|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 14, No. 9||September 2003|
Urban Law 101
What I Didn’t Learn in Law School:
Adventures with black clients
I grew up in a suburb of a large northern city, and had no real contact with blacks until I became a lawyer. After I got my law degree I naïvely looked forward to a rewarding legal career. Little did I realize that 25 years later I would be a self-employed attorney doing domestic and civil litigation for a clientele that is overwhelmingly black.
I didn’t plan it that way. I just wanted to do a lot of work in the courtroom, and the best offer I got out of law school was with a small firm that specialized in bankruptcy. Most of its clients were black. Several years later, I set up an independent practice and many of my former clients came to me for domestic work.
Most people do not realize this, but outside the world of corporate or securities law, in any big city the legal profession is to a large degree fueled by the pathologies of blacks and other Third-World people. Of course, whites hire lawyers, but in any city, especially one with a good-sized black population, most of the people who need lawyers are black. In this respect, lawyers are like police officers or social workers — they rarely deal with ordinary white people.
To a large degree, I became racially conscious because of my black clients, who eventually destroyed all my preconceived notions about race. My awakening did not come from one or even a few incidents, but from the accumulation of thousands upon thousands of small interactions.
Day after day my clients continue to amaze me. There is no racial education quite so thorough and convincing as spending time with blacks, and my clients are far from being the poorest and least competent blacks. They are not indigent criminals for whom I am a court-appointed lawyer. They are people who can afford (or think they can afford) a lawyer to get a divorce, contest a custody judgment, beat a traffic ticket, etc. Some are government employees who make $60 to $70 thousand a year, yet even this group is vastly different from whites.
They Don’t Know
One of the most striking things about my black clients is the things they do not know. Many blacks, for example, do not know their own telephone numbers. They may think they do but they don’t, and the problem has gotten worse with the proliferation of cell phones. At least a third of the numbers they leave with my receptionist or on my answering machine are wrong numbers. Often, a potential client will call several times, each time leaving a variation of the same phone number. I keep calling until they get it right. At first I thought I was taking down the numbers incorrectly, but now I know better. With caller ID, it is clear when what the client says does not match the digital display.
Some callers don’t even leave a number. About a quarter of the messages blacks leave do not include either a name or a number. Needless to say, many calls are not returned.
More than a handful of blacks who have come to my office do not even know their own home address (they move often). Many cannot tell me their own spouse’s names. Now I know to tell clients ahead of time that they will need this sort of information when they come in. Otherwise, if I ask for someone’s address he may look hurt and say, “If I’d known you were going to ask me that I would have come prepared.”
Many black men know their children’s names but do not know how to spell them. With the proliferation of unusual names among blacks, I can only guess at how they are spelled. One client who told me he couldn’t spell his children’s names said I would need an encyclopedia to look them up. Many men have admitted to me they are not even sure how to pronounce their children’s names. Black woman, on the other hand, often become incensed if you mispronounce the very unusual names they have given their children.
The most unusual name I ever came across was Iisszzttadda. I have never met a person, white or black, who could pronounce it correctly. To my surprise the name is pronounced, “I seize the day.” Iisszzttadda had siblings named Raheem, Utopian, Desiorme, Sid-Timothy, Kizzma, and Larilaril. I have occasionally asked clients the reasons for such unusual names, but the most common answer is “I don’t know. It just sounded good.” This is the answer I got from a mother who named her child Latrine. (See sidebar for actual names of blacks I have encountered in my practice.)
I once had a client in my office who did not know his own name. He had been called by his nickname for so long he couldn’t remember his given name. This is not as shocking as it sounds. Some black names, like Phe-anjoy or Quithreaun or JyesahJhnai, are so odd, it would be no surprise if they were never used and eventually forgotten.
Names are not the only things blacks do not know. Once when I was filling out a form for a female client I asked if she knew how old her husband was. She told me she didn’t know. I asked her the next question on the form, which was her husband’s birth date. Amazingly, she knew it — and was genuinely surprised when I told her she could figure out her husband’s age from his birth date.
When potential clients call for the first time, often the hardest part is to figure out why they are calling. Usually they begin in the middle of the story. If you let them, they will go on and on, and say nothing. Clients may call about papers they got in the mail, but never have the papers in front of them. They may call for information, but never have a pen or pencil ready to take it down. I have learned to ask direct questions: “What is your name?” “What is the problem?” If a client cannot tell me in three minutes or less what the problem is, I tell him to come to my office and bring a small retainer fee. That way at least I will have to listen to their ramblings only if they are prepared to pay.
Blacks with whom I have already spoken seem to think I should know instantly who they are when they telephone. After I get on the line, a typical conversation may go like this:
‘Who am I speaking to?’
‘I am your client.’
‘I have many clients, can you tell me which one?’
‘I am your divorce client.’
‘Can you tell me your name?’
‘Rufus, can you tell me your last name?’
The conversation may go on for some time before I finally figure out who is calling.
I do not take personal injury or product liability cases, but blacks are always asking about bringing suits of this kind: “My vacuum cleaner broke. Can you help me?”
Most of my clients who are not black either show up on time for appointments or call if they must reschedule. Amazing as this may seem, only about five percent of my black clients show up on time, and by that I mean within an hour of the appointed time. Only one in five show up on the appointed day. A few trickle in a day or two later. Most just never show up. Missing an appointment never embarrasses black people. They call repeatedly for new appointments, making four, five or even six appointments and then miss them all. I had one client who called more than 50 times before he finally came to my office. Rarely do I ever get a call from a black client canceling an appointment.
When I first started out as a lawyer I would call clients in advance to remind them of their appointments. They thanked me, but it made them no more likely to show up. Also, I used to call clients and potential clients who missed appointments, and try to have them reschedule. This did very little good. The most common response was, “Why are you calling me?” and it was never their fault that they didn’t show up. They had many different excuses, but I never heard, “I forgot,” or “I’m sorry I didn’t make it.”
Since appointments mean so little to my clients, I decide each day when I am available, and tell everyone to show up at the same time. On Saturday afternoons I can have as many as twenty appointments for the same time. Usually it is not a problem because few show up and even fewer show up on time. Only once in the last 20 years did everyone show up.
Many of my clients are unable to explain even the most basic facts. Often they must take the witness stand, and no matter how many times we have gone over the testimony in advance, I can be surprised by what they say. Some are simply lying and get tangled up in their lies, but most have such low IQs, they cannot describe even the simplest things. Often they seem to say the first thing that pops into their heads. When they are questioned further they cannot remember what they said previously.
I once had a client whose wife was suing him for child support. In discussions before trial he told me he had two children from a previous marriage. This was favorable for him because it meant he would probably owe his current wife less money. At trial, his wife testified that my client had no children outside of their marriage. When I asked him on the stand how many children he had before he married his current wife, he said he had none. Later I asked him why he had answered that way, when he told me before that he had two other children. “Did I say that?” he asked. I never found out which version was true.
Many of my clients have a hard time following simple directions. Once I appeared in traffic court with a client. In lieu of a conviction he was to see a traffic safety movie. The courtroom was on the second floor of the courthouse, and the traffic safety movie was shown on the first floor. The client was to come back to the courtroom with proof — which would be given him on the first floor — that he watched the movie. Both the judge and I explained this to the client. At the designated hour my client did not come back to the courtroom. Later that afternoon I got a call from the judge, who told me my client had completely misunderstood the instructions. He went to the nearest commercial movie house, saw a movie, and brought back his movie ticket stub.
Long ago I stopped asking my clients why they did something. It is not worth the effort. Most don’t know. The ones who know usually cannot give a coherent answer. Even if they can give a coherent answer, it usually changes every time you ask.
For example, one of my black divorce clients tried to hide assets from his spouse — this is not uncommon. Through discovery it came to light that he had secretly bought a piece of property after the divorce had begun. He put his wife’s name on the title, a very odd thing to do, since he was trying to hide the property from her. I made the mistake of asking him why he did that. True to my previous experiences, he could not give an answer that made sense.
Clients sometimes tell me they knew they were being cheated, but signed the papers anyway. I have given up asking why they signed, because I know I will not get an intelligible answer.
My clients make mistakes in written and spoken English that are often comical. One client in a criminal case told me he was telling the truth, and was willing to take a “polyester test” to prove it. Another told me he desperately wanted to see me, and needed an appointment “between Tuesday and Wednesday.” One who bounced a check told me the problem was “insignificant funds” in his account. I have had clients who have “profiteering” plans at work, want an “uncontestable” divorce (or a “detested” divorce, or an “untested” divorce), had “insects” (incest) in the family, need an “annoyment” (annulment), want a free “flirtation” (consultation), ask about my “container” (retainer), want to “consultate” about a divorce, or had to meet with “media people” (mediation counselors). One man told me, “I own a car but it is not mine,” and one who was accused of indecent exposure insisted, “I didn’t take my stuff out of my pants.”
It took me some time to understand certain kinds of black slang. Within the first month of my independent practice a man called to ask if I could “put a suitcase on a cat.” After much inquiry I realized he wanted to know if I could file a law suit against someone. Within the week I got another call asking if I “did luggage.” Since I now knew about suitcases, I said yes, I do luggage.
I pride myself on doing good work for my clients, but I cannot remember even once being thanked or complimented by a black client. They do not observe even the most common courtesies. Also, with rare exceptions, blacks will never admit they made a mistake. When things go wrong, as they inevitably do, it is always someone else’s fault. The most common excuse blacks give is, “They are putting me through the changes.” I have yet to figure out exactly what that means.
Most people tell lies because they think a lie will help them. I have come to the conclusion that most of my clients cannot distinguish between a plausible lie and a wild fairy tale. They are convinced people will believe anything they say. Clients often tell me some fantastic story I cannot possibly defend in court. If I tell them what they are saying is unbelievable the usual reaction is anger and screaming. Typically, they will add, “I’m paying you. You have to believe what I say.”
Sometimes, despite my warnings, clients will get on the stand and tell obvious, outright lies. The judge may interrupt the testimony and tell me to go outside with my client to “get your story straight.” They are not going to sit in court and listen to fairy tales. I take my client outside and tell him he has got to tell the truth, or at least say something believable. My client then starts screaming. “Why are you talking to me this way? You’re supposed to be on my side.”
I once had a client testify about his assets in a divorce case, in which the court was to determine whether he should pay his estranged wife temporary support. My client was a store-front preacher, and testified that he lived in the marital residence with his wife, though in separate quarters. His wife testified that he was out living with his “ho.” My client went on and on about how this was impossible because he was a Man of God. I thought he was lying. The judge ruled that if my client was living with his wife he should share household expenses, which he was not currently paying. At this point, my client realized there was a cost to pretending to be a Man of God living with his lawful wife, and changed his tune. “Judge why are you believing me?” he said. “Believe my wife. I am nothing but an old lying nigger.” No one in the courtroom could stop laughing.
“Outside kid” cases are one of my specialties. For those not in the know, blacks call any child born out of wedlock an outside kid. Black men are good at making children but not at supporting them, and this can be a terrible burden under laws written with white people in mind.
In my state, the parent who does not have custody — almost always the father — pays a percentage of net income to the parent with custody — almost always the mother. The mother gets 20 percent of the father’s net income for the first child, 25 percent for two children, and up to 50 percent for five or more children. What if a man has children by several women? Each mother gets 20 percent for the first child, so a man with five children by five different women is supposed to be paying 100 percent of his income in child support. I once had a client who had 12 different children by 10 different women. Theoretically, he owed 250 percent of his income. These laws simply don’t make sense for blacks. Judges have to decide each case as best they can.
Not surprisingly, the average black client will not pay child support unless it is deducted from his paycheck. Many refuse to work, or leave a job to avoid paying. Job turnover is very high among blacks, and the court system has a hard time keeping up with them. Some blacks quit on purpose, and move to another job so as to keep one step ahead of the collections.
Whenever I ask a potential client whether he has paid court-ordered child support he will almost invariably answer with one or more of the following: “I always helps my kids.” “I gives the mother money whenever she asks.” “I am always there for my kids.” “I buys my kids whatever they needs.” It almost always turns out they have paid no support, haven’t seen their children in years, and at best may have paid for some basketball shoes.
Children do not always seem to have the same importance for blacks that they do for whites. I was in bankruptcy court once waiting for my client’s case to be called. A black debtor — not my client — was before the judge trying to convince him to approve his bankruptcy repayment plan. The judge told him he could not afford both his Cadillac and his children, and had to give up one or the other. The debtor immediately said he could not give up his car, and therefore the judge would have to take his kids. The judge threw up his hands and walked off the bench. On another occasion, the same bankruptcy judge told a black debtor he could not afford both his Cadillac and his house. The debtor replied, “You can live in your car but you can’t drive your house. Take my house.” This was many years ago and tastes in cars may have changed, but I learned how important Cadillacs were to blacks.
In one respect my job is very different from that of a policeman or social worker: I have to make sure I am paid. I try to get paid in full before I agree to represent a client. If I am not paid in full before the case is over I know I will never get any more money. Clients have a hard time understanding they are paying for an attorney’s time. Invariably, if a client drops a case before it is over he asks for a full refund. Their reasoning goes something like this: “I paid for a divorce and I didn’t get one, so I should get all my money back.”
Once I sued a client who didn’t pay me. I finally garnished his wages and was paid in full. About six months later he called to ask me to take his next case. I told him I didn’t want a client that doesn’t pay his bills. He became indignant. He said I got all my money, so what did I have to complain about.
To hear my clients tell it, banks are constantly “messing” with their checking accounts. At least that is what they tell me when their checks bounce. Most of my clients do not have checking accounts, and pay cash. The ones who do have accounts have no idea how much money is in them. Many clients have written me checks on accounts that were closed.
Black clients yell and scream at me every day; I have learned that this is normal. They are like young children who don’t get their way. I usually ignore these outbursts, though screaming back at them is usually more effective. I have been threatened with physical violence only twice, and once I had to call the police to escort a client out of my office.
My experience is hardly unique. Most of the lawyers I know have practices similar to mine. Most lawyers therefore are racial realists even if they do not admit it openly. Their actions and comments are no different from mine. People who have daily contact with minorities, who know first-hand that there are racial differences, are likely to be the best prospects for any movement that promotes racial consciousness. They don’t like dealing with blacks, but that is simply part of the business. If they can’t take it anymore they get into some other line of work.
One lawyer I know moved to the country so he would have white clients. He had lived in the big city all his life, but was willing to pull up all his roots to get a different clientele.
Recently the supreme court in my state ruled that a lawyer can be disciplined for communications that racially denigrate litigants. For that reason I cannot write this article under my own name, much as I would like to. I must hide behind a pseudonym for fear of falling victim to our politically-correct supreme court.
Some Names of Blacks Encountered in My Practice
Aaja (pronounced Asia), Acacia, Ajeenah, Akai, Aquanita, Aryan White, Baleria, Barbertha, Callie (pronounced Kelly), CaAndi, Chetiqua, Cloteal, Curly Top, Darhies, Dayphine, Debrasharme, Derecio, Dertiteriesa, Dikueria & Dikuria (twins), Dildree, Dishon, Dovanna, Duanita, Dyiamond, Dwendolyn, Effillyne, Elizabeth Taylor, Endrissa, Equandolyn, Esaw, Everage, Floyce, Franshawn, Ghia, Godzilla Pimp, Ivier, Jartavious, JyesahJhnai, Keithen, Kentnilla, Lafondra, La,poo (yes, contains comma), Latronia, Lemonjello & Orangejello (twins), L’Tonya, Machoda, Nau-Quia, Mayima, Minute, Miquel, Nethel, Omnipotence, Ondra (pronounced André), Ozro, Padraic, Pecola, Phe-anjoy, Precious Unique, Queen Esther, Quithreaun, Rincesetta, Sanja, Saranus, Shanieja, Sharicus, Shiquipa, SiJourna’i, Silquia, Sinetra, Summer Love, Termicka, Tequilla, Timphanie, Tryphenia, Tywana, Tzaddi & Tzavvi (twins), Ulheric, Undlia, Undrea (pronounced André), Wsam, Xiomara, XL, Yaw, Yuvodka Sharice, Wilida, Zaquan, Zufan, Zyneene.
Donald Williamson practices law in the Midwest.
The importance of the European New Right.
Appears irregularly. Four issues $28 (surface mail), $36 (air mail). Archive CD ROM, $80. Send checks in US dollars to ‘Michael Walker,’ Postfach 850505, 51030 Köln, Germany.
The Scorpion is the leading publication in English about the thinkers and themes of the European New Right (ENR). It is edited by Michael Walker, an Englishman living in Germany, who is well-connected in Nationalist circles in Europe. American Renaissance readers know him from his talk on “European Nationalist Movements” at the 1998 AR conference.
The ENR is the most important intellectual movement in Europe to oppose the postwar liberal-to-socialist consensus. It insists on discussing issues the “mainstream” does not want to hear about — like the importance of human differences — and raises them in ways that make them hard to ignore. As Thomas Jackson points out in his review of Tomislav Sunic’s Against Democracy and Equality, it has “played a central role in dislodging Marxism as the unacknowledged religion of European intellectuals.”
Nonetheless, it remains all but unknown this side of the Atlantic. Since the Founding Era, Americans have had little interest in European political thought, and this lack of interest has had some justification. America has mostly had a free and stable government that has brought its people peace and prosperity. Europeans mostly have not. The main political invention we have imported from them recently has been the welfare state. Why look to them for inspiration?
Times change. European politics are still no model to follow, but we are no longer free from its vices. On both sides of the Atlantic the state has become the enemy of people and culture. All Western governments now make it fundamental policy to abolish human distinctiveness and thus the qualities that define their own peoples, in the name of efficiency, equality, and lifestyle freedoms. To that end, pervasive bureaucratic controls have been established, obvious facts and basic political and social issues hushed up, and dissidents silenced as bigots and haters. The consequences have been catastrophic: political unresponsiveness, bureaucratic tyranny, unchecked cultural degradation, and — to all appearances — the impending death of the West.
Radical political dysfunction requires rethinking basic principles. Neither cheerleading for the American Way nor conspiracy theories lead us anywhere. The similarity of problems on both sides of the Atlantic means there is no longer a fundamental opposition between European an sd American politics. Instead, the political history of Europe now makes European thought especially useful, because Europeans have been forced by events to think through modern political pathologies. Until recent decades, we have been spared that need.
The other English-speaking peoples are in the same position as we. Long-term stability and an insular location may be good for a country, but they do not provoke thought. European political thinking that tries to offer a fundamental alternative to the current destructive left-liberal order is almost unavailable in English. The result has weakened right-wing political thought throughout the English-speaking world.
For over 20 years The Scorpion has worked to change this. Its goal is to make sense of the modern world, and find new ways to defend and advance such traditional concerns as people, culture and nation. It recognizes that the West has turned against itself, and that its leading tendencies are destroying the things that have made it what it is. The publication therefore believes that its ultimate goal must be to help lay the groundwork for a new European civilization based on different principles.
That goal is hugely ambitious. Each issue of The Scorpion deals with a great political or cultural theme: race, sex, education, ecology, nihilism, the nature of the nation or the state. It includes a long essay giving the editor’s thoughts, and also pieces, often by ENR thinkers, that offer a variety of other perspectives.
The style of the magazine is intelligent, well-read, and sometimes quite demanding. Authors treat basic issues at the level they demand, so the magazine is not intended for the mass market. Nonetheless, the attitude of the writers is far from academic. The survival of European man is at stake, and even when discussing high theory — or “culture and metapolitics,” as the magazine’s self-description puts it — the concern is with what to do about the very difficult situation in which Europe finds itself.
Many of the articles are excellent. Those by Alain de Benoist in particular are often very helpful introductions to ways of thought unknown in America, while the editor’s essays add a touch of English commonsense, practicality and fair-mindedness to grand continental theorizing (I should disclose that I am a contributor).
In addition to the themes to which issues are devoted, the magazine has published several series of articles exploring topics such as the stateless nations and regional cultures of Europe, and the German “conservative revolution,” a movement after the First World War that inspired the ENR and included such men as Oswald Spengler and Carl Schmitt. Other continuing interests include the significance of science — especially genetics — and the search for a new religious outlook. There is an extensive book review section and a reader’s forum, and the magazine also publishes manifestos of non-mainstream political movements, provocative clippings from the European press, and the occasional reviews of European restaurants.
The Scorpion handles its topics with great freedom. Even though informally associated with the ENR, it toes no lines and feels free to publish anyone, debate with anyone, and differ with anyone. Above all, it emphasizes its independence. It rejects party lines, pursues arguments as best it can, and presents thinkers who place the Western political world in new perspectives — often, for Americans, radically new perspectives.
As an example, The Scorpion has featured the thought of the Italian writer Julius Evola and of the writers of the German Conservative Revolution. Those thinkers analyze government (or rather the state) in ways that for Americans are wholly unexpected. In this country we have a simple and utilitarian understanding of government, as the administrator of the will of the people or a regulatory body promoting prosperity and order. European thinkers like Evola and the Conservative Revolutionaries offer other theories. Government might, for example, be viewed as a sort of higher will that gives direction to social life, or as the expression of the innate character of a people. Even if in the end we prefer the more down-to-earth American view, additional perspectives are needed to sort through something as multifaceted as politics. After all, can something men are willing to die for, like country and flag, really be explained by utility and practicality?
More generally, The Scorpion and the ENR are useful because of the breadth of their interests. The European complaint is that Americans, especially conservatives, are concerned with machinery, money, moralism, and not much else. The complaint is exaggerated but not invented. It is a serious mistake to abandon to the Left whatever goes beyond the immediately practical. Politics depends on its setting — not just economics and ethnicity, but also architecture, the arts, literature, philosophy, and the natural environment. The long-term prospects of the Right are poor unless it can seriously dispute the Left’s ownership of these things. The Scorpion therefore takes on not only the political and the “metapolitical,” but the seemingly nonpolitical: thinkers like Nietzsche and Heidegger, cultural movements like romanticism and nihilism, issues like ecology and the built environment. It matters to a nation what music it listens to, how its people dress, what its public buildings look like, and what its academics study. There are no quick fixes for these problems, but we should be aware of them, and the Europeans have thought about them much more thoroughly than we have.
The magazine has its limitations. Much of the theorizing is at a considerable distance from concrete politics. It rarely deals with issues of immediate practical concern to Americans, although it sometimes publishes articles about America, and has had a special issue on this country. It is put together for people who want to think about basic issues, and so will be unsatisfying for anyone who wants ready-made positions. And most of us will disagree with some things in it. Writers close to the ENR often use America as a whipping boy for the problems of Europe, and their discussions of economics and ecology sometimes ignore the need to put limits on the jurisdiction and activity of government. There are differences between European and American political discourse, and we must translate concepts, make allowances, and sometimes disagree.
The ENR seems to me wrong, for example, to blame Christianity for the universalism and egalitarianism that it correctly believes are destroying the West. In fact, Europeans have been looking for equal and rational universal principles since the pre-Socratics, and composing utopias since Plato. The wars of the last century, and the expanding role of the European Union suggest that getting rid of Christianity only makes European secular utopianism more destructive.
However that may be, what’s needed today is not support for the views we already have or a ready-made program for cultural reconstruction. What is needed is a source of new perspectives, and a forum in which important and often speculative ideas can be discussed freely and openly, without regard to whether our rulers find them acceptable. For this, The Scorpion is an irreplaceable resource. There is nothing else like it in English.
There was a revealing debate some years back in The Scorpion readers’ forum between the editor and several readers who questioned the wisdom of publishing a couple of letters from national socialists. Might not such actions threaten the magazine’s respectability and ability to be taken seriously? Mr. Walker rejected the criticisms vigorously and at length — as indeed he had vigorously taken issue with the national socialists — and summarized the credo that motivates his magazine:
Unlike [one of the readers], I am happy to say that I am neither ‘viscerally anti-nazi’ nor ‘viscerally anti-liberal.’ I am viscerally anti-stupidity, and I am viscerally anti-totalitarian, I am viscerally anti-crudity and viscerally anti-ugliness . . . These are the things we should be fighting, not liberals or nazis but these things when they appear in what they do and say, for in debate a man should not be held to account either [for] what others say he is or even for what he says he is; he should be held to account for that he means and what he does.
In a world of spin, hype, code words and politically-correct censorship, The Scorpion thus stands for discussion among human beings. It stands for ethnic and cultural particularity in a world that celebrates “diversity” so as to abolish it in favor of the uniformity of economics and bureaucracy. It promotes the intellectual and cultural work needed for constructive political action to become possible. It should be heard.
Independence, adventurousness, and lack of concern for respectability come at a price. The publication is at times something of a one-man show, and is perpetually underfunded. It comes out only once a year, and subscriptions are expensive — though issues run to 50 pages or so. There is a reasonable selection of articles at its website (not functioning at press time, but perhaps working now). The magazine has also put out a CD with the 19 issues published from 1981 through 1998. The CD is well worth acquiring, since very few of the topics the magazine was discussing in 1981 have dated. The “fast pace of modern life,” it seems, is only a distraction from the intellectual paralysis The Scorpion has always fought.
James Kalb is a lawyer and independent scholar who lives in New York.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
Our Debt to Liberia?
The Congressional Black Caucus, which voted almost unanimously against the war in Iraq, is clamoring for George Bush to send troops to pacify Liberia. Members like Sheila Jackson Lee hint broadly that the only reason Americans aren’t there already is that Mr. Bush just doesn’t care about black people. Rev. Jesse Jackson is quite sure “racism” is the problem, and wants American soldiers on the ground as soon as possible.
Mr. Jackson’s role in promoting the current Liberian warlord, Charles Taylor, is not well known. In October 1997 President Clinton appointed Mr. Jackson Special Envoy for Democracy and Human Rights in Africa, and he first flew to Monrovia to meet Mr. Taylor in February 1998. Mr. Taylor had just been elected president after he sent his notorious “Small Boys Units” out to threaten to shoot anyone who voted the wrong way. Rather than lecture Mr. Taylor on human rights, Mr. Jackson became good buddies with the dictator. According to an American embassy report, “Rev. Jackson met several times privately with President Taylor and appeared to establish a strong personal bond with him.” Charles Taylor was like a Chicago gang leader, said the reverend, who could be “redeemed” with the right kind of personal stroking.
Two months later Mr. Jackson invited the warlord to Chicago for a “reconciliation conference” that was meant to showcase Mr. Taylor as a modern democratic leader. “It’s morning time in Liberia,” intoned Mr. Jackson, and urged Mr. Taylor’s opponents in Liberia to stop publicizing government atrocities on the Internet. “The international community frequents the Internet and takes note of whatever information is disseminated on the information superhighway,” he said, “so, please stay off the Net.” The assumption among Liberians was that only a paid promoter would be booming Mr. Taylor so vigorously, but Mr. Jackson denies he ever got money from Monrovia.
In November 1998, Mr. Jackson once again visited Mr. Taylor in Liberia, and instead of scolding him for his deteriorating record treated him like a statesman. He then went on to meddle in Sierra Leone’s civil war, even going so far as to call rebel leader Foday Sankoh another Nelson Mandela — despite the fact that Mr. Sankoh’s men liked to cut people’s arms off to show who was boss. Even William Clinton had enough, and in June 2000 finally fired his Special Envoy for Democracy and Human Rights in Africa.
Kenneth Timmerman, author of a book-length exposé of Mr. Jackson called Shakedown, thinks that without the reverend’s energetic boosting, Charles Taylor would have been diplomatically isolated and perhaps pushed out of power long ago. He also notes Mr. Taylor had a habit of splashing out diamonds smuggled from Sierra Leone whenever he needed something, and wonders if a few didn’t end up in Rev. Jackson’s pockets. [Kenneth R. Timmerman, Jesse, Liberia and Blood Diamonds, Insight Magazine, July 25, 2003.]
Now, Rev. Jackson, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and the blacks in Congress are braying for the US to save Africans from themselves. They point out that the French sorted out the mess in Ivory Coast, the British did the same in Sierra Leone, so now it’s our turn. At least they seem to recognize that Africa is a hopeless place that cannot pull itself out of barbarism unless white men show up with guns.
DC Sniper Hates Whites
John Lee Malvo, the youngster who spent last fall shooting up the DC area with his pal John Allen Muhammad, is reported to have blabbed to prison guards shortly after he was locked up last October. Wayne Davis and Joseph Stracke, guards at the “Supermax” prison in Baltimore, Maryland, came forward recently to relay comments from Mr. Malvo that suggest a racial motive for the sniper attacks. Mr. Malvo explained to the men — who are presumably black — that he hated white people, though “the shooting was mainly for money.” He told Mr. Stracke there were “a lot of ghettos in America,” and the two “were trying to clean it up.” Mr. Davis says Mr. Malvo told him many of the shootings were in Montgomery County, Maryland, because “that’s where the rich people are.” Mr. Davis also reports that one of the reasons for the shootings was that Mr. Malvo thought white people were trying to hurt Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. [Tom Jackman, Guards Say Malvo Described Near Hits, Washington Post, July 25, 2003, p. A1.]
These remarks were reported without comment, deep in a story about Mr. Malvo in the Washington Post. It does not seem likely that Mr. Malvo and Mr. Muhammad will be charged with hate crimes.
Big, Bloody Easy
The population of New Orleans is just short of half a million, which means it is not quite a “big city” for purposes of crime statistics. With another 14,000 people it would officially be the murder capital of the country, but is now just a footnote. With a murder rate of 54.5 per 100,000 — up over 30 percent in one year — it is ahead of its nearest competitor, Washington, DC. With more than two million people in jail, violent crime is generally down in the United States since the peak of the mid-1990s, and there is only speculation as to why New Orleans is in the middle of a crime wave. Recently, two big public housing projects were shut down, and the redistributed miscreants got into turf wars.
Because so many hardened felons are behind bars, the new criminals in the Big Easy tend to be young — and female. In a July 6 fracas, two 14-year-old girls jumped a 16-year-old and stabbed her to death with a steak knife. The victim had been shot in the leg the year before, and could not run. Her cousin, who was with her when she died, says the killers knew her. “They was jealous,” she explains, adding that her cousin was “the cute type. Boys liked her.” The stabbing came just one week after two other teenage girls went to prison for killing a 16-year-old girl, also with a steak knife. A number of black ministers have asked for National Guard patrols in the most violent neighborhoods. [Jeffrey Gettleman, New Orleans Struggles With a Homicide Rate That Belies Its Size, New York Times, July 11, 2003.]
Sixty-eight percent of Americans own their own homes but only 48 percent of Hispanics do, and National Council of La Raza wants more Hispanic homeowners. On July 11, at the national La Raza conference in Austin, Texas, the banking company Washington Mutual announced it would contribute $1 million to La Raza’s “Empowering an American Community Campaign,” the goal of which is to help 7,000 Hispanics buy houses next year through a “homebuyer education program” conducted in Spanish and English.
Washington Mutual’s $1 million means La Raza is just $5 million short of its goal of $30 million for its campaign, which will do more than teach Hispanics about down payments and interest rates. It will buy La Raza a new headquarters building, pay for continuing “advocacy and education efforts,” and fund the first ever Hispanic civil rights museum.
Washington Mutual likes to parade its “diversity.” More than 16 percent of employees are Hispanic, and in 2003 Hispanic Magazine named it for the second year in a row to its “Corporate 100: Best Places to Work for Latinos.” Hispanic Business ranked it second in the country among the “corporate elite,” for the number of Hispanic executives and managers. [Washington Mutual and the National Council of La Raza Team Up to Increase Homeownership Education and Opportunities for Latinos, Business Wire, July 11, 2003.]
The Houston, Texas, school district has been the crowning achievement in “the Texas miracle,” according to which the state has made impressive progress with “at risk” students. It was largely on the strength of Houston’s glowing record that Rod Paige, school superintendent from 1994 to 2001, followed George Bush to Washington to become Secretary of Education. Last year, the Los Angeles-based Broad Foundation gave Houston a $1 million prize as best urban district in America, and “the Texas miracle” was the inspiration for President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” education policy.
It now appears that much of the “miracle” was a fraud. Texas schools are judged on standardized test scores, as well as attendance and dropout rates. At least some schools systematically forced their worst-performing students to drop out, and then reported they had transferred. A recent state audit of 16 Houston middle and junior high schools found that their record-keeping was so fraudulent it recommended 14 of the 16 be downgraded all the way from top to bottom rank.
Many schools have “bouncers,” who track down truants and trouble-makers, force them out, and claim they transferred. A school may, for example, establish a rule that a student cannot return to classes after two absences, and enforce it only against undesirables. Another trick is to keep obvious losers from taking an important 10th grade math exam by holding them back in the 9th grade. Holding students back often encourages them to “transfer” and disappear.
Sharpestown High School seems to have been particularly zealous about purging its worst students. “We go from 1,000 freshman to less than 300 seniors with no dropouts,” says Robert Kimball, an assistant principal. “Amazing!” Joseph Rodriguez, a former employee of the district’s office of research and accountability, calls it “Enron accounting.”
When bad apples are culled, performance improves. In a third of Houston’s 30 high schools, scores on standardized tests rose as enrollment dropped. Austin High School, for example, shed more than 500 students between 1997 and 2000, and saw pass rates for the remaining 2,200 students rise from 65 percent to 99 percent. [Diana Schemo, Questions on Data Cloud Luster of Houston Schools, New York Times, July 11, 2003.]
Texans are in sack cloth and ashes over this, but Houston actually had a good policy. A sizable percentage of “inner city” students get nothing out of school, and only make it hard to teach the rest. It is just as well “the Texas miracle” has been exposed as baloney, but Houston’s methods do demonstrate the advantages of weeding out incorrigibles. The state should formalize the process.
DC: No More Excuses
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NEAP) test is considered to be the most comprehensive and consistent national evaluation of student performance. Until now, it has released average scores by state, with the District of Columbia as a separate category. DC was always dead last by a substantial margin, but school administrators claimed this was an unfair comparison because the states have high-achieving suburbs and the district does not. Compare us with other big, non-white cities, they said, and we will stack up just fine.
This year, NEAP calculated scores for Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, as well as the district, and DC is still dead last. “Charter schools,” which the district set up some years ago, and were to pull students out of the doldrums, had lower average scores than other public schools.
William Caritj, assistant superintendent for assessment and educational accountability, isn’t worried. He says the district is generally in the same league as the other cities and in many cases is down by only a few percentage points. “DC is not doing a lot worse than these districts,” he says. “The perception that we’re somehow a lot lower than other cities is wrong.”
The city does have a disadvantage. It has practically no white students: just four percent in the fourth grade and three percent in the eighth grade. Glad for any glimmer of good news, educrats point out that this handful of whites did better than the national average for whites — but this means the racial achievement gap is perhaps the greatest in the country. [Justin Blum, D.C. Tests Poorly in Reading, Writing, Washington Post, July 23, 2003.]
Whites Don’t Get It
Blacks in Oberlin, Ohio, are in a tizzy at the thought that a white person might teach black history at Oberlin High School. The usual teacher — suitably black — has a scheduling conflict. A.G. Miller, who teaches African religious history at Oberlin College, says the replacement sends the wrong message to blacks: “that we are not concerned about the importance of your historical background . . . that that is less important than a schedule conflict.” Michael Williams, interim director of Cleveland State University’s black studies program, says a black person is a better choice because he “has the advantage of the culture” and “can understand the nuances of the culture.”
Phyllis Yarber Hogan of the Oberlin Black Alliance for Progress says whites just can’t teach blacks about slavery: “When you talk about slavery, students need to understand it is not our fault. Our ancestors did nothing wrong to be enslaved. How do you work through that when the person teaching it is the same type of person who did the enslaving?” Parents at the high school have entered an official complaint with the school board. [Parents: White Teacher Should Not Teach Black History, NewsNet5.com (Cleveland television station), July 28, 2003.]
Scalp ’um White Man
As everyone now knows, California is struggling to cover a $38 billion budget deficit. As it happens, there is a whole class of Californians who do not pay taxes on business profits, and who are exempt from vehicle taxes: Indians. Fifty-three California tribes run casinos, and the profits are tax-free. Governor Gray Davis, desperate for money, proposed a bill to freeze expansion of Indian-owned casinos unless the tribes pay $1.5 billion, but later reduced the proposal to $680 million. The Indians are fighting back — successfully. They prefer to spend smaller amounts to influence state legislation. During the last five years, Indians have spent $120 million on lobbying and state politics. [Many Indians Exempt From State Taxes, Fees, Los Angeles Times, July 25, 2003.]
Gangstas to Pimps
Ten yeas ago, black rappers tried to look like — and sometimes be — gangstas. Now it is pimps. Typical, and in some respects leading the transformation, is Snoop Dogg, who first appeared in Crip-style baggy jeans and sneakers, but now prefers the full pimp regalia: pink pinstripe suits, two-tone shoes, wide-brimmed hat, and curly hair down to his shoulders. Mr. Dogg explains the rationale for his new look:
I wanted to look good and feel good about myself. Those are qualities that you get from a pimp that everybody’s not really understanding. [People] just think it’s take money from a girl and slap her and send her to the corner, but nah, it’s other things about this pimpin’ that you really don’t even know.
It’s cool to look good, it’s cool to have girls on your arm, and get money from them, and that’s a good feeling, you dig? There ain’t nothing wrong with it.
We’re teaching people how to hustle and how to look good. I’d rather be a pimp than a gang-banger, because I grew up being a gang-banger, and I tell you, you live longer being a pimp.
Mr. Dogg has even taken a former-pimp-turned-preacher as his “spiritual advisor,” none other than the self-proclaimed king of pimps, Archbishop Don Magic Juan. The archbishop is now an official part of the Dogg entourage, and sometimes goes on the road with the star. The archbishop explains his philosophy: “[It’s] the jewelry, the style of dressing, the cars, the houses — to be able to feel like you’re doing it your way, nobody tell you what to do. You can move and groove like you want to.”
“I stayed pimped out for 30 years,” he adds. “I always believed in it. Now that I say I don’t want to pimp no more, everybody wants to be a pimp!”
Indeed, Mr. Dogg and rapper 50 Cent co-star in a new video called “P.I.M.P.,” Lil’ Jon struts about in a pimp costume with a jewel-encrusted chalice that is the symbol of pimpdom, and one of Jay-Z’s most popular songs is “Big Pimpin’.” Even in the ‘90s, The Notorious B.I.G. was rapping: “Pimpin’ ain’t easy but it sure is fun.”
Real and former black pimps have become celebrities, thanks to documentaries like HBO’s “Pimps up, Hos Down,” and a film by the Hughes brothers, “American Pimp.” [Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Pimps: The New ‘Gangstas’ of Rap, MiamiHerald.com, Jul. 23, 2003.] Work is under way on a cartoon movie called “Lil’ Pimp,” about a nine-year-old boy who hustles hos around the neighborhood. Sony originally planned to release it in theatres but got cold feet, and it will go direct to video, cable, or even the Internet. Here is a description:
He’s a cute little whiteboy, he’s got freckles, and he’s a pimp — Lil’ Pimp, to be exact! Share the laughs, the magic and the seductive, brutal honesty each week as Mom, Dad, Lil’ Pimp and his pimpin’ pals Fruitjuice and Nagchampa — plus superfine ’hos Yam Basket and Honeysack — fill your heart with warmth and your computer screen with memories.
On July 8, a 17-year-old white girl waiting for a bus in Fairview, Alaska, fell into conversation with three Eskimos. The Eskimos persuaded her walk with them, and she agreed, thinking she could catch the bus at one of the many stops along the way. When the four got to a field, one man pushed her to the ground, and two raped her while the third stood watch. She struggled to free herself, and was punched repeatedly in the face. One Eskimo told her she was stupid to have got herself into such a situation, and another threatened to kill her if she made any noise. A police officer drove by during the assault and was spotted by the lookout. The girl managed to break free, and ran, crying, to the officer, who arrested one of the men. Police are considering the rape a hate crime because of certain remarks made to the girl, which they refuse to repeat. [Tataboline Brant, Fairview Rape May be Hate Crime, Anchorage Daily News, July 12, 2003.]
The Moor Returns
For 800 years, Muslims ruled southern Spain from the Moorish capital of Granada, until King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella finally expelled them in 1492. For the first time in 500 years, Spain has a new mosque, which was opened to worship in Granada in July. Dignitaries from Arab and Muslim countries gathered for the occasion as Sheik Sultan bin Mohammed al-Qassimi of the United Arab Emirates — which paid for half of the construction cost — inaugurated the building, and a muezzin climbed the minaret of the Great Mosque of Granada to call the faithful to prayer. [Daniel Woolls, After 511 Years, a New Mosque in Spain, Chicago Sun-Times, July 11, 2003.]
Bantus Arrive in Phoenix
On May 22, Arizona got its first batch of Somali Bantus — a couple with six children, along with the man’s mother. They are expected to be followed by 800 more, who will be coming as part of the 12,000 the United States agreed to accept as refugees (see AR, May 2003).
In the 18th century, the Somali Bantus were taken from what is now Tanzania and Mozambique by Arabs, and worked as slaves for the Somalis. They are among the most primitive people on earth, and have spent the last several years in a refugee camp in Kenya after fleeing clan battles in Somalia.
When Hassan Muse, 42, arrived with his family at the apartment a church group had furnished for them in northwest Phoenix, he asked when the next group of refugees was moving in; he could not believe three bedrooms and two bathrooms were for his family only. In camp, they lived in a one-room mud hut with no electricity or running water.
The apartment has beds, but for the first few nights, the Muse family slept huddled together on the living room floor, the way they did in camp. After two weeks, the 14-year-old daughter, who does most of the cooking, still had not mastered a can opener, and sat on the floor, a can between her feet, stabbing at it with a knife. Riding in automobiles makes some of the Muses car sick, but one new toy they have all mastered is the television remote control.
Theoretically, Mr. Muse is supposed to go to work after several months of charity, but he speaks no English, cannot read or write in any language, has never driven a car, is blind in one eye, and is missing a finger. He and his family suffer from malaria, which they brought with them, and his nine-year-old son spent five days in the hospital because of an attack.
Of all the things Grandma Muse has seen in her new country, the pet food aisle in the supermarket has impressed her most. She says American pets eat better than she did in Kenya. [Pat Shannahan, A Family’s Culture Shock, Arizona Republic (Phoenix), July 20, 2003.]
Sioux Falls, South Dakota is getting a dose of Somalis, too, with perhaps 150 expected over the next two years. They will be settled by Lutheran Social Services, which has already established a large number of refugees in Sioux Falls. Thanks to their efforts, Minnehaha County had the fastest-growing percentage of foreign-born residents of any metropolitan area in the nation; their numbers doubled during the 1990s. [Additional Somali Refugees Could be Headed to Sioux Falls, AP, July 27, 2003.]
More Hmong, Too
The Laotian Hmong are another primitive group that finds the United States more congenial than the home country. After the 1975 Communist takeover in Laos, some 130,000 Hmong managed to get to America, leaving about 400,000 behind. Thai officials announced in July that we could be getting more, since the US says it will take another 8,000 who have been languishing in Thailand ever since 1975.
US-based Hmong say some of their compatriots back in Laos have started a low-level insurgency against the Communist government, and have asked the US to airlift them to America. The Laotian government denies there is any insurgency, but a Belgian journalist who was just kicked out of the country says he found some anti-Communist Hmong: “There were about 600, mostly women and children. Maybe 40 guys with guns, but no ammunition,” says Thierry Falise. He adds that the Hmong were starving, and hoping to be rescued by Americans. [U.S. to Accept 8,000 Hmong, Reuters, July 22, 2003.]
Saving the Hmong could be our next project after we save Liberia.
Why Not Koreans?
Famine and political instability may soon produce a flood of several hundred thousand North Korean refugees. Many of them will no doubt be eager to come to America. The US government considers North Koreans to be citizens of South Korea, so they are not eligible for refugee status in the US, but that may soon change. “There is an exodus of massive proportions taking place out of North Korea,” declares Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS). “South Korea really cannot be expected to take all of [them].”
Sen. Brownback — along with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) — recently sponsored a resolution making North Koreans eligible for asylum in the US. The Senate has already approved the measure, and the House of Representatives is expected to pass it, too. Sen. Brownback was also instrumental in bringing in the 12,000 Somali Bantu refugees. He and Sen. Kennedy are working with a coalition of human rights groups, refugee advocates, conservative think tanks, and the Christian Coalition to persuade the Bush Administration to let the North Koreans in.
Chuck Downs, a consultant and human rights advocate specializing in North Korea, thinks policy will certainly change. “There is a core group of State Department and Defense Department officials who are very eager to see the administration be responsive to this,” he says, “and I think they have the support of the president.”
“We will see the United States adopt very generous provisions for North Korean refugees, including relocating them from China and South Korea into processing camps in the region and into localities in the US,” he adds. Mr. Downs wants as many North Koreans as possible. If the administration can be persuaded to bring in 9,000, he says that would mean “a tremendous loosening of the floodgates.” With as many as 300,000 waiting in the wings, it could be a deluge. [Marian Wilkinson, US Prepares to Open Door to Flood of North Korean Refugees, Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald, July 30, 2003.]
Indian women, like all Third-World women, want to lighten their skin. Members of the highest castes have lighter skin tones, and fair-skinned women dominate billboards, magazine advertising, fashion and movies. The Sunday newspaper personals are full of marriage ads seeking fair-skinned brides, and the sale of skin lighteners brings in more than $100 million per year.
A recent television ad for a product called Fair And Lovely has set the country off on one of its periodic rumpuses about the desire for white skin. Known as “the air hostess ad,” it starts with a man lamenting that he has no son, and that his daughter does not make enough money to support him. She tries Fair and Lovely, turns lighter, and gets a job as a stewardess. The father is happy.
Brinda Karat, general secretary of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, calls the ad “racist.” “Of course, there is a cultural base in India for this kind of market,” she concedes. “[Fair And Lovely is] taking advantage of that and exploiting that very backward understanding.” She is pleased to note that the air hostess ad is off the air.
Hindustan Lever, which makes Fair And Lovely, says the spot is no longer televised only because it ran its course, and notes that others that make the same point are still on the air. They may not be for long. Rita Vorimer of the ruling BJP party, wants to ban ads of this kind. “They are polluting the minds of the younger generation,” she says. “Something must be done by the government, and the government has a responsibility to stop all this nonsense.” [India Debates ‘Racist’ Skin Cream Ads, BBCNews .com, July 24, 2003.]
A six-month study of Singapore primary schools has uncovered the obvious: children prefer friends of their own race. Chinese, Malay, and Indian students mix in the classroom, but segregate themselves by race during recess and at lunch. To some degree, this reflects the fact that the three groups speak different languages at home. However, researchers found that the tendency to self-segregation grows stronger as children grow older, although they have all become more fluent in English. By sixth grade, 80 percent of Chinese and 70 percent of Malay and Indian students spend their free time only with people of the same race. The study found that extracurricular activities like sports and scouting can foster interracial friendships. [Sandra Davie, Pupils Aren’t Mixing, Study Finds, Straits Times (Singapore), July 27, 2003.]
Why Not Proportional Representation?
Vista is a town of 90,000 residents in San Diego County, California. It elects a mayor and four at-large city councilmen, but although 40 percent of its population is Hispanic, it has never elected a Hispanic. Hispanics have tried to run for city council. Last fall, Elvin Vega, who works for a tow truck company but has no political experience, planted signs in Hispanic neighborhoods, but finished fourth in a field of six. Frank Lopez has tried to run for city council twice but never made it. Neither man says there is anything wrong with the election system — they just didn’t get elected.
Many people point out that even when there are a lot of Hispanics, many may be illegal, others are too young to vote, and many don’t care. This not good enough for the US Justice Department, which is investigating Vista for possible violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Department spokesman Jorge Martinez says whites need not be trying to keep Hispanics out, but if they tend to vote for whites, and the at-large system works to the disadvantage of Hispanics, the feds can order the town to draw up districts, some with Hispanic-majorities, to ensure Hispanics are elected.
Not even the Hispanic activists in town are keen on the idea. Catherine Manis, who leads an advocacy group for Hispanics, says she never heard a complaint about the system until the Justice Department came snooping around. She says if Hispanics can’t win elections it’s because they run poor campaigns. Mr. Vega, the failed candidate who plans to run again next year, is surprised by the federal involvement, too. “I don’t like that idea because I want to represent the whole city,” he says. “I don’t want to just represent one area. I want to represent all races, all religions — it doesn’t matter.”
The Justice Department is undaunted. If it finds that an at-large system works to the disadvantage of Hispanics, it could order dozens of California towns to rejig their voting systems. [Beth Silver, Vista is Examined for Bias, Los Angeles Times, July 28, 2003.]
Bullets on the Border
Like most law enforcement agencies, the US Border Patrol uses hollow-point bullets. Hollow-points, also known as controlled expansion rounds, are designed so the tip of the bullet expands as it enters the body, causing massive trauma to the target and delivering enormous stopping power. Police prefer hollow-points because criminals are less likely to be a threat once they are shot. Hollow-points are safer for the public than the full-metal jacketed bullets used mainly by the military because they are less likely to pass through the target, or a door or wall, and hit bystanders. The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Border Patrol, is seeking bids on a contract to supply 225 million rounds of .40 caliber hollow-points — a five-year supply — to its enforcement agencies. The Border Patrol has used hollow-point ammunition since the 1970s.
That troubles the Washington DC-based Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), which supports “low-income” immigrants. “We don’t think that [hollow-points] are necessary; they cause massive injuries,” says Donald Kerwin, executive director. CLINIC has started a lobbying campaign to pressure Homeland Security Secretary Thomas Ridge to switch to the military round.
Congressman Joseph Baca (D-CA) is circulating a letter to colleagues hoping to drum up support for the change. He says if the effort fails, he may sue. Another supporter is Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), who says “It’s full deadly force with the hollow-point, they explode inside of you, that’s the point.” Mr. Grijalva’s fellow Arizona congressman, Republican Jim Kolbe, thinks law enforcement agencies should be left to choose their own ammunition. [Luke Turf, Effort Mounted to Strip Border Patrol of Hollow-Point Bullets, Tucson Citizen, June 17, 2003.]
Quotas in Brazil
Brazil is home to more blacks than any country outside Africa. While many of the country’s 180 million people are hybrids, and the country prides itself on “racial democracy,” the reality is that the upper classes are white. The government recently enacted American-style affirmative action to make universities less white, doubling and in some cases tripling the number of black and mixed-race students.
“Last semester,” says law professor Geraldo Monteiro of the State University of Rio de Janeiro, “there weren’t enough blacks in the law school to even mention. I’m generalizing only a little when I say that all of my students were blond, white, and rich. A lot of those kids are in court now, learning the law in a different way: by suing the university.”
White students denied admission under the quota system have filed more than 300 lawsuits against the State University. One of them is 19-year-old Gabriella Fracescutti, who wanted to study medicine. She scored better on the national college entrance exam than half of the students admitted, but was rejected because she is neither black nor poor. “I just don’t understand how you can justify someone with a lower grade getting into the school, and turning me down. Why, because I have blond hair?” she asks. “I have friends who are whiter than me and didn’t study and didn’t do well on the test, but they wrote down they were black on the their applications and they got in.”
Supporters of affirmative action like its psychological effect. “The biggest advantage of this quota system,” says Paulo Fabio Salgueiro, admissions director of the State University, “is that it has broken this myth of a non-racial society . . . [T]he debate over quotas has forced everyone to confront the fact that racism, discrimination and social exclusion are alive and well here.” [Jon Jeter, College Affirmative Action Debate Stirs Many-Hued Brazil, Washington Post News Service, July 6, 2003.]
Workers in Chicago-area bum shelters called police when large numbers of badly injured bums started showing up. Police discovered the injuries were part of an insurance scam in which con artists scoured skid row, offering insurance settlement money to derelicts who agreed to have their bones broken in simulated auto accidents. “On the appointed day,” says Detective Ken Bigg, “they would take them to a garage and put their arm on a stone block. And they would smash the arm [with an ax handle].” The preferred injury, according to Mr. Biggs, was compound fracture with the bone protruding from the flesh, since the gang thought gruesome injuries would win bigger settlements. The scammers were afraid the insurance companies would be suspicious if the only injuries were to arms, so they alternated between breaking arms and legs.
The gang took the battered men to pre-arranged accidents, complete with smashed cars, and dialed 911. Members posed as relatives, saying they were desperate for money and wanted to settle quickly. Insurance settlements ranged from $10,000 to $100,000, but the bums got $1,500 at most, and often nothing at all. In June, Chicago police arrested six people — all black — on charges of insurance fraud. Michael Garner, known as the bonecrusher, was the one who swung the ax handle. [Bryan Smith, Six Accused in Bone-Breaking Insurance Scam, Chicago Sun-Times, June 8, 2003, p. 15A.]
Life in America
Honorio Martinez, an illegal immigrant, was driving without a license on a rural road in West Palm Beach, Fla., when he hit and killed a three-year-old black boy. More than a dozen men, who are friends of the boy’s father, managed to stop the car, pulled Mr. Martinez out, and beat him. Mr. Martinez staggered back to look at the three-year-old, and then said he was leaving because he did not have a license. The crowd pounced on him again, held him until sheriff’s deputies arrived, and then scattered. No one has been charged in the beating. [Motorist Beaten by Crowd After Boy’s Death on West Palm Beach Street, AP, July 13, 2003.]
It Must Be Love
Kenyans appear to have strong views on the inadvisability of older women marrying younger men. Wambui Otieno is a 67-year-old woman well known in Kenya as a fighter in the Mau Mau rebellion but also as the country’s most prominent feminist. She has just married her handyman, 25-year-old Peter Mbugua, in a match that has set the country on its ear. As one young Kenyan explained to a group of cheering men, “In Africa we all know that women are as old as they look. Men are as old as they feel. She’s disgusting.” Rumor has it the groom married Miss Otieno for her money, and his 53-year-old mother was shown in news photographs wailing with grief and disbelief. She died three days after the wedding, “of shock and sadness,” as Kenya’s leading daily, the Nation, explained. Many Kenyans believe her death is a sure sign the marriage is cursed.
Miss Otieno’s first husband died 16 years ago, and says she was lonely. Widowers in Kenya often marry young women, but widows are shunned; they do not even inherit their husband’s property, which goes to his family. Miss Otieno had no fewer than 15 children by her first husband, and has been feuding with all of them. They oppose her second marriage to what they call a “boy,” saying she did it only to make sure they won’t inherit her property. [Emily Wax, May-December Love With a Twist Throws Africa for a Loop, Washington Post, July 25, 2003, p. A18.]
Bullied by Somalis
As many as 200 young Somalis attend Sanford Middle School in Minneapolis, and there are many more at other schools in the district. Sanford also has a large number of American Indian students, and the two groups do not get along. Last May, parents of Indian students held a rally outside the school to protest ill treatment of their children by Somalis.
Jocelyn Burris says Somali students bullied her son Todd all year. At one point a group of them pushed him down the stairs, saying, “You’re native Indian, we’re going to kill you.” Carmalita Otter Robe says Somali thugs yelling racial insults cornered her son Russell Crow Ghost, and one of them hit him in the eye with a padlock. Other parents say bullying and racial taunts are commonplace, and fault the school.
School officials say they are aware of the racial tensions, but insist there is no widespread problem — just isolated incidents between small groups of students. Still, they say they will take steps this fall to improve cultural awareness and sensitivity. [James Walsh, Racial Bullying Alleged at Middle School, Star Tribune (Minneapolis), May 14, 2003, p. B3.]
The Gang’s All Here
The fastest-growing criminal gang in New York is neither the Crips nor the Bloods, but the El Salvadoran MS-13. Police say the MS-13s are ultra-violent thugs who kill, steal, rape, and deal drugs without fear of either other gangs or the police. The gang got its start during the civil wars in El Salvador in the 1980s, and moved to Los Angeles, where it ran protection rackets, stole cars and sold drugs. Members were arrested and deported, but many made it back to the US, and now the gang is in California, Texas, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, Iowa, and Nebraska.
They began moving to New York during the 1990s, and recruit heavily among Hispanics (not just Salvadorans), offering them money, beer and marijuana. If a prospect refuses to join, recruiters may stab him or beat him to death with baseball bats. Initiation rites include being punched and kicked for 13 seconds, and a new recruit may be forced to shoot a member of the rival Salvadoran gang, SWP-18.
Members of MS-13 wear the number 13 on their clothing, and have it tattooed on their lips, tongues and foreheads. They wear blue and white — the colors of the Salvadoran flag — and identify each other with hand signals, extending the little and index fingers to form devil’s horns. Meetings are held on the 13th of every month, and dues are $13.00.
Police say that while MS-13 usually preys on other Salvadorans, it attacks bystanders and other gang members. “We get Bloods and Crips who tell us, ‘Why don’t you do something about those MS-13 guys — they’re crazy!’” says Long Island anti-gang taskforce member Jason Robles. “The reason that they’re such a threat is that they’re violent for no reason. They’ll fight over anything.”
One member recently bit the face of a Blood in a prison holding cell, despite being outnumbered 10-1, just to show how crazy he was. Last October, three members of the gang killed a patron outside a nightclub on Long Island because they were kicked out of the club. MS-13 is not afraid of the police, either. Last year they formed a hit squad to kill a random Fairfax County, Va., police officer, just to raise their status (though the killing didn’t take place). MS-13 members took down the license plate numbers of members of the anti-gang task force on Long Island and followed some to their homes. Police estimate there are perhaps 2,000 members in New York, and as many as 10,000 nationwide. [Marcus Baram and Brad Hamilton, Toughest of Toughs: Bloodthirsty Latin Gang Invades New York, New York Post, June 1, 2003, p. 9.]
Blacks have been complaining for years that there are too few black head coaches in the NFL (there are three). Tired of being threatened with litigation, the NFL owners adopted a policy last December that requires all teams to interview at least one non-white candidate for any future head coach opening, unless the position is filled internally.
In January, Detroit Lions owner Matt Millen fired head coach Marty Mornhinweg, replacing him with former San Francisco 49ers coach Steve Mariucci. Mr. Mariucci, who is white, was the only candidate interviewed. Mr. Millen says he tried to interview five non-whites for the job, but all turned him down after it was widely reported that Mr. Mariucci had the inside track.
On July 25, the NFL fined Mr. Millen $200,000 for failing to honor the December agreement. While NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue acknowledged that Mr. Millen had at least tried to interview non-whites for the job, he faulted him for not taking “sufficient steps to satisfy” the December agreement. Presumably, he didn’t try hard enough. Mr. Tagliabue added that any team failing to take “sufficient steps” in the future could face a fine of $500,000 or more for “conduct detrimental” to the NFL. The Lions are considering an appeal. [Mike Householder, NFL Fines Lions $200K Over Coach Search, AP, July 25, 2003. Lions Execs Slam NFL for Hiring Fine, AP, July 27, 2003.]
Back in 1967, Ben Carter, then a Chicago bus driver, says he was visited by the angel Gabriel who told him he was God’s representative on earth. Mr. Carter, who is black, came to believe that American blacks are one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel. He quit his job, changed his name to Ben Ammi Ben-Israel, collected followers, and led 350 of them to Liberia. Two years later, he led those that were left — now calling themselves African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem — to Israel, where they settled in the desert town of Dimona. The Black Hebrews, now 2,500 strong, wear fancy black-striped self-made robes, practice polygamy, shun birth control, and forego meat, dairy products, eggs and sugar. They sell crafts, make clothes, and operating “vegan” restaurants. They also run a factory that produces tofu ice cream. In 1999 two Black Hebrew singers represented Israel in the annual Eurovision song festival.
Most Black Hebrews arrived in Israel on tourist visas and illegally overstayed. They have petitioned succeeding Israeli governments for citizenship under the Law of Return, which grants Israeli citizenship to nearly all Jews. Israel’s chief rabbinate has ruled that the Black Hebrews are not really Jews, and the government refused to grant citizenship, but did give the Black Hebrews temporary residency in 1992 — on condition that no more would come. Over the years, the Black Hebrews have attracted a number of high-profile supporters, such as Jesse Jackson and singer Whitney Houston, who have lobbied the Israeli government on their behalf.
In July, Interior Minister Avraham Poraz, following the recommendation of an interior ministry committee, awarded the Black Hebrews permanent residency. Black Hebrews now will be able to serve in the Israeli army and establish their own residential communities, and may eventually become citizens. “We’re ready to take on responsibilities and obligations as permanent members of the community,” says Chicago native Adiv Ben-Yehuda, a former college basketball player with two wives and 12 children, who has lived in Israel for 30 years. [Peter Enav, Israel Recognizes ‘Black Hebrew’ Community, AP, July 28, 2003. Jill Lawless, Israel OKs Status of ‘Black Hebrews’, AP, July 29, 2003.]
Several years ago, blacks got a lot of money from Denny’s restaurants with suits claiming they were treated badly because they were black. The chain went on to “diversity” programs, and high-profile blacks. Now it looks like the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain is about to get the same treatment.
On July 30, 23 blacks in Little Rock, Arkansas, sued the chain. They say whites who came in later were seated first, and that when they were finally seated they were stuck in the back of the smoking section. They say they got slow service, and that when they complained to management, they were told there was a Burger King down the street.
A spokesman for Cracker Barrel says the suit is an attempt to discredit the company. She says a judge has dismissed a similar lawsuit filed in Georgia. [David Hammer, Bias Lawsuit Filed Against Cracker Barrel, AP, July 30, 2003.]
The Mexican government has been pressuring American government agencies, police departments, banks, and other businesses to accept ID cards issued to its citizens in the US by Mexican consulates. Many banks eager to profit from the immigrant cash economy and police departments afraid of being called racist have agreed. The FBI believes the cards, known as matricula consular, pose a security threat because they are easily forged, as are the documents, such as birth certificates, on the basis of which they are issued. The FBI worries the matricula could be attractive to terrorists, since the only people who need them are illegal aliens. Legal immigrants have visas and green cards issued by the US government.
On July 16, the House of Representatives voted 382-42 to require Mexico and any other government issuing consular identity cards to guarantee that the recipient really is a citizen of that country, and to turn over the names and addresses of each recipient. It would be better to forbid the issuance of the cards, but the Republicans were not up to that. Still, Democrats are denouncing the amendment as “entirely anti-Hispanic.” “While the Republicans claim that their focus is broad in nature, this amendment exposes their true colors and sets a dangerous precedent,” says Robert Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and highest-ranking Hispanic in Congress. “It is the brainchild of certain Republicans,” he added, “who obsess over their fear and hatred of the immigrant community late at night on the House floor.” [Stephen Dinan, Democrats Assail Bill Restricting ID Cards, Washington Times National Weekly Edition, July 21-27, 2003, p. 7.]
Johannesburg, South Africa is one of the most dangerous cities in the world. In 2000, it had 15,000 residential burglaries and nearly 2,000 murders or attempted murders. The black government cannot control lawlessness, so the city’s more affluent — mostly white — residents have closed off access to their neighborhoods with bars, gates and manned barricades on public streets. The first barricades went up within days of the 1994 election that brought black rule, and there are now estimated to be 500.
There have been complaints that the blockades are “racist,” restrict traffic, and inconvenience domestic workers who must show ID. The city council has announced that residents must now submit access control applications to justify barricades. Unless they get council approval, which is expensive, time-consuming and unlikely, residents must dismantle the barricades or pay the city to tear them down. Jo’burgers are looking for other ways to protect their homes. [Toby Reynolds, Anti-Crime Barriers in Johannesburg Raise Hackles, Reuters, July 16, 2003.]
Ward Connerly, the black businessman who has steered anti-affirmative action ballot initiatives to success in California and Washington, has his sights on Michigan for 2004. Who opposes him? Blacks, of course, but also the Michigan Republican party. Besty DeVos, state party chairman, has been full of mealy-mouthed nonsense: “The potential for a racially divisive campaign, complete with the typical kinds of irresponsible rhetoric that often comes from both sides, is my chief concern.” A measure to stop discrimination against whites might prompt “irresponsible rhetoric.”
There has been similar mush from the party’s executive director, Greg McNeilly: “What we need now, and what would be best for our state, is to commit ourselves to reducing racial tensions and focus on policy objectives that unite us as Americans.” A majority of Michiganders oppose racial preferences. Why do Republicans pretend they want to “unite us as Americans” by throwing whites to the dogs?
“What nobody wants to acknowledge is that this opposition is concerned that [the initiative] will negatively impact President Bush’s re-election,” says Leon Drolet, a Republican state representative who supports the initiative. Michigan is likely to be an important battleground in 2004, and the party is still smarting because it couldn’t deliver the state to George Bush in 2000. Party hacks seem to think having a “controversial” initiative on the ballot in November will bring out Democratic voters who could tip the balance against Mr. Bush.
Mr. Drolet is not the only Republican office-holder who is crossing the party line. “The primary job of the Michigan Republican Party is to get Michigan candidates elected,” says representative Jack Brandenburg. “We have a national party to take care of the president.” He, too, is backing the initiative. [Steve Miller, Michigan GOP Leaders Oppose Race Initiative for Bush’s Sake, Washington Times, July 30, 2003.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — I read with interest Michael Rienzi’s “Ethnic Genetic Interests” in the February issue. The author emphasizes the link between ethnic survival and a defensible territory: “In the long run, only [emphasis added] territory ensures survival . . . The loss of territory, whether by military defeat or displacement by aliens, brings ethnic diminishment or destruction . . .”
While this is logical and borne out by most of history’s ethnic winners and losers, there is one group that has defied predictions of its demise, and survived and at times flourished over centuries without a territory. That group is, of course, the Jewish people.
Although I am Jewish, and cannot therefore frame the debate with a wholly dispassionate pen, I find it odd that ethnic and population academics such as Dr. Frank Salter and writers like Mr. Rienzi gloss over this discrepancy in what is otherwise a straightforward theorem.
I mention this not merely to poke holes in other’s work, but rather to bring attention to a situation in which one group successfully sails against the general headwinds of population theory. Is there some ingredient in the Jewish success story that can enable those of European descent to survive the very specific headwinds that readers of AR are informed of on a monthly basis?
Daniel Popolov, Englewood, N. J.
Sir — I thought I would pass on some praise and appreciation to Michael Rienzi for his critique in the June issue of “Race: The Power of an Illusion.” I am especially pleased that the mitochondrial DNA fraud was pointed out so clearly. A superb analysis.
Wade Mackey, Spring, Tex.
Sir — Mexican television has consistently portrayed the conflict with Iraq as a fight between the white and brown races. During the runup to the war, it ran images of Saddam Hussein and his associates behaving in a business-like and respectful manner, while President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, et. al., were shown with screwed-up faces, yelling, screaming, and acting unreasonable. Mexicans have told me Mr. Hussein challenged Mr. Bush to a fist fight or dual, but our president, the coward, backed down.
Name Withheld, Houston, Texas
Sir — We all react (to a greater or lesser degree depending on personality) to victory and defeat. Victory spurs us on, and defeat tends to make us reluctant for the next fight.
Southerners, who have suffered an unbroken string of defeats since 1954 (actually since 1945 but the average man doesn’t realize it) are, for the most part, a beaten people. A few Southerners can get excited about emotional issues like the Confederate flag, but most realize that they are politically beaten and will never be able to outvote the more numerous Northerners.
As a result of a long-term string of defeats for whites everywhere, I sense that our people are quite dejected — which is why I so much appreciated the May issue. The cover story about how whites woke up to race was different from previous articles (I’ve been a subscriber for 10 years), and came as a pleasant surprise. I got a psychological boost from reading the words of white people (some of whom are admitted leftist) who are now seeing the light.
If former ACLU-types and civil rights marchers can finally wake up, then all is not lost. Indeed, that happened to Southerners after the war. Having to actually live under Negro rule (assisted by the Yankee guns) made Southerners so anti-black that we took the vote away from them at the first opportunity. And my guess is that the few English-speaking South Africans who have not fled South Africa have, by now, changed their minds and would not vote for majority rule again.
In other words, even whites can learn from mistakes although they do so very slowly. And, as those writers in AR pointed out, it certainly is difficult for opinions to change when the whole cultural apparatus keeps telling us the reality we see is an illusion. Still, some few have learned, and it’s my guess there are many thousands more just like them who are silent for now.
Maybe speaking the truth and publishing the truth over a long period of time can actually work. There just might be some hope for us after all, especially when the truths we publish are coupled with the slow realization by many that “American” culture is falling apart and they have been lied to.
Thanks for the lift from AR.
Lake High, Columbia, S.C.
There will be more such accounts in a forthcoming issue. — Editor
Sir — Being old enough, at age 68, to remember quite a bit about the Second World War, I particularly enjoyed your January article on the Japanese relocation camps. I’ve written on the subject a few times, citing the same major points, but never had access to so much detail. I would add only one more argument made at the time for relocation: If there had been a Japanese landing on the West Coast, resident Japanese-Americans who were not loyal to the emperor would have been mistreated by the Japanese invaders. Japan’s policy was that all ethnic Japanese owed loyalty to the homeland, and it was in the interests of those who considered themselves Americans to move them to safety.
Jerry Prater, Cross City, Fla.
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