American Renaissance, October 2000
The Saint Albans area of Queens, New York, is known as a respectable, middle-class black neighborhood. Recently, five respectable middle-class black teenagers decided they would telephone for Chinese food and rob the deliveryman. They decided to have the girl in the group, Stacy Royster, call in the order because they thought she would sound less threatening. The address she gave was a vacant lot. When Sheng Jin Liu got out of the car, Miss Royster put her hand in her pocket as if she were about to pay. The four boys were waiting in the darkness. They threw a sheet over Mr. Liu and beat him to death with bricks. Then they ate one package of food and went home.
The five teenagers, who are facing murder charges, probably chose Mr. Liu because he is Asian. “In a lot of these neighborhoods around here, it’s the sport to rob the Chinese man,” said one resident. Another added that Chinese “will take anything anybody gives them, and they don’t do anything back.”
The press has made much of the fact that all five of these criminals were from intact, middle-class black families. At least one was getting ready to go to college. The Washington Post, in fact, wrote up the story without any mention of race, so emphasizing the middle-class-tragedy aspect of the incident that readers are left with the impression that the killers were white. (Rod Dreher, Tragic Tale of Two Middle-Class Families, New York Post, Sept. 7, 2000. Lynn Duke and Christine Haughney, Killing of Deliveryman Rattles New York, Washington Post, Sept. 8, 2000, p. A21. David Barstow, Sarah Kershaw and Winnie Hu, A Killing, and the Anguish of Families of the Accused, New York Times, Sept. 9, 2000.)
Partial Vindication for Austria
A committee of “wise men” has urged the European Union to drop its sanctions against Austria. The sanctions against high-level political contact between Austria and other EU members were put in place in February when the anti-immigrant Freedom Party joined the Austrian coalition government. The EU, led by Belgium and France, accused the Freedom Party and its then-leader Jörg Haider of Nazi sympathies and said it opposed democracy.
The “wise men,” a German lawyer, a former Finnish president and a former Spanish foreign minister, concluded that “the Austrian Government’s respect in particular for the rights of minorities, refugees and immigrants is not inferior to that of the other European Union Member States,” and that continuing the sanctions would be “counterproductive.” As a sop to Austria’s critics, they also said the sanctions had been effective in intensifying the government’s efforts to uphold European values. Their report also accused the Freedom Party of using “xenophobic or even racist” language and said it was “a right wing populist party with radical elements.” Mr. Haider said he was happy to be called a populist, since the word means only that someone is close to the people.
Austria had been threatening to hold a referendum on the sanctions if they stayed in force and it now appears that a face-saving way has been found to lift them. (Richard Murphy, Panel Urges EU to End Austria Sanctions, Reuters, Sept. 8, 2000. Richard Murphy, Austria’s Haider Attacks Chirac, Schroeder, Reuters, Sept. 9, 2000.)
Dress for Success
A federal appeals court has ruled that a Mexican homosexual who likes to wear women’s clothes is entitled to asylum in the United States because he would be persecuted if sent back to Mexico. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sitting in Pasadena, California, overturned an INS judge and appeals board that wanted to deport Geovanni Hernandez-Montiel.
People are entitled to asylum if they can show they are persecuted because they are members of a “particular social group” and that the characteristics of this group are immutable — like race or sex — or, like religion and nationality, are fundamental to a person’s identity. The INS judge did not doubt that Mr. Hernandez-Montiel would be hooted at for wearing women’s clothes in Mexico, but ruled that he was not being persecuted because of his membership in a “particular social group” and suggested that what prompted the hooting was hardly immutable: he could wear men’s clothing.
In a unanimous ruling written by judge A. Wallace Tashima, the three-judge panel reversed the INS, noting that “this case is about sexual identity, not fashion.” Mr. Hernandez-Montiel’s lawyer noted happily that this was the first time a homosexual has been officially recognized as a member of a “particular social group” for asylum purposes. As an asylee, Mr. Hernandez-Montiel is now eligible for the standard package of welfare, health, and other benefits. (David Stout, Court Rules Cross-Dresser Can Stay in the U.S. on Asylum Claim, New York Times, Aug. 26, 2000.)
Suicide of the West
It has been a long-standing policy that if a person qualifying for admission to the United States as a refugee is found to be HIV positive, he must show he has the means to pay for treatment. In June, the INS changed this rule. Although it requires indigent HIV-positive refugees to make a special application for admission, it is now inclined to accept them. Some 30 such refugees have already been admitted — mostly from Africa — and more are on the way. The INS decided that leaving AIDS carriers behind was just too cruel, since the reason they were not admitted might become known in their home countries and result in more persecution. These special refugees will be resettled in six US cities selected because of their advanced HIV health and hospice networks: Boston, New York, Chicago, San Diego, Minneapolis, and San Francisco. They will be treated at public expense, but a State Department spokesman says it will be no time before they get private insurance. “Human rights” activists are praising this new AIDS-friendly policy, which has already been adopted by the Nordic countries. (Mike Crawley, Quiet Reprieve for HIV Refugees, Christian Science Monitor, June 16, 2000.)
A Sadder, Wiser Denny’s
Ever since the Denny’s restaurant chain handed over $46 million in a class-action suit to blacks who claimed they got bad service, it has been an easy mark for blacks who want to make a quick buck claiming discrimination. The company has finally figured out what is going on and is using security video tapes to help fight off frauds.
In a suit filed last November in Miami, a black couple claimed they were forced to wait more than an hour while whites were seated and served. Not a single black, they said, was shown a table. They said this was part of a pattern of “willful disregard” for the rights of blacks, which entitles them to huge sums in punitive damages. Denny’s got the couple to testify to all the wrongs done them and then produced a security video proving they had waited ten minutes — not and hour — and that blacks had been seated during this time. Ellis Rubin, the lawyer who had brought the case, immediately dropped it. Nothing daunt-ed, the blacks rounded up another lawyer but he, too, dropped the case when he saw the tape. The couple should be charged with perjury but, needless to say, will not be. (Denny’s Catches Phony Discrimination Claim on Video, NewsMax.com, Aug. 27, 2000.)
Affirmative Action Increases Crime
John Lott, the Yale researcher and author of More Guns, Less Crime, has written a report called “Does a Helping Hand Put Others at Risk? Affirmative Action, Police Departments, and Crime.” Its thesis is that affirmative action increases crime by lowering the selection standards for police officers and decreasing their effectiveness.
Prof. Lott examined data for 189 American cities from the years 1987, 1990, and 1993. During this six-year period, many police departments were subject to affirmative action, and the number of officers of all demographic categories increased, except for that of white men, whose numbers declined by 6,912 out of the 1990 total of 155,071 officers.
During this period, crime went up, especially in black, high-crime areas, despite a previous decrease. Prof. Lott thinks lower standards mean new white recruits are also less qualified than before, and that the more vigorously a police force practiced affirmative action the less effective its officers became. (John R. Lott, Jr., Does a Helping Hand Put Others at Risk?, Western Economic Association International, April 1, 2000.)
Rape in South Africa
South Africa has what is probably the highest rape rate in the world — a reported 120 per 100,000 population with probably many more rapes unreported. The US rate is about 35 per 100,000. South African men appear to have a rather casual attitude towards rape. In a survey of more than 27,000 young men and women, 80 percent of the men said they thought women were responsible for being raped. Thirty percent thought women who were raped were “asking for it” and 20 percent thought women enjoy being raped. One in four of the men said they had raped at least one woman before they turned 18. (One in Four S. African Men Admit Rape — Survey, Reuters, June 25, 2000.)
What follows is a complete list of press releases issued by the Los Angeles Police Department from July 12 to July 17. This period, selected completely at random, is probably a good indicator of the color of crime in Los Angeles.
Wednesday, July 12 — A black male enters a middle-aged white man’s apartment, stabs him to death with an unknown object, and flees through an open window. Wednesday, July 12 — A 24-year-old black male ambulance technician is shot dead on the street by an unknown suspect.
Thursday, July 13 — Raymond Estrada, 24, and a 15-year-old are shot at by an unknown black suspect.
Thursday, July 13 — A black man breaks into the home of an elderly couple — race unspecified — and makes off with money and jewelry.
Thursday, July 13 — A black youth shoots two blacks to death, grazes a Hispanic woman with a stray bullet, and escapes in an SUV.
Thursday, July 13 — The findings of the Rampart Independent Review Panel are expected in the fall.
Friday, July 14 — Billy John Hill, 22 — race unspecified — is shot in the head by a group of suspects riding in a car.
Friday, July 14 — Four armed black men rob a Comfort Inn hotel, taking the money from the cash register and property from the cashier.
Saturday, July 15 — Community alerts are posted to warn of a black suspect in a series of burglaries and rapes in west Los Angeles.
Sunday July 16 — Two Hispanics are suspected in the shooting of two other Hispanics, one of whom dies.
Sunday, July 17 — Detectives hold a conference asking the public for information on a rapist/kidnapper of a 17-year-old Hispanic girl. His race is not disclosed.
Monday, July 17 — LAPD holds a press conference to launch a new police officer recruitment campaign, which stresses the humanitarian nature of the job.
Palos Hills Shows Some Fight
Palos Hills, Illinois, is a suburb south of Chicago with a mostly-white population of 12,000. Recently a group of Muslims agreed to pay $2.1 million for a Christian Reformed church building, which they planned to use as a mosque. This caused outrage in Palos Hills, with residents suggesting that Muslims should convert to Christianity or go back to their own countries. The city council even approved a plan to pay the Muslims $200,000 to back out of the deal, but Mayor Dean Koldenhoven vetoed the proposal, calling it irresponsible and an insult to Muslims. It now looks as though the Muslims will move in and that come election time Mayor Kolden-hoven will be voted out. (Martha Irvine, Mayor Vetoes Plan to Buy Out Muslims, AP, July 19, 2000.)
Just Like Central Park
The Notting Hill Carnival is an annual event in a black part of London that is supposed to be a celebration of Afro-Caribbean culture. Over the years it has grown huge — this year’s August 27-28 event drew an estimated 1.5 million people — and needless to say it has become dangerous and crime-ridden. One of the attractions is that the increasingly “sensitive” London Police are under orders not to provoke blacks. As a police memo leaked after the carnival explains to officers, “arrest of offenders is not your main purpose.” Instead, the 7,500 constables are to ignore drug dealing and non-violent theft, keep the violence at a tolerable level, and give the impression the event is safer than it -really is.
Glen Smyth is chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, many of whom are disgusted by the “softly, softly” approach to blacks. As he reported on BBC radio:
For a number of years, the level of reported crime is far below that which really happens and the whole process is underplayed for political reasons. There is a significant criminal minority who exploit the carnival in full knowledge that the police will tread extremely lightly. Sooner or later, we will arrive at the situation where people are murdered at the carnival every year and many people are seriously hurt. The recent record is pretty appalling.
That day has already arrived. This year there were two murders and 69 people hospitalized. One of the murders appears to be have been racial. A gang of blacks beat and kicked to death an Asian, Abdul Bhatti, after he tried to help another Asian whom the blacks were robbing. Witnesses said the gang ignored blacks and targeted only Indians and Pakistanis as it rampaged through the carnival.
Officers who have patrolled the carnival for years say the police lost control years ago and that without stern measures the annual event will only get more violent. (John Steele, Carnival Murder ‘Was Race Attack,’ Daily Telegraph (London) Sept. 6, 2000. David Bamber, Carnival Police ‘Told to Ignore Use of Crack,’ Daily Telegraph, Sept. 3, 2000. Philip Johnston and Linus Gregoriadis, Carnival Police ‘Told Not to Search Gunmen,’ Daily Telegraph, Sept. 1, 2000.)
Muslims on the March
Their numbers, moreover, are only likely to grow. Though Islam still exercises only modest appeal to white Americans, it has become a powerful and permanent presence among blacks, who by my rough calculation are 200 times more likely to convert to it than are whites . . . Islam may well pull ahead of Christianity among blacks within a matter of decades.We were under the impression that all diversity is supposed to be good, but Commentary has found a kind it doesn’t like. Daniel Pipes notes in a recent article that there are already about one million American blacks who are Muslims, and continues as follows:
Black converts generally tend to adopt extremist views. Those in the Nation of Islam become black nationalists, pumped up with incendiary antiwhite rhetoric, while those who join standard Islam often become Islamists — admirers of such figures as the Ayatollah Khomeini and Usama bin Ladin. Whether followers of the NoI [Nation of Islam] or standard Islam, moreover, black converts tend to hold vehemently anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Semitic attitudes.
It does not take much imagination to see that, should Islam in fact replace Christianity as the primary religion of African-Americans, this will have vast significance for all Americans, affecting everything from race relations to foreign policy, from popular culture to issues of religion and state. (Daniel Pipes, How Elijah Muhammad Won, Commentary, June 2000)
More Phantom Racism?
Mary Frances Berry is a black woman and racial ambulance-chaser who has served for many years on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. In 1984 she summed up her legal views by issuing a statement saying civil rights laws do not apply to white men and do not protect their rights.
This summer, she jumped on the “racial profiling” bandwagon, claiming she too has been a victim. She says she was in her car, keeping up with other drivers, all of whom were slightly exceeding the speed limit, when an officer stopped her. She is convinced he stopped her because she is black and says, “I was afraid he would shoot me.” She got out of the car and put up her hands, saying “Please don’t hurt me.” The officer told her to “shut up,” threw her against the car and handcuffed her. He then wrote her a speeding ticket, which she says she paid.
Despite Miss Berry’s reputation as an indefatigable fighter for black rights and black dignity, she says she did not file a formal complaint. She has also refrained from specifying the state in which this incident took place. (Dave Boyer, Civil Rights Group Accuses N.Y. Police of Racial Profiling, Washington Times, June 17, 2000, p. A2.)
We think she made the whole thing up.
The local press has been outraged to find that blacks in Minnesota are much more likely to be arrested than whites. Liberals have learned that over the past six years, blacks were 17 times more likely to be arrested for traffic offenses. Other multiples were: prostitution 10, begging 11, trespassing 19, and driving without a valid license 42. The Minneapolis Urban League and the NAACP are calling for the police to be investigated on suspicion of racial profiling. Largely ignored is the fact that conviction rates for blacks and whites are essentially the same. In other words, police are not arresting blacks because they are black but because they are criminals. (James Walsh, Dan Browning, Presumed Guilty Until Proven Innocent, Star Tribune, July 23, 2000.)
Albert Wynn is a black congressman who has represented Maryland for four terms. His third and most recent ex-wife Jessie Wynn has decided to support the Congressman’s white Republican opponent. Her main campaign theme for the largely-black district is that Mr. Wynn is disloyal to his race. “Hi, this is Jessie Wynn, wife of Congressman Albert Wynn,” she explains in a telephone recording. “Albert Wynn does not respect black women. He left me for a white woman. Please help us defeat Albert Wynn. Thank you and God bless you.”
“Hell hath no fury,” he adds. “It’s a pretty sad situation that has evolved out of a bitter divorce. I have nothing negative to say about my [own] soon-to-be ex-wife.” But he has profited greatly from Congressman Wynn’s loss of his wife. “She’s a really great motivator,” he explains. “She’s told me I have to realize it’s a war. Jessie’s been the driving force of Al’s campaign for his four terms and I really don’t think he would have been a congressman without her.”John Kimble, the white man Mrs. Wynn now supports for her ex-husband’s job, has a web page that displays a photograph of the candidate and Mrs. Wynn standing in front of a large banner that says: “Al Wynn left his black wife and child for a white woman.” Mr. Kimble justifies this campaign issue by arguing that “you can’t win in this district unless you’re ready to roll in the mud with him [opponent Albert Wynn].”
Mr. Kimble is best known for offering nude photographs of himself to Playgirl during a 1996 attempt to unseat Mr. Wynn. On his web page he describes himself, without further explanation, as “a behavioral researcher and developer of the ‘Intelligun’ — the ‘Dolphin inside a gun.’” (Toby Harnden, In Maryland, Bedfellows Make Strange Politics, Daily Telegraph (London), Sept. 6, 2000.)
Black filmmaker Spike Lee has little good to say about Mel Gibson’s summer movie “The Patriot,” which is about the American Revolution. In a letter to Hollywood Reporter he called it a “complete whitewashing of history.” “Where are the slaves?” he asks. “Who’s picking the cotton?” As Mr. Lee explains, “When talking about the history of this great country, one can never forget that America was built upon the genocide of Native Americans and enslavement of African people. To say otherwise is criminal.” (Lee Gives ‘The Patriot’ a Thumbs-Down, Los Angeles Times, July 7, 2000, p. F2.)
A Roaring Trade
In Nigeria it is common for thieves to break open gasoline pipelines, pump the fuel into tanker trucks and drive off, leaving the gasoline spilling into farmers’ fields. The locals then descend on the ruptured pipeline, scooping up gasoline in buckets for resale on the black market. This can be dangerous; a carelessly dropped cigarette can turn the festival of larceny into an inferno. In July, an estimated 250 people in the town of Adeje burned to death in just such an incident, after thieves tapped the pipeline that runs to the northern city of Kaduna. “When we heard the explosion and saw the raging fire, we considered it as normal because the breaking of pipelines . . . is happening all the time,” explained Adeje resident Monday Ochuku. In 1998 just a few miles north of Adeje an estimated 1,000 people died in a huge fireball after gas thieves broke open the same pipeline. (Gasoline Blast Kills Over 100 Nigerians, Washington Post, July 12, 2000, p. A16.)
Damian Williams was briefly famous as one of the blacks who beat Reginald Denny nearly to death at the start of the Los Angeles riots of 1992. Mr. Williams waited his turn to smash the bloodied and barely-breathing Mr. Denny with a brick, spat on him, and did a little victory dance — all caught on video tape. At his sentencing Judge John Ouderkirk admonished him for attacking a man purely because of race and for showing no remorse. Mr. Denny publicly forgave his assailants, saying they must have been through an awful lot to have behaved as they did. Mr. Williams served four years of a ten-year sentence.
Mr. Williams is now back in the news as a suspect in the killing of a 43-year-old Los Angeles man in what was probably a gang-related robbery. He and an accomplice are suspects in several robberies in the same area on the day of the killing. (Reginald Denny Attacker Charged With Murder, Channel-2000. com, Sept. 1, 2000.)
‘Just Pure Evil’
A gang of teenagers went marauding through Tacoma, Washington, in August in a series of a dozen “thrill attacks” that left one man dead. The gang beat Eric Toews to death as he walked home alone from work in a neighborhood that is usually safe. Residents criticized police for not having issued warnings of the attacks, which occurred over a period of several days, but police said they had not realized they were related. Police have arrested eight participants in the fatal beating, aged 11 through 19. The 11-year-old is the youngest person ever to face murder charges in the history of the county. All the perpetrators were black or Hispanic and all but one of the dozen victims were white, but police say they have no reason to think the attacks were racially motivated. “It was just pure evil; that’s what it was,” says a white resident. (Jack Hopkins, Eight Arrested in Tacoma Beating Death, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Aug. 29, 2000.)
Although there is much talk of the toll AIDS is taking on the population of Africa, the continent is growing as rapidly as any place on earth. A report issued recently by the Population Reference Bureau says that in the next 100 years the number of Africans is likely to jump from 800 million to 1.8 billion. Europe, on the other hand, is likely to see its population decline from 728 to 658 million in the next 50 years. During the same period, the United States’ population is projected to grow from 274 to 403 million, with the increase fueled by immigration and the children of immigrants. By the middle of this century India could surpass China as the most populous country in the world, and may have as many as two billion people by 2100. (Genaro Armas, Population Growth in India, Africa, AP, June 7, 2000.)
The Perils of Belief
Aida Rodriguez was born in Puerto Rico but lived in the Bronx where she was a practicing Santeria priestess and tarot card reader. On August 14, her 37-year-old live-in boyfriend found the 280-pound 64-year-old strangled in their apartment. There was no sign of forced entry and nothing was missing. One clue to the motive of the killer is that Miss Rodriguez was found wearing a blindfold. Police suspect she was giving a reading to someone who didn’t like what he was hearing. An investigator explains that “in the spiritual world, taking away the victim’s sight might perhaps be the killer’s way of not confronting her interpretation of his future.” (Philip Messing, Cards Spelled Death for Tarot ‘Priestess,’ New York Post, Aug. 27, 2000.)
Palo Mayombe is an Afro-Cuban “religion” that has come to America along with the Cubans. Its practitioners, called paleros, believe they can use parts of human bodies to enslave the spirits of the dead, which are then summoned to commit crimes and work evil.
Margaret Ramirez, 74, lived in an apartment in Manhattan on 164th Street. She recently died in an automobile accident, and police came to her apartment to notify the next of kin. They found her son Michael Grahales, 54, who became “extremely unstable” on learning what happened to his mother and is now locked up in a mental hospital. Police also found what appeared to be a den of Palo Mayombe sorcery, complete with statues in every corner, skulls, chunks of flesh rotting in pots, and boarded-up windows. What most shocked police was a perfectly preserved newborn girl floating in a jar of formaldehyde. Since the son claims to know nothing about the body, police are left to speculate. “We haven’t ruled out homicide, but we’re hoping the baby was stillborn,” says Lt. George Menig. “It’s too creepy to think that it could have been a human sacrifice.” (Laura Italiano and Maria Malave, Black-Magic Woman, New York Post, Aug. 28, 2000.)
A Kingdom of Their Own
“You Are Leaving the United States. You Are Entering Yoruba Kingdom.” So reads the sign, in both English and Yoruba, at the Oyotunji African Village in Beaufort County, South Carolina. This follows the sign on Route 17 that says, “African Village — As Seen on TV.”
King Oseijeman Ofuntola Adefumni, born in 1928 in Detroit under the more prosaic name of Walter King, founded the village in 1970. He had traveled to Egypt in the 1950s and became interested in ancient black religions. He dabbled in Voodoo and Santeria, and in 1959 went to Cuba to be initiated as a priest of Orisha Voodoo. He then went to New York, where he made a living peddling African clothing and religion. He founded a Yoruba temple in New York in the mid-1960s before moving the operation to South Carolina.
Oyotunji Village is in traditional Yoruba style, complete with an ancient royal family descended from Heaven, animal sacrifices to the gods, traditional parades and gift-giving sessions in honor of the king or Oba, and polygamy. The Oba says he has a hard time remembering but thinks he has had 22 wives and 26 children. This was one of the reasons he left New York. The authorities frowned on polygamy, which Yoruba men require, and it was also hard to raise animals for sacrifice.
By the end of the first decade, Oyotunji was thriving, with nearly 200 villagers, all with African names and three horizontal scars carved into their cheeks. They read fortunes in shells for tourists and collected food stamps. Over the next two decades, Oyotunji got electricity and running water and even established a state-certified charter school — the Royal Yoruban Academy. It has since sent former members to found Voodoo temples and villages all over the United States and the Caribbean and thus considers itself a kind of Voodoo Vatican. Its population has declined since its early high but it still has a foreign minister and a minister of tourism.
There is a variety of gods at Oyotunji, which are worshipped in different ways. The faithful sacrifice a goat to Oya the goddess of storms, and give gifts to Oshun the love goddess. They must wiggle their rumps in honor of Elegba “the mischievous messenger,” but bowing suffices for others. Tourists, who pay for fortune-telling and other charms, are a major source of income. No doubt to the dismay of many, whites may not become villagers. “They would not have the ancestral line, the racial heritage that an African person has,” explains the Oba. (Peter Carlson, the King of South Carolina, Washington Post, June 25, 2000, p. F1.)
Jailed for a Syllable
In August, 1998, Susan Barton was leaving a restaurant in Manistee, Michigan, with her mother and daughter. As they tried to make their way through the crowd a man — in Spanish — asked his wife to make room for them. Mrs. Barton, who resents large numbers of non-English-speakers coming to the United States, said “I wish these damned spics would learn to speak English.” One of the Spanish-speakers was Carol Benitez, an off-duty Manistee County sheriff’s deputy. She followed Mrs. Barton out of the restaurant, jotted down her license plate number and filed a complaint with the city police. Mrs. Barton was hauled into court and charged with violating a city ordinance that says: “No person shall engage in any indecent, insulting, immoral or obscene conduct in any public place.” She argued this was a violation of the First Amendment — which protects insulting speech — but a jury found her guilty and a judge sentenced her to 45 days in jail. She is asking the Michigan Court of Appeals to overturn her conviction.
At issue in the case is just what is protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court has ruled that “fighting words” likely to cause violence are not protected free speech. Hispanic lawyers are arguing that the word “spic” (they don’t care about the “damn”) is just such a “fighting word” and that it is constitutional to prohibit its public utterance. (Michael G. Walsh, Case Tests City’s Speech Ordinance, Chronicle (Muskegon, Michigan), Aug. 12, 2000.)
‘Sorry to the Latins’
On July 29 Julio Cesar Chavez of Mexico lost a super lightweight title fight to Kosta Tszyu, a Central Asian-Caucasian hybrid from Russia. Mr. Chavez announced his retirement after the Tucson, Arizona, fight and apologized to his fans for the loss: “I’m sorry to all the Latin people,” he said. “They have been there for me for many years.” (Kosta Tszyu Knocks Out Julio Cesar Chavez to Retain WBC Title, BW SportsWire, July 29, 2000.)
Is it possible to imagine a white boxer apologizing to “all the white people” after losing a fight to someone of a different race?
Will He Grovel?
In February, black agents filed a discrimination suit against the Secret Service. In September the agents claimed the protection team assigned to Albert Gore, in particular, is suspiciously short of blacks. Black Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney says she’s not surprised. “Gore’s Negro tolerance level has never been too high,” she says on her congressional web site. “I’ve never known him to have more than one black person around him at any given time.” She says the Secret Service has a Jim Crow policy. (Jerry Seper, Lawmaker Questions Gore’s Racial Tolerance, Washington Times, Sept. 8, 2000.)
Mr. Gore now has a chance to call Miss McKinney a contemptible race-baiter, and thereby perhaps win the respect of a few whites. We will see if he grovels instead.
Can’t We All Get Along?
At Redlands High School in Redlands, California, there is a great deal of tension between U.S.-born Hispanic students and immigrant Hispanics. The American-born students look down on the immigrants as tightwads and bad dressers, while the immigrants flaunt their fluent Spanish. But it goes deeper than this. In 1998 police reported no fewer than 200 cases of violence between the two groups. So far, no one has been killed, but both sides have started doing drive-by shootings of the other group’s hangouts. Last year Redlands High School won a $147,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to study why the two groups can’t get along. (Sharyn Obsatz, Hispanics’ Conflicts Spur Action, Press-Enterprise (Riverside, California), May 2, 2000.)
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids discrimination on the basis of “national origin.” President William Clinton recently issued an Executive Order that considers the inability to speak English an aspect of “national origin” and therefore a potential cause of illegal discrimination. The order requires all federal agencies to provide services in a way that does not discriminate against people who don’t speak English. Translation alone will not do; Twee- and Wolof-speakers must have means of communicating with the government orally, too. The Justice Department’s Office of Civil Rights under William Lan Lee will be in charge of enforcing the order.
Executive Order 13166 also requires recipients of federal money to meet the same language standards. This means that if a zoo or a theater receives federal money it will have to fight “language discrimination” too. Only “reasonable measures” are obligatory but no one knows what this means in practice. Would a theater have to provide simultaneous interpretation of its productions? In how many languages? Would a library have to stock books in all languages? Jim Boulet, executive director of English First, says the new order effectively makes non-English-speakers a protected class like blacks or Hispanics. The order does say that in some cases English-speaking may be a legitimate qualification for a job and discrimination may therefore be justified. Random House doesn’t have to hire Cambodian-speakers to compile its English dictionaries — at least not yet.
Overcoming “language discrimination” is not just hugely expensive and cumbersome. If this new form of discrimination metastasizes the way “racial discrimination” has, we can expect Spanish- and Chinese-speakers to start claiming bias, and demanding jobs and college admissions strictly on the basis of statistical underrepresentation. (John E. Dougherty, Clinton Mandates Multilingual America, WorldNetDaily.com, Aug. 24, 2000.)
The Race of the Face
Located deep within the brain, the amygdala acts as a kind of sensory administrator. It receives information from the senses and flags messages that need more attention. When magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) shows that the amygdala is active it is thought to be a sign of vigilance, that the brain wants more information. Recent research has determined that amygdala activity levels are sometimes higher when people see faces of people of races different from their own.
In a study carried out by Massachusetts General Hospital in August, groups of black and white subjects were shown photographs of faces — half were white, half were black — while MRI scans determined the activity levels of their amygdalas. When they first looked at the faces subjects had high levels of activity, but when they were shown the faces a second time, it was only the “out-group” or other-race faces that prompted high amygdala activity. This was true for both black and white subjects. This suggests that at a basic physiological level encounters with people of different races keep the human brain at a higher level of watchfulness. The authors of the study caution against possible misinterpretation of the results. (Sue McGreevey, The Ins and Outs of Facial Processing, Press Release from Massachusetts General Hospital, Aug. 21, 2000.)