|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 16, No. 9||September 2005|
Spain’s Immigration Crisis
The Reconquista of al-Andalus
He Has the Power; Does He Have the Will?
What Does the Confederate Flag Mean?
Shaking Up the Aussies
O Tempora, O Mores!
Letters from Readers
Spain’s Immigration Crisis
Latin American and Muslim immigrants threaten to overwhelm Spain.
Mass immigration is something new for Spain. Throughout most of its history, Spain, like Ireland, was a nation of emigrants, not immigrants, and during the 20th century, more than six million Spaniards left their homeland. Until the 1950s, most sought new lives in Central and South America. During the latter half of the century Spaniards preferred to emigrate to northern Europe.
The migration flow reversed in the 1970s, and immigrants started coming in earnest after Spain entered the European Union (EU) in 1986. As the economy grew, so did the flow — both legal and illegal — from a trickle in the early 1990s to a flood by the end of the decade. Since 2000, the immigrant population has quadrupled to 3.7 million, and is now 8.4 percent of the population of 40 million. The total number of foreign-born residents increases by an average of ten percent every year, and the number of non-white immigrants increased by an average of over 200 percent annually from 1992 to 2000.
Although some immigrants come from within the EU and from Eastern Europe, most — and nearly all illegals — come from North Africa and Latin America. According to some experts, if the present rate of non-European immigration continues, Spaniards will become a minority in their homeland by the end of this century.
As in many countries, the initial response to Third World immigration has been foolishly generous; now Spaniards show signs of waking up to what is really at stake.
Like most countries that have historically been sources of emigration, Spain practiced jus sanguinis (right of blood) citizenship, meaning only those born in Spain to Spanish citizens were citizens. In 1990 and 1995, Spain amended its Civil Code to accommodate immigrants from former colonies, and now practices jus sanguinis and jus solis (right of soil — those born in the territory are citizens). Spain now grants jus sanguinis citizenship to anyone born in Spain to at least one Spanish parent or born abroad to at least one Spanish-born parent, regardless of present nationality. The new jus solis provisions confer citizenship on children born in Spain to parents who are stateless or whose nationalities are not known. Children of foreigners born in Spain are citizens so long as one parent was born in Spain. Although there are exceptions, Spanish-born children of illegal aliens are counted as citizens, and it is considered rude to inquire too closely about the status of foreign-looking young people.
As the former colonizer, Spain has long-standing ties to Latin America. Argentines and Chileans are mostly of Spanish origin, and Spanish blood in varying quantities runs through the veins of people across the continent. Many of today’s Latin Americans had parents, grandparents or great-grandparents who were Spanish — 3.5 million Spaniards emigrated to Latin America between 1850 and 1950 — and Spain has dual citizenship agreements with Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, and Honduras.
Under the jus sanguinis principle, Latin Americans who have at least one Spanish parent can qualify immediately for Spanish citizenship. Those with a Spanish grandparent can apply for citizenship after one year of legal residency. People from any former colony — even if they have no blood ties to Spain — can apply for citizenship after two years of legal residency. The same rule applies to Portuguese, Filipinos, and Sephardic Jews descended from the Jews expelled in 1492. Applications for citizenship can be refused on a number of grounds, most commonly because of a criminal record. People coming to work in Spain must have a work permit, but most Latins, particularly the non-whites, ignore the law.
Although Spain was relatively accommodating to Latin American immigrants, until recently most wanted to get into the US. That began to change in the early 1990s, when Latin America suffered a sharp economic downturn and the US was tightening immigration enforcement. Ecuadorians were particularly hard hit. So many were trying to get out of their country that the US embassy in Quito stopped issuing tourist visas, afraid that anyone who made it to the United States would stay. Many Ecuadorians thought it would be easier to get into the US from a European country, and chose Spain because they spoke the language and because Spain did not require a tourist visa. Spain was also in an economic boom and needed low-wage labor.
“Back in those years, the flights to Spain from Ecuador were coming in full,” says Vladimir Paspuel, president of the Ruminahi Hispanic American Association, an organization of Ecuadorian expatriates. (Ruminahi was an Ecuadorian chieftain notorious for killing Spaniards. It is an odd name for a group established in Spain — a little like an association of Germans living in Israel calling itself The Hitler Club.) “They would ask only that you show a couple thousand dollars at the airport.”
Soon planes from Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina were also full. At first the immigrants were from the white, professional classes who were able to get work permits, but as word spread that low-skill jobs were plentiful and enforcement was lax, the mestizo working poor soon followed. By the late 1990s they were coming en masse, from all over Latin America.
Many Spanish businessmen saw illegal Latin Americans as a source of cheap, compliant labor, especially in agriculture and construction. The urban middle class, eager for the trappings of status, hired them as maids, nannies, and gardeners. Today, Ecuadorians may actually be the largest immigrant group in Spain, outnumbering even Moroccans, illegals included. Their numbers officially rose from 2,000 in 1995 to 375,000 in 2003, but since many are illegal, the actual number could be much higher. In addition, there are at least 250,000 Colombians and tens of thousands of other Latin Americans living in Spain.
The government was aware of the growing illegal population but took no action, believing immigrants were doing work “Spaniards will not do.” Instead, at the urging of the Socialists and the business community, it offered them periodic amnesties (seven since 1985). In the face of this official indifference to their presence, illegals began bringing in their extended families. There has been so much chain migration that for each Ecuadorian who works there may be as many as three who live off the state, thanks to Spain’s generous welfare.
In Spain, “undocumented migrants,” as they are euphemistically called, can rent apartments, and the elderly can live in public housing. Trade unions welcome them as members. Spain provides free universal medical care to all, and in a law passed in 2001, extended coverage to pregnant illegals and their minor children, and all other “undocumented migrants” who register at the local town hall. There are even special medical centers for illegals who do not register.
Latin Americans now overwhelm the public health facilities in Madrid and Barcelona, seeking even the most expensive treatments. They are mostly Amerindians, who may have little or no European blood. Many have never seen a doctor before, and their susceptibility to disease is, in the judgment of many Spanish doctors, the highest for any group in the country. The Madrid regional government reports that Latin Americans, on average, absorb 45 percent more in medical costs than Spaniards. They crowd the hospital waiting rooms in Madrid, along with a smattering of old, white Spaniards. It is a chilling glimpse at the future of Spain.
It is the same at many public schools in Spanish cities. All school-age children must attend school, and administrators are not allowed to ask about immigration status. Thus, in schools in Madrid’s working class neighborhoods, one has to look hard to find a European child, and even harder to find a native Spanish child. Amerindians are the majority in most of these schools, especially in the lower grades.
Gangs and Crime
Mass immigration from Latin America has also brought crime. Madrid has gone from being one of the safest European cities to one of the most dangerous. Before the massive influx of immigrants, the most serious problem Spanish police faced was Basque separatist terrorism. They were unprepared for the American-style urban street gangs that arrived with the Latin Americans.
Spain had produced its own brand of urban thug before, but these were relatively harmless juvenile delinquents like skinheads, squatters and “anarchist” followers of Techno music. The Latin American gangs are violent crime organizations, some with names Americans will recognize: Latin Kings, Netas and Rancutas. Gangs got their start in urban Spanish schools, with racial confrontations between Latin Americans and Spaniards. In one instance in Barcelona, five members of the Latin Kings stabbed a 17-year-old Spaniard to death in a case of mistaken identity. Police estimate there are as many as 400 hard-core Latin King gang members in Barcelona, where hardly a weekend passes without a gang-related murder. There are gang murders now in other major Spanish cities, and almost all gang members are Latin American.
In Madrid, for example, gang leaders are Ecuadorian. The Latin Kings are at war with another Latin American street gang, the Netas, and they square off against each other in city parks. On weekends they turn the parks into urban ghettoes and harass native Spaniards. Gang members hate whites; they prey on Spanish students in the schools, stealing their money, cell phones and even their clothes. In several schools, Spanish girls have had their faces cut by gang members while trying to defend themselves from rape. The police can do little in the face of the gangs, because most members are minors and foreign, and Spanish laws are among the most lenient in Europe. Many native Spaniards now send their children to private schools, which leaves the public schools even more firmly in the hands of gangs.
Latin American immigration has also meant an increase in drug trafficking, with Colombians heavily involved, as in the United States. The corruption inherent in the drug trade is beginning to corrupt the state, as several native-born judges and policemen have been arrested for taking bribes and otherwise aiding drug pushers.
Foreigners account for an astonishing 80 percent of arrests, and the prison population is overwhelmingly immigrant. The majority, however, are not Latinos but Muslims.
As unpleasant as the mixed-race Latin Americans are, they at least speak the language and are somewhat culturally if not racially compatible. In some ways, they are the children of Spain. Muslims, who come mainly from Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, are the children of Spain’s conquerors, the Moors (see article on p. 6).
This point was reinforced on March 11, 2004, when a series of bombs exploded on commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 and injuring 1,460, in the worst terrorist attack in modern Spanish history. The conservative government of then-prime minister José Maria Aznar tried to pin the bombings on the Basque ETA, but most Spaniards were convinced the attacks were retaliation for supporting the war in Iraq. The bombings occurred on the eve of Spanish national elections, which Mr. Aznar’s Popular Party was expected to win. Instead, the voters elected his Socialist opponent, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who promised to withdraw from Iraq immediately.
Spanish police have arrested several Muslims in connection with the Madrid bombings, mostly Moroccans. Although no links to Al-Qaeda have been officially established, Osama bin Laden himself has said the attack was part of the “liberation” and re-occupation of al-Andalus, the Arabic name for Spain. Regardless of who was responsible, the attack could not have happened but for Spain’s large Muslim community, into which the terrorists blended easily.
Muslim immigrants are recent arrivals, just like the Latin Americans. For obvious historical reasons, Spain has not been a welcoming place for Muslims, although in 1967 the government passed a religious freedom law that provided recognition to Islam. The big change came during the economic boom in the 1990s when Muslims, mainly Moroccans, began entering illegally to work. It is only a nine-mile boat ride across the Straits of Gibraltar, and hundreds of thousands have risked the deadly currents for a chance to live in Europe. Many have died in the process, and sad stories lamenting the plight of these “unfortunates” are a staple of the leftist media.
The Spanish government has been schizophrenic about illegal Muslim immigrants, at times cracking down, but usually accommodating them with amnesties and social benefits. As a result, the population has steadily increased, and currently numbers around 600,000. Most are Moroccans, who have seen their numbers rise from just 70,000 in 1995 to approximately 350,000. There could well be several hundred thousand more living in Spain illegally. There is some question as to whether there are more Moroccans than Ecuadorians. Some authorities say yes, others say no. Most Spaniards believe there are far too many of both.
Muslim immigrants, like their Latin American counterparts, have also contributed to the increase in the Spanish crime rate, especially crimes against women. Muslims and Latin American immigrants commit 40 percent of domestic violence crimes. Just what this means in terms of per capita offense rates is impossible to know, because the official population figures (Muslims are 1.75 percent of the population, Latin Americans are 1.94 percent) do not account for illegals. Whatever the real population figures, immigrants are vastly overrepresented in virtually all crimes.
For Latin Americans, disdain for women is part of “machismo,” and for Muslims, it is sanctioned by religion. In 1997, a Spanish imam published a book called Women in Islam, in which he argued Muslim men could beat their wives as follows: “The beatings must be administered to specific parts of the body, such as the feet and hands, using a stick that is not too long, so as not to leave scars and bruises.”
The Aznar government charged the cleric with inciting hatred against women, but the Socialists let him go. As in other Western countries, Muslims in Spain have a tendency to rape white women. Recently in the southwestern town of Jumilla, native Spaniards expressed their outrage at the authorities’ seeming unwillingness to prevent such rapes. They stormed the city hall and pelted it with eggs and tomatoes, angry that government at all levels had failed to protect them from immigrant crime. They were outraged that they had welcomed immigrants and supported them with tax money only to be paid back with, as they put it, “crime, violence and fear.” Muslims now make up a staggering 70 percent of the inmates in Spanish prisons. In 1990 there were just 1,000 Muslim inmates.
Muslims do not get along well with Spain’s other major immigrant group. In Catalonia, which has large numbers of both Muslims and Latin Americans, violence between the two groups is common, a pattern found in many cities where both groups have settled. Violence is likely to increase, along with the number of immigrants.
Despite polls showing that a third of Spaniards want immigration sharply reduced or completely eliminated and that most consider immigration the second-most serious problem facing Spain — right behind terrorism — governments of both the right and the left have favored increasing immigration, most recently through the amnesty announced late last year and completed in May.
Spain first amnestied illegals when it passed its first-ever immigration law in 1985 in preparation for joining the EU. There were only a few illegals at that time, mostly temporary guest workers who had overstayed their visas from the 1960s and 70s. The law provided for sanctions against employers of illegal aliens, but as in the United States, they were rarely enforced. As illegal immigration increased during the 1990s, there were more amnesties: in 1991, 1994 (which also provided for family reunification), 1996, 2000, 2001, with the most recent just this year.
The current amnesty, which closed on May 8, was the largest to date, giving some 700,000 illegal immigrants — mostly Muslims — legal residency. Many illegals came to Spain from other EU countries to participate in the amnesty, greatly increasing the number. The illegals were supposed to prove they had been living and working in Spain for at least six months, but many managed to get forged records. Once families are included, this latest amnesty is expected to make more than a million people legal Spanish residents.
The current Socialist government rationalizes the amnesty by saying that it “just makes sense” to provide legal status to people who have been living and working in Spain for years. “These people were working in our shadow economy,” says Secretary of State for Immigration Marta Rodriguez-Tarducy. “They were using our social services but not paying any taxes, so we gave them the chance over a limited period to get their papers in order without being penalized.”
The government hopes the amnesty will provide billions in revenue, oblivious as always to the demographic and cultural impact of Third Worlders. The conservative Popular Party, now in opposition, objected to the amnesty, claiming it would just encourage more illegals and cause social tension, but it should talk; most of the earlier amnesties happened on its watch. Many of Spain’s EU partners opposed the amnesty, fearing that once the illegals got Spanish papers, they would pour into their countries. Government officials defended the amnesty as the only humane way to deal with the immigration crisis and a looming pension deficit. The labor minister claims this will be the last amnesty ever, and that the government will start cracking down hard on people who hire illegals — Spaniards have heard this many times since 1985.
Amnesty is not the only sop to Spain’s Muslim immigrants. The new Socialist government of José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, elected in the wake of the Madrid bombings, has been especially accommodating. Mr. Zapatero shelved plans for a French-style ban on the hijab in public schools, despite polls showing 78 percent of the public supported it. He also authorized instruction in Islamic subjects in Spanish public schools that have a large number of Muslim students.
Perhaps his most controversial move has been to provide state funding to mosques. The Zapatero administration claims government funding will eliminate the influence of fundamentalist Muslims who are currently providing financing, but the move should be seen in the context of the Socialists’ Marxist-inspired hostility towards Spanish Catholicism. (Spain, along with Ireland and Poland, is one of the traditional Catholic bastions of Europe; 94 percent of Spaniards are at least nominally Catholic.) Mr. Zapatero says he wants to treat all religions equally in Spain, yet while he plans to fund mosques, he has cut funding to Catholic schools and religious centers. Teaching Islam, he says without any apparent irony, is part of his government’s policy of “secularism.”
Mosques are popping up all over Spain, even without government assistance. In 1993, the Muslim prayer-call was heard for the first time in 500 years in Granada, with the opening of the Grand Mosque. Another Grand Mosque is planned for Seville. Recently, the wife of a former high-ranking government official in Catalonia, home to 100,000 Muslims, set off protests from Muslims when she said she feared one day all the churches would be turned into mosques.
The immigration crisis is exacerbated by demographic trends. Spain has one of the lowest native fertility rates in the Western world: just 1.15 lifetime births per woman. Experts say the country will lose a quarter of its native population by mid-century. The government justifies immigration for this reason, choosing to believe non-white immigrants will pay high taxes to support a declining population of elderly white people they despise. The low birthrate, coupled with the high rate of immigration and immigrant fertility have lead some experts to conclude native Spaniards could become a minority in Spain within 50 years or so, something inconceivable just a decade and a half ago.
As grim as the situation sounds, Spaniards are not about to surrender the country their ancestors defended for centuries against Muslim rule. Many are beginning to understand that non-white immigrants who won’t assimilate are a potentially mortal threat to the Spanish identity. The incident in Jumilla where the townspeople stormed the city hall is an example of Spaniards fighting back. This spring, when Dominicans in Madrid killed a young Spaniard only because he was white and was in “their” territory, whites protested for two days, and even set fire to shops owned by Latin Americans. In Seville, there was a large demonstration to protest the Grand Mosque. In Madrid, there have been several big demonstrations by native Spaniards against the Ecuadorian gangs who have turned city parks into no-go zones for whites.
The protests in Madrid may also have been fueled by a recent letter to the editor of a local newspaper in which an Ecuadorian wrote that once his kind were in the majority they would pull down all the statues of Cortes and Pizarro, the conquerors of America, in retaliation for the “genocide” of his ancestors. The demonstrators might also have recalled the aftermath of a 2003 soccer match between the Spanish and Ecuadorian national teams in Madrid. Ecuador’s supporters shouted angry anti-Spanish slogans and rioted after their team lost, causing a great deal of damage in the area around the stadium.
Perhaps most encouraging of all, a small neo-Frankist nationalist party, Plataforma per Catalunya, recently won municipal seats in left-leaning Catalonia. Reawakened Spaniards will, as other Europeans have begun to do, punish the elites who have betrayed them and vote them out. The spirit of Spanish nationalism may have been slumbering, but there are signs it is beginning to stir.
Mr. Peón is a business consultant in Madrid.
The Reconquista of al-Andalus
Modern Spain developed out of centuries-long struggle against the Moors, Muslims from North Africa who began their conquest of the Iberian peninsula in 711 AD. For hundreds of years, the Spanish fought to free themselves from the Muslim yoke, finally succeeding when an army under the command of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella captured the city of Granada in 1492. The March 11, 2004, train bombings in Madrid awakened in many Spaniards a fear of resurgent Islam.
The term “Moor” was the name given by the Romans to the nomadic inhabitants of Mauretania, an ancient Berber kingdom on the North African coast. The “Moors” were actually Arab Muslims who had conquered the Berbers in the seventh century and then set their sights on Spain and the Christian civilization of the West. In April 711, a mixed Arab-Berber army under the command of the Arab governor of Tangiers, Tariq ibn-Ziyad, crossed the strait of Gibraltar (the name itself comes from Jabal Tariq, or the Rock of Tariq), and defeated the Visigothic King Roderic at the Battle of Guadalete in southern Spain. By 718 the Moors had conquered most of central and southern Spain, and established al-Andalus as a province of the Caliphate of Damascus. They imposed forced conversion and harsh taxes (known as the Jeziya) on the Christian peasants. The Moors were intent on conquering all of Christendom, and in 722 launched an invasion of France. Their assault was finally halted by Charles Martel a decade later at Poitiers in central France, the battle that saved the West from Islam.
Some remnants of Christian Spain remained free of Muslim domination, including the tiny kingdom of Asturias in the far northern part of the peninsula, and it was from there that the Christian reconquest began with the Spanish victory at the Battle of Covadonga in 722. Slowly, over several centuries, the northern, non-Muslim areas of Spain began to join together to drive out the Moors. It was not a smooth process, and the northern kingdoms warred with each other as much as they did with Islam. But in 1212, the armies of Castile, Navarre, Aragon, Portugal and Leon, managed to defeat the Moors at the Battle of La Navas de Tolosa in Andalusia. The victory was a turning point in the reconquest and paved the way to the important southern cities of Seville, Cordoba and Cadiz. By the end of the 13th century, the only area of Spain still under Muslim control was the Kingdom of Granada, and it fell to the armies of Ferdinand and Isabella, whose marriage united Spain, on January 2, 1492.
Although Ferdinand and Isabella had promised religious freedom to Muslims in the Treaty of Granada, in 1502 they were ordered to convert to Christianity or emigrate. Most feigned conversion while continuing to practice Islam in secret. They became known as Moriscos and were one of the targets of the Inquisition. In 1610, Spanish King Philip III expelled the Moriscos, who numbered anywhere from 200,000 to 600,000, from Spain to North Africa.
Muslim sources claim that there are four million descendants of the Moriscos living today in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Each year they commemorate the expulsion of their ancestors with symposia detailing their plight. They are demanding an official apology, like the one Spain gave to Israel for expelling the Spanish Jews (the Sephardim) following the fall of Granada in 1492, for collaborating with the Moors during the occupation. They would also like the Spanish government to let them resettle in Spain under the same terms provided to Sephardic Jews. So far, Spain has refused to apologize.
Just as Mexicans think the American Southwest is rightfully theirs, many Muslims believe Spain, al-Andalus, belongs to them and must be returned to the true faith. The association of Muslim immigrants in Spain is called Tarik Muza, after the man who led the Moorish invasion of 711. Liberation from the Moors is part of the creation myth of Spain. The significance of what is happening now is not lost on ordinary people, who will not sit by idly and see the work of their ancestors destroyed.
He Has the Power; Does He Have the Will?
Spain has the means to save itself.
Spain and the United States face similar immigration crises. In each country, policies have been implemented against the will of the people. The only constituency for mass immigration in either country is an odd coalition of the multiculturalist Left and the Big Business Right.
However, Spaniards are more likely to solve the problem than Americans, partly because of Spain’s centuries-long struggle to defend her vulnerable geographic position in the Western Mediterranean. The national character of Spain was tempered during the eight centuries of conflict with the Moors, but was forged even earlier by resistance to the Romans. The French under Napoleon discovered the fiery Spanish national character and retreated in the face of España Eterna.
Democracy is a recent arrival on the Iberian Peninsula, and the people do not have the habit of demanding a say in policy. The dictator Francisco Franco died only in 1975, but since joining the EU in 1986, the nation has assumed a more European outlook. When the shock of recognition that Spain is threatened passes through every Spaniard the people will awaken from the multicultural trance and demand action. Now that hostile aliens comprise nearly ten percent of the population the moment may be at hand.
The second advantage Spain enjoys over other Western countries is that the king, Juan Carlos I, is the nation’s actual ruler — unlike other European monarchs. The Spanish constitution recognizes the king as the final overseer of the proper working of the state, and makes him commander-in-chief.
The king exercised his constitutional powers during the last great threat to the Spanish state, in February 23, 1981, when he ordered the army to clear the parliament of coup conspirators. He did this at great personal risk, demonstrating extraordinary physical and mental courage. He saved the constitution and the democracy that he himself had guided the nation toward after the death of Franco.
The failure by politicians to solve the immigration crisis threatens to undermine the state just as the conspiracy did in 1981. The king takes seriously his role as sovereign and protector of all Spaniards, including their language and culture, and he has the power directly to intervene to insure the integrity of Spain. It is not certain he would do so, of course, but Spain has an active political survival mechanism in her constitution that resides in the king’s exercise of direct powers granted to him.
It would take a decisive event — something even more dramatic than the Madrid train bombings — such as prolonged, violent rioting, or an assassination attempt on leading Spanish figures to make him act. In any case, Juan Carlos is not going to be the ruler who presided over the destruction of the Spanish nation by Africans, Arabs, and mestizos.
The Spaniards thus have the means to solve the immigration crisis and set an example for the rest of Europe — an example others might well be inspired to follow.
Mr. McClaren lives in El Salvador, where he is director of the Alliance for the American Union.
What Does the Confederate Flag Mean?
Who hates it, who loves it, and why.
John Coski, The Confederate Battle Flag: A History of America’s Most Embattled Emblem, Harvard University Press, 2005, 401 pp. $29.95.
here is no flag or symbol from American history that stirs such strong partisan emotions as the Confederate battle flag. It would perhaps not be surprising if a symbol of a secession attempt that led to 600,000 deaths still caused strong feelings 140 years later, but the war itself is not what excites passion today. Battlefield sentiment died away quickly, and until the 1950s, both Northerners and Southerners accepted the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern valor. What makes the flag controversial today is something neither side in the war cared about: the feelings of blacks. John Coski has written a careful and illuminating story of the flag that, in addition to its historical interest, shows how everything in America is interpreted and reinterpreted through the lens of race.
The Early Flags
One of the first acts of the Provisional Congress of the Confederacy was to set up a committee to design a flag for the new nation. At that time, there was still sentimental attachment to the stars and stripes, and the committee produced a red-white-and-blue design modeled on the US flag. It was called the “stars and bars,” and is now known as the first national flag of the Confederacy, but it is not familiar to most Americans.
The better-known flag was proposed to the flag committee by one of its members, William Porcher Miles of South Carolina, but was rejected. One member complained that the diagonal cross looked like a pair of suspenders. Miles had, in fact, at first designed the flag with a vertical, or St. George’s cross, but switched to the diagonal and less Christian-looking St. Andrews cross after complaints from Jews.
The first national flag was initially very popular with Confederates, but lost some of its appeal at the battle of First Manassas. From a distance, it looked too much like the United States flag, and Generals P.G.T. Beauregard and Joseph Johnston immediately proposed a flag that would not replace the national flag but that would be a distinctive Confederate symbol on the battlefield. They chose the Miles flag for this purpose, and thus was born what is technically known as the Confederate battle flag (many people today mistakenly think this flag is the “stars and bars”). It was adopted officially on November 28, 1861, by the forces that eventually become organized as the Army of Northern Virginia. It became the standard battlefield flag east of the Mississippi, but the Army of Tennessee fought to the end under a variety of distinctive regimental colors. The official battle flag was square, but the Confederate Navy flew a rectangular version known as the naval jack.
The battle flag was never intended or used as a national flag, and therefore did not fly over buildings. Mr. Coski points out, though, that for a nation that existed for only as long as it could keep armies in the field, the battle flag became its most powerful and best-recognized symbol. Indeed, as time went on and Southerners felt increasingly estranged from the North, the stars and bars fell into disfavor. Commander Matthew Fontaine of the Confederate Navy wrote of his increasing dislike for the national flag. He called it a “servile imitation” of the stars and stripes, to which he was once loyal, but that now stood for “tyranny, cruelty, & oppression.” Sentiments like his prevailed, and on May 1, 1863, the Confederate government adopted a new national flag, known as “the stainless banner,” with a battle flag as the canton on a field of white.
In fact, the flag was all too quickly stained — “very easily soiled from its excessive whiteness,” as one Confederate put it — and when it hung limp on a breezeless day it looked like a flag of truce. Although in the last days of the Confederacy, its leaders might have had better things to do, on March 4, 1865, they adopted a third national flag, which added a bar of red to the “stainless banner.” This was to emphasize an even further departure from “Yankee blue,” and to symbolize the French origins of many Southerners by adopting the red bar of the tricolor. Very few third national flags were ever made or flown.
As for the battle flag, it won the devotion of the men who fought under it. Keeping the flag flying, and protecting it from the enemy were paramount goals, and Mr. Coski devotes a chapter to acts of heroism and sacrifice this piece of cloth inspired. It is these tales of heroism that bring tears to the eyes of Southerners who love the flag, and Mr. Coski is right to offer this background for people who think the flag can mean only “racism.”
During Northern occupation, Southerners were under at least implicit orders to keep their flags out of public view, but when Reconstruction ended in 1870 in most states, flags appeared almost immediately at memorial services. Southerners rarely flew or displayed the national flags; the battle flag had already become the Confederate flag.
The flag was very much in evidence at such events as the unveiling of the Jackson and Lee statues on Monument Avenue in Richmond in 1875 and 1890, but US flags reportedly outnumbered Confederate banners. Up until the Second World War, it was common for whatever city that hosted reunions for Confederate veterans — and, later, their descendants — to deck the streets with Confederate and Union flags. Southerners observed the birthdays of Lee and Jeff Davis with much solemnity and celebrated Confederate Memorial Day. It was generally accepted that they could have a kind of dual allegiance that meant no disloyalty to the nation. (Even today, at their meetings, Confederate enthusiasts express this same dual loyalty by both pledging allegiance to the US flag and reciting an oath of devotion to the battle flag.)
In 1898, the North was pleased that Southerners fought courageously in the war against Spain. Joseph Wheeler, who had been a cavalry commander for the South, was in charge of US cavalry in Cuba. There was more amusement than censure when it was reported that he had ordered his men into battle with the words “Boys, give the damn Yankees hell.”
Many Southerners continued to believe and to say openly that the cause of secession was right, and that the Union victory had been a vindication of force, not justice. A few Yankee veterans continued to view the flag as a symbol of treason, but there was much psychological significance in the 1905 vote by Congress to return to the South all the captured battle flags still in federal possession. Most northerners were willing to forgive and even admire Southern loyalties, especially as they did not seem to diminish national loyalty.
The movie version of Gone With the Wind, released in 1939, was a huge hit, and boosted the South and its symbols. During the Second World War, a considerable number of Southerners carried and displayed small battle flags as talismans, and some even raised them over captured Japanese fortifications. The army was segregated and, if anything, military authorities appreciated the fighting inspiration Southerners drew from the flag.
During this period, the flag was never used as a commercial or political emblem, and had no racial or anti-black connotations. Mr. Coski points out that neither the original KKK of 1866-1871 nor the revived Klan of 1915 used the battle flag. Contrary to later accusations, the flag did not appear at lynchings, nor was it adopted by the more prominent anti-black politicians of the time like “Pitchfork” Ben Tillman.
The Flag Changes its Spots
Mr. Coski is undoubtedly right to argue that the flag lost its innocence, in degrees, after the Second World War. He writes that the battle flag was first put to openly political purposes during Strom Thurmond’s 1948 run for President, as the candidate of the States’ Rights (Dixiecrat) Party. The party stood for limited government and segregation, and although the battle flag was never its official symbol, Thurmond’s supporters waved it enthusiastically, and he never discouraged them. He reportedly marched to the podium to accept the party’s nomination, flanked by both the US and battle flags.
The flag did not immediately take on an exclusively Dixiecrat aroma, however. Mr. Coski reports that that from 1950 to 1952 the entire country went through a battle flag craze that no one seems to have been able to explain. Confederate flags outsold US flags in every part of the country. Shriners on jamborees in New York City waved the flag, and it showed up at the Atlantic City beauty pageant. For the first time it appeared widely on toys, clothes, cups and other items.
The battle flag was also very popular among servicemen in Korea. Americans fought officially under the UN flag, and were happy to rally around an American symbol. Many men who flew the flag and supported its display were not Southern. Southerners teased Northerners that they were finally fighting on the right side: for South Korea.
The 31st Infantry from Fort Jackson, South Carolina, took the flag craze to an extreme. Reactivated for service in Korea, officers wore the battle flag as a shoulder patch and the men put it on their helmets. The band wore Confederate uniforms and had the battle flag on the skin of the bass drum. During this period, a few Navy ships even occasionally flew small battle flags, though the brass discouraged this.
This was the high water mark for the flag, both in the military and the larger society. By 1952 the flag fad had died as mysteriously as it had arisen. After the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education declared segregated schools unconstitutional, the battle flag became increasingly associated with resistance to integration. George Wallace, Lester Maddox, Ross Barnett, and other pro-segregation politicians embraced it. In what has been the source of the flag’s most hard-to-shake association with “racism,” the KKK began to wave it. Although the modern Klan was never large or powerful, it was irresistible to journalists, and hooded cross-burners became, in the public mind, the flag’s biggest supporters.
By the 1960s, Mr. Coski argues, the battle flag had gone full circle and once again symbolized the South’s resistance to Northern attempts to change the racial status quo. As the flag’s anti-black aura increased, the now-integrated military frowned on it. The country was headed towards the large-scale and divisive flag controversies of the latter part of the century.
Because Mr. Coski’s story is about the continuing wars between flag supporters and flag detractors, he is careful to track the historical positions taken by the various sides. He notes that although blacks had little voice in the 1950s, their publications always associated the flag with slavery, not Southern heroism. It is some of the flag’s defenders who have shifted their ground.
The main flag boosters have been the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) and the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), the organizations for female and male descendants of Confederate soldiers. The UDC has always been consistent: It opposes any use of the flag other than as a sacred memorial to Southern dead. It was against Mississippi’s decision in 1894 to make the battle flag part of the state flag, and it opposed Georgia’s decision to do the same thing in 1956. It has always denounced commercial use of the flag, whether on clothing or anything else, and officially objected when the Dixiecrat campaign festooned itself with flags.
The SCV took fewer public positions in the period up to the 1960s, but appears to have sided with the UDC in supporting a restrained and dignified role for the flag. In the 1980s and later, it became the most aggressive supporter of the flag, and increasingly took the position that there was no place in the country where the flag did not belong if someone wanted it there (with the possible exception of in the hands of cross-burners), and that any attempt to remove it from view was a “heritage violation.”
Mr. Coski spends many pages on the various battles over the flag. He points out that before the 1970s, playing Yankees and Confederates was as harmless and unpolitical as cowboys and Indians, and many schools, North and South, had teams named “Rebels” and used battle flag symbols. These were invariably all-white schools, and as integration (and its Southern opponents) changed the complexion of the flag, blacks and liberals dethroned the rebels and took away their flags. Given the anti-“racist” zeitgeist, school authorities often felt justified in railroading through changes despite the opposition of a majority of alumni and townspeople. Given the rapidity with which the battle flag has become a symbol of “hate,” it must be a shock for students at northern schools to leaf through a yearbook of 30 years ago and find the football team marching onto the field behind a large Confederate flag.
In many cases, administrators furled the flag even before anyone protested. Mr. Coski notes that Virginia Military Institute, whose traditions had been heavily Confederate ever since the entire student body marched off to fight the Yankees at New Market, started downplaying the flag in 1968, when it first admitted blacks.
More recently, in what have come to be known as “T-shirt cases,” schools have banned displays of the battle flag on clothing, backpacks, or cars. Since the 1980s, these bans have generally been met with lawsuits by heritage groups, many of them successful. However, in some cases courts have found that the battle flag is a “disruptive” symbol, and that schools have the right to ban insignia they think could lead to disorder. Flag supporters are outraged at the assumption that the flag is a provocation, and have sometimes successfully argued that if the Confederate flag is taboo, Malcolm X, clenched fists, and other signs of black power must be banned too.
The campus flag battle that probably attracted the most attention was at the University of Mississippi. For many Southern universities, the battle flag was an all-but-official symbol of athletic teams, especially the football team, but nowhere was it so prominently displayed as at Ole Miss. For games against Northern rivals, the stands would be red with flags, and half-time rituals involved parading a huge battle flag onto the field. The semi-official displays of the flag disappeared under university orders as Ole Miss became sensitized in the 1970s and 1980s like everywhere else, but the fans continued to wave the flag and sing “Dixie.”
In 1997, when the university first started urging people to leave flags at home, the message backfired, and more flags than ever appeared at games. The administration resorted to dishonest tactics, like banning the small flag poles from which the fans waved their flags, on the grounds that the sticks could be used as weapons. With enough pressure and strong-arming, foes of the flag eventually drove it from the stands just as they had from the field.
The flag has now been declared to be so unambiguously offensive on college campuses that there is whooping and bellowing when even a single student displays it. In 1988, a Cornell student hung a flag outside his window. This caused such hysteria the school passed a ban on all flags. In 1991, Bridget Kerrigan hung a battle flag from the window of her dorm room at Harvard. The huge stink resulted in much pressure on Miss Kerrigan but she never backed down. “If they talk about diversity, they’re gonna get it,” she explained. “If they talk about tolerance they better be ready to have it.” Black students hung a swastika from a window in protest, but Jewish groups persuaded them to take it down. Harvard considered banning all flags, but never did. Miss Kerrigan kept her flag to the end.
In 1987, the NAACP concentrated its fire on four specific battle flags: the ones that appeared on the Georgia and Mississippi state flags and those that flew over the South Carolina and Alabama state houses. Mr. Coski gives good summaries of the thrust and parry that eventually led to NAACP victory or at least compromise in three out of four cases, but points out that if the decisions had been put to popular vote, all four flags would have remained untouched. An informal newspaper poll on the Georgia flag — which went through two revisions before finally taking its present form — found that 75 percent of respondents wanted to keep the original battle-flag design, and that the response to the poll was ten times higher than to any question the paper had ever before put to readers before.
This is a typical response, at least in the South, whenever the public is actually consulted about the flag. In Mississippi, the issue was put to put to popular vote and the battle flag carried the day with ease. Black activists were chagrinned that even some majority-black counties voted to keep the old flag.
Mr. Coski notes that every court challenge to these flags failed. Judges sometimes laced their decisions with gratuitous complaints about the symbolism of the flag, but invariably ruled that no one’s rights were unconstitutionally denied just because an official body chose a design or a display that someone doesn’t like.
Still, flag-haters have unquestionably had their way far more often than not. Usually, whites have simply capitulated. The Kappa Alpha Order, a fraternity founded in 1865 at Washington College is a particularly sad example. Founded at a time when Robert E. Lee was president — the school later renamed itself Washington and Lee — Kappa Alpha was essentially a Confederate memorial society, dedicated to emulating the personal qualities of General Lee. Throughout the South, its chapters became known for elaborate Confederate parades, Old South balls, symbolic secession ceremonies, and public devotion to the flag. Over the years, as criticism mounted, one chapter after another ended its public Confederate observances, and in 2001, in what can only be seen as a form of institutional suicide, the order voted officially to end even private display of the flag. On most campuses, there was no university ordinance that required that they turn their back on their raison d’être. The order buckled under pressure.
Mr. Coski recounts many similar stories of battle flags disappearing when its supporters lost their nerve. One of the better known cases was that of NASCAR racing, which had always had southern roots, and a tradition of waving the flag. The sport’s organizers did as organizers almost always do, and banned the flag, in 1993.
As Mr. Coski notes, the battle flag now has an international reputation as a symbol of defiance and resistance to authority. The flag appeared in Solidarity demonstrations in Poland and in marches against Soviet power in the late 1980s. No one had any doubt about what it meant.
What Role for the Flag?
Mr. Coski goes to considerable lengths to claim neutrality in the flag debate. “I do not believe that anyone’s hurt feelings or people’s desire to feel good about themselves should be the basis of how we perceive history or decide public policy,” he writes at one point. And yet, he sets out a logic of flag symbolism that puts him firmly on the side of those who want to see as little of it as possible:
The flag’s effectiveness as an expression of an ideological tradition subverts its legitimacy as a publicly sanctioned or sponsored symbol. If even a minority of vocal flag loyalists regards the flag not merely as a memorial to Confederate dead but as a living testament to the power of anti-federal ideology or the symbol of a still-living Confederacy, it is difficult to defend the flag as a neutral, apolitical symbol that everyone should learn to respect.
He believes the flag should not have the slightest public support unless it is merely a historical relic of a dead past. Some flag defenders implicitly agree with that position by trying to argue that they support it only in that guise, but Mr. Coski is right to suspect disingenuousness. Many of the flag’s strongest defenders unquestionably see a contemporary political meaning in it, and there is more than the “anti-federal ideology” that Mr. Coski suggests.
When Mississipians voted to keep the Confederate symbol as part of the state flag, it undoubtedly reflected reverence for ancestors, but it also reflected years of pent-up anger against blacks and their liberal allies. Whites are tired of watching their leaders give in to every demand by blacks, and almost never have a chance to show how angry they are. A vote on the flag was the equivalent of the vote they never got on racial preferences, the King holiday, and Black History Month. If Yankees didn’t mind the flag, what business did blacks have grousing about it?
At the same time, every group in the country, from blacks to Hispanics to homosexuals, flaunts its identity in the face of the larger society, often with the deliberate intention of giving offense. Only whites are forbidden a group identity, and only for whites are expressions of racial pride treated as moral defects.
Every publicly-articulated assumption about race is a standing insult to whites: They slaughtered Indians, enslaved blacks, interned Asians, stole land from Mexicans. Whites who would never in public dare say they are sick of being bullied and berated are still happy to vote in the privacy of the voting booth or in the anonymity of a newspaper poll to keep a flag flying that they know offends blacks and liberals. That is part of its appeal. It is one of the very few ways to blow a raspberry at the entire liberal-minority enterprise without being thrown immediately into outer darkness.
Whites must hide subversive sentiment behind a still-barely-acceptable attachment to The Lost Cause, because it is too dangerous to attack racial orthodoxy head-on. Most of the people who wave the flag are Southerners, but that is not all they have in common. For one, they certainly do not have the apologetic view of race now required of whites. They probably oppose the entire liberal program, nearly every part of which would be reversed if the people were actually consulted: gun control, mass immigration, welfare, homosexual marriage, and the elimination of public expressions of Christianity. Increasingly, the flag stands for a rejection of an entire world view, and everyone knows it.
That, of course, is why blacks and their allies want to stamp out every trace of the Confederacy. Mr. Coski is right: The flag and the war are potent symbols of an older American racial and political consciousness that has not been quite wiped out, and that shows signs of digging in for another fight. If it were a matter only of tax rates and federal power, the flag might still be the innocent banner it was in the 1950s, but the symbolism of the flag is now unmistakably racial. That is why so many people hate it and why, even if they may feel compelled to hide their reasons, so many people love it.
The fight over the flag symbolizes the larger racial drama being played out in the United States. Just like the students of Ole Miss, and the people of Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama, whites are constantly being betrayed by rulers who would rather sacrifice race and culture than endure liberal censure. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Council of Conservative Citizens, and other heritage groups are therefore right to defend flag displays that earlier Confederate loyalists might have found commercial or undignified. These groups are certainly defending their ancestors but they are defending something much larger, something undeceived whites on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line understand and support.
Shaking Up the Aussies
Nothing astonishes people more than to tell them the truth.
In an incident that has been ignored in the United States, one man has set the Australian establishment on its ear with a few sensible remarks about race. It all started with a story in the June 29 Parramatta Sun, a newspaper in a suburb of Sydney, Australia. On the cover was a picture of a young Sudanese girl happily announcing that her parents had just become Australian citizens: “Now mum and dad are Aussies just like me.”
This typical, happy-refugees story was too much for Andrew Fraser, a tenured associate professor in the Department of Public Law at Macquarie University in Sydney. The 29-year teaching veteran wrote a letter to the editor, in which he explained that “an expanding black population is a sure-fire recipe for increases in crime, violence and a wide range of other social problems.” He rejected the view that “black Africans and Muslim Afghanis are Aussies just like the descendants of the Anglo-Celtic pioneers who settled and built this country,” and argued that the arrival of Somalis means “Anglo-Australians are once again expected to acquiesce in the steady erosion of their distinctive national identity.” He asked why Australia “can no longer remain the homeland of a particular people,” but must instead “become a colony of the Third World.” “The fact is,” he added, “that ordinary Australians are being pushed down the path to national suicide by their own political, religious and economic elites.”
The Parramatta Sun decided to give the letter the full treatment, and plastered the headline “Keep Them Out” on the front page of its July 6 issue. A Sun journalist, Charles Boag, wrote a prissy accompanying article in which he asked, among other things, “Was the violence of America’s deep south caused by black people? I always thought it was caused by whites.”
The usual people made the usual noises, and the pressure was on. At first, Macquarie University stood by Prof. Fraser. Acting Vice Chancellor John Loxton (the real vice chancellor was traveling overseas) issued a statement on July 15 distancing the university from “racism,” but noting (amazingly) that there are “bodies of research to support all sides of the argument.” Not everyone shared this detachment. Philosophy lecturer Alex Miller said Prof. Fraser’s comments were “ill-informed, offensive, and bigoted.” “I’m dismayed that a colleague of mine could have views worthy of Joseph Goebbels,” he said.
In response to media requests, Prof. Fraser elaborated on his views: “Look at the annual HSC results [High School Certificate scores, on which Asians get high marks] — the consequence of which is that Oz [Australia] is creating a new heavily Asian managerial-professional, ruling class that will feel no hesitation . . . in promoting the narrow interests of their co-ethnics at the expense of white Australians.” He added further that it was only the “educated middle class” who disagreed with him, adding, “I think most ordinary people would find what I’m saying more or less self-evident.”
By this point, Prof. Fraser was a celebrity, and on July 18 appeared on the national television program A Current Affair. On the air, Prof. Fraser said it was a mistake to abolish the “White Australia policy” that restricted immigration to whites. He explained that “Sub-Saharan Africans have an average IQ of 70 to 75,” and that underdevelopment in Africa suggests a “difference in cognitive ability of blacks and whites.” The interviewer’s response was unscientific: “That is Adolf Hitler stuff! It’s just rubbish.” Apparently many Australians do not think it is rubbish. In a telephone poll conducted by A Current Affair after the broadcast, 85 percent of respondents said they would support a ban on all non-white immigration.
Some time after this, the vice chancellor of Macquerie University got home from her trip, and immediately ditched the “bodies of research on both sides” position. On July 25 Di Yerbury explained:
Yesterday on my return from overseas I and other colleagues met with a number of leading representatives of the Sudanese community and the African Community Council in Sydney. I assured them that I personally disagreed profoundly with the views Professor Fraser has been propounding, and that the University as a whole dissociates itself from those views.
I apologized to them . . . They graciously accepted my apology.
She also explained that Macquarie was “proudly multi-cultural,” with students from 90 different countries.
Prof. Yerbury “invited” Prof. Fraser to bring forward his retirement, scheduled for June 2006, offering to buy out the last year of his contract but cutting him off from the university. She denied this was, in any way, punishment for expressing views she called “repugnant.”
On July 29, Prof. Fraser issued a statement in which he declined Vice-Chancellor Yerbury’s offer, explaining that the single most important reason for doing so was her apology to Africans. His statement, which he wrote in the third person, is worth quoting at some length:
It is not known what special knowledge Professor Yerbury herself possesses on issues relating to racial differences and immigration that would entitle her to condemn Professor Fraser’s public comments out of hand. What is clear, however, is that the Vice-Chancellor’s personal disapproval of Professor Fraser’s views explains the refusal of the University to offer him the same Honorary Associate status customarily extended to other retired academic staff still actively engaged in scholarship and research.
In effect, Professor Fraser said, the University is offering him the academic equivalent of a dishonourable discharge. To accept its terms would amount to an admission that he had somehow brought the University into disrepute . . . In his public comments, Professor Fraser has merely stated the truth to the best of his professional knowledge.
. . . Professor Fraser believes that the Vice-Chancellor was wrong to make any apology on behalf of the University; in doing so she has sacrificed the time-honoured traditions of academic freedom to the illegitimate demands of ethnic pressure groups and political extremists determined to impose an ideological dictatorship upon Australian universities.
Professor Fraser also rejects any suggestion he, too, should apologise for his recent public comments. His argument that the White Australia Policy was fundamentally sound and that it was a mistake to abandon it falls squarely within his area of expertise and is an academically defensible view shared by a great many other Australians.
. . . Professor Fraser regards the Vice-Chancellor’s apology as an appalling display of intellectual cowardice . . . Universities once prided themselves on their commitment to the search for truth; to suppress data well-known to psychologists, criminologists, historians and legal academics merely because the truth might cause ‘hurt and distress’ to certain protected minorities calls into question the whole point and purpose of the University.
This was too much for the university, which promptly banned Prof. Fraser from teaching. As a personnel officer explained in an e-mail message to Prof. Fraser, “We have received both telephone and email messages, including threats, from people purporting to support you, which indicate that there are risks to the safety of those on campus who express a different view.” If administrators really thought Prof. Fraser’s supporters were plotting violence, they could not have picked a better provocation than to bar him from the classroom. Needless to say, there were no riots.
Prof. Fraser suspected there might be a different explanation. Twice, he explained, officials had told him his remarks threatened to keep away fee-paying foreign students — there are 8,500 on campus — who are a big source of revenue. This quite excited Vice-Chancellor Yerbury, who seemed to think the suggestion she was thinking about money was, if anything, worse than talking about African IQ — “particularly vile,” she called it. “Honestly, rather than this university be accused of racism, I’d rather lose some of the money,” she insisted. Prof. Fraser’s classes had to be cancelled, she said, “because everything is in uproar.”
“Uproar” or not, Prof. Fraser came to class on July 31 only to find that he and 20 students were barred from their usual lecture hall. “It was a completely unprecedented experience,” he said. “I have never, ever, heard of students and teachers being locked out of a classroom.” Braving the “uproar,” Prof. Fraser spoke to students in his office.
All Prof. Fraser wants is to be allowed to keep teaching, and that seems to be what his students want, too. All those who have been quoted in the press, including several Asians, praise his teaching, and do not want to have to switch instructors in the middle of a course. Many said his conservative views were a refreshing change from relentless liberalism. Colorful banners have even sprung up around the campus that say, “Support Free Speech, let Drew Teach!”
On July 31, federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson said college professors should be able to express their views without worrying they will lose their jobs. “Those who so strongly argue for free speech and academic freedom and rigor . . . should strongly disagree with what he said, if that’s their view . . . it’s certainly mine. But [they should] nonetheless respect the fact that he, as an academic, has a right to express it.” His conclusion: “I think that they should allow his classes to continue.”
Even a few academic groups that would ordinarily be expected to toe the multi-culti line have decided to put principle over politics. In an August 2 statement, the National Tertiary Education Union wrote:
The Union strongly believes that academics have the fundamental right to state their views publicly, even though these views may be unpopular or controversial. Universities have a responsibility to promote critical discussion and debate.
The union added that Macquarie has rules against creating a “harassing” environment on campus, and that if the administration thinks Prof. Fraser has violated them it should follow procedure rather than summarily suspend him from teaching.
It is not certain how this story will end, but so far, Prof. Fraser’s courage is showing every sign of being rewarded. When people are right they have no reason to apologize or back down. Support appears to be building for the unrepentant professor; perhaps even a few more Australians will be inspired to come forward with the truth.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
On May 14, 2003, Jamaican Tyrone Williams picked up a tractor-trailer full of 70 illegal aliens in Harlingen, Texas, and began driving them across the state through the scorching heat. After several hours, he saw in his rearview mirror that someone was waving a handkerchief through an opening where a taillight had been knocked out. He pulled over, opened the doors, and found that many of his passengers were suffering from asphyxia and heat stroke, and that several had died. Mr. Williams unhooked the trailer and fled in the tractor. In all, 19 died in what authorities claimed was the deadliest human smuggling attempt in US history. Mr. Williams was caught, tried and convicted on smuggling charges, and faces a life sentence. Thirteen others from the smuggling ring also face charges.
Lawyers for the families of seven of the dead illegals are suing Great Dane, Inc., the manufacturer of the trailer. They say the company is responsible for the deaths because the trailer had no ventilation system and no escape latches. The suit also faults Great Dane for not putting labels in the trailer saying people shouldn’t be hauled in it. The suit names Mr. Williams, the smuggling ring, and the leasing company that owned the rig all as co-defendants, but under the “deep pockets” theory Great Dane would pay if damages are awarded.
The lawyers — from the firm of Moreno, Becerra, Guerrero, and Casillas of Montebello, Calif. — want a jury trial, in which they will demand $1.4 million in damages for each case, funeral expenses, attorneys fees, and punitive damages. Pre-trial hearings will begin September 6 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Building in Victoria, Texas. [Greg Bowen, Trailer Builder, Driver Sued by Survivors of Fatal Smuggling Attempt, Victoria Advocate, Aug. 3, 2005.]
Hatun Surucu was a young Turkish woman born in Berlin who rebelled against her traditional Turkish family. She was sent back to Turkey and forced to marry a cousin at the age of 16, but she divorced and returned to Berlin pregnant. She gave birth at age 17, and began living like a German woman — she gave up her headscarf, wore makeup, went to school, and dated German men. Her three brothers, who lived in Berlin, thought this behavior dishonored the family and often told her to stop. One evening as she was leaving her house, they shot her to death. They were convicted of murder and are now in jail.
The case became a cause célèbre in Berlin. Turkish women marched in the streets, and people put up a shrine where Miss Surucu was shot. Many Turks, however, sided with the brothers. One Turkish student in Berlin told his teacher that Miss Surucu deserved her death because “she lived like a German, didn’t she?” Berlin averages about one such honor killing every month. [Yann Ollivier, Germany Shaken by Honor Killings in its Turkish Community, AFP, March 4, 2005. Tony Paterson, ‘How Many More Women Have To Die Before This Society Wakes Up?’ Telegraph (London), Feb. 27, 2005. Ray Furlong, ‘Honour Killing Shocks Germany,’ BBC (London), March 14, 2005.]
In Birmingham, England, a Muslim girl and a young Sikh were lovers, which distressed their families. The man’s family threatened the girl’s family. In retaliation, six of her male relatives went to the shop of the man’s father and beat to death the man who was working there. He turned out not to be the young lover’s father, and had nothing to do with the romance. Two men were convicted of murder and got life sentences. [Iain Robinson, Father’s Identity Mistaken In Killing, Express and Star (Wolverhampton, England), June 11, 2005.]
Immigrants are bringing similar violence to America. According to police reports, Ahmad Abdelmomen, a 21-year-old Egyptian Muslim immigrant who lives in Oakland County, Michigan, beat his sister, Engy, so severely that he broke her back after he found her talking to a “white, Catholic boy.” Her parents waited a day before taking her to the hospital. Originally, prosecutors said the parents delayed because they approved of the punishment; they dropped that charge after the parents agreed to a no-contest plea of medical neglect. The parents are undergoing psychological examinations to determine whether it is safe for the girl to stay at home. Her brother faces a charge of aggravated assault. [Niraj Warikoo, Oakland Family in Trouble over Beating, Detroit Free Press, June 23, 2005. L. L. Brasier, Oakland Teen is Taken from Home, Detroit Free Press, June 24, 2005.]
Amandeep Atwal, a 17-year-old Sikh living in Kitimat, British Columbia, with her family, fell in love with a young man named Todd McIsaac. The family was distressed to learn about this, and Miss Atwal decided to leave home and move in with her boyfriend in another British Columbia town. The girl’s father, Rajinder Atwal, insisted on driving her there. At a rest area, Mr. Atwal stabbed her 17 times. He then put her in the foot well of the front seat, covered her with a blanket, and drove for 21/2 hours before taking her to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Mr. Atwal played the grieving father, claiming the girl had killed herself, but he was convicted of murder and got a sentence of 16 years. [BC Man Must Serve 16 Years for Killing Daughter, Canadian Press, June 22, 2005.]
Droit de Seigneur
We reprint the following item on the latest marriage of the king of Swaziland, verbatim and in toto:
King Mswati III has formally married his 11th wife, a 21-year-old woman whom he chose three years ago at an annual parade of bare-breasted maidens held in his honor, the government said. Two more women are brides-in-waiting. The king’s choices formally become wives only upon becoming pregnant, and Mswati’s latest wife, Noliqwa Ntentesa, is carrying his 25th child. The king, Africa’s last absolute monarch, has been widely criticized for his extravagant lifestyle in a nation where 7 in 10 people live on less than a dollar a day. [Michael Wines, Swaziland: King Marries 11th Wife, New York Times, May 31, 2005.]
Back in 1997, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system (CMS) in North Carolina started suspending all students who misbehave. The result has been a lot of suspensions: 52,648 in 2003-04. Nearly 11,000 students were suspended at least twice and 6,700 at least three times. Four hundred fifty students had ten suspensions or more. One third of the suspensions were for violent offenses, including weapons possession, sexual assault, robbery, and “aggressive physical or verbal actions.”
Blacks and whites each make up 42 percent of the enrollment at CMS, but blacks got 75 percent of the suspensions, with black boys — a fifth of the total enrollment — accounting for 46 percent. In national studies, white boys are suspended most often after black boys, but in CMS, second-place honors go to black girls, who got 26 percent of the suspensions. White boys and girls were just 20 percent of those suspended. Overall, blacks were suspended at four times the white rate — one in three vs. one in twelve. Blacks were also far more likely to be arrested at school than whites. In 2003-04, police made 1,004 arrests on CMS campuses; 81 percent of the suspects were black.
The racial disparity embarrasses administrators. “It’s a very difficult issue, and it’s uncomfortable for folks,” says assistant superintendent Susan Agruso. “Part of it may be related to culture. Part of it’s poverty . . . You don’t want to believe there are biases, but the truth is, there probably are.” But Miss Agruso also says student misbehave: “We have kids who haven’t learned that you’re respectful to teachers, you don’t curse in class, you don’t get up and walk around.”
The usual people say cultural differences between white teachers and black students lead to unjustified suspensions, particularly with subjective infractions like “generally disruptive behavior” and “insubordination.” Anti-“racism” activist Tim Wise, for example, says that when black students talk back to teachers, it may not be disrespect, but engagement, like when black churchgoers shout back to ministers. [Liz Chandler, Adam Bell, Melissa Manware and Peter Smolowitz, School Suspensions Soar, Charlotte Observer, June 12, 2005, p. A1. Liz Chandler, Adam Bell and Peter Smolowitz, Blacks Suspended Far More than Whites, Charlotte Observer, June 12, 2005, p. A1.]
According to the CDC, US infant mortality declined between 1995 and 2002, dropping from 7.6 deaths per 1,000 live births to 7.0. The overall rate would be even lower were it not for the high black infant mortality rate — 13.9 in 2002, more than double the rate of 5.9 for whites. The infant death rate for Indians was 9.1, for Hispanics, 5.8, and for Asians, 5.0. Washington, DC, had the highest infant mortality rate in the nation at 13.5, followed by Mississippi (10.4), Alabama (9.7), Louisiana (9.5) and South Carolina (9.3) — all with large black populations. The states with the fewest infant deaths — New Hampshire (4.9), Massachusetts (5.0), Maine (5.3), and Utah (5.4) — are overwhelmingly white. The CDC attributes the racial gap to age and health of the mother, multiple births, low birth weight, premature births, frequency and quality of prenatal care, and availability of doctors. The CDC has set a goal of reducing the national infant mortality rate to 4.5 by 2010, a 36 percent reduction that will be hard to achieve. [Miranda Hitti, Infant Deaths Down, but Racial Gap Persists, FoxNews.com, June 10, 2005.]
Black children who survive infancy have many more injuries than whites. According to a study by Ohio State University, black children are almost eight times more likely to be burned or shot, seven times more likely to be hit by a car, six times more likely to be intentionally injured, and more than twice as likely to die as a result of an injury. The authors say blacks need “injury prevention initiatives,” whatever they may be. [Racial Disparity in Trauma, Physician’s Weekly, May 31, 2005.]
Last year, comedian Bill Cosby told an NAACP meeting that the worst problems for inner-city blacks are reckless procreation, bad parents, and even black-sounding names. Many blacks were angry, but many silently agreed.
Black University of Pennsylvania professor Michael Eric Dyson, author of Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?, believes blacks reacted to Mr. Cosby according to whether they are part of the success-oriented “Afristocracy” of black lawyers, doctors, business executives, etc. or the failed “Ghettocracy” of welfare mothers, bums, gang-members, and ex-cons.
Although he is part of the Afristocracy, Prof. Dyson sides with the ghetto, calling Mr. Cosby “mean-spirited,” and complaining his remarks were exploited by white conservatives. He also criticizes Mr. Cosby’s former comedy act for not discussing race or criticizing white racism, noting that he “has never lambasted white America the way he has black America.” Prof. Dyson thinks we should find the causes of black self-destruction rather than criticize its victims. In other words, it’s all whitey’s fault. [Jason B. Johnson, When Lower-Class Blacks Took a Hit from Bill Cosby, Author Dyson Came Out Swinging in Their Defense, San Francisco Chronicle, June 7, 2005, p. E1.]
The Paternalistic Press
Newspaper stories about crime often leave out the race of the suspect. The usual policy is to mention race only when it is part of a complete description. Editors argue that writing that the robber was “a black teenager” is not enough detail to catch the man but could promote “negative stereotypes.” [Tony Marcano, Why Don’t Some Articles Identify Suspects by Race? Sacramento Bee, April 25, 2004.] Leaving out race but including sex apparently runs no risk of creating “negative stereotypes” about men.
Just how much detail does the racially repressed Washington Post need before it will tell us a suspect is black? More, apparently, than it is ever likely to get. Recently, the police were looking for four murder suspects in a Washington, DC, suburb whom they officially described as follows:
‘Black males, possibly late teens or early twenties. One of the suspects is about 5’7”, 22-25 years old, wearing a gray long-sleeve T-shirt, and cornrow hairstyle. The suspect’s vehicle is described as a newer model tan or beige/light colored sedan.’ The Washington Post could bring itself only to say that the suspects were in their late teens and early twenties and were driving a beige sedan. [Michael Gettler, Race and Relevancy, Washington Post, July 24, 2005.] No doubt, if today’s editors had been running the paper back on Dec. 7, 1941, the headline would have been “Youths Bomb Pearl Harbor.”
Some journalists have had enough. Recently, the North Andover, Mass., Eagle-Tribune adopted the no-race-unless-there-are-lots-of-other-details policy. The editorial page editor, Ken Johnson, objected by e-mail: “This strikes me as just too much wrong-headed PC nonsense. Are we to write that ‘Three men from east Texas were convicted of dragging James Byrd behind a pickup truck until he was decapitated’ without mentioning that the thugs were white and the victim black?” Another journalist, Brian McGonigle, joked in response, “Actually the victim would technically be black and blue and red all over.” The newspaper suspended both men for three days without pay. [Being ‘PC’ is not Black or White, Rockingham News (NH), July 29, 2005.]
Despite invasions by Saxons, Romans, Vikings, Normans and others, the native white population of Britain retains much the same genetic makeup as the original Ice Age people who first settled the British Isles 12,000 years ago.
“There’s been a lot of arguing over the last ten years,” says archaeologist David Miles, author of The Tribes of Britain, “but it’s now more or less agreed that about 80 percent of Britons’ genes come from hunter-gatherers who came in immediately after the Ice Age. The numbers were probably quite small — just a few thousand people.”
The original settlers were nomadic tribesmen who followed herds of reindeer and wild horses north into Britain from what is now France, Germany and Holland. They became isolated when rising sea levels cut Britain off from Europe. The differences between modern Britons and Europeans can be attributed to random mutations that occurred over time, the most visible of which is red hair. “It’s something that foreign observers have often commented on,” Dr. Miles explains. “Recent studies have shown that there is more red hair in Scotland and Wales than anywhere else in the world. It’s a mutation that probably occurred between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago.”
Dr. Miles’s group analyzed blood groups, oxygen traces in teeth, and DNA samples taken from ancient skeletons. [James Owen, British Have Changed Little Since Ice Age, Gene Study Says, National Geographic News, July 19, 2005.]
Back in 1996, the school board in Oakland, Calif., declared that Ebonics, the urban dialect spoken by US blacks, was a separate language. Now the school board in San Bernadino plans to “affirm” and “recognize” Ebonics through a supplemental reading program to improve black self-esteem and school performance.
“Ebonics is a different language, it’s not slang as many believe,” says Mary Texeira, a sociology professor at Cal State Bernadino. “For many of these students, Ebonics is their language, and it should be considered a foreign language. These students should be taught like other students who speak a foreign language.” Retibu Jacocks, a black activist who will monitor the program, says, “This isn’t a feel-good policy. This is the real thing.”
Beginning in the 2005-2006 school year, the San Bernadino school district will also start training teachers in black culture and customs, and will expand the curriculum to include the impact of blacks on society. School board vice president Teresa Parra opposes the black-oriented curriculum, fearing it will lead to demands for special programs from Asians and Hispanics. “I’ve always thought that we should provide students support based on their needs and not on their race,” she says. [Irma Lemus, Ebonics Suggested for District, San Bernadino County Sun (San Bernadino, Calif.), July 17, 2005.]
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|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — On the inside cover of the July issue of American Renaissance is “A Special Request to AR readers” from OurWayOfLife.org to help form a union between racial conservatives and “mainstream” conservatives. I will recount an incident that, I think, shows that such a union is impossible.
A book by me, The Affirmative Action Hoax: Diversity, the Importance of Character and Other Lies, is about to be published. It is the first criticism of affirmative action that names and explores the cause of the vicious anti-white discrimination that has permeated American society for the past four decades: the refusal to accept the empirical fact that intelligence is genetically determined and that populations differ widely in innate ability. Among the people whose assistance I mentioned in the Acknowledgements was an ex-student of mine who is now a member of the Cato Institute, one of the most influential free-market think-tanks in the world. My publisher sent a pre-publication copy of my book to the Cato Institute. Shortly thereafter my ex-student telephoned me in a panic and told me that the head of the Cato Institute informed him that his name could not appear in my book, so I had my publisher remove it.
The July “Special Request” also contains a serious factual error. It states “Republicans in Congress opposed the civil rights bill of 1964.” In fact four-fifths of Republicans in the House of Representatives voted for the civil rights bill, compared to three-fifths of Democrats; and 27 of the 33 Republicans in the Senate voted for it, compared with 44 of the 67 Democrats.
Prof. Steven Farron, Johannesburg, South Africa
Sir — I would like to comment on three subjects raised in you July issue.
In Jared Taylor’s review of the Rushton-Jensen article on race differences he writes that “in 1969, Arthur Jensen resurrected the scientific study of racial differences in IQ, which had fallen into disrepute after the Second World War.” This does not give sufficient credit to the many studies by international scholars published in The Mankind Quarterly in Scotland during the 1950s and 60s by Dr. Robert Gayre (Mankind Quarterly is now published in the USA).
The same review also mentions the importance of breast-feeding. While I cannot speak for blacks in America, it would be difficult to find a black woman in Africa who does not breast-feed her infants. Perhaps some of the “empowered” nouveau riche black urbanites use formula, but the tradition of the vast majority, all across the continent, is to breast-feed for as long as possible. It is believed that lactation acts as a contraceptive.
Finally, there has been ongoing debate in your letters section about the racial composition of Turks. This is an important subject, because the face of Europe could be altered if Turkey is admitted into the European Union (EU). Opposition to Turkish membership has been cited as one of the reasons France and Holland voted to reject the EU constitution. While it is true that the Turkish elite can be regarded as “white,” the vast majority of Turks are Levantine. We tend to look at the racial scenario too simplistically, and forget that evolution is a continuous process of constant differentiation. On the Galapagos, Darwin found that the same type of birds on two neighboring islands had different color beaks, without there being any apparent adaptive value in the difference. Most differences are adaptive, but some are random, possibly having survival value in the future.
One has only to look at the huge differences between strains of sub-Saharan Negroids, Cappoids, Nilotics, etc., to recognize that calling them all “black” is imprecise. The same is true of other races for which environment makes adaptations in pigment, personality and structure necessary. At the same time, many European genes found in the Turks were acquired during their imperial days, when each family of a conquered people — Greeks, Serbs, Bulgars, etc. — had to “donate” one seven-year-old son to the Turkish court to become Janissaries. An attempt to reverse engineer the Turks by combing out their different ancestral strains would be like trying to re-constitute the quagga from the modern zebra.
This matter is currently occupying the minds of European thinkers like Pierre Vial, who are talking and writing about the need defend against a new version of the Moorish conquest.
W. James, Editor
PO Box 2055, Noorsekloof
6331 Jeffreys Bay, South Africa
Sir — I confess I knew practically nothing about the Arab enslavement of whites described in the August book review, and was struck by Thomas Jackson’s point that blacks constantly nurse their grievances over slavery whereas whites have forgotten all about it.
I believe this difference in collective memory reflects two important racial differences. First, whites do not have an unrelieved record of failure they are always trying to blame on some other group. At the same time, though this is speculation, I believe it reflects a fundamental fair-mindedness, an understanding that it is wrong to blame today’s North Africans for the practices of their ancestors.
If whites were as preoccupied with grievance as blacks the world would be a different place — a more unpleasant place in many respects, but one in which our survival would not be threatened.
Robert Lovejoy, Tampa, Fla.