Posted on February 1, 1998

O Tempora, O Mores! (February, 1998)

American Renaissance, February 1998


Amistad is the new Steven Spielberg movie about a slave revolt aboard a Spanish ship. The historical episode on which it is based was an 1839 mutiny by Africans who were being transported from one Cuban port to another. They killed most of the crew of the Amistad  — which means “friendship” in Spanish — and demanded that they be returned to Africa. Instead, a white crewman steered them north, where they were picked up by the U.S. navy and taken to New Haven, Connecticut.

The Spanish wanted the slaves returned and tried for piracy. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, where John Quincy Adams argued that the slave trade was illegal and that slavery was a violation of natural rights. The blacks were freed and taken back to Africa.

There is ample material here for the usual story line: black nobility in the face of white brutality that is leavened with occasional flashes of humanity. As revisionist scholar Michael Hoffman has pointed out, the movie leaves out an inconvenient fact reported on page 520 of Samuel Eliot Morison’s 1965 book, Oxford History of the American People: “The ironic epilogue is that Cinque [the leader of the revolt] once home, set himself up as a slavetrader.” Adams’ fine notions about natural rights were handy to have in an American courtroom, but Cinque and the boys promptly junked them when they got home.

None of this bothers President Clinton, who attended the Washington premier of Amistad and offered this specimen of his jumbled thinking about race: “I would like all those who oppose affirmative action to see this marvelous movie.”

Amistad comes with a study guide that is being distributed to high schools so that teachers can work this marvelous movie into lesson plans. The guide quotes the producer as saying that “the White culture wanted to be dominant. They never acknowledged the contributions of the African culture that was far beyond and centuries ahead of European culture.” It also suggests that Cinque helped Adams craft the arguments that prevailed in court, despite the fact that Cinque spoke no English and probably never met Adams.

The movie has other problems. A black writer, Barbara Chase-Riboud, claims it plagiarized her 1989 novel, Echo of Lions. Mr. Spielberg’s lawyers say Miss Chase-Riboud is the plagiarist, having lifted passages from someone else’s novel, Slave Mutiny, which Mr. Spielberg had optioned for the movie. Miss Chase-Riboud admits that one of her earlier novels, Valide, contains passages she took from another book, but says Echo of Lions is clean. Who stole what from whom will presumably become clear in court. In the meantime, no one is in any kind of trouble for anti-white distortions of history. (Margarett Loke, Writer Who Cried Plagiarism Used Passages She Didn’t Write, New York Times, Nov. 19, 1997, p. A1.)

Sally Hemings, R.I.P.

There has long been debate about whether Thomas Jefferson had children with his quadroon slave, Sally Hemings. Recently, blacks who claim to be the third President’s descendants, and white descendants who dispute that claim have agreed to a procedure that should finally put the matter to rest. DNA testing is now so accurate that samples from members of the white and black groups can be compared to see if Jefferson fathered them all. Peter and Samuel Carr, Jefferson’s philandering nephews, have been credited by some with siring Hemings’ children, and DNA from Carr descendants will confirm or refute this theory, too. Oxford University is doing the tests, and results should be announced in a few months. (Barbara Murray, Clearing the Heirs, U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 15, 1997.)

Age Meets Race

If current immigration trends continue and America turns increasingly non-white, the nation will confront a racial divide that is compounded by a generational divide. We may soon discover that national cohesion from one generation to the next requires common ethnicity.

According to current projections, by 2025 whites will account for more than three quarters of the elderly but fewer than half the children. A recent study by MIT economist James Poterba finds that elderly whites are unwilling to pay taxes to support schools that are overwhelmingly non-white. By the same token, as the ratio of tax-payers to Social Security beneficiaries drops from today’s 3.3 to 2.2 by 2025, working-age non-whites may refuse to pay. Rodolfo Acuna, professor of Chicano studies at Cal State Northridge says, “There’s a growing feeling “Why should we pay for all these senior citizens’ if the majority of them are white and all they were willing to pay for was prisons?”

Or, as author Peter Brimelow puts it, “The spectacle of poor young workers of color being taxed to support rich old white retirees is a social San Andreas Fault in English, Spanish or anyone’s language.” (Jonathan Tilove, Generation Gap Becoming Racial Gap, San Francisco Examiner, Nov. 23, 1997, p. A17.)

School Board Hijinks

Perry Buckley, a middle-aged black man, was a media darling in Corona (Queens), New York. He was a Cub Scout leader, past-president of the PTA, and a member of the District 24 School Board, on which conservative Frank Borzellieri also serves. Mr. Buckley was an outspoken critic of Mr. Borzellieri’s attempt to fight the anti-white foolishness common in schools.

This spring, the decomposing body of Mr. Buckley’s mistress was found in his basement. Police have charged Mr. Buckley with murdering her after the two smoked crack cocaine and had an argument. Schools Chancellor Rudolph Crew, who supports Mr. Buckley, refused to remove him after the arrest, but Mr. Buckley has since resigned. In the past, when there was a vacancy on a school board, Mr. Crew appointed the next highest vote getter in the previous election, but this time the chancellor has declined to act. Many suspect it is because in this case the next in line would be Jim Noviello, a supporter of Mr. Borzellieri. (Bernard Stamler, An Admired Citizen, a Killing, a Paralyzed School Board, New York Times, Nov. 16, 1997)

AIDS in Africa

In 1996, 1.9 million Africans are reported to have contracted the AIDS virus, more than all the new infections in the rest of the world. Since the disease appeared in the 1980s, nearly 800,000 Africans are thought to have died from it. Because educated, urbanized Africans have more sex partners than peasants, it is often the best-prepared and most competent Africans who die of AIDS.

By the year 2010, life expectancy in Mozambique will probably be cut nearly in half by AIDS — to 30 years with AIDS from 57 years without it. In more than a dozen other African countries AIDS will probably knock at least 10 years off average life expectancy. In Botswana, 25 to 30 percent of the adult population are thought to have the virus, and in many parts of Africa it is predicted that by the year 2000 one third of all children will have lost one or both parents to AIDS.

Gareth Jones, a UN AIDS official who works in Geneva, says Africans are doing very little to stop the disease: “Some leaders deny the problem. Many men refuse to use condoms, or can’t get them. At this point, everyone is hoping for a vaccine.” Needless to say, no one is expecting the vaccine to be developed in Africa. (Mort Rosenblum, AIDS Epidemic a Threat to African Development, AP, Nov. 29, 1997. Constance Holden, World AIDS — The Worst is Still to Come, Science, Dec. 5, 1997, p. 1715.)

Flour Power

A new privatization program, funded by U.S. investors, was recently launched in Haiti. The first public enterprise sold off by the Haitian government was a large flour mill. The mill was to be a symbol of the nation’s transformation from a socialist pesthole into a modern economy. Secretary of State Madeline Albright went to Port-Au-Prince to celebrate the sale and promote foreign investment. A triumphant visit to the mill was canceled when her advance men found it was occupied and shut down by angry former workers demanding more severance pay. (Stanley Meisler, Haiti’s Economy Mired in Woes, Los Angeles Times, October 31, 1997, p.A5)

The Voodoo Defense

A judge has ruled that a Philadelphia man who shot his common-law wife is not guilty of murder because he was convinced she had hexed him. There is no question that Theodore Stevens shot and killed Eno Bailey, but Judge Lisa Richette ruled the shooting an accident rather than murder, after inviting testimony from a priest of the Africa-based religion, Santeria.

The 69-year-old Mr. Stevens reportedly believed that his wife had given him heart problems, diabetes, dementia, and tingling in the legs by putting a Santeria hex on him, and was convinced she would eventually voodoo him to death. Ricardo Fresses, a “Santero,” or Santeria priest, testified that Mr. Stevens had good reason to fear for his life: “Just thinking that someone is doing work on you can cause you to have a heart attack,” he explained. “It can affect the mind . . . Voodoo is very strong.”

Judge Richette, race unspecified, summoned the Santero herself as a witness. Prosecutors and the victim’s family are reported to be outraged by her decision. (Agence France-Press, No Murder Charge for Man Who Killed to Stop Voodoo Curse, Nov. 26, 1997.)

Unreported Skirmish

Just before Christmas another black postal worker went on a shooting rampage, killing one white and wounding two others. The first man Anthony Deculit of Milwaukee shot was his supervisor, who had written him up for sleeping on the job. He then killed a white co-worker with whom he had quarreled, and shot another white before killing himself. The president of the local chapter of the NAACP says racial discrimination explains the mayhem; the employee himself is not known to have filed any race-related grievances. Post office employees have taken to shooting each other so often that the crime of killing a supervisor is now known as “going postal.” (Aaron Nathans, Motive Behind Postal Tragedy Sought, Associated Press, Dec. 19, 1997.)

Warning to Whites

Although he will stay on as South African president until next year’s elections, 79-year-old Nelson Mandela has officially stepped down as leader of the African National Congress. In his farewell speech, delivered to the ANC’s 50th national conference, he blamed South Africa’s current troubles squarely on whites. “The leopard has not changed its spots,” he said of the National Party, which abolished apartheid; “They continue to be imprisoned by notions of white supremacy.” He went on to accuse whites of plotting to make the country ungovernable: “Various elements of the former ruling group have been working to establish a network which would launch or intensify a campaign of destabilization.” He explained that whites are stirring up crime among the blacks and sabotaging the economy in order to discredit the ANC government. He also claimed that the U.S. Agency for International Development is working to undermine the ANC.

Mr. Mandela is widely admired for his conciliatory stance towards whites. His probable successor next year as president is Thabo Mbeki, who is known to be considerably more vindictive. Mr. Mandela’s farewell speech was widely regarded as a warning to whites that hard times lie ahead. “He was clearing the decks for Thabo Mbeki to come and focus no longer on reconciliation but on the primacy of the interests of the black majority,” says Themba Sono of the South Africa Institute of Race Relations. (Tom Cohen, AP, Mandela: S Africa Race War Continues, Dec. 16, 1997. Lynn Duke, For Mandela, a Parting Shot of Racial Change, San Francisco Examiner, Dec. 21, 1997, p. A19.)

Yearning to Breathe Free

In 1994, an immigration judge ruled that homosexuals who have a legitimate fear of persecution in their homelands may be eligible for asylum in the United States. Attorney General Janet Reno approved the ruling. Since immigration proceedings are private unless appealed through the courts, it is impossible to be sure how many homosexuals have since been admitted as asylees, but homosexual activists have counted 120 or so. Ordinarily, no one who is an HIV carrier may immigrate, but exceptions are made for asylees.

A San Francisco organization called the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is working to bring in more homosexuals. It teaches immigrants about the possibility of asylum, helps them prove persecution, and persuades lawyers to handle their cases. (Pete Slover, Gay, HIV-Positive Immigrants Seek Asylum, Dallas Morning News, Dec. 22, 1997.)

Vive La France

French National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen has been fined by French authorities for committing a speech crime. At a Dec. 5 press conference in Munich, Germany, he said: “If you take a book of 2,000 pages on this [the Second World] war . . . the concentration camps fill two pages and the gas chambers take up 10 to 12 lines. That’s what you call a detail . . . I have said and I say again at the risk that it be a sacrilege, that the gas chambers are a detail of history of the Second World War.” Mr. Le Pen was immediately sued by 11 different civil rights groups and was ordered to pay each of them up to $17,000. He must also pay $50,000 to publish the news of the judgment against him in newspapers.

The offense Mr. Le Pen committed is called “contesting crimes against humanity,” but in practice the law prohibits commentary only on the destruction of Jews by Nazi Germany. Mr. Le Pen did not, as some revisionists do, deny that Germany had an extermination policy; he expressed an unacceptable view about that policy’s historical importance. Mr. Le Pen was fined hundreds of thousands of dollars when he first made comments of this nature nearly ten years ago. (AP, Frenchman Convicted for Nazi Comment, Dec. 26, 1997.)

France is not the only Western country to have laws prohibiting the expression of certain views. Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Britain and Denmark likewise restrict speech.

Organ Donor Program

South African witch doctors, who prefer to be called sangomas, want more respect. Along with inyangas (bone throwers) and faith healers, they have formed a group called Traditional Medical Practitioners of South Africa, which tries to improve their image. Their greatest stumbling block is the fact that some traditional medical prescriptions require fresh human organs. South African authorities estimate that 200 or so people are killed every year for parts.

Human blood is supposed to impart vitality, hearts cure heart disease, and brains bring money and political power. Female genitals and breasts can cure infertility, and male genitals are good for an all-round pick-me-up. The going rates for organs are said to be on the order of $300 for a kidney, $600 for a heart, and $120 for a testicle, so a full cadaver can represent a substantial sum. We are unaware of whether white parts sell at a premium. (Christopher Munnion, Witchdoctors Claim Cut in Ritual Killings, Telegraph (London), Jan. 3, 1998.)

Color the Numbers

The FBI reports that there were 8,759 “hate crimes” in 1996. Race was the motive in 5,396, religion in 1,401, and sexual orientation in 1,016. Ethnic background was the motive in 940 cases and six had multiple reasons. Of the 7,000 who were assaulted because of race, 4,600 were black, 1,445 were white and 544 were Asians. The FBI reported 8,935 known offenders, of whom 66 percent were white and 20 percent were black.

These numbers are difficult to interpret for several reasons. “Hate crime” inspectors are often non-whites, who look much harder at crimes committed by whites. Also, reporting standards differ greatly from one police department to another. California reported 2,723 “hate crimes” but the state of Alabama couldn’t find any. The District of Columbia didn’t bother to report at all. Hispanics are a victim category but not a perpetrator category, so if a Mexican commits a “hate crime” it is recorded as an offense by a white. (Jim Abrams, 8,759 Hate Crimes Reported in 1996, AP, January 8, 1998.)

Let us, however, “deconstruct” just one set of statistics, that of the race of known offenders. Even if we assume heroically that not one of the “whites” was Hispanic and that these figures are an accurate gauge of racial animosity, blacks are still considerably more likely than whites to commit hate crimes. Since whites are 74 percent of the population and blacks are 12 percent, blacks are 87 percent more likely than whites to commit a hate crime [(20÷12)÷(66÷74) = 1.87], a statistic no newspaper is likely to report. “Hate crimes” continue to be treated as if all perpetrators are white.