O Tempora, O Mores! (February, 1991)
Feds OK Private, Race-based Scholarships
In the midst of much confusion and waffling, the federal government has provisionally ruled that private money may be used to set up scholarships for students of one race only. If we take this ruling at face value, it opens the door to much else. By drawing a distinction between private and public money, the government is saying that although it will not discriminate by race in the way it spends money, private citizens can. It is implicitly accepting the principle that private assets may be disposed of in a racially discriminatory way.
This has far-reaching consequences. A job at IBM is a private asset, not a public asset. Presumably it can now be disposed of in a racially discriminatory way. If racially exclusive scholarships are legal, an all-white (or all-black) IBM should be legal, too. A house or apartment building is a private asset. It should be legal to select tenants by race or to write covenants that require buyers of houses to resell them only to people of a certain race. Memberships in a private club are likewise private assets and it should be legal to give them out on the basis of race. By the same reasoning, it should once again be legal for private schools openly to discriminate by race.
Finally, if the law is to be consistent, Rhodes scholarships must no longer be available to nonwhites. The six million pounds that Cecil Rhodes left at his death in 1902 were to be used for the education of whites only. In the 1960s, this was thought discriminatory, and administrators of the fund began awarding scholarships to nonwhites. If the government is serious about the new ruling, all future Rhodes scholars must be white.
Of course, the government is not serious. With only a few exceptions, anti-discrimination laws are enforced only against whites. It is impossible for a white (or any non-Chinese) to rent an apartment in New York City’s Chinatown. There are hundreds of all-black, private schools to which a white student would not be admitted even if he applied. If a Hispanic-owned company has only Hispanic employees, no one will complain. If a white applied to join an all-black Jack and Jill club he would be rejected.
The clear intention of the Department of Education’s ruling is that race-exclusive scholarships will be set aside only for nonwhites. There will probably be no test of the legality of a whites-only scholarship, since no university would dare set one up. Just as the civil rights laws that were passed to ensure racial equality have been used to justify racial preference, race-based scholarships will be available for nonwhites but not for whites.
Condoms for the Kids
New York City’s Board of Education is studying a plan to distribute free condoms to teenage students. New Yorkers between the ages of 13 and 21 are seven times more likely than the children in the rest of the country to have AIDS, giving the city the highest rate of teenage AIDS in the country. The Schools Chancellor, Joseph Fernandez, approved the plan despite the fact that he is Catholic. “We have preached safe sex and no sex, and 80% of the kids are sexually active,” he said. “We have to do something else.”
“Racial Bias” Costs U.S. $6.1 Million
The Bureau of Printing and Engraving has settled an eight-year law suit, in which 248 former and current employees — all black — will share $6.1 million because of alleged racial discrimination. Part of the settlement requires the bureau to stop using, for five years, a “discriminatory” written examination that was used to hire workers for higher-paying jobs. When blacks do worse than others on tests, the only explanation that the law permits is “discrimination.”
The Price of Candor
Last December, the Philadelphia Inquirer published an editorial in which it proposed one of the more obvious solutions to the problems of the underclass: welfare recipients should be paid to use Norplant, the implantable female contraceptive that works for as long as five years. The reasoning is simple. Anyone who is already living on public charity should not be bringing more mouths into the world for the rest of us to feed.
The editorial caused such a fracas, particularly among employees of the newspaper itself, that the Inquirer eventually took the very unusual step of publishing a second editorial, apologizing for the first. Apparently, it was blacks who were particularly opposed to the Norplant plan, since a disproportionate number of those who would be encouraged not to have more children would be black. The editorial was therefore “racist.”
As usual, the charge of racism is a peculiar business that doesn’t have much to do with the facts. If it is wrong for women on the dole to have babies they can’t support, it is presumably wrong for all women, whatever their race. Blacks are much more likely than whites to break the laws against armed robbery, and to be sent to jail as a result. Does this make the laws “racist?” Of course not. Neither was the Inquirer’s editorial.
In America, policy has become hopelessly confused by the status of certain groups. If people with AIDS were not mostly homosexuals, drug users, and nonwhites, it would be far easier to implement policies of sexual contact tracing and even quarantine. As it is, to suggest the most elementary and obvious control measures is to bring down charges of “homophobia” and “racism.” Likewise, if welfare recipients were mainly white, states would probably have mandated obligatory contraception for them long ago.
It is just as well that the laws against burglary, robbery, and murder were passed before the current obsession with “sensitivity.” Any new law — no matter how obvious or badly needed — that blacks were likely to break at 10 or 20 times the rate for whites, would be nearly impossible to pass.
Blacks to Boycott Portland Schools
The Black United Front of Portland (OR) has threatened a boycott of public schools if they don’t adopt its plan to improve the grades of black students. Starting in February, it will tell black parents to keep their children home on certain days if the school district does not organize community groups and hire national experts as the Front demands. School superintendent, Matthew Prophet, says that he has already adopted 90% of the Front’s demands, and says he obviously can’t do everything that every group wants.
Portland blacks are complaining about conditions that are universal: black students do worse than white students. Fifty-six percent of blacks are below grade level in math, for example, while only 23% of whites are below grade level.
As usual, blacks are looking for white people to blame for their own failure. As usual, whites are bravely hewing to the dogma that somehow the schools, rather than racial differences in ability, are to blame for poor black performance.
All around the country, this dogma has led to endless tinkering and scarcely any improvement in black grades. Eventually, the pressures to “improve” black grades become so great that teachers may simply lower standards for everyone. All children are then taught a pabulum curriculum that blacks can pass.
Let us hope this does not happen in Portland, but it is hard to be optimistic. The last time the black group called a boycott, 5,000 of 8,000 black students stayed home. It will take an unusual school superintendent to stand up to pressure like that.
‘Clinging to Stereotypes’
On the other hand, once Portland School Superintendent Matthews is away from the reporters, he may well indulge in an occasional subversive thought about racial differences — at least if he is like the majority of Americans. According to the latest poll by the National Opinion Research Survey, 53% of whites think that blacks are less intelligent than whites. Seventy-eight percent think blacks are less reluctant than whites to be on welfare, 62% think they are less hard-working, and 56% think they are more prone to violence.
Hispanics don’t come off very well either. Fifty-five percent of whites think Hispanics are less intelligent than whites, 50% think they are more prone to violence, and 56% think they are less hard-working.
These are the results of face-to-face interviews with 1,372 adults. We wonder if there might have been an even larger proportion of politically incorrect answers if the questioning had been confidential.
Larry Bobo of the University of California at Los Angeles, who helped design and conduct the survey, made the usual clucking noises about how whites still cling to stereotypes. Mr. Bobo, of course, is clinging to his own illusions — at least in public.
A new report from the Association of California School Administrators paints a dismal picture of education in the state. More than half the kindergarten-through-grade 12 students are nonwhite. One in six was born in another country. One in four doesn’t speak English at home. One in three will fail to graduate. In Los Angeles County, more than two thirds of public school students come from homes where English is not spoken. In San Francisco, 83% of all school children are nonwhite. Teachers are throwing up their hands in despair at the prospect of trying to give these children a traditional, “American” education.
Naturally, the report is stuffed with recommendations: smaller classes, more training in “cultural diversity,” translation of school materials into many languages. Nowhere does the report suggest that America’s immigration policy — which is swamping California with nonwhite, non-English-speakers — be changed. It seems not to have dawned on the Association of California School Administrators that the “diversity” and “multi-ethnicity,” of which we are all supposed to be so proud, translates into an increasingly illiterate workforce, whose children are increasingly uneducable.
Who suffers when schools have to be geared to foreigners? Native-born, English-speakers.
Although Hispanics are still less than one quarter of the population of the state of California, they account for more than a third of the babies born in the state. Only about 33% of the babies born in the state are white. The bumper crop of nonwhite babies put the California birth rate at its highest since the end of the baby boom, in 1965.
Black Life Expectancy Drops
Life expectancy for American blacks has dropped for the fourth year in a row. Blacks can expect to live to age 69.2 while whites can expect to live to age 75.6. Blacks are more likely than whites to smoke, be overweight, or be murdered.
Blacks are also far more likely than whites to die from curable diseases. Appendicitis, pneumonia, gallbladder infection, asthma, tuberculosis, influenza, and a number of other diseases are rarely fatal if they are treated early. Blacks account for 80% of the 20,000 or so deaths from these diseases that are recorded every year, which means that they are more than 25 times more likely to die from them than Americans of other races.
Nonwhite, Heal Thyself
Here’s another reason why blacks (and Hispanics) don’t live as long as whites: They don’t get organ or bone marrow transplants as often. Whenever newspapers report this they add the obligatory breast-beating about how our “racist” medical establishment saves whites while it lets nonwhites die.
In fact, many transplants work only between people of the same race, and nonwhites rarely offer to help. Of the 200,000 registered volunteer bone marrow donors in the United States, 94% are white. That leaves only six percent for the 25% of the population that is nonwhite. Whites are twice as likely as blacks to make arrangements for their organs to be available for transplant after they die. Whites are six times more likely than blacks, while they are still alive, to donate a kidney to a sick relative.
No matter how much a white liberal wants to do for black people — and no matter how much of your money he wants to spend doing it — one thing he can’t do is grow a black kidney. This is one problem that only blacks can solve, but when have you ever heard of Jesse Jackson urging the brothers to donate bone marrow?
Of all the problems nonwhites face in America, the shortage of nonwhite organ donors is one that even liberals might admit can’t be easily pinned on white wickedness. Just as whites don’t make blacks shoot each other, get pregnant, or drug themselves, they don’t prevent them from donating kidneys. And yet, since the “root causes” of all this “hopeless” behavior are supposed to lie in white wickedness, salvation must likewise come from whites.
Another Civil Rights Bill
Late last year, President George Bush vetoed the Civil Rights Act of 1990, which would have virtually required companies to set racial hiring quotas. The Senate failed by only one vote to override the veto. This year, the very first bill introduced in the new Congress is the Civil Rights Act of 1991. It is even more vehemently pro-minority than last year’s bill.
Equal Opportunity Santa
Oakland (CA) lawyer, John Burris, is making a practice of suing malls that prefer their Santas white. Three years ago, he reportedly got a six-figure settlement out of a mall in Richmond (CA) that didn’t hire a black to sit in the big chair. This year, he has filed a $1.25 million suit on behalf of a black who was told by a woman that she was looking for a Santa Claus with “fair, rosy cheeks.”
The suit seeks the $1,300 that the man would have earned during his four-week stint as Santa, plus $250,000 for “humiliation, embarrassment, ridicule and mental distress,” and $1 million in punitive damages. This is essentially an unsolvable problem. Must American school children henceforth be taught that since 12% of the American population is black, the jolly old fellow who lives at the North Pole also has a 12% chance of being black? Suits like this are one of the joys of America’s storied multi-racialism.