Posted on May 1, 1997

O Tempora, O Mores! (May, 1997)

American Renaissance, May 1997


Last year, 600 manhole covers and 1,500 lids on curbside drains were stolen from the streets of Detroit and presumably sold for scrap. A cast-iron manhole cover weighs nearly 200 pounds, costs about $100 to make, and brings about $7.00 as scrap. Drain covers weigh about 125 pounds and bring about $3.00. Replacement costs are over $130,000 per year, not counting the settlements the city has to make with people who fall down manholes or whose cars are banged up when they roll into a hole.

One scrap dealer who claims not to buy city property says, “You wouldn’t believe what comes in our door — stop signs, street lights, manhole covers. It’s unreal.” No one has ever been arrested for stealing a Detroit manhole. The crime is unknown in the rest of the state of Michigan. (David Migoya, Vanishing Lids, Detroit Free Press, Feb. 26, 1997, p. 1A.)

Wicked White Australians

Twice in one month, Australians have discovered that “aboriginal artists” they had swooned over were really white people. The first shock was the discovery that a man who had been touted as one of the brightest lights in aboriginal painting was really an 82-year-old white woman named Elizabeth Durack. For three years, critics had been twittering about “Eddie Burrup,” whose pictures have been winning prizes and going on traveling exhibitions. The artist had managed to escape public contact, claiming to speak little English and that he lived in a remote part of the Kimberley Plateau in Western Australia.

The usual people are in a fearful stew. “How dare anyone appropriate a culture like that,” says one curator who had exhibited “Mr. Burrup’s” work; “It’s a massive fraud.” The acting director of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Cultural Center calls it “the ultimate act of colonization.” (Peter Spielman, “Aboriginal’ Artist’s Ruse Roils Australia, San Francisco Chronicle, March 8, 1997, p. A11.)

One week after this embarrassment, “Wanda Koolmatrie,” author of the acclaimed autobiography, My Own Sweet Time, was discovered to be a 47-year-old white man named Leon Carmen. Miss Koolmatrie had likewise been unavailable for interviews. Literary prizes had to be awarded in absentia, because she was always “overseas” or “out in the bush writing.” The book was used as a text for senior high school examinations in 1996.

Lydia Miller is arts director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, Australia’s highest Aboriginal organization. Although she used to gush with praise for My Own Sweet Time, she now says the book was “trickery and deceit.” “It surprises me,” she says, “that non-indigenous people need indigenous people to validate their existence.”

Mr. Carmen has a far simpler explanation: The Australian literary establishment has no interest in publishing books by middle-aged white men. “I can’t get published,” he explained, “but Wanda [Koolmatrie] can. It’s a distinct possibility the book didn’t win the literary prize, the skin did.” Mr. Carmen’s two-year hoax came to an end when his publisher refused to accept a second volume for publication without meeting the author. (Peter Spielman, Literary Hoax Rocks Australia, San Francisco Chronicle, March 14, 1997, p. A16.)

Wicked White Americans

Some states are considering passing “death with dignity” laws that permit terminally ill patients to refuse treatment and even seek doctor-assisted suicide. Many blacks apparently think this is another trick to do them in. Mary Evans, a black woman on the board of the Death With Dignity Education Center in California says “People in the black community see death with dignity as just another way for them to be offed.” Rev. James Perkins of Detroit’s Greater Christ Baptist Church, for example, is convinced that any such laws will be used to “eliminate” blacks.

Interestingly, blacks are more likely than whites to want to have life prolonged by even the most heroic measures. According to a 1993 University of Miami study, 37 percent of blacks, as opposed to 14 percent of whites “want to be kept alive no matter what.” Only 20 percent of blacks but 50 percent of whites would ever consider doctor-assisted suicide. Suicide rates among the elderly are likewise much lower for blacks than for whites. (Lori Montgomery, Blacks Fearful of Plug Pulling by White Doctors, Detroit Free Press, Feb. 26, 1997, p. 1A.)

Wicked Brits Grovel

British Christians have made careful plans to celebrate the second millennium of the Christian era in a way that will not offend people of other faiths. Guidelines have been established by something called Churches Together in England, which represents the major denominations. All “triumphalism” is to be avoided, and Christians will be enjoined to apologize for the Crusades, slavery, colonialism and other “past evils.” “We want to say we are sorry for the hurt that was caused long ago and is happening now,” explains one church leader. (Jonathan Petre & Jo Knowsley, Church Leaders: Let’s Say Sorry for our Evil History, Sunday Telegraph (London), March 16, 1997, p. 7.)

Business as Usual

The media are in an uproar because three white teenagers in the Chicago area reportedly attacked a 13-year-old black boy and injured him severely. He was riding through a largely-white neighborhood when he was pulled from his bicycle, kicked and beaten, and left for dead. The assailants are later said to have bragged that they had taken care of “the nigger problem,” though they now deny everything. There has been the usual hullabaloo: Jesse Jackson has “appealed for calm,” and Mayor Richard Daley has visited the sick room, where the beaten boy is still in a coma. The FBI is hot on the case, and a fund has been established to handle the flood of money people have sent to the boy’s family. (Sharon Cotliar & Fran Spielman, Teens Deny Hate Attack, Chicago Sun-Times, March 25, 1997, p. 1. Gary Marx & Andrew Martin, Unwritten Rules Remain in Bridgeport, Chicago Tribune, March 26,1997,p.1.)

At almost the same time, Chicago police arrested 21-year-old Jerry Wagner, a black man who stabbed five white people over a period of several days. He told police that he heard God telling him to kill whites. All survived the attacks, but several are in serious condition. Somehow, neither Jesse Jackson nor Mayor Daley (nor much of the press) have taken any interest in the matter. (Philip O’Connor, Man is Charged in 5 Stabbings; Cops Say Incidents “Hate-related,’ Chicago Sun-Times, March 17, 1997, p. 16.)

Language Lessons

USA Today, which usually heaps praise on immigrants, devoted its Feb. 28 cover story to what it billed as “The politically incorrect question of the 1990s.” Headlined “Can’t Anyone Here Speak English,” the story recounted the huge problems caused by newcomers who cannot make themselves understood. Besides horror stories about doctors, taxi drivers, and storekeepers who can’t communicate, the article estimates that language problems cost the country $175 billion every year in lost productivity, wages, tax revenue, and unemployment compensation. The paper even notes that it may have been the inability of Chinese crew members to understand English commands that caused a freighter to smash into a riverside New Orleans mall on Dec. 14th.

Surprisingly, the story does not end with bromides like “let’s all hold hands and learn English together.” It reports that never have so many “Americans” been unable to speak English, and that 23 states have passed English-only laws.

Justice System Not Racist

The state of New York has just spent $300,000 to find out that its juvenile justice system does not discriminate against blacks and Hispanics. Those two groups are more likely than whites to be sentenced for youth crimes only because they are more likely to be arrested. When similar offenders are compared, the juvenile system does not discriminate by race. The study “removes the argument [of “racism’] from the debate,” says Governor George Pataki’s former chief advisor on criminal justice.

The report noted that in New York City, blacks were 19 times more likely than whites to be arrested for serious juvenile crimes; Hispanics were nine times more likely. The report did not attempt to find the causes of these disparities. (Fredric Dicker, State’s Juvenile Justice Isn’t Racist, Says Study, New York Post, Feb. 21, 1997.)

Tarheels Don’t Want Hispanics

The number of Hispanics living in North Carolina has doubled since 1990 and now stands at about 175,000. There are now so many that a Charlotte company plans to publish Paginas Amarillas or Spanish Yellow Pages. How do the natives feel about this? Sixty-six percent say they don’t want Hispanic neighbors. (Aura Maas, In North Carolina, the New Southern Accent is Spanish, Charlotte Observer, March 9, 1997, p. 1C.)

More African Snatchers

The penis-snatching scare, reported in last month’s “O Tempora” column, has spread from Ghana to neighboring Ivory Coast. People have gathered in Abidjan, the capital, to flush out and kill suspected sorcerers. At least three have been beaten or burned to death by crowds of men who reportedly kept their hands over their genitals for protection. Other alleged sorcerers have survived their beatings or escaped unhurt. They are said to be able to make a man’s penis shrivel or disappear, and then demand money in return for a cure. In Ghana, at least 12 men were killed by mobs before the scare subsided. (Andy Geller, Witch Doctors Torched After Men See Shrink, New York Post, March 8, 1997, p. 12.)

Girlz in the ’Hood

A 31-year-old black lawyer may be disbarred for advertising as a prostitute and then denying it under oath. Marsha Watt is a graduate of Brown University and Northwestern University Law School. She was working for the prominent Chicago law firm of Winston & Strawn when she placed an ad in a local paper offering companionship to “discreet, sensitive executives and professional gentlemen” at a rate of $310 per hour. An undercover police officer arrested her in a hotel room after negotiating a fee for two sex acts. Miss Watt then lied under oath when she was investigated by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. (Jon Hilkevitch, Attempted Cover-up Might Hurt Attorney, Chicago Tribune, March 5, 1997, p. 6, sec. 2.)

Second Civil War

Home Box Office has aired a movie about a future multi-racial United States called “The Second Civil War.” Set in the near future, Mexican immigrants tear down the Alamo, and members of Congress shout at each other through interpreters. Blacks try to assassinate the mayor of Los Angeles because he refuses to speak English. The crisis comes when the governor of Idaho closes the state’s borders rather than accept a planeload of Pakistani orphans. The movie is supposed to be a comedy.

Bravo, Borzellieri!

Frank Borzellieri is an elected member of a New York City school board, who has written several articles for AR and has spoken at an AR conference. He recently wrote a letter to the editor of the Queens Ledger, in which he scoffs at the “Reverse Open Enrollment Program” offered to white students in his district. The parents of children who attend schools that are over 75 percent white get letters from the school board inviting them to enroll their children in a school where whites are a minority. “Through this program, it is possible for students of different races to learn together,” they are told.

As Mr. Borzellieri points out, even school officials recognize that this is a bad joke. In the 10 years whites have had this option, not one has acted on it. The only reaction the letters get is frantic calls from parents who misread the letter and think their child is going to be bused. On the other hand, there is always a stampede of non-whites who use the “open enrollment” program to attend majority-white schools.

Mr. Borzellieri continues:

The truth, which everyone knows and almost no one will admit, is that integration is always a one-way street. Non-whites want to move into the territory of whites — schools, neighborhoods, clubs, etc. — because those are the most desirable. It never works the other way around. Whites never choose, of their own volition, to move into non-white institutions. Parents will do anything — even take phony addresses — to enroll their children in white schools. It is the unspoken truth that race drives almost every decision people make. Teachers, likewise, always want to work in the white schools . . .

White liberal hypocrites, who claim to love multiculturalism and extol integration as vitally important, always manage — when it comes to their own lives, their own homes, and their own children — to choose white institutions as much as the rest of us. When it hits close to home, they seem to demonstrate a grasp of reality in complete contradiction to what they profess to believe.

(Frank Borzellieri, School Integration or Racial Madness (letter), Queens Ledger, March 20, 1997.

City Living

“A mob of looters led by an 11-year-old boy swarmed over a city murder scene in the minutes before cops arrived last weekend, stealing guns, cash and even bullets right from a dead man’s pocket, police said.” So opens a recent news story about life in Trenton, New Jersey.

Two blacks, one a drug dealer and the other a drug buyer, had a Sunday afternoon shootout in the home of the buyer. The dealer got the worst of it, and staggered out the door and died, while the buyer lay wounded in a pool of blood. The gang of looters went to work immediately after the shooting stopped, rifling the dead man’s pockets and sizing up his clothes. “If he was there another five minutes he would have been naked,” said one of the police officers, who arrived on the scene just minutes after the killing.

Yet more looters barged into the wounded man’s house, stepping over him to steal a gun, money, and marijuana. Police say this is unusually ghoulish behavior but they are particularly annoyed that thieves stole the murder weapon, which will make it difficult to prosecute the survivor for first degree murder. (Marc O’Reilly, Young Jackals, The Trentonian, March 18, 1997, p. 3.)

Nature Trumps Nurture

In 1973, sexologist John Money reported the case of a boy who was reared as a girl after his penis was cut off in a surgery accident shortly after he was born. Dr. Money claimed that with a combination of hormone treatments, a man-made vagina, and appropriate rearing, the otherwise anonymous “Joan” was happy as a girl. The case entered the literature as a classic example of the power of environment and the insignificance of heredity.

A recent reanalysis has reached a different conclusion. Careful study shows that the female identity never took hold. Joan didn’t like dolls and often tried to urinate standing up. Instead of imitating her mother’s makeup ritual she mimicked her father shaving. Her classmates teased her because she looked like a boy, calling her “cave man” and “gorilla.” She had practically no friends because she didn’t fit in with boys or girls. At age 12 she was given estrogen treatments and grew breasts, but she was not attracted to boys. At age 14, still ignorant of her past, she finally confronted her father and told him she could not feel like a girl. He broke down in tears and told her the truth.

Joan was relieved rather than angry; suddenly everything she had always felt made sense. “She” has since had her breasts lopped off and has been given a surgically-constructed penis. Now calling himself “John,” he has married a woman and adopted her children. He is now in his 30s and is reportedly as well adjusted as one can be after such an ordeal. He is glad, finally, to be able to live as a man.

Although the story is a horrible one, it has exploded yet another anti-hereditarian myth. As Horace put it more than 2,000 years ago, “You may drive out nature with a pitchfork, yet still she will return.” (Natalie Angier, Defying an Intervention, Sexual Identity Prevails, New York Times, March 14, 1997.)

Televised Offenses

The Beverly Hills chapter of the NAACP objects to the “demeaning” way blacks are portrayed on television. Billie Green, president of the chapter, doesn’t like what she calls the “groping and rolling and bucking of the eyes” on offending programs. She doesn’t like profanity or bad English either. “There’s all this complaining about black kids speaking Ebonics — well, they’re getting it from television.”

Oddly, the offending programs star blacks and are written by blacks for blacks. They are: “Martin,” “The Wayans Bros,” “The Jamie Foxx Show,” “Homeboys in Outer Space,” “Goode Behavior,” “Sparks,” “In the House,” and “Malcolm and Eddie.” (Greg Braxton, Groups Call for Changes in Portrayal of Blacks on TV, L. A. Times, Feb. 8, 1997, p. A1.)

Black Graduation

Affirmative action brings many unprepared blacks to universities. This is reflected in dropout rates. What follow are the percentages of white and black students at various universities who manage to graduate within six years. University of North Carolina — whites 86 percent, blacks 64 percent; Rutgers University — 80, 60; U.C. Berkeley — 84, 58; University of Illinois — 82, 54; Penn State — 80, 51; University of Delaware — 73, 56. (After Late Start, University Works Hard to Graduate Blacks, New York Times, Dec. 1, 1996, p. 16.)

Hitting Bottom

In Chicago’s heavily black and Hispanic schools, administrators have stopped supplying rest rooms with toilet paper, soap, or paper towels. If they leave paper in the rest rooms, students clog the plumbing by flushing whole rolls down toilets, and plaster the walls and ceilings with wads of wet paper. Many teachers establish official bathroom breaks, when they dispense just enough paper for a single use. Other schools supply paper in the rest rooms but teachers always accompany students to make sure they do not go wild. There is no soap in these rest rooms because students tear the soap dispensers off the walls. There are no doors to the stalls because students destroy them.

Recently the principle of Revere School on the South Side relaxed its no-paper policy, but only for its older students. They immediately reverted to waste and wildness, so the policy was reinstated. (Janita Poe, In School Bathrooms, Tissue is a Privilege, Chicago Tribune, Feb. 4, 1997, p. 1.)