Posted on November 1, 1996

O Tempora, O Mores! (November, 1996)

American Renaissance, November 1996

Church Burnings Update

The con game about a non-existent racist plot to burn down black churches has been so brazen that even a few mainstream organizations have decided that enough is enough. A Washington-based organization called the Institute for Religion and Democracy has just released a report on how the National Council of Churches (NCC) hit upon the hoax as a way to raise money for unpopular, “progressive” causes.

A large part of the report details the lurid career of Don Rojas, the black man who is supposed to administer the nearly $10 million that the NCC has accumulated in its Burned Churches Fund. For four years, Mr. Rojas worked for the Communist regime of Maurice Bishop in Grenada, first as editor of the party newspaper and then as press attaché to Prime Minister Bishop. Mr. Rojas was the real thing, raving about “the comrades in Cuba” and describing political enemies as “imperialist lackeys.” His government service came to an end only when the United States invaded Grenada in 1983 and overthrew the Bishop regime. Mr. Rojas then removed to Havana, where he served as secretary for propaganda and information of the Anti-Imperialist Organizations of the Caribbean and Central America. In the early 1990s, he edited the anti-white Amsterdam News in Harlem.

Although Mr. Rojas has no church-related experience, he was hired by the NCC’s Associate General Secretary for Racial Justice (!), Mac Charles Jones, to dish out the money. Rev. Jones is a standard-issue “activist” minister who has unbosomed the view that the election of Ronald Reagan meant “it was OK to be racist again” in America. In his younger days he organized a support committee for Angela Davis, then leader of the U.S. Communist Party. (Mark Tooley, IRD Special Report, Sept. 1996, Institute on Religion and Democracy.)

The October issue of Commentary also contains a good account by Michael Fumento of the trickery engaged in by the National Council of Churches and the “watch-dog group,” the Center for Democratic Renewal, in promoting the hoax about church burnings. Better still, the article goes further and places much of the blame where it really belongs: on the media. Mr. Fumento notes that although Fred Bayles of the Associated Press won an award for his work showing the real extent of the so-called church-burning epidemic, only a handful of subscribers to the AP actually ran his stories. The New York Times, for example, mentioned the church burnings in more than 100 articles — some of them huge — but never touched on the questions raised by Mr. Bayles and other critics.

Mr. Fumento draws the right conclusions:

One would think at least some journalists might have been led to wonder what this episode says about the way ‘news’ is manufactured, packaged, and shipped these days, or to reflect on their own role in plunging so many Americans into a paroxysm of utterly baseless recrimination . . . As for admitting that they were wrong, and wildly irresponsible, that is a prospect apparently too horrible for them to contemplate. (Michael Fumento, Politics and Church Burnings, Commentary, October, 1996, pp. 57ff.)

Meanwhile, another “racist threat” to black churches has proven to be a hoax. A black woman named Gloria Taylor has been arrested for mailing letters, filled with slurs and swastikas, threatening to kill blacks and burn black churches. She was caught by means of a DNA match with the saliva used to seal the envelopes. (Woman Charged With Sending Hate Mail, Tallahassee Democrat, Sept. 20, 1996. p. 4B.)

Multiracialism Where it Hurts

A mulatto immigrant from the Caribbean has been crowned Miss Italy for 1996. The victory of Denny Méndez, daughter of a Dominican mother and Italian father, caused considerable soul-searching in Italy about a “changing national identity.” Two members of the Miss Italy judging panel were suspended for saying that a black woman could not represent Italian beauty. One, who was later reinstated, defended herself by asking whether China could be imagined selecting a Miss China who was not obviously Chinese, or whether a Miss Senegal could be anything but black?

In the end, after much public discussion, Miss Méndez was chosen by a large margin that appears to have included a large number of we’re-not-racists votes. “The contest ended under a sort of blackmail,” said one of the judges, Enrico Mentana. “Not to elect Denny would mean looking like a Class-B country.” He argued that Miss Méndez was hardly the most beautiful woman in the contest.

Others have pointed out a certain hypocrisy in complaining about a mulatto Miss Italy. No one seems to mind when black “Italians” win medals in the Olympics or play on the national soccer team. The respectable position to take on the Miss Italy question appears to be that it was only a matter of time. Even Prime Minister Romano Prodi weighed in with a view: “Italy is changing . . . This too is a sign.” (Celestine Bohlen, Italians Contemplate Beauty in a Caribbean Brow, New York Times, Sept. 10, 1996.)

Genetic Defenses Against AIDS

Doctors have discovered a genetic defense against AIDS that is found in some whites but in no blacks. The genetic resistance was determined in a study of 1,900 American men who have either been exposed to AIDS repeatedly or who have been HIV-positive but have not come down with the disease. A small number of whites, who have inherited the gene from both parents, appear to be completely immune from AIDS. Those who have inherited it from only one parent are strongly resistant to it. No Africans have been found who appear to have inherited the gene from either parent.

Current theories as to the origin of this genetic difference attribute it to the effect of plagues that afflicted whites but not blacks. Europe in the Middle Ages had an urban, commercial economy with population centers large enough to permit the quick spread of disease. Africa probably could not have had the equivalent of the Black Death of 1346 because its population was small and dispersed. A mutation that protected some whites against the plague may be protecting their descendants today against AIDS. (Laurie Garrett, Study Finds Genetic Resistance to HIV Common in White People, The Advocate (Baton Rouge), Sept. 17, 1996, p. 11A.)

‘Racism’ and Censorship in France

Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of the National Front in France, has provoked a potentially sinister reaction by uttering a few truthful words. On two occasions in September, he publicly observed that at the Olympic Games there was an “obvious inequality between the black race and the white race.” One French parliamentary deputy immediately called this “racism” and “an injury and a threat to human rights.” There were calls that Mr. Le Pen’s nationalist political party be banned.

Even more astonishing, the “conservative” government in France appears likely to pass a law intended specifically to muzzle Mr. Le Pen. It wants to ban “distribution of racist or xenophobic messages,” which are defined as attacks on the “dignity, honor or reputation of a person or groups by reason of their . . . ethnicity, nation, race or religion.” Punishment would be fines of up to $60,000 and a year in jail. Only a few scattered voices have been raised in opposition to this law, which is expected to pass easily in October. French prosecutors have wide leeway in interpreting laws and deciding whom to indict. (Joseph Schuman, Proposed Racism Ban Spotlights French Tradition of Censorship, AP, Paris, Sept. 27, 1996.)

Mr. Le Pen has scoffed at the proposed law, saying, “The more we are persecuted, the more quickly our ideas will advance.” His confidence may be justified. On September 14th, more than 3,000 National Front supporters joined the funeral of a French boy stabbed to death by an Arab in Marseilles. The 14-year-old boy, Nicolas Bourgat was attacked without provocation while he was eating a sandwich, in what Mr. Le Pen has called “a racist, anti-French crime.” Mr. Le Pen warned that unless French policies are changed, the French children of tomorrow “risk ending up like little Nicolas, by the dozens, by the hundreds.” The funeral, presided over by an archbishop, attracted city-wide support, with church bells ringing and sirens wailing in memory of the victim. (Jean-Marc Matalon, Boy’s Death Stirs French Front, AP, Marseilles, Sept. 14, 1996.)

Marching Toward Multiculturalism

A La Crosse, Wisconsin judge has shocked the community by sentencing a child-molesting immigrant to English lessons. Sia Ye Vang, a Hmong, was found guilty of fondling his step daughters, beginning in 1992, when they were 10 and 11 years old. He could have gotten 80 years in prison, but Judge Ramona Gonzalez sentenced him to 24 years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service, and ordered him to take English lessons.

Mr. Vang’s lawyer, Katherine Schnell, argued that the sentence was appropriate because the defendant was from an “agrarian culture,” in which girls are often married off very young. “In our country that happened not too long ago; young women were coupled,” she added. (Dianna Bisswurm, Immigrant’s Molestation Sentence: Learn English, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Aug. 29, 1996.)

Just What We Need

The father of Dennis Rodman, the exhibitionist black basketball player, has the entirely appropriate name of Philander Rodman. He lives in the Philippines with two wives and 15 of his 27 children. “I’m shooting for 30,” explains Mr. Rodman, who has not seen Dennis in nearly 30 years. (Newsweek, Sept. 9, 1996, p. 25.)

Psychological Needs

In July, the Association of Black Psychologists held its annual convention in Chicago. The opening ceremony included an invocation of the wisdom of African ancestors, and five hundred psychologists wore colorful African clothing to hear the president’s address, which was accompanied by African music, drumming, and dancing. The president-elect was installed with a blessing from a “council of elders,” and received a carved Ashanti stool from Ghana as a symbol of leadership. “Our mission is to liberate the African mind, empower the African Character and illuminate the African spirit,” explained outgoing association president, Thomas Parham.

The black group was founded in 1968 by blacks who found that the mainstream American Psychological Association was just not meeting their needs. (Jim Ritter, Psychologists Embrace African Customs, Chicago Sun-Times, July 29, 1996, p. 10.)

Canadian Craziness

Mohamud Salah is a 27-year-old Somali who has twice been denied refugee status in Canada. He was booted the first time in 1993 but returned two months later and applied again under a false name. This time he told a better story and was promoted to refugee but was demoted to crook when his fraud was discovered. In the meantime he developed a heart condition and was given a $75,000 heart transplant — at taxpayer expense, because he is indigent. Mr. Salah still has the option of applying to stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds. (Somali Illegal Gets $75,000 Heart, Canada Immigration Hotline, Sept. 1996, p. 1.)

Good Sense is “Racist”

In the past ten years, the Hispanic — mostly Mexican — population of Waukegan, Illinois has doubled and is now a quarter of the city. Many of the newcomers are crammed five to a room the way they would live in Mexico, and Waukegan has passed an ordinance limiting the number of people who can live in a house. “Five cars in the driveway, cots in the basement, how are you going to get them out in a fire,” asks one alderman. The U.S. Department of Justice has decided that the ordinance is “racist,” and has ordered the city to back down. Waukegan is sticking to its guns, and will fight the feds in court. (Paul Driscoll, Illinois City Accused of Targeting Hispanics with Zoning Rule, The Advocate (Baton Rouge), Sept. 19, 1996, p. 7A.)

Bank Robbery on the Rise

It is now well known that banks just hand over the money when robbers ask for it. Often, the robber doesn’t even have to show a weapon. In a recent case in Detroit, a teller gave a man $5,900 when he pulled up to a drive-through window and a passed a note announcing a robbery. Neither the teller nor anyone in the bank was in the slightest danger.

Fat, unresisting targets soon become favorites. Detroit is now hit with nearly one bank robbery every other day. By the end of September there had been 123 heists, as opposed to just 94 in all of 1995. Part of the problem is that Detroit judges are giving light sentences, and criminals know it. Convicted bank robbers have been known to go free after serving as little as nine months. (Wayne Woolley, City Battles Big Increase in Bank Robberies, Detroit News, Oct. 2, 1996.)

Israel Boots Immigrants

Israel has long used West-bank Palestinians for manual labor, but occasionally shuts them out of the country for fear of terrorism. For some time, it has been thought that Palestinians could be replaced by other poor foreigners: Filipinos, Indians, Ecuadorians, Nigerians. These laborers are concentrated in Tel Aviv, where perhaps one in every seven residents is a foreigner. Unlike the Palestinians, who do their jobs and go home, the newcomers stay. As Meir Doron, a senior city official says about certain south Tel Aviv slums, “There are so many foreigners that the people who used to live there have fled. It is going to become a neighborhood without any Israelis.”

The religious political parties are outspoken about not wanting non-Jews in Israel. Avraham Ravitz, a Knesset member from the United Torah Judaism Party urges the government “not to bring people from all over who don’t belong here.” There are plans to round up and deport up to 150,000 illegal immigrants, and the Labor and Welfare Minister, Eli Yishai has proposed setting up an Authority for Foreign Workers, whose main job would be to track down illegals and send them home. (Neil MacFarquhar, Israel’s New Poor: Foreigners Replace Arab Labor but Make Many Uneasy, New York Times, Aug. 29, 1996, p. A5. Ross Dunn, Israel Prepares to Deport 100,000 Foreign Workers, Times (London), Aug. 24, 1996.)

Steps Toward Sanity

For decades, local governments have had “set-aside programs,” under which they steer contracts to companies owned by non-whites or women. In 1989, the Supreme Court ruled that such programs were legal only if it could be proven that they were responding to actual past discrimination. This spawned the lucrative business of hunting for past wickedness. Cities all across the country spent tax money on studies to prove they had discriminated against non-whites so they could legally discriminate against whites. Most of these studies were jokes, based on anecdote and meaningless statistics, and judges are finally saying so.

Recent rulings in Philadelphia, Miami, and Columbus, Ohio have thrown out bogus studies and banned the set-aside programs based on them. In Philadelphia, the study was so bad that not even black activists want the city to appeal the ruling. They know the investigation was nonsense, and fear that appeals court reversals will only be nails in the coffin of set-asides.

One of the common approaches to justifying discrimination against whites is to argue that non-white companies don’t get as many city contracts as their numbers would warrant. The studies almost never take into consideration the sizes, capacities, or records of different companies so their conclusions are worthless. In a ruling in September in Miami, Judge Kenneth Ryskamp scoffed at the very idea that in contracts awarded to the low bidder, statistics could be used to prove discrimination of any kind. (Paul Barrett, Courts Attack Studies Used for Set-Asides, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 26, 1996, p. B1.)

America’s Best

In September, President Bill Clinton gave 11 Americans the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which he described as “the highest honor our nation can bestow on a citizen.” Included among the recipients was John H. Johnson, the publisher of Ebony magazine. According to President Clinton, Mr. Johnson gave “African Americans a voice and a face, and in his words, ‘a new sense of somebodyness.’” Rosa Parks, whose refusal to move to the back of the bus started the Montgomery bus boycott, was scheduled to get an award but did not arrive in time for the ceremony.

Others given the medal included James Brady, for his campaign in favor of gun control, and Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, whom President Clinton called “one of Catholicism’s great leaders.” (Basil Talbott, Honor for Bernardin, Chicago Sun Times, Sept. 9, 1996, p. 1.)

Better to be Black

A poll has found that one year after graduation from an Illinois public university blacks and Hispanics are more likely than whites to have full-time jobs. Eighty-one percent of blacks, 80 percent of Hispanics, and 77 percent of whites had jobs. Likewise, blacks and Hispanics were more likely than whites to be enrolled full-time in further education. Dave Bechtel, who heads the placement center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign attributes the difference, at least in part, to racial preference programs. (Susan Dodge, Minority Grads Find Jobs Easier, Chicago Sun-Times, Sept. 9, 1996, p. 1.)

No Racism Here

Victor Morales is the Democratic nominee for the Senate from the state of Texas. He was something of a Cinderella, who rode around the state campaigning from a pickup truck, emerged from obscurity, and won the primary. Democrats are hoping for a huge turnout among Hispanics in order to put the first-ever Mexican into the U.S. Senate. Recently, he spoke of other Hispanics who, “for their own reasons seem to forget who they are.” In that group he included, quite specifically, a Republican Hispanic congressman named Henry Bonilla. Mr. Bonilla, said Mr. Morales, is a “wannabe white,” and a “coconut” who is brown on the outside and white inside. President Clinton, who calls Mr. Morales “a terrific candidate,” still intends to stump for him in Texas. (Latino Hopeful Slurs GOPer as ‘Wannabe White,’ New York Post, Sept. 27, 1996.)

Black Entrepreneur

Theresa Henderson, a black woman who lives in the Chicago area, managed to bilk welfare agencies for $355,000 by assuming five false identities and claiming a total of 27 children. She doctored birth certificates and used phony social security numbers in a fraud that began in 1988. She has no children of her own. There is no telling how long she could have worked her swindle if she had not been turned in by an anonymous tipster. (Andrew Fegelman, Woman Indicted in Welfare Scheme, Chicago Tribune, Sept. 27, 1996, Sec. 2, p. 3.)

The New South Africa

Under apartheid, Johannesburg was a pristine oasis of European civility in the heart of the dark continent. No more. Now that blacks are permitted in previously white areas, hundreds of thousands have streamed into the city. They have set up camp in parking lots and on sidewalks, hawking trinkets and spreading garbage wherever they go. Hundreds of companies have moved out of the city to the northern suburbs, where whites are fighting a rearguard action against the rising tide. Many whites now refuse to go down town. The Johannesburg Art Gallery, one of South Africa’s finest museums, has seen annual attendance drop from 150,000 to 50,000. The five-star Carlton Hotel, which was once the hub of downtown Johannesburg, has announced huge losses and has said it will close nearly 500 of its 668 rooms. Violent crime has, of course, been soaring. (Suzanne Daley, Downtown’s Denizens: Fear, and Fearless Vendors, New York Times, Aug. 21, 1996.)

All this has happened in the space of five years. South Africa is going through a speeded up version of the demographic transformation that destroyed so many American cities.

Exporting Money

There are an estimated six to seven million people living in the United States who were born in Mexico. They are thought to send four to six billion dollars back to Mexico every year. This is a huge sum for Mexico, which earns no more than $8 billion on its largest export product, oil. This flow of money is so predictable that Wall Street firms have begun to make money on it. If a Mexican bank anticipates $100 million in transfers over the next six months, it can borrow money or issue securities in New York, based on the anticipated revenue. Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan Securities, and SBC Warburg have all arranged deals of this kind. (Brendan Case, Sending Dollars to Mexico is a Big, Lucrative Business, New York Times, Sept. 14, 1996.) Remittances to Mexico are, of course, lost to the American economy, a fact overlooked by most analysts of immigration.

When people analyze the economic effects of immigration, they almost never consider the huge sums of money that are simply shifted out of the country. Unlike salaries that are paid to Americans — and who then invest or spend them in the United States — money transferred out of the country is pitched right out of the U. S. economy. It provides benefits for Mexico, not the United States.

Blacks Less Likely to be Convicted

The Center for Equal Opportunity, of which Linda Chavez is president, has released a study showing that blacks are less likely than whites to be convicted when they are arrested for crimes. In an investigation of all 56,000 felony cases filed in state courts in the nation’s 75 largest cities in May, 1992, researchers found that blacks were less likely to be convicted in 12 out of 14 federally designated felony categories. Generally, the disparities were not large, in the range of three to five percent. However, on drug trafficking charges, 24 percent of blacks escaped conviction while only 14 percent of whites did. Whites got off more often than blacks in only the least serious cases — felony traffic offenses and a miscellaneous category of crimes that are against neither property nor people.

Most felony cases are settled out of court, but when one actually goes before a jury, the black acquittal rate skyrockets. Sixty-nine percent of blacks were acquitted by juries, as opposed to 29 percent for whites. Since the study focused on crime in big cities, it included those areas where juries are most likely to be composed largely of blacks. Nation-wide, the acquittal rate at trial is 17 percent, but for black defendants in the Bronx, for example, it is approximately 50 percent. (Walter Olson, Is it Really an Injustice System? N.Y. Post, Sept. 30, 1996.)

The all-cops-are-racist school will argue that the results of the study prove only that police routinely arrest blacks on insufficient evidence and the justice system wisely sets them free. The study had no way of controlling for this factor. However, police hate to see a collared man go free, and are not very likely to make “racist” arrests that will not hold up in court. Moreover, the great disparity in jury acquittal rates suggests that it is juries, not the police, who are influenced by race. Whatever the case, we can be sure that if the numbers showed that whites were being convicted less often than blacks, the press would consider this proof of racism.

‘Mind Frame of Entitlement’

In 1994, Chicago’s most famous woman, black talk show host Oprah Winfrey, announced that she would finance a program to get 100 poor families off public aid. Two years and $1.3 million later, only five families have gone through the self-help training — with indifferent success — and the program is on hold.

Even the most ardent uplift experts are scratching their heads over the results. The program was called Families for a Better Life, and was administered by Chicago’s most famous benevolence agency, the Jane Addams Hull House Association, which heavily loaded the dice in favor of success. After Miss Winfrey’s much ballyhooed announcement, 30,000 people called, asking to take part. Hull House ended up sending out 4,000 applications to people who met the criteria for participation: poor people who lived in public housing. Out of the 1,600 applications they got back, they picked six women with children and one married couple with children. These people were were thought to have the best possible chances of getting out of poverty, and were not typical welfare bums. No one had a drug or alcohol problem, and four of the seven families had a member who had completed some college. One woman was actually in college when the program started and another was in nursing school.

The eight-week training program involved intensive doses of such mumbo-jumbo as “setting directions,” “preparing for change,” and “taking risks.” All participants got spending money and, if necessary, driving lessons, help with house-cleaning, and cooking lessons. Two families dropped out.

The progress of the remaining has not been stunning. Four of the five families were on AFDC when the program started. One is still on it, and another is getting food stamps. Four of the families had an adult who had at least a part-time job when the program began. Two now work full-time, two still work part-time, and the one who started out with no job still doesn’t have one. The women who were attending college and nursing school are still in school.

Isabel Blanco, who ran the program for Hull House says that no matter how carefully the candidates were screened they still had “the mind frame of entitlement.” “We had to keep emphasizing that this is not about what you get. This is about what you do.” Even the Chicago Tribune, in a lengthy account of the program, concluded that poor people lead such disorganized lives and have been so bred to a hand-out mentality that these “defy even programs designed to overcome these obstacles.” (Louise Kiernan, Oprah’s Poverty Program Stalls, Chicago Tribune, Aug. 27, 1996, p. 1.)