O Tempora, O Mores! (July, 1991)

American Renaissance, July 1991

Preferences for Indians

While blacks and Hispanics are the most common beneficiaries of racial preferences in big cities, Indians may be the big winners out West. The University of Minnesota has been advertising its Outstanding Minority Scholarships, which are open to any non-white senior in the top half of his high school class. The ads note that, “Last year all but one of the American Indian students who applied received the scholarship.” At the University of Minnesota at Morris, anyone with at least one-fourth Indian ancestry gets free tuition, regardless of financial need.

Good News From the Secretary

President Bush’s new Secretary of Education, Lamar Alexander, has taken a shot at one of affirmative action’s most outrageous excesses. For some years now, the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, an important academic accrediting body, has quietly been threatening to withhold accreditation from universities that don’t meet the association’s standards for “diversity” and affirmative action. The association’s little game became widely known only last spring, when it delayed accreditation of New York’s Baruch College because non-whites weren’t graduating at the same rate as whites. There were no doubts about the academic standards of the school, only about its enthusiasm for racial preferences.

As one of his first official acts, Secretary Alexander announced that he was going to review the Middle States association’s own accreditation. He announced his opposition to ill-defined “diversity” standards, which he called a threat to academic freedom. Even Middle States’ insurance company decided that “diversity” was too hot a potato to handle. It recently decided that it would refuse to cover any dispute that arises over the “diversity” standard.

Sweet Reason at Harvard

Brigit Kerrigan is a senior at Harvard. She finally got tired of Harvard’s emphasis on the ethnic celebrations of non-whites, and decided to celebrate an ethnic group that is currently in disfavor: Southern whites. She did this by hanging a big Confederate battle flag from her dormitory window.

Confederate Battle Flag

This provoked the usual cries of “racism,” but Miss Kerrigan faced down pressure both from students and from administrators to take the flag down. Surprisingly, the university decided to honor the First Amendment, and refused to compel her to take it down. As a protest, a black Harvard student painted a swastika on a bed sheet and hung it from her window, claiming that the two symbols were equivalent. Jewish groups and the Harvard Black Students Alliance eventually persuaded her to take down the swastika, but Miss Kerrigan still flies the battle flag.

“If they talk about ‘diversity,’ they’re gonna get it,” she says; “If they talk about tolerance, they’d better be ready to have it.” Nothing astonishes a liberal autocrat more than a taste of his own medicine.

Enterprise Zones — Another Shakedown

Of the many unsung forms of official racial preference, one of the best concealed is the practice of setting up what are known as “enterprise zones.” These are established in slums that governments are trying to revive. The usual method is to induce companies to move in by granting irresistible tax waivers. So far, 38 states have set up, or at least authorized, enterprise zones. These programs are not cheap. By the end of 1988, enterprise zones had cost the state of New Jersey alone more than $50 million. The national price tag has run to hundreds of millions of dollars. Though the racial aspect is publicly soft-peddled, the areas that benefit from this kind of taxpayer largesse are almost invariably black.

Automakers Woo Minorities

Yet another little-known form of affirmative action are the efforts by auto makers to help non-whites become car dealers. Each of the big three offers minorities intensive, one- or two-year programs that include classroom training and sessions with established dealers. Once minorities have finished the program, the automaker finances up to 85 percent of the cost of the dealership. Whites have to find their own financing for the business, which can run from $400,000 to $2 million.

Ford and General Motors go even farther, and put the initial investment of a new minority dealer into an escrow account for the first six to twelve months. This is the most dangerous period for a new business, and if it goes broke the investment can be returned to the dealer. Whites who start a dealership lose their investment if the business fails.

The automakers also pay for consultants to advise black dealers on how to advertise, cut costs, and get more profit out of service departments. Partly as a result of preferential efforts like this, the number of big-three auto dealerships owned by minorities rose from 243 to 629 in the decade to 1991.

Voodoo Medicine

Several New York City hospitals have started putting voodoo experts, exorcists, and faith healers on the public pay roll as part of their accommodation with a racially changing clientele. The practice is increasingly common in neighborhoods with large numbers of Haitian immigrants. Dr. Luis Marcos, senior vice president for mental health at the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, explains: “We see exorcism as a culturally relevant way of treating some cases of mental illness.” Dr. Marcos adds that for people who come from non-scientific cultures, voodoo can “allay their fear of established medicine as we know it.”

More Scholarships for Minorities

The last four years have been very good for non-whites applying for scholarships. Most Americans still think that scholarships go to promising students who happen to be poor. More and more often, they simply go to students who happen not to be white. According to a recent survey by the College Board, from 1988 to 1991, the number of American colleges that hand out money to minorities regardless of financial need rose from 15 percent to 24 percent. This means that nearly one in four colleges give money to minorities, not because they are poor but simply because they aren’t white. There is such a scramble to “diversify” campuses that some colleges offer money to any non-white who meets minimum admission standards and is willing to attend.

More Jobs for Minorities

The country is slogging its way through its first recession in ten years, but the demand for black college graduates has never been higher. This spring, 225 different companies are vying with each other to hire the 125 engineering graduates at black Howard University. Nearly half of the companies will go away disappointed. Yet more companies have been turned away without even a chance to interview Howard students.

Samuel Hall, the director of placement at Howard, offers advice to recruiters who would like a chance to interview his engineers. He says that priority will go to companies that agree to work with the faculty and that make a commitment to support Howard with money and with other services.

More Promotions for Minorities

These days, it isn’t enough to have blacks and Hispanics in the workforce. They must be in positions of authority. The trouble with promoting minorities, though, is that too many have been pushed into high positions they can’t handle. When whites meet a non-white executive they are likely to wonder whether he got the job because of race rather than ability.

This problem has spawned a new kind of consultant. Terry Simmons of New Hope (PA) claims to have found the trick to promoting minorities without giving the impression of racial favoritism. He promises clients like Scott Paper, Westinghouse, and Capital Cities/ABC that he can engineer a certain number of unsuspicious promotions over a two-year period. Clients are so eager for Mr. Simmons’ help that they are each prepared to pay him more than $60,000 a year.

Letter From Washington: Rites of Spring

Washington (DC) has celebrated its annual spring festival of youth, this year with a Latin theme. Half a thousand teen-agers, mostly El Salvadoran, spent several days rioting, fire-bombing, looting, and torching municipal vehicles in a neighborhood that was called Mount Pleasant by its long-ago middle-class white inhabitants.

The event was hardly over when the greater Latino community of 30,000 or so erupted with demands for “social justice,” denouncing the city’s black political establishment for its alleged anti-Hispanic racism. In a city other than Washington, the minority tactic of torch and terrorize might have worked, but Washington is 70 percent black. The city fathers reacted rudely to the very extortion tactics that blacks have used on whites for decades.

Black politicos called the Central American stone-throwers “outrageous” and “irresponsible.” A black DC councilman, H.R. Crawford, even suggested that the “undocumenteds” be deported. Blacks proceeded to raise anti-Hispanic grievances of their own, such as the fact that Latinos often vote Republican and seem to disappear disloyally into the white suburbs after one generation.

Washington, like Miami, has become a laboratory for the new, multi-racial America in which white people hardly play a role. Blacks and Hispanics are finding that the third-world paradise that was supposed to follow the unthroning of the white man isn’t quite as it was advertised. Blacks, at any rate, are not likely to fall so easily for the shakedown tactics that they themselves have perfected. — Ivan Hild

Shakespeare Takes the Rap

A reader has a sent us a page from a teacher supply catalog, which includes a rap version cassette tape of Romeo and Juliet. “Bring excitement and modern day fun to this classic literary work!” gushes the catalog; “Use this tape BEFORE you study the play so your students will recognize names, places and the basic plot. Use it AFTER as a treat, like dessert, for reinforcement.”

A sample from the bard gone multi-cultural:

Soon Romeo splits, but he can’t forget
How he feels when he’s close to Ju-li-et;
And later that night, who does he see
But Juliet on her bal-con-y.

You can order the tape, toll-free, at (800) 543-4180, for just $15.00.

English Takes a Rap

U.S. English is an organization that tries to promote English as the official language of the United States. Last spring, it set up a booth and distributed literature at the convention of the California state Democratic Party. At one point, Carmen Perez, vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee for Hispanic Affairs, addressed the general session and declared:

There’s a booth out there that shouldn’t be there. No. I should say it will not be there! It has to go! It is racist!

After Miss Perez’ harangue a mob surrounded the U.S. English booth. They rammed the exhibit table into the organization’s representative, threw the literature on the floor and stomped on it. Some were shouting such things as “You are a white Caucasian from Europe. You are the intruder. Spanish should be the official language.” Security guards 20 feet away did nothing. Rather than eject the mob, Democratic Party officials ordered U.S. English to dismantle its booth and leave immediately. The group has filed a lawsuit seeking $15 million in damages for violation of its right to free speech.

Norplant Wins an Important Ally

Governor Pete Wilson of California has taken a healthy interest Norplant, the female contraceptive that can be injected under the skin, and is effective for up to five years. As he points out, it is perfect for disorganized people who can’t remember to take a pill or use a contraption. It has dawned on the governor that the zooming cost of social programs could be reined in sharply if the lower orders didn’t have so many babies. He is even flirting with the idea of mandatory Norplant treatments for drug addicts of child-bearing age.

A firm program of obligatory Norplant is the only way that the state — or the nation — will ever get hold of many of its problems. Governor Wilson is taking loads of criticism from the usual liberal yahoos, but so far he has refused to stop pushing the new contraceptive.

Affirmative Action Apollo

The Apollo Theater in Harlem is thought to be a major black cultural landmark. Unfortunately, it is located in what is now a cultural wasteland, and was brought back from complete ruin only with a cut-rate loan from the state of New York in 1984. The state lent a group of black investors $4.1 million at a below-market rate of 8 percent, with a grace period on principal repayments of six years and a give-away grace period on interest payments of three years. Later, when the Apollo renovation project ran into problems, the interest rate was cut to four percent. William Stern, who first negotiated the loan for the state says, “The original deal was extraordinarily generous. The restructuring of the original deal was beyond generous. It’s basically a grant. It’s a kind of welfare.”

Now, the investor group is back again, cap in hand, wanting another bailout. Black leaders are calling Mr. Stern’s comments “racist.” Audits show that the investors failed to keep proper records, hired consultants without contracts, and lost track of payments to contractors. New York State tax payers are being asked to pick up the tab for years of loose management and cost overruns. They probably will. Governor Mario Cuomo has directed state officials “to make sure this cultural institution survives and thrives.” The next step may be to turn the Apollo into a non-profit organization that could receive tax-deductible contributions.

Happy School Days

Thomas Jefferson High School, in Brooklyn, is one of New York City’s most dangerous. Although no one has kept exact records, at least 70 students have been shot or stabbed in the past four years, and more than half of them have died. Teachers finally decided to set aside a permanent “Grieving Room,” where students can gather to mourn the death of school mates.

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