|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 2, No. 5||May 1991|
Abraham Lincoln and the Problem of Slavery
Most historians prefer to ignore Abraham Lincoln’s views on slavery and race. By today’s standards he was an uncompromising white supremacist.
by Edward Kerling
In 1989, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, President George Bush invited a number a black leaders to the White House. In his remarks on that occasion, the President said he looked forward to the day when Abraham Lincoln’s vision would be fully realized, and a black man would sit in the oval office.
With all due respect for President Bush, one can say with complete confidence that Lincoln never envisaged a black president. He made it clear on many occasions that he abhorred the very thought of social or political equality for blacks, and that although he considered slavery an evil, he saw no future in America for free blacks. He thought that the races should be separated, and until the very end of his life he did everything within his power to remove blacks from the territory of the United States. The Abraham Lincoln of history is vastly different from “the great emancipator” whose racial views have been increasingly shrouded in myth.
Views on Slavery
Though he did not, himself, own slaves, Lincoln showed no marked antipathy for those who did. In his legal practice, before entering politics, he represented slaveholders in cases involving runaway slaves. During his career as a Whig Congressman, he mustered party support for the slaveholder Zachary Taylor’s 1842 bid for the presidency. His wife, Mary Todd, was the daughter of one of Kentucky’s most prominent slaveholders, and when the South seceded many of his in-laws went with it.
After he switched to the newly-formed Republican party and received its nomination for the presidency, Lincoln outlined his views on slavery in the famous Cooper Union speech of February 27, 1860. He endorsed Thomas Jefferson’s view that slavery should neither be extended into new territories nor abolished in those regions where it was already practiced:
As those [founding] fathers marked it, so let it again be marked, as an evil not to be extended, but to be tolerated and protected only because and so far as its actual presence among us makes that toleration and protection necessary.” Speaking for his party, he said, “this is all Republicans ask — all Republicans desire — in relation to slavery.
From today’s perspective, such a position seems hopelessly ambiguous, and even at the time it was subject to attack. Anyone who described slavery as an evil sounded like an abolitionist, but the question all abolitionists had to answer was how to treat the slaves once they had been freed.
Lincoln had answered this question during his 1858 campaign against Steven Douglas for the U.S. Senate. Abolition was a topic of much debate, but the notion of equality for blacks was resisted by most Americans. Douglas’ supporters tried to undermine Lincoln by spreading rumors that he was an egalitarian, but on September 18 he made his position clear, in words that sound quite shocking today: “I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor intermarry with white people.”
The offices from which blacks were to be barred presumably included the presidency. Lincoln went on:
I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.
Lincoln, like many thoughtful people of his time, faced a serious moral and social dilemma. Chattel slavery was an abomination, but a multi-racial society of mutual equality was unthinkable. What, then, was the status of the black American to be? Was there a humane, ethical solution to this problem?
Lincoln lived in an era in which even a politician could get a nickname like Honest Abe. In his analysis of the race problem — which was then, and still is, the most sensitive and controversial one facing the nation — he lived up to his reputation. As early as 1857, in a speech at Springfield, Illinois, he had struck the theme to which he would adhere for the rest of his life:
There is a natural disgust in the minds of nearly all white people to the idea of an indiscriminate amalgamation of the white and black races. A separation of the races is the only prevention of amalgamation . . .
Such separation . . . must be effected by colonization . . . The enterprise is a difficult one, but where there is a will there is a way, and what colonization needs now is a hearty will. Let us be brought to believe it is morally right to transfer the African to his native clime, and we shall find a way to do it, however great the task may be.
In Lincoln’s mind, the establishment of colonies of blacks outside the territory of the United States was the only way to navigate between the twin evils of slavery and multi-racialism. After his election as President he used his office as best he could to follow this course.
War-time Colonization Policy
By the time Lincoln took the oath of office on March 4, 1861, seven southern states had already seceded. The nation faced an urgent crisis that many believed would plunge it into war. Only a month later, the Confederates captured Fort Sumpter and the conflict had begun. It is astonishing to realize that even at this time of great fear and turmoil, Lincoln was spending precious hours working out a colonization plan. The war was only a month old by the time he had prepared a five-point program to free the slaves and separate the races:
- The states must voluntarily emancipate the slaves, because slavery was an internal matter, subject to state authority.
- Slaveholders were to be paid for the loss of their property.
- The federal government would give the states financial aid to help compensate slaveholders.
- The actual freeing of slaves would be gradual, so as to prevent economic dislocation. Some states might wait until the year 1900 to free their last slaves.
- Free blacks were to be persuaded to leave the United States and be colonized.
Lincoln soon began looking for suitable territories for colonization. Ambrose Thompson, a wealthy shipping magnate, had gained control of several hundred thousand acres in the Chiriqui district of what is now Panama. He proposed to develop coal mines in this territory and to use colonized blacks as labor. Later, the blacks would work their own plantations of cotton, sugar, and tobacco. Lincoln appointed a special commission to investigate the feasibility of this plan.
Late in 1861, while Thompson’s plan was being studied, Lincoln personally drafted an emancipation bill for the state of Delaware. Delaware was a slave state, but it had only 1,800 slaves in 1860, and had decided to stay with the Union. Lincoln’s proposal would have offered federal compensation to slaveholders, and the President hoped that it would become a model for the three other slave states that had stayed loyal to the Union. Eventually, he hoped to persuade the Confederate states to adopt the same scheme. To his disappointment, the bill was defeated in the Delaware legislature by a combination of pro-slavery sentiment and partisan conflict.
Lincoln did not give up. In his first annual message to Congress on December 3, 1861, he proposed that all blacks who had fallen into the hands of Union forces should be deemed free. He proposed that “steps should be taken for colonies for them . . . at some place or places in a climate congenial to them. It might be well to consider, too, whether the free colored people already in the United States . . . could be included in such colonization.”
Just a few months later, in April, 1862, Lincoln succeeded in applying his freedom plan to the only portion of United States territory over which he felt the federal government had appropriate jurisdiction: Washington, D.C. The district’s slaveholders were to be compensated an average of $300 for each of their 3,185 slaves, and an additional $100,000 was appropriated “to aid in the colonization and settlement of such free persons of African descent now residing in said District, including those liberated by this act . . .” When he signed the bill, Lincoln noted with satisfaction that his two principal approaches to the problem of slavery — compensation and colonization — had been incorporated into the law.
In July of the same year, Lincoln signed a bill that provided $500,000 for use by the President in colonizing blacks who fell into the hands of the Union army. This was in addition to the $100,000 voted earlier. Coming at a time when the war was going very badly for the North, and when the budget was swamped with military expenses, these appropriations suggest how fervently Lincoln desired the separation of the races.
Lincoln did not hesitate to state his case directly to blacks. On August 14, 1862, he spoke to the first delegation of blacks ever to be invited to the White House:
“You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any two races . . . [T]his physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffers very greatly, many of them, by living among us, while ours suffers from your presence.”
“It is better for us both, therefore, to be separated,” he concluded, and urged the delegation to find men who were willing to move, with their families, to Central America.
Lincoln had even appointed a Commissioner of Emigration, Reverend James Mitchell, whose job it was to organize colonization. The day after the meeting with the black delegation the commissioner placed the following ad in newspapers: “Correspondence is desired with colored men favorable to Central American, Liberian or Haytien [sic] emigration, especially the first named.” He also issued a memorandum to black ministers, urging them to promote emigration.
These measures met with some small success, and were supported by many whites. When a group of 61 blacks passed through Cleveland on its way to Boston for passage to Haiti, the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote, “We hope the remainder of our dusky brethren will follow their example.”
On September 12, 1862, five days before Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, the federal government signed a contract with Ambrose Thompson for colonization on the Thompson lands in Chiriqui. The contract included a signed statement from the President directing the Secretary of the Interior to execute the contract.
The very day before issuing the Proclamation, Lincoln signed a contract for the resettlement of 5,000 free blacks on an Island near Haiti. Tragically, the contractor turned out to be a cruel swindler, who rounded up several hundred ex-slaves and left them on an uninhabited island, where most of them died.
The Emancipation Proclamation
In the Proclamation itself, made public on September 17, Lincoln repeated his desire to compensate slaveholders within the Union for the emancipation of their slaves, and to promote colonization. However, this was only a proposal; the President made no attempt to free the slaves in the four slave states that had remained in the Union, nor in those parts of the Confederacy that were under Union control. The only slaves whom he unilaterally declared free were those in territory controlled by the Confederates, and who were therefore entirely beyond his power to free. Moreover, Lincoln promised the states of the Confederacy that their practice of slavery would remain unmolested if they stopped their “rebellion” within 100 days.
By means of the Proclamation, Lincoln was clearly adhering to a policy he had spelled out in a letter to the New York Times less than a month earlier:
“My paramount objective in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all slaves I would do it; and if I could save it be freeing some and leaving others alone I would do that.” [Emphasis in the original.]
Historians still wonder how Lincoln thought he could help save the Union by claiming to free slaves over whom he had no control. Some believe that he hoped to counteract the military benefits the Confederacy enjoyed by its efficient use of slaves. Others argue that he hoped to gain foreign credibility by giving the war a moral rather than a strictly geo-political purpose. It is also possible that he meant to head off radical abolitionists who wanted to emancipate all slaves unconditionally. In any case, it is clear that freedom for slaves was strictly subordinate to other purposes.
It is no surprise, therefore, that in his next message to Congress on December 1, 1862, Lincoln had little to say about the Proclamation, and much to say about his favored plan:
“That portion of the earth’s surface which is owned and inhabited by the people of the United States is well adapted to be the home of one national family; and it is not well adapted for two, or more.”
I have urged colonization of the Negroes, and I shall continue.“My Emancipation Proclamation was linked with this plan . . .
I can conceive of no greater calamity than the assimilation of the Negro into our social and political life as our equal . . .
We cannot attain the ideal union our Fathers dreamed, with millions of an alien, inferior race among us, whose assimilation is neither possible or desirable.
Lincoln then went on to propose an amendment to the Constitution that would give Congress the power to appropriate money and send free blacks, with their consent, to places outside of the United States
The Plan Fails
This was not to be. Nor did the Thompson plan for Colonization in Chiriqui prove feasible. On September 5, 1862, a scientist reported that the Chiriqui coal was very low grade and that the land “will always be of little or no value to its owners.”
Furthermore, no other country wanted the freed blacks. On September 19, the Washington representative of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras denounced the attempt to cast upon Central America “a plague of which the United States desired to rid themselves.” The diplomat hinted that the territories he represented would use force to repel any colonizing expedition.
Lincoln was forced to set aside his plans for colonization, but they remained an important part of his thinking. General Benjamin Butler reported a conversation with the President in early April of 1865, by which time the war had been won and Lincoln’s assassination was only a few days away. Lincoln said to him, “But what shall we do with the Negroes after they are free? I can scarcely believe that the South and the North can live in peace, unless we can get rid of the Negroes.” Lincoln then spoke of Butler’s experience in moving large numbers of men by sea, and mentioned that the United States had a large navy. He asked Butler to draw on his wartime experience and devise a plan to send blacks overseas.
Throughout his presidency, therefore, Lincoln tried to implement the plan outlined by Jefferson: gradual emancipation, compensation to slaveholders, colonization of freed blacks, and the promotion of white immigration to take the place of black labor. It is only by means of the most willful disregard for the historical evidence that Lincoln can be construed as a champion of racial equality. In his mind, emancipation was linked to colonization, and he might well have opposed it if he had thought that free blacks would remain in the United States.
There is a sad irony in the fact that our current President should be so ignorant about his predecessor’s thinking as to believe that Lincoln looked forward to the day when the United States would elect a black to its highest office. To be sure, Lincoln did meet the first black delegation ever to visit the White House — but only to urge them and their brethren to leave the country forever. Today, thinking about race is so clouded that it obscures even the past.
Edward Kerling lives in Michigan City, Indiana.
The Rise of Campus ‘Racism,’ Part II
by Samuel Taylor
The first part of this article (AR of April, 1991) described the hysteria with which American colleges root out white racism, real or imagined, and their indifference to clear acts of minority racism. This concluding part reports on some of the extraordinary measures that colleges have taken to ensure white “sensitivity” to minorities and on growing disaffection among white students.
In the current witch-hunting atmosphere, nothing that is done in the name of suppressing “racism” need surprise us. In April, 1987, Wellesley College in Massachusetts commissioned a Task Force on Racism in response to incidents reported on other campuses — there had been no complaints at Wellesley. The task force predictably reported that Wellesley was “covertly racist,” so it has committed itself to hiring more minority teachers, and now requires freshmen to take a course in non-Western culture.
Harvard University recently put on a week-long program of AWARE seminars (Actively Working Against Racism and Ethnocentrism). John Dovidio, the keynote speaker, explained that all white Americans are racist, 15 percent overtly so and 85 percent more subtly. A black speaker, Gregory Ricks, explained that Ivy League colleges deliberately sap the confidence of blacks, and wondered if they weren’t practicing a particularly slick form of genocide. One professor suggested that teachers should edit out any facts from their lectures that might offend minorities, because “the pain that racial insensitivity can create is more important than a professor’s academic freedom.” Another professor agreed that teachers should have less freedom of expression than other people, because it is their duty to build a better world. Finally, Lawrence Watson, Co-Chairman of the Association of Black Faculty and Administrators, had this advice for minority students: “Overreacting and being paranoid is the only way we can deal with this system . . . Never think that you imagined it [racial insensitivity] because chances are that you didn’t.”
Overreaction now appears to be institutionalized at Harvard. Insensitivity was nipped in the bud when the dean for minority affairs learned that dining hall workers were planning a “Back to the Fifties” party. The fifties were segregated, argued the dean, so such a party would smack of racism.
The University of Michigan marked the 1990 celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday with a series of vigils, seminars, and lectures that involved virtually every department. Some of the offerings were nothing short of heroic. The classical studies department gave a talk on “Ancient Greece and the Black Experience,” and the nuclear engineering department offered a session called “Your Success Can Be Enhanced by Positive Race Relations.” The School of Natural Resources lectured on “Environmental Issues and Concerns: The Impact on People of Color.” As university president James Duderstadt explained, “We’re reinventing the university for 21st century America.”
Most of the time, reinvention takes the form of required courses that are supposed to “sensitize” white students to the needs of non-whites and to open their eyes to their own covert racism. The University of Connecticut recently set up a required course on “race, gender, and cultural diversity.” The University of California at Berkeley, beginning this year, requires students to study the contributions of minorities to American society. English Composition is the only other campus-wide requirement. The University of Wisconsin campuses at Madison and Milwaukee, New York State University at Cortland, and Williams College have also instituted race-relations requirements in the last year or two.
There are no blacks at all at Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, Iowa. Nevertheless, it feels it must get on the bandwagon and combat racism too. Special seminars are held every year, and in 1990, freshmen were put through a month-long immersion course on racism. At least one student was so struck by what he was taught that he reportedly wants to travel to other parts of the country to see racism first hand.
The University of Texas at Austin tried to slip “sensitivity” into its freshman composition classes. Instead of writing essays on literature or novels, first-year students were to write about civil rights and affirmative action court decisions. The proposed course change was only just thwarted.
There are powerful forces at work, folding the proper racial attitudes into courses on all subjects. At Barnard College in New York City, teachers who assign readings from the works of “minority women” get cash rewards paid for by grant money. The Ford Foundation recently announced grants worth $1.6 million to 19 different schools to “diversify” faculties and course content.
On many campuses, the campaign for racial sensitivity has taken the form of regulations limiting free speech. Emory University, Stanford, Arizona State University, and the Universities of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and over 125 other colleges have rules under which students may be punished for speech that offends racial sensitivities.
At the University of Michigan, a rule was passed that prohibited students from, for example, venturing the opinion that women may be inherently better than men at understanding the needs of infants, or that blacks may be naturally better at basketball than whites. A student filed suit, claiming that the regulation prohibits legitimate research, and his view was upheld by a federal judge.
Most of the time, the rules go unchallenged. The University of Connecticut has what is probably the most pathetically broad “sensitivity” code in the country. It forbids not only all the usual bad words but “inappropriately directed laughter,” of all things, and “conspicuous exclusion [of another student] from conversation.”
Needless to say, speech restrictions are applied unequally. At the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) there was a campus newspaper comic strip about a rooster that was attending the university. When a character in the strip asked the bird how he had been admitted, the rooster replied, “Affirmative action.” The editor of the paper was promptly suspended for racial insensitivity. However, when a UCLA minority student newspaper said that Europeans “do not possess the qualities of rational thought, generosity and magnanimity,” nothing happened.
In some cases, double standards like this are not simply the result of haphazard enforcement; they may be official policy. Some college officials distinguish between the speech of “insiders” from that of “outsiders.” White males are “insiders,” and must govern their tongues. Everyone else is an “outsider,” so need not worry. Professor Charles Lawrence of Stanford argues that speech codes should protect only members of “historical victim groups,” that is, everyone but white males.
It is a sad day when our universities, which supposedly promote academic freedom and unrestricted inquiry, bind their members with tighter restrictions than does society at large. As was clearly stated at Harvard, some academics think that ministering to the sensitivities of non-whites is more important than truth or free debate.
In February of this year, Brown University actually expelled a student for breaking the campus gag rule. Douglas Hann, a varsity football player, celebrated his 21st birthday by getting drunk and yelling the word “nigger” to no one in particular. When told to pipe down, he replied with obscenities and shouts of “faggot” and “Jew.” Mr. Hann’s behavior was certainly loutish, but commentators were hard-pressed to think of a previous case of a college student being expelled because of something he said.
Pruning the Curriculum
Entire courses have been dropped from colleges in the name of “sensitivity.” Reynolds Farley, an acclaimed demographer at the University of Michigan stopped teaching a popular undergraduate course, Race and Cultural Contact, after he was criticized for racially insensitive observations. Other faculty members at Michigan have cut discussion of race-related subjects from their courses for fear of attack.
At Harvard, Professors Stephan Thernstrom and Bernard Bailyn stopped teaching a course called “Peopling of America,” after they were tarred as racists. Their crimes? Professor Bailyn had read in class from the diary of a white slave-owner, whereas students insisted on hearing the slave’s point of view. The fact that Professor Bailyn had pointed out that no slave diaries have been found didn’t matter.
Professor Thernstrom gave offense by using the word “Indian” instead of “Native American,” and “Oriental” instead of “Asian.” He also assigned a book that ventured the view that some people disapprove of affirmative action, and — most egregiously — he himself went so far as to suggest that the breakup of black families contributes to black poverty. This was racism, pure and simple, and a course that contained such venom had to go.
The same content restrictions do not, of course, apply to non-whites. Leonard Jeffries is chairman of the Africana Studies department at the City College of New York. He believes that whites are temperamentally inferior to blacks, that as “ice people,” they are greedy and aggressive. Blacks, or “sun people,” are humanitarian and generous. He also says that “rich white folks” could well be promoting the spread of AIDS among blacks. Professor Jeffries fills his lectures with this nonsense and often taunts the white students in his classes.
Michael Levin is a professor of philosophy at the same institution. After studying the evidence, he has concluded that blacks are, on average, naturally less intelligent than whites. He has published this view in academic journals, but his students of all races agree that in the classroom he is scrupulously fair and sticks to philosophy.
There have been many student demonstrations against Professor Levin, some of which have disrupted his classes. For a time, the university forbade him to teach introductory philosophy on account of the racial views he has never expressed in class. He has been physically prevented from speaking in public, called a “horse’s ass” by one newspaper columnist, and denounced by virtually everyone. By the end of 1990, the university had begun proceedings that could lead to revocation of tenure. Professor Jeffries came to public notice only as an afterthought to the furious denunciations of Professor Levin. He continues to teach his racial nonsense with no fear of disturbance.
There is another racial double standard on campuses that is just as stark. Black students frequently shut themselves off in a kind of voluntary segregation that would be impermissible to whites. At many colleges, for example, most blacks choose to live in all- or mostly-black dorms. Any whites who expressed a desire to live among whites would probably be expelled.
Honest blacks acknowledge this double standard. As Shelby Steele writes in Harper’s magazine (Feb. 1989), “Administrators would never give white students a racial theme house where they could be “more comfortable with people of their own kind,’ yet more and more universities are doing this for black students . . .”
Rather than work for or read the school newspaper, many blacks gravitate towards black student newspapers with names like Black Ink (University of North Carolina), Black World (State University of New York at Stony Brook), or even The Black Explosion (University of Maryland). Many black papers contain puerile, anti-white sentiments of the sort that would never be allowed if expressed by whites about blacks. Obviously, there is no such thing as a “white” student newspaper, even on campuses where whites are a minority.
At U.C. Berkeley, there are certain floors in the library that blacks have taken over, where whites do not feel welcome. At many campuses, including both Harvard and Yale, there are all-black fraternities. Berkeley guarantees on-campus housing for blacks but not for whites. At the University of Illinois, blacks hold a separate, informal commencement ceremony, with their own speakers.
Alice in Wonderland
American college campuses have turned themselves into racial versions of Alice’s wonderland, from which any semblance of logic has disappeared. Every formerly white enclave has been forcibly integrated in the name of tolerance, while overt, non-white separatism is promoted in the name of . . . the same thing. Whites must police their speech — and at University of Connecticut even their laughter — for traces of anything that could possibly be construed as “insensitivity,” while black professors openly lecture their students on the inferiority of whites. Non-whites are free, even encouraged, to show racial pride, and to develop racial consciousness through “Black Student Unions,” “Latino Community Centers,” and “Asian Task Forces.” Whites are expected to smother any trace of racial consciousness and to rejoice whenever European culture is displaced by Third-World Studies.
White students have watched repeated assaults on their race and culture with astonishing passivity. A few, though, have begun to fight back by organizing White Student Unions. The first such organization to receive any media attention was founded in 1988 at Temple University by a senior named Michael Spletzer. Temple put up every possible resistance, but could find no way to deny whites their own student union when other races had theirs. Mr. Spletzer rejected the inevitable charges of white supremacy. “White people are being discriminated against by affirmative action,” he said. “We feel that giving scholarships, jobs or anything else because of race is wrong and they should be given on merit alone.” In January 1989, when the union tried to recruit members, clusters of black students shouted obscenities and threatened violence.
A similar organization has been established at the University of Florida at Gainsville and has met with the same shrill opposition. White student unions have sprung up at the Universities of Nebraska and New Orleans as well. Given the long history of open, systematic preferences for non-whites on campuses, it is surprising that white organizations have been so long to appear. There will surely be more of them.
Official reaction to white student organizations has been illuminating. Groups that complain about prejudice against whites are denounced as “racist.” According to the topsy-turvy thinking that governs race relations in America, “equality” means preferential treatment for non-whites, and any white who doesn’t submit gladly to discrimination is a “racist.”
Perhaps most laughable is the solemn explanation that is inevitably offered for this rise in white “racism.” President Reagan is to blame for not having done enough to promote systematic preferences for non-whites. His inaction is said to have fostered a climate in which whites began to think it was all right to vent their prejudices against non-whites. This is, of course, dead wrong. If Ronald Reagan had spent eight years shoving affirmative action into yet more corners of American life, there would be far more white student organizations than there are today.
Although the racial thinking on American colleges is more overtly and spectacularly cuckoo than in the rest of society, it is based on the same assumptions: (1) That white racism accounts for all the failures of non-whites, (2) that any expression of white pride or consciousness leads to oppression of non-whites and is therefore evil, but (3) that racial pride among non-whites is healthy and virtuous. It is only a small step to the conclusion — openly promoted by some minorities — that simply to be white is an offense, while to be a “person of color” confers a form of moral superiority.
This kind of thinking is bad enough anywhere, but it is particularly harmful at colleges. Not only is it beaten into young Americans at a susceptible age, it is used to curtail debate and even to suppress the truth if the truth might hurt feelings. American universities have by no means given up their mission of education. Nevertheless, they do not hesitate to subordinate it to the mission of fostering a divisive, anti-white racial ideology.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
Voluntary Segregation for Blacks
The latest theory about how to teach refractory black boys is that they should be segregated from other students and taught by black men. This September, two “Afrocentric” schools will open in Milwaukee as part of the public school system, where fewer than 20 percent of the black boys in high school have a C average or better. New York City, where black boys are also doing very badly, is likewise considering setting up a separate high school for them.
The purpose of these special schools would be two-fold. First, the teachers will be strong “role models” who will presumably guide the boys to success. Second, they will boost the boys’ “self-esteem” by offering an African curriculum.
Some of the features of this proposed curriculum are beginning to surface. The schools are expected to promote the “Seven Principles” distilled from traditional African values, such as unity, collective responsibility, and faith. Faith, according to the proposal for the New York school, is defined thus: “To believe with all our heart in our parents, our teachers, our leaders, our people and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.” Against whom are these black boys supposed to be struggling? White society?
Ancient Egyptians would be claimed as black and would be credited with establishing the bases of Western civilization. American history would be taught “from an African-American frame of reference,” and Swahili and Yoruba would be taught as foreign languages. Biology, likewise, would concentrate on the contributions of such Africans as the Egyptian pharaoh Imhotep. Other, more practical concerns would be a study of the effects of crack cocaine on the human body and the inadequacy of a diet of Pepsi and potato chips during pregnancy.
The current push for segregation is coming from blacks. If whites were to propose it they would be called bigots. These schools appear to be a tacit admission that for some blacks integration is not working. And if black role models and separate schools are vital for black self-esteem, why not a separate black society? Why not an entirely separate black nation?
It may well be that the students who attend these separate schools will feel better about themselves than those who are made to learn about George Washington and Franklin Roosevelt. All children are heartened to learn about the accomplishments of their people. However, their education will have prepared them, not for life in the United States, but in Africa or in a black separatist nation in North America.
Test Results Trashed
New York City has just settled a discrimination suit by deciding to promote 120 black and Hispanic garbage workers. They will be promoted over the heads of whites who scored higher on a civil service exam.
The suit was filed by the Hispanic Society and the Negro Benevolent Association of the Sanitation Department because of 1985 exam results. Of the more than 4,000 garbage workers who took the test, 22 percent were non-white but only seven percent of them scored high enough to be promoted. All the rest who scored high enough for a promotion were white.
The city administration of Mayor David Dinkins decided that the only fair solution was to promote another 90 black and 30 Hispanic workers, even if it meant ignoring the test results of whites who scored higher.
Today, when whites and non-whites often go to the same schools and study the same curriculum, differing test results are often thrown out because of “cultural bias.” What will become of standard testing once blacks start going to Afro-centric schools (see previous story), where they are deliberately taught a separate culture?
‘Minister of Information’
Public Enemy is the name of the most successful rap group in the country. It is also counted as a powerful political force among young blacks. Harry Allen is Public Enemy’s “Minister of Information” and also an occasional contributor to the (Village) Voice, Essence, Black Collegian, and the (Chicago) City Sun.
Mr. Allen has a great deal to say about white people, most of it so scurrilous that a few intrepid journalists have actually accused him of racism. His reply? “It’s impossible. Only white people can be racist, and I am not white. The only form of racism is white supremacy.”
Mr. Allen suggests a few steps towards reform. He urges non-whites to abandon the term “racism” and use “white supremacy” instead, since the two are equivalent and the latter is more specific. He also has the following advice for non-whites:
Here comes a white person. What is he going to do? Well, based on history, he’s going to lie. If non-white people adopted that idea as fundamental to their interaction with white people — to check for deceit — this would be . . . [a] change for the better.
Though not quite so successful as Public Enemy, the Geto Boys are Houston’s biggest rap group. Considered the “cutting edge” of rap, their records are replete with the barbaric horrors their audience appears to enjoy hearing about.
One recent cut is a first-person account of a peeping Tom who sees a woman through a window. He goes inside, cuts her throat, rapes the corpse, and then points out that this is what she deserved for not keeping her curtains closed.
Black Commencement at Vassar
The student association at Vassar has voted to recognize a breakaway Black Commencement Committee that will plan graduation activities appropriate for blacks. Blacks had complained that the senior class activities planned by the largely white Class Commencement Committee did not meet their social and cultural needs. Now that the black committee has been recognized, it will have the right to seek school financing and hold its own events.
Of the 641-member student body, 51 are black, and some students wondered what sort of precedent was being set by the breakaway committee. Andrew Blechman, a senior from New Jersey, suggested that “consistency demands that we later approve a Hispanic commencement committee, a Jewish commencement committee and an Asian commencement committee, etc.”
Gulf Casualties by Race
When it began to look as though America might fight a war in the Gulf, black leaders suddenly woke up to the fact that although the American population is 12 percent black, the army is 29 percent black. No one had complained about this before, but as soon as it began to look as though there might be shooting, many black leaders urged other blacks not to support the war, because blacks might die in disproportionate numbers. By this reasoning, of course, so long as blacks continue to be three times more likely than whites to join the all-volunteer army, American forces should never be used in combat.
In fact, the brevity and nature of the war against Iraq ensured a disproportionate number of white casualties. Of the 182 soldiers who had died by March 8, only 15 percent were black. Though whites made up 66 percent of the forces in the theater, they accounted for 78 percent of the deaths. This is because the air war went on for weeks, whereas the ground war lasted only about 100 hours. Airmen, who accounted for a large proportion of the casualties, are mostly white.
The United States, with its porous borders, has become a choice destination for illegal immigrants from mainland China. Arrests of Chinese aliens have more than quadrupled in just two years, from 288 in 1988 to 1,353 in 1990.
Most Chinese illegals make the trip with the help of professional immigrant smugglers. The standard fee for transportation and phony documents is $20,000 to $30,000, which most Chinese do not have. Some pay the tariff by bringing in Asian heroin. Others become indentured servants, and agree to work for their masters for a certain period almost as slaves.
Another payment method is to put new arrivals to work for relatives who are already in America, with the understanding that they will pay over time. Recently, the New York police have been called in on a number of cases in which the illegal got behind on his payments and was kidnapped by the body smugglers. The smugglers were charging a stiff ransom to the relatives, often more than the original price of the trip.
In the past, incidents like this have usually been settled without appeal to the police. Lately, the kidnapped Chinese have been treated so badly — burned with cigarette butts and beaten — that the relatives have overcome their reluctance to go to the authorities.
At the time they took place, it was impossible not to hear about the attacks by white gangs that resulted in the deaths of black men in Howard Beach and Bensonhurst (both are neighborhoods in the New York City). The attacks were covered in great detail, and are still evoked as symbols of white viciousness. But when blacks kill whites for racial reasons there is silence.
Last January, a black man named Robert Herbert killed a white man named Mark Belmore. Earlier, Mr. Herbert and three other blacks agreed among themselves that they would kill the first white person they saw. Mr. Belmore, a student at Northeastern University in Boston, was unlucky enough to be the first, and was stabbed to death. The media and government bodies have maintained their usual embarrassed silence about this murder.
Too Many White Faces
The U.S. Second Circuit Court has decided that the New York Times may be sued because it ran real estate ads that didn’t depict enough non-whites. A black couple, along with a Manhattan fair housing organization, has charged that since the Times so rarely featured black models in its real estate ads, it was violating the Fair Housing Act of 1968 that prohibits discriminatory advertising. The Cincinnati Inquirer has a similar case on appeal in the Sixth Circuit Court.
The Washington Post has already capitulated. It settled a 1986 law suit by promising to use black models 25 percent of the time in real estate ads. Soon thereafter, 22 Washington-area real estate developers, sales companies, and ad agencies agreed to use black models 33 percent of the time.
At the same time, decisions like this raise questions about other advertising. Will newspapers and magazines be forced to establish racial quotas in ads for department stores, automobiles, and clothing? Will Hispanics and Asians and everyone else start demanding quotas? After all, quotas are a hidden subsidy to ethnic models and modeling agencies. Once a nation starts counting by race, there is no end to it.
Part of the difficulty for newspapers and magazines is that it is the advertisers who choose the models and lay out the ads. To make editors count faces and police quotas is to make them responsible for something over which they have very little control.
White Flight From Miami
The 1990 census has confirmed a significant displacement of whites by Hispanics and blacks in the Miami area. In the city itself, the number of whites has dropped by a precipitous 47 percent since 1980, bringing the number down to a mere ten percent of the total. Hispanics are now 62.5 percent of the city’s population and blacks are 27.4 percent. There is probably no other major American city with so small a white population.
Dade County, of which Miami is the leading city, saw a similar trend over the decade. The number of whites dropped 24.4 percent to 30.2 percent. Hispanics increased 64.4 percent and are now 49.2 percent of the population. Blacks increased by 46.8 percent over the decade and are now 20.5 percent of the county population.
Many whites who move out of Dade Country go to the “white suburbs” of neighboring Broward County. Over the decade, the white population of the county increased by 60,000. Nevertheless, the increase did not keep pace with that of blacks and Hispanics, who added 82,000 and 70,000, respectively, to their numbers. The “white suburbs” are therefore ceasing to be white, as the majority proportion of the population fell from 85 percent to 76 percent.
The striking population changes in Miami and Dade County show how everyday white people react to the “diversity” and “cultural enrichment” that we are all supposed to be celebrating. They move out.
The increase in non-whites is attributed to higher fertility rates and well-publicized waves of Hispanic immigration. Less well known is the significant increase in blacks due to immigration, mainly from Haiti, but also from Jamaica and Trinidad.
Last year (11/7/90), USA Today published a graph showing population trends in South Florida over the last decade. The line with the steepest growth was labeled “Hispanics.” The line showing somewhat less growth was labeled “Blacks.” The line that showed a sharp drop was labeled . . . “Other.”
Mounties in Braids
Last year there was a debate in Canada over whether to let Sikh mounties wear their traditional turbans on the job. The broad-brimmed hat and red jacket of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are almost symbols of the nation itself, but Sikhs were finally allowed to wear turbans instead of the hat. Canadians who opposed the change were called racists and Nazis.
Now, native Indian mounties will get special permission to wear their hair in braids. No one else will have that right. Although it is not clear whether braids are a religious obligation — as the Sikh turban is — the government relaxed the rules out of respect for Indian culture and in the hope that more Indians would apply to become mounties.
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — You are right, in your March issue, to cast scorn on Canada’s “refugee” policy, and on that nation’s apparent inability to deport dangerous illegal aliens. But is our own system any better? It is estimated that there are 1.2 to 2.2 million deportable aliens in the United States, that is to say, aliens that have committed crimes. Of that number, less than two percent are deported every year.
Los Angeles is particularly hard hit by criminal aliens. Ten percent who pass through the county jail should have been deported before they committed another crime. In the past four months, two officers of the Los Angeles Police Department have been killed by deportable aliens. One killer, Jose Amaya, was protected from deportation by court rulings because his homeland, El Salvador, is dangerously “war-torn.” Men like him are making LOs Angeles increasingly war-torn.
Name withheld, Redondo Beach (CA)
Sir — In your cover story about Canada, Marian Evans writes about a gang of Haitians who “forced” white women into prostitution and treated them abominably. Perhaps Miss Evans can explain how a woman can be forced into prostitution against her will.
Susan Miller, San Antonio (TX)
Most of the women were young residents of foster homes. The Haitians sought them out socially, and initially treated them well. Only after the women were persuaded to move out of the foster homes, did they learn what was required of them in return. Many were threatened with death if they did not do as ordered or if they reported their plight to the police. Needless to say, this would be an unlikely fate for women living normal lives with loving parents.
Miss Miller may be right to imply that it is an exaggeration to say that these women were “forced” into prostitution, but it appears to be they had little choice. — M.E.
Sir — Thank you for your excellent article on Canada, to which I would like to add a footnote. A leftist Montreal group, the Ligue des Droits et Libertes, has petitioned Ottawa to accept the claim of every illegal immigrant to refugee status, no matter how obviously suspect. The group has dug up a Montreal psychiatrist who says that the process of waiting for a claim to be processed causes “totally unjustifiable psychological suffering.” In order to ease the misery of these good people, the Ligue insists that they all be immediately recognized as bona fide refugees.
Name withheld, Montreal, Canada
Sir — In the April issue I was interested to read your analysis of a recent survey of racial “stereotypes.” There should be no surprise in finding that a large majority of those surveyed said they think blacks are more prone to violence than whites. The surprise is the vehemence with which official America denies the majority view.
Last year, in our area, a juvenile probation officer was suspended from his job of 16 years for telling a crime reporter that he thought blacks were inherently more prone to violence than whites. It might seem that the opinion of a man who works constantly with offenders is worth considering, especially when it parallels the majority view. But no, in today’s America neither the preponderance of the evidence nor the opinion of the majority count for anything if they conflict with the holy doctrine of equality.
Thomas A. Brown, Alexandria (LA)
Sir — I read the three-part review of Raymond Cattel’s A New Morality From Science with increasing interest and admiration. Professor Cattel’s evolutionary ethics are entirely convincing.
Unfortunately, the chances of eugenics being widely adopted in this country are virtually nil. First, nothing that was ever associated with Hitler can be judged on its own merits. Second, the idea of eugenics is so vilified that even those whose minds are open to it rarely encounter a cogent case for it. Third, in a multi-racial society, any movement that takes genetic endowment seriously will be blasted as racist and elitist. Finally, Professors Cantell’s perspective is the very antithesis of current American thinking. This country glorifies the individual at the expense of nearly all else, whereas Professor Cantell values, the people, the nation, the race, even the species. Americans who can scarcely be bothered to save for the future are not likely to be concerned about the long-term improvement of the species.
However, since the benefits of eugenics are so clear, they will eventually be sought by other, more sensible, peoples. The Chinese and Japanese with their deep sense of social obligation, will probably be receptive to the idea of national genetic improvement. Singapore has already taken steps in that direction. American liberals will rail against the “inhumanity” of eugenics while their own cities crumble.
R. Janowski, Milwaukee (WI)