|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 19, No. 5||May 2008|
Diversity in Hawaii
Our tropical paradise is a racial tinderbox.
Barack Obama is today the most prominent former resident of the state of Hawaii. His ability to appeal to voters of all races—especially to whites who want to be able to congratulate themselves on their willingness to vote for a black—has highlighted the popular conception of Hawaii as a tropical multi-racial paradise. And, indeed, on the surface, things seem calm on the green, balmy archipelago, which received 7.5 million visitors in 2006. But all is not well. Hawaii is a tinderbox, with a population different from the rest of the country. It is the only state that has never had a white majority, and it has a powerful Asian political class that never loses sight of its ethnic interests. At the same time, Native Hawaiians are more restless than ever, and many support an increasingly truculent sovereignty movement.
Rejected Many Times
In August 1959, President Eisenhower admitted Hawaii as the 50th state. From the White House, he proclaimed, “We know that she is ready to do her part to make this Union a stronger Nation.” Americans had rejected Hawaiian statehood many times before, but this time Ike was right on the political money. His contemporaries had a soft spot for the sunny Pacific islands, and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, like the fall of the Alamo, had been immortalized in the nation’s memory.
It had taken a long fight to get Hawaii into the Union. The territory first applied for statehood in 1903, but was rejected, because Congress did not want a majority non-white state. Over the years, Congress repeatedly rejected its applications for the same reason. Lyndon Johnson, who became Senate majority leader in 1954, blocked admission because he was afraid Hawaiian congressmen would vote to end segregation. He agreed to admission in 1959 only because Alaska had already come in earlier that year with a solid white majority.
Hawaii, therefore, had the second-longest wait of any state between application and admission: 56 years. Only New Mexico had a longer wait—62 years—and did not get in until the 1910 census showed it had a white majority.
What was an obstacle to statehood is now, of course, an official source of pride. As the City of Honolulu’s website claims, “One of the greatest assets of the City and County of Honolulu is the ethnic, cultural, and social diversity of its population. The City and County of Honolulu takes great pride in this diversity . …”
According to the census, in 2006, whites were 25 percent of the population, Hawaiian Natives and Pacific Islanders were 22 percent, while the largest group was Asians at 42 percent (blacks are 3 percent and Hispanics are 8 percent). It was, of course, whites who brought the Asians.
When Calvinist missionaries first arrived in Hawaii it was a Polynesian kingdom. After converting most of the population, the missionaries stayed on as the governing elite and grew rich through real estate, shipping, and agriculture. Sugar planters imported Asians to work the cane fields, dramatically changing the islands’ population. Congress passed a sugar tariff that left Hawaii out of the fold, and in 1893 the planters organized a coup, and overthrew the monarchy. Hawaii was a nominally independent republic for five years until the United States annexed it as a territory in 1898.
Even by 1920, the great racialist writer Lothrop Stoddard could see that Asians were in the ascendency. As he wrote in The Rising Tide of Color: “These Asiatics arrived as agricultural laborers to work on the plantations. But they did not stay there. Saving their wages, they pushed vigorously into all the middle walks of life. The Hawaiian fisherman and the American artisan or shopkeeper were alike ousted by ruthless undercutting.” He went on to warn that “the Americans are being literally encysted as a small and dwindling aristocracy.”
The aristocracy has continued to dwindle. Since statehood, all but one of Hawaii’s senators have been Asian. Today, Governor Linda Lingle and long-time congressman Neil Abercrombie are two rare white faces in an otherwise Asian—largely Japanese—political class. Asians are considered the model minority, but they have caused problems in the past and could do so in the future.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese Zero pilot crash-landed on the island of Niihau, where several resident Japanese rallied to his defense and killed a Native Hawaiian before they were overpowered. Although the Japanese on Hawaii were not relocated, the islands were under martial law throughout the war for fear of Japanese disloyalty and spying.
Ever since the state joined the Union, Hawaii’s Asian lawmakers have followed the liberal line on race. The 1964 Civil Rights Act—a disaster for whites—was held up by filibustering Southern senators until a bi-partisan coalition led by Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois and Hawaii’s two Asian senators, Hiram Fong and Daniel Inouye, gathered the 60 votes necessary for cloture. The result was exactly what Lyndon Johnson had feared in 1954.
Daniel Inouye was decorated for combat in Italy during the Second World War, but his Japanese ethnic interests remain strong. He supported his fellow Japanese-American, Congressman Norman Mineta of California, in the push to compensate the Japanese relocated during the war. This successful raid on the Treasury has been the precedent for everyone else who is claiming damages for the white man’s alleged past crimes. And Sen. Inouye is still not satisfied. His proposed S381 would draw up plans to compensate Japanese from Latin America who were either interned during the war or deported to Axis countries. Japanese-Peruvians, for example, who were in the US illegally and were pitched out could conceivably have a claim on us. Sen. Inouye has the strong support of his fellow senator from Hawaii, Daniel Akaka, who is of Chinese origin.
The two Hawaii senators also sponsored “the Apology Resolution,” passed by Congress on the 100th anniversary of the 1893 coup, in which the federal government offered “an apology to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.” Based on very suspect historical grounds, the bill passed the Senate after just one hour of debate with only five senators present. Three of the five spoke against the bill, with only Senators Akaka and Inouye in favor. There was no debate at all on the floor of the House.
Even at the time, some people saw that the apology would unleash Native Hawaiian nationalism. When President Clinton signed it—apologies were his specialty—Sen. Slade Gorton of Washington likened it to Serbian nationalist propaganda before Yugoslavia’s civil war. He feared that the pattern of resentments and appeasement that led to violence in Yugoslavia was being repeated, and warned that “this resolution is a signpost pointing toward that dark and bitter road.”
Road to Insurgency?
He was prescient. The independence movement has taken some ugly turns, as it sinks roots into an increasingly sharp native sense of alienation from the white man’s civilization. Although their own ancestors brought in Yankee missionaries, today’s Hawaiians are returning to traditional Polynesian gods. This has strange consequences. Hawaii should be the state with the cheapest energy because volcanic activity on the larger islands would be a good source for geothermal power. The volcanoes remain underdeveloped because of the resistance of Native Hawaiians who fear power stations will bother the goddess Pele. In the summer of 2007, Pele worshipers celebrated an anti-geothermal victory after stopping development in Puna, on the big island of Hawaii. Hawaii may be the only place on earth where geothermal energy is sacrificed to religion.
There are other cultural clashes. Most whites think sharks are a dangerous nuisance, but early Hawaiians worshiped, cared for, and protected sharks as ’aumakua, or ancestral gods, while others depended on them as a source of food and tools. There are other sharp disagreements, since ancient Hawaiian beliefs can be dredged up to oppose just about anything whites take for granted: telescopes, taro plant research, ferry services, etc.
All of these conflicts feed the independence movement, which has added a kind of guerrilla theater to its mix of pressure tactics. At the 2006 Statehood Day ceremony, for example, protesters heckled speakers at the Iolani Palace in Honolulu, calling for secession and restoration of the monarchy. The police kept their distance, and tensions mounted. A few politicians continued with the ceremony, but the band walked off early.
One of the protesters was clearly high. When a female reporter asked him about his dilated pupils, he explained, “I can smoke ice if I want to. I belong to the Kingdom of Hawaii.” He then dropped his pants and exposed himself to the reporter and several children.
Some would say Hawaii is already on the road to insurgency. The Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement has its own flag, its own legal foundation, its own religious interpretations of the “Promised Land,” as well as Internet-based propaganda (see Hawaii-nation.org). In 2006, the University of Hawaii at Hilo surveyed Hawaiian natives and reached disquieting conclusions: “While fewer than 6 percent thought violence was justifiable in pursuit of sovereignty, over 53 percent expressed the belief that it was inevitable. Of interest is the finding that less than one fourth of the sample reported that they think that the desire to gain sovereignty will not result in violence in the future.”
Congressional apologies only encourage extremism, and the federal government continues unwittingly to aid insurgency. The State of Hawaii Office of Hawaiian Affairs, one of two state agencies that serve only Native Hawaiians, openly boasts there are more than 160 federally funded programs exclusively for natives. How were those programs established? For decades, Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka served on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. These were curious appointments, since there are no Indian tribes on Hawaii. Whenever bills came before the committee for special favors for Indians—housing, welfare, education, medicine—the two senators from Hawaii quietly added “and Native Hawaiians” to the bill.
Multi-culturalism gives Native Hawaiians the moral authority to agitate for independence, and permits no reply from whites or the federal or state governments. Lawmakers wrapped up in the cult of white guilt are about to recognize a separate Native Hawaiian government that would be able to organize and direct subversive action. To this end, Sen. Akaka is hard at work on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007, the House version of which has already passed.
Supporters claim that a Native Hawaiian government would be no different from the tribal councils that run casinos on New England reservations. They are far off the mark. New England’s Indian tribes were smashed centuries ago, while Hawaiians are building towards a full-fledged separatist movement.
Many whites fail to realize it, but many Native Hawaiians hate them. On Oahu, the town of Waimanalo is becoming a no-go area. As the Los Angeles Times noted in 2005, “ ‘Haole [white man], go home!’ and variations of whites-aren’t-welcome are occasionally shouted from front porches as a reminder that this isn’t Waikiki. It’s a different world. Locals rule here.”
Locals rule in more and more areas, though mainlanders who go only to the tourist spots would never know it. Many Americans got their first inkling of anti-white hostility only when MTV reported that when the musician Jewel lived in Hawaii for a few months as a child she was beaten up every day because she was white. Whites can live in peace in Hawaii if they attend private schools and live in secluded suburbs. One Hawaiian white told me that “you really can’t go to the public schools. The schools really just teach a gangster mentality.”
Schools have a tradition called “Kill Haole Day,” which means beating up whites on the last day of school. In 1999, when the state legislature considered hate-crimes legislation, the law was nearly derailed because of Kill Haole Day. Legislators noted that it was a long-standing tradition in some schools, and that unless it were completely eliminated, tough hate-crimes legislation could make the state liable for attacks on whites. The bill was gutted.
A particularly nasty attack in 2006 was linked to Kill Haole Day. Non-white students from Keaau High School on the big island skipped class to attack students at the Waters of Life Public Charter School in Hilo. First they broke into the Girl Scout office and attacked a manager. Then they broke off a door and invaded a classroom where Waters of Life students were taking the Hawaii State Assessment exam. The Keaau students punched teachers and students, knocking them to the ground. A victim later wrote, “We were vulnerable and defenseless against such an unthinkable, senseless, brutal assault. We are in shock. We are scared. We were terrorized.”
In February 2007, a family of Native Hawaiians beat an Army sergeant and his wife unconscious in front of their three-year-old daughter after a fender-bender in a parking lot. The man’s windpipe was crushed, and he went into convulsions. In January of this year, on the big island, men described as “Pacific Islanders” beat up nine white campers in a beach park and told them to get off the island. In all these cases, the Hawaiian police either moved slowly or didn’t get involved at all.
It is a serious matter when a large part of the population of a state is not of the founding stock, and where leaders are claiming territorial sovereignty. Wars of insurgency are fought by slowly expanding areas that are outside government control. What Bernard Fall wrote about Vietnam in 1965 is a description of a classic insurgency: “Saigon was deliberately encircled and cut off from the hinterland with a ‘wall’ of dead village chiefs.” This is by no means the case in Hawaii, but no other state has the same potential. The time will come when pro-statehood Native Hawaiian politicians—already rare—will have to watch their backs.
Insurgency is the most common form of war—and the most bitter. Insurgencies don’t end with a neat treaty; their fires are beaten down to embers that can alight in the future. The British have had trouble in Ireland for nearly 700 years.
A Hawaiian insurgency could certainly be contained. The state is still packed with soldiers and Marines, as well as the Pacific Fleet. Even if the state and local police were overwhelmed, troops could quickly restore order. The feds should have a plan for this, and Hawaii should not be on the base-closure list.
At the same time, Hawaii should under no circumstances be allowed to accept a substantial number of refugees—especially Asians—who could spark a crisis. Lebanon’s civil war began when thousands of Palestinians were dumped in the area, overwhelming the social structure.
Some whites would argue that Hawaii should be shucked off and given independence, along with largely non-white Guam and Puerto Rico, but there are several arguments against this. First, Hawaii has great strategic value. During the War in the Pacific, it was the front line for half of 1942, and Hawaii remains a key link in America’s outer defenses. It is a power-projection platform that supports American interests in the Pacific and Far East, and it has radar stations, sonar networks, and radio listening posts that endlessly search the Pacific for hostile activity.
America has three major rivals in the Pacific: the Japanese, the Russians, and the Chinese. Today, relations with Russia and Japan are peaceful, but there is potential for a clash with China. Hawaii will be an important part of any American military effort if there is conflict in the Far East (though the presence of large numbers of highly intelligent and potentially hostile Asians could complicate a major campaign). A small, weak, Asian-run, independent Hawaii could even align itself with China.
A successful Hawaiian independence effort could also bring out copycats in the Southwest, where immigration has been stoking separatist sentiment for years.
If the United States intends to keep Hawaii, there should be a major effort to settle the state with North American whites. Whatever policies we pursue, the entire national conversation about Hawaii needs to change. The anti-white slant that colors the Federal Government’s outlook is supplying, cartridge by cartridge, the ammunition for a future fire fight. It is high time we thought about how to turn Hawaii away from that “dark and bitter road” Sen. Gorton foresaw for it in 1993.
Duncan Hengest is a military contractor who learned that Hawaii is not paradise when two Haoles who lived there told him about their experiences.
Trouble in More Paradises
Anyone who thinks tropical islands are immune to racial strife should consider Fiji. The island suffers from a simmering race war that has pitted the native Fijians against Indians the British imported in the 19th century to work in the fields. There are striking parallels between Hawaii and Fiji. Both have flags that sport the Union Jack. Both are tourist havens. Both have extensive agricultural industries specializing in tropical produce. Both native cultures came to Christianity in the 19th century, though there are some holdouts from the old faiths. Both islands fell to Anglo-Saxon governments. Both sets of foreign rulers planted the seeds for grief by importing a class of thrifty foreigners to work the plantations.
Britain stopped playing umpire between Fijians and Indians in 1970, when it granted the country independence, and serious political trouble soon followed. Indians, who are a 38 percent minority, control much of the economy, but Fijians control the army. Fiji has had four coups in the last 20 years, most recently in December 2006. All were due to ethnic tension. Many of the best-educated Indians think they have no future in Fiji and have emigrated.
Before multiculturalists try to argue that the real root of the problem is Anglo-Saxon “racism,” they should look to New Caledonia, which is an overseas French territory. Natives, known as Kanaks, are estimated to be 45 percent of the population, whites at 35 percent, with the rest a mix of Asians and Pacific Islanders. There has long been tension between whites and Kanaks—sometimes violent—and the demographic balance is so politically charged that no ethnic population data have been released since 1996. Violence came to a head in 1988, and an agreement 10 years later provided for a referendum on independence to be held in 2014.
There is racial tension wherever there are races; palm trees, beaches, and sunshine are no antidote
Turning Up the Pressure
Asians join the racial spoils system.
On Feb. 8, 2008, CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” ran a segment on the strong support Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gets from Asian voters—in the California primary, they voted for her 3-1—which led reporter Gary Tuchman to ask why so few Asians support Barack Obama. The report left the impression that Asians (and Hispanics), most of whom are recent immigrants, do not want to vote for a black, and generally oppose “change.”
A week later, the program aired another segment on Asian support for Mrs. Clinton. This time, Gary Tuchman interviewed Dr. S.B. Woo, former Delaware lieutenant governor and founder of the Asian political lobby, the 80-20 Initiative. Dr. Woo claims it was his organization’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton that resulted in overwhelming Asian support, not their supposed fear of blacks or change.
Mr. Tuchman failed to mention in the program that between the two segments, CNN came under pressure to change its mind about why Asians support Mrs. Clinton. Shortly after the first segment aired, Kathleen To, president of the 80-20 Initiative, sent its members a “Call to Action,” urging them to sign an on-line petition to CNN to take the video off its website and “do another segment with balanced reporting.” Miss To warned that any suggestion that Asians are afraid of a black candidate was “very serious” and “could cause racial disharmony between the black community and ours.”
Two days later, 80-20 sent another “Call to Action,” noting that 1,250 members had already signed the petition, and urging more signatures. It was important to “keep up the pressure,” because “the resounding success of the petition is proof positive of our community’s newly established political cohesiveness—news for CNN!”
Three days later, 80-20 sent out a victory message, entitled “CNN airs OUR view on AsAm [Asian American] cohesiveness tonight.” It boasted that Dr. Woo had explained that it was the 80-20 Initiative that is delivering Asian votes for Hillary Clinton.
Asians have often been described as the “model minority.” They do well in school, commit few crimes, and rarely suffer from the degeneracy common among blacks and Hispanics. They have the highest incomes of any racial group and have made the fewest political demands upon the white majority. Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans have been particularly unobtrusive, and most socially and politically compatible with the majority.
Over the past decade, however, Asians who, after Hispanics, are the fastest-growing racial group in the country, have begun to organize politically. Particularly since the presidential election of 2000, they have tried to build an explicitly pan-Asian-American political bloc to promote their interests.
At the forefront of this effort is the 80-20 Initiative. Founded in 1997, 80-20 describes itself as “a national, nonpartisan, Political Action Committee dedicated to winning equal opportunity and justice for all Asian Americans through a SWING bloc vote” by which it hopes to deliver 80 percent of all Asian votes to candidates it endorses.
80-20 lobbying takes place almost entirely by Internet and consists of mobilizing members by e-mail. 80-20 claims it has 750,000 addresses, and in his interview on CNN, Dr. Woo claimed 80-20 can reach 55 percent of the “Asian American community” within eight hours. In certain elections in certain districts, any group that really could deliver 80 percent of the Asian vote would wield considerable power.
One of 80-20’s standard complaints is that Asian-Americans do not get the high positions they deserve. To make this point, it runs ads like the one on the previous page, which appeared in the Washington Post in 2006. It used graphs to claim that Asians are only half as likely as non-Asians to be promoted to management levels in industry, and only one-third as likely to be promoted in the federal government. The group claims women, blacks, and Hispanics all do better than Asians. 80-20’s conclusion? Despite the “deep sacrifices of parents and sheer diligence by their children,” at current rates of progress, “equal opportunity will not be reached in another 75 years.”
The pose of victim is not very convincing for a group that has had such prominent successes, including high-profile entrepreneurial records in companies such as Yahoo and Cisco Systems. Nor do the officers of 80-20 seem to have been held back because they are Asian. The founder, Dr. Woo, was born in China in 1937 and immigrated to the US in 1955. He is professor emeritus of physics at the University of Delaware and served as lieutenant governor of Delaware from 1985 to 1989. Current president Kathleen To is a former cancer researcher at the University of Texas and retired foundation president who served on the New York Life Insurance Woman’s Advisory Board. She has been a regular writer for the Dallas Morning News, and was appointed honorary commercial attaché by former Texas governor Ann Richards. All officers and board members appear to have had distinguished careers and are hardly abject victims of the “glass ceiling” of which they complain.
This is nevertheless something of an obsession for 80-20. During the 2004 election, it sent letters to each of the presidential candidates, asking for three promises. If elected, the new president would first order the secretary of labor to hold hearings on discrimination against Asians. Second, if statistics suggest there was discrimination, he would have the labor department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance crack down on it. Third, two years later, he would meet with Asian-American leaders to discuss progress in fighting that discrimination.
Here are 80-20’s figures for the current racial mix of federal judges:
80-20 wants a quota for Asian-American judges, but will settle for efforts to correct the “current dismal situation.”
80-20 people really seem to think they face unique barriers. As board member Frank Lee said in a statement this January, “We are truly fighting for … rights already enjoyed by ALL Americans except for Asian Americans.”
In 2004, John Edwards, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Joe Liebermann, and Dennis Kucinich all made the three promises 80-20 asked them to. Every Republican declined.
This year, 80-20 has extracted yet more promises. On June 1, 2007, it sent a “Presidential Candidate Questionnaire” by fax, e-mail, and priority mail to everyone in the race, Democrat and Republican. It kept the promises from 2004 about stamping out “discrimination,” and added three more about appointing Asian judges to the bench. In the first version of the questionnaire, candidates had to promise to appoint at least two Asians as appeals court judges—none is Asian now—and “consider” filling a Supreme Court vacancy with an Asian. At the district court level, 80-20 wanted an outright quota. Each candidate had to promise that during his first term he would appoint enough Asians to boost their numbers to half their percentage of the population. That would be an increase from the present 6 to 21 judges—a more than 300 percent increase—and would mean the president would have to send up a parade of Asian nominations. Candidates also had to promise to meet with Asian-American leaders to “review the progress in adding AsAm Federal judges.”
Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, and Mike Gravel all took the pledge in June 2007, just days after they got the questionnaire, and bound themselves to a quota for Asian judges.
For six months, 80-20 got no more bites, and decided to lower its sights. Hillary Clinton’s people negotiated less binding terms. On Dec. 10, she signed what 80-20 calls a “revised” version. The promises to end “discrimination” against Asians were unchanged, but instead of an outright quota on judicial appointments, Mrs. Clinton promised to “seek to increase” in Asian nominations “until the current dismal situation is significantly remedied.” The language of the promise goes on to explain: “To put things in perspective, not meaning to imply quota, presently there are 0.6% Asian Am. Federal judges, while the Asian Am. population is 4.5% . …”
Not imply quota? A quota is exactly what they wanted, but couldn’t get from Mrs. Clinton. What she promised is a quota in everything but name, however. She agreed that at both the district and the appeals level the current situation is “dismal,” and she promised to improve things “significantly” during her first term. She has thus committed herself to openly race-based judicial appointments, and has promised to submit to a meeting within two years of taking office in which Asian-American “leaders” will pressure her for yet more appointments. John Edwards and Bill Richardson later signed the same “revised” version.
What did Mrs. Clinton get in return? 80-20’s endorsement before the California primary, and a promise that the group would spend $30,000 on political ads for her in the Asian ethnic media. Mrs. Clinton won the Asian vote 3-1 over Mr. Obama, and 80-20, of course, claimed credit.
The results of the California primary may have been what finally persuaded Barack Obama to take the pledge, but he has been the cagiest player of all. He swallowed the demands to correct “discrimination” against Asians without a gurgle, but his people rewrote the questions about judicial appointments. He promised only that he will make it a “top priority” to appoint Asian-Americans as district and appeals court judges. Presidents are, of course, busy people with lots of “top priorities,” so Mr. Obama got away with promising the least. (For the exact terms of each candidate’s promises see the 80-20 web page at www.80-20initiative.net.)
80-20 has duly endorsed every candidate who took the pledge, and so is now officially neutral in the Democratic primaries. Not one Republican candidate bothered to return the questionnaire, and John McCain shows no sign of doing so.
Let us be frank: 80-20’s “endorsement” process has been cynical and even dishonest. It started by saying it would endorse only those candidates who made certain promises. Why, then, did it let Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama successively water down the promises others had already made? It cheated Senators Dodd, Biden and Gravel when it let Mrs. Clinton make weaker promises and then gave her the same endorsement it had given them—they were still in the race. It then cheated Mrs. Clinton when it let Mr. Obama sign an even weaker pledge to get the same endorsement. 80-20 is playing the candidates for fools and getting away with it. Needless to say, they have all been very quiet about how they were tricked and about the race-based judicial appointments they have promised to make.
A Record of Success?
80-20 claims that in both 2000 and 2004 it came close to its goal of delivering 80 percent of the Asian vote to its chosen candidate. The initiative endorsed Al Gore in 2000, and takes credit for getting him 66 percent of the Asian vote, and 70 percent in California, “where 80-20 specifically focused its efforts.” In 2004, 80-20 endorsed John Kerry “with reservations,” but promised to give him a 30-point victory among Asians. The 80-20 website quotes a Los Angeles Times poll showing that the Asian vote went 64-34 for Kerry. According to another exit poll it cites, 75 percent of Asians voted for Kerry. 80-20 further notes that while black, Hispanic, and Jewish support for President Bush was up in 2004 over 2000, the group takes credit for lowering his support among Asians.
Is this coincidence? Does 80-20 just figure out how Asians are likely to vote and then claim credit for it when they do? There is no way to tell, but the book Click on Democracy, by three Syracuse University professors, concluded that 80-20 appeared to be “one of the most successful grassroots efforts to emerge from the 2000 political season.”
Some 80-20 claims sound like empty boasting. The group says it persuaded Bill Clinton to make former congressman Norman Mineta commerce secretary in 2000, thus making the Japanese-American the first Asian cabinet member. It also says it pressured George W. Bush to hold Mr. Mineta over in his cabinet as transportation secretary, and to appoint Elaine Chao as labor secretary.
When it is not tormenting politicians, 80-20 likes to police the media. In 2002, the Seattle Times ran the following headline about figure-skating: “Hughes Good as Gold: American Outshines Kwan, Slutskaya in Skating Surprise.” “Kwan” was Michelle Kwan, a skater born in the US. 80-20 says it got Seattle Times executive editor Mike Fancher to apologize personally for the implication that Miss Kwan was not American. In 2004, 80-20 forced TNT sports analyst Steve Kerr to apologize for referring to Chinese NBA player Yao Ming as a “7’6” Chinaman.”
In 2002, 80-20 took credit for persuading Abercrombie & Fitch to stop selling T-shirts it claimed were offensive to Asians. One, for example, had cartoon Chinese men on it advertising Wong Brothers Laundry Service, phone number: 555-WONG. The company motto was “Two Wongs can make it white.” Another T-shirt advertised “Wok ’n Bowl,” or “Chinese food and bowling.”
A Wise Strategy?
80-20 claims to be working for all “AsAms,” although officers and board members are overwhelmingly Chinese, and Dr. Woo started 80-20 by soliciting fellow Chinese. The group has tried to cast a wider net, but without much success. One of 80-20’s key claims—that Asians are victims of discrimination—is not going to go down equally well with Filipinos, Indians, Samoans, and Japanese. Nor will all these groups obediently do what a largely Chinese organization tells them to.
One strategy for high-IQ North Asians could have been to emphasize their common interests with whites—eliminating “affirmative action,” promoting tough sentences for criminals, keeping out illegal Mexicans—rather than acting like the NAACP or La Raza. Unlike blacks and Hispanics, Asians can make it on merit, and they are already heavily represented in many technical fields. If they insist on quotas for judges and CEOs, they could find the tables turned on them in other areas. It will come at their expense (and at that of whites) if blacks and Hispanics get quotas in engineering and medicine. Many Asians are uncomfortable about joining their “black and brown brothers” against the white “oppressor.”
In the end, however, the advantages blacks and Hispanics gain from racial activism, bloc-voting, and an aggressive victim mentality may simply be too attractive even for Asians to forgo. It may be, that as the United States continues to lose racial and cultural coherence, Asians will decide they have nothing to gain by informally allying themselves with whites and staying out of explicitly racial politics. Why should they line up with a majority that does not even defend its own interests?
At the same time, now that one Asian group has taken a prominent position as an explicitly race-based pressure group, it will be harder for less militant Asians to get support. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) has been around a lot longer than the National Council of La Raza. It used to emphasize assimilation and citizenship, but as soon as more radical groups came along and started getting money and attention, LULAC became a carbon copy of La Raza. Many blacks and Hispanics now think the way to get ahead is to shout “racism” rather than put their heads down and work.
It looks as though Asians are beginning to see things the same way. What was once a model minority may have finally decided that, in the age of “diversity,” power comes from racial solidarity. When will whites reach the same conclusion?
Who Are the Jews?
Using DNA to find out.
Jon Entine, Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity, and the DNA of the Chosen People, Grand Central Publishing, 2007, 420 pp. $27.99.
Shelves of books have been written about Jewish history and identity, but many ancient accounts have been impossible to verify independently. Now, advances in DNA analysis have added much greater precision to our understanding of Jewish origins, and can be used to test many of the oral traditions Jews have passed on for millennia. Jon Entine’s Abraham’s Children is a good summary of recent work in this field, and covers several other areas of genetic research, most notably Jewish diseases and Jewish intelligence.
Mr. Entine is the author of the 2000 book Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It (see review in AR, Feb. 2000), in which he investigated the physical—and by implication genetic—reasons why blacks dominate many sports. He therefore understands race and racial differences. He also knows the penalties for writing about the biological distinctiveness of Jews or any other group, but plunges in bravely all the same. Abraham’s Children is not without flaws, but any mass-market book that takes group differences seriously is important.
Children of Israel?
Most Jews fall into two groups, Ashkenazi (European) or Sephardic (Middle Eastern). Are they the descendants of the Biblical Children of Israel? Because of where they lived and how they looked, Sephardic Jews always had a plausible link to the people who wrote the Old Testament, but there have been doubts about the origins of Ashkenazim. Of the non-Biblical theories about their origins, the best known is that they are descended from the Khazars, a Central Asian people said to have converted to Judaism in approximately the 8th century.
DNA evidence of two kinds has been brought to bear on this question. DNA from the Y chromosome can be used to trace the male ancestry of a population, and mitochondrial DNA can be used to trace female ancestry. This approach works because both these kinds of DNA are passed from generation to generation without recombination, unlike all other DNA, which is mixed and recombined during reproduction. Of the 23 pairs of chromosomes, the pair found only in males, composed of a Y from the father and an X from the mother, does not recombine. This means the Y is passed from father to son without any changes other than those that appear through chance mutation. Because mutations occur on the Y at a predictable rate, by comparing the accumulated differences on their Ys it is possible to estimate how long ago two men had a common ancestor.
This method has been used to calculate how far back we must go to find a common ancestor of all men living today, and the figure seems to be around 180,000 years. Of all the people on the planet, Bushmen appear to be most similar to that distant ancestor. Mutations have been constantly building up on the Y, and men of the same race or ethnic groups have similar sets of mutations.
What does the Y chromosome tell us about Jews? Mr. Entine reports that some of the early research in this area focused on the Cohanim or Jewish priestly class. According to the Bible, Moses’ older brother Aaron became the first high priest, and only his male descendants could aspire to this role. After the Romans sacked the Second Temple in 70 AD the Cohanim lost their job, but Jews have handed down the oral tradition of priestly status ever since, and about 3 percent of Jewish men claim to be Cohanim.
Geneticists have found a marker on the Y that is so closely associated with claims to be Cohanim that they call it the Cohen Modal Haplotype. The best estimates of mutation rates suggest the marker originated about the time Aaron would have lived. Most Jewish men show evidence of several different male lineages, meaning that they are not descended from the same man, but the majority of Cohanim appear to trace their paternity to the same root.
In one test of Cohanim claimants, no fewer than 98.5 percent had the Cohen Modal Haplotype. Wherever this marker came from, it is a sure sign of common descent, and if it really does mean descent from Aaron’s time, it supports two extraordinary conclusions: that the oral tradition has been very durable and accurate, and that many generations of mothers were faithful to their husbands.
Both Ashkenazim and Sephardim have the Cohen Modal Haplotype, as well as other markers that trace back to the Middle East, and this strongly supports the view that both groups originated in the area of Biblical Israel. The haplotype is not exclusive to Jews, however. A few Kurds, Armenians, Hungarians, and Italians—all of whom have had long association with Jews—carry the same marker, which suggests that some Cohanim either abandoned Judaism and assimilated, or had affairs with gentiles.
The other kind of DNA most useful for tracing ancestry is mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Mitochondria are energy-producing organelles outside the nucleus but within the cell, and contain their own primitive DNA. They are passed on only by the mother. Sperm cells contain mitochondria but it is only the nucleus of the sperm that fertilizes the egg. The cytoplasm of the fertilized egg therefore contains mtDNA only from the mother, which, like the Y chromosome, is passed on to succeeding generations unchanged except for mutations.
Again like the Y chromosome, mutations accumulate at more or less predictable rates, so differences in mtDNA show how distantly related people are, and how far back one must go to find a common mother. The best estimates are that the most recent common mother of all the world’s inhabitants lived about 145,000 years ago. It should be noted that there was never a time when there was just one man or one woman. If an ancient man had no sons, that was the end of his line of Y DNA, and if an ancient woman had no daughters, her mtDNA ended with her sons. In either case, descendants could have gone on to contribute DNA to many succeeding generations, but not Y or mitochondrial DNA.
The story of Jewish mtDNA is quite different from that of Y DNA; there are no distinctively Jewish lineages. Instead, the female ancestors of today’s Jews appear to have been primarily the women among whom Diaspora Jews lived: Europeans for Ashkenazim and Middle Easterners for Sephardim.
This is not to say Jews have not been endogamous. However, once the Jews dispersed from Palestine, many men appear to have taken gentile wives who adopted their husbands’ religion. This means the founding mothers of many of today’s Jewish communities were not Jews by present Israeli standards, which require proof of a Jewish mother. Once they established communities in their new homelands, however, Jews appear to have been remarkably endogamous. By the time the descent-from-a-Jewish-mother rule was adopted, it had no doubt been long forgotten that distant ancestresses were gentiles.
Mr. Entine points out that no record other than the Bible reports a sizable Israelite presence in Egypt or the Exodus. History and archeology suggest the Jews were local Canaanites who later wrote a fanciful account of their origins. At some early stage in their history, however, they acquired two distinctive characteristics: a belief in monotheism and a fanatical sense of chosenness. From Deuteronomy on, there is fierce condemnation of intermarriage with outsiders, and some of the prophets even called for death for anyone who married out.
A civil war around 930 BC divided the Israelite kingdoms into Israel in the north and Judah in the south. In 720 BC the Assyrians conquered the north, and the ten tribes of that kingdom—the “lost tribes”—left the historical record. The Assyrians conquered the southern kingdom of Judah in the early 6th century BC and were in turn conquered by the Persians in 539 BC. It is from the time that Judah was a Persian province that its inhabitants came to be known as Jews.
Palestine came under Roman rule from 63 BC to 313 AD, but was a troublesome province. Emperor Hadrian, who put down a revolt from 132 to 135 AD, decided that Israel “should be destroyed and the Jewish people annihilated because they were the only people on earth who refused to associate with the rest of humanity.” He tried to obliterate Judaism, which he considered the root of the problem, and many of the Jews he drove out of Palestine gathered in Rome and on the Iberian Peninsula, which became the main centers of Jewish population. The Sephardic/Ashkenazi split appears to date from this period; Iberian Jews later became the Sephardim, and Italian Jews the Ashkenazim.
When the Muslims invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711, the forebears of the Sephardic Jews welcomed them as liberators and thrived under Muslim rule. Ferdinand and Isabella, who completed the reconquest of the peninsula in 1492, expelled the Jews that same year, and that group of refugees, along with Jews later expelled from Portugal, are known as Sephardic or Spanish Jews. Most of them fled to North Africa and the Middle East, though a handful went to the New World. Genetic testing suggests that Sephardim, especially Iraqi, Moroccan, and Tunisian Jews are probably most like the Israelites of Biblical times.
The forebears of the Ashkenazim appear to have been Jews living in Italy, who went north after the chaos that followed the fall of the Roman Empire. The Rhineland region, which the Jews called Ashkenaz, became the spiritual center of the migration and gave the group its name. Jews lived separately from and in some antagonism with the populations among whom they lived, and were expelled from Britain in 1270, France in 1306, and later even from the Rhineland.
Mr. Entine writes that Jews suffered greatly during the Black Death of 1348 to 1351, which wiped out a third of Europe’s population. Jews were blamed for the plague and many were massacred. A remnant fled into Lithuania, Poland, and Moravia, but by the early 16th century, there may have been only a few tens of thousands of European Jews. This drastic fall in numbers shrank the gene pool, and centuries of subsequent endogamy have, for better or worse, made Ashkenazi Jews an extremely inbred population.
It is the progeny of this group that account for an estimated 10 million of today’s 13 million Jews, and are the vast majority of the Jews of Europe and the United States. Mr. Entine notes that Dutch Jews show the greatest gentile admixture on the paternal line, and are probably least related to the Biblical Hebrews.
The Lost Tribes
Another question about Jewish identity that has arisen with varying degrees of urgency over the centuries is what happened to the “ten lost tribes” after the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom of Israel in 720 BC. At times, Christians have been more exercised about this question than Jews because some believe Christ will not come again until the Jews, including the lost tribes, are converted to Christianity. During the Middle Ages, Europeans worked themselves into frenzies over the importance of tracking down the tribes and converting them. The lost tribes were imagined variously to be in India, Ethiopia, or Asia, usually under the leadership of Prester John. They were thought to live by the miraculous Sambatyon River, which rested on the Sabbath and did not flow.
There have been many alleged sightings. When Columbus discovered the New World, otherwise sensible people thought he had located the lost tribes. Bartolomé de las Casas, an early evangelist to the New World, was convinced Indians spoke a corrupted form of Hebrew. William Penn thought he detected traces of Jewishness in the Lenape Indians. Mormons believe the lost tribes escaped to South America, where they had the adventures recounted in the Book of Mormon. Mormons continue to preach to Indians in the hope of returning them to their “original faith.”
Mr. Entine introduces many far-flung peoples who claim, with varying degrees of plausibility, to be Jewish. In some cases, missionaries pounced on obscure tribes that seemed promising only by accident—perhaps they refrained from pork or circumcised their men—and convinced them they were lost tribesmen. Other groups may have been converted to crude forms of Judaism, and yet others appear actually to reflect colonies founded by traveling Jews.
Perhaps the best known of these are the Falasha of Ethiopia, blacks who claim to be descended from the queen of Sheba and King Solomon. In 1984 they convinced the Israeli government to airlift them to Israel, where they have remained segregated and unhappy. Mr. Entine reports that their DNA seems to be 100 percent African, with no sign of Semitic ancestry. No one knows how they converted to an apparently sincere Judaism.
Less well-known groups include the Cochin or Malabar Jews of south India. In 1948, Israel accepted 2,500 of them for resettlement, and most have since moved there, but Mr. Entine says their DNA has never been tested. Another small group of Indians call themselves Bene Israel. They have always claimed descent from Moses, and their DNA actually suggests some Jewish ancestry. The so-called Bnei Menashe live along the Burmese/Indian border. Their DNA shows no Jewish ancestry, but some have been allowed into Israel, where they have been settled in the occupied territories. Mr. Entine quotes one Israeli partisan of the Bnei Menashe who describes them as “front-line troops for Israel’s demographic war with the Palestinians.”
Perhaps the most interesting pretenders to Jewishness are the Lemba, a tribe of some 50,000 who live in South Africa and Zimbabwe. They have long practiced Jewish-like rituals, and Mr. Entine says about 50 percent of their Y chromosome shows Semitic markers. Even more surprising, 53 percent of the men of the Buba clan, a subgroup within the tribe, have the Cohen Modal Haplotype. The Buba reportedly consider themselves a superior, priestly group, and do not often intermarry with other Lemba. The Buba also have lighter skin and sharper noses. Mr. Entine reports that the scientific consensus is that they could well be descended from wandering Jewish men; their mtDNA, however, does not suggest a Semitic maternal line. According to Lemba tradition, their ancestors built Great Zimbabwe, the ruins of which have long baffled archeologists.
Studies like these that use DNA to gauge the probable accuracy of oral traditions also raise the possibility of establishing a genetic standard to determine who is a Jew. Israeli authorities do not now accept DNA evidence, insisting instead on the traditional standards of birth from a Jewish mother or conversion according to strict rules (rabbis are supposed to make three serious efforts to dissuade converts). The logic of DNA could eventually prevail. Mr. Entine reports that an American who was rejected as a Jew according to customary standards has sued the Israeli government, demanding that it establish genetic criteria.
Genetics make Israeli authorities nervous. Much as they take pride in their distinctiveness and ancient peoplehood, many Jews are reluctant to establish clearly biological boundaries for Jewishness. The same skittishness surrounds two other important themes of Abraham’s Children that may be linked: Jewish diseases and Jewish intelligence.
Disease and Intelligence
It has long been known that Ashkenazi Jews are prone to a number of genetic diseases rare in other populations. Tay-Sachs disease and cystic fibrosis are probably the best known, but Mr. Entine includes an appendix of 29 Ashkenazi “Jewish Diseases,” including such tongue-twisters as abetalipoproteinemia, lipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency, and mucolipidosis IV. Sephardic Jews also suffer from distinctive diseases, and certain national subpopulations of Sephardics have unusually high rates of others. However, as Mr. Entine explains, the DNA of Sephardic Jews shows more interbreeding with gentile populations, which has helped weed out genetic diseases.
Of all the “Jewish” diseases, Mr. Entine spends the most time on a type of breast cancer brought on by a mutation of the BRCA2 gene. Women with the mutation are an estimated eight times more likely to get breast cancer, and Jews have the mutation 20 times more often than gentiles. This condition is so typically Jewish that its appearance among Mexican and American Hispanics has raised questions about their origins. Although most of the women have been Catholic, further DNA testing has shown strong evidence of Jewish ancestry, and many patients tell of secret Judaism-like rituals handed down in their families. These women are almost certainly descended from converted Jews, many of whom retained a few Jewish practices. Oral traditions of Jewish descent could never have been confirmed without DNA analysis.
Although the Jews of classical times did not show signs of unusual intelligence, Jews today have a reputation for braininess, and ever since the 1920s, American Jews have scored an average of about 15 points higher than white gentiles on IQ tests. Statistically, only about four in 1,000 Europeans have IQs higher than 140, but for Ashkenazi Jews the figure is 23 in 1,000. The Jewish advantage is especially pronounced in verbal ability, which helps explain Jewish success in literature, law, comedy, and the media, but Jews are sharply overrepresented in all intellectually demanding fields—at least Ashkenazim are. Sephardic Jews tend to have IQs close to the Oriental populations among whom they lived, and have nothing like the Ashkenazi record of achievement.
What made European Jews so smart? Richard Lynn (see review of his Race Differences in Intelligence, in AR, June 2006) has proposed three reasons. Christians persecuted Jews more harshly than Muslims did, and the smarter ones were more likely to survive. Also, Jews who lived among Europeans were more or less forced into professions that required intelligence. They were often not allowed to farm, which meant they had to be traders and artisans. Jews also dominated the relatively high-IQ profession of money-lending because usury was forbidden to Christians. Mr. Entine reports that in 1270, of the 228 adult Jewish males in the city of Perpignan, France, 80 percent were money-lenders. Muslims were not entirely barred from money-lending, so Sephardic Jews did not dominate that activity. Finally, Prof. Lynn notes that when Oriental Jews mated outside the tribe it was with Middle-Easterners, who have a relatively low average intelligence, whereas Ashkenazim mated with Europeans.
Others have suggested that proficiency in the Talmud, which required high intelligence, was a valued skill that led to prestige, wealth, and large families. Another possibility is that when the Ashkenazim went through the genetic bottleneck of the Middle Ages, the survivors were of particularly high intelligence, and passed this advantage on to future generations as a kind of “founder effect.”
According to one provocative theory, some of the Ashkenazi diseases may be related to high intelligence. Recently, Henry Harpending and Gregory Cochran have argued that some of the recessive mutations for Jewish genetic diseases may be linked to high intelligence when they are present in single copies. This would help explain why these diseases have not been bred out. Jews who got the mutation from only one parent might benefit from high intelligence, while those who got it from both parents were afflicted. Mr. Entine notes that Israeli scientists have genetic databases broad enough to test this hypothesis, to determine whether there is a link between torsion dystonia, for example, and intelligence. He writes that there appears to have been a deliberate decision not to pursue this research, since Jews are reluctant to look too deeply into whether there is a genetic basis for either their intelligence or their defects.
There is a distinctively Jewish recollection of recent history behind this hesitation, but Mr. Entine notes that throughout the West there are barriers to free investigation. It is “almost impossible,” he writes, “to have a reasoned public discussion about the causes of human differences, especially intelligence,” and in what appears to be his own obeisance to taboos, he reminds us that race research has led to all sorts of awful things.
All told, however, he seems not to have pulled many punches. He repeatedly points out that no matter how much all humans resemble each other genetically, some of the small differences are obviously significant, and occur in patterns that justify dividing the species into biologically distinct populations for which the word “race” is as good as any. He even pokes fun at one of the heroes of the race-doesn’t-exit crowd, Israel Ehrenberg, for changing his name to the laughably pretentious Montague Francis Ashley Montagu (see “Race Is an Illusion,” AR, April 2008).
Mr. Entine points out that race and ethnicity have become so useful in medicine that doctors have quietly abandoned earlier claims about the insignificance of race. He notes that they try to stay respectable by talking about “population groups” and “continent of ancestry,” but no one is fooled. On the whole, this book is blessed relief from the nonsense so often written about race.
The greatest defect of Abraham’s Children is Mr. Entine’s efforts to make it “popular.” It is too light on the genetic science but even worse, it spends far too much time profiling the people Mr. Entine interviewed and describing the places he visited. Readers do not care about the personalities of this or that geneticist or the view from the Hebron hills. He could have trimmed the book of least 100 pages of fluff.
Defects aside, the strongest impression Abraham’s Children leaves is one common to books about Jews: that they have clung to their identity with astonishing tenacity. Military defeat, exile, persecution, and forced conversion have not quenched a fierce loyalty to the ways of their ancestors. A hundred years from now how many Southerners will celebrate Lee’s and Jackson’s birthdays?
Ironically, as Mr. Entine notes, social acceptance and assimilation may yet destroy what pogroms could not. Except for the Orthodox, Jews have very small families, and about half of American and European Jews now marry outside the tribe. In 1920, fewer than 1 percent married out. At current intermarriage rates, notes Mr. Entine, two-thirds of Jews could be gone in a few generations. It would be an anti-climactic ending for a people who have influenced events in vast disproportion to their numbers.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
This spring Swedish vodka maker Absolut ran ads in Mexico featuring a map of North America from the 1830s—when Mexico included Texas, and everything up to present-day Oregon. The accompanying slogan “In an Absolut World” implied that in a perfect world, Mexico would still be in control. Images from the ads were soon circulating online, prompting sovereignty-minded Americans to threaten a boycott. The Los Angeles Times wrote about the ad on one of its blogs, and asked readers what they thought. As of April 8, 63.2 percent of more than 62,000 respondents took the following position: “The ad is an affront to Americans. I’m going to boycott the product.”
Absolut began to feel the heat, and on April 4, posted an explanation on its website:
“This particular ad, which ran in Mexico, was based upon historical perspectives and was created with a Mexican sensibility. In no way was this meant to offend or disparage, nor does it advocate an altering of borders, nor does it lend support to any anti-American sentiment, nor does it reflect immigration issues.… Obviously, this ad was run in Mexico, and not the US — that ad might have been very different.”
That did not stop calls for a boycott, so on April 6, Absolut did a little better:
“We are truly sorry and understand that the ad has offended several persons. This was not our intention. The ad has been withdrawn as of Friday April 4th and will not be used in the future.… To ensure that we avoid future similar mistakes, we are adjusting our internal advertising approval process for ads that are developed in local markets.
“This is a genuine and sincere apology.”
[Mexico Reconquers California? Absolut Drinks to That!” La Plaza (LA Times Blog), April 3, 2008. Vodka Maker Apologizes for Ad Depicting Southwest as Part of Mexico, AP, April 5, 2008.]
Ads “developed in local markets?” Mexican ad men clearly know what appeals to Mexicans.
In 2007, Absolut had between 10 and 11 percent of the US vodka market. It will be interesting to see how it does this year.
In 1950, at 27.98 percent of the world’s population, whites were the single largest population group (if East Asians and South Asians were considered separately). By 2000, whites were just 18.5 percent, behind both East and South Asians. By 2060, whites will be 10 percent of the world population, and will be the only group whose numbers have actually declined. Blacks are surging. In 1950, they were 9 percent of the world population; by 2060 they are projected to be one quarter of the world’s 8.5 billion people. [Global White Population to Plummet to Single Digit—Black Population to Double, National Policy Institute, April 7, 2008.]
Goodbye to All That
Advanced Placement courses offer college-level study for high school students. Taking AP courses can boost grade-point averages, because AP grades get more weight than regular high school grades. Some colleges give course credit to students who pass AP exams with scores of three or better on a five-point scale.
Teachers are congratulating themselves on the performance of Hispanics on the 2007 California AP tests. Much has been made of the fact that 66.5 percent of Hispanic AP test-takers passed with three or better, which is virtually the same as the figures of 68.6 for whites and 66.8 percent for Asians, and considerably better than the 32.5 percent for blacks. However, by themselves, these numbers mean nothing unless we know what percentage of students of each race took AP tests. If only a few of the smartest whites and Asians took the tests while virtually all blacks took them, the black rate of 32.5 percent would be very impressive.
In fact, proportionately, twice as many Asians as whites take the tests, so although their pass rate was slightly lower than that of whites, the average Asian is about twice as likely as a white to get a three. Hispanics are only about two-thirds as likely as whites to take the tests, which devalues their 66.5 percent pass rate. What is more, the AP test most Hispanics take is Spanish. When their scores of three or better in Spanish are deducted, they had a pass rate of only 16.1 percent.
Blacks were about half as likely as whites to take AP tests, so their pass rate per capita was about the same as that of Hispanics. [Mitchell Landsberg, California Students Fare Well in AP Exams, Los Angeles Times, Feb. 14, 2008.]
The College Board now offers courses in 37 subjects. In early April, however, the College Board announced it would eliminate four AP classes after the 2008-09 school year: advanced computer science, Italian, French literature and Latin literature. The reason? The College Board wants more blacks and Hispanics taking AP courses and they almost never take any of the four classes being cut. [Scott J. Cech, College Board Intends to Drop AP Programs in Four Subjects, Education Week, April 5, 2008.]
Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski is a member of the village board of Carpenterville, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. On Saturday, April 5, two boys were playing in a magnolia tree next to Mrs. Ramirez-Sliwinski’s property. She complained to their parents that they were damaging the tree, but the father told her it was none of her business. As she describes the conversation, “I calmly said the tree is not there for them to be climbing in there like monkeys.”
Mrs. Ramirez-Sliwinski is Hispanic; the boys are black. The mother of one of the boys called the police, accusing her of “racism,” and officers gave Mrs. Ramirez-Sliwinski a $75 ticket for disorderly conduct. Police say a local ordinance prohibits anything that “disturbs or alarms people.” One of the boys told officers he was “scared” by her comment, and the mother said she was disturbed. Mrs. Ramirez-Sliwinski says she will fight the ticket in court and denies what she said was racist. In fact, she was a delegate for the Obama presidential campaign until resigning three days after the tree incident. [Obama Delegate Resigns after Remark, AP, April 8, 2008.]
A Glimmer of Sanity
In October 2005, Joey Vento, owner of Geno’s Steaks, a famous Philadelphia cheese steak restaurant, posted signs informing customers, “This is America. WHEN ORDERING PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH.” Mr. Vento says the signs reflect his disapproval of illegal immigration and of the increasing number of people in his neighborhood who can’t speak English. Mr. Vento says he never refused to serve anyone who couldn’t speak English, but that didn’t stop someone from filing a complaint with Philadelphia’s Commission on Human Relations.
In February 2007, the commission found “probable cause” that Geno’s was guilty of discrimination because the signs could be discouraging customers of certain backgrounds. The case then went to a public hearing, in which the lawyer for the commission argued the signs were ethnic intimidation, not political speech. Finally, on March 19 of this year, a three-member panel finally ruled 2-1 that Mr. Vento was not discriminating. Mr. Vento’s attorney, Albert G. Weiss, was pleasantly surprised. “We expected that this was not going to go our way,” he says.
The president of the commission says he won’t appeal the decision. Mr. Vento can keep his signs. [Patrick Walters, ‘Speak English’ Signs OK at Philly Shop, AP, March 19, 2008.]
Allah in Oxford
In The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon wondered what would have happened if Charles Martel had not defeated the Muslims at the Battle of Tours in 732: “Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mohamet.”
Today, about 7,000 Muslims live in Oxford, and the Central Mosque wants permission from the city council to blast the call to prayer over the city, as in Muslim countries. The call begins with “Allahu Akbar” or “God is great” and ends with “There is no God but Allah.” Traditionally, a muezzin shouted out the call from a minaret, but in Oxford, a loudspeaker would blare out a recording.
Allan Chapman, an Oxford historian and practicing Christian, says, “We are very angry that they are presuming to inflict this on a non-Muslim community. We see this as an attempt to impose Islam on a Christian-culture community.” Charlie Cleverly of St. Aldate’s, one of Oxford’s largest Anglican churches, calls the plan un-English. “When such an area is subject to such a call to prayer, it may force people to move out and encourage Muslim families to move in,” he says. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was criticized for recently appearing to advocate the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law in the UK, says the call makes him uncomfortable.
Imam Munir Chisti is willing to compromise. He says it isn’t necessary to broadcast the call five times a day as in Muslim countries. “We suggest that we have a call to prayer every Friday, because that is a special day for Muslims,” he explains. “It won’t be heard over the whole of Oxford. It won’t hurt anybody or force anything on anyone.”
The Anglican Bishop of Oxford John Pritchard supports the Muslims. “Part of living in a civilized society is respecting our diversity, even if aspects of it are not to our taste or belief,” he says. [Georgina Cooper, Will Muslim Call to Prayer Ring Out Over Oxford?, Reuters, Feb. 11, 2008.]
Good Friday is a public holiday in Australia, but that will change if John Evans has his way. Dr. Evans, a minister at the Church of All Nations in Carlton, Victoria, believes that since Australia is becoming a “more multi-cultural, multi-faith society,” Good Friday should be replaced by a day recognizing Aborigines. “We have done a great thing with the national apology [to Aborigines] but when you look at our public holidays there are no public holidays that recognize the role and place of Aborigines as the first people of this land,” he says. Dr. Evans also thinks replacing Good Friday with a day honoring Aborigines is in the spirit of Easter, which he says is about reconciliation between individuals, God and each other. [Michelle Draper, AAP, March 20, 2008.]
On March 26, the Florida legislature passed a resolution expressing “profound regret for Florida’s role in sanctioning and perpetuating involuntary servitude upon generations of African slaves.” Before the vote, John Phelps, curator of the state capitol, read out a history of the slave codes in Florida, citing the number of lashes slaves could get for crimes such as robbery or burglary. State Sens. Larcenia Bullard and Arthenia Joyner, both black, burst into tears. “I felt a pain that wouldn’t go away,” says Sen. Bullard. “I knew the facts, but to hear it put in those terms, I just fell apart,” says Sen. Joyner.
Like the apologies passed by Alabama, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia, Florida’s does not call for reparations. One of its sponsors, Rep. Joseph Gibbons says the resolution isn’t “about people wanting to get paid,” but Republican governor Charlie Crist says he’s open to the idea of reparations “if we can determine descendancy.” Gov. Crist is often mentioned as a possible running mate for John McCain. [Marc Caputo, Florida Offers Formal Slavery Apology, Herald (Miami), March 27, 2008.]
The urge to report fake hate crimes has now infected even white people. Melanie Bowers is a 13-year-old freshman at Athens High School in Athens, Texas. For a history assignment, she had to make a protest sign either for or against an issue, and she chose illegal immigration. Her sign read “If you love our nation, stop illegal immigration.” Three students took the sign away from her. She reported this to school authorities, and the three were given a day of in-school suspension.
Later, however, Miss Bowers claimed a group of Hispanics attacked her and threatened to rape and kill her. The school searched surveillance tapes for evidence of the attack and instead saw that she had scratched her own face and arms so as to fake the attack. She has admitted the hoax and will be charged with filing a false police report. [Molly Reuter, East Texas Teenager Attacked Over History Project, KLTV.com, April 7, 2008. Adam Russell, Update: Athens Student Caused Injuries to Herself, Tyler Morning Telegraph, April 9, 2008]
As in the United States, Britain’s rulers keep telling their people mass immigration brings countless benefits, many of them economic. Immigration increases the population by 190,000 each year, and foreign-born workers now make up 12.5 percent of the workforce—all reasons for joy. Unlike in the US, an arm of the British government actually disputes this rosy view. In April, a House of Lords committee issued a report refuting the government’s assertion that foreigners add £6 billion to the wealth of the nation each year. After calculating costs and benefits more carefully, the committee concluded that “the economic benefits of net immigration to the resident population are small and close to zero in the long run.” [Philip Johnston and Robert Winnett, Migration Has Brought ‘Zero’ Economic Benefit, Telegraph (London), March 29, 2008.]
More and More Visible
Canada calls non-whites “visible minorities,” whom it defines as “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.” (Last year the United Nations said the term “visible minorities” is “racially insensitive.”) New census data show that the number of visible minorities in Canada is increasing at five times the rate of the invisible population. Three fourths of the 250,000 immigrants to Canada each year are non-whites, of whom there are now five million, or 16.2 percent of the population. Rural Canada remains overwhelmingly white, with non-whites concentrated is cities, primarily Vancouver and Toronto. Vancouver itself is 51 percent non-white, while Toronto is 47 percent “visible.” Markham, Ontario and Richmond, British Columbia are both 65 percent non-white. Twenty-three percent of the Canadian population lives in the Vancouver and Toronto area, but 60 percent of non-whites do.
David Ley, a professor of geography at the University of British Columbia, says Canada does a better job of assimilating its immigrants than other countries because it does not make them become Canadian. “We’ve chosen not to go the French way, which is a very strong position that you come here and you be like us. A more multi-cultural view is that there’s give and take and there’s an evolution of a national society. That is the choice that Canada has made.” [Graeme Hamilton, Visible Minorities the New Majority, National Post, April 3, 2008.]
Cracking Down in RI
On March 28, Rhode Island became the latest state to crack down on illegal aliens. Republican governor Don Carcieri signed an executive order requiring state agencies and companies that do business with the state to check the legal status of all employees. He also ordered the Rhode Island State Police to investigate anyone they think might be here illegally and prison officials to turn imprisoned illegals over to immigration authorities. “If you are here illegally, you shouldn’t he here,” he said. Gov. Carcieri dismissed criticism that the executive order would spark xenophobia, saying it was the media that was responsible for inflaming the immigration debate. [Ray Henry, Rhode Island Targets Illegal Immigrants, AP, March 28, 2008.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — I find it difficult to believe that “Professor” Bruce Baum expects us to take what he writes about race seriously (see “Race Is an Illusion,” AR, April 2008). Among the many majestic flaws in Mr. Baum’s work is his failure to understand that recent research has shown that Europeans are always genetically more similar to each other than they are to Africans or East Asians (and vice versa). The definitive article on the subject is “Genetic Similarities Within and Between Human Populations,” D. J. Witherspoon et al., Genetics Vol. 176, pp. 351-359, May, 2007. Dr. Witherspoon and his colleagues show that even with a very strict measurement of genetic overlap, an assay of more than 1,000 gene markers will eliminate any overlap between people of the different major racial groups.
For years, geneticists have been classifying people by race based on their genes alone. There are even commercially-available tests that tell people their racial and sub-racial ancestry. To put it bluntly, Mr. Baum doesn’t know what he is talking about.
Ted Sallis, Tampa, Fla.
Sir — In his review of Bruce Baum’s book on race, Mr. Jackson was right to point out that whites were simply applying to their own species the kind of scientific inquiry they were applying to plants and animals. He might also have noted that ancient peoples discovered “race” long before nasty 18th-century white people are supposed to have invented it. Sesostris I, a XIIth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh of the 20th century BC, conquered parts of Nubia and set up a barrier at the border saying that no black could enter Egypt except as a slave. The Romans complained that the Mongoloid Huns they fought had “cakes” instead of faces. Arab slave traders reported that blacks were dull-witted, highly-sexed, and endowed with a remarkable sense of rhythm.
It is idiotic to claim that Europeans were the first to notice race.
Carla Peters, Sarasota, Fla.
Sir — I read your account of Fred Reed’s remarks at the 2008 AR conference in the April issue with interest, and I am delighted to hear that Mr. Reed’s Mexico has improved so dramatically from the Mexico in which I lived for almost four years. I worked full time in Puerto Vallarta, but also traveled to many parts of the country, including Guadalajara, Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende, Morelia, Uruapan, and elsewhere, from 1987 to 1991. I am fluent in Spanish and chose to live among the locals, far removed from the turistas. I found every stereotype of Mexico and Mexicans to be true. Mr. Reed claims that Mexico is “not crime-ridden and certain cities are safer than parts of the US”? Things certainly have changed. I was stripped of my jewelry regularly by the policia. This was called a mordida or “little bite,” and was exacted from citizen and foreigner alike.
Mr. Reed’s assertion that the “police are not omnipresent and that most people are not afraid of them” is not how it was when I lived there. I was arrested twice (for no apparent reason) and was magnanimously offered freedom in exchange for sexual favors. I declined, and was released several days later. I was lucky those favors were merely requested rather than demanded. One rich and powerful local I worked for had his Porsche stolen by a boy who worked as a “gofer” for our company. When my boss discovered who had stolen his car he had the policia take care of him. We never saw or heard from the boy again. This sort of thing happened all the time, and was discussed quite openly.
I can’t speak for today, but the Mexico of the late ’80s and early ’90s was most certainly a “hellhole.” The “mañana attitude” to which Mr. Reed refers was the main reason so many Americans and Canadians lived there. No one expected anything of you, so you felt like you were permanently on vacation. The “government services” Mr. Reed mentions were non-existent when I lived there. You were on your own for most things unless you had a lot of money with which to bribe yourself out of a jam.
I left Mexico because I noticed something very telling about the expatriates who chose to live there. Most found life in the US too difficult, and preferred the “easy life.” Many had problems such as laziness, irresponsibility, alcoholism, drug use, etc. I was also mystified by their abandonment of their own country. My time in Mexico made me more patriotic. Whenever I hear someone complaining about the US, I suggest they live in a Third-World county for a while and see if their views don’t change dramatically.
Alice Rodgers, Felton, Calif.
Sir — I was fascinated to learn in the “O Tempora” section of your April issue that Louis Farrakhan is backing Barack Obama. This really does prove that race trumps all. The Nation of Islam stands for separation of blacks and whites. Black Muslims are supposed to reject the idea that “the sons of the slaveholders can live together with the sons of the slaves,” and to believe that blacks must create their own societies and, eventually, their own country here in North America.
But now that it looks as though a half-black has a chance to become the most powerful man in the country, Brother Farrakhan is changing his tune. So long as the sons of the slaves can rule over the sons of the slave masters, maybe there is something to be said for integration after all.
Carl Tucker, Madison, Wis.
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