|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 1, No. 1||November 1990|
Who Speaks For Us?
A word of introduction to our readers.
In the fall of this year, we wrote a modest, one-sentence advertisement for American Renaissance, which we called a “literate, undeceived journal of race, immigration, and the decline of civility.” A well-known conservative publication called the ad “controversial,” and refused to accept it. In so doing, that publication once more confirmed how thoroughly silenced are the voices that will speak through American Renaissance.
Merely to put the words “race, immigration, and the decline of civility” in the same sentence is to step across the line that separates what may be said publicly from what may not. Despite the American tradition of free speech and the fervor with which we claim to defend it, nearly every American takes the greatest care not to cross that line. There are subjects on which debate has ended, the book has been closed, and this is to be so no matter how much the reality of our daily lives clashes with conclusions that have been declared as final.
Today it is foreigners who have not learned the limits of what may be said in America who are most likely to step across that strongly defended line. In 1986, then-Prime Minister Nakasone of Japan provoked a torrent of outrage when he said that because large numbers of blacks and Hispanics live in the United States, it cannot compete as effectively with other nations as it might otherwise.
In fact, blacks and Hispanics are, compared to whites, far more likely to be poor, illiterate, on welfare, or in jail; they are far more likely to have illegitimate children, be addicted to drugs, or have AIDS. By no definition of international competitiveness can the presence of these populations be anything but a disadvantage. How many Americans must have thought to themselves, “Mr. Nakasone is right”—and said nothing? Americans of European heritage, the cultural heirs of the people who founded and built this nation, were silent.
The United States is unquestionably less competitive because so many blacks and Hispanics are in jail or on welfare, but none dares say so. America is an increasingly dangerous and disagreeable place because of growing numbers of blacks and Hispanics (see following story), but none dares say this either. It is our actions that speak for us rather than our words. When we choose our neighborhoods or our schools, when we mentally demarcate entire sections of our cities as places to be avoided, we are saying something important about race, but we say it silently. White people have all but lost their public voice.
Today in America, there are hundreds of organizations that speak for blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and American Indians, but virtually no one speaks for us. While other racial and ethnic groups work tirelessly to advance their group interests—often at our expense—we alone are not to think of ourselves as a people with our own ideals and aspirations.
Some of us have become afraid to say openly what we know to be true. Others—sincere, thoughtful, concerned Americans—have been convinced that it is improper, even immoral, for white people to think of themselves as a group or to speak out as white people. We believe that in the pages of American Renaissance these people will find reasons to think that it is not only moral but necessary.
For though we are still three-fourths of the population, this society speaks and acts as if it were devoted to the interests of everyone but us. In the name of “equal opportunity,” America practices systematic, legal discrimination against whites. In the name of “diversity,” it sponsors massive non-white immigration. In the name of “multiculturalism,” its schools belittle the heritage that gave our nation its name, identity, laws, and moral foundation. In the name of “tolerance” it encourages groups who seek our dispossession.
Is dispossession too strong a word? Fifty years ago this nation was more than 90 percent white. In another fifty years, we are cheerfully told, it will be less than half white. Fifty years ago, the United States had an unmistakable national and cultural core. In another half century, if whites continue to cooperate in their own dispossession, this nation will have no core and no identity.
We at American Renaissance believe that for a nation to be a nation—and not just a crowd—it must consist of people that share the same culture, language, history and aspirations. It is in this sense that Norway, France and Japan are nations, and that the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia are not. If we continue to permit the erosion of the essential conditions of nationhood and, indeed, of any healthy sense of neighborhood or community, the frictions that torment us today will be as nothing compared to the chaos that will come. The squalor of Detroit, the violence of Washington (DC), and the savagery of New York City must not mark the way to the future.
If the American people loses coherence, our culture will weaken and our history will fade. We cannot expect Mexican immigrants, Vietnamese refugees, or militant blacks to care if Shakespeare disappears from our schools or if the Jefferson Memorial falls into decay. We cannot expect people who have nothing in common with each other but the legal abstraction of citizenship to work or sacrifice for the the common good. A nation can be nothing more than its people, and if its people changes, so must its character.
We atAmerican Renaissance love our nation and cherish its heritage. We will not be silent accomplices to dispossession. Ours is the culture of Galileo, Newton, Beethoven, Jefferson, and Edison. We are heirs to the spirit of Valley Forge, and the Alamo. It is our duty and privilege to carry forward as best we can the greatness of this legacy.
American Renaissance will speak for our people. It will speak with the confidence that is born of a conviction of what is right. For we bear malice towards none, and have no wish to trample the rights of others. We wish happiness and cultural integrity for all peoples, just as we pursue them for ourselves.
More than two centuries ago, the men who built this nation pledged to their cause their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Today, the crisis may not seem so sharp, nor the path of honor so clear, but what is at stake is no less important: the future of a nation.
Race, Crime, and Numbers
by Marian Evans
It is well known that non-whites commit proportionately more crime than whites, but few people have any idea how great the disproportions can be. New York City is an interesting case, since its citizens have a preoccupation with crime and its population is 45.4% white, 24% black, and 23.7% Hispanic. These are the general proportions towards which the nation is said to be moving.
The three crimes that New Yorkers probably fear most are murder, rape, and mugging. In 1989, black New Yorkers were 12.3 times more likely than whites to be arrested for murder, and Hispanics were 6.7 times more likely. For all sex offenses (including rape) blacks were 9.5 times more likely to be arrested and Hispanics were 5.4 times more likely. For robbery (mugging), the figures were 17 times for blacks and five times for Hispanics. New York City does not break down convictions by race, but people of different races are convicted in much the same proportions as arrested.
It is commonly objected that “racist” police practices account for figures like these, that police are arresting non-whites for crimes committed by whites. In fact, it is virtually impossible to pin the blame for a mugging or rape on a non-white if a white person actually did it. The victim almost always gets a good enough look at the criminal to know what race he is, so no matter how “racist” the police were, they couldn’t just round someone up and claim they had the perpetrator. If blacks are 17 times more likely than whites to be arrested for robbery, its probably because they are at least 17 times more likely to try it.
There is another way to interpret this kind of crime data. Let us imagine that the number of New Yorkers was unchanged but that the city were all black, or all Hispanic, or all white. Let us also imagine that the percentages of people of each race who committed crimes were the same as they are now. In an all-black New York City, there would be about 2-1/2 times as many murders as there are today, more than twice as many sex offenses, and nearly three times as many muggings. Since Hispanics are less crime-prone than blacks, an all-Hispanic New York would not be as dangerous, but crime would still go up: murder by 36%, sex offenses by 30%, while mugging, currently a black specialty, would stay about the same.
What if New York City were all white? Muggings would drop by a whopping 84%, murder would drop by 80%, and the sex offense rate would drop by 66%. New York City would be a considerably safer, more civilized place.
The New Racism: Excluding Whites
Today, what is called racism depends on who is doing it.
According to the common view of how racism works in America, white people are supposed to be quietly working all across the country to keep other races out of jobs, clubs, organizations, and positions of power. In fact, the number of American organizations that are openly or even discreetly all-white is minuscule while the number of organizations from which whites are explicitly excluded is large and growing all the time. Among the many racial double standards that work to the detriment of whites, this one is so widely accepted as to be hardly noticed. Nevertheless, it demonstrates a fundamental difference between the ways in which whites and non-whites think of themselves.
Here is an example that is both typical and atypical. In 1983, black and Hispanic graduates of Baruch College in New York City asked for official approval for a racially segregated alumni association. They wanted campus office space, secretarial help, and all the other services that were being provided to the campus-wide alumni association. The president of Baruch refused, saying that such an organization would run counter to the college’s goals of racial integration.
The black and Hispanic group then filed suit, saying that Brach’s refusal was racist. In 1990, the parties finally reached an agreement. All the demands for the new association were met, and the college agreed to pay not only $15,000 in court costs but $22,000 in the other side’s legal fees. Baruch College will now have two alumni associations, one open to all students and the other open only to blacks and Hispanics. This was a typical victory of a non-white group’s demands for racial exclusivity, something that would never be granted to a white group.
The only unusual aspect of this victory is that together, Hispanics and blacks outnumber whites at Baruch. They cannot even pretend to be doughty minorities struggling against an indifferent and oppressive white majority. They are, themselves, excluding a minority, which in this case happens to be white. It was probably because of this aspect of the black/Hispanic demand that Baruch resisted it rather than give in immediately, for in virtually all walks of life, whites have accepted—even encouraged—the establishment of openly race-based groups and sub-groups.
Blacks have been at this game longer than other minorities, and have a larger number of exclusive groups than anyone else. Virtually every American university has an association of black faculty and staff. The American Anthropological Association, the American Bar Association, the Catholic Church, and even advocacy groups for the aging have well-established black subgroups. Every major Protestant denomination has a chapter of the National Committee of Black Churchmen. There is a National Association of Black Journalists and a National Conference of Black Mayors, a Council of Black Elected Democrats, a Negro Dance Ensemble and a Negro Ensemble Company. Even the American Museum Association has, within it, the Afro-American Museums Association. In nearly every good-sized police and fire department, there is a Black Officers (or Firefighters) Union, and black government workers have established Blacks in Government.
In politics, the best known black grouping is the Congressional Black Caucus. It has a two million dollar war chest, raised mainly from corporate contributions, that it plans to spend on black candidates only. State legislatures have their own black caucuses, the U.S. State Department has Concerned Black Foreign Service Officers, and the Republican Party has a National Black Republican Council. The National Coalition on Black Voter Participation is devoted exclusively to persuading black people to register and to vote.
Some middle-class blacks who have been admitted to mainly-white social clubs find that they prefer the society of other blacks. This has led to a revival of Jack and Jill clubs, from which whites are excluded. There is even a Miss Black America beauty contest in which whites may not participate, even though blacks have won the Miss America contest four times, and twice in a row in 1989 and 1990. On many college campuses there are all-black fraternities, but fraternities that may have once been all-white have long ago been forced to open their doors to all races.
Far from criticizing black groups for their racial exclusiveness, American society encourages them. It was, for example, the Ford Foundation that paid to establish the Joint Center for Political Studies. Its job is to create racially exclusive networks and caucuses of black elected officials.
Black groups like this have been so popular and so effective in advancing openly racial goals that other races have copied them. Hispanics have begun to form their own subgroups within organizations they have joined, and as Asians increase in number they are beginning to do the same. This is to say that after they have joined groups from which they may have been excluded in the past, blacks and other non-whites now set up subgroups from which they exclude whites. They maintain a separate set of racial priorities that is explicitly different from the goals of the other members of the larger organization. Any subgroup that had the word “White” in its name would, of course, be ostracized or expelled.
How does one justify this openly asymmetric racial behavior? The usual explanation is that whites do not need race-based organizations of this kind because society is set up automatically to put them into positions of privilege and power. In effect, it is said, whites are always playing the race game, and non-whites must organize along racial lines out of pure self-defense.
This argument completely misunderstands the difference between white and non-white expectations and behavior. Among the many reasons for which whites are in positions of power or prominence—better education, more experience, greater numbers, past exclusionary practices—white racial solidarity today plays practically no role. Whites are forbidden to think in terms of racial identity unless it is to think of ways to promote the interests of other races. When whites act in their own interests, they are to act strictly as individuals rather than as conscious members of a racial group who have a stake in the success of their fellow whites.
The behavior of blacks, for example, is the very opposite of this. They are encouraged to identify with their racial “brothers,” to promote “black consciousness,” and to see themselves as a group defined clearly by race. They do not concern themselves for a moment with what is fair for whites. They work openly for the advancement of people of their own race, and if advancement comes through the exclusion or dispossession of whites, so be it. Blacks, therefore, use racial solidarity as a powerful tool to win advantages for themselves while whites are to smother any sense of their own racial solidarity. Affirmative action requires that whites go even further and deliberately sacrifice their own interests to the interests of blacks and other non-whites.
To some extent black racial solidarity is inevitable. For generations blacks were discriminated against as a race, and it was natural that they seek redress as a race. However, the terms on which redress was sought foresaw the ultimate disappearance of race as a relevant category in America. This was Martin Luther King’s vision, and it was the vision that white Americans embraced. They set about dismantling their own racial identity in the expectation that everyone else would do that same, and that America would become a nation of individuals, rather than an uneasy assembly of races
But while all but a handful of whites renounced a deliberately racial consciousness, blacks continued to develop an ever more explicitly racial identity. To the extent that it gave direction to their struggle against legal segregation, disfranchisement, and all the other marks of second-class citizenship, it was inevitable. But when it became the guiding light of a movement to carve out special privileges based on race, it was a rejection of Dr. King’s color-blind program, and a violation of the tacit agreement under which whites were to abandon their own racial identity.
At the same time, since race and race consciousness had become a tool for extracting benefits from whites, they became ever more attractive, even essential to blacks. Thus, the great irony of the “civil rights” movement was that as whites dutifully tried to strip away their own consciousness as members of a racial group and tried to think of all Americans as individuals, blacks defined themselves ever more distinctly as a group, and made race consciousness a central part of their identities.
The histories of organizations like the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) reflect this irony. Initially, whites and blacks working together were supposed not only to stamp out racial prejudice but to eliminate the very relevance of race. But as soon as blacks discovered that waning white consciousness left a clear field for growing demands made in the name of black consciousness, there was all the more reason for blacks to keep race as relevant as possible. In fact, race became so relevant within these groups that the presence of whites was increasingly incongruous.
As late as 1961, CORE, for example, had a membership that was two-thirds white, and a national leadership that was almost entirely white. Only a few years later, its leaders were all black, and in 1965 it amended its constitution to limit the positions that whites could hold—a curious act for a congress of racial equality. The elimination of whites, not only from the leadership but from the rank and file of these groups, marked the change in the civil rights movement from one in which blacks and whites worked together for equality to one in which blacks worked openly for their own advantage.
These two opposite processes—waning white consciousness and growing black consciousness—explain a great deal that is otherwise incomprehensible. They explain why the death of a black at the hands of a white unleashes torrents of black indignation, whereas a white death at the hands of blacks passes in silence. They explain why any black who is criticized by whites, however justifiably, will always find a deep reservoir of support among other blacks. They explain why the trial of any prominent black, no matter how obviously guilty, becomes a pretext for denouncing the “white racist” justice system. They explain why black jurors increasingly acquit black defendants no matter what the evidence. They explain why blacks eagerly work the racial spoils system while whites remain silent when other whites are despoiled. They explain why blacks instinctively form racially-exclusive solidarity groups while whites are taught to act as individuals without racial consciousness. Hispanics, American Indians, and to a much lesser extent, Asians are cultivating racial identities as sharply etched as that of blacks.
Non-whites are often encouraged to make race the center-piece of their identities, but whites are to deny their own race as they work to benefit other races. White racial solidarity is punished as bigotry and hatred, while black or Hispanic racial solidarity is promoted as a healthy expression of pride. This is a double standard that has been hammered deep into our national consciousness, but it will not hold up much longer. White consciousness, never entirely absent, is growing in the face of aggressive minority-racial consciousness that is often openly hostile to whites.
It has begun to dawn on more and more whites that never-ending demands made in the name of black or Hispanic racialism are not what they bargained for from the civil rights movement. They are beginning to rethink their own views on race. The media are constantly warning us that although black or Hispanic consciousness are noble sentiments, white consciousness is the meanest sort of viciousness. Nevertheless, events are leading to a reemergence of white consciousness as surely as the sparks fly upward.
In the next issue Mr. Boggs will examine some of the forms that reemergent white consciousness is taking and will venture some predictions.
Children of the Welfare State
by Erica Blair
The American welfare state is evolving into something one might call the nanny state. It not only offers succor and service; it must sometimes wheedle, beg, and even bribe its charges to accept benefits.
The state of Rhode Island, for example, has concluded that it is both humane and thrifty to offer free, pre-natal care to pregnant indigent women. Infant disorders can often be corrected most effectively and at least cost while the child is still in the womb. Nevertheless, Rhode Island has discovered that poor women are too disorganized to come in for medical care even if it is free. The authorities have decided to tempt them into clinics by entering them in a lottery. Any woman who keeps all her appointments through the first trimester will be eligible for a $500 prize.
Washington (DC) also offers free, pre-natal care for any woman whose annual family income is less than $20,000. There are convenient evening hours and child care is available. The city has launched a “Better Babies” campaign to advertise health services through billboards, television, and radio. But still the pregnant women will not come. In desperation, the city sends out MOM (Maternity Outreach Mobile) vans that prowl poor neighborhoods for pregnant women, remind them of their appointments and take them to clinics if they don’t have transportation. Despite all this, Washington has the highest infant mortality rate in the nation. A black baby born in the District of Columbia is more likely to die before the age of one than a baby born in North Korea or Bulgaria.
Some people would like to prevent some of these pregnancies. In Caroline County (MD), an official has suggested that teenage girls be paid a dollar a day so long as they avoid pregnancy. The payments would be made to girls who have already had one child and who are therefore likely to have another. In 1989, fourteen percent of the teenage girls attending schools in Caroline County were pregnant. More than two thirds of these were pregnant with their second child. Of course, if payments are made only to girls who have already had one child, some girls will get pregnant just to get into the program.
Isabel Sawhill of the Urban Institute has a different idea. She proposes that underclass children should be given a $5,000 reward if they manage to graduate from high school without bearing or fathering a child. The $5,000 would be in the form of a voucher that could be spent only on college or vocational training.
LeMoyne-Owen College already offers tuition-free admission to young black men who attend 14 Saturday-afternoon sessions on campus, get a C average in high school, and graduate without becoming fathers. The State of Rhode Island likewise has just started a $10 million program to offer free college tuition to any of today’s third graders who manage to graduate from high school without going on drugs or having a child.
But what if babies are born after all? There are nanny-state programs for them, too. One largely-black school in Detroit holds a lottery with a $100 prize to coax students into handing in class registrations. Maryland, the state that is considering paying girls not to get pregnant, recently voted to require all school districts to come up with reward plans to boost attendance. Thus, at Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick (MD), any student who has missed fewer than four days of school in one year gets to enter a lottery for one thousand dollars.
All these programs have something in common. They recognize that America has a growing class of people who will not be even minimally responsible unless they are bribed. What does it say about us when citizens look to the state, not only for services paid for by others, but for rewards for using them?
The Roman empire was already in decline by the time the satirist Juvenal wrote that the anxieties of the people should be limited to two things: bread and circuses. The great days of the empire were long over when Romans looked to the state for food and entertainment.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
Uniting Against the White Man
The Houston Business Council is an advocacy group for companies owned by Hispanics, blacks, Asians, Indians, and women. It holds meetings to try to persuade them to do business with each other rather than with companies owned by white males. It circulates a directory of members, and has a newsletter to announce additions to the group.
Nevertheless, its members are not finding it easy to unite against the white man, since they would rather do business with people of their own race. Typical is Carmen Orta, a Hispanic who owns a company called American Technologies. “Whenever I’m doing business,” she says, “I’m going to pick up the directory of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce [first].”
U.S. Aid for the ANC?
Prominent names in the black establishment—Benjamin Hooks, Coretta King, Jesse Jackson—have announced that they will lobby the State Department to give money to the African National Congress of South Africa. A spokesman for the group says that since America gave money to the Nicaraguan Contras, it would be only “consistent” to give money to black “pro-democracy” forces as well. He didn’t add that in spite of everything that has happened in Eastern Europe, the ANC is still openly communist, or that the white government it is trying to overthrow is one of perhaps three democratic governments on the entire African continent.
Any black government that succeeded the white regime would have a good chance of being a tribal tyranny that would drive Africa’s one successful economy onto the rocks. The current fighting between supporters of the ANC and those of Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi—fighting that has largely followed tribal lines—does not auger well for black rule. If American blacks were interested in democracy, they might take an interest in Zaire, Ethiopia, Uganda, Liberia, or any number of murderous black dictatorships. Their interest appears not to be democracy but black power.
Whether or not the American government decides to support the ANC directly, it is supporting it indirectly. Contributions to the organization are tax deductible.
Racial Justice in California
Some months ago it was reported that Claremont College in California was given a court order to pay a million dollars to a black professor who was denied tenure. The professor claimed that while he was in an adjoining room, he overheard “racist” deliberations by the tenure committee.
Other California colleges have official policies of racial discrimination, but they have not been brought to court. This is because they discriminate against white people. John Bunzel, a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, has collected a few examples of this kind of discrimination. In November, 1984, the provost of San Francisco State University gave written approval to the English department’s request for two faculty slots “with the stipulation that the candidates recommended to me be non-white.” A teacher who has served on a hiring committee at the same university reports that the chairman of the department instructed the committee “to save time and energy by not examining any applications from white males.”
Last winter, Stanford University told a white with a PhD that the university’s new course in Culture, Issues, and Values would be hiring only racial minorities. At California State University at San Bernardino, the faculty administrator told a white who had been teaching for eight years that he would not be considered for tenure because he would not help meet affirmative action goals.
Although racial double standards of this kind are well entrenched in this country, more and more whites are beginning to notice and complain about them.
Walter Fauntroy Promotes Tax-Dodging
Walter Fauntroy, the non-voting congressional delegate from the District of Columbia, is urging D.C. residents to withhold their federal tax payments until the United States Constitution is amended to make D.C. a state. This is curious on at least two counts. First, elected officials do not usually encourage their constituents to break the law. Second, the residents of the District of Columbia receive, per capita, far more federal funds than the residents of any state. Mr. Fauntroy is urging the greatest beneficiaries of the federal system to stop contributing to it. Mr. Fauntroy is black, as are 70 percent of the people he represents.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police—the “Mounties”—have always worn red uniforms and broad-brimmed hats. That is, they did until this year, when the Canadian Solicitor General, Pierre Cadieux, ruled that Sikh recruits could wear their traditional turbans instead of the hat. Mr. Cadiuex said that his decision, which did not go down well with all Canadians, reflects Canada’s strong commitment to multiculturalism. Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney said that anyone who opposed the new rules was a racist and as bad as the Ku Klux Klan.
In the mean time the Toronto School board has decided that Sikh children should be allowed to wear their kirpans or ceremonial daggers to school because to forbid them would be a violation of religious freedom. Kirpans must be worn under clothing and be no more than seven inches long. The Toronto police argued against the new rule, saying that the kirpan is a weapon and should not be allowed in schools.
Last August the United States signed an agreement with Vietnam that opens our borders to former Vietnamese political prisoners. They started coming in January of this year and 7,000 are expected to have come by this fall. The agreement should eventually cover tens of thousands more, most of whom will probably settle in the large Vietnamese communities in California. Many of these men have been in prison since the Vietnam war ended in 1975. They suffer from mental and other diseases they got in prison, and few speak English. They are likely to be a heavy burden on the communities that accept them. Nevertheless, they are probably no more likely to become public charges than the Vietnamese refugees who have preceded them. A federal study done in the fall of 1989 found that 80 percent of all Vietnamese refugees who came to California in the previous two years were still on welfare. (San Jose Mercury News, 3/18/90)
Suing the Census
Even before the 1990 census began, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) set up a litigation team to sue the Census Bureau because of inaccurate results. No matter how many Hispanics the census eventually reports, MALDEF will sue to have the number adjusted upwards. It will claim that even if the Census Bureau did its best to find them all, it will have undercounted Hispanics—particularly illegal immigrants.
Although the Census Bureau swore to keep data on individuals confidential, illegals are loath to tell a government agent just how many sisters and uncles live at a given address. In order to reassure them, the Census Bureau spent a good chunk of its $80 million publicity budget on Spanish-language radio and TV ads, and hired Hispanic activists to get the word out that census data wouldn’t be passed on to immigration officials. Hispanic organizations say the Bureau should have spent millions more.
Why the big push? Numbers are power. Census data are used to draw up congressional and other voting districts. Even if illegals don’t have the right to be in this country, and even if they can’t vote, they will be counted just like citizens, and voting districts will be redrawn accordingly. This means that a largely Hispanic district, whose numbers are bloated with illegals, will get more federal and local representatives who can be controlled by the smaller number of Hispanics who are citizens and can vote. More Hispanics who can’t vote translate into more power for the ones who can.
Another reason for wanting bigger numbers is that they can be used for “affirmative action” demands such as the following: “The census data says that 45 percent of the adults in this district are Hispanic, but only 15 percent of the police officers (or school teachers or firemen or bank tellers) are Hispanic.” Amid the charges of discrimination, no one will remember that the census data includes illegals who don’t have rights to those jobs in the first place.
After several years of stability and even decline, widespread use of crack cocaine has led to an explosion in the number of cases of venereal disease. Non-whites, who are the heaviest users of crack, are suffering the most. Dr. Don Williamson, a communicable diseases official for the state of Alabama, says he expects that by the end of the year the state will have 44 non-white venereal disease patients for every white patient.
Dr. Williams puts the blame squarely on crack cocaine and the willingness of women to trade sex for drugs. “It’s not at all unusual,” he says, “for somebody to come in for treatment who can’t even remember how many people he or she has had sex with in a week’s time. And if they can remember, they don’t know their names.” This level of promiscuity makes it virtually impossible to fight the disease through contact tracing. (Columbus Ledger Enquirer, 7/19/90)
The state of Massachusetts has found a similar upsurge in venereal disease, with great disparities in infection rates between the races. Black men are an astonishing 102 times more likely to have gonorrhea than white men, and Hispanic women are 104 times more likely than white women to have syphilis. Here, too, crack cocaine and attendant promiscuity are blamed for the increases. (Boston Globe, 4/11/90)
High rates of venereal disease are associated with increased chances of getting AIDS, since it is thought that the virus enters the body through bleeding venereal sores. Last year, black men were about three times as likely as white men to die from AIDS, and black women were about nine times more likely to die from the disease than white women. Those disproportions are expected to increase in the 1990s.
According to the FBI, Chinese gangs known as Triads have pushed the Mafia aside and are now the prime suppliers of heroin to the black community. It is likely that during the 1990s the number of Triad operatives in the United States will grow to double the numbers that the Mafia reached at its peak during the early 1960s.
The Triads are mainly based in Hong Kong, but are not expected to stay there after 1997 when the colony is turned over to China. Since China is ruthless about rooting out organized crime, Triad bosses are planning to move their operations overseas. The United States, with its liberal immigration policies and broad criminal rights laws, is an attractive destination.
Police report that Triads are very difficult to penetrate, and have codes of silence, revenge, and loyalty that make the Mafia look like boy scouts. The FBI and DEA have a few Chinese agents, but have had virtually no success in infiltrating the gangs.
Since 1981, Hispanic college students—like black students—can choose to attend a university that restricts admissions to students of their own race. National Hispanic University (NHU) recently announced plans to move from Oakland to San Jose (CA), where it hopes eventually to build a campus for 5,000 students.
Virtually every mostly-white university in the country now has minority counseling, minority orientation, minority mentors, and deans for minority affairs. Most Universities in the South West have such programs specifically for Hispanics. This is not enough for the supporters of NHU, who look to their school for “cultural and educational support systems designed to build self-confidence and provide role models.”
Educating the Freshmen
New York State University at Albany requires all its incoming freshmen to read a book or two over the summer before they arrive on campus. This year it assigned the text of a play, Brothers and Keepers, about two brothers growing up in the black ghetto of Pittsburgh. John Wideman, the play’s black author, was to address the freshmen in what was billed as the highlight of freshman orientation. The 2,150 new collegians were to be split into groups of 20 to discuss the implications of race and racism.
Last year, freshmen were required to read a book about homeless families by the socialist writer Jonathan Kozol, and a volume of short stories by Nadine Gordimer about the plight of South African blacks. Before that, freshmen read Beloved, by the black activist novelist, Toni Morrison. The books are chosen for their “cultural diversity” and to prepare students for America in the 21st century, explains the dean of undergraduate studies, Sung Bok Kim.
Firefighters to the Supreme Court
In June, 1988, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel ordered the San Francisco fire department to promote eleven blacks, eight Hispanics, and eight Asians to the rank of lieutenant, and gave the department 60 days to do it. She ruled that as many as 48 more firemen could be promoted, so long as at least 25 percent of them were minorities.
The San Francisco fire department has always made promotions on the basis of a written test, with promotions going to the people with the top scores regardless of race. With Judge Patel’s ruling hanging over their heads, the city used what it concedes was a highly unusual procedure to promote the minorities: it passed over many high-scoring whites and picked minorities that were as low as number 200 on the list. White firemen promptly went to court.
Promotion to Lieutenant is no ceremonial matter. Officers in a fire department must make crucial decisions about how their men will fight a dangerous fire, and mistakes can be very costly. Promotion by race rather than qualifications was therefore not only unfair but dangerous.
The U.S. Court of Appeals recently disagreed. It said that race-based hiring and promotions put the department on course towards the legitimate racial goal of having a 40 percent-minority force. White firefighters have appealed again, this time to the highest court. “We want to resolve once and for all before the Supreme Court whether quotas are legal,” said James Ferguson, president of the local firefighters union.
Judging the Teachers
Many Americans are worried about the education of their children. In international competitions, American students are regularly put to shame by students from Japan, Europe, and even Korea or Taiwan. It has therefore become increasingly common to make teachers take competence tests—despite frantic opposition from teachers’ unions.
Minorities invariably score worse than whites. In the California teachers’ examination in 1983, for example, 76 percent of the white teachers passed, but only 26 percent of the black teachers did. In a Florida exam the same year, 90 percent of whites and but only 35 percent of blacks passed. Disparities of this size are a consequence of bowing to pressure to put minority faces in class rooms, even if it means lowering standards.
Though no one has ever demonstrated that minority students are incapable of learning from white teachers, it is now dogma that schools must be filled with racial “role models.” Teaching ability is less important than race. A federal judge has just ruled that 41 minority candidates who failed a city of Buffalo (NY) teaching test must be given jobs anyway. Judge John Curtin overruled the Board of Education’s decision to reject the candidates, saying that, “the board’s action, if left unchecked, would have a severe impact on the overall integration plan.” The 41 candidates will start work during the 1990/91 school year.
It would be hard to find a more self-defeating policy than that of Judge Curtin. The city of Buffalo gets unqualified teachers. Non-whites get jobs because they are not white. Whites are denied jobs because they are white. And American children will keep on losing to the Japanese, Europeans, and Koreans. The Mexicans and the Malaysians are already nipping at our heels.
Third World Moving to Manhattan
In March of this year, 84 people died at the Happy Land social club in the second worst fire in the history of New York City. The number of deaths was so high because Happy Land, like most other Hispanic social clubs, ignored building code and fire regulations. Most of the dead were recent immigrants from Central America, many of them illegal.
In the months since the tragedy, Mayor David Dinkins of New York has stepped up enforcement of fire regulations, with the result that hundreds of Hispanic social clubs have been closed. Despite or perhaps because Mayor Dinkins and much of his administration is black, Hispanics are claiming that the enforcement campaign is a racist attempt to shut down the only places where they can relax and socialize with their own people.
The outcry has been so great and the reported need for all-Hispanic clubs so desperate that the Dinkins administration is reportedly bowing to pressure and considering relaxing fire and safety regulations for the clubs. People from the underdeveloped world bring their standards with them.
On The Trail of the Great Taboo Part I
The IQ Controversy, Mark Snyderman and Stanley Rothman, Transaction Publishers, 1988, 310 pp. $24.95
Reviewed by Thomas Jackson
Few subjects excite as much controversy as the question of IQ testing. Is intelligence inherited or determined by environment? Why do the children of rich people have higher IQ scores than the children of poor people? Why do whites and Asians have higher scores than blacks and Hispanics? These questions are treated with the caution one might reserve for vials of nitroglycerin.
As Mark Snyderman and Stanley Rothman show in their book, The IQ Controversy, Public Policy and the Media, what the press and television tell us about IQ is different from what specialists in the field say about it. The media refuse to accept the scientific consensus and instead promote positions that are considered eccentric in the expert community. Mr. Snyderman and Mr. Rothman base their conclusions on a careful study of the scholarly literature, an analysis of mass media reports on IQ, and a questionnaire survey of 661 recognized authorities in education and psychological testing.
The media support the view that intelligence can’t be either defined or measured, that intelligence tests-whatever they measure-are hopelessly biased, and that test score differences reflect the test taker’s environment rather than inherited ability. They take as an article of faith that the differences in average IQs of blacks and whites is strictly a matter of environment.
The popular media do concede that there are people like Arthur Jensen and Richard Herrnstein who dissent from some of these views, but it presents them either as cranks or racists. In fact, as the authors demonstrate, both these men are entirely within the scientific mainstream and are unusual only in their willingness to speak publicly.
It is true that intelligence is hard to define. It is one of those things that we may not be able to describe perfectly but that we recognize. More to the point, IQ tests have an impressive record of accurately predicting school grades, job performance, or anything else that requires what people think of as intelligence. Anyone who scores well on IQ tests is likely to seem intelligent by virtually any common-sense standard.
Furthermore, IQ develops in a predictable, virtually physiological way. By about the age of eight, a child’s IQ is well established and his test scores of many years later can be predicted with 90% accuracy or better. Intelligence develops with at least as much regularity as purely physical characteristics like height and weight.
Intelligence, therefore, need not be perfectly defined in order for it to be measured. Whatever it is that IQ tests measure, a good majority of Mr. Snyderman and Mr. Rothman’s experts agree that it is an important ingredient to success in life, and that IQ tests measure it reliably.
Heritability, on the other hand, is easy to define but can be hard to measure. Some things, like eye color, are strictly genetic; no environment can change them. Height is largely genetic, but can be influenced by diet, which is part of the environment. Although the popular press writes about the IQ debate as if people were arguing that intelligence is either all genetic or all environmental, virtually every expert agrees that intelligence is influenced by both genes and environment. The only question is by how much.
The best subjects for studies of the heritability of IQ are identical twins, since they have exactly the same genes. When identical twins are separated at birth and reared apart they still grow up to have very similar IQs, even though their environments were different. In fact, separated identical twins are closer in IQ than are fraternal twins who are reared in the same family. Fraternal twins have no more genetic overlap than any pair of brothers or sisters, but when they are reared in the same family, they have environments that are about as similar as it is possible to get. That their IQ scores should differ significantly more than those of identical twins who didn’t even grow up in the same family suggests that heredity is more important than environment in determining IQ.
Other studies have shown that the IQs of adopted children are closer to those of their biological parents than to those of their foster parents. Likewise, in a family whose children are all adopted, there will be a greater variation in IQ than in a family whose children are all biological. Biological children have genes in common as well as environment, and genes appear to account for their closer IQ scores.
Most scientists in the Snyderman-Rothman survey therefore think that about 60% of individual differences in IQ are due to genes and the rest to environment, and some put the genetic contribution as high as 80%. This does not mean that IQ cannot change. To the extent that it is influenced by environment, a massively different environment can presumably affect it.
However, no one is sure of the best ways to change the environment in order to improve IQ, and since more then half of individual IQ differences appear to be due to genes anyway, environment changes have to be drastic to have any effect.*
Moreover, there is no assurance that changes would be permanent. The most intensive Head Start programs reportedly raise preschool children’s IQs by as much as 15 or 20 points, but the gains usually disappear by the second or third grade. Even if all IQ differences due to environment could somehow be eliminated, the differences due to heredity would remain. Also, if new environmental techniques to raise IQ were ever discovered, they would be likely to work just as well for people who have high IQs by virtue of their genes. Differences in IQ score are therefore something that will persist no matter how carefully environment is adjusted.
The heredity/environment question is also part of the debate over the link between IQ and success in life. Everyone agrees that smart, successful people tend to have smart, successful children. People who think IQ is mainly influenced by environment argue that this is because successful people give their children a good environment. They point out that children who grow up in $200,000 houses have higher IQs than children who grow up in $30,000 houses. They come close to suggesting that a more expensive house would raise a child’s IQ. People who think that IQ is largely hereditary argue that people are successful because they have high IQs, and are likely to pass on genes for high IQ to their children.
Test data show that for every social and economic class, if a son has a higher IQ than his father he is likely to move up and if his IQ is lower he is likely to move down. IQ thus appears to affect social class more than the reverse.
*To put it in slightly technical terms, assuming IQ heritability to be 60%, in order to get a change of one standard deviation (15 points) in IQ it would still take a 2½ standard deviation change in IQ-relevant environment (whatever that might be).
In the next issue, in the concluding part of his review, Mr. Jackson will report on the authors’ conclusions about race and IQ.
Self-Esteem at the Checkout Line
by Marian Evans
In so many ways, California leads the nation. A year ago it broke new ground when it established a state commission to discover how government might promote self-esteem among its citizens. Now, in cooperation with the federal government, California has launched a pilot program that should boost the self-esteem of food stamp recipients and cut administration costs. San Diego County will simply send them checks rather than issue stamps. Excitement for the program seems to have caused a San Diego County official to scramble his syntax. “Food stamps [are] a put-down and a humiliating thing to have food stamps in a grocery line,” he said. Californians on the dole can now look the checkout lady straight in the eye. Perhaps the resulting surge of self-esteem will propel them off food stamps and into jobs.
Just as we remain to be convinced that a jail term should be agreeable, we doubt that receiving government charity should be altogether agreeable either. But such old-fashioned scruples aside, the old system had an advantage that this one does not: food stamps could be spent only on food.
Of course, since welfare recipients, in a practice known as “smoking the check,” can choose to spend their allowances on crack cocaine, perhaps the spirit of fairness requires that food stamp recipients should have the same freedom. The residents of the District of Columbia are estimated to spend more money on cocaine than on food and drink, so perhaps the new, spend-’em-on-anything “food” checks are nothing more than a subtle acknowlegement of how times and manners change.
Let us not, however, be too nostalgic for the disciplines of the past. Indeed, food stamps are meant to be used only for food, but when enough of them are about, the rules begin to bend. In Puerto Rico, for example, where proportionately more people receive food stamps than anywhere else, the little coupons have become a kind of second currency. Even prostitutes, we are told, are willing to price deals in food stamps. We have no data on how payment in food stamps affects the self-esteem of their customers.