American Renaissance, September 2000
The situation for whites in Zimbabwe goes from bad to worse. On August 2, at a joint press conference with President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, President Robert Mugabe promised an end to the invasion of white farms — only to renege the next day. Now he has announced a plan to seize 3,000 more white-owned farms in addition to the 804 already designated for “redistribution.” The army is reportedly planning to provide transportation to settle some 500,000 black families on the farms, which represent about two-thirds of the land owned by whites.
Farmers hoped the electoral success in June of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would rein in some of Mr. Mugabe’s anti-white excesses. To protest violence against farmers and political opponents, the black-run MDC even sponsored a one-day general strike on August 2, which halted activity in the country’s cities. This appears only to have provoked Mr. Mugabe and the “war veterans” occupying the farms. Although no whites have been killed in the past month — the death toll since the occupations began remains at five — threats, beatings, and intimidation continue.
On the same day as the strike, occupiers held 17 farmers prisoner overnight after they went to rescue another farmer who was about to be driven off his land. “They punctured 10 to 12 of our vehicles and we were slapped around,” one farmer said later. “We shared a fire with the veterans and slept in cars.” He also noted that the squatters are extremely volatile: “They are friendly one minute and very hostile the next.”
An official for the largely white Commercial Farmers Union now says, “the safest thing for white farmers is just to look for alternative business opportunities elsewhere in the world and leave Zimbabwe.” An estimated 100 have already fled. Increasing numbers of whites believe Mr. Mugabe will keep up the pressure on them at least until the 2002 presidential elections, which are months away.
Other southern African countries are squarely in Mr. Mugabe’s corner. On August 7, leaders of the 14-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) gave unanimous support to Zimbabwe’s land redistribution program, calling it “just and equitable.” South Africa is a member of SADC, and President Mbeki’s endorsement of naked expropriation terrifies South African whites.
Mr. Mugabe appears not to know or care that without whites, the land he plans to parcel out to blacks will not be nearly so productive as it is now. Zimbabwean blacks who have already taken over white farms show little talent or inclination for modern farming, and driving out whites will seriously damage the country. Agriculture makes up three fifths of the national economy and tobacco — grown almost exclusively by whites — by itself accounts for nearly a third of foreign currency earnings. The disruption already suffered by commercial farmers could well lead to food shortages. Western nations, including the United States, have shown little interest in what amounts to ethnic cleansing of whites. Humanitarian interest in the country will no doubt become fashionable only if blacks begin to starve.
Rewards of Candor
In June, Andy Dott gave the annual president’s report to the South Africa Tourism Services Association, which represents the country’s largest travel businesses. He argued that one of the reasons the country’s tourism receipts are down may be because of a mistaken advertising appeal that emphasizes how African the country is:
‘Maybe we should be telling the world that we are not like the rest of Africa, that we are civilized,’ he said. ‘Africa in general, quite honestly, is a basket case. What does Africa conjure up in the mind of any American or European, for instance?’ He offered the following answer: ‘A starving child on the dry breast of a woman with eight fly-infested children in tow, while the husband looks on with beer bottle in hand and AK-47 on the shoulder.’
And, to complete the picture, his president travels in limousines and Lear jets to check up on his Swiss bank account, while negotiating with civilised countries to try and borrow more money on the one hand, and yet write off his unpaid debt on the other.
Mr. Dott cited another reason tourism is down: “We have a rampant lunatic across our border in Zimbabwe. He is costing our country, especially our industry, millions of rands daily and our president has yet to publicly condemn him.”
Mr. Dott also blasted racial preferences: “We are under pressure as to whom we must employ and what we must pay them and yet the workforce seem to go out of their way to be unemployable.”
The address was met with agreement and much praise for its candor. The group went on to re-elect Mr. Dott as its president, and when Tourism Minister Valli Moosa spoke later at the conference, he left Dott’s statements unchallenged. But as in America, any white who speaks truthfully about race takes his career in his hands. Pressure from blacks began to mount and although Mr. Dott groveled, he was soon out of a job. (Murray Williams, Tourism Chief Ousted for ‘Basket-case’ Speech, Sunday Independent (South Africa), July 8, 2000.)
Problem to be Solved Soon
The inmate population in the sprawling Pitchess prison complex in Castaic, California, is overwhelmingly black and Hispanic in about a 40:60 ratio. When either group heavily outnumbers the other it goes on the attack, and in the June issue we reported that guards had resorted to segregation to keep inmates from murdering each other. After several weeks of peace, the authorities reintegrated the prison, though they did develop special computer programs to track the racial balance throughout the complex to make sure it never gets too far out of line.
It did not take long for the violence to resume. On July 8 blacks launched simultaneous attacks in three different dormitories to retaliate for the beating they took during the April riots that led to segregation. The next day, Hispanics in three other dormitories rioted or “jumped off,” in prison parlance, furious at once more having to share quarters with blacks. Twenty-two men were hurt and two were hospitalized with deep facial cuts.
Sheriff’s Chief Taylor Morehead, who runs the county jail system, says there have been more than 150 black-Hispanic brawls at Pitchess since 1991 and that the 10,000-inmate complex is always seething with tension. He agrees that segregation would be an improvement but says it would be too expensive to provide separate housing and activities.
The solution? The Sheriff’s office is working with the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission to make a video to explain to people of different races how to get along. The video, which might include appearances by inmates, would be broadcast over jailhouse television. (Jeffrey Gettleman, Hatred Persists Among Pitchess Inmates, Los Angeles Times, July 16, 2000.)
Kick the Hand That Feeds
South Africa is one of the most sports-mad places on earth and would dearly love to host the 2006 soccer World Cup. Its bid to do so was very nearly successful — it lost to Germany by only one vote. President Thabo Mbeki says the decision had nothing to do with whether South Africa can manage the job of hosting the World Cup, and attributed it to the “globalization of apartheid.” (Sue Thomas, Mbeki Calls World Cup Loss “Globalized Apartheid,” Reuters, July 12, 2000.)
Mr. Mbeki must have a short memory. When there actually was apartheid one of the most effective ways to pressure South Africa was to keep its sports teams out of international competition. Some have argued that the sports boycott was even more important than economic sanctions in breaking the will of the South Africans. Now Mbeki is accusing the organizations that helped end apartheid of promoting its “globalization.”
Calling the Kettle Black
One of the jobs of the U.S. Marshals service is to provide security at federal courthouses. A government investigation has just concluded that the former head marshal of the federal court at Norfolk, Virginia, “fostered a racist atmosphere.” Floyd Dugger, who is black, is said to have given black employees preferential treatment and to have encouraged racial division. He has also reportedly “betrayed the confidences of white employees” and told other blacks that several whites were “racists.” This is only the second time in the last ten years racial discrimination has been officially detected in the Marshals Service.
Mr. Dugger also stands accused of introducing Jim Crow coffeepots. When blacks pulled out of the office coffee fund because of complaints about Mr. Dugger, he encouraged the use of separate pots, one for whites and one for blacks. This practice went on for several months until John W. Marshall, head of the service’s Virginia Eastern District, bought the office a new pot and ordered all the employees to use it. Mr. Marshall, now national director of the Marshals Service, is the son of former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. He concedes that Mr. Dugger made race a factor “in some of his conduct,” and has been implicated in the report’s claim that upper management knew about Mr. Dugger’s sins but did nothing.
The investigation of Mr. Dugger began when a white woman named Judith Hitchhikes complained about him in 1997. She has now sued the Marshals Service claiming she suffered $3 million worth of agony. Mr. Dugger has been transferred to the Newport News office, where he has no subordinates, but the service insists that this is not punishment. (Marc Davis, Report Faults Ex-Supervisor for Racism by Marshals, Virginian-Pilot (Hampton Roads), May 11, 2000.)
Three Arab employees have successfully filed a discrimination suit against Azteca, a chain of approximately 30 Mexican restaurants in Oregon and Washington state. “The managers at these Azteca establishments made it very clear, by their verbal abuse and physical actions, that they did not want anyone other than those of Hispanic descent working in their restaurants,” says the plaintiff’s lawyer Tony Shapiro. Habib Sidani, Karam Slim, and Luaye Khatib complained they were called “Saddam Hussein,” “the terrorists,” and camello, which is Spanish for camel. They also said Hispanics got first choice when it came to overtime, leaves of absence, and scheduling options. Azteca settled the suit for an undisclosed sum. (Hagens Berman Attorney Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against Azteca, PRNewswire, May 26, 2000.)
Literacy is Discriminatory
The longshoreman’s union used to require anyone who wanted to work on the Los Angeles docks to pass something called the Test for Adult Basic Education, a seventh-grade level test many employers use to screen applicants. Not any more. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the union, claiming the test was biased because non-whites failed it more often than whites. A federal district court in Los Angeles ordered that the failed non-white applicants be given another chance at employment under a procedure that no longer requires them to take the test. Those who get jobs will share a cash payment of $2.8 million. (Bill Mongelluzzo, Union, Maritime Assoc. Lose Appeal in EEOC Case, Journal of Commerce, June 13, 2000.)
Fighting For His Race
George P. Bush is the son of Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his Mexican-born wife Columba — which makes him the nephew of the Republican candidate for President. At a recent Republican rally he spoke in fluent Spanish about how his mother had instilled in him the values of Cesar Chavez, the Chicano who organized farmworkers. “She told me we have to fight for our race, we have to find the leaders who represent us,” he said. About his uncle the candidate, he said, “This is a President who represents the diversity of our society, who we can count on to change the Republican Party to represent our views.” (Reuters, Aug. 2, 2000.)
Pardon Our French
The French interior minister, Jean-Pièrre Chevènement, says Europe should accept millions of immigrants over the next 50 years to offset declines in population. He said the continent should become a place of racial mixing (metissage) and that governments should make efforts to persuade Europeans to accept this. Mr. Chevènement made his remarks at a July 28 meeting of European interior and justice ministers at Marseille. (French Call for ‘Controlled’ Immigration, BBC News Home-page, July 28, 2000.)
Compelling the Public
Britain’s Department for International Development, the government body that hands out foreign aid, says the British media must improve their coverage of poor countries. The department “found a marked imbalance in the way developing countries are portrayed,” noting that most of the news about the Third World is “disasters, bizarre events or visits by prominent westerners.” This causes “a serious problem with audience understanding of development issues,” which is another way of saying the British are not eager to give money to these places. The department called for more “compelling” coverage that would change people’s minds. (Wanted: More ‘Compelling’ Third World News, Reuters, July 27, 2000.)
Crippling the Language
Stockport College in Greater Manchester, England, has banned more than 40 “offensive” words, and will admit students and hire staff only if they promise not to use them. “Lady” and “gentleman” are off limits because they have class implications. “History” is sexist (though one wonders what replaces it). “Mad,” “manic,” or “crazy” could offend the mentally ill and “cripple” upsets the handicapped. “Slaving over a hot stove” is no good because it “minimizes the horror and oppression of the slave trade.” Even the expression “normal couple” is out because it might anger homosexuals. (Martin Bentham, ‘Offensive’ Words are History, says British College, Daily Telegraph (London), June 13, 2000.)
Mysteries of the Dark Continent
The following item appeared on the June 5 Reuters news wire:
A businessman has confessed to sending ghosts to attack schoolgirls in eastern Kenya, a newspaper reported on Monday. The unnamed businessman was arrested over the weekend after the pupils of Itokela Girls Secondary School marched to the district commissioner’s office to protest against an invasion of ghosts at the school, the East African Standard said. The girls said the man had hired the ghosts to torment them after his daughter left the school. The man apparently agreed to meet the cost of exorcising the spirits — who seem to delight in pushing the girls to the floor — and hired a ghost buster named Ntingili who “retrieved shells and other witchcraft paraphernalia” from the school grounds. (Man Admits Sending Ghosts to Attack Girls, Reuters, June 5, 2000.)
Deconstructing Uncle Ned
Stephen Foster (1824-1864), who wrote such favorites as “Oh Susanna,” “Old Black Joe,” and “Camptown Races,” was originally from Pittsburgh, and in 1900 the city honored him with a statue. The statue is supposed to commemorate the song “Uncle Ned,” and shows Ned, a slave, sitting at Foster’s feet. Robert Perloff is a professor emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh who thinks the statue must be reinterpreted for the new century. “I am offended by a man sitting at the feet of another man,” he says. He is part of a movement demanding that a plaque be attached to the statue explaining that it is quite proper to be offended, and pointing out that racism was so widespread back in 1900 that people then found nothing wrong with the statue. (Andy Lefkowitz, Stephen Foster Statue Stirs Debate, AP, July 13, 2000.)
Some historians reportedly consider Uncle Ned one of the first anti-slavery songs, but the message, to judge from the lyrics, is a subtle one:
Dere was an old darkey, dey called him Uncle Ned,
He’s dead long ago, long ago!
He had no wool on de top ob his head,
De place whar de wool ought to grow.
Den lay down de shubble and de hoe
Hang up de fiddle and de bow:
No more hard work for pool old Ned
He’s gone whar de good darkeys go.
His fingers were long like de cane in de brake,
He had no eyes for to see;
He had no teeth for to eat de corncake
So he had to let de corncake be. [Chorus]
When Old Ned die Massa take it mighty bad,
De tears run down like de rain;
Old Missus turn pale and she gets berry sad
Cayse she nebber see Old Ned again. [Chorus]
Tuberculosis (TB) is making a comeback. Antibiotics nearly wiped it out in Western countries but Third-World immigration brought it back and is spreading it mainly to bums, drug users, other immigrants, and AIDS carriers. These people often do not follow medical instruction and are both spreading the disease and making it harder to treat.
Samantha Ornelas, a Cambodian living in Stockton, California, is a good example of the first problem. When health workers discovered she had the infectious and sometimes deadly disease they ordered her confined to home isolation until she was cured. She was to stay at home alone and was always to wear a surgical mask when she left the house. Her two children were to stay at her ex-husband’s house and visit her one hour each day, during which time she was to wear the mask. She was not allowed visitors other than immediate family members.
Mrs. Ornelas repeatedly violated quarantine, entertained children and neighbors in her house, and didn’t bother with the mask. The Stockton authorities showed surprising backbone. They charged her with two misdemeanor counts of refusal to comply with a tuberculosis order — she now faces a year in jail — and locked her in a quarantine cell. It is too early to tell if she has infected anyone. (James Gordon Meek, Woman Charged With Exposing People to TB, APBnews.com, July 12, 2000.)
The current crop of TB carriers is making the disease worse because they often refuse to follow a complete course of treatment. A few initial doses of antibiotics usually clear up the symptoms, but the tuberculosis bacterium is still in the body, and it may take several months of continuous medication to eradicate it. The sort of people who are now getting the disease often throw the rest of the medicine away as soon as they feel better, and then get sick again. At the same time, half-eradication of the bacterium stimulates mutation, and carriers become breeding grounds for new strains of TB that resist ordinary antibiotics. Doctors worry they could soon be faced with raging new forms of TB that no drug can cure. The dangers from new mutants are so great that some jurisdictions practice “directly observed treatment,” which means they round up infected skid-row bums and watch them take their pills. In some cases, they keep them in custody until they are completely cured.
Back to their Evil Ways
In 1996, in what has become known as the Hopwood decision, the federal district court prohibited racial preferences in admissions to Texas universities. The next year, the number of blacks students at the competitive University of Texas at Austin (UT) dropped from four percent to three percent, a decrease the state legislature made haste to reverse. It passed what is called the “10 percent law,” which requires public universities to accept all student who graduate in the top ten percent of their high school classes. Because many schools are essentially segregated, the new law ensures that many poorly qualified non-whites get preference over well-qualified whites.
At the better universities, the disparities in black-white preparation levels may now be even more striking than in the days of outright racial preferences. At Worthing High School in central Houston, for example, most of the students in the top 10 percent of the class of 1999 had SAT scores only in the high 800s but were still eligible for automatic admission to any public university. By contrast, at overwhelmingly-white Belaire High School in suburban Houston, George Mitzer graduated 67th out of a class of 640 and missed the top 10 percent by three places. He had combined SAT scores of 1470 and a grade point average of 4.49 (it is possible to do better than 4.0 by taking advance placement courses), but wasn’t admitted to UT and went to college out of state. Bruce Walker, director of admissions at UT, says, “It’s unbelievable when you look at some of the students who didn’t get in this year. I know last year they would have gotten in.”
Which is to say the law has worked exactly as planned. In 1999, when it took effect, admissions of blacks and Hispanics to UT rebounded to pre-Hopwood levels. Of the students admitted under the 10 percent rule, 8.5 percent had combined SAT scores below 1000.
Some of the Texans angriest about the new law are parents who spent a fortune to send their children to top-flight private schools. The 10 percent law applies to all schools, so only a handful of graduates may now qualify for Texas universities from private schools that until last year prepared almost all of their students to that level. Many students who were counting on attending good Texas schools — often intending to follow in their parents’ footsteps — are furious. Some administrators at good high schools fear that many of their rising seniors will defect to mediocre public schools for their last year to be sure of getting into the top 10 percent.
California and Florida have followed Texas’ example and passed similar laws. (Ron Nissimov, Students Run Into ‘Top 10 Percent Law,’ Houston Chronicle, June 3, 2000.)
In June, Chicago may have set some kind of record for youthful violence when a three-year-old boy killed another child (initial reports put the boy’s age at four). Quinetta Thomas was in her welfare apartment looking after the boy as a favor to a friend, when she left him alone with her two daughters, a three-week-old and a two-year-old. When she came back after just a few minutes, the infant’s head was smashed and she was not breathing. She died later at a children’s hospital. Both the newborn and the two-year-old also had fresh bite marks on them. The boy, whose name has not been released, was known to be an aggressive, angry child and had been expelled from a day care center for “rage problems.” Police reported that when he was talking to his mother about what happened he picked up a doll, banged it around the room and threw it against a wall. (Frank Main and Michael Sneed, Boy, 4, Beat Girl to Death, Police Say, Chicago Sun-Times, June 6, 2000, p. 3. John Carpenter and Frank Main, Lath-rop Moms Don’t Blame Boy for Baby’s Death, Chicago Sun-Times, June 7, 2000, p. 12.)
Cook County will not lodge delinquency proceedings for homicide. It has already grappled with the question of the age at which children can be held accountable for crimes, and has set it officially at ten. A special commission decided this in 1998 after a seven-year-old and an eight-year-old killed a boy by throwing him out a window. Common law has traditionally recognized criminal responsibility at age seven, the age at which church fathers decided a child could take communion. (Adrienne Drell, No Murder Charge for Kids Under 10, Chicago Sun-Times, June 7, 2000, p. 12.)
Call in the Consultants
The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, just outside of Chicago, is a three-year, state-run high school for gifted students. Its charter requires its student body to reflect the state, but the usual minorities didn’t get enough of the latest batch of 230 acceptance letters. Fifteen percent of the state is black, but only eight percent of the letters went to blacks. For Hispanics, the figures are nine and three percent. The admissions director LuAnn Smith is distressed by this and wants to hire a consultant to evaluate the school’s recruitment policies. If she does, the consultant will have a few other things to explain: Why do Asians, who are only three percent of the state’s population, account for 32 percent of the acceptances? And does anyone care that although whites are 72 percent of the state, they make up only 53 percent of the acceptances? (LeAnn Spencer, Academy Struggling to Recruit Minorities, Chicago Tribune, June 6, 2000, Sec. 2, p. 5.)
The annual government budget of Puerto Rico is about $20 billion, with some $13 billion of it coming from Uncle Sam. Federal bureaucrats estimate that every year about 10 percent of the $20 billion glimmers away through corruption and Caribbean bookkeeping. Recently, however, losses have gotten out of hand.
Puerto Rico has the second largest public housing authority after New York City. In July, the inspector general of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) accused the Puerto Ricans of “flagrant fraud, waste, and abuse,” and recommended that the authority be put under judicial receivership to safeguard the $1 billion in HUD grants still outstanding.
Last year, the former mayor of the town of Toa Alta went to jail in connection with the cleanup after Hurricane Georges in 1998. He demanded $2.5 million from Mississippi-based JESCO Construction in exchange for a contract. The American company alerted the FBI, which recorded the mayor offering to inflate the damage estimate so JESCO could get more money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This was supposed to compensate the company for the kickback. (Puerto Rican Ex-Mayor Sentenced, AP, July 6, 1999.) Also last year, eleven policemen on the island of Vieques (where there has been a fracas over the use of an American live-fire military training ground) were caught with their hands in the till and fired. The ringleader got 24 years in jail.
In another recent incident, a dozen prominent citizens of the capital San Juan got hold of $2.2 million that was supposed to help treat AIDS patients. They used some of it for the usual indulgences — one paid his maid with the money — but they spent most of it on “contributions” to politicians, including an embarrassed mayor of San Juan. And now two ex-directors of a social services agency are on trial for allegedly stealing $5.8 million in federal money for bums, poor children, and old people.
In August, a grand jury indicted 18 people on corruption charges in connection with a $56 million contract to computerize the island’s system for collecting property taxes. Government workers, including two city mayors, allegedly accepted $800,000 in cash, gifts, and political donations in exchange for awarding the contract. Entec Corporation and Hector L. Rivas and Associates, which greased their palms, are also in the dock. (Chris Hawley, 18 Indicted in Puerto Rican Scandal, AP, Aug. 9, 2000.)
Inquisitive Yanquis smell fraud at the Puerto Rico police department, the ports, the Puerto Rico National Guard, and among the people who ladle out money for roads and pollution control. They have also discovered that Puerto Rico is the leading Caribbean transit point for cocaine on its way to North America, and have just designated the island a “money laundering hot spot.” Needless to say, Puerto Rico’s delegate to Congress Carlos Romero Barcelo says all this investigating is just “prejudice against the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico.” (James Anderson, Puerto Rican Corruption Sparks Probe, AP, Aug. 7, 2000.)
In the mean time, Puerto Rican judges have decided to make up for deficiencies in the Constitution and American legislation. In a case called Gregorio Igartua de la Rosa v the United States of America, U.S. District Court Judge Jaime Pieras has decided Puerto Ricans should be able to vote for President. “The inability to vote represents a form of slavery,” says he. Two days earlier, U.S. District Court Judge Salvador Casellas ruled that the death penalty for federal crimes does not apply in Puerto Rico because its people have no vote in federal elections. The federal government has not executed anyone since 1963 and local law prohibits the death penalty, but in January the U.S. Justice Department authorized prosecutors to seek the death penalty against Oscar Acosta Martinez and Joel Rivera Alejandro. These two rulings are both contrary to legal precedent and are likely to be overturned on appeal. (Dan Perry, How American is Puerto Rico? AP, July 21, 2000.)
Hispanic TV Too White
Hispanics know a good thing when they see one and often copy the shakedown tactics blacks have perfected. Last year, activists led a short boycott of the four major television networks because of what they called a “brownout,” or not enough Hispanic actors. ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox duly agreed to color some of their programs brown.
The same activists are not sure what to do about the two major American Spanish-language networks, Univision and Telemundo. The actors are Hispanics, all right, but not the right kind. Juan Figueroa of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund complains that “if you looked at the [Spanish-language] soap operas without knowing better, you would think they came from Scandinavia or somewhere like that with the blond, blue-eyed people you see.” Indeed, news anchors and just about everyone else are white. Telemundo and Univision officials explain that they buy most of their programming from production companies in Mexico and Venezuela, where brown people are rarely seen on television.
Dark Hispanics are coming to the United States for work. A recent survey of 4,000 Hispanic members of the Screen Actors Guild found they thought their chances for roles were better in English-language, American-made programs than in Latin American productions. Elpidia Carrillo, a Mexican-born actress, complains she was always cast as a peasant or a prostitute when she worked in Mexico, but got major roles with Jack Nicholson, Richard Gere, and Arnold Schwarzenegger after she came to America. (Michael Fletcher, The Blond, Blue-Eyed Face of Spanish TV, Washington Post, Aug. 3, 2000, p. 1.)
All of which raises an interesting question. Mexico, Venezuela, and most other Latin American countries have far fewer whites than the United States, yet their television programs are whiter than American programs and no one seems to complain. Why is it only in the United States and Canada, where there are still substantial white majorities, that producers feel compelled to lard their programs with brown and black faces?
What Would Martin Say?
In November, 1998, Stacy Hesrud, who is white, became the executive director of Spokane, Washington’s, Martin Luther King Family Outreach Center. The center offers counseling and other uplift for poor people.
There was opposition to giving a white person the job, but Miss Hesrud says she accepted with the best of intentions. She has now filed a racial discrimination complaint with the state. “I was subjected to an abusive and harassing environment from the board of directors and staff because of my race,” she says, claiming that she was denied reimbursement of expenses, and was evaluated more often and more harshly than her black predecessors. She also says she was required to take a drug test, something no other director ever had to do. (Rob McDonald, Ex-MLK Center Director Files Racism Complaint, Spokane Spokesman-Review, May 23, 2000.)
Breaking the Color Barrier
Marcus Jacoby was the only white on the football team at a black college from 1996 to 1998. Throughout that period he told reporters he was well accepted and was enjoying his experience as a minority. Now he has decided to tell what it was really like.
Mr. Jacoby was the star quarterback at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and badly wanted to play in college. Nearby Southern University, a football powerhouse in the African American Southwestern Academic Conference, badly needed a quarterback, so Mr. Jacoby accepted a full scholarship. There had never been a white starting quarterback in the history of the league.
Except for his coaches, Mr. Jacoby was completely isolated. In the locker room and at lunch, his teammates shunned him. A black former teammate says that even in the huddle, where the quarterback is supposed to have authority, players showed little respect. The season started badly with two losses. “I heard the entire stadium booing me. Fans were yelling ‘Get the white boy out,’” Mr. Jacoby recalls. Defensive players for the other teams hit him harder because he was white, and after his first game he went to the hospital with a concussion. One black teammate recalls that opponents said, “That’s what you all get for bringing white boys on the field.” An editorial writer in the student newspaper wondered whether some of Mr. Jacoby’s own teammates were deliberately letting opponents slip by and tackle him. After Southern’s second loss, a fan threatened Mr. Jacoby, and after that he always had a police escort when he played.
Southern went on to win six of the next seven games, and there was less booing. Mr. Jacoby actually began to be friends with one of the players, whom other blacks called “white lover.” When Mr. Jacoby went off the field after bobbling the final and crucial pass in a championship game he heard things like “You screwed up real bad this time, whitey,” and “You’re as dumb as they come.” After the game the defensive coordinator Mark Orlando, who is white, got a call saying, “If Jacoby ever plays for Southern again, we’ll kill him — and you.” He says he got about a threat a week that season. Some time later, as Mr. Jacoby and Mr. Orlando were leaving the locker room they noticed nooses hanging from all the surrounding trees.
Amazingly, Mr. Jacoby came back the next year, and led the team to a 11-1 season that made Southern the league champion. He was still a complete outsider, though, and a few weeks into his third season, he could stand it no longer and quit. When reporters asked why, he told them he was “burned out,” though he was burned out with race, not with football, as he led reporters to believe. Mr. Jacoby still tries to think of his time at Southern as a valuable sampling of a different culture but concedes that it was “two-and-a-half years of a personal hell.” (Ira Berkow, Race: Keeping Score in Louisiana, The Oregonian, Aug. 1, 2000, p. A6.)
Pilar Reggae Paulsen is an art student at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Last year, the college displayed a work of art she painted with her own menstrual blood. What whites thought apparently didn’t matter, but Indians said the blood offended them, so Miss Paulsen immediately apologized and took down the painting. (Student Withdraws Art Due to Cultural Taboo, Arizona Republic, Dec. 12, 1999.)