Posted on October 1, 1996

O Tempora, O Mores! (October, 1996)

American Renaissance, October 1996

Last Gasp of Lunacy?

In July, in an extraordinary decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that racially segregated schools violate the state constitution even if they are in different school districts and are the result of voluntary housing patterns. The simple fact of racial “isolation,” from whatever cause, violates the state constitution’s guarantee of equal opportunity in education. The ruling essentially destroys the independence of suburban school districts and requires mixing of students over large areas. Not since 1975, when the California Supreme Court ordered busing in Los Angeles to remedy naturally-occurring racial separation, has a state court written such a ruling. Integration fanatics are scrutinizing other state constitutions for potentially useful language.

Attention has been focused on Hartford’s schools, which are 94 percent black and Hispanic. State assistance ensures that the city gets more money, per student, than virtually any other school system in the state, but its students perform dead last on standardized tests. The court pointed to this poor performance as proof that “extreme racial and ethnic isolation,” all by itself, prevents non-whites from learning. The case dates back to the early 1980s, when activists started looking for ways to get whites back into the increasingly bleak Hartford schools they were abandoning.

The ruling has sown dismay among suburbanites, but it does not offer any guidelines about how to accomplish integration, nor does it set deadlines. The state governor, John Rowland, promises that all measures will be voluntary, and will probably include “magnet schools,” a technique that has failed miserably elsewhere.

There is quiet but wide-spread hope that nothing will come of the ruling. It was a 5-4 decision with a bitter dissent, and the Chief Justice, who wrote the ruling, will step down soon. The governor, who opposed the ruling, is likely to replace him with someone more sensible. There is also a possibility that the Connecticut decision will be overturned on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

For the time being, the state has appointed a commission to look into integration. Blacks and Hispanics are, of course, complaining that they are insufficiently represented on the panel, since four out of its 20 members are black and two are Hispanic. (George Judson, Hartford Court Bars Imbalance in the Schools, New York Times, July 10, 1996, p. A1. Litigants Challenge Makeup of Panel on Hartford Schools, New York Times, Aug. 10, 1996, p. 28. George Judson, Civil Rights Lawyers Hope to Use Hartford Schools Case as a Model, New York Times, Aug. 15, 1996, p. B1.)

This could yet prove to be the last, lunatic gasp. Now that they are getting more school money than whites, fewer blacks care who their children sit next to Kansas City, Missouri, which indulged in a multi-billion dollar court-ordered magnet school spree in the 1980s and 1990s, has just about given up trying to get whites to come back. The new black school board president, Edward Newsome, has made it clear that the system’s chief mission is now to help blacks. In a recent address to the Opening of Schools Convocation, he warned that anyone who didn’t care for this new emphasis “may want to think twice about whether this is the job for you, because people will be held accountable.” (Philip O’Connor, Stance on Racial Balance Shifting in KC’s Schools, Kansas City Star, Aug. 24, 1996, p. A1.)

The fantastic expense and dislocation of school integration since Brown v. Board of Education has only proven that two things never change no matter what we try: Blacks and Hispanics cannot do as well in school as whites, and whites refuse to go to school with large numbers of them.

Shades of Sanity

In 1989, the Piscataway, New Jersey, school system decided to save money by laying off some teachers. Until then, its practice had been to fire personnel with the least seniority, and if there were two teachers with equally low seniority, to pick a name from a hat. This time, there was a choice between two people of equal rank, a black and a white. Rather than cast lots, administrators fired the white and kept the black for “diversity.” In August, the third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that this was racial discrimination, and ordered that the white teacher be paid $144,000 in back pay.

Under the administration of George Bush, the U.S. Department of Justice argued for the fired teacher. In August, 1994, under President Clinton, the government switched sides and supported the school board’s exercise in “diversity.” The change was ordered by Deval Patrick, a black who was appointed head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division (this is the job for which Lani Guinier was proposed). Janet Reno also approved the government’s flip-flop. The school district has not yet decided whether it will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Brian Blomquest, Diversity No Basis for Layoff, Washington Times, Aug. 10, 1996, p. A1.)

Floating Assets

Developing countries need power plants to generate electricity, but they frequently default on payments for the facilities that cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Until now, manufacturers could not take direct action against deadbeats, but American engineering companies have found a solution. They now build power plants on huge barges, tow them to a foreign coast, and operate them in harbors. If the country defaults, they can clip the power lines, repossess the plant, and tow it home. (William Bulkeley, Building Power Plants That Can Float, Wall Street Journal, May 22, 1996, p. B1.)

This is Diversity?

The people who prate about diversity are, of course, politically monolithic. The conservative Cornell Review recently found out the political affiliations of the faculty in humanities and social sciences at Cornell University. In all, there were 171 Democrats and seven Republicans, or four percent. In the history, sociology, and women’s studies departments, there were no Republicans at all. There was one each in psychology, government, and anthropology.

Cornell is not unique. A similar study found almost exactly the same situation at Stanford University, and the dean of the law school at the State University of New York at Buffalo once said, “As far as I know, there is not one conservative on the law school faculty.”

A recent Roper poll of reporters who cover Congress and of Washington bureau chiefs found that only four percent were registered Republicans. Eighty-nine percent had voted for Bill Clinton in 1992, and only seven percent for George Bush. (Francis Mancini, Where Are the Conservatives in Academia, the Media? The Herald (Miami), June 3, 1996.)

Invest Now

American Diversity Growth Trust is a stock mutual fund that concentrates on publicly-traded companies owned by blacks. There are 11 such companies, up from just one four years ago. Since the number is so small, the fund also buys the stock of companies that have a “strong urban consumer-market presence” or are “recognized for their commitment to diversity.” (Matt Roush, Investment Trust Targets Stocks of Black-owned Firms; 2 in Detroit, Crain’s Detroit Business, April 22, 1996, p. 28.)

So Much for Principle

Gary Lauck is an American from Lincoln, Nebraska, now in jail in Hamburg, Germany. Mr. Lauck publishes Nazi and neo-Nazi material, some of which he sends to Germany. Printing and distributing this material is legal in the United States but forbidden in Germany.

Mr. Lauck was arrested during a trip to Denmark and sent to Germany, where he was held for 15 months before trial. In August, he was sentenced to four years in prison for “disseminating the symbols of anti-constitutional organizations.” His defense lawyer argued, unsuccessfully, that his extradition from Denmark was illegal, and that a German court did not have the right to try a foreigner for activities overseas that were legal. (Reuter, Hamburg (Germany), “Defiant U.S. neo-Nazi Jailed by German Court,” Aug. 22, 1996.)

This case has received practically no attention in the United States, and the American Government has issued no protests. It is not difficult to imagine the outcry if an American woman were extradited from Jordan to Saudi Arabia and sentenced to jail for mailing feminist tracts to the Saudis.

Lowering Standards

Now fully insurable.

  • State Farm insurance and Allstate, two of the biggest home insurers, have been browbeaten into lowering underwriting standards in poor neighborhoods. Until recently, they did not insure houses that cost less than $40,000 or that were more than 40 years old, but the U.S. Department of Justice took the view that this was “racism.” (Leslie Scism, Allstate to Ease Standards on Selling Homeowners’ Policies in Poor Areas, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 14, 1996, p. A3.)
  • In Prince George’s County, Maryland, the police department has decided to “broaden the pool of potential officers” by disregarding previous arrests for drug use. According to the new policy, an applicant may have used marijuana up to 20 times in the previous three years, and arrests for cocaine, crack, barbiturates or amphetamines will no longer automatically disqualify a candidate. Officers currently serving on the force are reported to be furious. (Gary Scheels, PG Police Loosen Drug Rule to Recruit, Washington Times, Aug. 9, 1996, p. C3.)

Not a Dime’s Worth of Difference

Republican vice presidential nominee, Jack Kemp is wooing the black vote. In August, he campaigned in South Central Los Angeles, where blacks rioted in 1992. Although he recently announced he no longer supports racial preferences, he said that he and Bob Dole will create “a new civil rights agenda for America” and they will do it “with all the fiber in our beings.”

He said he favors a new kind of affirmative action that will deliver good things to blacks, but did not explain how it would differ from the old kind. Displaying a peculiar understanding of Abraham Lincoln’s views, he went on to say, “Our party of Mr. Lincoln will not be whole again until blacks and African-Americans come home to this party.” He also noted that “there is only one race, the human race. We are all brothers and sisters.” (Reuters, Los Angeles, “Kemp Campaigns for Black Vote in Riot Area,” Aug. 28, 1996.)

Meanwhile, his running mate, Bob Dole, has repudiated one of the planks of the Republican platform. He recently told a convention of black journalists that he opposes a Constitutional amendment that would deny automatic citizenship to anyone born on U.S. soil. (Frank Bruni, Dole Rejects GOP Plank on Immigration, New York Times, Aug. 24, 1996.)

Foolish Hopes

One of the silliest ways to “fight poverty” — and one that has been repeatedly endorsed by Jack Kemp — is to give companies big tax breaks to set up in bad parts of town. The theory is that this brings jobs to the poor, but it often does not work way.

The Red Hook area of Brooklyn has been a perfect test bed for this theory. It has a booming waterfront area with many jobs for people without much education. There is plenty of public housing nearby, staffed with the usual uplift experts who try to help lowlifes get jobs. Red Hook itself is not an easy place to get to, so is an awkward commute for outsiders. People should be pouring out of the projects into the jobs but, of course, they are not.

The owner of a furniture business tried at first to hire locals. One took a swing at him with a board, another showed up drunk, and several lied about their experience. Now he hires outsiders. Another man, whose business is unloading cargo from ships, was asked whether he would hire locals as security guards. “What? The bums hanging around outside?” he asked. “You want me to hire the guys who are trying to rob me?” (Malcolm Caldwell, Hiring Practices Undercut Inner-City Poverty Efforts, Washington Post, March 10, 1996, p. A1.)

Neither Democrats nor Republicans can fathom the obvious — that people are poor because they are unemployable, not because they do not live across the street from a job.

Election Year Follies

Lenora Fulani is a black woman communist who has run for President on the New Alliance ticket in 1988 and 1992. She preaches “minority rights” and redistribution of wealth, and has raised millions of dollars for her campaigns. In the 1988 election, she managed to get her name on the ballot in all 50 states. This year, she has thrown her not inconsiderable support behind, of all people, Ross Perot.

Miss Fulani seems to have lost some of her zeal for Marxism and now thinks that simply offering voters an alternative to the Republicans and Democrats is a worthy goal. About Perot supporters, she says: “I don’t know what a lot of their opinions are. I don’t even care what a lot of their opinions are.” The Perot people don’t seem to care much who their allies are, either. “We welcome anyone with a positive attitude and a desire to create a new political party,” says Russell Verney, national coordinator of Mr. Perot’s Reform Party. (Frank Bruni, Perot and Populist Group See Benefits in an Alliance, New York Times, Aug. 21, 1996, p. A1.)

In the meantime, Louis Farrakhan has taken a sudden interest in democracy. He has announced that, for the first time in 12 years, he has registered to vote, and is urging the flock to do likewise. He explains that by means of electoral politics, “I intend, by the power of Almighty God, to turn America upside down and inside out.” (Michael Meyers, Rhetorical Bombs are Bursting in Air, N. Y. Post, July 10, 1996.)

Everywhere the Same

Australia is trying to reduce its budget deficit, and the government has proposed an austerity plan that includes cuts of the equivalent of US$312 million in spending for aborigines over the next four years. In August, aborigines demonstrated in several cities to denounce the “racist” budget. In Canberra, 150 rowdies attacked police with bricks and bottles, sending one officer to the hospital. They then went on to burn an Australian flag, while one man harangued the crowd: “Everyone, if you want to come and stamp on the white law, and the white flag, stamp on the ashes like they stamped on ours.” (Terry Friel, Aborigines Burn Flag in Canberra Budget Protests, Reuter (Canberra), Aug. 20, 1996.)

Sacred Cows

A Hindu temple, complete with a 50-foot high entrance tower, has opened in Ashland, Massachusetts. In August, a four-day dedication ceremony culminated in the “opening of the eyes” of the goddess Lakshmi, to whom the temple is dedicated. A cow was brought before the idol, because this is the first thing Lakshmi likes to see when she opens her eyes.

The temple’s chief administrator, Kris Vaithinathan, voiced his satisfaction as he gazed up at the cream-colored temple with its seven copper domes: “If you really look at it and didn’t know you were in Ashland, you would think you were somewhere in India . . . We all feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment.”

One of the visitors called the temple “a way to ensure that we protect our religious and cultural roots.” “Especially,” he added, “as our kids are born and grow up in America, we want to teach them what it means to be Hindu so that they pass it on to their children.”

Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth. After Jews, Indians have the second highest average income of any American ethnic group. (Diego Ribadeneira, “A Hindu Haven in Ashland: Sacred Ceremony Marks Temple’s Official Opening, Boston Globe, Aug. 19, 1996, p. B1.)

Interracial Marriage

There have been a number of recent articles extolling the rise in interracial marriages. However, many of these marriages do not involve whites, who rarely marry outside their race. Rates of out-marriage are as follows: American Indian men — 59 percent, American Indian women — 60 percent, Asian men — 12 percent, Asian women — 25 percent, black men — 6 percent, black women — 2 percent, white men — 1.6 percent, white women 1.4 percent. (Linda Mathews, More than Identity Rides on a New Racial Category, New York Times, July 6, 1996, p. A1.)

Until the 1967 Supreme Court Case of Loving v. Virginia struck them down, 19 states still had laws barring interracial marriage.

Birds of a Feather

Thirty percent of blacks now live in the suburbs, up from just 16 percent in 1970. However, their children think the suburbs are boring and too white, and cannot resist the lure of the city. Although they may have had white friends when they were small, by the time they are teenagers, many blacks look for companionship in the ghetto. “When I go into the city there is a different way of talking among blacks, a different way of dressing,” says one 13-year-old suburbanite. “I want to educate myself about that.”

Their parents have worked hard to give their children every advantage. Some cannot understand a desire to return to what they left behind, but others see why their children want to associate with other blacks. “We came out here for economic reasons, and because we knew the school system would be better,” says one mother. “But we may have done more damage than good.” (Jonathan Kaufman, The Inner City Is a Magnet for Suburban Black Teens, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 28, 1996, p. B1.)

Helping Non-whites

The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (Nacme) is a private, non-profit group that tries to help blacks and Hispanics get into science-related jobs (whites and Asians can take care of themselves). Over the years, Nacme has given $50 million in scholarships to non-whites. Most of the money comes from some 200 corporations, several of which — Exxon, General Electric, and DuPont — give $200,000 or more every year. In 1995, Nacme took in a record haul of $4.7 million, and contributions are running at the same rate this year. (Joseph Boyce, A Focus on Education Expands Opportunities for Minority Engineers, Wall Street Journal, July 8, 1996, p. 1.)

Straight From the Heart

The California Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI) is a ballot measure that would prohibit state-sponsored racial preferences. It is expected to pass in November, but non-whites are clinging desperately to their privileges. Willie Brown, the black mayor of San Francisco, says that a vote for CCRI “won’t be on the basis of anything except pure, unadulterated exploitation of racism.” In an exchange with one of the measure’s white supporters, he explained why he likes affirmative action: “I don’t care about your idiot kids.” (Joel Kotkin, Here Comes the Mad Dog Democrats, Wall Street Journal, July 10, 1996, p. A16.)