O Tempora, O Mores! (March, 1999)

American Renaissance, March 1999

Saints or Suckers?

Five years ago, blacks brought a class-action discrimination suit against the fast-food chain Denny’s. The chain’s parent, Flagstar Corporation, eventually paid $45.7 million to black customers who claimed they got bad service. The chain also entered into agreements with the NAACP and the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility to increase the number of minority-owned restaurants. In 1993, it had only one black franchisee but it now has 123. The parent company renamed itself Advantica, and now 48 percent of its employees and 33 percent of its managers are non-white. All employees get anti-discrimination sensitivity training. In 1997, the NAACP gave Advantica its annual minority business development award.

The company recently announced it will spend $2 million on anti-racism television ads. One ad stars a black youngster who unbosoms the following silliness: “There are some people who never notice another person’s color, but most of us do. And that’s O.K. Don’t feel guilty. Noticing a person’s color doesn’t make you racist. Acting like it matters does.” Just what does Advantica expect to accomplish with this sort of thing? “What we’re trying to do through all the lessons we have learned — obviously difficult lessons — is to get people to talk about race,” says (white) chief executive Jim Adamson.

The company’s well-publicized desire to bend over backwards for non-whites may be inviting a different kind of attention. The very day Mr. Adamson announced the television campaign, Hispanics in San Jose, California, filed a discrimination suit. A group of 17 claim they had to wait while other patrons were seated, and that management eventually called police to throw them out.

Two Muslims are now claiming that a Denny’s in Montana tried to “poison their souls” by sneaking pork into their food. They said they made it clear they could eat no pork but found bits of bacon hidden in their eggs. One man said he had to purge himself by vomiting the meal and that he was unable to pray or read the Koran for 40 days. The two want a million dollars. (Bruce Smith, Denny’s to Televise Anti-Racism Ads, AP, Jan. 12, 1999. Denny’s Sued for Discrimination, AP, Jan. 13, 1999. Alissa Rossman, Denny’s Accused of Discrimination, AP, Jan. 20, 1999.)

Tempest in a Melting Pot

In June, 1996, Khaled Abu Hamdeh of Miami shot Charles Nelson five times in the back and once in the head. He then put a gun in the dead man’s hand to make it look as though Mr. Nelson had been threatening him. Mr. Hamdeh is a Palestinian convenience store owner and Charles Nelson is black. After the shooting, blacks looted thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from the store.

Last November, a jury returned a verdict in Mr. Hamdeh’s murder trial. Mr. Hamdeh said he shot Mr. Nelson, whom he had hired as a security guard, in self-defense. Witnesses testified that Mr. Nelson had been terrorizing Mr. Hamdeh and other employees, and that he had once splashed gasoline around the store, lit matches and threatened to burn the building down. He was a pistol-packing ex-con who smoked drugs every day. The jury decided that none of this mattered, and that Mr. Hamdeh was guilty of second-degree murder.

The case came to symbolize bad relations in Miami between Arabs and blacks. The verdict was sealed overnight to give police a chance to prepare for street violence, and reactions to it were varied. After she heard the verdict, Mr. Abu Hamdeh’s wife cried out, “What kind of justice system is this? This is not justice!” She pointed to Mr. Nelson’s family and said, “Their son was a drug dealer! He was a killer! And my husband goes to jail?” Outside the courthouse a group of Mr. Hamdeh’s supporters were outraged. “It’s because he is Palestinian,” said one; “That’s why they convicted him.” Blacks saw things differently. One man said, “If you would have seen a lesser verdict, you would have seen outrage. There wouldn’t be any store.” A woman speculated on what the sentence should be: “Life? The chair? They should kill his behind.” (Amy Driscoll and Bruce Seeman, Convenience Store Owner Convicted in Racially Charged Shooting Case, Miami Herald, November 21, 1998, p. 1A.)

¿Como se Llama?

Information from 1998 birth certificates shows that the most popular boy’s name in Texas and California is José. This is the first time that a Hispanic name has been number one in either state. In the previous year Daniel had been the top boy’s name in California and Christopher was number one in Texas. Previous waves of immigrants gave their children names that would fit in with the majority culture. Today’s immigrants often do not. As the mother of a José born in San Antonio in January explained, “I’m Mexican, and for me it’s better to have a José than a Joe.” (Thaddeus Herrick, Jose, not Joe, Leads 2 States’ Name Lists, Washington Times, January 18, 1999, p. A11.)

Singing a Different Tune

Last October, several people slipped into the Center for Black Culture and Learning on the campus of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. They left photocopies of a crude drawing of a black being hanged, and installed computer screen savers with anti-black messages. There was the usual hullabaloo, with black demonstrators stopping traffic, public agonizing about “racism,” and the university president James Garland promising to recruit more non-white teachers and students. Blacks wallowed in self-pity, with one telling reporters, “It’s been a very rough four years here. Every day, you are reminded of the color of your skin. It’s horrible.” Now police have fingerprint evidence that Nathaniel Snow, president of the Black Student Action Association, and his black sidekick Brad Allen were the perpetrators. They were, of course, in the thick of the demonstrations — so much so that Mr. Allen was arrested for disorderly conduct — and Mr. Snow had an hour-long meeting with president Garland.

Was the university delighted to discover that it is not a cauldron of racism after all? Somehow, it was not. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, “the arrests of the two men shocked and disappointed school officials and students.” President Garland now says “it’s important to realize this was an isolated incident and we should not generalize from it” — quite the reverse of his earlier view. One black academic advisor, in what was no doubt also a complete turnaround, cautioned students not to have “knee-jerk” reactions. Apparently he needn’t worry. The white student reaction the Enquirer printed as representative was that of a junior who asked “Why would anybody want to do something like this . . . ?” (Randy McNutt, State Investigators Enter Miami, Cincinnati Enquirer, November 14, 1999. Saundra Amrhein and Kevin Aldridge, Two Charged in Racial Vandalism, Cincinnati Enquirer, January 22, 1999, p. A4. Mark Ferenchik, Police: Students Faked Slurs, The Columbus Dispatch, January 22, 1999, p. 1D.)

Foreign Adoptions

Last year Americans adopted 13,621 foreign children. The largest number was from Russia but China, in second place, is moving up quickly. It is followed by Korea, Guatemala and Romania. Last November, China passed new laws to make it easier for foreigners to adopt abandoned babies. It now gives children to people who are single, in their 40s or older, and who already have children. China is also popular because it offers healthy babies whereas some Eastern European countries offer only children with mental or physical problems. Almost all Chinese babies adopted by Americans are girls because China discourages large families and most people want boys. It takes about eight months to adopt a Chinese baby and costs about $12,000. This includes a trip to China and a donation of about $3,000 to the orphanage the baby came from.

Foreign adoption can be a brush with corruption. Guatemalans, for example, soon discovered how eager Americans are to adopt, and started kidnapping children to add to the supply. Now the United States and Canada both use DNA tests to be sure that a woman who shows up with a baby is actually giving up her own child. (Renee Schoof, More U.S. Couples Adopting Abroad, AP, Jan. 9, 1999.)

Backpedaling on Jefferson

Last November, the British journal Nature reported that DNA evidence implicated Thomas Jefferson as the father of his slave Sally Hemmings’ youngest child. Black columnist Clarence Page went on to call Jefferson a “deadbeat dad,” and black Baltimore Sun columnist Gregory Kane called him a “horny hypocrite” who betrayed his opposition to miscegenation. Now Nature is backing away from its claims. The chief author of the article, Eugene A. Foster says, “We never proved it. We never can. We never will.” Although the article was titled “Jefferson Fathered Slave’s Last Child,” the authors admit that the evidence shows only that someone in the Jefferson line was the child’s father. The president’s younger brother Randolph or any of Randolph’s five sons could have been the father. Jefferson would have been 65 years old when the child was born.

Jefferson’s defenders note that in a letter written on July 1, 1805, he claimed to have had only one “indiscretion” in his life. As a single man of 25, he made advances to Mrs. John Walker, the wife of a friend. Though rumors were already circulating that he was having an affair with Hemmings, he wrote of his flirtation with Mrs. Walker that “it is the only one [of the rumors] founded in truth among all their allegations against me.” (Andrew Cain, Journal Backs Off on Jefferson Report, Washington Times, January 7, 1999, p. A1.)

Great White Hope

David Meriwether, 17, is one of four white students at Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles. Eighty-one percent of the school’s 2,733 students are black and the rest are Hispanic. Mr. Meriwether, who is a basketball player, decided to transfer to Crenshaw because it has one of the best high school teams in the country. He is the first white player in the school’s 30-year history.

Mr. Meriwether has earned the nickname of “Milk.” On the court he says, “the guys played me harder. Everybody called me “white boy,’ and I took a lot of elbows.” There have been other adventures: “Walking the halls can be a little uneasy. People say things testing you.” Mr. Meriwether says one teacher blamed slavery on “white devils,” and all the other students in class turned and stared at him. “I can understand why people come out of here angry if that’s how they’re taught,” he says. (Dan Cray, White Men Can Jump, Time, December 7, 1998.)

Bush For Preferences

Ward Connerly, the black businessman who has led anti-affirmative action initiatives in California and Washington, traveled to Florida in January to gain support for a similar initiative there. While he was in Florida, he met Jeb Bush, the new Republican governor. Mr. Bush listened to Mr. Connerly’s plans but told him he would not support the initiative. “I can’t imagine doing what he’s talking about,” said Mr. Bush, and worried that the initiative would be “divisive.” “He want’s a war,” said the governor; “I’m a lover.” Mr. Connerly will continue to work for a voter referendum but will do so without the governor’s help. He also announced plans for a similar vote on affirmative action in Michigan next year. (Greg Pierce, Connerly and Jeb Bush, Washington Times, January 25, 1999, p. A8.)

Fighting Back

The Center for Individual Rights (CIR) is a libertarian group that has sued universities over racial preferences. Now it is encouraging students and trustees to look into whether their schools violate the law by giving preferences to minorities. CIR began running full-page ads in college newspapers in January that read “Guilty by Admission: Nearly Every Elite College in America Violates the Law. Does Yours?” The ad offers a free handbook on how to file a Freedom of Information Act request, how to recognize illegal recruitment practices, and where to find a lawyer to fight discrimination.

Terrence Pell, who is senior counsel to CIR, says “evidence abounds” that many colleges in America — especially the elite ones — discriminate against whites. At the University of Virginia, for example, the odds against a white applicant getting the nod over an equally qualified black candidate are 45-to-1. (Kim Asch, Group Asks Students to Fight Racial Quotas, Washington Times, January 27, 1999, p. A18.)

Fighting Immigration

The Commerce, Interior, and Agriculture departments plan to establish a new interagency task force to combat “invasive species.” These are species not native to the United States that migrate here and wreak havoc. As the Washington Post explains, “When an invasive species enters a new habitat, negative repercussions often follow. The newcomer usually takes over an area that belongs to a native species and disrupts such things as food chains and food sources.” The Post quotes a Commerce Department spokesman: “They are very threatening to existing species. They completely change the biology of the ecosystem.” (Chris Carr, War on “Invasive Species’ is Joined, Washington Post, Feb. 3, 1999, p. A15.)

Joys of Diversity

Burton Street Elementary School in Panorama City, California, is 90 percent Hispanic, and the white principal, Norman Bernstein, has had trouble with parents ever since the passage of last June’s Proposition 227, which requires that most California school children be taught in English. Opposition to Mr. Bernstein’s attempts to phase out bilingual education have been so strong that in January he called the Anti-Defamation League for advice about what seemed to him to be anti-white sentiment. A few days after that he says two Hispanic men caught him just as he arrived at school and beat him unconscious. He says they told him, “We don’t want you here, white principal.”

There is no doubt that Mr. Bernstein was injured but parents who have called for his dismissal doubt his account, saying that any Hispanic would have called him “gringo” or “guero” rather than white. Los Angeles School Board president Victoria Castro seemed to justify the beating by explaining, “Any time there is a community that feels they are in a conflict and they are primarily Spanish-speaking, they’ll ask for a Spanish-speaking principal and preferably a Latino.” She added, “I don’t think this is an unreasonable request.” Mr. Bernstein vowed to go back to work after he recovers from his injuries. (Michael Luo and Andrew Blankstein, Principal Sought Help as Hostility Grew, LA Times, Feb. 4, 1999.)

Last Supper

The following is the complete description from a cable television guide of a movie called “The Last Supper:” “Five politically liberal college students decide that the best way to protect freedom of speech is to hold a series of weekly dinner parties in which the guests, a parade of right-wing conservatives, are poisoned. Cameron Diaz, Ron Eldard, Annabeth Gish and Courtney B. Vance star in this scathing satire.” (Fairfax County TV Guide: Media General Cable Edition, December 1998, p. 154.)

Marianne Gets a Tan

Since revolutionary times the symbol of the French republic has been a woman (the word république is feminine). In 1848 she was recognized officially and was given the name Marianne. She is almost always depicted as a blond, blue-eyed, and bare-chested, and in recent years Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve have been models for representations of Marianne. The village of Fremainville, not far from Paris, has decided on a different model. The bust of Marianne in the Fremainville town hall is still bare-chested but it is black, and originally had the title “Zumba the Somalian.” Fremainville’s mayor explains that the town wants to recognize “that the French people are a mixture, that there’s no such thing as a French race, that we accept strangers, that we accept differences.” (Charles Trueheart, The New Face of France, Washington Post, Jan. 16, 1999, p. A17.) Since Brigitte Bardot began to support the Front National and oppose immigration, a number of French towns have smashed busts of Marianne for which she was the model.

Black and White

Many blacks are so preoccupied with race — and think whites are so preoccupied — that they believe President Clinton was impeached because he is too friendly to blacks. According to an Atlanta business owner, Armon Henry, “Everybody that I know that is black thinks that if he wouldn’t have employed so many black folks and passed so many laws that benefited them, this wouldn’t be much of an issue. Clinton really is the first black president we’ve had.” In Portland, Maine, the vice president of the local NAACP expressed a similar view: “My question is, are they really hounding him for his personal transgressions, or (to punish) him for making his administration the most diverse that the country’s ever known?”

Mikel Holt, editor of the black Milwaukee Community Journal, explains that “If Clinton is removed from office, that’s a slap in the face for black America. That’s in essence, derailing the civil rights freedom train.” A common theme among blacks is that since the house impeachment managers are all white their motives are clear. According to Jesse Jackson, “Dr. [Martin Luther] King would be suspect of the impeachment process because he would be suspect of the impeachers.” (Michelle Boorstein, Blacks Have Stake in Clinton Trial, AP, Jan. 19, 1999.)

Spooks in the Fire House

The fire station at San Francisco International Airport is one of the quietest in the city. The airport is very safe and firemen have relatively little to do, so the station is usually considered a plum job for men near the end of 30-year careers. However, because so many recent affirmative-action “firefighters” cannot handle the work at a regular station, the San Francisco Fire Department has taken to dumping incompetents at the airport.

Recently, one of these firefighting failures, a black woman, was posted at the airport and, like everyone else, had to take her turn at night watch. Night watch is “stood” alone, in a rollaway bed, near the telephones and the computer, away from the dormitory and the rest of the crew. After her first night watch, the woman said she saw ghosts. Her captain insisted that she take her turn at night anyway, so she went over his head to be relieved of this frightening duty. The department has a black chief, appointed by a black mayor, so she has been officially excused from night duty. (The Smoke Eaters’ Gazette, Dec., 1998. [Underground department newsletter])

French Split is Official

The Mégret faction of the Front National has held its breakaway congress and has now officially established a separate party called the Front National-National Movement. Bruno Mégret was elected president by an 86-percent vote of the 2,162 delegates. The new party will pursue the same nationalist policies as the Le Pen party but without, as Mr. Mégret put it, “the excesses, the blunders, the provocations.” The party recognized the important patriotic contributions of Jean-Marie Le Pen by naming him honorary president. Mr. Le Pen declined the honor, calling the election “a crime against the Front National.”

As a single party the front generally got 15 percent of the national vote, but polls suggest that the split has greatly weakened the movement. Current estimates are that it could lose as much as half its support in the June elections for the European parliament. (Denis Boulard, National Front Split Now Official, AP, Jan. 24, 1999.)

More Money for Illegals

California’s new Democratic Governor Gray Davis is wasting little time pushing liberal policies opposed by former governor Pete Wilson. His most recent budget proposal allocates $60 million for prenatal care for illegal aliens. The funding was ordered by state courts but the Wilson administration refused to pay for the program and was battling the order in court. Each year as many as 70,000 illegal immigrant women get state-funded prenatal services at a cost of about $1,000 each.

Republican Assembly leader Rod Pacheco, who is trying to get more Hispanics into his party, says he will support Gov. Davis. “The overarching facet for me is the humanitarian side of it. Why would we not help a woman who is with child and that child is about to become a U.S. citizen?” Other Republicans have vowed to fight the plan but since Democrats have strong majorities in both houses they are not likely to prevail. Gov. Davis also wants an additional $14.4 million for long-term aid to disabled people who are in California illegally. (Dan Morain, Prenatal Care for Immigrants in Davis Budget, Los Angeles Times, January 14, 1999.)

‘Jackrolling’

Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city and industrial hub, is now known as the “rape capital” of the world. A recent poll of 4,000 Johannesburg women found that an astonishing one in three had been raped in the preceding year. In a related survey, a quarter of a sample of 1,500 Soweto school boys said “jackrolling” — the South African term for recreational gang rape — is “fun.” The vast majority were unaware that condoms help protect against AIDS.

Occasionally rapists are caught and prosecuted. In January, the first black to play on South Africa’s national cricket team, Makhaya Ntini, appeared in court on rape charges — to the dismay of those who have been touting him as a role model. (South Africa’s Rape Shock, BBC News, Jan. 19, 1999.)

Discrimination Lottery

The 2.7 million people who work for the federal government are seven times more likely to beef about “discrimination” than are private sector employees. In 1997 they filed 29,000 “civil rights” cases, meaning that every year more than one out of a hundred federal bureaucrats file a claim. From 1990 to 1997, the government spent $378 million just on counselors, judges and investigators to handle complaints. Another $488 million went to employees who won damages ranging from a few thousand dollars to millions for class-action cases. Some awards are confidential and not reported, so the seven-year bill for federal “civil rights” cases may have been more than one billion dollars — and is rising. Although the bureaucracy is shrinking slightly, the annual number of “civil rights” complaints rose 70 percent from 1990 to 1997. Also, twice as many employees appealed decisions in 1997 as in 1991. Yelling about discrimination is popular in the government because it is so easy — every agency has anti-discrimination squads waiting to spring into action — and there is always a chance of hitting the jackpot. A small chance. Only four percent of the people who had their cases decided in 1997 got money, but there is no punishment for filing a case that doesn’t pay. The majority of the cases resulted in “corrective action,” whatever that means.

In 1997, only one fifth of complaints were about race. The rest were about sex, age, disability, etc. Blacks filed most of the race complaints but whites filed a quarter of them. Some got money. Ed Drury of the Federal Aviation Administration won $300,000 and a job supervising an air traffic control center in the Virgin Islands. (Karen Gullo, Complaints by Federal Workers Swell, AP, Jan. 18, 1999.)

Parks Too White

The National Park Service is beating its breast because not enough non-whites come to the parks. The service now has a black director, Robert Stanton, who is determined to do better. In January, he presided over a three-day conference called “American Parks, American People,” which agonized over what to do. One of the sites for the conference was in Marin County, California, where a black man explained, “When I go to the national parks I never see anyone of color. Often, I am the only person of color when I walk out at Fort Cronkhite [on the Pacific shore]. It makes you feel uncomfortable.” The parks are clearly failing in an important part of their mission. Mr. Stanton promised to hire more rangers “of color” but whether this will coax more blacks into the wilderness remains to be seen. (Officials Say Parks Fail to Attract Minorities, Marin (California) Independent Journal, Jan. 16, 1999.)

Here They Come

The number of immigrants living in the United States has tripled since 1970, rising from 9.6 million to 26.3 million. Immigrants now account for nearly ten percent of the population — the highest proportion in 70 years. If the children of first-generation immigrants are included, the percentage is far higher. Half of all immigrants speak Spanish, and 27 percent come from just one country: Mexico. Immigrant households are 30 to 50 percent more likely than native households (including blacks) to be on welfare. Immigration and births to immigrants accounted for 70 percent of the American population increase since 1970. Eighty-five to 90 percent of immi-grants are non-white. (Gabriel Escobar, Immigrants’ Ranks Tripled in 29 Years, Washington Post, Jan. 9, 1999, p. A1.)

No Quotas, No Meeting

An association of black doctors has decided not to hold its 2001 convention in Seattle because the state of Washington has outlawed racial preferences. The National Medical Association claims 8,000 to 10,000 people usually attend. Last November, 60 percent of Washington voters approved Initiative 200, which forbids state and local governments from practicing racial preferences in contracts, jobs and education. A majority within the city of Seattle, however, voted against the measure. (Black MDs Won’t Meet in Seattle, Las Vegas Sun, February 2, 1999.)

Befuddled Britain

The British army is only about one percent non-white, so has come up with a two-page newspaper advertisement that it hopes will cure this defect. On the first page, the words “In today’s Army blacks and Asians get called all sorts of things” are superimposed like a Hitler moustache on a white soldier’s face. On the next page are the words “Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Colonel,” and the white soldier is saluting. At the bottom of the page are the words, “We now have more ethnic minorities in positions of real power than ever before. So nowadays, there’s only one group of people being held back. Racists.”

The account director for Saatchi & Saatchi, which produced the ad, explains that the Hitler moustache was included “for impact.” “Hitler was a very familiar icon to grab people’s attention and make them look closer,” she explained. Saatchi & Saatchi was also behind a recruiting poster in which a black face replaces Lord Kitchener in the famous First World War poster with the words “Your Country Needs You.” (Tom Leonard, Army Uses Hitler to Recruit Black and Asian Officers, Telegraph (London), Oct. 27, 1998.)

In the meantime, the London police are proud to say that they spend more time trying to solve murders when the victim is black than when he is white. In a letter to the London Evening Standard of Oct. 28, 1998, Home Office Minister Kate Hoey explained: “On average, the Metropolitan Police invests 64 per cent more in overall resources and utilises 35 per cent more in officer days where the victim is black.”

She adds that “the Met has solved proportionately more crimes where the victims were black than where they were white. In 1997/98, overall clear-up rates were at 24.9 per cent, but where the victims were black the figures improved to 41.4 per cent.” Londoners are no doubt very pleased.

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