. She lived in a largely white area, but the neighborhood school, Harding Elementary, was 90 percent Hispanic. She was convinced whites should go to Harding rather than escape to a white school. Even before her son was old enough to enroll, she joined the PTA, raised money for Harding, and went door-to-door to promote it to white neighbors. She became president of the PTA and held neighborhood meetings to encourage whites to attend. After her son started going, she set up after-school art and theater classes to bring whites and Hispanics together. They failed because not enough people signed up.
She kept her son at Harding for three years before finally giving up. “[W]e have nothing in common [with Hispanics],” she said. “Every time my husband and I would go over for an event, my husband would feel like it was his first time. We haven’t made any friends.” Her son made no friends either. “He hasn’t been invited to a birthday party,” she explained. “There is absolutely no after-school interaction. For his birthday, he invited four of his classmates. Only one came.”
Mrs. Brace finally joined the neighbors she had tried so hard to convince to go to Harding. Saying she could no longer treat her son like a guinea pig, she transferred him to Hope Elementary School, which was still 73 percent white. As one white parent explained, “[I]f half of [the neighborhood] is going in that direction, maybe we can carpool.”
It is lunch time at the Westerly Hills Elementary School in Charlotte, North Carolina. Black and white children sit next to each other in what seems to be complete disregard for race. The school appears to have passed what educators call the “lunchroom litmus test,” of whether children make friends across racial lines. But the test is rigged. The children at Westerly Hills have assigned seats; that is the only way to get blacks and whites to eat together.
Columbia, Maryland, was founded in 1967 as a planned community of up-scale homes, where blacks and whites would live together in harmony. It considered itself a model for the country, and in the 1970s prospective home buyers were proudly told that Columbia’s first baby was born to a mixed-race couple. The town attracted people with an unusual commitment to integration and racial equality, but by the 1990s, blacks and whites had drifted apart. Residents noted that self-segregation was most pronounced among children and teenagers.
Integration is clearly not progressing as Americans in the 1960s expected it to. Two full generations have been reared with the ideals of racial equality, and yet racial separation is almost as pervasive today as it was 40 or more years ago.
Integration was the cornerstone of America’s great campaign for racial equality. It was the goal of sit-ins, Freedom Riders, demonstrations, and civil disobedience. It was sought with equal enthusiasm by blacks and white liberals alike. For those who were crafting a new racial future, integration was to be the first step towards realizing America’s full democratic potential. It was the decisive first step towards a future in which race would cease to matter.
Today, almost no one talks about integration. Partly, that is because the civil rights struggle completely destroyed segregation, removing all legal barriers to integration. Every law Martin Luther King ever hoped for has been passed, and governments at all levels devote enormous efforts to rooting out any remaining vestiges of racial discrimination.
A more significant reason why few people talk about integration is that there is not much of it to talk about. Voluntary, widespread racial mixing is rare. In law and in theory, race not only does not matter, it is forbidden that it matter. In practice, race is a prominent and persistent social barrier. There has been no official declaration of defeat, but the failure of integration underlines just how far from realization is the dream that inspired the racial activists of the middle of the last century. Some Americans live in broadly diverse settings, but far more do not.
Integration was of enormous symbolic importance for two reasons. First, segregation was the clearest possible expression of racial inequality. Many Americans came to believe it was unconscionable to shut out anyone because of something so meaningless as race. But abolishing legal segregation was only the first step. True integration was the key to unblocking the entire racial log-jam, to making the races equal in every respect.
Half a century after the confident predictions of the 1960s, it is high time to review the record. If integration has not been made to work — much less unblock the log-jam — what will? If integration was expected to come smoothly, yet fails to materialize generation after generation, what does that say about the assumptions of the civil rights movement? If race still matters after 50 years of campaigning, when will it cease to matter?
Theory of Integration
The theoretical basis for integration was established in An American Dilemma, written in 1944 by the Swedish sociologist Gunnar Myrdal. With the possible exception of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, no other book has even approached its influence on American thinking about race. An American Dilemma went through 25 printings — an astonishing record for a dense, thousand-page work of sociology — before it went into a second, “twentieth anniversary” edition in 1962. It set contours for the debate about race that have lasted virtually unchanged until our own day.
One of the book’s key passages explains why integration is the essential first step to solving the “American dilemma:”
“White prejudice and discrimination keep the Negro low in standards of living, health, education, manners and morals. This, in its turn, gives support to white prejudice. White prejudice and Negro standards thus mutually ‘cause’ each other.”
This was the heart of the problem: Whites despised blacks and kept them in an artificially inferior position. Whites then pointed to this apparent inferiority as justification for their own prejudices, which gave rise to more acts of oppression that degraded blacks.
Myrdal believed that the great obstacle to progress was white prejudice. If white attitudes could be reformed, oppression would ease, the status of blacks would rise, white attitudes would improve further, and blacks would find yet more opportunities for success. Myrdal was convinced that if the vicious cycle could be turned into a virtuous cycle it would unlock the nation’s true potential: “[T]he Negro problem is not only America’s greatest failure but also America’s incomparably great opportunity for the future.” If the United States could turn this failure into a triumph it would fulfill its promise as a light unto all nations.
Myrdal’s supporters thought change would come quickly. Myrdal’s assistant, Arnold Rose, added a chapter called “Postscript Twenty Years Later” to the 1962 edition. After a triumphant description of the progress made since the book’s original appearance in 1944, he predicted that all legal discrimination would be abolished within ten years (it actually took only three) and that in 30 years — by 1992 — residual private friction between blacks and whites would be “on the minor order of Catholic-Protestant prejudice.”
Rose was wrong, but his view was typical. When the Supreme Court outlawed school segregation in its seminal 1954 decision of Brown v. Board of Education, Thurgood Marshall, who argued the case for the black plaintiffs, believed it would take perhaps five years before full school integration was achieved nationwide. So did Kenneth Clark, the black educator whose work on the psychological effects of segregation on black children helped persuade the Supreme Court to order school desegregation. “I confidently expected the segregation problem would be solved by 1960,” he later wrote.
Integration was the key to overcoming white prejudices because as they mixed with blacks, whites would discover a common humanity that transcended race. Integration would still have to be handled properly, however. Whites would be best exposed to blacks under supervised conditions that made it clear how irrational racial prejudice really was.
Discussions about how blacks and whites were to be brought together came to be known as “contact theory,” and its most prominent spokesman was Gordon Allport. His 1953 book, The Nature of Prejudice, was frequently read in conjunction with An American Dilemma. “Prejudice,” he wrote, “. . . may be reduced by equal status contact between majority and minority groups in the pursuit of common goals. The effect is greatly enhanced if this contact is sanctioned by institutional supports . . .”
Schools were the perfect setting for controlled contact. White children, whose prejudices had not yet hardened, would mix with black children under conditions of equality and institutional support. Many others agreed that school integration was the essential first step. James S. Liebman of the Columbia University School of Law wrote that integrated education was the best way to reform “the malignant hearts and minds of racist white citizens.” In order to protect children from the “tyranny” of their parents he recommended that they be required to attend “schools that are not entirely controlled by parents,” where they could be exposed to “a broader range of . . . value options than their parents could hope to provide.”
Liberal intellectuals thought their judgment was better than that of ordinary Americans, and urged government to enforce enlightened views. Jennifer Hochschild of Princeton wrote that school integration was so important that it justified limiting the will of the people. Democracy would have to “give way to liberalism,” and Americans “must permit elites to make their choices for them.” She even said parents should be banned from sending children to private schools, because they would escape the benefits of integration.
By the 1950s, liberals therefore had a clear strategy: Integration would cure Americans of prejudice. White adults might not integrate willingly, but white children who went to school with blacks would grow up with enlightened views. The racial problem would finally be solved.
In the Brown decision, the Supreme Court was willing to set aside certain legal considerations to achieve this high goal. Chief Justice Earl Warren’s ruling was light on Constitutional reasoning but cited An American Dilemma, noting the psychological damage segregation was said to do to blacks. As Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence Stratton point out in their 1995 book, The New Color Line, the Brown ruling was not based on law but on the urgings of sociologists and the desire to do what was right. “In the eyes of the Justices and their peers, desegregation had become the hallmark of moral society,” they wrote. “Legal reasoning played no role” in the decision. Even the New York Times recognized the sentimental rather than legal nature of the ruling in its headline of May 18, 1954: “A Sociological Decision: Court Founded Its Segregation Ruling On Hearts and Minds Rather Than Laws.”
Initially, desegregation meant only that blacks could no longer be kept out of white schools — it did not require deliberate mixing by race — and Brown applied only to the legally segregated schools in the South. Most Southern school districts duly dismantled strict segregation but made no effort at integration. A small number of ambitious black parents transferred their children to white schools but whites did not transfer to black schools.
The era of passive desegregation ended in 1968, when the Supreme Court ruled in Green v. New Kent County that Southern schools had to do more than open their doors to a few blacks. Campuses were to be deliberately integrated through race-based student assignment, and the 1971 Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg decision sanctioned busing as the preferred means of doing so. It was not until the 1973 decision of Keyes v. Denver, however, that the court ordered race-based assignment of students in school districts outside the South that had never practiced legal segregation, and where segregated school attendance merely reflected housing patterns. Gordon Allport’s “contact theory” was being implemented nationwide.
This was exactly what the sociologists wanted, but white parents refused to cooperate. When children from the “bad” part of town started arriving by the busload or — even worse — when white children were bused across town to black schools, whites cleared out. In just seven years, nine high schools in Baltimore went from all-white to all-black. In Montgomery, Alabama, Sidney Lanier High School, which used to educate the state’s elite, had almost no white students left ten years after the first black enrolled in 1964.
This was the pattern everywhere. From 1968 to 1988, the Boston school district went from nearly 70 percent white to 25 percent white. Over the same period, the drop in Milwaukee was from nearly 80 percent to under 40 percent, and in San Diego from nearly 80 percent to just over 40 percent. In only eight years, from 1968 to 1976, a staggering 78 percent of the white students left the Atlanta public schools, while white enrollment in Detroit and San Francisco dropped by 61 percent. By 1992, only 15 percent of the students in the Houston public schools were white. These dry statistics reflect tremendous disruption in countless communities, as whites pulled up stakes and headed to the suburbs or as wives went to work to pay for private school.
In 1991, the Supreme Court began to relieve the pressure on public schools to assign students by race, and subsequent decisions left only a few permissible grounds for racial balancing. However, by then, busing had transformed America’s big-city school districts into almost exclusively black and Hispanic preserves. For the year 2002-2003, those two groups accounted for the following percentages of the public schools of: Chicago — 87 percent; Washington, DC — 94 percent; St. Louis — 82 percent; Philadelphia — 79 percent; Cleveland — 79 percent; Los Angeles — 84 percent; Detroit — 96 percent; Baltimore — 89 percent. In New York City, whites were only 15 percent of the student population, about on par with Asians at 13 percent. In Dallas in 2005, the public schools were only 6 percent white.
In some areas there was a massive shift to private schools. In the Denver metropolitan area an astonishing 94 percent of white students attended private schools in 2005. A Duke University study found that in ten counties in Mississippi more than 90 percent of white students were attending private schools in 2000-2001.
It would be wrong to think that busing was a complete failure, however. Not all whites were willing to move or could pay for private school, and some welcomed integration. But national studies show that school integration peaked in the late 1980s and has since declined. Integration had the greatest impact on the South, where the number of blacks attending majority-white schools went from zero in 1954 to a remarkable 43 percent in 1988. By 2001, the figure had dropped to 30 percent, or the level of 1969.
In 1991, in the country as a whole, 66 percent of blacks attended schools where minorities were the majority. By 2004, that figure had grown to 73 percent. In Boston in 1967, the average black student attended a school that was 32 percent white; in 2003 he attended a school that was 11 percent white, and 61 percent of black students attended schools that were at least 90 percent non-white. In New York State, 60 percent of black students attended schools that were at least 90 percent black. A Scripps Howard study of US Department of Education records found that the percentage of non-white children enrolled in schools that were 90 percent non-white rose in 36 of the 50 states between 1991 and 2001. In an extensive analysis of 185 school districts with enrollments of more than 25,000, the Civil Rights Project at Harvard found that black students increased their exposure to whites in only four of those districts during the 14-year period ending in 2001.
In some cases, school districts came almost full circle. In 1953 in Atlanta, just before the Brown decision, there were 600 public schools serving 18,664 students. Blacks and whites were kept apart by law. Fifty years later, there were 96 much larger schools serving 55,812 students; more than three quarters were in schools where one race was the majority by at least 90 percent.
Gary Orfield is co-director of Harvard’s Civil Rights Project, and has been tracking schools for more than a decade. “We’re in a major process of re-segregation,” he said. “There is a cowardice about this issue. People are afraid to talk about it because it is so sensitive. So we are slipping back into separate-but-equal schools. . . .”
At one time, “magnet schools” were supposed to solve the problem of white flight. The plan was to make urban public schools so attractive they would lure back whites who had fled to the suburbs. This policy has been an almost uniform failure, and Kansas City, Missouri, is only the most striking failure. A federal judge took over the school district in 1985, and imposed taxes to pay for the most grandiose public schools in America. Over the next 12 years, the city spent nearly $2 billion. Kansas City got 15 new schools with such things as an Olympic-sized swimming pool with an underwater viewing room, television and animation studios, a model United Nations with simultaneous interpreting equipment, a robotics lab, a planetarium, a mock court room with jury deliberation rooms, and field trips to Mexico and Senegal. A former Soviet Olympic fencing coach was recruited for a high school team. There was a $900,000 television campaign to alert whites to the remarkable new improvements. If white students were not on a bus route, the city sent taxis.
It didn’t work. By 1997, when Kansas City finally gave up, it had the most extravagant schools in the country, but the percentage of white students was lower than ever and blacks’ scores had not budged.
Whites simply do not want to send their children to school with blacks. In San Francisco, a study of the school choice program by U.C. Berkeley found that the schools with the most blacks were in least demand. Chris Rosenberg, who had been with the heavily-black Starr King Elementary School for 12 years, had seen it over and over: “When people come into some schools and they see a bunch of black kids, I can see it in their faces — ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.”
San Francisco’s 55,000-student district rapidly began to resegregate in 2001 after a lawsuit overturned race-based student assignments. In 2001-2002, there were 30 schools in which one race made up 60 percent or more of at least one grade. By 2005-2006 there were 50 such schools. Nor was it only whites who would not go to school with blacks. Tareyton Russ, principal of the heavily-black Willie L. Brown Jr. College Preparatory Academy explained that “poor Chinese kids don’t want to go to school with poor black kids [either].”
Hazelwood West High School, just north of Saint Louis, Missouri, went through dramatic changes when four new middle schools opened in the area, leading to large-scale shifts of students and resources. From 2002 to 2007, black enrollment increased 32 percent while white enrollment dropped 32 percent. The blacks moving in were from middle- and upper-middle-class families but whites left anyway. Hazelwood West’s principal Ingrid Clark-Jackson dismissed rumors that the school had a gang problem. “It has a race problem,” she explained.
An unwillingness to associate with blacks is usually considered a sign of lower-class closed-mindedness, but a recent study by Michael Emerson and David Sikkink of Rice University suggests otherwise. They found that the more education white parents had, the more likely they were to rule out schools for their children simply because of the number of blacks. Only after they had eliminated heavily-black schools did they then compare the remaining schools’ test scores and graduation rates. “Our study arrived at a very sad and profound conclusion,” said Dr. Emerson. “More formal education is not the answer to racial segregation in this country.”
Whites don’t want their children in school with large numbers of Hispanics either. In most big cities, whites have not even noticed the influx of Hispanic students because they left the public schools to blacks in the 1970s and 1980s. It is a different matter when Hispanics arrive in rural areas with few blacks. “White flight” has come to places that had never experienced it.
Meatpacking plants in Nebraska towns such as Schuyler, Lexington, South Sioux City, and Madison have drawn many Hispanic workers, whose children attend public schools. In Schuyler, for example, the Hispanic influx pushed total enrollment up 19 percent from 1993 to 2003 — while white enrollment dropped in half. Most whites did not move away, however. They took advantage of a Nebraska law that lets students attend outside their home districts, and they formed carpools to ferry their children to schools where whites were still the majority. Nebraska State Senator Ron Raikes, who called white flight “unconscionable,” promised to introduce a bill to stop parents from switching children out of their home districts.
White flight usually means better schools for the flyers, but not always. Monta Vista High School and Lynbrook High School in Cupertino, California, are known for their stellar academic records — but whites have almost disappeared there, too. White families who do not move away send their children to private schools, and whites with school-age children avoid Cupertino entirely. Why? The schools are almost 100 percent Asian. Whites tend to think Asians are grinds with no social life, but there is a deeper problem. As superintendent Steve Rowley explained, “Kids who are white feel themselves a distinct minority against a majority culture.”
Whites in San Francisco also began avoiding schools that became heavily Chinese. They feared the academic competition would be too intense, and that their children would be cultural minorities.
It would be a mistake, however, to assume that all schools are starkly segregated. Evanston Township High School, in the North Shore Chicago suburb of Evanston, is a rare example of what Brown was supposed to bring to everyone: It is 48 percent white, 39 percent black, and 9 percent Hispanic. The school of 3,100 students carefully balances the races in home rooms and gym classes, and holds special events to celebrate diversity.
But like so many other schools, Evanston Township High has discovered that getting students of different races in the door is not the same thing as getting them to mix. Students gravitate to different sports teams and clubs, eat lunch at segregated tables, and even leave school by different doors. Basketball players and cheerleaders are almost all black, while the swimming and water polo teams are almost all white. Whites dominate in music, theater and art. The challenging classes are so overwhelmingly white that “you can look in a room and know if it is an honors or regular class by the color of the students’ skin,” explained senior Nicole Summers. As sophomore Paul Schroeder summed up, “We all go to the same school, but that is pretty much it.”
Many schools are therefore integrated only on paper. Kim Davis, a white senior at Palmetto High School in southern Florida explained how students socialize: “Here it’s very cliquish,” she said. “The whites hang out with the whites; the blacks hang out with the blacks.”
During the 1990s, Montclair, New Jersey, with a population that was just over 30 percent black, was a New York City suburb favored by people who wanted racial diversity in their lives. Many of their children did not. “Diversity for me means that I sit next to a black in homeroom,” said a white girl at Montclair High School, which was 52 percent black. “It’s really an aberration when I have any meaningful contact with a black kid.” A black girl echoed her sentiments: “Interracial dating? No way.”
At Toombs County High School in Lyons, Georgia, separation was formalized in a tradition of segregated proms that began in the 1970s. In 2004, the school added a third prom — for Hispanics. Principal Ralph Hardy said the tradition had nothing to do with race, simply with different tastes in food and music.
Turner County High School in Ashburn, Georgia, got its first integrated prom in 2007, although the traditional white prom took place as well. As one recent graduate explained, “The white people have theirs, and the black people have theirs. It’s nothing racial at all.”
Taylor County High School in Butler, Georgia, broke with a 31-year tradition in 2002 and tried an integrated prom. In 2003, the 55-percent black 45-percent white school switched back to separate proms.
Segregated proms are not uniquely Southern. The Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, New York, announced that no non-Jewish dates would be allowed at the Junior Ball. Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts, did not issue a ban on gentiles but urged students to consider the school’s “commitment to Jewish continuity” when they chose dates for dances.
Petersburg High School in Petersburg, Virginia, was integrated in the early 1970s, but class reunions, which the alumni organize themselves, have been segregated, reflecting the reality of what it was like to be a student. As of 1997, no one objected to the divided reunions or expected them to be united in the future.
No combination of races appears to intgrate comfortably. Bolsa Grande High School in Garden Grove, California, is 52 percent Vietnamese and 37 percent Hispanic, and teachers try to keep an underlying current of hostility in check. Seventeen-year-old Ivan Hernandez explained that conflicts can be avoided when groups stay apart. “People tend to stay with their own culture,” he said. “I really don’t know many Vietnamese because I don’t hang out with them.”
“That seems to be a pattern that’s happened all over the country,” said Will Antell, a former desegregation official for the state of Minnesota. When races separate “they’re coming back to join their cohorts . . . It’s on being with young people like themselves.”
Many schools try to encourage mixing, but students often pay no attention. A black student, LaShana Lee, wrote about how her Atlanta school celebrated Mix It Up Day, a national project that encourages students to cross racial boundaries:
“Mix It Up Day was just another failed attempt to get all students to ‘step outside the box.’ No one was really willing to sit with different people. Everyone took it as some sort of joke, and the majority of students understood we wouldn’t actually participate.”
Researchers have found that successful integration inhibits racial mixing. If a school has only a few minority students they have no choice but to mix with the majority. “When you get larger minority populations, they reach a size where you can have a viable single-race community,” explained James Moody of Ohio State University, who studies school integration. “At that point, students find enough friends within their own race and don’t tend to make cross-racial friendships.”
He noted that the best way to prevent teenagers from choosing friends of the same race is to steer them into racially mixed extra-curricular activities because people may make friendships across racial lines if they have interests in common. Another way is to segregate schools as much as possible by grade. This way, people who like to skateboard, for example, have to make friends within their own grade rather than find same-race friends in different grades.
The proportions of the racial mix seem to make a difference in how blacks and whites get along. Race relations are best when whites are a small minority, since whites do not try to assert themselves and must conform to black-majority standards. Black-white relations are reportedly worst when schools are 20 to 40 percent black.
Some schools practice a deliberate kind of segregation. Administrators often have to explain to parent groups that the white and Asian students are doing better academically than the blacks and Hispanics. Mary Perry of EdSource, a nonprofit group that researches education problems in California, explains it can be helpful to invite black and Hispanic parents to separate conferences to talk abut test scores. “Sometimes it’s more difficult to have a productive discussion when people’s perspectives are so far apart,” she explained.
This is the policy of principal Philip Moore of T. R. Smedberg Middle School in Sacramento, California. “I want people to feel comfortable,” he said, explaining that sessions are more productive when they are segregated.
Because there is such a demand for segregated schooling, some schools offer it on the sly. Whites fled the Dallas public schools when a judge ordered integration in 1971. The district tried to entice them back with magnet schools but that did not work, and Preston Hollow Elementary School became an overwhelmingly black and Hispanic school in the middle of a wealthy, white neighborhood. Over a period of several years, however, white students drifted back to Preston Hollow, thanks to an unwritten policy of grouping whites into “neighborhood” classes in a separate wing. The PTA printed up school brochures full of photographs of white children, and when white parents toured the school, teachers did not take them through the black and Hispanic wings. Increasing numbers of affluent whites started sending their children to Preston Hollow, became active in the PTA, and raised money for new library books and playground equipment.
As a practical matter, this could be considered a success, but it happened to be illegal. A Hispanic parent sued. When an inspector came by, Principal Teresa Parker mixed up the classes to give the impression of integration. When the truth came out, lawyers for the school argued that no one was hurt by the separation because all students got the same curriculum. A judge disagreed, and ordered Miss Parker to stop segregating the children and to pay $20,200 to the plaintiff. Miss Parker was reassigned to administrative duties.
Although virtually all politicians and commentators denounce school segregation, they have been known to make a virtue of it. In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that forbade Texas universities to take race into consideration when accepting students. There was a sharp drop in non-white admissions, but Texas legislators quickly found a way to raise them. They passed a law requiring state universities automatically to admit the top ten percent of the graduating classes of all Texas high schools. Since everyone knew the high schools were segregated, this restored the effect of racial preferences. The state of Florida set up a similar system, according to which the state’s ten public universities automatically granted admission to anyone in the top 20 percent of any high school graduating class.
These measures encourage segregation. Ambitious blacks or Hispanics who want to go to Texas or Florida universities are better off in segregated rather than integrated or majority-white schools, because they have a better chance of making the cut for automatic admission.
Once students get to college, intense promotion of “diversity” only sharpens dividing lines. Many campuses have special orientations for minorities that begin a week or two early. This gives blacks and Hispanics a chance to bond with people of their own race before the whites arrive. Ethnic theme dormitories are widespread, as are student clubs for all racial and ethnic groups.
Graciela Gonzalez’s case was typical. She felt lost at the University of California at Berkeley until she joined an all-Hispanic sorority. “I want to get more in touch with my culture and heritage,” she said. “I don’t feel in place any more when I go to a white party. That used to be my crowd. I prefer to be now with my Latina friends.” Miss Gonzalez planned to date only Hispanics.
On many campuses, fraternities are the equivalent of segregated proms. The 15 “traditionally white” sororities at the University of Alabama got their first black sister in 2003. Three years later, she was still the only black face. The 30 “traditionally white” fraternities had likewise admitted only one or two blacks. The black fraternities remained100 percent black.
After four years of separation, minorities can graduate in separate ceremonies. At the University of California at Los Angeles, it has become a bit of a trick to schedule all the ethnic graduations. There is one for blacks, one for Chicanas/Chicanos, and one for the entire Hispanic raza. UCLA used to make do with an Asian-Pacific Islander ceremony, but now it has separate graduations for Filipinos and Vietnamese, and there was talk of one for Cambodians. Outside of California, there may not be enough Filipinos or Vietnamese for a separate ceremony, but special graduations for blacks are common.
Some blacks assume their university will support any exclusionist fancy. At Boston’s Northeastern University in 2005, the director of women’s studies, Robin Chandler, advertised a four-hour “Women of Color Dialogue” that was to be closed to whites. After a protest from the Student Government Association, the provost ordered the session open to white women (men were still kept out). Dr. Chandler was annoyed:
“I think it’s a shame that one or two white students based on white privilege, a lack of awareness of racial issues and a lack of generosity of spirit complained to the office of the provost and were able, because they were white, to gain admission to the morning session that I was forced to open up. Only one white female student showed up and I welcomed her anyway, in addition to telling the audience to conduct themselves with integrity even though the presence of a white woman was unwelcome.”
A graduate of Northwestern University near Chicago summed up what may be a common experience. When asked by Newsweek about racial hostility on campus, she replied, “I don’t remember any overt racial hostilities. You need a certain amount of contact to have hostilities.”
School integration has clearly not proceeded as planned. It is also worth noting that when there has been integration, it has not achieved its objectives. Although the larger purpose was to solve the American dilemma, school integration had three specific goals of its own: It would lift black academic achievement, raise black self-esteem, and give black and white children better impressions of each other. There have now been hundreds of studies of the effects of integration, and none of these goals was achieved.
With respect to academic improvement, an exhaustive 2002 survey reported, “there is not a single example in the published literature of a comprehensive racial balance plan that has improved black achievement or that has reduced the black-white achievement gap significantly.” A recent book devoted entirely to the racial gap in school achievement concluded:
“Whether African-American students attended schools that were 10 percent black or 70 percent black, the racial gap remained roughly the same. . . . If every school precisely mirrored the demographic profile of the nation’s entire student population, the level of black and Hispanic achievement would not change.”
Self-esteem studies have not produced what liberals expected either. Blacks, in general, have higher levels of self-esteem than whites, and integration appears to lower it. The most likely reason for this latter finding is that black children generally do not perform as well in school as white children, and they come face to face with the achievement gap only in integrated schools.
Findings on relations between the races also disappoint integrationists. Studies generally gauge the attitudes of white students towards blacks before and after attending integrated schools. A summary of results shows that after integration, whites are as likely to have a worse view of blacks as they are to have an improved view. These, moreover, are the findings for whites who have stayed in integrated schools, and are probably more likely than those who left to have a favorable view of blacks.
The advocates of school integration thought it would succeed because they believed children do not see race. They were wrong. Children separated themselves by race even in places such as Shaker Heights and Montclair, where parents wanted them to mix. Many children, however, had no choice in the matter because their parents moved to the suburbs or put them in private schools. It was both parents and children, therefore, who defeated integration.
Now that the Supreme Court has virtually ruled out race-based student assignment, the country is reverting to neighborhood schools that are not legally segregated but that reflect self-segregated housing patterns. This has reduced integrationists to a position almost identical to that of Gunnar Myrdal in 1948. As Brian Stults of the University of Florida at Gainesville explained: “It’s sort of a chicken-and-egg problem: We need integration in schools to lessen prejudice, which will then reduce residential segregation, but in order to have school integration, we need residential integration.”
“Integration Has Failed” will conclude in the next issue.
Turpentine in Old Wineskins
How retreat and betrayal left the Right in tatters.
Paul Gottfried, Conservatism in America: Making Sense of the American Right, Palgrave MacMillan, 2007, 189 pp., (hard cover), $39.95.
It would be hard to think of a scholar more essential to American conservatism—real conservatism—than Paul Gottfried. Perhaps no one else writing today combines such deep erudition and keen insight with a real sympathy for conservative thought. Building on his previous work in The Conservative Movement, After Liberalism, and Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt (reviewed in AR, Jan. 2003), Professor Gottfried’s latest book authoritatively recounts “the evolution of the American conservative movement from the 1950s to the present.”
This is not a primer; Prof. Gottfried does not write for beginners. But for those prepared to follow its concise arguments, this is a vastly rewarding account of how the American Right was invaded and denatured by ex-liberals and ex-Communists who have stripped the word “conservative” of virtually all meaning.
Prof. Gottfried begins by pointing out that the United States does not have a conservative movement in the proper, European sense. The fathers of conservatism, Edmund Burke and Joseph de Maistre, wrote in reaction to the French revolution and in defense of monarchy, tradition, aristocracy, social deference, and the established church. They defended specific societies and traditions they loved and hoped would endure. The closest American parallel would be Southern secessionists and anti-abolitionists, but they were practical men, not philosophers.
American conservatism today does not defend a distinct way of life. Instead, it promotes “values.” A conservative therefore need not be of a particular nation, race, class or religion; if he checks the right boxes on the political equivalent of a Cosmo-girl quiz, he can call himself a conservative. Prof. Gottfried notes that this is more akin to an ideological Right, which need not be rooted in class or tradition and that stands for a particular set of ideas, but that this is not the same as traditional, organically rooted European conservatism. Today, American “conservatism” therefore means opposition to the Left, but its current standard bearers may be the most accommodating opposition the Left has ever met.
At the same time, our conservatives have an almost comic blindness to their own ineffectiveness. Prof. Gottfried writes: “Despite the patent fact that the political landscape has been moving generally leftward since the fifties, conservatives celebrate a ‘Reagan revolution’ while turning out books that hail their imagined transformation of American society.”
It is common to pretend there was no American Right until William F. Buckley established National Review in 1955, but Prof. Gottfried reminds us there was vigorous opposition to the New Deal and even to our entry into the Second World War. Men such as Albert Jay Nock, Garet Garrett, John T. Flynn, Col. Robert McCormick, Henry Hazlitt, John Chamberlain and H.L. Mencken despised Franklin Roosevelt, believed in war only in defense of vital interests, and hated the specter of intrusive government. They did not call themselves “conservatives,” however. Some called themselves “Jeffersonians,” and could have correctly been called “constitutionalists” or “classical liberals.” It was only after the Second World War that the term “conservative” became common, and Mr. Buckley strongly promoted it. Prof. Gottfried suggests that Russell Kirk gave the new name a big push in his 1953 book The Conservative Mind, in which he tried to give the American Right artificial roots in Edmund Burke’s traditional conservatism.
In the beginning, National Review really did defend a traditional view of the American republic. As James Lubinskas has shown in a comprehensive AR article (“The Decline of National Review,” Sept. 2000), the magazine took racial differences in IQ for granted, scorned Martin Luther King, supported South African apartheid, and opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took equally traditional positions on welfare and government meddling, although it was prepared to overlook federal excesses in support of the big military organization Mr. Buckley thought necessary for defeating Communism. Once he even famously warned that conservatives should accept “totalitarianism on these shores” if that was what it took to rout the Commies. “Conservatism” itself was already becoming a tool for the accumulation of government power.
It was the neoconservatives who finally neutered Mr. Buckley’s “conservatism,” but his magazine was already backpedaling by the 1960s and 1970s, honing the uniquely conservative talent for “treating a general retreat from its original positions as a progression of victories.” Some of this came from a craving for respectability, which meant turfing out comrades from the early days who refused to trim their sails. As Prof. Gottfried notes, “conservative leaders have marginalized their own right wing more than once as they have presented their movement as suitable for a dialogue with ‘moderates’ on the other side.” They have long been willing to shed principles if that was what it took to get a share of the public spotlight.
As for the ex-lefties who were to become neocons, their break with Communism did not send them immediately into the conservative camp. When they first began to emerge as a school of thought they resisted the name of conservative, associating it with racism, nativism, and anti-Semitism, and they did not hesitate to accuse National Review of these crimes. They submitted to being called “conservative” only after they took over most of the Buckley movement, and emptied it of anything left that deserved the name.
At that point they also began to treat Mr. Buckley as if he had been one of their own all along. As Prof. Gottfried writes of Mr. Buckley, “By the 1980s, he and his magazine had moved into a predominantly Jewish-Zionist and, from all appearances, Teutonophobic neoconservative camp, which graciously allowed him to revise both his past, and, by implication, that of his movement.” Unlike AR, National Review’s on-line archives go back only to 2003. The early material—now moldering only in libraries—would be embarrassing.
There is no question that neoconservatism conquered its rivals on the right, but how? How did people like Norman Podhoretz, Irving Kristol, Midge Decter, and Gertrude Himmelfarb manage to gain a following for a movement that was predominantly Jewish and ex-Communist? First, the entire country had moved leftward, and compliant, ingratiating “conservatives” made a much better showing in the TV age than men with backbone, in the mold of Col. McCormick or H. L. Mencken. At the same time, as Prof. Gottfried explains, neoconservatives were “relentless, methodical empire builders.” As they took over the old institutions and publications of the Right and started their own, they were able to offer jobs and prominent positions to followers. Once they had annexed much of the Republican Party, even plum administration jobs came within their gift. And as the state became both a tool for pet policies and a source of jobs, they lost whatever faint impulses they might once have had to reduce the size of government.
Neocons also consolidated their status as official opposition by savagely purging the Old Right, making it virtually impossible for long-standing opponents of welfare, Martin Luther King, or overseas adventuring to get a hearing. Neocons never lost the old Communist habit of calling their opponents “fascists,” and this is still their favorite word for anyone to their right. Prof. Gottfried scoffs at this fraudulent name calling, pointing out that Fascism was a distinctively European inter-war phenomenon that arose in reaction to Soviet Communism. “It is hard to imagine,” he writes, “what, if anything, fascism would look like in today’s society. Equating fascists with European or American critics of Third World immigration is a propagandistic ploy, when it is not simply an anachronistic exercise.”
Prof. Gottfried is familiar with the racially-oriented paleoconservative Right, and he is thinking of American Renaissance and The Occidental Quarterly when we writes, “it is hard to find groups on the present American Right calling for a Mussolinian state or who, in contrast to the neoconservatives, associate ‘national greatness’ with an expanded central government.” He points out, correctly, that racially conscious whites tend to be libertarians, and would love to get the government out of their lives. When neoconservatives shout about “fascism” they are completely missing the mark. They keep doing it because, in a movement that Prof. Gottfried describes as having “declined into robot-like conformity,” demonization works.
Once they had cast what was left of the genuine Right into outer darkness, neoconservatives became the perfect foil for Democrats. As Prof. Gottfried explains, they “stand closer ideologically and sociologically to the Center-Left than any other group identified with the ‘conservative’ side.” As the official lap-dog opposition, they now merely compete with the Center-Left on how to interpret positions that are broadly accepted by the Left.
What do today’s neoconservatives actually stand for? They prate constantly about “permanent values,” but Prof. Gottfried notes that this is largely a charade designed to give the appearance of a moral and philosophical pedigree. Their so-called values are mostly mush. Prof. Gottfried quotes neoconservative Jonah Goldberg as saying that what unites conservatives is a belief in “human rights” and “universal values.” By this standard Trotsky and Ted Kennedy are “conservatives.”
The “permanent value” with which neocons justify their foreign wars is “global democracy.” They have decided that welfare-with-elections is the only acceptable way to run a country, and are prepared to kill people if that is what it takes to get them into voting booths. Prof. Gottfried notes that this neo-Wilsonian war-mongering is an essential aspect of neoconservative support for Israel.
“Values” are also a conveniently fluid way to give ground. Prof. Gottfried cites David Brooks of the New York Times, who explained that his support for homosexual marriage grew out of his conservative support for “family values”! Of course, the Left, too, whoops so much about “values” and its “moral compass” that the squabble over virtuousness has left many Americans politically dyslexic: A February 2005 poll found that one third of Hillary Clinton’s supporters called themselves “conservative.” The “values” game has so blurred political boundaries that neoconservatives get away with promoting a concept that would have left the Old Right gasping: “big-government conservatism.”
More insidiously, “values” detach “conservatism” from any association with place, tribe, or nation. It doesn’t matter if America is flooded with Hmong, Haitians, and Somali Bantus. Once Jonah Goldberg has taught them “human rights” and “universal values” they will be flawless conservatives.
Needless to say, if conservatism is to conserve anything, it must start with the biological and cultural patrimony of a people. When neoconservatives promote mass immigration from anywhere and everywhere—though with some signs of skepticism about Muslims—they are destroying the country as surely as are the worst liberals. It is partly to prove their indifference to race and peoplehood that neocons trumpet their support of Martin Luther King, whom they hold up as the champion of pure race unconsciousness and equal opportunity. Of course, King would almost certainly have whinnied with happiness if he had lived long enough to see race preferences.
Prof. Gottfried writes that it is possible to imagine a different and more authentic conservatism, one that never lost its hatred of big government or of overseas adventures—but that it is possible only to imagine it. This would be a Right that would be far more difficult for the regnant liberals to co-opt or refute, but Prof. Gottfried says such a Right shows no sign of emerging. What remains of the Old Right opposition to neoconservatism “is now battered and without friends in high places.”
Prof. Gottfried has inhabited the Right for a long time and knows what he is talking about. And yet, there are signs of hope. Ron Paul’s startling success as a fundraiser is proof that many people admire the one politician who actually reads the Constitution. The massive outrage that smashed the recent plan to grant amnesty to millions of illegal Mexicans shows how few people have swallowed neoconservative rubbish about America as a “universal nation.”
There is still good sense deep in the bones of the people. That it is why it is increasingly only real conservatives who want to circumvent legislative sausage-making and submit as many questions as possible directly to voters. Traditionalists have always held government in deep suspicion (though they also worried about the people running off in wild directions if they had unchecked power). Today, thanks in no small part to the fakes who call themselves “conservatives,” there is no question that the establishment threatens our nation and way of life far more than would the blunt instincts of ordinary Americans.
Can Blacks be Our Allies?
They could—but won’t—act in our interests, too.
Blacks have more to lose from Hispanic immigration than anyone else in America. They should be at the forefront of the immigration-control movement, but are not. What keeps them on the sidelines?
The Los Angeles Times recently wrote about Ted Hayes, a black who has tried to rally other blacks to fight illegal immigration (Teresa Watanabe, “Activist Fails to Rally Blacks on Illegal-Immigration Issue,” Los Angeles Times, Dec. 31, 2007). He has been a complete failure.
Mr. Hayes started out as a homeless advocate in Los Angeles, but when he showed some interest in stopping illegals, immigration-control activists eagerly adopted him. Minuteman groups that feared being called racists helped Mr. Hayes start the Crispus Attucks Minuteman Brigade, and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) set him up with something called Choose Black America.
As the Times pointed out, even Mr. Hayes himself admits his work has been a bust. Not only has he failed to attract blacks, he has lost the support of many left-wing white allies.
I once met Mr. Hayes at a Minuteman rally in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2006—and was shocked by his appearance. He was in dreadlocks and a Rasta cap, and wore a chain with a large image of Africa attached to it. As it turned out, he nearly sank the rally single-handedly.
Like so many immigration-control gatherings, this one attracted the usual group of loud, unkempt, “anti-racist” protesters. All the Minutemen wisely stayed away from them, knowing any altercation would be blamed on them—that is to say, everyone but Mr. Hayes, who shoved a protester right in front of a news camera.
The only thing that prevented a PR disaster was Mr. Hayes’s outlandish appearance. Television commentator Lou Dobbs, who is a strong campaigner for immigration control, got hold of the film and showed it on his program, thinking Mr. Hayes was an open-borders activist. You can hardly blame Mr. Dobbs; anyone would have thought this aggressive, wild-looking character was a lefty.
What does this say about the role of blacks in the movement?
Opposition to mass immigration comes from across the political spectrum, and there are even some people from the Left who are on our side. However, the backbone of the movement is white Americans who do not want a culturally alien underclass taking over their neighborhoods and schools.
Many such white people see blacks as a greater threat than Hispanics. With a few exceptions, such as teenage pregnancy rates, on almost all indices of social failure, blacks are a bigger problem than Hispanics. Although they speak English, in some respects blacks are more culturally alien than Mexicans, and even the staunchest immigration-control activists have to admit that many Hispanics work hard. The current tidal wave of Hispanics is a serious threat to our way of life, but many whites see blacks as a bigger threat, especially in places that do not yet have large numbers of Hispanics.
That is why I think trying to join forces with the likes of Ted Hayes—who first came to prominence by setting up shanty towns for the homeless in the middle of Los Angeles—will alienate or at best confuse our natural following. It is a little like trying to work with the Bloods and Crips because they don’t like MS-13 and the Latin Kings.
Mr. Hayes is not the only black who is opposed to illegal immigration, but not one has established a real following among other blacks. Nor have any whites. Both the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and Numbers USA—the two biggest anti-immigration groups along with FAIR—have bent over backwards to promote blacks. Both have placed advertisements in major newspapers on the harm immigration does to blacks, and CIS has sponsored congressional testimony and studies on the danger to blacks.
None of this has attracted blacks to the cause, nor has it won any credit with the Left. Shayla Nunnally, a black professor at the University of Connecticut, says black activists are being co-opted by groups “who may not have the African-American community’s best interests in mind.” She says it leads to “minorities fighting minorities,” while “fighting the overall oppression isn’t being addressed.” Like so many liberals, she thinks all non-whites must unite against the real oppressor: the white man.
This is the Southern Poverty Law Center’s line as well. It says black activists like Mr. Hayes are just “pawns in [the racists’] game.” It recently listed FAIR as a hate group.
Of course, blacks have every reason to be more opposed even than whites to illegal immigration. They compete directly with low-wage immigrants for welfare, jobs, and classroom space, and they are not the ones likely to save a buck by hiring Mexican day labor at $7.00 an hour. Nor will Mexicans listen guiltily to tales of woe about slavery and Jim Crow. At the same time, blacks have no qualms about explicitly pushing their racial interests. They oppose anything they think is bad for blacks, and Mexican immigration is certainly bad for them.
However, nothing indicates blacks will contribute much to the anti-immigration movement, much less lead it. Blacks outpoll whites in support for school vouchers and in opposition to gay marriage and abortion, but this does not translate into a useful role in any of those movements either.
Immigration-control advocates never seem to get over the delusion that blacks will eventually rally to the cause. This is why, of all the Republican presidential candidates, Tom Tancredo was the only one who spoke to the NAACP. Blacks should be carrying Mr. Tancredo around on their shoulders, but they pay him no attention at all. The congressman’s support came almost exclusively from whites.
Smart conservatives learned long ago that blacks have essentially no political role outside of the narrow band of issues the liberal establishment sets aside for them, and that even there they are not very effective. Blacks have always blindly followed “leaders” who are aligned with the left wing of the Democratic Party. Those leaders want to increase Hispanic political power in order to entrench anti-white policies. Many have spent their entire careers blaming whites for anything and everything. This either blinds them to threats from anyone else, or makes them incapable of working with white allies even if they see a common threat. There are no black congressmen in the Immigration Reform Caucus—but there is a theoretical chance of getting one in November.
On January 3, Mr. Hayes announced he would challenge Los Angeles’s black congresswoman Maxine Waters. It will be interesting to see whether his immigration-control message appeals to black voters.
It would be logical—it would even be helpful—if ordinary blacks would turn on the demagogues, and do something in their own interests that was actually in ours as well. Don’t count on it. Massive outreach by Republicans and conservatives has had little success on any front, and I think it has long since passed the point of diminishing returns.
Ellison Lodge works in immigration on Capitol Hill, and can be reached at [email protected]
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
On January 7, New Jersey followed Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia in issuing an apology for slavery. The resolution of regret passed overwhelmingly in the assembly (59-8) and senate (29-2). A first for a Northern state, the resolution expresses “profound regret for the wrongs inflicted by slavery and its aftereffects in the United States of America.” Among these supposed aftereffects are: “the overt racism of hate groups . . . the subtle racism encountered when requesting health care, transacting business, buying a home, seeking quality public education and college admission, and enduring pretextual traffic stops and other indignities.” New Jersey, according to the resolution, was particularly wicked because it had one of the largest slave populations in the North and, in 1846, was the last Northern state to abolish slavery. New Jersey also regrets that it did not ratify the Thirteenth Amendment until January 1866, a month after it had gone into effect.
The apology, like those issued by other states, includes no provisions for reparations. “This resolution does nothing more than say New Jersey is sorry about its shameful past,” says Assemblyman William Payne, a Democrat who sponsored the measure. [Tom Hester, Jr., New Jersey Apologizes for Slavery, AP, Jan. 7, 2008.]
In 2006, Congress passed the Secure Fence Act, which requires the federal government to build 854 miles of a double-layer border fence on the US-Mexico border. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under Secretary Michael Chertoff has never been enthusiastic about the fence and has built just a few miles of it. Thanks to Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Mr. Chertoff may no longer need to worry about thwarting the will of the American people single-handedly. In December 2007, Sen. Hutchison attached an amendment to a $555 billion Senate spending bill that explicitly leaves fence-building up to the discretion of the secretary of homeland security.
Critics say that if the House accepts the Senate’s amendment the fence is as good as dead. Steve Elliott, president of the conservative activist group Grassfire. org, says that “DHS would not be required to build fencing in any particular location—and the double-layer mandate is totally gone.” Chris Simcox, president of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, says, “Congress truly pulled the rug out from under us while we were doing our last-minute holiday shopping, deceiving the American people and only showing goodwill to the 12 million lawbreakers living among us.” [Joe Murray, U.S. Senate Turns Back On Border Fence, Bulletin (Philadelphia), Jan. 2, 2007.]
No Hate Crimes
On Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2007, Sarah Kreager, a 26-year-old white woman, got on a Baltimore city bus, along with her boyfriend, Troy Ennis. Several blacks were on the bus, and prevented the couple from sitting in various seats. They eventually found a seat in the back, but a group of young blacks began pestering them. Accounts of what happened next vary. Miss Kreager says a black teenaged girl told her to move. When she refused, the girl attacked her, and six boys and two more girls joined in. They kicked and punched her, shouted racial insults, and eventually dragged Miss Kreager off the bus. The blacks broke several bones in her face. They also beat her boyfriend, but not as badly.
One of the nine blacks arrested for the assault, 14-year-old Britny Carter, says Miss Kreager asked for the beating when she spat on a girl who was making fun of her because she had a black eye. Miss Carter says none of the blacks who beat Miss Kreager used racial slurs, and that the victim’s race was irrelevant. Monalisa Carter, Britny’s mother, says, “It wasn’t a hate crime. That’s so untrue. I did not raise her that way. Britny is not a racial person. She has white friends, black friends; she gets along with everybody.”
Prosecutors evidently agree. Margaret T. Burns, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office, says the blacks face charges of aggravated assault and malicious destruction of property, but that her office will file no hate crime charges. The Maryland Transit Administration Police Force, which judged Miss Kreager to be in danger and put her in the witness protection program, concluded that although racial insults were used, it was only a fight over a seat.
Less than a week after Miss Kreager’s assault, another gang of blacks attacked two white men, Patrick Green and Robert Rothe, as they got on a bus in south Baltimore. The blacks used racial slurs, but MTA police say it was just a “common assault.” [Kelly Brewington, Gus G. Sentementes and Michael Dresser, Interviews Raise Questions About Race’s Role in Bus Attack, Baltimore Sun, Dec. 8, 2007. Sumathi Reddy, Hate Crime Charges Rejected, Baltimore Sun, Dec. 29, 2007. Surveillance Photos Released In Bus Attack, WBAL-TV, Dec. 13, 2007.]
Failing in Oz
One of former Australian Prime Minister John Howard’s last changes to immigration procedure before he was turned out of office in December 2007 was to establish a new citizenship test. Its 20 questions cover Australian history, values, and way of life, and require “competence” in English.
More than 10,000 would-be Australians have taken the test since it went into effect on October 1, and 2,311 — about 20 percent—have failed. That’s too many for Australia’s non-white lobby. Stepan Kerkyasharian, president of something called the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board, wants a test that is less Australian. “Let’s have a test that’s practical, that basically finds out whether someone knows enough about the political system,” he says. “It shouldn’t be a test of culture but a test of knowledge. I’d like to see a citizenship test which is easy to administer, easy to take part in, not sort of couched in high-level English terms, and a test about the political system in Australia and what every day life in Australia is about, not about what happened 20 years ago in some cricket match.”
Sam Afra, chairman of the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria, agrees. He says the new test “discriminates,” and keeps lawful migrants from becoming citizens. “The news that 20 per cent of applicants are failing the test confirms our fears that the test would exclude people who would otherwise make a tremendous contribution to Australia,” he says. Presumably he wants a test anyone can pass.
During the campaign, the Australian Labor Party, which won the December elections, promised to keep the test, but Immigration Minister Chris Evans now says he will review it. Many think he plans to gut it or even scrap it. [Ethnic Groups Want Citizen Test Changed, Sydney Morning Herald, Jan. 2, 2008.]
Oh, to be in England
James Young is a 71-year-old Scottish great-grandfather who drives a taxi in Dundee, Scotland. On February 9, 2007, he picked up Jane Ross, the wife of former Labour MP Ernie Ross, and her daughter, Karen Girolami. The women were talking about local parents having trouble finding spots for their children in top secondary schools, when Mr. Young cut in to say it was all the fault of the “Pakis.”
“We were both shocked on hearing the word being used so blatantly,” said Mrs. Girolami. Mr. Young told them he probably shouldn’t use that word because his daughter had told him it wasn’t proper. When Mrs. Girolami suggested that perhaps he should say “Asian,” Mr. Young said, “It doesn’t matter where they come from because Pakis are Pakis, Chinkies are Chinkies, darkies are darkies.”
Mrs. Girolami was appalled. “It was at that point I wanted to get out of the taxi. I could see mum was tense, and I said I wanted to get out because I didn’t want to get into an argument with the driver.” They got out before reaching their destination, and Mr. Young wished them a pleasant day as they paid the fare. Mrs. Girolami called the police to report Mr. Young’s “racism.” Officers came to Mr. Young’s home later that day and arrested him on charges of “breach of the peace with racial aggravation” and put him in a cell for 12 hours.
In December — nearly a year after his arrest — Mr. Young went on trial in Dundee Sheriff Court and was quickly acquitted. The magistrate, Sheriff Maxwell Hendry, said that while “the actions of the accused were undoubtedly embarrassing, annoying and inappropriate,” they did not constitute a breach of the peace. “I am so glad this is over,” said Mr. Young. “It has been hanging over my head for a long time. I was panicking for a while that it would go against me, but finally common sense has prevailed and I can get on with my life.”
The Crown Prosecution Service, which received a great deal of criticism for bringing the case, refused comment except to say that it “takes all complaints with a racial element extremely seriously.” [Lindsay McIntosh, ‘Racism’ on Trial . . . Or a Hammer to Crack a Nut?, Scotsman (Edinburgh), Dec. 13, 2007.]
Oh, Not to be in England
A new study from the University of Sheffield predicts that in 2020 Leicester will be the first British city to get a non-white majority. It will be followed by Birmingham in 2024, and Slough and Luton soon afterwards. London will still be majority white in 2026, but eight of its 33 boroughs will have non-white majorities. In all, a dozen British towns and cities will be majority non-white in 30 years. Leicester was 71 percent white in 1991 but an influx of Indians and Africans has already reduced that figure to 59.5 percent. In Birmingham, it is Pakistanis who are moving in.
Sukhvinder Stubbs, head of the Barrow Cadbury Trust, which commissioned the study, says, “Regardless of future immigration patterns, it is just a matter of time until cities such as Birmingham become plural. Even if we prohibited another single soul from entering the country, the trends have already laid root.” [Mathew Hickley, White Britons Will Be a Minority In a Dozen Towns Within 30 Years, Daily Mail (London), Dec. 24, 2007.]
BNP Ballerina to Wed
In 2006, Simone Clarke of the English National Ballet made headlines when it was learned that she was a member of the “racist” and “fascist” British National Party (BNP). Miss Clarke says she joined after she went online and read its manifesto, and found she agreed with its positions on “mass immigration, crime and increased taxes.” Leftists and so-called “anti-racists” tried to get the National Ballet to fire Miss Clarke but it kept her on, saying it does not dictate political views. On January 12, 2007, about 40 people protested outside the theater where she danced in “Giselle.” BNP member Richard Barnbrook led a counter-protest, saying at the time, “I don’t normally go to the ballet but I’m going to support Simone Clarke. I’m supporting her freedom of expression.” He presented her with roses after the performance. Mr. Barnbrook went on to defend Miss Clarke against charges of racism, pointing out that she had a daughter with fellow dancer Yat-Sen Chang, who is half-Chinese and half-Cuban.
Mr. Chang and Miss Clarke broke up shortly afterwards, and she is now engaged to Mr. Barnbrook, the BNP’s candidate for mayor of London. “We’ve been going out for over nine months—I’m surprised the media haven’t found out before,” he says. [Andy McSmith, BNP’s Ballerina is Engaged to Party’s Mayoral Candidate, Independent (London), Dec. 20, 2007.]
Diversity Uber Alles
In 1996, Californians voted for Proposition 209, which put an end to race- and sex-based admissions preferences at state universities. Since then, University of California (UC) campuses have become less “diverse”—meaning there are fewer blacks and Hispanics, but more Asians. In fact, there are now more Asians than whites in the UC system. Hundreds more Asians than whites attend prestigious UC-Berkeley, and Asians outnumber whites two to one at UC-Davis.
University administrators have been trying to get around Prop. 209 for years. Their latest scheme would lower the minimum GPA for admission to 2.8 from 3.0, where it has been for 40 years, and ditch the requirement that applicants take the SAT. Board of Admissions Chairman Mark Rashid says the new system would “make a better and more fair determination of academic merit by looking at all the students’ achievements.” Translation: more leeway for admitting poorly qualified blacks and Hispanics.
Ward Connerly, the black man who led the fight for Prop. 209 and for similar measures around the country, used to sit on the UC Board of Regents. “This appears to be a blatant attempt to subvert the law,” he says of the new proposal. “Subjective admissions standards allow schools to substitute race and diversity for academic achievement.” [Defining Diversity Down, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 9, 2007. Matt Krupnick, UC Seeks Info on Asian Students, San Jose Mercury News, Nov. 24, 2007.]
In 2006, the US lifetime fertility rate hit 2.1 for the first time since 1971, making it the only industrialized country at replacement level. France is almost there, with a rate of 2.0. Fertility in the US went up in every age group from 2005 to 2006, the biggest jump coming among those 20 to 24 years old. Hispanics have the highest rate — at 2.9 — followed by blacks at 2.1 and Asians at 1.9. Whites had the lowest rate — 1.86 — but were more fertile than whites in almost any other country.
The US rate hit a high of nearly 3.8 in 1957 during the baby boom, but it fell sharply through the 1960s and 1970s after the introduction of birth control pills, and as more women started working. The rate dipped below replacement level in 1972 and hit a low of 1.7 in 1976, but started rising in the late 1970s. It climbed steadily through the 1980s, and hovered just below replacement level during the 1990s. Throughout this period, the US population grew rapidly because of immigration.
Experts say Americans use birth control less frequently than other Westerners, are more religious, and generally believe that women can both work and have children. [Rob Stein, U.S. Fertility Rate Hits 35-Year High, Stabilizing Population, Washington Post, Dec, 21, 2007.]
According to the Census Bureau, nearly 43 percent of Californians speak a language other than English at home. In Los Angeles, the number is 53 percent, and several cities in Southern California have an even higher percentage: East Los Angeles (90 percent), El Monte (83 percent), Santa Ana (82 percent), Alhambra (70 percent), Oxnard and Garden Grove (67 percent), and Glendale (64 percent). The most common language is Spanish, but there are also enclaves of Korean, Thai, Hmong, Russian, and Armenian-speakers. In the Los Angeles Unified School District, more than 265,000 ESL (English as a Second Language) students speak 91 different languages. Nearly 20 percent of the country as a whole speaks a language other than English at home. [Anna Gorman and David Pierson, Report Says California is Linguistically Diverse, Los Angeles Times, Sept. 16, 2007.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — Last month’s cover story on the US Army is the kind of reporting impossible to find in any other publication: incisive observation of multi-racialism in a world the rest of us will never see. My favorite AR articles include similar perspectives from a high steel “connector” (June 2006), a lawyer (September 2003), and a New York City subway conductor (January 1997). All these articles have the ring of absolute truth, and capture a reality that no other magazine would dare print.
There are three more professions I would love to hear from: social worker, big-city school teacher, and police officer. These are all front-line professions that must face a reality from which the rest of us are largely shielded.
Anne Cooper, Charleston, S.C.
Sir — I very much enjoyed Duncan Hengest’s article about his experiences in the Army. He is particularly believable because he obviously began his career with the usual liberal assumptions about race. Whites in the Army must get an unusually up-close look at how non-whites really behave, and the experience no doubt destroys a great many illusions.
The wonder is that more people do not draw the correct conclusions from what they see. I’m reminded of the man who insisted on his innocence even after his wife caught him in bed with another woman: “Which are you going to believe; me or your lying eyes?” Most Americans seem to believe Ted Kennedy rather than their “lying eyes.”
Paul Acevedo, Phoenix, Ariz.
Sir — I wish to thank Anthony Young for his letter in the January issue of AR about my book, Understanding Human History. He pointed out that my estimate of the mean IQ of Australian aborigines (85) is much too high. He is right, and I intend to correct that error in the next edition.
In the same issue, Ted Sallis objected to my assertion that Northeast Asians are more closely related to Europeans than they are to Southeast Asians (such as Malays). My statement is based on studies of DNA made by L.L. Cavalli-Sforza (a highly respected researcher). However, Mr. Sallis is correct in pointing out that the evidence is not conclusive, and I would not be very surprised if future studies confirm his intuitive feeling that Koreans are more similar to Malays than they are to us.
Prof. Michael H. Hart
Sir — Peter Wilkinson’s The Howard Legacy: Displacement of Traditional Australia from the Professional and Managerial Classes, which was reviewed in the January 2008 issue, appears to make two serious mistakes. First, it seems to assume that success is a zero-sum game, in which more intelligent people take success from less successful people. In fact, the admixture of more intelligent people raises the standard of living and the quality of life for everyone in a country. For example, in the 1980s, 1.5 million black migrants from black-ruled African countries lived in South Africa, when it was still ruled by a universally execrated and ostracized white racist government. The reason was that the presence of a large white population made the standard of living higher for everyone in South Africa than it was in the rest of Black Africa. The standard of living for blacks in Brazil is higher than in South Africa because the white proportion of its population is higher than in South Africa. For the same reason, the standard of living for blacks is higher in the USA than in Brazil. Similarly, the Arab population of pre-1967 Israel had a standard of living three times higher than that of Arabs living in neighboring Arab countries.
Second, Mr. Wilkinson’s prediction that Australian politicians will be “in the pockets of the Chinese, as is the case in Southeast Asia” is preposterous. The average IQ of Malays, Indonesians, and Filipinos is much lower than the average white IQ. The relative success of Chinese minorities in Southeast Asia is therefore much greater than it could be in Australia. Moreover, although Oriental non-verbal IQ is higher than white non-verbal IQ, Oriental verbal IQ is not. In 2007, the average Asian scores on the Critical Reading and Writing sections of the American SAT were 514 and 513, respectively; the average white scores on those sections was 527 and 518. This means Chinese are probably not overrepresented in fields like journalism and law that influence public opinion and policy. I would also add that the government of every Southeast Asian country with a significant Chinese minority enforces a policy of savage anti-Chinese discrimination.
I will make one more observation, though it is based on anecdote. I have heard from several sources that white immigrants to Australia are more successful than Australia’s native white population. Twenty-five years ago, in Amsterdam, I was talking with a Dutchman about Dutch emigration. He said that some Dutch move to Australia, where “any Dutchman can succeed because Australians are stupid and lazy.” “The Dutch in Australia,” he added, “are like Jews in the Netherlands.”
Professor Steven Farron, Johannesburg, South Africa
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