June 1991

American Renaissance magazine
Vol. 2, No. 6 June 1991

 

CONTENTS

The Late Great American City
Who is White?
The Late Great American Public School
Why Do We Have an Underclass?
O Tempora, O Mores!
Letters from Readers

COVER STORY

The Late Great American City

Introducing an occasional series on American cities and how the rapidly changing racial balance has affected them.

by William Robertson Boggs

Last year, New York Magazine published the results of a poll of chief executives, who were asked to choose the best American cities in which to locate a business. At the head of the list were Seattle, Sacramento, and Portland. At the bottom were Miami, Philadelphia, and Detroit.

As it happens, the winners were cities that still have large white majorities, while the losers were substantially non-white. The city of Miami now has a white population of only 10 percent. Detroit is 70 percent black. Philadelphia, hovering on the brink of bankruptcy, has a minority white population.

Obviously, there are many factors that go into making a city a good place to locate a company. Nevertheless, if someone had done nothing more than arrange the 20 cities mentioned in the New York Magazine poll by number of whites in the population, he would have gotten roughly the same ranking that the executives came up with.

Race and ‘Urban’ Problems

Today, Americans talk about their “decaying” cities, and rightly so. Crime, drugs, poverty and squalor are primarily city problems. What commentators prefer to ignore is that these are also primarily non-white problems. In any urban area, as the number of blacks or Hispanics increases, so does the incidence of “city” problems.

“Inner-city” long ago became a euphemism for black or Hispanic. “Inner-city youths” are, somehow, never white. What many Americans do not realize is that increasingly, to talk about American cities at all is to talk about non-whites. There are very few cities left in this country with a white majority, and many are now overwhelmingly non-white. This has a profound impact not only on the texture of life in American cities but in the very role they play in our society and our economy.

Although whites are still just over 70 percent of the nation’s population, Seattle is one of the few major American cities that is still over 70 percent white. Of the 42 cities in the country with populations of 300,000 or more, only 13 have white majorities.

Of the 7 cities with populations over one million, not one has a white majority. The seven, with their white percentages in parentheses, are New York (28), Los Angeles (13), Chicago (26), Philadelphia (48), Houston (25), Dallas (34), San Diego (47), and Detroit (25).

Of the smaller cities, Washington (DC) is 24 percent white, Atlanta is 29 percent, and New Orleans is 31 percent white. Boston, at 52 percent, Phoenix at 61 percent, and Pittsburgh and Indianapolis at over 70 percent, are some of the few metropolises that still have white majorities.

American cities were originally built and peopled by whites. Only, a few decades ago, most were overwhelmingly white. They were transformed by migrations of rural blacks looking for jobs (see book review on page five.) and by a huge influx of non-white immigrants. Today, the very presence of large immigrant populations makes them attractive to yet more immigrants, and urban welfare systems attract the indigent, who are disproportionately non-white.

In some cases, the ethnic transformation has been astonishingly rapid. Miami, for example, with its ten percent white population is now essentially part of Latin America. As recently as 1960, it was 90 percent white.

Cities like Miami did not change color simply because non-whites arrived in large numbers. Whites left in equally large numbers, and government — especially the Supreme Court — greatly speeded their flight. Many white neighborhoods had been kept that way not only by custom but by law; restrictive covenants prohibited resale of homes to non-whites. The 1948 Supreme Court case of Shelley v. Kraemer found these covenants unconstitutional.

Likewise, in the 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education the court ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional, and many school districts were forcibly integrated through mandatory busing. For many whites, this was the last straw. Even if they had managed to stay in a mostly white neighborhood, their children were now being bused across town to black schools. The brand new, Interstate Highway System made it all the more convenient to escape to the still white suburbs and commute to work. Urban public schools were integrated but they soon became a national disgrace (see next story).

Most of our cities have decayed gradually and steadily, but sometimes there are watershed events that clearly mark the turning point. For Detroit, it was the riots of 1967 that left 43 people dead. They touched off a white exodus. A city that was prosperous and 70 percent white in 1960 is now 70 percent black and a wasteland. Fully a third of its residents are on welfare. In 1987, the city counted 12,000 abandoned buildings and issued only two construction permits for single family homes.

Most milestones of a city’s decay are more subtle. Oakland’s symphony orchestra, once of national stature, goes broke and disappears. Public library hours are shortened in Brooklyn. New York City closes down public restrooms because so many people are mugged in them. All across America, bus drivers stop making change. Ugly graffiti begin to appear.

Once a city begins to go down hill; it is hard to bring it back. Whites continue to flee to the suburbs, where civility still reigns, and businesses follow them. The city tax base shrinks. As more non-whites arrive, crime and welfare increase, and both are costly. Soon, cities are cutting every corner they can. Potholes aren’t filled. Garbage isn’t collected. Traffic signs aren’t repaired.

More and more whites start going to the cities only for specific purposes. They go in to work and come straight home. They take their children to the zoo and come straight home. They visit the art museum and come straight home. Although the conventional myth is that there are many white neighborhoods where a solitary black might fear for his life, the reverse is true. All over America, there are vast stretches of urban jungle where white people dare not go.

With numbers comes political power. City governments in places like Washington, Detroit, Newark, Atlanta, and New Orleans have long been black fiefdoms. Los Angeles, New York, Cleveland, Atlanta, New Haven and even Seattle have black mayors. Of all the American cities with 200,000 or more population and a black majority, the only one that does not have a black mayor is Richmond (VA). Hardly anyone can remember the last time Miami had a mayor that wasn’t Hispanic.

Blaming ‘Institutional Racism’

Because City Hall is now largely non-white, it is no longer plausible to blame “racist” city governments for the squalor of non-white neighborhoods. Instead, it has become common to blame “institutional racism,” and the whites who still control state and federal government.

On January 31 of this year, Governor Mario Cuomo of New York announced plans to help close the state’s $6 billion revenue gap by cutting $4.5 billion from the budget, some of it from city program. A black state legislator, Arthur Eve, retorted that Governor Cuomo presided over “the most racist state in the Union,” and told a black audience that his policies were “killing you and your children.”

To keep from going broke, cities raise money as best they can. A recent survey of 50 cities by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that 36 had raised taxes in the last decade, and some of the mayors conceded that this only accelerated white flight. Thirty-four of the cities reported that they had cut their work forces in the last decade, and 24 had cut services.

When they can raise taxes no further, cities turn to state and federal government. Last November, the mayors of 35 cities met in New York for what was billed as the Urban Summit. It might better have been called the beggars’ banquet. The “action plan” the mayors put forward consisted of one strategy: lobby Washington for more money. More recently, city officials and urban congressmen called for an “Operation Urban Storm” that would retake the cities as boldly as American forces retook Kuwait. Others demanded a “domestic Marshall Plan” to rebuild rotting cities.

No matter how these demands are couched, they are little more than schemes to take money from white suburbanites and give it to non-white city dwellers. In some cases, city officials are straightforward about it. The black mayor of Hartford says that the city’s boundaries must be redrawn so as to include white suburbs. This would “share the burden” of looking after Hartford’s burgeoning, non-white welfare population. In New Jersey, blighted cities like Trenton, Newark, and Camden are eyeing their white neighbors for potential marriage partners. Hundreds of years after they were drawn, some black officials claim that town boundaries reflect racial prejudice.

If there is something on the horizon that will save America’s cities, there is no indication of what that might be. So long as cities keep turning black and Hispanic (an Asian influx can be a different matter), they will continue to deteriorate.

A Nation Without Cities

Sociologist Charles Murray suggests that our cities could become more and more like Indian reservations: alien territories, largely supplied from the outside. If this happens, cities will cease to play the central roles in commerce, culture, and society that they have played in every nation for thousands of years. Helped along by better telecommunications, America is on its way to becoming a nation without cities.

Except for the rich, who can afford to live in the expensive, white, urban enclaves that remain; many American cities are already becoming unlivable. Crime, bad schools, incivility, filth, and the hostility of non-whites are more than most are willing to put up with for the benefits of city life.

As they flee the city, whites arc increasingly cut off from an entire manner of living. The texture of life that can come only from an urban concentration of work, leisure, culture, and friendship is no longer available to them.

Walking as the obvious means of transportation — to work, to a concert, to a restaurant, to a friend’s house — is out of the question. A decorous and graceful urban existence was once common for whites. To read any American novel of city life that is set in the 1950s or earlier is to enter a different world from that of the present. A civilized life in the city is still possible for Japanese, Germans, Swedes, Swiss, and the French. And it is still possible in a few American cities that have kept their white majorities. But for most of the country, our dead and dying cities are a vivid advertisement for the coming “diversity” that we are supposed to be embracing with such excitement. Some time near the middle of the next century, the white population of the United States is projected to drop below the 50 percent mark. A trip to New York — or to New Orleans or Detroit or Miami — is a trip into the future.

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ARTICLE

Who is White?

All population figures in this story are taken from the 1990 census, which makes it very hard to tell who is white. The census breaks every city’s total population down into white, black, Asian, American Indian, and other. Hispanics are listed separately, with the note that they can be “of any race.” (Has the census bureau really run across Hispanics who are Asian?)

Thus, Los Angeles is reportedly 53 percent white, and 47 percent other races, for a total of 100 percent. In addition to that, it is 40% Hispanic{ What, then, is the real white population of Los Angeles? The only way to get a reasonably accurate figure is to subtract Hispanics from the figure for whites. This is how we have calculated the white populations of cities.

Hispanics who report themselves to be black should actually be subtracted from the black figure rather than the white figure. Also, a small number of American Hispanics are Spaniards or descended from Spaniards and really are white. Unfortunately, the census doesn’t tell us how many there are of either group. The vast majority of Hispanics are essentially Amerindian. To the extent that we have subtracted those who are actually white or black (or Asian!) from the group that the census bureau calls “white,” we have understated the percentages of whites in city populations.

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ARTICLE

The Late Great American Public School

Forced integration was the death knell of America’s urban public schools. Virtually every major city went through the same turmoil of court cases, white flight, and the subsequent collapse of public schools. In Indianapolis, where desegregation lawsuits have dragged on for 28 years, the public school population has dropped by half and has scarcely any whites left. In Boston, which went through a particularly bitter battle over busing, the white student population dropped from 60 percent in 1972 to 24 percent in 1988. In Chicago, only 12 percent of public school students are white.

With few white students left to live up to them, teaching standards dropped. With few white parents to organize them, parent activities withered. In Oklahoma City, ten years of busing pushed the white student population from 75 percent down to 47 percent, and the number of Parent Teacher Associations from ninety-four to fourteen. All across the country, parents of all races who wanted to get involved in their children’s education found it much harder when the school was many miles away.

Eventually, there were so few whites left in many school systems that students were being bused for crazy distances to maintain racial “balance.” Many city school districts now spend a quarter or more of their budgets on transportation.

In some jurisdictions, it is not only the students who are assigned to schools on the basis of race. Teachers are likewise pushed around the district to meet racial quotas and to provide same race role models.

As student performance declines, the job of big city school superintendent has become one of the most thankless in the country. The job is an impossible one. According to current, official thinking, if the students in overwhelmingly non-white urban schools perform poorly, it can mean only that they are being badly taught. When the students continue to do badly, year after year, reform after reform, the school superintendent walks the plank.

Kansas City has run through seven superintendents since 1972. In late 1990, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Columbus, and Washington were all looking for superintendents. Since so many of the students are non-white, there is enormous pressure to hire non-whites, which only narrows the field and makes it more likely that candidates will get the job because of race rather than ability.

Many American public schools are worlds apart from what today’s adults knew as children. More than 50 school districts, including those in Houston, Miami, and Philadelphia have had to ban telephone beepers because they were so frequently used for drug deals.

Dress codes have been enforced in schools in Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and New Haven because students were assaulting and even murdering each other to steal fancy clothes. Close to 300,000 American high school students are physically attacked each month. In 1987, 338,000 American students admitted that they carried a handgun to school at least once. One third of those admitted that they carried one every day.

In New York City, a few worried parents dress their children in $500 bulletproof vests before they send them off to school Police warn that such expensive clothing may stop bullets but it will also attract thieves. The city has assigned police officers to ride in designated subway cars so that students will know where they can ride without being attacked. The school system spends $29 million every year on armed guards — $29 million that is not spent on laboratory equipment, band instruments or field trips.

The west coast is well on its way in the same direction. One junior high school in Los Angeles recently built a concrete wall to stop stray bullets from flying into the playground. At 1, 800-student Jordan High School in the black section of Los Angeles, there are no less than 13 security guards, two police officers, one parole officer and several administrators who patrol the place with walkie-talkies. Every day, a workman checks the school’s walls, and paints over provocative graffiti that could start a gang battle. Violence is so bad that the school has opened classrooms in a nearby housing project so students needn’t risk their lives by coming to school.

No other nation in the world expects children to study under such horrifying, shameful circumstances. Public schools would be reason, all by themselves, for whites to leave America’s cities.

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BOOK REVIEW

Why Do We Have an Underclass?

Nicholas Lemann, The Promised Land.’ The Great Black Migration and How it Changed America, Alfred A. Knopf, 1991, 410 pp., $24.95

reviewed by Thomas Jackson

In The Promised Land, Nicholas Lemann tells several interwoven tales. One is about Mississippi sharecroppers who migrated to Chicago during the middle decades of the century. Another is about the bungled policies of President Lyndon Johnson’s “war on poverty.” Binding them together is Mr. Lemann’s attempt to understand why the United States has a black underclass that probably lives in greater squalor and desperation than any other people on earth.

The book’s perspective is the by now standard one that pins most of the blame for black failure on white racism, and it leads to a call for an “ambitious wave of new programs” that will bring the underclass into the American mainstream. Nevertheless, The Promised Land is by no means a simple rehash of the liberal clichés of the 1960s. Mr. Lemann does not gloss over the failures that stemmed from the soft-headed zeal for uplift that characterized the period. At the same time, his accounts of the lives of underclass blacks do not leave an impression of helplessness and victimization so much as one of fecklessness and serfdestruction. The author coats his facts with a layer of liberal indulgence, but he has gathered the facts and they are not pretty.

The Migration

As Mr. Lemann points out, the migration of poor blacks from the southern countryside to the northern cities ranks with the great migrations of all time. Between the early 1940s and late 1960S, more than 5 million blacks made the trek, in what was probably the greatest mass movement in history not driven by war or starvation.

The reasons for the move are not hard to understand. The vast majority of rural blacks were sharecroppers with no prospects for bettering themselves. In the north, especially during the war years, there was a huge demand for labor and fewer social barriers to getting good, blue-collar jobs. Most blacks could count on at least quadrupling their incomes simply by moving.

At the same time, the introduction of the mechanical cotton picker in the mid-1940s suddenly cut the need for black sharecroppers to near zero. In fact, the demand for industrial labor that sucked so many blacks north was a godsend for the south, which would otherwise have had massive, dangerous black unemployment.

The migrations meant that the black population of Chicago grew at a terrific rate: 77 percent in the 1940S, another 65 percent in the 1950s. By 1960, the city had haft a million more blacks than it had in 1940.

Mr. Lemann points out that one of the most important effects of this sort of population shift was to elevate race from a merely sectional problem to a national problem. Northern cities that had always had only a few, neatly segregated black neighborhoods suddenly found themselves swamped with newcomers who were not the sort that even northern blacks wanted as neighbors. Most of the newcomers were poor, ignorant, and already imbued with the habits of reckless procreation that became characteristic of the underclass.

Whites burnt the cars and firebombed the houses of blacks who settled in white neighborhoods. Black tenants who moved into all-white apartment buildings did so under heavy police guard. Less combative whites simply cleared out. The traditionally-Jewish Lawndale section of Chicago, for example, went from being 13% black in 1950 to 91% black just ten years later.

Lawndale, like many newly-black areas in other northern cities, also turned into a hideous slum that showed no sign of improvement. This did not just stoke the fears of the remaining whites in bordering areas or seem to flatter the good judgment of those who had escaped early. Disasters like Lawndale also discredited the widely-held view that black damn would clear up all by themselves, just as the Irish, Jewish, and Polish slums of the turn of the century had.

In Chicago, what happened to Lawndale was too ugly to ignore. The Catholic church backed a local activist by the name of Saul Alinsky to try to keep another racially changing neighborhood, Woodlawn, from turning into another Lawndale. Mr. Alinsky used church money to hire a number of blacks, and was able to mobilize thousands more for rallies and demonstrations.

Mr. Alinsky’s Woodlawn Organization attracted enormous favorable publicity, and gave credence to the altogether silly idea that poverty could be defeated by political agitation. As Mr. Lemann points out, the Woodlawn organization became, a kind of Potemkin village through which admiring liberal journalists were herded even as the neighborhood was going hopelessly down hill. The decay of Woodlawn never got the front-page treatment that had been lavished on the hopeful commotion of the early period, and the illusion of its success gave shape to President Johnson’s war on poverty.

Uplift Begins In Earnest

Lyndon Johnson had the misfortune of assuming office on the heels of a Golden Boy whose reputation was established by martyrdom. The Kennedy circle had always made him feel like a Texas hick, and he was vividly aware that if a southern politician gave off the merest whiff of racism the eastern establishment would make short work of him. As President, Lyndon Johnson decided to become the champion of the black poor and thereby win the praise of liberal intellectuals. At the same time, the desperation of ghetto life was a blot on the national landscape, and President Johnson seems to have had a sincere desire to help. He declared “unconditional war on poverty” in January 1964, and established the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) in August of the same year.

At the time, says Mr. Lemann; there were two ways in which it was thought possible to combat poverty. One was to cut away the “culture of poverty,” the web of impoverishing personal habits that poor people were thought to be caught in. As Mr. Lemann puts it:

“If poor people did not train their children well for school, the government could train them; if poor people did not eat properly, the government could give them nutritious food; if they did not have good work habits, the government could teach that, too.”

This was nothing less than the assumption that government could take over pretty nearly the whole job of childbearing, but nothing was too ambitious for the people who launched the war on poverty. After all, the total victory of the Second World War was less than 20 years old, and there seemed to be nothing that America couldn’t do.

The Woodlawn Organization seemed to show that there was another way to fight poverty. By tracking down authentic, ghetto-based political organizations and showering them with money, the government could somehow ensure “empowerment” that would defeat poverty. There was never even a theoretical case for how this would actually work, but pushed along with slogans like “maximum feasible participation,” promoting community action became even more popular than undoing the culture of poverty.

One common approach was to train ghetto blacks in Job Corps centers. These often became dens of iniquity. A standing joke among poverty program lobbyists in Washington Was that a good way to get a reluctant Congressman to vote for appropriations was to threaten to put a Job Corps center in his district. Another mirthless truism was that a year of Job Corps training cost more than a year at Harvard.

It accomplished a great deal less. Community action was largely a waste of money. As Mr. Lemann puts it, “there is no clear example of a community action agency in a poor neighborhood accomplishing either the original goal of reducing juvenile delinquency or the subsequent goal of reducing poverty.”

One of the most ridiculous ideas of the times was that black, urban gangs could be steered into useful work. In 1967, OEO actually made a grant of $927,000 to be partially administered by a notorious Chicago gang, the Blackstone Rangers. This was a horrible failure. There were shootings, rapes, and indictments for murder among the program “instructors,” and OEO hurriedly pulled the funds. Amazingly, the Ford Foundation then stepped in and made a grant to the Rangers.

The glory days of the OEO continued until 1973, when President Richard Nixon decided to throttle it. He never quite succeeded, and the agency limped along until 1981, when President Ronald Reagan finally did it to death.

At the time, it was estimated that the various war on poverty programs had created two million new jobs virtually all of them in program administration, and a disproportionate number of them held by blacks. Something the programs and money did not do was fix up the black slums.. Although many of the people who got the new jobs were slum-dwellers to begin with, as soon as they started getting a government pay check they fled to the suburbs. The slums only got worse.

Why the Underclass?

An interesting bump on the road to losing the war on poverty was Patrick Moynihan’s 1965 report on the black family. He pointed out that nearly 25% of all black children were born to single mothers, and wondered if this didn’t contribute to black poverty. To ask such a question was a shameless breach of racial taboo, and as Mr. Lemann points out, the Moynihan Report went on to become what is probably the most diligently refuted document in American history. It almost single-handedly gave rise to an entire industry of uplift experts whose message was that there is no crime more vile than to “blame the victim.” Just who else’s fault it was when single, black teenagers had babies was never clear, but to talk as if the black teenagers themselves had any choice in the matter was nothing short of racism.

Black illegitimacy rates have always caught the attention of observers, even when they were forbidden to draw conclusions from them. As far back as 1944, when Gunnar Myrdal wrote An American Dilemma, he was worried about a 16 percent illegitimacy rate among southern blacks, which was then eight times the white rate. Today, nearly two thirds of all black children are born to single mothers (the figure for whites has risen to 15 percent), and if there is a single statistic that sums up the plight of American blacks today, this is it.

America continues to tiptoe very carefully around this chilling figure, and Mr. Lemann can’t quite come to grips with it himself. As he follows the lives of sharecroppers who went north, the women drift from man to man, sometimes marrying, sometimes not, accumulating broods of fatherless children. The children arc even more promiscuous and less likely to marry than their parents.

Many single parents arc, of course, dooming themselves to poverty. In 1987, black families headed by a single woman had a median income of only $9,710 a year, or about one third of the median income of black couples. Is there a link between illegitimacy and poverty? Of course there is, but for whites to say so is to meddle indecently in the sexual habits of blacks.

Even Patrick Moynihan is quiet these days, although the collapse of the black family and all the misery that has come with it arc exactly what he predicted. In the 1970s, Mr. Moynihan was even writing that a large welfare-dependent class “will come to be accepted as the normal and manageable cost of doing urban business.” He likened it to “a political subsidy, as irrational perhaps as those paid to owners of oil wells, wheat fields, or aerospace companies, but whoever said politics was rational?”

Cynical he might have been, but Mr. Moynihan was right on the money. Just as America pays billions of dollars to farmers for crops it doesn’t need, it pays billions for crop after crop of welfare babies it doesn’t need. This is the heart of the problem of the underclass. So long as our society rewards improvident baby-making by juveniles who cannot even look after themselves, the adolescent libido will censure steady growth of the underclass. Mr. Lemann’s call for “new programs” is as blind to the real problems of black America as it is inconsistent with the data he has so carefully gathered.

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IN THE NEWS

O Tempora, O Mores!

The Fading Mafia

As the racial composition of America’s cities changes (see cover story), so does the face of organized crime. The Mafia, once the undisputed master, is being pushed out by new blood from such places as Colombia, Jamaica, and Vietnam. In Los Angeles, competitors talk about the Mickey Mouse Mafia, which has grown so feeble that it no longer has the muscle to extract protection money from illegal bookies. In New Jersey, once the stronghold of the mob, police refer derisively to the aged, toothless Mafia as the Geritol Gang.

Of much greater concern are Jamaican “posses,” Chinese “Triads,” and Vietnamese and Columbian gangs that are much more violent and bloodthirsty than the Mafia ever was. Even the most hardened police departments are amazed at the viciousness of the new criminals, who seem to settle even minor disputes with murder. The new gangs are also much more difficult to infiltrate because they are non-white and often speak foreign languages among themselves. The new face of organized crime has added further impetus to the nation-wide drive to hire more non-white policemen.

‘Donor Fatigue’ for Africa

Every year, African nations and international aid agencies come cap in hand to the developed world seeking charity. Public concern for Africa peaked in 1985/1986, with rock and roll musicians and movie stars raising money for starving Africans.

The trouble with charity for Africa ks that the problems do not go away. Famine victims who are kept alive with foreign food one year must be kept alive the same way the next year. Famine relief does not make Africa more serf sufficient. By keeping more people alive than the social and economic systems would naturally support, it makes Africa less self-sufficient.

Aside from white-ruled South Africa, virtually no nation south of the Sahara has managed to build anything like a modern economy. Despite foreign aid, 1990 was the twelfth consecutive year in which the average African got poorer than he was the year before. The United Nations says that 27 million Africans could starve to death this year.

Private donors are tired of being asked to support the same, never-ending crises. Philip Johnson, chairman of CARE, explains, “Donor dissatisfaction sets in over spending money to prevent famine in Ethiopia, when it seems to repetitively return.” Fund raisers for Save the Children, one of the leading African relief organizations, face the same problem. They raised $117,618 from corporate donors in 1986 but managed only $11,000 last year.

National foreign aid programs are also being revised down, because it is so difficult to fund projects that actually work. Even Sweden, which has traditionally been an easy touch for Africans, balked last year at paying for 350 new rail cars for the Tanzania-Zambia railway. Aid officials found that neglect and incompetence were so pervasive that in seven years time, the entire consignment of cars would probably be wrecked.

An abiding problem in Africa is what a recent World Bank report calls the “vampire elite,” a ruling class that diverts foreign aid for private use while the common people starve. Many African rulers are manifestly unconcerned about the plight of their people, and offer no government assistance to relief workers.

Yale and the Wages of Fear

Last February, a Yale sophomore was gunned down on the street just a block from the home of Benno Schmidt, the university president. The unsolved killing, on a normally quiet New Haven avenue that Mark Twain once called the most pleasant in the entire country, has terrified the already security-conscious university. The campus is in the heart of a crime-ridden, substantially black city.

Jan-Mitchell Sherrill, director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Campus Violence in Towson (MD) has found the silver lining to the killing. It may not be such a bad thing for students to wonder if sudden, violent death larks around the corner of every ivy-covered building. “At Yale and other schools, if they can keep the fear alive, everyone will be safer,” says the expert.

Affirmative Action Saint

Pierre Toussaint was a former black slave who lived in New York City before the Civil War. By all accounts he was a generous and devout man, who helped orphans and sick people, and used his money to buy freedom for other slaves. He is also well on his way to becoming only the fourth American to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.

The process is being encouraged by Pope John Paul II, who will have the final say in whether Toussaint becomes a saint. The Pope is troubled by the uneven distribution of saints among nations and races, and is reported to be eager to canonize a black American.

Balkanization at Berkeley

At the University of California at Berkeley, faculty diversity has taken on a new meaning.. The objective now is not merely to have as many non-white faces as possible, but to match race with subject. Thus, blacks should teach African history, Chicanos should teach Chicano literature, Asians should teach Asian studies, etc. At Berkeley, this is called “true diversity,” and seems to assume something that would ordinarily be called “racist”: that the competence of a person in a particular field is determined by race.

Some people at Berkeley are outspoken about this. White teachers and graduate students face hostility from non-whites when they teach about black slavery or Hispanic immigration. Since they have not suffered “racial oppression” they are not thought capable of teaching these subjects.

Non-white graduate students feel pressure to get degrees in their own ethnicity. The occasional black or Hispanic who wants to study French literature or Japanese history may be ostracized by his fellows. Likewise, white students are warned away from “ethnic” studies, because their chances of getting jobs in those fields are poor. Teaching slots are essentially reserved for ethnics.

This wasn’t always so. Berkeley now has two highly-regarded white professors of African American history, Leon Litwack and Lawrence Levine. “A Litwack or Levine couldn’t happen now,” says a colleague.

Diversity Like it or Not

Manhattenville College, a campus of 1,040 students located in Purchase (N-Y), tries to ensure that all freshmen get a roommate of a different race. For the last two years, freshman integration was an option, but it will henceforth be mandatory. The administration hopes that freshmen will choose other-race roommates in subsequent years, and if they don’t, the college will step in and enforce the rule. As Provost Cate Myers explains “If they don’t naturally do it on their own, our expectation is to expand the intercultural program to all residence halls.”

Doubtful Victim

Late last year, Darres Park was a hero of anti-racism because of his heroic resistance to white attackers. The half-Chinese, half-Korean Mr. Park reportedly used karate and kung fu to fight off bat-swinging thugs yelling “Brain the gook.” He was the speaker of honor at a University of Washington rally against racism, and received much sympathetic media coverage. Mr. Park has since been arrested for three armed bank robberies, and witnesses to the “racial” attack are retracting parts of their stories.

Designing the School of the Future

Schools to be built in urban areas now have a new design criterion: crime prevention. Violence and lawlessness are so widespread in non-white urban schools that architects regularly consult with security experts on how to draw up plans.

Many districts now build schools so that as many areas as possible are visible from a few central locations. Halls are long and straight so that security guards can sweep them quickly with their eyes. Bathrooms, which used to be located at the periphery are now at the center, since isolated wash-rooms are ideal for assault, drugtaking, and rape.

Another consideration is access to the school. Deerlake Middle School in Tallahassee (FL) was built so that every driveway onto the grounds could be watched from the administration office. In Boston, school designers work closely with security experts on all aspects of layout. Planners are beginning to find that some of the best design ideas for keeping schools secure are already well understood by prison architects.

Metal Detectors for Movie House

People who travel by air have become accustomed to going through metal detectors before they get on the plane. Soon, movie-goers in some areas may go through a similar security check.

The mayor of Valley Stream (NY) has asked the owners of the Sunrise Multiplex Cinemas either to close the place down or install metal detectors. In the past five years there have been at least ten violent incidents at the Sunrise, which has heavily black patronage. Most recently, one person was killed and three others injured during a wild gun battle that broke out during a screening of “Godfather Part III.”

‘Quotas’ to be Taboo Subject

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has urged Congress and President Bush not to inject “racism” into political campaigns for 1992. Racism? By this, the commission means any suggestion that current “civil rights” demands could lead to racial quotas. It has formally asked all federal office seekers to avoid the subject of quotas in their campaigns.

Yes, difficult as this may be to believe, a branch of the government is asking for a voluntary gag rule that would shield its own activities from criticism. It is easy to imagine the riotous indignation that would follow a formal request from the Pentagon that the cost of weapons systems not be raised as a campaign issue. The Civil Rights Commission’s request has been met with embarrassed silence.

$1 Million for Diversity

We reproduce the following item, in full, from the San Jose Mercury News of Feb. 14, 1991: Santa Clara University has received a $1 million grant from the James Irvine Foundation of San Francisco and Newport Beach to be applied toward improvement of ethnic and racial diversity on the campus. University President Paul Locatelli said the money will aid in implementing the school’s “Excellence Through Diversity” plan, an ongoing effort at making the 140-year old Jesuit institution “a more effective multicultural academic community.”

Black Study Finds Whites are Racist

The African-American Institute of the State University of New York has released a study that splashes much of the state with charges of racism. The report, which has no sources or documentation, explains that former mayor of New York, Ed Koch, is a racist, as are journalists at the New York Times, the New York Daily News, and the New York Post. The Republican Party “has become the connoisseurs of subtle racism,” and Jews did not vote in sufficient numbers for black mayor David Dinkins because of his “pigmentation.”

The “study” was publicly funded. The Democrat-controlled New York state legislature gives the African-American Institute $500,000 every year. When the institute’s director, Dr. Albert Williams-Myers was asked about the report, he said, “That’s what education is all about.” He explained that the study was part of the institute’s support for “political empowerment.”

King Institute Evicted

Two years ago, Governor Mario Cuomo of New York set up a Martin Luther King Jr. Institute for NonViolence. He gave it $1.5 million in taxpayer money every year so it could “advance Dr. King’s teachings.” Whatever they did for Dr. King’s teachings, institute employees appear to have had a gay old time. They are now under investigation for excessive salaries, credit card abuse, bid-rigging, nepotism, and sexual harassment. The institute has, indeed, shown signs of not being able to keep track of its annual $1.5 million. Recently, city marshals evicted the institute from its offices in downtown Brooklyn for failing to pay rent — a most unusual embarrassment for a government-funded body.

Illegal Mother, Legal Baby

It is increasingly common for Mexican women, well into pregnancy, to slip across the border and have their babies in the United States. Not only do they get free, first-world medical care, but even more important, their children qualify for US citizenship. After the children turn 18, they can sponsor their parents and other family members for citizenship.

Between 1986 and 1989, the amount of money the County of Los Angeles spent delivering babies for illegal aliens doubled from $14.8 million to $29.3 million. Until recently, the cost was met locally, but new legislation provides for the state and federal governments to pick up the tab. You, too, are now helping to subsidize both the citizenship giveaway and free medical care for Mexicans.

Votes for Resident Mexicans

The Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) is one of the most active Hispanic groups in the country, and gets most of its money from the Ford Foundation. Joaquin Avila, a lawyer with MALDEF, is working on a plan to change the constitution of the state of California so that voting would be open to all residents, not just citizens.

“In the 1990s,” says Mr. Avila, “[there will be] more Latinos in political power with their own political networks. At some point, in California we’ll have the power to sponsor legislation to amend the constitution.”

We can’t say that we weren’t warned. We wonder what else might happen when there are enough Hispanics in California to change the state constitution.

Standards for New York Students

The City University of New York (CUNY) is obligated by law to accept all applicants who are graduates of the New York City school system. These are often a very sorry lot, and the university is moving towards establishing minimum competence levels that students must meet before they get a degree. These, according to Chancellor Ann Reynolds, will be the standards of a good high school.

The city’s high schools, themselves, are also thinking about standards for their students, 80 percent of whom are non-white. Schools Chancellor Joseph Fernandez has proposed attaching a warranty to all New York City diplomas. It would allow anyone who hired a graduate to turn him back in for free remedial training if it turned out the graduate couldn’t read or write.

Both of these proposals — that CUNY should not grant degrees to people unless they can perform at the high school level, and that the high schools should not grant diplomas to people who can’t read or write — would be hilarious if they were not tragic. Thirty to forty percent of New York’s public school students fail even to graduate from high school.

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LETTERS FROM READERS

Sir — In the April issue of AR, in an article on campus racism, you mention a white student at Southern Methodist University who was made to do 30 hours of community service for saying that Martin Luther King was a communist, and for singing We Shall Overcome in a “sarcastic” manner. In fact, there is considerable evidence to suggest that Dr. King was a communist.

When the King holiday was being debated in Congress, Sen. Ted Kennedy complained about such “allegations” about Dr. King. Sen. Jesse Helms replied, “Your argument is not with me, it is with your own brother.” It was President John F. Kennedy who ordered the FBI to investigate Dr. King. The investigation was completed but its contents remain secret. What reason can there be for secrecy other than such unflattering things as confutation of Dr. King’s communist sympathies?

As for the student at Southern Methodist University, truth is an absolute defense against charges of slander. This has been so since colonial days. John Peter Zenger of New York was tried for seditious libel in 1734, for criticizing the government. He was defended by Alexander Hamilton, and his acquittal established that the truth — no matter how damning — is an unassailable defense against a charge of libel.

Ken Taylor, New Hampton (NH)

Sir — We have all seen the videotaped beating of Rodney King by the Los Angeles Police Department. We have all heard that Mr. King is black and that the police who beat him are white. Why is it that no newspaper has mentioned that one of the men indicted for the beating Ted Briseno, is Hispanic? HIS photograph, which was published in Newsweek of March 25, 1991 removes any doubt about the matter. We can be sure that if Mr. Briseno had gotten rather than administered the beating, he would be scrupulously referred to as Hispanic rather than white.

This chameleon quality of Hispanics — whites when they are villains, Hispanics when they are victims — always works to the disadvantage of whites. In at least one celebrated police killing of a black in Miami, for example, the Hispanic who did the shooting was commonly referred to as “white.”

Paul Horner, Coral Gables (FL)

Sir — In your May issue, you mention the rap group Public Enemy and its “Minister of Information,” Harry Allen. According to my sources, Mr. Allen’s official title is Director of Enemy Relations, which somehow seems entirely appropriate.

Lately, Mr. Allen has been explaining why rap singers use made-up names like Ice Cube and 2 Live Crew. He says black rappers abandon their “government names” and take on new ones that are “compensatory” for societal racism.

Name withheld, Burlington, (VT)

Sir — In the March issue, you quote Raymond B. Cattell’s disapproval of the fact that Christianity seems to be preoccupied with lost sheep, prodigal sons, and “reprobates.” I am always puzzled by people who are not Christians but who claim to speak with authority about Christianity.

The point of the story about the prodigal son is that money did not solve his problems; it caused them. Likewise, our welfare system assumes that money — not compassion and involvement — can eliminate society’s woes, whereas even the rich have problems that money cannot solve.

Christians are not asked to devote themselves to reprobates, but to God. In so doing, we will be moved by compassion for the pain of the world, which most Certainly afflicts the rich as well as the poor.

Rev. A. Taylor Todd, Roanoke (VA)

Sir — Your cover story on Abraham Lincoln in the May issue was illuminating, I am sure that President Bush is not alone in believing that “the great emancipator’s” views on blacks were much like those currently espoused by the New York Times and National Public Radio.

The real question about Lincoln (and about Jefferson, Hamilton, and all the rest) is why the current antiwhite juggernaut hasn’t launched an all-out campaign against them. Today, anyone who said one tenth of the things you attribute to Lincoln would be dismissed as a frothing bigot, and nothing he did or said would be taken seriously.

Doesn’t the logic of current thinking require that Lincoln be unmasked as the white supremacist he obviously was rather than be portrayed as a great friend of the Negro? Shouldn’t the Lincoln Memorial be torn down and replaced with a monument to the longsuffering people he wanted to ship back to Africa?

Why is this not done? Perhaps Lincoln has already been built up into so great a saint that any attempt to publicize his racial views would unwittingly endorse them rather than discredit their author.

Name withheld, Fresno (CA)

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