|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 17, No. 7||July 2006|
The Genetics of Race
Common sense is a better guide than liberal myths.
Everyone has heard the fashionable view that race is not a valid biological concept but is, instead, a suspect sociological category. The implication is that racial distinctions are a form of superstition, that there is no justification for wanting to preserve races, and that replacement of one group by another represents no genetic loss. More specifically, it implies there is no reason for whites in Europe or America to resist displacement because we are, in effect, being replaced by ourselves.
This view is wrong on its face. Races breed true, generation after generation — Danes cannot produce a Bantu, and Bantus cannot produce a Dane — and racial differences are so substantial and consistent that two-year-old children notice them. Scientists recognize the biological differences between animal subspecies — eastern lowland and mountain gorillas, for examples — that are far more physically similar to each other than are members of different human races.
Clearly, the main motive for promoting a view so contrary to common sense is “anti-racism,” but there is one biological fact on which the race-deniers build their argument: This is the oft-cited observation by Richard C. Lewontin of Harvard that there is far more genetic variation within human racial groups (about 85 percent of the total) than between them (about 15 percent). This is true, and scientists were surprised when this fact first came to light. There have since been many outrageous misinterpretations of Prof. Lewontin’s findings, with some people even claiming that because there is more genetic variation within than between human groups, whites are genetically more similar to blacks than to other whites.
I will try to explain what the Lewontin findings mean, and how they should be understood. To do so, I will simplify some of the basic concepts of population genetics and use analogies to illustrate certain key points. Readers interested in the more technical aspects of the subject can consult the papers mentioned in this article, and an Internet search will uncover a vast and challenging literature. What follows, however, should be enough to clear the cobwebs.
First, what is “genetic variation?” Genes are made from DNA, which is made of four chemical elements called nucleotides (Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine, and Thymine, abbreviated as A, C, G, T). These nucleotides are arranged in ordered combinations (e.g., ACGTCGATGATGCA) that make up DNA sequences. DNA is the code in which cells store the information about how to build the basic chemical components of the human (or any other) body. Through a complex chain of events, the information in these sequences is first “transcribed” into an intermediate form called RNA, and then “translated” into proteins, which are the building blocks of life. Some of the DNA sequences regulate transcription, and what subsequently happens to the RNA. Specific DNA sequences with specific functions are called genes, and the complete set of DNA sequences of an organism is called its genome.
A large portion of the human genome is said to be “non-functional,” in that the DNA sequences do not code for proteins nor do they seem to have any regulatory functions. Recent studies suggest that some sequences previously thought to be non-functional may be involved in regulation, but scientists are interested even in DNA sequences that are truly neutral and non-functional. This is because these sequences sometimes vary in interesting ways between individuals and groups, and population geneticists study them to learn about ancestral relationships. Thus, when I refer to genes and genetic variation, I am referring to all types of DNA sequences that can be the source of genetic variation. How do the sequences vary?
There are differences between individuals and between races and ethnic groups. Sometimes these differences have profound effects on function and physical form (phenotype) and sometimes they do not. Individuals differ in many ways — height, coloring, intelligence, personality — because of differences in their DNA sequences, though environment also affects these traits to varying degrees. Different information stored in the DNA produces these differences. In other words, variants of the same genes can produce different effects in different people.
There are further differences between people in the so-called neutral (non-functional) gene sequences, but these do not have physically apparent or visible effects. Siblings may be very similar to each other in all apparent ways, and are similar in those portions of DNA that code for detectable differences. At the same time, there may be considerable differences in their non-functional DNA, and these differences do not show up as apparent, or phenotypic differences. Genetic variations can have no effect or very profound effects, depending on which genes they affect. In some crucial sections of the genome, even the slightest variation can be very damaging. A few conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia and alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, result from tiny differences in gene sequences at certain key points.
There are a few genetic variations that are population-specific, which is to say that they are found in one population but are essentially absent in another (see the note at the end of this article), but most differences are in frequency: One variation of a gene is found more or less frequently in one group than in another. In some cases there are many variants of a gene sequence, in some cases, only two variants. For example, a single gene may have three variants. In population A, gene variants 1, 2, and 3 may have frequencies of 30 percent, 30 percent, and 40 percent (for a total of 100 percent), while in population B the same frequencies may be 20 percent, 60 percent, and 20 percent and in population C, 70 percent, 25 percent, and 5 percent.
People are often surprised to learn that most of the human genome does not have racial or ethnic patterns. Most genetic variation is “random,” which is to say that members of different population groups are equally likely to have different variants of most genes. This is particularly common in those parts of the genetic structure that appear to be non-functional, and do not seem to have an effect on the organism. The sum of all these genetic differences within the human species is the total genetic variation of humans.
This total genetic variation can therefore be divided into the differences in gene frequencies found between individuals from the same group, and the differences in gene frequencies found in different groups. The portion of the genetic variation in which there are random differences between individuals of the same race is larger than the portion that is patterned by race. As we saw above, the proportions are approximately 85 percent and 15 percent, which is to say that 85 percent of the genetic variation among people of the same race is equally random when compared to people of different races. For all this variation, therefore, there are no patterns that indicate whether someone is a Pygmy or an Eskimo or a European.
It is in this sense that Prof. Lewontin is correct: Within each racial group, there are more DNA sequence variants that are random than there are DNA sequence variants that show a racial pattern. It is therefore correct to say there is more genetic variation within races than between them. The anti-racists twist this fact to imply that individuals of different races are (or can be) more similar to people of other races than to people of their own race.
In fact, since there are no racial patterns to 85 percent of human genetic variation, that is theoretically possible. Purely random variation in these areas could conceivably make two individuals of different races more alike than two individuals of the same race. However, in the remaining 15 percent — the genetic variation where consistent racial differences are found — they would be as different from each other as any two typical members of the different races. Theoretically, a Chinese could be found who was indistinguishable from a Frenchmen in large parts of their DNA, but this would not make them particularly similar. This Chinese would not have the gene variants that contribute to producing light-colored eyes or hair, or Caucasian facial features, for example.
The following crude analogy does not capture the complex, real world of human genetic variation, but it does demonstrate the importance of small sets of structured data compared to a large body of random variation. Let us imagine a group of 100 boys and 100 girls, each with 100 marbles that can be any color. For the first 85 marbles, color differences are completely random for everyone. However, for the last 15 marbles, boys always have blue marbles and girls have pink. Boys and girls thus form two distinct groups based on 15 percent of the marbles; the other 85 percent of the marbles vary in color without regard to sex. This means there is more intra-group variability than inter-group variability, but this does not mean that the blue-for-boys and pink-for-girls pattern does not exist; it clearly does. Nor does it imply that any given boy is likely to have marbles that are more similar to those of a girl than to another boy. The opposite is likely to be true.
On the other hand, as in the case of the Chinese and the Frenchman, it is theoretically possible, by random chance, that a specific boy’s first 85 marbles will be so similar to a specific girl’s that this boy will have a total set of marbles more similar in color to that girl’s than to any other boy’s. Theoretically, a given boy and girl could have 85 marbles that were exactly the same color. Does this mean the two larger groups do not exist? No. There are still two groups clearly defined by the consistent differences in color of the last 15 marbles, while the first 85 are random. But if marble color is a criterion for putting children into groups, shouldn’t the boy and girl be classified together as members of a group? No, because their similarity is a result of pure chance. What is significant, and what makes the two groups meaningful is the pattern of difference in just 15 percent of the marbles.
There are several ways to look at genetic variation within and between races. All humans, for example, share a tremendous number of traits. We all have two arms and legs, one heart with four chambers, and one stomach. We all perform complex DNA replication and protein translation, and we process sensory information in the brain. In this sense, the differences between races are tiny. Much of the genome is taken up with information on how to build the parts of the body common to all people, and a lot of the rest is inactive. In the case of genes that build the parts and processes common to all humans, there are random variations that do not seem to make any real difference in, say, how a liver or stomach works. That part of the genome varies more or less randomly across the entire human population, as do the parts that seem to do nothing. It is in the relatively small part of the genome that produces the relatively small differences that distinguish races that we find the consistent genetic patterns that make Tibetans different from Maoris. Given the vast biological ways in which Tibetans and Maoris are similar, it does not take much of the genome to produce the relatively small ways in which they are different.
The same is true for the distinctions between humans and other species. Some 98 percent of the chimpanzee genome is indistinguishable from the human genome, and humans share no less than 80 percent of their genes with mice. How does the 98 percent figure square with the 85 percent/15 percent figures for within-group and between-group genetic variation? However much humans vary genetically from each other, they all vary in ways specific to our species; the two percent difference between humans and chimps represent the small areas where there is no overlap at all between the two genomes, and that is enough to account for the differences between the two species.
A different way to compare variation within a race to variation between races is to consider the African American/European American IQ distribution curves. The two groups differ by one standard deviation, or 15 points. Within each group, the variability in IQ is much greater than 15 points — from moron to genius — but that does not mean a random white is more likely to have the same IQ as a random black than a random white. The opposite is true. Nor does the great variability in IQ within races somehow diminish the importance of the much smaller, 15-point difference in average black and white IQs. Of course, there is significant overlap, so that for this one trait, some whites and some blacks are indeed more similar to each other than they are to members of their own racial group.
The similarities drop away when we compare the two races on a larger number of traits. Imagine that for each trait, there is more variation within the group than between groups; this may well be true given the relatively large range of admixture and phenotypes found in African Americans and, to a lesser extent, in European Americans. For each of these traits taken individually — complexion, certain aspects of facial features, behavior, body form, skull shape, metabolism, etc. — there will be some degree of overlap between the groups, but the level of variation within the groups will be greater than the average variation between groups. (This is a comparison of American blacks and whites, between whom there has been considerable mixture. A comparison between black Africans and Europeans would find no overlap in some traits, such as complexion or facial features.) However, when all the traits are taken together, the chances of overlap between the two groups approach zero; one will not find whites and blacks who overlap on all, or even most, of a large number of phenotypic traits. For a single trait, or a small number of traits, we may see overlap, but not for 20 or 50 or 100 traits taken together.
The same principle applies to genetic data. Looking at genes in isolation leads to Prof. Lewontin’s conclusion, but as soon as one looks at numbers of genes, distinct groups emerge and are easily classified (see next article, page 7). Furthermore, functional genes with evolutionary importance may be concentrated in the parts of the genome that are unique to different populations. When sharp environmental differences began to push groups in different evolutionary directions (See “Northwest Passage,” AR, June 2006), the resulting changes in the genome were very small, but had great phenotypic significance. These would include genes that account for differences in physical appearance, as well as differences in other genetic variants that may have physiological significance (see “Race Realism Takes a Step Forward,” AR, Dec. 2005). Race differences in disease rates and medicinal effect also reflect evolved genetic differences between the races. The large amount of genetic variation that does not follow a racial pattern should not blind us to the small but very important part that does.
Readers with a technical bent can read the online article by A.W.F. Edwards (https://www.goodrumj.com/Edwards.pdf) called “Human genetic diversity: Lewontin’s fallacy” (BioEssays 25:795-801, 2003), in which Prof. Edwards mathematically dissects and refutes the “race does not exist” fallacy. Prof. Edwards explains that Prof. Lewontin’s conclusions are “unwarranted because most of the information that distinguishes populations is hidden in the correlation structure of the data and not simply in the variation of individual factors.” What this means is that looking at individual genes is not enough to distinguish between populations; groups of genes must be taken together.
Here is an example from the Edwards paper: Imagine two populations in which the frequency of a particular gene variant compared to its alternative is 70 percent in population A and 30 percent in population B (see note on calculating variation below). If you use this one gene as the criterion for determining who is an A, you will mistakenly classify 30 percent of Bs as As because 30 percent of them have the variant that is more common in As. As you increase the number of variants you are comparing, the chances of misclassification decrease because it is increasingly unlikely for a member of one group to have a distribution of many different gene variants similar to that of the other group.
How do geneticists determine how much variation is within groups or between groups? In the case of the example in the text, with 70 percent of population A and 30 percent of population B having one of two gene variants, within-group variation as a percentage of total variation is calculated as follows: 4 × 70 percent × 30 percent = 84 percent. Although a 70:30 and a 30:70 split in gene variations seems like a big difference between groups, only 16 percent (100-84 = 16) of the genetic variation is considered to be between rather than within groups. In that specific respect, the two groups are more similar than they are different.
What if the split is 90:10 and 10:90? The calculation for within-group variation is 4 × 90 percent × 10 percent = 36 percent. Even with a split as substantial as nine to one, only 64 percent of the total variation is between-group. If the variation is 99:1 and 1:99, the within-group variation is still four percent, though the between-group variation rises to 96 percent of the total variation.
We find the same principle in opinion polling. Statistics show that the larger the sample size, the more accurate the poll. If you want to know what percentage of Republicans support the Iraq war, you will get more accurate results by interviewing 1,000 registered Republican than by interviewing three, especially if one of them is Pat Buchanan. The same holds true for genetic classification. One must “poll” a large number of gene variants to distinguish population groups, because there is so much genetic variation within the groups.
This large amount of intra-racial variability does not at all imply that whites are more similar to blacks than to other whites. It means simply that of the total amount of human genetic variation, most is randomly distributed among individuals, with no racial trends. In these areas whites are, in general, neither more similar to whites than to blacks, or to blacks than to whites; the variation is random for everyone, with no racial pattern. There is a fraction of genetic variation, however, that is highly structured at the population level, meaning whites are much more similar to whites than to blacks (or any other race) for this important part of the variation.
One more analogy may help demonstrate the great importance of looking at genetic distinctiveness rather than at overall genetic similarity. A person’s gametes (sperm and eggs, which have only half, or one “copy” of a person’s genome) are genetically different from each another. By chance, one of Joe’s sperm could have a greater overall genetic similarity, including non-functional DNA, to one of Ted’s sperm than to another of Joe’s own sperm. Does this mean Joe is more genetically similar to Ted than to himself? Does it mean Joe should be indifferent to whether Ted’s sperm are used to create Joe’s child? Of course not. In comparing Joe and Ted, the important genetic information is in the parts of the DNA that distinguish Joe from Ted, not in the random genetic variation — much of it which has no functional significance — that is found in all individuals.
The same is true when comparing different population groups. If a species of wolf were threatened with extinction, environmentalists would not dismiss the problem by saying “there is more genetic variation within each wolf species than between them,” or “the threatened species shares most of its genetic variation with other wolf species and even with dogs, so there is nothing to worry about.” Extinction of any group, including human races, means the irreplaceable loss of unique characteristics and unique genetic information that distinguish that group from all others.
Let us consider further the within-group genetic variation that Prof. Lewontin and his supporters make so much of. This “within-group” variation is present in all human populations. If all humans except Bushmen became extinct, then the bulk of human genetic variation would survive in those Bushmen. Is then nothing lost? Hardly. All of the genetic variation that distinguishes the other peoples of the world from both Bushmen and from each other would be lost. It is true that the lost fraction of variation would be considerably smaller than the fraction that remained, but does that mean the lost fraction is unimportant? No. It is this much smaller fraction of human variation that makes different groups unique. It is therefore inherently much more valuable. The same applies to any endangered species; the potential loss is not what the species has in common with other species, but what makes it unlike all the others.
Natural selection works on differences between organisms, not similarities. If all members of a species were identical clones, differences in survival rates in a given environment would be a matter of pure chance. However, genetic differences result in physical differences, which result in different outcomes and different survival rates in different environments. As Vince Sarich and Frank. Miele note in their book Race: “Simply stated, the case for race hinges on recognition of the fact that genetic variation in traits that affect performance and ultimately survival is the fuel on which the evolutionary process runs.” In other words, racial differences are real and significant: They help different groups survive in different environments. It is the unique, patterned genetic differences of groups that affect whether their members are more or less likely to survive; not the great bulk of their gene sequences, which they hold in common with all other members of the species.
Some followers of Prof. Lewontin try to argue that races cannot exist because there is variability between the sub-races within races. Thus, they argue there is no such thing as a black African race because there are substantial differences between West Africans and East Africans. This argument misses the point. There are many different populations one could call races, depending on how the term is defined. It would not be incorrect to call West Africans and East Africans different races. Someone could call the French and the Poles different “races,” so long as he was consistent in calling other groups “races.” However, at the global level, Africans cluster with Africans, and Europeans with Europeans; they constitute legitimate racial groups.
Vdare.com correspondent Steve Sailer has pointed out that the same logic applies to the concept of location. For example, Tampa is not the same place as Miami. However, compared to Cleveland and Cincinnati — also two separate locations — Tampa and Miami cluster together in Florida. Cleveland and Cincinnati are in Ohio. Both Florida and Ohio can be said to cluster in the United States. When it comes to human races, their number varies greatly depending on how they are defined. Most people define races at the continental level, and define different groups within the same continental race as “subraces” or “ethnic groups.”
Some people argue that all races merge gradually into all others at their borders, and that this means race does not exist. First, this is not true. Gradual shifts from one race to another can be found within a continent, but between continents there are distinct racial breaks. This helps substantiate the usual definition of race at the level of continents. At the same time, the existence of mixed-race people does not, somehow, negate the existence of races. It substantiates it. There could not be mixed-race people if race did not exist.
Race is therefore a concrete, objectively-determined biological fact. Race is a “social construct” only insofar as a society may label people using criteria that are at least partially independent of biological reality. For example, in America, “blacks” include people with a wide range of ancestry, and some may have more white or Amerindian than black ancestors. This American practice, the most extreme form of which is the “one drop rule,” does not alter the objective existence of the African, European and Amerindian racial groups.
Virtually no non-whites take the position that race is an illusion. They have too healthy a sense of racial identity to accept such an odd notion. It is yet another ridiculous idea whites have talked themselves into as part of their overall race hysteria. Whites take great pride in staking out strange but fashionable positions, and then concocting elaborate justifications for them. The more strikingly they contradict common sense the better. To believe and to profess a self-righteous absurdity requires high virtue and mastery of difficult, mysterious teachings — a combination liberals find irresistible. Other examples would be insisting that blacks are as smart as whites or that diversity is a strength, but the purest form of high mumbo-jumbo is race-does-not-exist.
Cracks are, fortunately, beginning to appear in the façade. Population geneticists increasingly report that people can be unerringly classified by “continental population groups,” and thoughtful readers realize that “continental population group” is only a polite way of saying “race.” Researchers like Bruce Lahn of the University of Chicago will continue to find potentially important gene variants that differ in frequency between racial groups. More medicines will appear that have markedly different effects on different races. More people will buy commercially available DNA tests that determine ancestry, and wonder how it is possible to measure something that does not exist. Commentators like Steve Sailer will continue speaking truthfully about race — even if they refuse to accept the implications of what they are saying. Before long, claims about the alleged non-reality of race will be increasingly met with headshaking, smirks, and outright ridicule.
Even liberals have an interest in grasping reality. As Prof. Edwards warns in his article, “[I]t is a dangerous mistake to premise moral equality of human beings on biological similarity because dissimilarity, once revealed, then becomes an argument for moral inequality.” Liberals have built an entire world view on faulty assumptions and willful blindness. Most will go to their graves with their eyes closed; for the rest, there will be an unpleasant awakening.
Harold Stowe is an AR reader with an interest in population genetics.
A few gene variants are population-specific or very nearly so. Certain genetic diseases due to specific mutations, for example, are found almost exclusively among Ashkenazi Jews. Likewise, the Duffy antigen phenotype Fy (a-b-) is very rare among whites, but is found in nearly all black Africans. The gene SLC 24A5, which influences skin pigmentation, comes in two variants that differ by only one nucleotide, but produce different proteins. One variant is found in 99 to 100 percent of Europeans, and the other is found in 93 to 100 percent of Africans, East Asians, and Amerindians. A mutation linked to deafness, GJB2 35delG, has been found at varying frequencies in European populations and also in Jews, but seems to be absent from other population groups. Gene variants that result in lactose tolerance or a relative resistance to HIV infection are found most frequently in Northern Europe, less frequently in other parts of Europe, and are increasingly rare outside of Europe.
Deletions of sections of DNA sequences, which can cause serious genetic disease, also show distinct racial differences. Most of the differences take the form of different frequencies of deletions, but some deletions are unique to particular groups. One recent paper (Common deletions and SNPs are in linkage disequilibrium in the human genome, Hinds et al., Nature Genetics, 38, 82-85, 2006) found 21 deletions that are unique to African Americans, six to European Americans, and four to Han Chinese. More population-specific (and nearly specific) genetic differences are likely to be discovered in the future, to go along with the greater number of genetic variations that are not group-specific, but that exhibit marked differences in frequency between groups. We are indeed significantly different. Current dogma cannot change the facts.
Matching Race and Genes
Science can do it better than you can.
Recent studies have identified the race of individuals with close to 100 percent accuracy on the basis of genetic analysis. One such study, (Genetic structure, self-identified race/ethnicity, and confounding in case-control association studies, Tang et al., American Journal of Human Genetics 76: 268-275, 2005. Online here) used 326 DNA markers to sort 3,636 individuals on the basis of ancestry, and then see whether the genetic result matched what the individuals called themselves. The subjects classified themselves as white, black, Hispanic (Mexican), East Asian (Chinese and Japanese), and twelve people who called themselves “Other,” most of whom were classified genetically as Hispanic. Computer analysis of the DNA markers got an exact match for 3,631 out of the 3,636. Analysis of human genetic data created the four groupings that match popular conceptions of race.
The five mismatches were the kind we would expect in America. Three subjects called themselves black but were identified as genetically white. This is to be expected of American “blacks” who are predominantly white, with very light skin and Caucasian features. Another mismatch was a Hispanic whom the analysis also considered white — probably a Mexican of predominantly Spanish ancestry. Finally, one self-identified white fell into the Hispanic group. This may have been a mixed-race Hispanic who considered himself white or perhaps a white with enough Indian ancestry to have a genetic profile similar to that of a Mexican. This tiny number of “errors” (0.14 percent) reflects the confusion of a few subjects, not a failure of genetic analysis.
The analysis was even more detailed than appears at first sight. When compared to the other groups, Chinese and Japanese clustered together, but when analyzed separately, the authors were able to get “excellent separation” between them, with only six misclassifications out of 567. It is remarkable to get an error rate of essentially one percent in distinguishing groups as close as Chinese and Japanese, and advances in the field will make such distinctions even more accurate. It is hard to claim that something that can be detected almost unerringly by genetic analysis is social rather than biological.
Breeds of dogs have genetic similarities and differences analogous to those of human races. A recent study of 85 breeds (Genetic structure of the purebred domestic dog, Parker et al., Science 304: 1093-1095, 2004) used genetic markers to sort dogs into the correct breed with 99 percent accuracy, and found that dog breeds cluster into four major groups. The study also found that 30 percent of total genetic variation of dogs is between breeds and 70 percent is within them. It is not surprising that the 30 percent figure is twice the human figure of 15 percent, given the intense, artificial selection that has produced modern breeds of dog. It is important to note that despite this intense selection, and the sharp physical differences between dog breeds, the between-group genetic variation is still less than one-third of the total canine genetic variation.
Does this mean that “dog breeds do not exist,” and that an anti-racist would not care whether a dog that suddenly jumped out of the bushes was a Rottweiler or a Pug? Genetic differences influence dog behavior as well as appearance. Another recent study (The genetic contribution to canine personality, Saetre et al., Genes, Brain & Behavior, 5: 240-248, 2006) showed a genetic basis for behavior traits, even with dogs as similar as German Shepherds and Rottweilers. As with humans, the important group differences are concentrated in that small portion of the genome that differs from breed to breed, not in the part they have in common.
The Man Who Invented White Guilt
W.E.B. Du Bois taught us all what to think.
Raymond Wolters, Du Bois and His Rivals, University of Missouri Press, 2002, 311 pp., $39.95 (softcover, $19.95).
I confess that I read this book, not because I thought it would interest AR readers, but because of my admiration for the author, Prof. Raymond Wolters of the University of Delaware. His The Burden of Brown and Right Turn are incisive, unsentimental histories of government intrusion into race relations that will never go out of date. But W.E.B. Du Bois? How interesting can he be?
In fact, Du Bois was a fascinating man, who established the black attitude towards whites and “civil rights” that is dominant today. What was essentially his view is now so widespread, it is hard to imagine an era when powerful black institutions and movements represented competing visions. Americans both white and black have hardened into intolerant consensus.
As Prof. Wolters explains, the competing visions Du Bois overcame were those of Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey, both vivid characters in their own right. Prof. Wolters tells the story of their often bitter and petty rivalries, during what has been called “the forgotten years” of the “civil rights” movement — the period up until the Second World War
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born in 1868, and grew up as one of just 50 blacks in the Massachusetts town of Great Barrington. His mother’s family, the Burghardts, had lived in Massachusetts since before the American Revolution, but his father Alfred was born in Haiti and claimed to trace his ancestry back to Geoffroi Du Bois, who sailed with William the Conqueror. Alfred was so light-skinned he could pass for white, and he abandoned the family when William was two. Du Bois later wrote that the Burghardts drove him off because he was too white, too cultured, and refused to work on the family farm.
As a child, Du Bois was accepted and liked by whites, later writing that there was “almost no . . . segregation or color consciousness” in Great Barrington. On one occasion, however, a girl, a newcomer to the area, snubbed him socially, and the thin-skinned Du Bois resolved never to give whites a chance to reject him again. Henceforth, he decided, “They must seek me out and urge me to come.”
He graduated from the Great Barrington high school at age 16 and, encouraged by the principle, enrolled in Fisk University in Nashville. He was eager to attend an all-black school, but was unprepared for the harshness of segregation in 19th century Nashville, which appears to have affected him permanently. He had already decided to devote himself to his race, and became convinced that the way to discredit the idea of black inferiority was for the best Negroes to excel in every way. As the editor of the Fisk paper, he addressed fellow students — the black elite — as “ye destined leaders of a noble people.” He was encouraged that the faculty, virtually all white, believed passionately in the high potential of blacks.
Du Bois went to Harvard on a fellowship, and took part in the black social life of Boston. He met several attractive, very light-skinned women, but decided that a leader of his people must not marry someone who could pass for white. At Harvard, his grades were so good he was one of six students to speak at commencement. He then attended the University of Berlin, where he was sometimes mistaken for a Jew because of his light complexion. He had such cordial relations with Europeans that he said he “ceased to hate people simply because they belonged to one race or color.” He fell in love with a Dutch girl, but was determined not to marry a white. “Dora never understood why I could not marry her,” he wrote. His scruples did not, however, prevent him from cohabiting with a German shop girl.
Du Bois was impressed by German patriotism, and envied the thrill his German schoolmates felt when they sang “Deutschland, Deutschland Uber Alles.” He once saw the Kaiser during a parade, and was inspired to trim his beard to look like Wilhelm II.
He returned to the United States to practice the sociological methods he studied in Germany. The result, in 1899, was The Philadelphia Negro, in which he pioneered the now obligatory view: that only white discrimination holds blacks down. He conceded that although blacks were only four percent of the population they committed 22 percent of the serious crime, and that “sexual looseness” brought “adultery and prostitution in its train.” He urged blacks to reform — “honesty, truth, and chastity must be instilled” — but argued that it was racial barriers to good jobs that kept blacks poor and brought on all other problems. He insisted that if prejudice were abolished, blacks would lose their excuse for indolence. Until Du Bois’s time, students of the Negro problem wrote of genetic differences and black deficiency; blaming whites was a fateful innovation.
Du Bois did not completely neglect self-help. In an 1897 speech to blacks he said that “the first and greatest step . . . [is] the correction of the immorality, crime and laziness among the Negroes themselves,” adding that “unless we conquer our vices they will conquer us.” He increasingly shifted his emphasis, however, to the real problem: white wickedness.
It was at about the time of The Philadelphia Negro that De Bois first used his most famous expression, “the talented tenth.” These were the best of the blacks, whose success would refute the idea of black inferiority, and who would lead the battle against discrimination.
Du Bois suspected that “the talented tenth” would also lead blacks to miscegenation and amalgamation, but did not want this to happen soon. He wanted blacks to remain a distinct race for as long as it took for them to demonstrate their unique genius, and to contribute something valuable to America. “[A]mong the gaily colored banners that deck the broad ramparts of civilization,” he wrote, there must be one that is “uncompromising[ly] black.” By publicly opposing miscegenation — sincerely, it appears — he made integration more palatable to whites.
Du Bois probably did wrestle with the possibility of black inferiority, but never expressed doubts in public. He may have been writing about himself when he wrote of how horrible it was “to doubt the worth of his life-work, — to doubt the destiny and capability of the race his soul loved because it was his.”
From 1898 to 1910, Du Bois was professor of sociology and history at Atlanta University. He was the first black on the faculty, but as at Fisk, the white professors were very close to their black students. His scholarship continued to emphasize white responsibility for black failure, and he also wrote for influential publications like Atlantic Monthly. His The Souls of Black Folks, in which he famously predicted that “the problem of the twentieth century” would be “the problem of the color-line, — the relation of the darker to the lighter races,” was widely read, and by the time of its publication in 1903, Du Bois was the second most influential black in America.
Up From Slavery
The man in whose shadow he stood, and against whose views he eventually defined himself, had a background vastly different from that of Du Bois. Booker T. Washington was born a slave in 1856 and did not wear shoes until he was eight. He never knew his father’s name, though the man was probably white. After a hard childhood with little education, he managed to get into Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia. He, too, was an excellent student and commencement speaker, and stayed on at Hampton to teach.
Hampton was run by a former Union general, Samuel Chapman Armstrong, who had led colored troops and was considered an expert in the management of blacks. An Alabama state commission asked his advice on whom to appoint to run a teachers school for blacks in Tuskegee and to their surprise — they expected him to suggest a white man — he recommended Washington.
Washington believed blacks had to gain the respect of whites through hard work, and that there would be no change in the Southern social order until whites were ready for it. He thought the black politics of Reconstruction had been a terrible mistake that only angered whites and created the illusion that progress comes through government handouts.
Washington was not even entirely opposed to slavery: It left blacks “in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe.” He also accepted segregation: “The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in the opera house.” This sort of thing infuriated more militant blacks, who accused Washington of accepting black inferiority, and of training blacks for subordinate roles.
Washington never urged blacks to push in where they were not wanted. In his famous Atlanta speech of 1895, he held up a fist and said, “in all things essential to mutual progress” whites and blacks should be “one as the hand.” He then opened his fist and said, “in all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers.” His support for social separation, and his refusal to blame whites for black failure made him hugely popular among whites in both South and North. He attracted a great deal of support for Tuskegee and its program of vocational training.
In 1901, Teddy Roosevelt invited Washington to dinner at the White House, marking his ascension as the most important black in America. White philanthropists consulted him on black uplift projects, and government leaders sought his advice on black appointments. His word could make or break black careers and even institutions, and he used his patronage to promote people who echoed his views and suppress those who did not. The people he forced to the sidelines — people who wanted to blast whites rather than train Negroes to be farmers and bricklayers — hated what they called “the Tuskegee machine.”
Washington’s power was bestowed on him by whites. He never inspired a huge black following, but his machine could ladle out enough largess to keep his leadership unchallenged. At first he tried to buy off Du Bois with a handsome offer at Tuskegee, but Du Bois stayed at Atlanta University rather than move to a teachers college. Although he disagreed with Washington’s conciliatory stance, Du Bois took pains to stay on good terms.
Others did not. Dissident blacks started a newspaper in Boston called the Guardian, mainly to blast Washington. The paper hooted with joy when his daughter Portia flunked out of Wellesley, and it heaped abuse on Tuskegee. The paper’s backers organized a protest at a Washington speech that turned into a riot. Du Bois tried to stay neutral but Washington assumed he was with the Guardian,and retaliated by trying to divert funding from Atlanta University. Later, he kept Du Bois from getting an appointment at Howard University.
In 1905, Du Bois and 58 other black men started the Niagara Movement to oppose Washington’s approach and confront discrimination head-on. “Mr. Washington is leading the way backward,” Du Bois wrote, adding that vocational training meant “every energy is being used to put black men back into slavery.”
Washington had a spy in the Niagara Movement, and punished its members ruthlessly. His retaliation was so effective that many blacks were afraid to join. The Niagara organization folded in a few years, but its significance was in establishing relations between men who became the next generation of militants. Du Bois and Washington continued to snipe at each other until Washington’s death in 1915 left the field clear for Du Bois.
On August 14 and 15 of 1908, events in Springfield, Illinois led to a change in Du Bois’s career that gave him the base for his later influence. During those two days, whites burned and rioted, killing eight blacks and injuring scores more. The violence shocked many whites; Springfield was not only in the North but was also the hometown of Abraham Lincoln. A white millionaire, William English Walling, decided to fund an organization to fight discrimination, and thus was born the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. It was to be a national, bi-racial protest organization, and Du Bois was the only black among the five original incorporators. Even more important, he became editor of the NAACP’s monthly magazine, The Crisis.
Under his leadership, The Crisis became required reading for “the talented tenth.” Easily the most influential black publication in America, it reached a circulation of 100,000 by he end of the First World War. Prof. Wolters notes that it is very unusual for someone to become the leader of a political movement simply by virtue of his influence as a magazine editor.
Du Bois insisted on complete editorial control, and his intemperate attacks offended both blacks and whites who could have been allies. White supporters groaned over editorials that said such things as: “It takes extraordinary training, gift and opportunity to make the average white man anything but an overbearing hog, but the most ordinary Negro is an instinctive gentleman.” Or of the Southern white: “He makes it his chief business in life to hound, oppress, and insult black folk and to tell them personally as often as he can how utterly he despises them — except their women, privately.”
These and other writings, not often quoted today, show the depth of Du Bois’s bitterness. He once wrote that Western Civilization was “built on black and brown and yellow suffering,” and summed up his feelings for whites in the following ditty:
I hate them, Oh!
I hate them well,
I hate them, Christ!
As I hate hell!
If I were God,
I’d sound their knell
As for colonialism, he wrote that “outside of cannibalism,” there was “no vice and no degradation in native African customs which can begin to touch the horrors thrust upon [Africa] by white masters. Drunkenness, terrible disease, immorality, all these things have been the gifts of European civilization.”
Du Bois was the only black officer during the early days of the NAACP, and he resented the power that whites, no matter well-disposed, had over the organization. By 1919, there were 62,000 dues-paying members, and he “thank[ed] God” that most of the money was now coming “from black hands.”
Surprisingly, anti-white sentiments seem to have diminished his influence no more than they would today. He wrote for the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, and other major publications, and had an active speaking schedule. By the time he was 50, Du Bois was the most influential black in America.
The Crisis was full of what blacks — and some whites — wanted to read. It banged the drum incessantly about the wrongs whites had done to Negroes. Back in Tuskegee, Booker T. Washington thought this was a dangerous distraction from the less glamorous but more important work of black self-improvement. He kept after Du Bois, attacking the motives of blacks who demanded integration. When Du Bois spoke at an integrated dinner in 1911, Washington sent a reporter who filed a story that included this astonishing bit if color: “White women, evidently of the cultured and wealthier classes, fashionably attired in low-cut gowns, leaned over the tabes to chat confidentially with negro men of the true African type . . . [T]he broad smiles of the negroes as they leered surreptitiously across the room at their Caucasian friends made one feel their inner ecstasy.”
Washington tried to dig up dirt on Du Bois, and did everything possible to bring him down. Relations between the two men remained bitter, but after Washington’s death, Du Bois managed to win over many Tuskegee stalwarts, thereby strengthening the NAACP even further as America’s main black organization.
Ironically, it was at the height of his popularity that Du Bois managed to damage his own reputation. When the First World War began, he convinced himself it was a rivalry between European powers over how best to exploit darker peoples, but believed the United States was in the right. He thought blacks could not demand equality if they did not do their part in the war effort. The Crisis urged blacks not to bargain with their loyalty to America, to stop agitating, to join ranks, and fight for America.
The Army was segregated, of course, and blacks could do their part only in labor battalions or, to a limited extent, in segregated units. Many blacks were appalled that Du Bois could put the racial struggle on hold for any reason. Never had he taken a position that alienated so many supporters, and some called it a “doctrine of surrender.” This, and post-war bickering with other blacks over their actions during the war, seriously damaged his reputation, but by then another rival had appeared.
Back to Africa
Marcus Garvey was born in Jamaica in 1887, and was proud to be a full-blooded African black. He wanted to unite blacks under an all-African government, but his efforts to start a movement in Jamaica failed; he was convinced it was because of opposition from the mulatto elite. He admired Booker T. Washington’s self-help doctrine, but by the time he got to America in 1916, Washington was dead.
In the United States, he found unhappy blacks who were ripe for leadership. The 500,000 who had gone to war were still second-class citizens, as were those who had migrated North. He told them they had no future in a country that hated them, and preached return to the mother continent. He claimed Africa had a glorious history that was stolen by whites, and that a united Africa would rise up and reclaim its destiny.
Blacks flocked to his movement, known as the United Negro Improvement Association. At the first UNIA convention in Harlem, His Excellency Marcus Garvey, Provisional President of Africa, led 50,000 followers in a massive parade. He and his men dressed in fantastic uniforms, and it was the UNIA that popularized the tricolor African flag: black for the race, red for their blood, and green for Africa’s vegetation.
He had only vague notions of how blacks were going to get back to Africa, but he sent representatives to Liberia in 1920 to find out. They discovered that the ruling ex-American slaves lorded over the natives, and reported that the government would have to be overthrown. Americo-Liberians promptly kicked out the Garveyites.
By 1920, the UNIA had 800 branches in America and 300 overseas, and Garvey claimed four million supporters. They were younger, poorer, and blacker than NAACP members — Du Bois called them “the lowest type of Negroes” — but Garvey was a great orator who could sweep an audience off its feet.
For “the talented tenth,” the UNIA’s message was frightening and insulting: Integration was a betrayal of blacks, and whites would never accept it anyway. Garvey made things painfully explicit. He recalled that in 1916, when he paid a courtesy call on the NAACP office, he was astonished to find that the staff were all either white or almost white. He started calling the NAACP the National Association for the Advancement of (Certain) Colored People, and claimed, with some truth, that NAACP people looked down on full-blooded blacks. Du Bois himself he called “a misfit, . . . neither a Negro nor a white man,” and claimed the NAACP appealed only to miscegenationists. It would lead both races to destruction through mongrelization. He also accused the NAACP of looking for white handouts when it should be urging blacks to better themselves.
What may have angered middle-class blacks even more were the UNIA’s friendly relations with the Ku Klux Klan. Both groups believed in separation, and the Klan, which had prevented all attempts to organize rural blacks, welcomed the UNIA. “Between the Ku Klux Klan and the [NAACP],” said Garvey, “give me the Klan for their honesty of purpose towards the Negro. They are better friends of my race, for telling us what they are, and what they mean.” Du Bois could work all he liked for the right to dance with a white lady at a ball; he would build a black civilization.
Garvey told integrationist blacks to build their own institutions. Whites, he said, had the right to make blacks sit in the backs of street cars: “The white man built them for his own convenience. And if I don’t want to ride where he’s willing to let me ride then I’d better walk.” Perhaps the last straw was his position on white violence: “[L]ynchings and race riots . . . work to our advantage by teaching the Negro that he must build a civilization of his own or forever remain the white man’s victim.”
The UNIA’s best-known venture into self-help was the Black Star Line, which was to become a fleet of black-run steamships, linking blacks around the world in commerce. Garvey sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of stock, but the venture was miserably managed, and investors lost everything.
Prof. Wolters finds that it was blacks who ultimately pressured the government to charge Garvey and several associates with mail fraud, even though there was no evidence Garvey had enriched himself. Middle-class blacks hated his politics and were afraid he was draining so much money from blacks that there would be none left for their organizations.
At his trial Garvey represented himself, and was so arrogant and belligerent he managed to get himself convicted despite the thin evidence. Three other directors hired lawyers and were acquitted. On his way to the Atlanta penitentiary, Garvey claimed he had been railroaded by whites who were afraid of black pride, but that he had also been the victim of “wicked members of my own race.”
Once Garvey was safely in jail, Du Bois called him “either a lunatic or a traitor” who was, “without doubt, the most dangerous enemy of the Negro race in America and in the world.” Four years later, Calvin Coolidge commuted Garvey’s sentence and deported him to Jamaica. Without him the UNIA withered.
Du Bois had now outlasted both rivals: Washington, who told backs to know their place, stay out of politics, and work their way up; and Garvey, who urged blacks to withdraw from America completely. Du Bois was again the top black, but again lost support by shifting his politics. As time went by he began to sound increasingly like Garvey, but without Garvey’s charisma. He argued that segregation was going to last for hundreds of years and that blacks should look to each other for support rather than to whites. Like Garvey, he spoke of building a parallel black economy, “a Negro Nation within the Nation.” He started insisting on the distinction between segregation and discrimination, arguing that there was nothing wrong with segregation so long as it was voluntary.
Just as Garvey had done, he started accusing integrationist blacks of wanting to associate with white people, attacking those in “the talented tenth” who wanted to abandon their poor brethren: “the problem of 12,000,000 Negro people, mostly poor, ignorant workers, is not going to be settled by having the more educated and wealthy classes gradually and continually escape from their race into the mass of the American people.”
In 1934, he resigned from the NAACP. He lived for 29 more years, but his days as an influential black leader were over.
In his larger politics, Du Bois completely abandoned the mainstream. During the Depression he decided capitalism was doomed, and he tried to turn The Crisis into a socialist tract. At the same time, he admired Imperial Japan, calling it “a country of colored people run by colored people for colored people.” After the Second World War, he became sharply anti-American and pro-Communist. In 1953, he wrote that Harry Truman “ranks with Adolf Hitler as one of the greatest killers of our day,” but that Stalin was “a great man: few other men of the 20th century approach his stature.” He praised Mao’s China, and after his wife of many years died, married a black Communist named Shirley Graham.
She drew him into Communist circles, and he started writing for the party paper, The Daily Worker. In 1961, in his nineties, he finally joined the Communist Party. He renounced his US citizenship and went to Ghana, where he became a citizen, but died two years later at age 95, just one day before Martin Luther King’s Aug. 28, 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech. His wife was living in Peking when she died in 1977.
Needless to say, Du Bois is not now remembered for his last 30 years but for establishing today’s racial orthodoxy of white culpability. It is for this that there is a postage stamp in his honor, and that the University of Massachusetts named its main library for him. It was his view — not those of Washington or Garvey — that dominates our own era, not least because it was the one whites accepted. We have Prof. Wolters to thank for a vivid, engaging account of Du Bois and his influence.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
Rue Mumia Abu-Jamal
The Paris suburb of Saint-Denis has named a street after Black Panther and cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Mr. Abu-Jamal was convicted of the 1981 killing of police officer Daniel Faulkner in Philadelphia and given the death penalty. Although five eyewitnesses testified to seeing Mr. Abu-Jamal shoot Mr. Faulkner, and others to hearing him confess the crime shortly thereafter, his case has become a cause célèbre abroad. He has been made an honorary citizen of Paris, Venice, Palermo, and Montreal, as well as San Francisco. Jacques Chirac, Nelson Mandela, and the European Parliament have demanded he be retried or released. Many American celebrities, including Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, Whoopi Goldberg, and Oliver Stone have tried to have his conviction thrown out. All this has had an effect: In 2001, Mr. Abu-Jamal’s death penalty was overturned, and last year, a federal appeals court agreed to consider whether there was racial bias in jury selection.
The newly named street is in the Saint-Denis “Human Rights district,” which also contains a stadium named after Nelson Mandela. Hundreds of Mr. Abu-Jamal’s supporters turned out for the April 29 dedication ceremony. There were delegations from England, Ireland, Germany, and Spain, as well as the US, and the mayor of Saint-Denis and other dignitaries were there. Many speakers addressed the crowd, including Julia Wright, a black American translator who lives in Paris, who called Mr. Abu-Jamal “our Mandela.” Some actors read selections from the Black Panther’s writings, and black dance troupes performed. Afterwards, there was a concert, mostly featuring rap groups. [HNS-Info, Inauguration d’une Rue Mumia Abu Jamal à Saint-Denis, May 3, 2006.]
Maureen Faulkner, the slain police officer’s widow called the honor “disgusting.” “The people of Philadelphia,” she added, “should think if they have any trips to Paris this summer, to cancel those trips.” Congresswoman Allyson Y. Schwartz, who represents a Philadelphia district, wrote to the mayor of Saint-Denis that naming a street after Mr. Abu-Jamal “is an insult to Daniel Faulkner’s memory, to his family, and to all of us who stand for the rule of law.” [Jennifer Lin, Paris Suburb Names Street for Cop-Killer Abu-Jamal, Philadelphia Inquirer, May 16, 2006. Allyson Y. Schwartz, French Insult: Rue de Mumia, Centre Daily Times (State College, PA), May 23, 2006.]
Soccer to the Rescue . . .
Research by two British government agencies, the Home Office and the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), suggests that multiracial communities are less happy and trusting than homogeneous ones. “We’ve done work here which shows that people, frankly . . . like to live within a comfort zone which is defined by racial sameness,” says the ubiquitous Trevor Phillips, CRE chairman. “People feel happier if they’re with people who are like themselves.” Mr. Phillips believes the key to solving the problems of diversity is to create identities that transcend race. This is known as “bridging” in social-science jargon.
According to people who study this sort of thing, such as Harvard professor Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, “bonding social capital” is what ties similar people together, while “bridging social capital” brings dissimilar people together. “A society that has only bonding social capital and no bridging social capital looks like Beirut or Belfast or Bosnia, that is tight communities but isolated from one another,” he says. Prof. Putnam warns that the lack of bridging social capital that could bind whites and non-whites together is the most serious challenge Western societies face: “The kind of social capital that is most important for the success of a modern, pluralist, multicultural democracy — the bridging social capital — is the kind that’s hardest to build. Therefore we’ve got to go about the task of creating new opportunities for people to make connections to people different from them.”
Trevor Phillips of the CRE seems to think the racial tension Britain is suffering will vanish if people just spend more time together. “We need to respect people’s ethnicity but also give them, at some point in the week, an opportunity to meet and want to be with people with whom they have something in common that isn’t defined by their ethnicity,” he says. “If we can find a moment, an idea, an activity which takes us out of our ethnicity and connects us to other people of different ethnicities and if only for an hour in a week then I think we can crack this problem.”
The solution? Watching professional soccer. The bridge-builders say rooting for the same team can bring us together and make us happy. [Mark Easton, Does Diversity Make Us Unhappy? BBC News, May 30, 2006.]
. . . Or Maybe Not
FIFA, the international body that governs World Cup soccer, says there has been a rise in abusive behavior towards blacks as more Africans join European teams. After a match in the German city of Halle in March, fans made monkey noises and spat on Nigerian forward Adebowale Ogungbure. In April, spectators again chanted monkey noises at Oguchi Onyewu, an American who plays for a Belgian team.
FIFA worries that this “deplorable trend” will embarrass the sport during the World Cup to be held in 12 cities in Germany beginning June 9, and the organization has vowed to crack down. FIFA has launched a “Say No to Racism” campaign that includes television commercials and stadium banners, and will have team captains make “anti-racist” speeches before games. FIFA will slap five-match suspensions on players, coaches and officials who step out of line, and may deduct points from team standings if players misbehave. Spectators face fines of $16,600 to $25,000 for each offense and two-year stadium-bans.
Despite FIFA’s efforts, there are likely to be monkey noises and derisive banners during the World Cup, and some fans may toss bananas onto the field, as commonly happens in Spain, Italy, Eastern Germany and Eastern Europe. [Jere Longman, World Cup Plans Defense Against Racism, New York Times, June 4, 2006.]
Of UCLA’s incoming class of 4,852 freshman, just 96 — two percent — are black, the fewest since 1973. Twenty of the 96 are athletic recruits. “Clearly, we’re going to have to meet this crisis by redoubling our efforts, which have not yielded the results we’d like to see,” says Chancellor Albert Carnesale. Mr. Carnesale blames Proposition 209, the 1996 voter initiative that banned racial preferences in admissions and hiring. Others say blacks are just not qualified or that few apply because there are so few on campus.
No one seems to care that only 33.3 percent of the incoming freshman are white, and are outnumbered by the 41 percent who are Asian. Twenty years ago, UCLA’s incoming class was 49.7 percent white, 22.2 percent Asian, 14.8 percent Hispanic, and 9.6 percent black. [Rebecca Trounson, A Startling Statistic at UCLA, Los Angeles Times, June 3, 2006.]
According to a survey by the Mexican branch of Transparency International, last year Mexicans paid bribes 10 percent of the time when they dealt with a government employee, and bribes cost them $1.8 billion dollars. Sixty percent of the time, when police threatened to tow a car, they accepted a bribe to leave it alone. Mexicans paid bribes 23 percent of the time when they applied for permits to sell on the street, and seven percent of the time when they wanted marriage, birth or divorce papers. Twenty-three percent of Mexicans paid a bribe to the garbage men for trash pickup, and others had to pay for mail delivery.
Vicente Fox came into office in 2000 promising to fight corruption, but has made little progress. In 2001, Mexicans paid bribes 11 percent of the time they dealt with government employees and nine percent of the time in 2003. [Karen Mahabir, Survey: Bribes Still a Way of Life in Mexico, AP, May 10, 2006. Mexicans Paid $1.8 Billion in Bribes: Study, Reuters, May 10, 2006.]
Toronto the Bad
Toronto, which used to call itself “Toronto the Good” because of its low crime rates, has suffered a rash of shootings. There were 52 handgun killing in 2005, as opposed to 12 in 1995. Handgun murders and injuries doubled between 2004 and 2005 alone, and are mostly the work of blacks, mainly West Indian immigrants. A Toronto deputy police chief says blacks are eight percent of the population but commit 43 percent of the murders. By some estimates, Jamaicans commit 80 percent of gun crime. [Linda Frum, Q&A with Former NYC Chief of Police, William Bratton, Macleans, Jan. 14, 2006.]
Black violence drew particular attention after a December 26th, 2005 gunfight known as the “Boxing Day Bloodbath.” Ten to 15 blacks, all in their teens and early 20s, blazed away at each other on Yonge Street, which was crowded with shoppers. They missed their targets but wounded six bystanders and killed a 15-year-old white girl named Jane Creba. Canadians were shocked by a brazen shootout on a busy street. Mourners set up a memorial for Miss Creba on Yonge Street, and two weeks later there was a pile of flowers 14 feet wide. So far, no one has been charged. [Chris Doucette and Tom Godfrey, Feud Grew Into Battle, Toronto Sun, Dec. 28, 2005. Phinjo Gombu, Creba Memorial Still Stirs Emotions, Toronto Star, Jan. 6, 2006.]
The Boxing Day murder drew special attention because an innocent was killed, but Toronto saw several public shootouts in 2005. There was another killing on Yonge Street, one at a funeral, and another on a crowded bus. [Licia Corbella, Metropolis Lost its Innocence Long Ago, Calgary Sun, Dec. 28, 2005.]
In January, high crime rates helped the Conservative’s Stephen Harper end 12 years of Liberal rule. The Ontario government is promising to crack down, but blacks keep killing people. In May of this year, a black 19-year-old named Jacqueline Levesque, accompanied by four men, killed her black ex-boyfriend and the father of her child. It was Toronto’s 25th murder this year. [Harper Goes After Crime, Corruption, Toronto Star, Jan. 2, 2006. Josle Newman, Canada Cracks Down on Rising Violence, Christian Science Monitor, May 26, 2006. Tamara Cherry, Woman Sought in Slaying Surrenders, Toronto Star, May 31, 2006.]
A new online clothing store called “Pimpfants” wants to “bridge the generation gap” by selling baby versions of black and Hispanic gangster clothes. “Inspired by a decade of living on the streets of San francisco [sic],” reads the website, “our designer’s creations embrace the urban street culture and reflect the vibrant underground that has now become mainstream.” The clothes allow “babies and tots everywhere the opportunity to hit the playground with fresh gear and street cred.”
The clothes carry designs reading “Baby Bling,” “40 oz. Milk,” “Da Bomb,” “Sucka Free Baby,” “The Notorious K.I.D,” “Pimp Squad,” and “My Mommy’s a M.I.L.F,” which stands for “mother I’d like to fuck.” Many of the clothes feature the word “Pimpfants,” written in gang-style Gothic lettering. The store sells velour track suits, tanktops, “basketball sets” consisting of tanktops and long shorts, and “Lil’ Beaters.” The frequently-asked-questions page explains the meaning of this term: it is a type of tank top similar to something called a “wife-beater” in the vibrant underground. The website shows no racial preference in models — it features as many white as black or Hispanic babies. [Pimpfants website, pimpfants.com/]
In Dec. 2006, AR ran a story called “Betrayals of Office” about dozens of Hispanic US government employees who had used the power of their offices to smuggle illegal immigrants and drugs into the country. Since the article was published, more examples have come to light.
In May, two Hispanic Navy sailors pled guilty to smuggling illegals across the border last January. Antonio Piña, who worked in the Shore Patrol at the Old Port building, which is just 10 feet north of the Mexican border at Tijuana, opened the building after hours and let fellow sailor Jose Valdez smuggle in six illegals. They each paid $3,000 to the Navy men. Mr. Valdez has also agreed to be deported, since he turned out to be an illegal himself, having falsely claimed to be a US citizen when he joined the Navy in 2000. [Onell R. Soto, Sailors Face 3 Years in Smuggling Case, San Diego Union-Tribune, May 30, 2006.]
Juan Posas, Jr., a customs agent at the Brownsville, Tex. Port of Entry, was arrested in March for taking $5,000 worth of bribes to let drug smugglers across the border. [Sergio Chapa, Customs Agent Arrested, Brownsville Herald, March 9, 2005.]
Also in March, Sergio Efrain Valle, a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, was arrested for trying to solicit a bribe from federal detainee Francisco Gutierrez, a Mexican immigration official who was himself being held for an immigration violation. Mr. Valle offered to have the charges against Mr. Gutierrez dropped for $20,000, and Mr. Gutierrez’s lawyer reported the offer to the authorities. Undercover agents then showed up with the money and arrested Mr. Valle when he accepted it. [ICE Agent Arrested, AP, March 20, 2006.]
Last December, Arizona police officer Keith Duckett pulled over a pickup truck loaded with 670 pounds of marijuana wrapped in several bundles. The driver and passenger fled into the desert, and the officer went after them, leaving the pickup unattended but with his video camera on. The camera was rolling when Border Patrol Agent Michael Gonzalez stopped by in an official vehicle. He took one of the bundles of marijuana and then arranged the others to fill the space it left behind. Because Mr. Gonzalez was wearing his service firearm, he faces a maximum term of life in prison for drug possession with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm while committing a trafficking crime. [Alexis Huicochea, Border Patrol Agent is Indicted, Arizona Daily Star, Jan. 26, 2006.]
The Washington State Department of Corrections has issued what it calls a “diversity calendar” that has angered some employees. The calendar marks not only the usual holidays, but also the birthdays of Ho Chi Minh, Lenin, Karl Marx, and Isoroku Yamamoto, the Japanese commander who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor. A spokesman for the department explains: “This calendar was meant to be an instructional tool that just lists people who had an impact on the world and provoke thought . . . One of the goals of diversity is that we coexist in the world with people we disagree with.”
Employee David Holbrook, a Vietnam veteran, particularly objected to Ho Chi Minh. He complained by e-mail to coworkers, and was reprimanded for inappropriate use of his work e-mail account. Fortunately, Washington State Senator Jim Honeyford is on Mr. Holbrook’s side: “To me if you’re going to represent diversity, it should be someone worthy of honor, and I have a great deal of difficulty with these bloodthirsty people who killed a lot of people.” The Department of Corrections says it will be more careful in the future. [Leah Beth Ward, Calendar Marks Dubious Birthdays, Yakima Herald-Republic, April 29, 2006.]
The following letter recently appeared in The Wall Street Journal:
In regard to Shelby Steele’s May 2 editorial-page essay ‘White Guilt and the Western Past’:
Mr. Steele characterized the worldwide collapse of white supremacy as the transformative event of the 20th century: ‘This idea [white supremacy] had organized the entire world, divided up its resources, imposed the nation-state system across the globe, and delivered the majority of the world’s population into servitude and oppression.’ One such oppressed non-white, grandfather of Gurcharan Das (author of India Unbound, Harvard graduate, former CEO of Proctor & Gamble Co. of India, and currently columnist of The Times of India), had this to say regarding their oppressor:
‘But you must remember, my son, that India had been the best governed country in the world for one hundred years. Yes, the English were arrogant, but it was a cheap price to pay for a hundred years of peace, good government, railways, irrigation canals, and the best law and order in the world. You may call me anti-national, but this is how I feel.’ [Jack G. Willard, Arrogant, Yes, But They Ran the Country Superbly, Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2006.]
For the past two years, white Chicago police officer Bryan Vander Mey has been suspended without pay and under indictment, facing four counts of official misconduct and two counts of battery for allegedly beating a black criminal, Rondell “Nightfall” Freeman, during an arrest at Chicago’s notorious Cabrini Green housing project (see “The Racial Politics of Policing in Chicago,” AR, October 2004). The battery charges were filed against Officer Vander Mey despite the fact that a doctor who examined Mr. Freeman found no evidence of bruising or other injuries, and Mr. Freeman himself never said he had been beaten. Prosecutors tried many times to get Officer Vander Mey to plea to lesser charges, but he refused, insisting that he did nothing wrong, had nothing to apologize for, and that the video a Cabrini resident had made of the incident would prove it.
On April 11, Judge Joseph Kazmierski found Officer Vander Mey not guilty on all counts, saying it was unclear from the video tape who was actually striking Mr. Freeman. As the judge announced the verdict, more than a dozen of Officer Vander Mey’s supporters — including several Chicago police officers — burst into loud applause. Jim Knibbs, one of the prosecutors, said he was “disappointed with the outcome.”
Unfortunately, Officer Vander Mey may not get his job back. He now faces a termination hearing before the Chicago Police Board. As for “Nightfall” Freeman, he has been arrested four more times since the incident, most recently for possession of large amount of crack cocaine and possession of a firearm by a felon. [Stefano Esposito, Chicago Cop Acquitted in 2003 Beating, Chicago Sun-Times, April 13, 2006.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — I thought the piece “Blacks and High Steel” in the last issue made for fascinating reading. Free of any preconceptions or ethical position, the author simply relates how things were in his line of business. His account exemplifies the pragmatic approach to life which is characteristic of Americans and from which many Europeans have something to learn, not least in debates about race. AR is especially good at presenting facts and challenging the political establishment on the basis of facts. Many people are thoroughly tired of ideologues and political romantics, and respond well to arguments based on fact.
The report on Jared Taylor’s debate at the University of Texas suggests that pragmatic and fact-based arguments cogently and unemotionally presented have immense potential resonance. The task is to reach wide audiences with such arguments — enemies of racial separatism know this and will play every trick in the pack to keep such arguments in a political and social ghetto.
I also believe — and here I think I part company with AR — that intelligence is not the ne plus ultra of good citizenship. Part of the reason people are so allergic to evidence of differences in racial intelligence is precisely because Western culture historically has considered and still considers intelligence the most important measure not only of technical civilization but also of individual worth and achievement. In my opinion this is a disastrous misconception, destined to create societies of resentment and discontent, even without the race factor, let alone with it. Keep up your work!
Michael Walker, Editor, The Scorpion, Cologne, Germany
Sir — I read with interest Jared Taylor’s article, “Jews and American Renaissance,” in the May 2006 issue. I understand and respect his point of view, but it does not take a “blasted Nazi” to know what certain Jews and groups of Jews, using their enormous influence and power, have done to this country over the last 100 years.
They played leading roles in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, and they were in the forefront of efforts to pass the Immigration Act of 1965 — the nightmarish demographic results of which we are now experiencing. Influential Jews also encouraged us to go to war in Iraq.
I would oppose a blanket condemnation of all Jews, but we must be knowledgeable, alert and careful with regard to these people.
John W. Altman, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Sir — Your May O Tempora item about a young black power poet’s rant against whites in Peekskill, New York reminded me of something that happened over three decades ago. My high school was mostly Asian; about 20 percent of the students were black, and only about five percent were white. A white liberal teacher told my class about a wonderful assembly we should attend. The black student union proceeded to put on a performance that was essentially a hate rally. The blacks spent the whole time blaming all of their problems on whites and complaining about black accomplishments whites failed to recognize. They suggested they were still slaves, and used the threatening expression “by any means necessary” over and over again.
How many white students continue to be forced to submit to this kind abuse?
Name Withheld, San Francisco
Sir — One recurring theme in AR is the prospect of minority status for whites. On the back cover of the last issue there is a photograph of the speakers at the last AR conference: Derek Turner, Jared Taylor, Sam Dickson, Phil Rushton, Andrew Fraser, Dan Roodt, Nick Griffin, and Gordon Baum. How many children do these men have? What contribution have they made to the biological future of their race?
I suspect the real cause of the decline of our race is that white women refuse to have more than one or two children. This reflects overwhelming selfishness and perhaps unconscious contempt for white men. The refusal of the best-educated white women to have large families while the rest of the gene pool proliferates is at the heart of the problem.
Your next conference should invite women to speak about this. The only way to have an American homeland for white people is to increase the production of white children.
Clairese Lippincott, Richmond, Va.
Sir — President Bush’s foot-dragging on the matter of enforcing immigration laws could begin a process of political realignment that results in a political party committed to defending white interests. If that happens, either by redefining the Republican Party or launching a third party, it will be the first time in more than three-quarters of a century that American politics made room for the interests of the majority — the last time was the Republicans in the 1920s.
Some non-whites would join the white political bandwagon. After all, non-whites desperately seek to live among us, and many must know that what they value in America will disappear if we disappear. Even if a white-interests party lost elections, it would be no wore than the current situation in which neither Democrats nor Republicans represent us.
Ivan Hild, Falls Church, Va.