Posted on February 1, 1996

O Tempora, O Mores! (February, 1996)

American Renaissance, February 1996

New York (Atro)city

Freddie’s Fashion Mart, a Jewish-owned clothing store in Harlem, operated in space it rented from a black church. It had sub-leased some of the space to a black-owned record store but, with the church’s approval, planned to end the sub-lease and expand into that space.

Black protesters, enraged that the record store would have to move, marched outside the shop calling black patrons traitors, threatening employees, shouting “Kill the Jew bastards” and “loot and burn the Jews.” Some walked into the store and mimed the action of tossing lit matches onto clothing displays. One black warned the manager he would “be back to burn the Jew store down — burn, burn, burn.” A security guard overheard one of the protesters say “We’re going to come back with 20 niggers and loot and burn the Jew.”

On December 8th, Roland Smith, who had been active in the protests, stormed into the clothing store shouting, “It’s on now! All blacks out!” He opened fire on the remaining whites and Hispanics, killing four, and then set the shop on fire, burning seven employees to death before fatally shooting himself. [Jeff Jacoby, The flames of hatred in the Age of Farrakhan, The Boston Globe, 12/14/95.] Mr. Smith, whom the New York Times depicted as a principled radical gone astray, was described by friends as filled with hatred for “crackers” and convinced that everything “was a conspiracy against black people.” [Joe Sexton, Gunman’s Ardent Credo: Black Self-sufficiency, New York Times, 12/18/95, p. A1.]

Two days after the attack, Harlem activist Morris Powell held a memorial service, not for the murder victims, but for Mr. Smith who, he explained, was the victim of a vast, anti-black conspiracy. “Not one white person died,” he said to a crowd of chanting supporters. “All the white people got out through a hole in the wall. The manager . . . left the black people to die. It was a setup.” Another speaker explained that Mr. Smith did not shoot himself but was killed by whites. He led the crowd in feverish chants of “Conspiracy! Setup!” [Angela Allen & Kyle Smith, Boycott Boss Mourns for ‘Freddy’s’ killer, NY Post, 12/10/95, p. 9.] Blacks later threatened ten more white- and Korean-owned stores in Harlem. [NY police probe Harlem racial threats, Reuter, 12-22-95.]

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who led some of the protests, denied that race was a factor. “We never said we were going after whites or Jews . . . The issue was protecting a member of our community.” [Richard Pyle, AP, Sharpton: Store boycott wasn’t black-white issue, 12/10/95.]

Eleven days after the clothing-store massacre, Michael Vernon, a black man angered by poor service at a Korean-owned Bronx shoe store, produced a gun and executed three patrons, the owner’s wife, and a 12-year-old boy. Mr. Vernon fled, using a bystander for cover, but was shot and wounded by a Highway Patrol officer before being arrested. [Grant McCool, Gunman kills five at Bronx shoe store, Reuter, 12-19-95.] He told police he had planned to burn down the store.

Early in the new year, there was another shooting, in Westchester County, just north of New York City. A disgruntled former employee of a Greenburgh auto parts supplier went back to his old workplace and opened fire with a shotgun. He killed Paul Bodisch, the 32-year-old father of four who managed the store, and wounded two others. He then shot himself in the stomach but survived. Last year, Sookhdea Itwaru had been demoted from management to truck driving, and quit two months later. County authorities said that Mr. Itwaru had been deported in 1976 for overstaying his visa, but his nationality was unknown. As detectives photographed the blood-stained floor, one mechanic said he was familiar with violence of this kind in his native Jamaica, but had never seen anything like it in Westchester County. He picked up a wrench and calmly went back to work. [Andrew Revkin, A store manager is slain and 2 men are wounded, NYT, Jan. 3, 1996, p. B4.]

Good Bye, Newark

The city of Newark, New Jersey, now largely black, has one of the highest crime rates in the country. It also has one of the worst police forces. High-level officers confirm that thousands of 911 calls are ignored every year.

William Celester, the police chief, was recently put on leave from his $95,500-a-year job. He is suspected of having spent some $50,000 from a special fund police are supposed to use for undercover drug buys. Such operations came to a halt when the fund mysteriously disappeared; Mr. Celester had been taking trips to Puerto Rico and showering gifts on female friends.

Mr. Celester is hard up for money. A bank foreclosed on his house and he moved into a new condominium. However, he failed to get a mortgage or to pay rent, and was eventually evicted. The owner is now suing for an alleged $30,000 in damage to the building. When he is actually at work, Mr. Celester is known for halting the prosecutions of people with whom he is acquainted.

The department’s Internal Affairs Bureau, which is supposed to track down dishonest cops, appears to have been starved by the police chief. Officers have to borrow cameras and tape recorders. It recently managed to get indictments on four senior officers who were buying recovered stolen cars for next-to-nothing at municipal auction rather than return them to owners. The four are still on duty, but the Internal Affairs commanders have been transferred.

Twenty-six officers, including a captain and four sergeants, have been accused of robbing prostitutes and raping them at gun-point. The prostitutes have identified their attackers, but Mr. Celester’s department has done nothing to bring them to justice. There are dozens of brutality charges against officers, and the commander of the Gang Intelligence Section has actually been indicted. He continues at his job.

This summer, another Newark institution — the school system — was finally pronounced dead. State authorities determined that the Newark school board was violating the New Jersey Constitution — which guarantees children an education. Students were not learning but school board members were enjoying lavish benefits. When the state took over, it dismissed the superintendent and the entire school board, and fired 13 other top administrators. [David Kocieniewski & John Sullivan, Newark Police Troubles: Out of Control at the Top, NYT, 12/23/95, p. 1. Takeover of Schools is Upheld, NYT, 12/23/95, p. 33.]

Hello, Haiti

Haiti’s new National Police force, trained by the United States and introduced with much fanfare, appears to be as corrupt and brutal as the force it replaced. Officers are recruited to “high standards,” get four months of American training, spiffy uniforms, and $300 a month — more than most Haitians make in a year. When the first contingent marched into Cité Soliel on the outskirts of the capital, it was met with cheers. In November, disgusted townspeople drove the 24-man unit away under a barrage of rocks, looted the police station and vehicles, and burned them. The National Police have taken to shooting people on whim, raiding homes without warrants, and have been ineffectual crime-stoppers. [Larry Rohter, Support is waning for Haiti’s U.S.-trained police, NYT, 12/24/95.]

Infants and Intelligence

A new study finds that by age three the IQ scores of black children are about 15 points lower than those of whites (C. Peoples, J. Fagan, D. Drotar, “The Influence of Race on 3-year-old Children’s Performance on the Stanford-Binet: Fourth Edition,” Intelligence, 1995, 21, pp. 69-82.).

Many researchers had thought that the mental abilities of toddlers of different races were roughly equivalent and diverged only during adolescence. The belief in adolescent divergence allowed egalitarians to claim that differences were mainly due to environment.

The newest findings strongly support the view that racial differences in mental ability have a genetic origin. After all, by age three, most children have been socialized almost exclusively by their parents, and “societal racism” can have had very little effect. Moreover, though some parents may be better than others at encouraging mental development in older children, even the dullest adults should be able to provide adequate intellectual stimulation for a three-year-old.

Contrast in Leadership

In its obituary of assassinated Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, Time magazine quoted him as saying that he approved of all Israelis maintaining their religions and identities. Nevertheless, his main concern was to maintain national character: “For me what is most important is to have a Jewish state in which at least 80 percent of its population is Jewish.” [The late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Time, 11/13/95, p. 64.]

Contrast this straightforward expression of peoplehood with views unbosomed by nominal candidate for President of the United States, Republican Congressman Robert Dornan. Speaking to the USA Today editorial board meeting, which was broadcast by C-SPAN on Nov. 15, 1995, he said:

I want to say America stays a nation of immigrants. And if we lose our Northern European stock — your coloring and mine, blue eyes and fair hair —  tough! So what if 5000 years from now we’re all going to have a golden tan. The races are, at some point — maybe it’ll take a million years — we’re all going to be blended together because of travel, and because of the information highway.

The Vanishing Negro?

The state of Michigan recently passed laws to add the category “multiracial” to official documents. This was done at the urging of Project Race, a national advocacy group for mixed-race children, which thinks that making children claim the race of only one parent damages their self-esteem. A black state representative, Ed Vaughn led the campaign against the new measure, which he calls a “tragedy.” [Michigan Passes Law for Multiracial Category, Jet, Oct. 23, 1995.]

An Elevating Decision

In Sao Paulo, Brazil, the city council has approved an ordinance to ban racial segregation in elevators. Blacks have heretofore been made to use service elevators, which are ordinarily reserved for building employees or for transporting cargo. [(Folha de Sao Paulo, p.1) Knight-Ridder Financial News — Sao Paulo, Wednesday, Dec 20, 1996]

Who’s Next?

The California Public Utilities Commission has added another affirmative action category in addition to women and non-whites: old soldiers. Beginning in 1996, utility companies will be under pressure to award at least 1.5 percent of their contracts to companies owned by disabled veterans. Contracting “goals” are currently 15 percent for non-whites and five percent for women. Actual percentages in 1994 were 15.11 percent for non-whites and 7.67 percent for women. [SAN FRANCISCO — (BUSINESS WIRE) — Dec. 19, 1995, CPUC Sets Goals for Disabled Vet Procurement Program)]

The American Disease

Justus Kos is a Heineken executive involved in sponsorship and advertising. After viewing pilot programs of a new European music and youth culture show the Dutch brewer is to sponsor, he complained that it had “too high a proportion of Negroes.” Heineken has done the usual groveling, but this is never enough. A leading black paper in England, the Caribbean News is demanding that Mr. Kos be fired and that Heineken donate $1.5 million to African charities. [Reuters, Heineken brewery lock in TV racism row, Jan. 5, 1996]

Casualty of Immigration

Awilda Lopez, a black 29 year-old, has been charged with beating her six-year-old daughter to death. Broken fingers and old scars revealed that Lisa had been routinely and savagely abused. [Larry Celona, Angela Mosconi, Sandy Gonzalez, Phillip Messing, Mom Charged In Beating Death Of 6-Yr.-Old Girl, NY Post, 11/24/95, p. 3.] Neighbors reported that she seemed “sad, depressed, scared and withdrawn” and some said they had repeatedly been awakened at night by terrified cries of “Mommy, please stop!” [Angela Mosconi, They heard her screams — and did nothing, NY Post, 11/24/95, p. 3.]

The failure by social workers assigned to Miss Lopez to report abundant evidence of abuse has scandalized New Yorkers. Ironically, Lisa’s death came just a few days after an internal investigative report by the city’s Child Welfare Administration (CWA). It found that many social workers are recent immigrants, who do not speak English well enough to communicate with their clients. It also reported that there is a large number of unqualified immigrant caseworkers “who have been in the country for only a few years, whose values from their home country conflict” with CWA standards. [Hilton Kramer, Cover-Up Journalism, NY Post, 12/12/95.]

The New York Times agonized over Lisa’s death, and reported on the investigation by the Child Welfare Administration. It did not see fit to mention the findings about immigrant social workers.

Setting Aside Set-asides

Federal set-aside programs are increasingly under fire. The Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program, which grants $4.4 billion worth of contracts every year to women and non-whites, has been sued on the basis of last June’s Supreme Court ruling that requires federal programs to show evidence of past discrimination. One plaintiff, Science Applications International, is a major company with the means to maintain a sustained challenge that could eventually eliminate 8(a). Already, the Supreme Court’s new requirements have forced the Pentagon to abandon its $1-billion-a-year set-aside program. [Paul M. Barrett, Main Program for Minority Firms Faces Challenges in Federal Courts, Wall St. Journal, 11/22/95.]

But Preferences Are Still Law

The initial groundswell of opposition to affirmative action appears to have produced few results. State laws to abolish racial preferences have been introduced in at least a dozen states — Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Washington — but have either been defeated or failed to come to a vote.

In Texas, when a Republican state senator introduced such a bill, a black Democrat dressed up as a Klansman, in a robe he jokingly claimed to have found in the Republican’s locker. The bill died in committee. In Mississippi, a bill to kill racial preferences went to the floor of the State Senate, but was defeated 29 to 20.

At least six states have started petition drives to end affirmative action — California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Oregon — but there has been little success anywhere but in California. Even there, proponents of the California Civil Rights Initiative fear it may not be possible to secure the necessary one million signatures by the February 21 deadline. The problem is money. Checks — please be generous — should be made out to:

CCRI, Box 67278, Los Angeles, CA 90067.

National politicians have toned down their opposition to affirmative action because of a backlash from women and non-whites. Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich are now talking about improving rather than abolishing affirmative action. [Drummond Ayres, Efforts to end job preferences are faltering, Nov. 20, 1995, p. A1.]

Wretched Refuse

Prof. Donald Huddle of Rice University in Houston, Texas, calculates that immigrants cost the American economy about $51 billion in federal, state, and local assistance programs in 1994. This is over and above all taxes they paid. [Study cites the costs of aiding immigrants, Orange County Register, Oct. 26, 2995.]

The Tiger in the Afrikaner

The ANC government is going ahead with its plans to put Apartheid-era security officers on trial for alleged crimes against blacks. Magnus Malan, former Defense Minister, is the most prominent of eleven high-ranking defendants. Gen. Malan could admit his guilt and avoid a trial, but refuses. “I am not going to repent,” he says. “I am not going to ask for favors. What I did, I did for my country, for my God, for my people and all the peoples of South Africa.” He also warned President Nelson Mandela not to “awaken the tiger in the Afrikaner,” by proceeding with what Gen. Malan considers to be show trials. [President Mandela is firm on Malan Trial, This Week in South Africa, Nov. 21-17, 1995, p. 3.]

Barbie Bias

Over the Christmas season, there was so much demand for the Happy Holidays version of the Barbie doll that thousands of parents spent up to $200.00 for a doll that retails for $35.00. There were actually plenty of Happy Holidays Barbies in stores, but they were the black version — which was selling poorly. Many little black girls also wanted the white doll rather than the Afro-centric one. [Associated Press, Barbie doll shortage only of white Barbies, The Arizona Daily Star, 12/18/95.]

Think Black

Leon Higginbotham is a black judge who has retired from the federal appellate court. In the opening lecture of a series at New York University Law School called “Black Thought in Progress,” he sharply criticized black Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for having forgotten how to “think black.” Judge Higginbotham noted that Justice Thomas is trying to follow the original intent of the framers, and complains that this is not “the black way.” Presumably, “the black way” is to interpret the law in ways favorable to blacks. [Editorial, Higginbotham v. Thomas, Wall St. Journal, 12/01/95 p.A14.]

Feminists, Awake!

Tammy Bruce is president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW). Like many feminists, she was outraged at the verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial, and has made many impassioned public statements about the role that race played in the jury’s decision. In November, she refused to appear on a Philadelphia talk show about the trial, and was quoted as saying she did not want to “argue with a bunch of black women” about the Simpson verdict.

This was too much for NOW’s national organization. Patricia Ireland, national president, says that Miss Bruce “has clearly violated NOW’s commitment to stopping racism,” and the national board of directors has voted to censure her and demand an apology. Rather than apologize, Miss Bruce says, without being specific, “We’re going to take action,” and adds that NOW “will never be the same again.” She could be right. The Los Angeles chapter is NOW’s largest, and Miss Bruce has been president for seven years. [Racism issue leads NOW to censure, NYT, 12/11/95, p. A15.]


Flagstar Companies, the owner of Denny’s restaurants, has begun to send checks to non-white customers who claim they got bad service because they were not white. The suit was filed by the Justice Department on behalf of six black Secret Service agents who said they had been forced to wait 55 minutes for food while 15 white colleagues got prompt service. The case was expanded into a class action suit, and in May, 1994, Denny’s agreed to compensate no fewer than 294,537 former customers who, sensitivities heightened by the prospect of cash, claimed they had suffered discrimination. The six Secret Service officers will get $35,000 each. Checks for $177.71 will go to 158,483 claimants and another 135,996 will each get $132.28. The total cost to Denny’s will be $46 million. [Denny’s Bias Case to yield payments, NYT, 12/12/95.]

For ‘Shame’

In order to get an athletic scholarship, Kenneth Hayslip, a black University of Southern California athlete, needed a combined score of 700 on the SAT. After three tries, with scores of 480, 490, and 510, his fourth attempt produced a suspicious 780. The increase prompted the Educational Testing Service (ETS), administrators of the test, to cancel the score.

This was just one of the over 1,800 grades that the ETS challenges every year. Mr. Hayslip managed to get the score reissued through arbitration but says this is not enough. He is suing ETS, claiming that the score’s suspension caused him $8 million worth of “shame” and “mortification.” [Debra E. Blum, Suing Over the SAT, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 11/24/95, pp. A31-32.]

The Net Tightens

Scientists claim to have found the first gene that is clearly linked to a series of personality traits. The January issue of Nature Genetics reports that people with the gene are more impulsive, excitable, quick-tempered, and more inclined to seek novelty than people without it. About 15 percent of Europeans and Americans carry the gene. So far, there are no reports on whether the frequency varies by race. [Scientists Identify Gene linked to impulsive traits, WSJ, Jan. 2, 1996.]

A Homeland of their Own

Many of South Africa’s 3.5 million mixed-race “coloreds” are increasingly opposed to the current black-dominated government. For one thing, they do not qualify for the majority of new affirmative actions programs because they are not considered black. Even if they could qualify as black, 75% of all South African coloreds vehemently reject any claims of racial kinship to the majority population.

Under apartheid, coloreds had separate schools and were denied the right to vote. Nevertheless, during the 1993 elections the overwhelming majority in the Western Cape Province, where coloreds are concentrated, voted for the white-controlled National Party. Many feared black domination as much as whites did.

Coloreds are increasingly conscious of their distinct cultural identity. Recently, a group of protesters marched on the South African Broadcasting Corporation, demanding a “coloreds only” television channel.

Since the end of apartheid, droves of blacks have been moving into what were once colored-controlled areas. Many coloreds find this migration intolerable and are demanding a colored homeland. To accomplish this, some activists in the 40,000-member Colored Resistance Movement have allied themselves with the National Party. They realize that if they help the Nats return to power, the new alliance would be far more likely than the current government to grant them a homeland.

Although many coloreds were anti-apartheid activists, they do not see this new spirit of cooperation with whites as a compromise. Malcolm Lupton, head of another “brown power” group called the Colored Resistance Movement, puts it this way: “For us, whites are not a big problem. They will never return to power anywhere on the African continent . . .
We see them as an asset.” [Ken Wells, ‘Coloreds’ Struggle To Find Their Place In a Free South Africa, Wall St. Journal, 12/06/95.]

Dark Continent

Though no one quite knows why, the end of white rule in South Africa has been followed by a sharp increase in “witch” killing. Belief in witches is widespread among blacks; four fifths are estimated regularly to consult sangomas, who, though not technically witches, deal in mysterious folk medicines.

In some tribes, there is simply no such thing as an accident. Any unfortunate occurance must have been the result of witchery. Venda tribesmen also believe in zwivhuya according to which there is only a limited amount of wealth and happiness to go around; any extra can have been accumulated only through witchcraft.

According to traditional tribal practice, when someone is suspected of witchcraft a sangoma is called in to sniff out the culprit and then the chief determines punishment — usually banishment from the village. Lately, gangs of youngsters have stopped waiting for the chief’s sentence and summarily kill the witch. They often sing ANC “liberation” songs while they burn, beat or stone the wretch to death. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, are killed this way every year.

In the far north of the country there is a town called Motonawabaloi, which means “place of the witches” in the Sotho language. One hundred twenty-two people live there, all of them accused witches who managed to escape mob execution but dare not return to their homes. Witch-killing is not easy to stop because so many blacks sympathize with it. “Homeland” judges often let killers off lightly.

Some sangoma remedies are indistinguishable from witchcraft. According to a traditional practice called muti, strength can be gained by drinking a stew made of human body parts. To be effective the parts must have been removed while the original owner was still alive. The penis is considered particularly potent. [Witchcraft in South Africa, Economist, Dec. 9, 1995, p. 85.]

Separate in Death

The funeral parlor business is one of the most segregated in the country. In most areas, undertakers handle clienteles that are either exclusively white or exclusively black. Until 1985, funeral homes were labeled “white” or “black” in state directories, and there are still separate, black and white national undertakers’ organizations. The business is actually getting more segregated. Until recently, small towns could support only one funeral director, who buried everyone. Now, families are more likely to drive to a nearby town to get service from someone of the same race.

Undertakers who still do handle both races say that traditions differ. Whites like to put the body in the ground in two to four days, while blacks often wait eight to ten days for family members to gather. White services are reserved, while black funerals are boisterous and full of song. Whites tend to show their sympathy for the bereaved during a visitation period, while blacks like to attend the funeral itself. Nationally, in 1993, 21 percent of American corpses were cremated, but fewer than one percent of black corpses were cremated. “Why burn twice?” is a common objection. [Suzi Parker, Equal but separate, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 9/6/95, p. F1.]

Ethnic groups also differ in whether they want to be told they have fatal diseases. Only 35 percent of Korean Americans think patients should know the truth. The figure for Mexican-Americans is 48 percent; blacks, 63 percent; whites, 69 percent. [Lindsey Tanner, Truth not always best, doctors told, Houston Chronicle, 9/13/95, p. 11A.]

African Americans

What may be the best-preserved West African tribal community has been found in the jungles of — South America. In the 17th century, African slaves were brought to work the plantations of Surinam. Many escaped and fled into the wild interior to establish villages. Today, there are six tribes of Maroons, so called from the Spanish word cimarron, which means a runaway horse that has gone wild. Maroon villages are still unlinked by roads and can be reached only by canoe.

Maroon society is matrilineal, as it is in Africa, and in the evening parents tell their children spider fables from Ghana. The Maroons worship snakes, and build thatched spirit houses for them along the forest paths. Recently, the Maroons have decided to promote tourism. “We want to show white people we are clever and smart, that we have a culture equal to theirs,” explains a tribal leader. [Laurie Goering, ‘Pure’ African culture thrives in S. America, Chi Trib, 9/11/95, p. 11.]

You Tax Dollars At Work

New York State has discovered that at least 700 prisoners collected welfare during 1994-95 while they were in jail. It is illegal to do so, but people simply sell or give away their welfare-benefits and social services cards. The state estimates that at least $200,000 was spent in the name of people who were actually behind bars; many got kickbacks from the new beneficiaries. The state makes no attempt to recover the money or to prosecute cheaters, so this is a no-risk crime. [Beating the System, Reader’s Digest, Nov. 1995.]