|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 19, No. 6||June 2008|
The ‘Reafricanization’ of the West
Why are whites failing to reproduce?
There is nothing new under the sun. The radicals of the 1960s who championed sexual liberation and called marriage a “system of oppression” imagined they were doing something revolutionary — and in a sense they were, but feminism and the sexual revolution have led to the reemergence within the white world of a more primitive family system long observed in Africa.
A forgotten warning
About the middle of the “roaring twenties,” the eminent literary critic Irving Babbitt issued a warning:
Sexual unrestraint is wreaking fearful havoc to society. The resultant diseases are a menace to the future of the white race. There is an undoubted connection between a certain type of self-indulgent individualism and an unduly declining birthrate. The French and also the Americans of native descent are, if we are to trust statistics, in danger of withering from the earth. Where the population is increasing, it is, we are told, at the expense of quality. The stocks to which the past has looked for its leaders are dying out and the inferior or even degenerate breeds are multiplying.
As for remedies, Babbitt acknowledged that people are not usually motivated by “such general grounds as the good of the white race menaced by ‘the rising tide of color’ ” (alluding to Lothrop Stoddard’s then-recent book). He proposed that traditional ideals of self restraint — continence and monogamy — would be of greater racial benefit than explicitly eugenic considerations.
Today the sexual situation in the Western world has reached a state worse than Babbitt could have imagined possible, and his warnings are more timely than ever — and his skepticism about explicitly racial solutions is still warranted. Normal people do not make decisions about marriage and children on the basis of scientific findings or because of racial politics.
The problem is not intermarriage. Only about 1 percent of whites marry outside their race and just 0.4 percent of whites marry blacks (though these rates are much higher than in 1880, when only one in a thousand whites married out). On the other hand, vast numbers of Western women are either not reproducing or doing so at below-replacement level. Some racially conscious whites seem to be more concerned about one interracial union than 50 childless white couples. I believe it is because they can see the occasional white mother pushing a mixed-race baby in a stroller, whereas they cannot see the children other white women are not having. The greatest threats to a nation do not always strike the eye.
Racially conscious whites also object to the small number of white men who go to the trouble and expense of seeking wives in exotic places such as the Philippines and South America. Calling such men “race traitors” only alienates our natural constituents — whites unfamiliar with racial realism but potentially sympathetic to our cause — without establishing a single new white family. Most of these men go overseas because women in more traditional societies are more submissive, more feminine, and give family life higher priority than our women do.
The problem lies elsewhere, mainly in what is known as feminism. It is this, I believe, that mainly explains collapsing white birthrates. For several decades, white women have been reared in an unprecedented manner: They have been encouraged to do almost anything but marry and have children. It is extremely difficult for any society to make its young women unattractive to its own young men, but the West now appears close to succeeding (an achievement attributable, no doubt, to our high IQs).
Experts report that in cases involving child custody women initiate divorce almost every time. Courts routinely award them custody and generous child support payments regardless of whether the man is at fault. Under these conditions it is futile to scold men that it is their “racial duty” to marry. Men do not have such a duty, and outside the tiny ranks of the hard core, such exhortations would be futile. The ordinary white man who does not read American Renaissance or perhaps even think much about race will be more encouraged to marry a white woman and start a family as his ancestors did only if the effects of feminism can be undone.
Feminism has encouraged the erosion of traditional Christian and European standards of conduct and has replaced them with a polygamous mating pattern in which women compete for the most attractive men. This is something we see in primate packs, but even among humans, polygamous societies are nothing new, and a great deal is known about how they operate. It so happens that the most polygamous part of the world is West Africa, the ancestral homeland of America’s own black population. A look at these societies may shed light on what is happening in the West today under the influence of “women’s liberation.”
Polygamous West Africa
An unusual feature of the region is that women produce nearly all the food: one anthropologist calls it “the region of female farming par excellence.” That is not because Africans have a progressive belief in careers for women, but because West African agriculture is very simple. Cultivation tends to be extensive rather than intensive, and the principle tools are hoes, which women can use as easily as men. The more challenging climate of Europe calls for intensive plough cultivation, which made women dependent on men for food.
There is, of course, much variety in family patterns among West Africans, but a number of generalizations are possible. Since West African women can provide for themselves, and often for their husbands as well, men do not need to worry about the cost of taking multiple wives. Contrary to what we might expect, a wife may even encourage her husband to marry another woman, since that usually relieves her of some of her chores. The men enjoy considerable leisure, which they can devote to politicking, fighting, drinking, and the pursuit of what ethnographers delicately refer to as “polycoity.”
A Dutch traveler left an amusing description of the typical polygamist on the 17th century Gold Coast, who “idly spends his time in impertinent tattling (the woman’s business in our country) and drinking of palm-wine, which the poor wives are frequently obliged to raise money to pay for, and by their hard labor maintain and satisfy these lazy wretches in their greedy thirst after wines.” Traditionally, husbands need not share personal earnings with their wives; the definition of marriage does not include community of property.
There is a disincentive for polygamous husbands to spend too much time with any particular wife, as this would tend to provoke jealousy among the rest and interfere with the smooth functioning of the household. On the other hand, in a polygamous society there are plenty of footloose bachelors who are willing to keep lonely wives company. The distinction between licit and illicit relations may become blurred, and men and women lose any notion of a permanent marriage bond. Some simply have “relationships,” of a kind not unknown among certain populations in this country.
The result is that paternity tends to be uncertain. Men therefore do not put much effort into fatherhood; why should they, when they do not know whether the children are their own? In some cases, men devote more time and effort to their sisters’ children. No matter how uncertain a man may be about his own children, there can be no doubt about kinship through a sister’s line.
The greater role of the mother leads to what anthropologists call “matrifocal” families, but this does not necessarily mean mothers make up for the lack of interest shown by fathers. They are often content to delegate care of their offspring to older relatives or friends to whom they pay a modest fee. This practice, known as “fosterage,” is in no way seen as dereliction of a mother’s duties.
Fosterage can begin when the child is quite young, since early weaning allows the mother to return to fertility sooner. Relieved of her child, she is able to devote her full attention to having another. In other words, the effort she saves on childrearing goes into childbearing.
Western humanitarians worry about what seems to them the scandalous poverty of Africa and are anxious to relieve it. They are sometimes surprised to learn that Africans themselves do not share their concerns. Parents seem confident their children will get along somehow. This could be a racial trait, but it is no doubt reinforced by fosterage: Parents who delegate care of their children do not feel the same need to husband their own resources. Once the children are out of the house, the mother (and father) may not have much contact with them. The result is a large number of somewhat loosely reared children.
The simpler and more spontaneous culture of West Africa may be able to get along in this fashion, but Western Civilization grew out of different norms. The achievements that form our cultural heritage presuppose stable social arrangements. Predictable familial and civic relations, long apprenticeships, and capital accumulation are what allow men of talent to invest time and effort in endeavors that do not necessarily have a quick or obvious payoff. That makes the arts and sciences possible.
It may be that Europeans are better adapted through evolutionary pressures to monogamy and deferred gratification, but it would be well not to presume too much upon this. One of the reasons for studying Africa is that it is like a window onto our own remote past. During declining phases of civilization, primitive cultural forms tend to reappear. Whites are not immune to what might be called “reafricanization,” and there is evidence that something like it is taking place now. Western man is in certain ways returning spiritually to the continent from which he emerged.
In the first place, let us consider the contemporary West’s obvious and abnormal preoccupation with sex. Anthropologists speak of reproductive effort as a combination of mating effort and parenting effort. There is a natural tradeoff between the two. The less time people spend looking for mates, the more they have left to devote to their children. The traditional European practice is to encourage young people to pair off early and emphasize fidelity in order to reduce sexual competition and allow adults to concentrate on the serious business of raising families.
This is not a universal human pattern. On average, Africans appear to make the tradeoff between mating effort and parenting effort differently, with the result that sex assumes greater importance over a longer period of time. White writers of earlier days frequently noted the prominence of sex in the black man’s thoughts; when recalled now, these observations are cited with horror. In fact, early observers were reporting what they found, and what is still noted by professional anthropologists today.
As monogamy decays in the West, our mating system increasingly comes to resemble the more competitive African model, and with similar results. Young women devote more effort to maximizing their allure in order to snag high-status men, and men compete for status in order to attract these women. This comes at the expense of childrearing and family life.
At the same time, the feminist program of cajoling women into the workplace means they become self-supporting, as are the female farmers of West Africa. The Dilbert world of work cubicles may not resemble the farming plots of Africa, but both stand in marked contrast to the male-breadwinner tradition of the West, in which childrearing was a woman’s most important duty. Indeed, the modern workplace, optimized for risk-free, repetitious, sedentary work is probably the best environment for eliminating women’s economic dependence upon men. By the same token, it discourages the moderately large families of well-brought-up children that are the indispensable preconditions of Western Civilization. If enough women fail or refuse to marry and become mothers of such families, our way of life cannot be sustained.
The most important effect of economic autonomy upon women is that it reduces the benefits to them of monogamous marriage. They can mate as they please, in competition for the most attractive men. That is what the college “hook-up” scene is really about — it is not callous men preying upon wide-eyed virgins. Later, women use affluent men for their resources (either not marrying or marrying and then divorcing them). In any case, economic independence means they do not need a man in the same way previous generations of women did.
A second economic factor influencing female family behavior is easy consumer credit. Using a credit card is a little like providing for African children through fosterage. It shields young, present-oriented women from the need for frugality.
The American economy is fueled to a great extent by massive consumer debt. How much of this spending is by married men with children to support? Feminists complain that men continue to earn more than women, but they say little about which sex spends more. And, of course, the more time and effort women devote to careers and personal consumption, the less they have for the children they do manage to bear. The problem of “latchkey children,” raised by television sets and peer groups, was a predictable result of feminism.
To summarize, the contemporary West resembles traditional West African society in:
- female economic self-support;
- polygamous and unstable mating patterns;
- absence of long-term planning;
- low-investment parenting.
Polygamy without children
All analogies break down at some point, however, and when this one does it is to the credit of Africans rather than to us. The African system does not produce an advanced civilization, but it does at least ensure procreation, which is more than can be said for our present way of life. Africans may not sacrifice all that much for their offspring, but they are extremely fond of children. They have a proverb: “If you have a child, you have a life.” One of the justifications they offer for fosterage is that without it the poor foster-parent would be deprived of the happiness children bring. Africans not only want to have children; they want to share them with friends and neighbors. Efforts by Western busybodies to interest them in birth control, therefore, have not met with much success: 14 of the 16 most fertile countries in the world are in black Africa.
Sociobiologists speak of high-investment versus high-fertility reproductive strategies, but it is clear the contemporary West does not fall into either category. We are practicing both low fertility and low parental investment. It is uncanny how many of the “progressive” causes being pushed among us involve thwarting procreation: female careerism, unrestricted abortion, so-called safe sex, and special political protections for homosexuality. A society that makes these things its priorities can only have a death wish.
It is worth noting, however, that disordered childrearing is not universal in America. Many middle-class, college-educated, suburban women seem to understand instinctively that their children will get the best start in life only if they are reared by two adults who stick together through good times and bad, and who dedicate themselves to being parents. Among certain women — mainly white women — there is a growing realization that “alternative families” are not families at all, and that the old-fashioned ways reflected an ancient wisdom. Among college-educated women, divorce rates stopped rising in the 1980s and began to decline in the 1990s. As illegitimacy rates climbed to 70 percent for blacks and 45 percent for Hispanics, they peaked at just 4 percent for college-educated women, and then headed down. This rearguard action against collapse has not, however, gone all the way. These dedicated, neo-traditional parents usually have only two children or, at most, three.
Our task is to restore the monogamous heterosexual family as the normal social unit in Western society. The most important form of racial activism, after all, is childrearing. This goal will be achieved neither by denouncing “race traitors” nor by harping on racial differences in IQ. Instead, we must consider the actual incentives that drive women — who are the real choosers in the mating dance — and focus our efforts on altering them in ways that encourage family formation.
Why, for example, do white women take up with black men? Like men who search for foreign wives, they do it for a reason. Much has been written even by mainstream conservatives about the injustice of so-called affirmative action, but I have never seen a direct discussion of its sexual consequences. Given the natural female attraction to men with status, there will be consequences. Our current system subordinates the interests of whites to those of blacks. At the same time, whites must watch their words to avoid “offending” blacks, but not vice versa. Women see this; they have a keen sense of which males are dominant. Again, changing the incentives to which these women respond will be more effective than scolding or exhortation.
In contrast to European nationalists, American race realists have not yet had political success. When we do gain influence, we will have many more important things to worry about than mixed-race marriages or men who seek Venezuelan brides: things such as how to dismantle 50 years of “civil rights” legislation, the repatriation of millions of aliens, and ending anti-white indoctrination in our schools.
Many racially conscious whites worry about the absence of women in our ranks, but I believe they have it backwards. We do not need women on our side to succeed politically; we need to succeed politically to have women on our side. As soon as we start winning, the ladies will find our arguments plausible, our faces handsome, and our jokes witty. Direct political action by women is not part of the European tradition; respect for the vital female role in the family is. When we have done our work, they will gladly do theirs: bear our race’s children.
F. Roger Devlin, PhD, is a contributing editor to The Occidental Quarterly and the author of Alexandre Kojève and the Outcome of Modern Thought.
Brilliant to Bogus
A real variety of views on immigration.
Carol Swain (ed.), Debating Immigration, Cambridge University Press, 2007, 316 pp., $19.99 (softcover)
Many collections of essays on immigration make a pretense of presenting a variety of views, but the editor has an ax to grind and clearly held his nose when he included the “opposing view.” Debating Immigration, edited by a black professor of law at Vanderbilt, is different. Carol Swain, who did a remarkable job of actually trying to understand white racial consciousness in her book The New White Nationalism in America, is not mesmerized by the usual sloganeering, and is alive to the dangers of mass immigration. She would probably characterize herself as a moderate restrictionist, and is annoyed that black “leaders” have ignored the influx of unskilled workers who have pushed blacks out of jobs. This has not stopped her from giving voice to a host of open-borders enthusiasts, along with sensible people such as Peter Brimelow of VDARE.com and Steven Camarota of the Center of Immigration Studies.
The result is a volume packed with arguments — some excellent, some miserable — and out of 17 articles there are only a few duds that waste space. The bad arguments are particularly edifying. It is always good to examine the thinking of one’s opponents and often astonishing to see how self-righteous and threadbare it is.
Let us start with the worst chapter, written by Amitai Etzioni, an Israeli-American spokesman for “communitarianism” who teaches at George Washington University. His title, “Hispanic and Asian Immigrants: America’s Last Hope,” says it all. Yet more non-whites will save whites from themselves because of their “rehabilitating effect on the American core of shared values and the institutions embodying them” [emphasis in the original]. They are “fostering a stronger commitment to family, community, and nation, as well as respect for authority and moderate religious values.” Any apparent problems are “temporary and limited,” and the US is “light-years ahead of most other societies, which have yet to learn how to incorporate large numbers of immigrants . . .” What he calls “diversity within unity” will bless us with a “growing range of cuisine, music, and holidays.”
Prof. Etzioni sees no problem with diverging cultures, languages, religions, or even loyalties: “[I]f there is no one, unified American society and none is desired, then increased cultural and societal differences matter not.”
Prof. Etzioni is all for miscegenation, since it will “mute fears of tribalism.” He says high rates of outmarriage by Asians and Hispanics “provide strong evidence that these two groups are accepting the core American value of openness and living up to its tenets.” Mixed marriage is now apparently a core American value.
Hispanics and Asians inspire us by their “sense of responsibility for children, family, ethnic group, and nation,” and Hispanics, in particular, have low levels of single-parent families and illegitimacy, “especially when compared with African Americans.” Forty-five percent illegitimacy is certainly lower than 70 percent.
Finally, the newcomers will “help to reorient American society’s traditional focus on Europe toward a more mindful and informed focus on Asia and, to some extent, on Latin America.” They will also improve our boring, Northern European national character by “modifying extreme elements of self-restraint and in providing for greater psychological openness, easier forms of empathy, and maybe a dash of fatalism.”
It would be hard to find a more lofty, high-toned contempt for the founding stock, and we can thank Amitai Etzioni for making so clear. He is part of a theme common to several contributors: He knows better than Americans what is good for us.
Peter Schuck, professor of law at Yale, is another. He writes about the “political disconnect” between citizens who want less immigration and elites and government that keep giving them more. He, himself, is unashamedly among the elite: “In over two decades of immigration scholarship, I have not encountered a single academic specialist on immigration law who favors reducing the number of legal immigrants admitted each year.” He and his pals know better, of course, because “the public in a democracy is not always wise.” If he has anything to do with it, Americans will keep getting more of what they don’t want.
Marc Morjé Howard of Georgetown University notes that Europeans are just as perverse as Americans; when they have a say in the matter they turf foreigners out. However, when “elites manage to pass reforms without significant public involvement — as occurred in Finland, Luxembourg, and Sweden — then liberalization will most likely be the outcome.” The lesson Prof. Howard draws is that “on issues that are prone to populism, xenophobia, and racism,” “proponents of liberal, inclusive policies should give more thought to the role of democracy.” By that he means they should subvert the popular will.
Douglas Massey of Princeton has a confused idea of economics. He repeatedly tells us it makes no sense to have free trade in goods, information, and capital without having a free exchange of people. He says our trade with Mexico increased eight-fold from 1986 to 2002, so it is natural that America be full of Mexicans. Prof. Massey seems not to have noticed that our trade with China increased by even more during the same period, but did not require an influx of Chinese. Japan and Korea have done very well through international trade, and do not have to put up with Princeton professors telling them to import Brazilian peasants along with iron ore and coking coal.
Prof. Massey does have one clever argument, however. He notes that between 1986 and 2002, the INS budget increased 13-fold, and that in 2002 it was devoting eight times as many hours to patrolling the border as in 1986. This has made it much tougher to come across but, according to his figures, the number of people sneaking in has not decreased. He makes the familiar argument that, because it is so much harder to get in, Mexicans now stay in America rather than come across casually to earn pocket money and then go home. Prof. Massey argues, therefore, that the entire effort is a waste, and has had “no detectable effect” on stopping illegal entry.
This doesn’t follow at all. Prof. Massey concedes that it now costs thousands of dollars to hire a coyote, and that the crossing has become so tricky that dozens die in the desert. This has no deterrent effect? It may be that the number of border-crossers has not declined, but clearly it would have risen sharply without increased enforcement.
In the end, Prof. Massey as much as concedes that his arguments about deterrence are for show anyway. He just wants Mexicans here: “The time is thus ripe for the United States to abandon its illusions and accept the reality, indeed the necessity, of North American integration.”
Rogers Smith, who teaches political science at the University of Pennsylvania, notes that most Americans want fewer immigrants, but says they get more because employers are better organized. Part of the problem is incompetence at the INS, which he says “was probably the most underfunded, understaffed, demoralized, inefficient, and sometimes corrupt agency in the whole federal bureaucracy.” (Prof. Smith is silent on whether the new Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureaucracy is any better.) He says that ever since the Sept. 11 attacks the government has passed laws that make it easier to clamp down on immigrants who appear to pose a terrorist threat, but that the feds are no better at controlling the border or checking visa applications. He fears that new anti-terrorist powers could be used against citizens.
Prof. Smith is coy about whether he wants more or less immigration, but says we should treat illegals better. He notes that when President Clinton signed welfare reform in 1996, he made it harder for illegals to get federal benefits, and “ill health, inadequate nutrition, and poverty are on the rise in many immigrant populations as a result.”
Elites fret about that sort of thing because they think it is wrong to distinguish between citizens and anyone else. They often have no real attachment to America and think patriotism is narrow-minded. Illegals therefore deserve the same rights as old-stock Americans.
In one of the most interesting chapters, Stephen Macedo of Princeton approaches this very question with considerable nuance and earnestness. His point of departure — simply taken for granted — is that “distributive justice” requires that government take from those who have and give to those who have not. It is a pity he does not explain why state coercion is better than private charity, but many people share his view. Prof. Macedo clearly understands that letting in poor immigrants is an enormous benefit to them. His problem is to decide whether we have a special obligation to our own poor or whether the even poorer foreign poor get priority and should therefore be let in.
He finds that letting in the foreign poor drags down wages for the native poor, which is tough on them. He also worries that if the country fills up with aliens, citizens will be less likely to vote for generous welfare, and this, too, will hurt the native poor. He approvingly — and subversively — quotes someone named David Miller: “Social justice will always be easier to achieve in states with strong national identities and without internal communal divisions.”
But why do we owe more to the native poor than to the foreign poor? Because “the comparative standing of citizens matters in some ways that the comparative standing of citizens and non-citizens does not,” and because “we have special obligations to our fellow members” of society.
Prof. Macedo agonizes over the possibility that whether someone is born in Mexico or New Mexico is an accident that should not make us more charitable toward one rather than the other, but finally concludes that “there is a moral justification for confining obligations of distributive justice to co-participants in particular political communities.” Why?
Here, Prof. Macedo almost sounds like a nationalist:
Co-participation in governance is an important moral relation. As members of a political community, we are joined in a collective enterprise across generations through which we construct and sustain a comprehensive system of laws and institutions that regulate and shape all other associations.
He continues: “A self-governing political society is a hugely significant joint venture, and we understand it as such. We have strong common obligations as fellow citizens because we collectively govern one another: we collectively make hugely consequential decisions.”
He adds that if there were a world government we might be responsible for poor people everywhere, but says it is “hard to understand the reasonableness of making people responsible for the welfare of others without also making them responsible for their governance.” This is sensible. Since we cannot tell the Haitians how to live, we are not responsible if they do stupid things and starve. (It is a pity Prof. Macedo does not follow this logic further. Do we really “govern” the shiftless ghetto-dwellers we support with our taxes?)
From his mushy, “distributive” point of departure Prof. Macedo arrives at a mushy conclusion that is nevertheless far sounder than many: “An immigration policy cannot be considered morally acceptable in justice unless its distributive impact is defensible from the standpoint of disadvantaged Americans.” In other words it is wrong to let in people who will push down the wages of the unskilled, who will go on welfare and give it a bad name, and who will be a burden to American society. This would certainly be better policy than the one we have.
Another writer who approaches immigration from an unusual perspective — and reaches sound conclusions — is James R. Edwards of the Hudson Institute. Although he concedes that “deriving policy prescriptions from the Bible and other Christian sources is difficult business,” that is exactly what he tries to do. He quotes the Bible to show that “God determined the places on the earth where the different peoples that constitute humanity were to live.” He also argues that “God provided for distinguishing between citizens of Israel and noncitizens,” because the Hebrews were commanded to forgive each other’s debts after seven years but not those of gentiles. Nations may therefore discriminate against foreigners.
Mr. Edwards writes that in the Bible, “we are all seen as members of different tribes and nations living in different geographic locales, and our immediate obligations must clearly be to those concrete persons and groups nearest to us . . .” He adds that our obligations go out in concentric circles, first to our families, and then to our local communities even before we consider fellow citizens who live far away. Finally, “we as Americans have a greater and more immediate moral obligation to be concerned with the welfare and quality of life in the United States than in other countries . . .”
Mr. Edwards agrees that the New Testament is emphatic that race, ethnicity, and class make no difference in the eyes of God, but asks, “Does this spiritual universalism translate into a biblical requirement for an open-borders policy of immigration as certain liberal Christians believe?” No. Unskilled, illiterate immigrants are a burden on us all, especially the poor. He adds that “the huge influx of illegal immigrants” is lowering “the quality of American public life.” That they are poor is no excuse, for it is still “morally wrong for a poor person to steal from a wealthier one.”
Christianity should not stand in the way of common sense: “American Christians and their political leaders, from earliest colonial times, felt perfectly within their rights to exclude or deport public charges, prostitutes, disease carriers, anarchists, and the like.”
Finally, Mr. Edwards warns that aliens are directly threatening “our ability to preserve a sense of common culture and community.” Newcomers should learn our ways, because in ancient Israel “God required resident aliens to adopt the laws and customs of the natives, not the other way around.”
One of the most carefully analytical chapters is by Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies. Virtually everything Mr. Camarota writes is worth reading, and this analysis of how immigration puts Americans out of work is no exception. He notes that it is common to claim that immigrants take only those jobs Americans don’t want, but the table at the top of the next page suggests otherwise.
In the first row, for example, we find that immigrants account for 24 percent of all construction and mine workers, and that the native unemployment rate in those fields is a very high 12.7 percent. Native workers in the other professions with high concentrations of immigrants — building maintenance and farming — also suffer from high rates of unemployment. Mr. Camarota makes the further point that even in a immigrant-heavy job such as construction, 76 percent of all workers are still natives, not immigrants, which also gives the lie to the idea Americans won’t do these jobs. Mr. Camarota shows elsewhere that at the national level, native unemployment has risen in almost perfect parallel with the number of immigrant workers.
The impact of immigration differs from region to region. As the second table on this page shows, the larger the increase in the number of immigrant workers, the more likely it is that natives will lose jobs. In North Carolina, Georgia, and New Jersey, for example, the number of working natives decreased by almost exactly the same amount as the increase in the number of working immigrants. The lesson is clear: as immigrant employment goes up, native employment goes down. Mr. Camarota notes that things could be even worse, since it is only people who are looking for work who are counted as unemployed. Many natives are probably so discouraged by the labor excess in their profession that they have stopped trying to find work. Mr. Camarota concludes that during the downturn of 2000 to 2004, job losses were absorbed almost exclusively by natives while immigrants made gains.
Do immigrants displace natives because they are more productive? Mr. Camarota reminds us that immigrants are ineligible for many welfare programs and that many are willing to undercut the prevailing wage, so it is not surprising they would get the jobs that are left when the economy weakens.
Peter Brimelow, editor of VDARE.com, has contributed a chapter on the macro-economics of immigration. He explains that about the only thing we can say with certainly about immigration is that it will increase national output by some amount. Will it increase output per capita? Will it improve or worsen the lives of natives, and if it does, which natives? These are murky questions.
First, Mr. Brimelow points out that labor per se is an unimportant part of economic advance, and that it is doubtful whether even the huge immigration of skilled workers in the 19th century actually raised per capita output. He argues that over the last 100 years, only 10 percent of the tremendous increase in wealth in the West was due to increases in labor and capital combined. The crucial factors were new ideas and technical innovation, and surpluses of low-skilled labor slow down innovation. Japan invents robots; we hire Mexicans.
Finally, Mr. Brimelow describes one of the favorite deceptions of immigration boosters. They insist foreign workers are not lowering wages for natives. At the same time, they argue that immigrants enrich everyone. Mr. Brimelow explains that these positions are contradictory. Unskilled immigrants cannot enrich us unless they pull down wages for ditch diggers and garbage men. The benefits of cheap labor are enjoyed mainly by a small employing class; the rest of us just pay higher taxes for social services.
Professor Swain herself concentrates on the effect of immigration on blacks, but she makes a number of other good points. For example, she asks, “What accounts for the tendency to frame the immigration debate in the dichotomous terms of legal versus illegal and citizen versus noncitizen when our most pressing problems result from immigration itself and not from its legality or lack thereof?” She would answer that it is because too many Americans “have allowed themselves to be silenced by the threat of name-calling,” and have latched onto law-breakers as safe villains when the real problem is a massive influx of aliens.
She says racial preferences should be abolished, and that affirmative action “makes little sense in a nation as diverse as the United States.” She even notes that non-white immigrants “benefit from lingering tensions between blacks and whites, and this enhances their status as a more favored group in the minds of mainstream, white America.”
Prof. Swain describes the wage reductions and job losses for blacks that result from competition with Hispanics, and is frustrated by the Congressional Black Caucus’s (CBC) unwillingness to help its constituents. She notes that in December 2005, when the House passed a strongly restrictive bill (that never made it to the Senate) only one CBC member voted for it. She fears amnesty for illegals will mean a rush of Hispanics onto welfare that will cut into benefits for the native poor, especially blacks. She says blacks traditionally opposed bringing in more low-wage workers, as did Cesar Chavez, who saw immigrants as scabs.
Why don’t black “leaders” defend black interests? Prof. Swain points out that some CBC members now have many Hispanic constituents, but she really does not have a good answer. She mentions the 1960s idea of a “people of color” alliance against the white man, but would argue that that did nothing for blacks. Instead, she hopes for a “multiracial, multiethnic coalition” to restrict immigration, which hurts people at all skill and income levels.
Jonathan Tilove of the Newhouse News Service has a novel view on race and immigration. He thinks some people want more non-white immigration because it “will help relieve the United States of its special obligation to black Americans by reducing their relative importance, by drowning out their complaints,” and increasing the number of Americans who had nothing to do with slavery. He says people who are tired of black demands like to point to successful Hispanics and even West Indians as proof that blacks deserve no more special treatment. If all the new immigrants were white, he argues, there would be intense analysis of whether immigration is good for blacks but because they are non-white the “sentries of justice have been, for the most part, seduced, or at any rate diverted, from their laser-like attention to the plight of blacks . . .” Black “leaders,” who should be fighting low-wage immigration, have been “neutralized” by their liberalism and traditional alliances and, in any case, can’t help being sympathetic to other non-whites “who are struggling.”
These theories are interesting but do not hold up. There is no evidence anyone in America has promoted Third-World immigration in order to shut up blacks, and any white person who wanted to do that would probably not want to contribute to the dispossession of whites. It is true that if today’s immigrants were white, they would be subjected to a hard-headed cost-benefit analysis that is almost completely lacking today. As for black sympathy with other struggling non-whites, Korean grocers and Hispanic prison inmates haven’t seen much evidence of it.
There are other contributors to this volume who write about the sharp population growth due to immigration, different European models of assimilation, and whether we owe immigrants anything more than admission to the country. Their arguments run from brilliant to bogus, and the result is a genuinely useful collection. By limiting each chapter to 15 pages or so, Prof. Swain has forced her contributors to distill their ideas into lean essays without much fluff. Debating Immigration does not include a race-realist perspective, but it is a wide-ranging summary that includes much of the elite opinion that underlies the chaos of our current policies.
The Perils of Scholarship
Race — and Jews — are still the great taboos.
When a study came out in 2000 establishing that an obscure southern African tribe known as the Lemba were descendants of Israelites who had left Palestine thousands of years ago, the public and the press were shocked and fascinated. Scientists marveled that DNA could be used to overturn centuries of anthropological orthodoxy that mocked the authenticity of the Jewish practices of this tiny population of Semitic-nosed blacks. Biblical Christians bubbled over the possible discovery of a Lost Tribe. But the most interesting and paradoxical reaction was among Jews, in their back-of-the-Temple whisperings: Are the Lemba really blood brothers to Albert Einstein and Jerry Seinfeld?
The writer Christopher Hitchens captured it best. “Here’s what we would all like to know,” wrote Mr. Hitchens, who has Jewish ancestry on his mother’s side, in the New York Jewish paper The Forward. “‘Did members of the Lemba minority furnish the majority of Southwest Africa’s political revolutionaries, freelance intellectuals, doctors, comedians, union-organizers, and lawyers? . . . I ask a serious question in a flippant way,” he continued. “[O]ne has to ask whether Jews who think it kosher to ‘think with the blood’ are happy when other groups do the same. The fact, of course, is that they (we) are not easy with this thought.”
The fact is, even fewer people are willing to talk openly about racial differences. The same year the Lemba study was released geneticists assembled the first crude sketch of the human genome. President Clinton, standing shoulder to shoulder with the two chief decoders, Craig Venter of Celera Genomics and Francis Collins of the National Human Genome Research Project, declared that humans are 99.9 percent genetically the same. “Race has no genetic or scientific basis,” they said, resulting in a tsunami of approving editorials. According to the publicly acceptable script of the time, humans were described as a blank slate for culture and the environment to write upon.
Let’s call that the “kum ba ya” era of genetic research.
To put it bluntly, Jews (we) have been the biggest promoters of that myth. I know it personally because I’ve written two books about race. It’s axiomatic that as much as Jews fiercely deny their genetic distinctiveness for fear of provoking a backlash, they commonly indulge in racial stereotyping when referring to themselves among themselves. Regardless of geography, we are members of “the tribe,” bound by kinship, with blood ties to biblical times. Even secular Jews, soaked in the rules of political correctness, quietly indulge in self-mocking self-congratulation about Jewish achievements.
Jokes reflect this. When does a Jewish fetus become a human? Answer: When it graduates from medical school. Jews have coined a word, “meinstein,” which translates into “my son, the genius.” Somehow being Jewish, or even “half Jewish” (rarely is one referred to as “half Christian,” as if the imprint of gentileness is too faint to matter) marks one, for better or worse, as distinct and smart — and many people believe it’s baked into the genes.
But while this is understood among the Jewish cognoscenti, it’s a taboo subject for public discussion. Jewish pride in their history is leavened by the fear that publicly acknowledging Jewish achievements might feed the paranoid hysteria of supposed “Jewish domination” of the World Bank, Wall Street, Hollywood, academia, Washington think tanks, and other institutions of power. It threatens to resurrect Hitler-era notions of the biologically twisted Jew. And it’s viewed as a challenge to the American myth that everyone is born with equal potential.
My first book, Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It, was released the same year as the Lemba study. The reactions were fascinating. Its thesis, then considered fiery, is utterly mainstream today: packs of human beings evolved in different parts of the world; evolutionary forces shape everything from skin color to body type to physiology; that helps explain why Kenyans dominate marathons but are terrible sprinters and soccer players; why athletes of West African descent are the world’s best basketball players and 100-meter sprinters; and why whites consistently outperform other population groups in strength-related sports, from weight-lifting to the hammer throw. It’s in the genes.
By and large, black journalists and scientists welcomed the book as a breath of fresh air. “At long last, someone has the guts to tell it like it is,” wrote Bill Maxwell, a distinguished African-American editorial writer, then and now, with the St. Petersburg Times. Scientists, who face the same ideological wall of conformity when it comes to broaching the subject of human differences, were welcoming, for the most part. The pans came, not surprisingly, from fellow members of the tribe, particularly post-modernist academics, some of whom described me as racist — not necessarily for discussing what the science suggested, but for daring to even raise the subject of innate group differences.
I managed to avoid the worst criticism in part because Taboo largely sidestepped discussing the elephant-in-the-living room: intelligence. It’s okay to discuss the fact that, in general, East Africans have a high preponderance of slow-twitch, aerobic-feeding muscle fibers and Asians have more natural body fat as a result of spending most of their evolutionary history in colder climes, but we shan’t suggest that the most important organ in the body, the brain, was shaped by similar adaptive pressures.
No one wants to resurrect the pre-genetic notion of race in which people were ranked by characteristics. But scientists are committed to studying distinctive populations on the basis of geography (Icelanders), culture (gypsies), or religion (Amish), because insular populations hold the key to disease research. Although rare in blacks and Asians, cystic fibrosis is a common lethal genetic disease in those of Northern European ancestry. Whites are more likely to get multiple sclerosis than all other population groups, while blacks and some Mediterranean populations are susceptible to sickle cell anemia. Some two million whites worldwide now carry copies of a mutant gene that makes them immune to HIV. Rare mutations may help insulate southern Asians from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The presence of one gene is a potent risk factor of Alzheimer’s in whites, but not for blacks. The variant of one gene may explain why black women have twice the risk of premature delivery than women of European ancestry. Those of African ancestry are more susceptible to heart disease and are 50 percent more likely than whites to die of colorectal cancer, even if they receive the same treatment. Ancestry matters.
Jews are considered a genetic gold mine. Since the founding of Ashkenazi Jewry, despite being scattered throughout the world, until recent decades the rate at which non-Jewish lineages have slipped into the Ashkenazi gene pool, is estimated at 0.5 percent per generation.
I was reminded of this very forcefully in 2002, when my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was found to carry a mutation on the BRCA2 gene, one of three breast and ovarian cancer mutations that target Jews and gentile descendants of Jews almost exclusively. The mutation, it’s now believed, had been responsible for the deaths from cancer of my mother, sister, and aunt. I was tested and I carried the gene fault. I was a Jew by DNA.
This experience led me to write my most recent book, Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People. I was now Exhibit A in the discussion about race. While the first sketch of the human genome had underscored that humans are more alike than different, the sequencing of the entire genome has challenged the limits of acceptable public discourse. Geneticists are identifying chunks of DNA, known as haplotypes. They are constructing so-called HapMaps that suggest that humanity is better understood as a collection of overlapping but identifiable populations that almost perfectly mirror traditional racial and ethnic groupings. These genetic blocks are linked to human characteristics, including body type and behavior.
What about the fact that humans are 99.9 percent the same? To put it in context, using the same system of measurement, cocker spaniels and wolves are 100 percent identical, but few people are inclined to bring a wolf home as a birthday present. A change in the sequence of only one base in a gene can have catastrophic effects on an organism or a population, including the onset of a killer disease found more commonly in a specific ethnic group.
To look at it another way, there are more than three billion nucleotide pairs in the human genome, about as many genetic letters as there are bits of code instruction in Windows NT. Try changing 1 percent or even just 0.1 percent of that code — that’s equivalent to three million base pairs in a human — and dare suggest that these differences are insignificant. It’s the 0.1 percent of the genome that contains the record of human evolution and existence on our planet. It’s the 0.1 percent that separates Albert Pujols or Lebron James from a weekend warrior, or Luciano Pavarotti from a high-school chorus teacher — and leaves us with a kaleidoscope of human populations. Without proper context, percentage comparisons are little more than statistical mumbo jumbo.
The most controversial chapter in the book focused on “the Jewish brain.” Even the tiniest gene differences can have monumental significance. The IQ of Ashkenazi Jews averages between 107 and 117, significantly higher than the world average among whites of 100. Three prominent scientists, all Christians, suggest in a theory published in a prestigious peer reviewed journal, that high Jewish IQ might be linked to the high incidence of Jewish neurological diseases, including Tay Sachs and Gaucher, that affect the enzyme pathways that influence brain development. They suggest that single variants of a disease gene may juice the brain while two may cause a crippling disease.
Abraham’s Children had the unfortunate fate of coming out the week the chattering classes were falling all over themselves in an attempt to destroy the reputation of one of the world’s most distinguished scientists, Nobel laureate James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA. In mid-October, during what was supposed to be the first days of a triumphal tour marking the publication of his latest memoir, Watson told the British Sunday Times that he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all of our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all testing says ‘not really’.” Within a week, Dr. Waston was canned as chancellor of the prestigious Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, whose reputation he had rebuilt over the previous 30 years. Commentator after commentator — a high number of them Jewish — took turns at swatting the racist piñata.
Without digressing into a deconstruction of the concept of intelligence, there is no debate, scientific or otherwise, over the fact that Africans perform poorly on IQ tests. That fact alone raises significant public policy consequences, not the least of which is what social programs could best raise the competitive level of the most backward continent in the world. But how can you confront the enormous social disparities present in the world today without discussing human differences, including the prickly concept of intelligence, if new scientific insights are dismissed as beyond the bounds of acceptable civil discourse?
The anti-Watson hysteria swept over Abraham’s Children. Most books, particularly about Jewish subjects, depend for their success on liberal media outlets, and now mine was kryptonite. Prominent Jewish journalists, who wouldn’t be caught dead taking the issue of genes and IQ seriously, chose to highlight the one chapter on IQ and make light of it. “Nature or Nature. Well, Smart Guy,” smirked the Washington Post. Slate carried a piece on “Jewgenics.” Potential appearances on National Public Radio, keeper of the flame of political rectitude, quickly disappeared. “It was just too hot a topic and too close to home,” I was told by one prominent NPR anchor, who is Jewish, explaining why the book, on everyone’s short list, suddenly became unwelcome. Oprah was on the fence but backed away. A guest appearance on “The Colbert Report,” a coup for any author, was cancelled. “We just don’t see how we can make this subject funny,” they said, just a few weeks after saying they thought it was perfect for the show.
It wasn’t all bad news. The book received many favorable reviews, including some from Jewish publications, where Jewish writers came out of the closet to discuss Jewish racialism. And most important, in some chronicles it stimulated a thoughtful debate on race.
It might be nice if there were no innate differences of any kind among population groups, at least besides the obvious cosmetic ones. But genes do not confer equality, for without differences, evolution would be impossible. The great paradox of biodiversity research is that the only way to understand how similar humans are is to learn how we differ. We may not fully understand how disparities in disease proclivities, behaviors, and the brain have evolved, but DNA researchers are committed to answering these questions.
Humans are different, the consequence of thousands of years of evolution in varying terrains. Society, and science in particular, pay a huge price for not discussing this openly, if carefully. We are within a decade of perfecting tools that could make humans run faster, jump higher, and throw farther — and most important live longer and healthier lives, as the result of gene therapy for diseases. Caricaturing population genetics as pseudo science because of fears of discussing racial differences, including intelligence, just devalues legitimate concerns about how this information will be put to use. If we do not welcome a more complex appreciation of human nature with open minds, if we are scared to ask and to answer difficult questions, if we lose faith in science, then there is no winner; we all lose.
Mr. Entine (www.jonentine.com) is an adjunct fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Abraham’s Children was reviewed in the previous issue of AR.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
Bake Until Brown
According to US Census Bureau estimates, fewer Hispanics came to the US from July 1, 2006 to July 1, 2007 than in the previous year, but the total number of Hispanics already here continues to increase rapidly. During this one-year period their numbers rose by 1.4 million to 45.5 million, and they now make up 15.1 percent of the US population.
Nine of the ten states with the highest Hispanic growth rates were in the South. South Carolina led with an increase of 8.7 percent from 2006 to 2007 to 168,920 — this represents a 76 percent increase since July 2000. Tennessee saw 8.1 percent growth; North Carolina, 7.8 percent; Georgia, 7.1 percent; Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky, 7 percent each; Arkansas, 6.8 percent; and Louisiana, 6.5 percent. Utah, with a 6.9 percent increase, is the only non-Southern state in the top ten.
The state with the largest number of Hispanics (13.2 million) continues to be California, where they make up 36 percent of the population. These days, however, more Hispanics — 21.2 percent of new immigrants — are moving to Texas than to California, which got 18.5 percent. Texas now has 8.6 million Hispanics. “It bears repeating,” says Larry Gonzalez, founder of the Hispanic Lobbying Association, “the future of Americans is going to depend on the future of the success of Latinos.” [Hispanic Population Growth Centered in the South, AP, May 1, 2008.]
Further evidence of America’s Hispanic future is found in the nursery. According to US Census Bureau estimates, one in four of all children under the age of five is Hispanic, up from one in five in 2000. “Hispanics have both a larger proportion of people in their child-bearing years and tend to have slightly more children,” says Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center. “So this means that in five years, a quarter of the 5- to 9-year-olds will be Hispanic, and in ten years a quarter of the 10- to 14-year-olds will be Hispanic. It’s just going to move up through the age distribution with each successive cohort being slightly more Hispanic.” Mr. Passel predicts the Hispanic share of the population will double to 30 percent by 2050.
Several states are already far more Hispanic than the nation as a whole. In New Mexico and California, more than half the children under age five are Hispanic. In Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado, one-third of children under age five are Hispanic. In Virginia, Hispanics make up seven percent of the population and 11 percent of the children under five, but in fast-growing Fairfax County, a Washington, DC, suburb, Hispanics are 13 percent of residents and 17 percent of public school students. In another DC suburb, Montgomery County, Maryland, 14 percent of residents and 22 percent of school-age children are Hispanic.
Although the country is getting darker, one part is getting whiter: Washington, DC. Over the past ten years, whites have been gentrifying DC, pricing out poor blacks. In 2000, 60 percent of DC’s population was black; in 2007, it was 54 percent. The white population grew from 28 to 33 percent, while Hispanics and Asians held steady at eight and three percent, respectively. [N.C. Aizenman, Nearly 25 Percent of Children Younger than 5 are Latino, Census Says, Washington Post, May 1, 2008.]
Are Any Americans White?
A Martian who saw a US Department of Education newsletter called The Achiever could be forgiven for thinking the United States was somewhere in Africa. Almost every issue of what calls itself “a bimonthly publication for parents and community leaders” is full of smiling, happy school children, almost all of whom are black. In three of the last four issues there was not a single white student and only an occasional white teacher. The Achiever has always been illustrated this way, since its first issue in 2002. (Archives are at www.ed.gov/news/newsletters/achiever/index.html.) On its website, the Department of Education says it is “promoting educational excellence for all Americans.”
AR Goes to College
On March 13, AR editor Jared Taylor spoke at the College of William and Mary on the subject of whether diversity is a strength. There was an excellent turnout of nearly 200 people for the 40-minute talk, which was followed by more than an hour of questions.
As is always the case at colleges, the questions were antagonistic, but the students were clearly fascinated by an articulate critique of orthodoxy. Even though the question period continued until it was time to clear the room, almost no one in the audience left the hall, and a dozen hands shot up whenever it was time for a new question. Even after the event was officially over, a score of students crowded around Mr. Taylor to ask more questions. The audience was desperate to believe that diversity is a strength for a nation or institution, but willing to listen to contrary arguments.
The talk was written up in considerable detail in the college paper, The Flat Hat, and reasonably objectively in the Newport News Daily Press. Columnist Tamara Dietrich of the same paper, however, wrote a silly piece in which she said Mr. Taylor was working for the cause of “evil.” She insisted that if integration has failed, it is because “we never gave it a chance in the first place.” Her conclusion: “He [Mr. Taylor] panders to and attempts to elevate a portion of the population whose solutions to race problems tend, too often, to be final ones.” Wild talk, indeed, for someone who was not even at the lecture.
On April 1 Mr. Taylor spoke on the same subject to a smaller audience at Texas A&M University. The students were less lively, except for one black. He asked twice what policy conclusions should be drawn if diversity really is a weakness rather than a strength. Mr. Taylor explained — twice — that he had only two policy recommendations. First, because immigration is the primary cause of increasing diversity in the United States, it should be sharply cut back. Second, since it is natural for people to prefer the company of people like themselves, we should stop condemning that preference and should repeal anti-discrimination laws.
The student then accused Mr. Taylor of wanting to expel all blacks from the United States, and walked out, saying such views should not be allowed on campus. This kind of reaction is not uncommon. People who disagree with a race-realist view often make silly assumptions about motives, and ignore what they have actually heard. It is also common to insist that such ideas should not even be allowed. The dogma of diversity is so pervasive — and its supporters have so little to say in its defense — that they would rather silence dissent than try to argue against it.
University appearances are valuable. They can be a very effective way to reach people who would not ordinarily hear race-realist arguments. We are planning engagements at other campuses, and urge all readers who have university contacts to encourage a student group to invite Mr. Taylor for a lecture or debate.
‘Jump White People’
Since mid-April, gang-style graffiti reading “Jump White People” have been appearing at Public School 224 in Brooklyn, New York. The phrase, sometimes abbreviated as “JWP,” has appeared a dozen times on playground equipment, desks, walls, and on two teachers’ cars. Teachers say authorities are not taking the graffiti seriously. “It just quietly gets erased,” says one. “Nothing gets done.” Forty staff members signed a letter to the principal, the school district’s chancellor, and other officials asking for a more vigorous response, such as sending a letter to parents or having meetings with students in each grade.
So far, four students ranging in age from 8 to 11 have been “disciplined,” but that’s not good enough for teachers’ union rep Sterling Roberson, who says the problem “requires more than punishment.” A spokesman for the New York City Education Department says only that it is “investigating the issue.” [Carrie Melago, Brooklyn Elementary School Hit with ‘Jump White People’ Graffiti, New York Daily News, May 2, 2008.]
Race and Coke
In the 1970s and 1980s, powder cocaine was a popular drug for high-status whites. Colombians shipped it to Miami, and mules smuggled it up to New York for distribution. At $50,000 per kilo, it was expensive, so only people with money — mostly whites — could afford to be regular users. In the 1980s, crack cocaine, much cheaper and more potent than the powder variety, became popular among blacks, who often turned violent under its influence. Although they later denied it, black leaders clamored for stiff penalties, and they got them: federal sentences three to six times longer than for possession of equivalent amounts of powder cocaine. Since 80 percent of federal crack defendants are black, “social justice” lefties howled, and last winter the US Sentencing Commission voted to ease penalties for crack offenders. Less well known is the fact that only 13 of the 50 states treat crack and power cocaine differently, and the differences in sentence lengths are much smaller than for the feds — and that the states lock up far more drug users than the feds do.
In any case, powder cocaine users are becoming more “diverse,” now that the price has dropped to about $15,000 per kilo. Hispanics make up 60 percent of those arrested on powder charges, versus only 14 percent for whites. Hispanics account for half of all federal arrests for cocaine trafficking and 61 percent of those charged with smuggling more than 5 kilos.
At the state and local level in 2006, more than 875,000 whites and Hispanics were arrested for drug crimes of all kinds, as were 483,800 blacks, which means blacks were arrested at a rate 3.5 times higher than non-blacks. What about the difference in arrest rates between whites and Hispanics? The bureaucrats aren’t telling. “Statistics only look at differences in race, not ethnicity,” says FBI researcher Nancy Carnes. [Lara Jakes Jordan, Powdered Cocaine Not Just for White Yuppies Any More, AP, May 2, 2008. Heather Mac Donald, Is the Criminal-Justice System Racist? City Journal, Spring 2008.]
Last month we reported on the end of the multi-year probe into whether Joey Vento of Geno’s Steaks in Philadelphia discriminated when he posted a sign asking customers to speak English when ordering (he did not). Now Asians are upset with Chink’s, a restaurant in the same city that has been serving cheesesteaks since 1949. Owner Joesph Groh says the name came from the previous owner and founder, Sam Sherman, who was nicknamed “Chink” because of his supposedly Asian-looking eyes. “Nobody ever called him Sam,” Mr. Groh explains. “That was his name from the age of six.”
Asians don’t like the word “chink” — some even call it the “C-word” — and started a campaign in 2004 to try to get the name changed. That effort succeeded only in creating a backlash, but it galvanized Asians. When Mr. Groh tried to open a second location at a site owned by the Philadelphia River Port Authority, Asian pressure resulted in the lease being denied. “We actually stopped it from expanding,” crowed Tsiwen Law of the Organization of Chinese Americans. “Going outside of his neighborhood will be difficult, because we will respond.”
Mr. Groh is annoyed but won’t change the name. When his mother suggested he rename it “Joe’s” he replied, “Why would I? This is Chink’s.” [Keith B. Richburg, Asian Groups Fight to Change Eatery’s Name, Washington Post, April 15, 2008.]
Legendary French actress Brigitte Bardot has been convicted four times since 1997 for violating French anti-racism laws. Her most serious brush with the law was in 2004 when she was found guilty of inciting racial hatred with her book, A Cry in the Silence. It cost her several thousand dollars to write that she opposed race mixing and “the Islamization of France.” Her latest case goes back to 2006 when she wrote an open letter to Nicholas Sarkozy, who was then minister of the interior, complaining that Muslims slaughter sheep without stunning them first. “We’re fed up with being led by the nose by this population that is destroying us, destroying our country by imposing its acts,” she wrote. In April the police once again hauled her into court.
Prosecutors have promised to throw the book at her this time. “It is time to hand out heftier sentences,” says prosecutor Anne de Fontette. “She might as well write that Arabs should be thrown out of France.” Another added that Miss Bardot had “no special rights” to be a “racist.” [Henry Samuel, Brigitte Bardot in Race Hate Row, Telegraph (London), April 16, 2008.]
Blacks and Swimming
USA Swimming, the national body that governs competitive swimming, recently commissioned a study to find out why so few Hispanics and blacks — currently fewer than 2 percent of its 252,000 members are black — can swim. The study surveyed 1,772 children aged 6 to 16, two-thirds of whom were black or Hispanic. It found that 58 percent of black children and 56 percent of Hispanics can’t swim. For whites, the figure is 31 percent. The study found that so many non-whites can’t swim because their parents can’t either, and think swimming is dangerous. Another reason: The belief among blacks, fueled by what the report calls “flawed academic studies,” that blacks sink. “There are people who still give credence to these stereotypes, even in the black and Hispanic community,” says John Cruzat, USA Swimming’s “diversity” expert. Mr. Cruzat is pleased by one finding in the report, namely that blacks and Hispanics are not avoiding swimming because they think it is too “white.”
USA Swimming wants more non-whites because it can read census reports as well as anyone else. “We’re something of a niche sport and for us to remain relevant, considering the changing demographics of the population, it’s important we get more kids involved at the mouth of the pipeline.” [Nearly 60 Percent of Black Children Can’t Swim, AP, May 1, 2008.]
May Day demonstrations by illegal Hispanic immigrants have become a tradition, though the turnout is declining from the massive protests of 2006: 500,000 in Los Angeles in 2006; 35,000 in 2007; and just 8,500 this year. In Chicago, the trend is the same: 400,000 in 2006, down to 150,000 last year, just 15,000 this year. Still, in all these cities, the crowds have been some of the biggest seen this year. Even if the numbers are down, the message is the same:
“We come here to fight for legalization. We’re people. We have rights,” says Erik Molina, an illegal from Mexico who marched in Chicago. Mr. Molina’s 13-year-old daughter is an anchor baby.
Margot Veranes, who helped organize the Tucson, Arizona, protest, says turnout was lower because of stepped-up immigration enforcement. “People have been stopped and deported in the last week,” she says. “This is a community living in fear. You never know when you’re going to be stopped by police. We’re marching to end the raids and deportations, but we’re also marching for health care and education and good jobs.”
Many demonstrations targeted state and local efforts to control illegal immigration. In Washington, DC, protesters demanded that suburban Prince William County, Virginia, rescind its measure allowing police to check the legal status of anyone they arrest. In Oregon, a crowd of 1,000 at the state capitol in Salem protested a February decision requiring proof of legal residence to get a driver’s license. [Sophia Tareen, Thousands Rally in May Day Effort for Immigration Reform, AP, May 1, 2008.]
In order to become a Canadian citizen, an immigrant must swear an oath to “be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors,” much in the same way would-be Americans swear to “support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Charles Roach is a Canadian permanent resident who was born in Trinidad and moved to Canada more than 50 years ago. He says he has not become a citizen because he objects to swearing allegiance to the queen. He claims British monarchs had ties to slavery, and argues that requiring citizens to swear allegiance to the queen violates the freedom of conscience guaranteed by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He says the oath should be ditched.
Mr. Roach sued to this effect in Canadian federal court in 1994 and lost. He has now filed a similar case in Ontario provincial court, and may win. On Feb. 19, the Ontario Court of Appeals dismissed a government challenge to throw out the case, which now goes to trial unless the government appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada. [Joseph Brean, Queen’s Place in Canada Will Go to Court, CanWest News Service, Feb. 20, 2008.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — I read Mr. Hengest’s account of a possible insurgency in Hawaii with great skepticism, but what do I find in today’s paper? Thirty-five activists from something calling itself the Hawaii Kingdom Government took over the Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu and held it for eight and a half hours! They padlocked the gates and refused to let in anyone who could not prove he was Hawaiian by reciting his genealogy. Apparently the Hawaii Kingdom Government wants to restore native sovereignty. I confess I am now a little more sympathetic to Mr. Hengest’s point of view.
On the other hand, despite their big talk I predict the independence movement will fail for two reasons. First, a real insurgency takes brains, discipline, motivation, and ruthlessness. Nothing I have ever heard about Pacific Islanders suggests they have any of this. Native Hawaiians do not have the single-mindedness of purpose it takes to go beyond pranks like the one reported today. Second, before a sovereignty movement ever got to the point of systematic violence, the US government would buy off the ringleaders.
In fact, I suspect the best way completely to destroy the Hawaii Kingdom Government would be to give it several hundred thousand dollars, and watch the leaders slit each others’ throats over it.
Adam Tyrell, Philadelphia, Pa.
Sir — I was fascinated by your May report on the racial situation in Hawaii. I was especially interested to learn that admission as a state was held up for so long because Hawaii did not have a white majority. That was back when Americans had sense. I would suggest that this same excellent reasoning be applied today. Hawaii still does not have a white majority, and shows no sign of ever getting one. Why not give it back to the natives, along with Puerto Rico, Guam, and all the other brown bits we have picked up over the years?
Unlike Mr. Hengest, I do not think we need Hawaii for strategic reasons. I believe the United States is tempted into overseas misadventures like the one in Iraq precisely because it has the military capability that outlying bases make possible. I would far rather we were a normal, inward-looking country concerned with our own interests rather than throw our weight around and utterly neglect the real threats to our survival as a people.
Susan Alsdorf, Miami Beach, Fla.
Sir — I read with interest your account of Martin O’Toole’s conference talk about Yankee and Confederate views of blacks during the war. Even Lincoln was a white supremacist, though this is a carefully kept secret.
Still, I was puzzled by Mr. O’Toole’s attempt to debunk Neo-Confederates who claim that black slaves supported the war effort. Surely the Neo-Confederates are right; if slaves had not supported the South it would not have lasted six months. Factories and farms continued to run on slave labor, and at a time when virtually every able-bodied white man was away at the front.
Ed Zeman, Auburn, Ala.
Sir — I enjoyed Stephen Webster’s excellent report on the American Renaissance conference, but I would question Michael Walker’s inclination to “emphasize the contributions women can make to our movement.” Are they not already involved? Or has some feminist friend whispered to him that women are “excluded” or “underrepresented”? He complains that “our age is one that has been increasingly feminized,” but is he not proposing to make the problem worse?
Pope Benedict, one of the best teachers on the subject of feminism, has written that “woman . . . is convinced that the aim is to ‘liberate’ her, ‘emancipate’ her, by encouraging her to masculinize herself.” Mr. Walker is contributing to this false liberation when he seeks “contributions” from women. Are women more informed than men? Are they better scholars? Or orators? Does he want them as leaders? Or does he want to promote a cause by using women as “fair ladies”?
If we build a strong enough case women and young people will come along with everyone else. We should not be looking for women either to lead us or to soften and improve our public image but for manly men who have a distinct message and attainable goals.
W. Edward Chynoweth, Sanger, Calif.
Sir — As a loyal son of the South I was at first offended when, in his May review of Jon Entine’s book about Jewish identity, Thomas Jackson suggested that Southerners will soon forsake their loyalties to the heroes of the Confederacy. And yet, honest reflection tells me he is right. Our flags and symbols are being stripped from the landscapes and the Lost Cause is constantly blackened. Unlike Jews, whose identity grew tougher under persecution, ours is weakening.
Steven Bush, Mobile, Ala.
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