O Tempora, O Mores! (May, 1992)
No More Braves
Portland’s newspaper, The Oregonian, has broken new ground in racial sensitivity. It will no longer refer to sports teams by their Indian mascot names. Henceforth, it will write about “the baseball team in Cleveland” rather than the Cleveland Indians. No more Redskins, Braves, Chiefs, etc. The paper’s managing editor explained in an editorial that to use the names was passive participation in furthering racial and cultural stereotypes. He went on to suggest that the rituals promoted by teams and their fans — war whoops, painted faces, tom-toms — were not merely racism but “direct attacks upon the spirituality of the Indian people. “” [A Brave move, Sports Illustrated, Feb. 24, 1992.]
Books for Blacks
The same racial dynamic at work in society at large can be found in book publishing: obligatory integration and inclusion for whites; voluntary separation for blacks. While mainstream publishers hire more blacks and publish more books by and about blacks, new publishers with names like Black Classic Press, Just Us Books, and Black Butterfly have no reservations about establishing exclusive racial identities.
There is now an African-American Publishers and Booksellers Association, and a regularly published list of racially correct best-sellers, called Blackboard. In the past decade, the number of book stores that specialize in black books has grown from a few dozen to more than 200.
One of the main areas of growth has been children’s books for blacks — by blacks and about blacks. Titles like Jamal’s Busy Day and Afro-Bets Book of Black Heroes From A to Z do the very thing that books for white children are now forbidden to do: paint all the characters one color. Liberal white educators have been culling the old classics because they either don’t have any black characters (Winnie the Pooh, Grimm’s Fairy Tales) or they have the wrong ones (Uncle Remus stories, Huckleberry Finn). Dick and Jane went out of print in the 1970s, and scarcely a new title for white children comes out without friendly Hispanic neighbors and a black lady police officer.
Blacks aren’t interested in integrated children’s books. They want stories about black people, set in black neighborhoods, and they don’t want to have to paw through shelves of integrated books in order to find them. One seller of books for blacks says, “People of color want these books separated out [for display in stores] because they are looking for something very specific.”
Only certain people can write these books, explains Candy Boyd, a black author of black children’s books: “There are primary writers who write from ‘inside the skin . . . and there are secondary writers who write from ‘outside the skin.’ The story of a secondary writer can still be valid, but the perception is not equal to that of a primary writer.” [Publishers Weekly, Jan. 20, 1992, various articles.]
Books for Whites
The sort of thing that good multi-racialists are supposed to read is advertised in a catalog called People of Every Stripe! (Box 12505, Portland, OR 97212, price: $3.00). The cover illustration of a white man, black woman, and what appears to be their child, sets the tone.
Children’s books, which are written to fight not only racism, but every other conceivable — ism include Jesse’s Dream Skirt, for ages two through eight. The catalog describes it this way:
Jesse (European American) dreams about a whirling, twirling, colorful skirt and his mother (a single parent) helps him to make one. When he proudly wears it to his multiracial daycare center, the other children ridicule him at first because “boys don’t wear skirts.” But Bruce, their teacher (African American), helps them to articulate why seeing a boy in a skirt makes them uncomfortable. They talk about styles of dressing all over the world and throughout time, and soon some of the children are happily play-dressing in their “dream skirts,” robes, capes and other flowing garments of their own.
A perfect book for all parents who want their boys to wear skirts.
The catalog offers a number of works by someone named J. A. Rogers, including Africa’s Gift to America. It is “a history of African people as Africa’s gifts to the world and to America.” Also on offer is Mr. Roger’s The Five Negro Presidents, which presents evidence that five American Presidents had black ancestors. The same author has written 100 Amazing Facts about the Negro — we have no doubt that they are, indeed, amazing.
Several books claim to help adults find racially correct books for their children. One is called — with no apparent irony — Books Without Bias: Through Indian Eyes, and contains “sensitizing articles” and “resource lists” designed to cure us of anti-Indianism. A brochure called Ten Quick Ways to Analyze Children’s Books for Sexism and Racism explains that “If a child can be shown how to detect racism and sexism in a book, the child can then proceed to transfer the perception to wider areas.” One of the wider areas we are asked to consider is the color coding for electrical terminals. “Let’s make black positive,” says People of Every Stripe!
The catalog also offers hints on how to strip Christmas of its whiteness. It can be downplayed in favor of the winter solstice — “A time for cross cultural gatherings and appreciation of the myriad wonders of darkness.” After all, “Darkness need not be scary, black need not be evil.”
The ethnic image of Christmas itself can be softened with greeting cards of a black baby Jesus and even Santa Claus dolls of every race; People of Every Stripe! stocks a full range of racial dolls. They can be black, white, Asian, Hispanic, or indeterminate, and are offered in eleven different colors, from Seashell through Brown Egg to Finest Chocolate. Even more exotic are the handicapped dolls: cripples in wheelchairs, amputees on crutches, and blind people tethered to seeing-eye dogs. “Handicappism,” is another affliction to be overcome.
People of Every Stripe! is relentlessly “sensitive”; it urges that the expression “kill two birds with one stone” be junked in favor of “feed two birds with one hand,” and offers a T-shirt depicting a black hand showering seed on a black bird and a red bird. Likewise, it is clear from the people chosen to model the company’s clothing that we are not to harbor prejudices against the homely.
Nevertheless, the great evil is always racism: “The germs of racism are all around us and in such plentiful supply that nobody escapes catching the disease. Some of us are sicker than others but we all need treatment.” If you are looking for a cure, People of Every Stripe! has one: “Start a Recovering Racists Group in your area. Everyone you know is a candidate for membership. Lead by example!”
The Market for Babies
American couples are looking overseas for children to adopt. Within the United States there are virtually no white babies available, and many states do not let whites adopt black babies for fear the children’s “racial identities” will be harmed.
Korea has traditionally been the largest supplier, but last year Romania briefly topped the list. This year, after rumors that peasants were selling babies for cash, the Romanian government turned off the tap, and Korea appears to be back in the lead, followed by various Latin American countries.
China has begun to test the U.S. market. Its orphanages have been full of girls ever since it instituted a one-child-only policy in a country that loves boys. Another recent entry is Russia. It is offering half-African and half-Asian children, who find little acceptance among Russians. Americans are happy to adopt them.
One reason foreign countries are willing to supply Americans with babies is that governments usually get a handsome rake-off from the trade. An American couple will usually have paid various agencies between $10,000 and $20,000 to take an orphan off their hands. [Marc Silver, The volatile world of foreign adoption, U.S. News & World Report, 1/20/92, p. 63.]
This is more than enough money to have started a brisk black market in babies, and operators in Brazil have been known to snatch children from out of prams and playgrounds. Recently, baby thieves kidnapped a pregnant woman in Rio de Janeiro, took her to a clinic, induced labor with drugs, and made off with the baby. Brazil exports an estimated 3,000 babies a year. Half of these are legal adoptions. The rest are kidnapped or purchased from indigent mothers. [AP, Baby snatchers kidnap woman, induce labor, San Jose Mercury News, 3/29/92, p. 2.]
Not all of the children kidnapped in Brazil are sold to people who can’t have babies. The fear of AIDS has stimulated an increasing demand for child prostitutes, on the theory that youngsters are less likely to have gotten the virus yet. Prostitutes under the age of 17 are particularly common in Latin America and Asia, where millions of children live on the street and can be forced into brothels. Child prostitutes are, of course, no guarantee of safety. The World Health Organization reports that a great many young prostitutes in Thailand and the Philippines — some no older than nine — have tested positive for the virus. [AP, AIDS fear fueling push for child prostitutes,” Chicago Tribune, Feb. 19, 1992.]
France Begins to Speak
On March 22, the French voted in local elections, giving Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front 14 percent of the vote. This was five percentage points better than in 1986, and not much worse than the 16.4 percent that the ruling Socialists won. The National Front’s anti-immigration message is routinely lambasted by the media, but the French are responding to it. In parts of southern France, where Arab immigration has been heavy, the Front got as much as 30 percent of the vote. In Paris, where immigrants are also numerous, the Front’s 16 percent score put it ahead of the Socialists.
As expected, American newspapers wrung their hands over the “racist,” “xenophobic” French. Nevertheless, the New York Post (3/24/92) at least tried to understand why people vote for the National Front:
[I]t is unrealistic to think that any people with a national identity as evolved as that of the French are going to accept with utter equanimity the transformation of their state into a completely different entity — an Islamic republic, if you will — as a consequence of mass immigration, much of it illegal.
Bravo the Post for a good first step. The paper then published letters from several readers pointing out the next step: If it is legitimate for France to avoid becoming a third-world nation, it is just as legitimate for the United States to do so. The Post even gave its letters column (4/1/92) the bold headline, “When a Civilization is Under Siege.”
Brave New World
The site of the much-ballyhooed Wounded Knee massacre is in South Dakota. The state recently tried to make amends by doing away with a paid holiday on Columbus Day and replacing it with a new holiday called Native American Day. [Economist, Aug. 10, 1991, p. 19.]
Walling the Border
Recently, the Houston Post did an informal poll of readers, in which it asked the question: “Should the United States build ditches and fences on the U.S.-Mexico border to keep out illegal immigrants?” Fully 88.4 percent of the readers who replied said Yes and only 11.6 percent said No. [Leslie Loddeke, Barricade Mexican border, most InfoPoll callers say,” Houston Post, March 9, 1992, p. A10.] This is a pretty clear indication of what the people of Houston want,and they live close to the border. When will government of, by, and for the people give the people what they want?
Rapist to Remain Intact
Last month we reported that a white Houston judge had offered a black sex offender the choice between jail and castration, thereby provoking the wrath of the NAACP. Now the prisoner no longer has that option, since the doctors who had agreed to do the operation were scared away by the publicity. Something called the Black United Front contributed to the din by filing a legal objection to the plan. They likened it to “David Dukish social de-mongrelization schemes devised by eccentric right-wing lunatics and intentionally aimed at African-American males and African-American females.” Jesse Jackson flew to Houston, called the plan an “ugly and dangerous precedent,” and had prayers with the convict. A black state senator called for the judge’s impeachment.
Lost in the din was the fact that it was the prisoner himself who had asked to be castrated rather than be sent to jail on a 35-year sentence. [Ruth Piller, Jackson joins outcry by castration opponents, Houston Chronicle, March 14, 1992, p. 1A. John Makeig, Controversy kills castration plan, Houston Chronicle, March 17, 1992, p. 1A.]
If Congressman Bill Lowery of San Diego (CA) has his way, American immigration requirements will be waived so that Michael Wu can become a U.S. citizen. Mr. Wu, a 25-year-old from Taiwan has had six tries at the naturalization exam, but just can’t remember the names of the 13 original states. He is a mental defective with an IQ of 60.
Congressman Lowery wants Congress to pass an exemption just for Mr. Wu because “he represents the best of what this nation is about.” [Desda Moss, Goal: to be a U.S. citizen, USA Today, Feb. 5, 1992, p. 2A.]
Prayers for Britain
In the The New Republic of Jan. 6, 1992, Leon Wieseltier quotes Charles Moore of the London Spectator as follows:
You can be British without speaking English or being Christian or being white, but nevertheless Britain is basically English-speaking and Christian and white, and if one starts to think that it might become urdu-speaking and Muslim and brown, one gets frightened and angry.
Next door to me live a large family of Muslims from the Indian subcontinent. We are friendly enough to one another and they have done us various small acts of kindness. During the Gulf war, however, I heard their morning prayers coming through the wall, and I felt a little uneasy. If such people had outnumbered whites in our square, I should have felt alarmed. Such feelings are not only natural, surely — they are right. You ought to have a sense of your identity, and part of that sense derives from your nation and your race”
Mr. Wieseltier then adds: “Three Cheers, I say, for the neighbors. I hope that they pray noisily, and that they pray five times a day, and that the evening prayer comes just as the Moores . . . are turning to the claret.”
Mr. Wieseltier seems perfectly pleased at the idea of Britain becoming an Islamic nation. How would he feel if that seemed likely to happen to Israel, a nation he supports with great enthusiasm?