Posted on June 1, 1998

O Tempora, O Mores! (June, 1998)

American Renaissance, June 1998

Sierra Club Vote Fails

The members of the Sierra Club, one of the country’s largest and best known environmental groups, have defeated a resolution that would have required the club to work toward reducing immigration. About 78,000 of the club’s 550,000 members voted 60:40 against the resolution. Proponents of immigration control argued that overpopulation is a serious environmental problem in the United States, and opponents — of course — accused them of racism. The administration of the club, which was bitterly opposed to taking a position on immigration, was afraid to put the measure to a straight, up-or-down vote. Instead, it added an alternative that proposed global population-control measures and did not mention immigration, and asked members to choose one or the other. Population control is something many immigration activists also favor, and they argued that putting an attractive alternative on the ballot falsified the result. (William Branigin, Sierra Club Votes for Neutrality on Immigration, April 26, 1998, p. A16.) It is actually encouraging that 40 percent of what is an overwhelmingly liberal group voted to reduce immigration despite the club’s underhanded tactics.

Nurse Walks the Plank

In April, a 90 year old senile white man was admitted to Sinai Hospital in Detroit. In response to a special request from the man’s family, a nursing supervisor posted the following notice in the nurses’ lounge: “Until further notice, please assign the patient to white staff members. This is per family requests in an attempt to decrease his confusion and agitation. Per his sister, this patient was attacked by a black man some years ago, and they aren’t sure what to do.”

The request was not honored, and the note soon came down — and so did a storm of criticism. The supervisor was duly reprimanded and counseled, and the Detroit City Council voted a unanimous resolution saying that it viewed the incident “not as a “mistake’ but as a sorry commentary on the current state of race relations in southeastern Michigan.” The resolution went on to call for the hospital to acknowledge a “pattern of racism” and to take steps to overcome it. Thirty protesters gathered in front of the hospital shouting that the nursing supervisor be fired. She groveled in the usual way, but could not hold out against the pressure. Three days after she posted the note, she resigned. (David Goodman, AP, Hospital Apologizes for Racist Act, April 23, 1998. AP, Nurse Quits After Racial Furor, April 24, 1998.)

Easy Solution

On February 15th, a huge crowd of Mexican-“Americans” attending a soccer game in Los Angeles between the Mexican and U.S. national teams booed and hooted during the national anthem and pelted the American players with trash. When reporters later asked Mexican Consul General Pescador Osuna what he thought about this show of disrespect he offered a simple solution: stop playing “The Star Spangled Banner” at soccer games. (Georgie Ann Geyer, Dual Nationality Undertow, Washington Times, April 18, 1998.)

Dramatic Exit

Earlier this year, Captain Paul Prokop retired after 32 years with the Coast Guard. His farewell speech started conventionally, with praise for his shipmates and stories from his career, but it ended with a bang. With his boss, Rear Admiral Timothy Josiah looking on, Captain Prokop explained why he was taking early retirement:

Unfortunately, our commandant is accelerating us headlong down the path of political correctness. Primary consideration in selecting officers for assignments and promotion are now gender and race . . . I have come to realize that I am far out of step with my superiors and can no longer support them or this organization that I value and love.

Capt. Prokop has since been ostracized. The videotape of the ceremony, which is usually given to a retired officer, has been confiscated. He received a sharp letter from former friend and Coast Guard Academy classmate, Adm. Josiah, criticizing his “unexpected, highly offensive remarks.”

Capt. Prokop is not backing down. “They know there are other officers who don’t like this [race and sex preferences], and they want to suppress it. Somebody needed to say it, and nobody on active duty can say it or their career will be over. Look at what they did to a guy who retired. Think of what they’ll do to a guy on active duty.”

The Coast Guard has been under heavy pressure from the Clinton Administration to appoint a black and a female admiral. Current commandant Adm. Robert E. Kramek apparently promised he would appoint one of each before his term expired. The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Transportation, whose former secretary, Frederico Pena, put great emphasis on “diversity” and hiring homosexuals. (Rowan Scarborough, Washington Times, Captain Makes Waves At Retirement, April 7, 1998, p. A1.)

Black Israelis

Since 1984, the state of Israel has paid to bring in over 25,000 black Jews from Ethiopia. They are not assimilating, and the sense of separateness appears to be mutual. Younger Ethiopians, who have little recollection of life in Africa, say they feel much closer to black Americans, Jamaicans and Africans than to Israelis. Others complain that Israelis will not sit next to them on buses. For their part, immigration authorities house black immigrants in trailer parks rather than apartments, explaining that keeping Ethiopians together helps ease the transition. Ethiopian discontent erupted last year in riots when it was reported that Israeli blood banks were throwing away blood donated by Ethiopians for fear it might be contaminated with the AIDS virus.

Some Israelis wonder if bringing in Africans may not have been a mistake. “No other Western-type country invited a black immigration, and this country did,” says Zvi Sobel, head of the social sciences department at Haifa University. “We did it on an ideological basis. The question is whether we were realistic. We are not Superman.” He argues that Israel has problems enough without racial friction. “Do we have too much on our plate to add the color dimension?” he asks. “No society has dealt with color well. To think we could do it was chutzpah.” (John Donnelly, Miami Herald, Religious Bond, Cultural Divide, March 22, 1998, p. 1A)

Carefree College Days

Last March, three football players at Illinois State University at Normal were visiting the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house. One of the fraternity members asked them to leave after he saw a player urinate in a shower stall. The football players started hitting the frat men with beer bottles, were injured in the ensuing fight, and withdrew. The next day, 15 men dressed in black charged into a chapter meeting of the fraternity and attacked the members. They bludgeoned them with pipes with nails in their ends, car antennas, and socks stuffed with batteries. Frat men who ran out of the house were met by 10 more assailants who beat them as they tried to escape. No one was killed, but there was so much wreckage and gore in the frat house a police photographer vomited at the sight. Six football players have been arrested in connection with the attack and more suspects are sought. Police have run into a wall of silence among football players, and lawyers hired by suspects are making the investigation as difficult as possible. Everyone arrested in the incident so far is black. The fraternity is white. Campus authorities insist that this was not a racial incident. News coverage has been strictly local. (Jennifer Jones, Ugly Scene at ISU, Chicago Sun-Times, April 5, 1998, p. 15A.)

Why Wait?

Hispanic students in the schools of Fremont, California, have been protesting the curriculum, which they say is outdated because it concentrates on whites and Europeans. Recently 75 students left classes and marched to the school district headquarters, insisting that Cinco de Mayo — a Mexican holiday — be declared a school holiday. (They were, of course, not disciplined.) In April, the school board voted unanimously to recognize Cinco de Mayo with official school celebrations, but stopped short of giving students the day off. They also promised to work “Latino heritage” into the social studies curriculum at every school in the district, and to offer classes in ethnic studies. Videos on Latino culture will now circulate in all junior high and high schools, and the Fremont public library will display materials on Hispanic culture. A bookmobile with similar collections will visit the district’s four elementary schools. (Sandy Kleffman, Schools Add Ethnic Studies in Fremont, San Jose Mercury News, April 10, p. 1B.)

How many Mexicans does it take to push around a white school district? Of the 30,000 students in the Fremont schools, only 13.5 percent are Hispanic.

Mysteries of Jurisprudence

In the state of Louisiana, members of grand juries are chosen at random, but foremen are appointed by judges. Someone discovered that blacks are not appointed as often as their numbers indicate they should, so the system is hopelessly “racist.” A white man who was found guilty of murder has therefore had his conviction overturned because the grand jury that indicted him was part of this tainted system. The U.S. Supreme Court, in one of its goofiest race decisions in a long time, upheld the lower court that threw out the conviction, because a black might have suffered discrimination when a judge appointed the grand jury foreman. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that a murderer, “like any other white defendant, has standing to raise an equal protection challenge to discrimination against black persons in the selection of his grand jury. Regardless of his or her skin color, [a defendant] suffers a significant injury in fact when the composition of the grand jury is tainted by racial discrimination.”

As usual, the one black justice showed the most sense. Even assuming that prejudiced white judges really were keeping blacks from becoming foremen, Clarence Thomas wrote: “I fail to understand how the rights of blacks excluded from jury service can be vindicated by letting a white murderer go free.” Justice Antonin Scalia joined Justice Thomas in this dissent, but even these two justices agreed that although the conviction should not be overturned, the murderer had grounds to challenge the indictment on due process grounds. (Laurie Asseo, AP, Court Backs White Defendant Rights, April 21, 1998.)

The Spoiled and the Sensible

California’s Proposition 209, passed by voters in 1996, bans racial preferences in state institutions. This is the first year it has affected undergraduate admissions at California universities, and the results were predictable.

Last fall, 1,045 Hispanics, 562 blacks and 69 American Indians were admitted to Berkeley, but this year the numbers are 434, 191 and 27 respectively, for an overall drop of 61 percent. The administration seems to think the university will be a failure if there are not lots of blacks and Hispanics on campus (it gets plenty of Asians without affirmative action), so it has pulled out all the stops to try to get them in. It sends them videos of the campus, and treats them to evenings of dinner and dancing. Chancellor Robert Berdahl himself telephones some of them, pleading with them to come to Berkeley. “They really want us,” observed Rafael Farais with a smile as he sat in Berkeley’s Alumni House, watching the sun set over San Francisco Bay while a mambo band played in the background. He has an offer from Stanford as well, and will not make up his mind until he sees how much money the schools offer him. (Michelle Locke, Recruiting for Minorities Intense, AP, April 27, 1998.)

Blacks who are already at Berkeley have decided to sabotage the school’s efforts. Although the abolition of affirmative action was a voter initiative forced upon reluctant administrators, blacks now say Berkeley doesn’t like them any more. Students and faculty who used to get on the telephone and urge students to come to Berkeley refused to this year despite special pleading from the chancellor. Dana Inman is a senior and works at the Black Recruitment and Retention Center. When some blacks visited the campus, she and other staffers said they shouldn’t come: “We told them that it’s a very hostile environment and that we’re not welcome here, and they don’t want us here because they’re not letting us in.” It is hard to imagine a more spoiled and thankless attitude toward a university that has coddled them from the beginning.

Hispanics have been much more sensible. After a vigorous debate they decided they would be just as active as before in helping persuade Hispanics to attend. They even seem to understand what the new admissions policy really means. As one junior said to a prospective freshman, “We really admire you guys. You got in without any affirmative action or anything.” (Frank Bruni, Berkeley Blacks Suggesting to Black Recruits They Might Be Happier Elsewhere, New York Times, May 2 1998.)

Voodoo Comes To Jersey

Sheila DeGraff, a 28-year-old Haitian immigrant living on Long Island, was convinced that sounds coming from her basement were caused by spirits unleashed by her father. She hired Pierrot Charles, a voodoo priest living in New Jersey, to cast out the spirits. After Mr. Charles spent eight nights trying to chase away spirits, he tried something different on the ninth. He threw a sheet over Miss DeGraff, doused her with Florida Water — a cologne often used in “African” religions — and set her on fire. Mr. Charles took Miss DeGraff to his house but did not take her to the hospital until the next afternoon. She had third degree burns and required two operations and skin grafts. Police have charged Mr. Charles with attempted murder, in an incident that has brought unusual attention to practices that are ordinarily cloaked in great secrecy.

James Weinberg, Mr. Charles’ lawyer, says his client was just practicing his religion and calls the indictment “ridiculous.” “It’s like charging a rabbi or a priest with murder,” he explains. Others note that voodoo is common among immigrants from Haiti. Henry Frank, who runs the Haitian Centers Council in Brooklyn says, “Like a lot of ethnic groups who’ve migrated here, we’ve brought our culture with us.” (Garry Pierre-Pierre, A Voodoo Priest is Charged in the Burning of a Woman, New York Times, April 8, 1998.)