O Tempora, O Mores! (December, 2000)

American Renaissance, December 2000

‘We’d Rather Not Know’

The city of Nyack on the Hudson River north of New York City has long cultivated an image of racial diversity. It is one of those places interracial families move to looking for a welcome. Earlier this year, a parents’ group set off a stink bomb by releasing statistics about racial differences in school achievement. Just as they are everywhere else, blacks are more likely to be in remedial courses, less likely to take honors courses, and more likely to be suspended. The news apparently came as a terrible shock to this well-heeled suburb, which spends $13,000 per year per child in school. Blacks yelled about “racism” while whites claimed that problems start at home and can’t be cured in school. People got into shouting matches on the sidewalk and a few windows were smashed. “This has polarized our community like no other issue,” said Kim Raso Stewart, a white parent of two children. “It’s like us against them.”

What there has been general agreement on is that the numbers should not have been released at all. Black school board member Pierre Davis complains that “for some folks, this is just going to prove the point: “Hey, I told you those folks weren’t too bright.’” White parent Meg Ferrazano says, “It made the district look bad. Anybody who read the paper would say, “Oh my God, I won’t send my child to that school; look at all the problems they have.’ That’s not good for our school, our town, our property values or anything else.” Edmund Gordon who specializes in the racial achievement gap says, “I think that Nyack school people probably thought they were doing as well as any other school district, but they didn’t know what to do about it, so why open up this can of worms?”

Fewer school districts are going to get away with the ostrich approach. Several states already require publication of race data and New York plans to do so next year. Under a new program, authorities will grade schools on the performance of students of each race. In the past, if a school had a small number of blacks with bad grades it might not lower the averages enough to affect the schools overall grade. Next year it could. This could make for edifying discussion when teachers and parents find out their schools are mediocre — but only because the blacks and Hispanics do so poorly.

Another idea behind publishing racial data is that it is supposed to inspire schools to close the performance gap. This, too, could have lively results. When the data from every school from every district in every state are the same — no matter what kind of remedial tricks have been tried — it might even force people to consider the real reasons for racial the gap. [Kate Zernike, Racial Gap in Schools Splits a Town Proud of Diversity, New York Times, Aug. 4, 2000.]

Mbarmy Mbeki

South African President Thabo Mbeki has become famous for promoting the view that AIDS is caused by something other than the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). He has finally let the other shoe drop, and now says the HIV theory is part of a fraud perpetrated by western drug companies on the developing world. If the companies can convince people HIV is to blame for the epidemic there are fortunes to be made selling drugs that do no good. In an address to African National Congress members of parliament, Mr. Mbeki also said the CIA was part of the disinformation campaign. He added that the west is particularly annoyed with him because South Africa is leading the Third World in the struggle to get better terms of trade with industrial countries. This latest outburst has dismayed Mr. Mbeki’s handlers, who have tried to downplay his eccentric views on AIDS and realize they are damaging his credibility. [Howard Barrell, Mbeki Fingers CIA in Aids Conspiracy, Daily Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg), Oct. 6, 2000.]

Mr. Mbeki has, however, helped his image somewhat by finally condemning the violent expropriation of white-owned farms in neighboring Zimbabwe. Now that it looks as though a good number of Zimbabweans have turned against their president (see next item), Mr. Mbeki appears to be willing to do the same. His comments are also seen as an attempt to reassure foreign investors who, he has discovered, disapprove of expropriation. [Ed Stoddard, Mbeki Comments on Zimbabwe Welcomed by Analysts, Reuters, Oct. 26, 2000.]

More Chaos in Zimbabwe

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main Zimbabwe opposition party that won 57 of 120 contested seats in elections in June, has offered a motion to impeach President Robert Mugabe. He is charged with failing to maintain law and order during the elections, during which his supporters killed at least 26 black MDC supporters and five white farmers. Mr. Mugabe helped prompt the measure by granting amnesty to virtually everyone involved in the violence, that is to say, to his own supporters. The impeachment charge also includes an indictment for the slaughter of an estimated 20,000 Ndebele tribesmen during the mid-1980s when Mr. Mugabe was consolidating power for his own tribe, the Shona.

Mr. Mugabe has responded as usual by attacking whites. He now says resistance to the black liberation war of the 1970s was “genocide.” Beginning with Ian Smith, the last white leader of what was then Rhodesia, he promises to charge every white who supported the former regime with war crimes. “After all,” he explains, “in Europe they are still hunting for those behind Nazi war crimes, and Zimbabwe cannot be an exception.” MDC officials have pointed out that this would violate the constitution, which grants amnesty to all participants in both sides of the war, and would open the door to charges against “liberation” leaders as well.

In the meantime blacks continue to force white farmers off their land and out of business. Production of both food and export crops has plummeted, driving up prices. This has led to riots and looting in the major cities, and increasing numbers of Zimbabweans are ready for Mr. Mugabe go. According to a recent poll, 75 percent of Zimbabweans want President Mugabe to resign and 51 percent would like to see him prosecuted for human rights abuses. [Angus Shaw, Mugabe Threatens To Try Whites, AP, Oct. 26, 2000.]

The Old Yam Trick

We reprint the following item verbatim from the London Telegraph:

Two members of a lynch mob in Lagos, Nigeria, who attacked a man they believed had turned two children into dogs, were shot dead by police. A rumour had swept through the Lagos suburb of Oko-Oba that the man, a dealer from northern Nigeria, had transformed a missing boy and girl after giving them each 20 naira (10p). Local vigilantes detained the man and gathered up the dogs. Police arrived as they were about to lynch him and arrested 15 people. During the fighting, two of the mob died. The rest, including the dogs, were taken to Lagos state police command in Ikeja. A police spokesman, Victor Chilaka, said: ‘We do not know quite what happened so we are detaining all of them.’ Including the dogs? ‘Including the dogs.’ On what charge? ‘I am not sure,’ he said. ‘I am sure we will not hold them for long.’ Belief in witchcraft, and the power of humans to transform themselves into animals and vice versa, is widespread in Nigeria. In the past two years newspapers have reported alleged incidents of a vulture which became a man and a schoolboy who turned into a yam. [James Allen, ‘Witchcraft’ Lynch Mob Members Shot, Telegraph (London), Oct. 15, 2000.]

Reasons to Stay Honest

The AIDS epidemic in South Africa is raging through the prisons. The disease now accounts for about 90 percent of non-violent deaths among South African prisoners, which have gone from only 186 in 1995 to more than 1,000 in the first ten months of 2000. Gideon Morris of the South African Office of the Inspecting Judge says rape spreads the disease: “It is estimated that between 70 percent and 80 percent of all arrested suspects are sodomized by fellow prisoners before they are even officially charged,” he explains. “Many suspects are raped within the first 48 hours of being detained.” Overcrowding and lax prison guards make it easy for prisoners to assault each other. Mr. Morris is particularly concerned about the 40 percent or so of arrested suspects who are eventually found not guilty but go home with a case of AIDS. [AIDS-Linked Deaths in S. African Prisons Soar, AFP, Oct. 17, 2000.]

South African Suicide

Half a century ago, South African Bobby Locke was an international golfing hero. He won the British Open four times and was a source of great pride for his country. At the height of his fame he bought a five-story apartment building in Yeoville, a fashionable white Johannesburg suburb. After his death in 1987 his wife and daughter continued to live in the building, although after apartheid the neighborhood quickly lost both its white majority and its charm. Mrs. Locke, 80, and her daughter Carolyn, 40, complained to friends about the tenants they were now getting and about how the neighborhood had deteriorated. Mother and daughter were also much disturbed by the latter’s failed marriage five years ago to a black man who, it turned out, was already married. They become increasingly depressed and reclusive.

The two recently bid the world good by by swallowing poison washed down with Champagne. The caretaker found them holding hands and lying side-by-side in their night dresses. [Karen MacGregor, Squalor of South Africa Drives Golf Hero’s Family to Double Suicide, Times (London), Oct. 8, 2000.]

Lovefest in Libya

More details are emerging on the exodus of blacks from Libya. As thousands of deported Nigerians stream home — some 10,000 are eventually expected to return — they tell harrowing tales of murder and mayhem. Although figures are difficult confirm, more than 130 blacks appear to have been killed and many more injured in anti-black rioting that began in August and continued into September. Some of the Nigerians have returned with knife wounds that support their horror stories.

Gabriel Edoh, a 32-year-old soccer player from a second-division Libyan team says, “The Libyans went on the rampage and started killing our people indiscriminately. If you were black they would kill you.” He says he was moved into a camp with other blacks but Libyans burned the camp down. Soldiers then moved the blacks to a military camp. Other Nigerians have been showing up with nothing but the clothes they are wearing. Curiously, the Nigerian authorities continue to blame their own citizens rather than the Libyans. Nigeria’s Minister for Cooperation in Africa Dapo Sarumi says: “Most of the deportees are criminals or prostitutes who have become an embarrassment.”

Although Nigerians are blamed for starting the trouble, Libyan rioters killed and burned out blacks from many countries. On October 20 and 21, 1,400 Malians returned home, some having lived in Libya for as long as ten years. Like his Nigerian counterpart, Malian foreign ministry spokesman Moussa Coulibaly did not denounce the Libyans but instead explained, “Most of those who have come back were young people unfamiliar with the customs of the host country and quickly found themselves in the midst of hostilities.”

On October 24, the Liberian ambassador to Libya, Yank Smythe, reported he would repatriate 110 Liberians who have been living at the embassy since the rioting began. They want to go back to Liberia rather than risk further violence by returning to their homes in Tripoli.

Ironically, the troubles are a result of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s attempts to make friends with sub-Saharan countries. He relaxed immigration rules, and quickly brought in one million blacks — a sudden jolt to a population that was only six million to begin with. A dispute between Nigerian and Libyan drug dealers is reported to have sparked the violence. [AFP, More Than 130 Black Africans Reported Killed in Libya, Oct. 2000. Panafrican News Agency, Plus de 1.400 Rapatriés de Libye Regagnent le Mali, Oct. 24, 2000. Panafrican News Agency, Le Libéria va Rapatrier 110 de ses Ressortissants de Libye, Oct. 24, 2000.]

White Conspiracy

The Roanoke, Virginia, branch of the NAACP has uncovered a vast white conspiracy against black people. Rev. Carl Tinsley acting president of the branch says state, local and federal law enforcement and judicial authorities are part of the plot, along with the Internal Revenue Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration. “When we fought the Klan, at least we knew who they were because they wore hoods and sheets,” he explained. “These [white authorities] are the same people who have the same biases. It’s a conspiracy.”

Rev. Tinsley offered no evidence of a conspiracy but explained that this is because “there are no clear measures for monitoring what has been going on.” He says the main source of his information is increasing complaints from blacks of unfair treatment by police and employers. More specifically, he says blacks are forced into selling cocaine for a living because they cannot get jobs. He listed other problems: Black police officer Frederick Pledge has been indicted for racketeering and drug conspiracy, black lawyer Rickey Young has been indicted for tax evasion and mail fraud, and black doctor Verna Lewis has been convicted of tax fraud. Rev. Tinsley declined to comment on the guilt or innocence of these people but said they are in trouble because they are black.

Some of Roanoke’s blacks do not seem to be aware of the conspiracy. Jeff Artis, vice president of the Roanoke branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, says: “I am insulted and embarrassed by their [the NAACP’s] support of [indicted black] officer Frederick Pledge. Pledge’s problems aren’t because he’s black.” [John D. Cramer, Charges of Conspiracy, Roanoke Times, Aug. 17, 2000.]

California Dreaming

California has passed a law requiring insurance companies that operate in the state to provide information about ante-bellum life insurance polices the companies may have written on slaves. The bill, introduced by Democratic State Senator Thomas Hayden, at this point requires only that the information be turned over, but penalties could come later. As Mr. Hayden explains,

If contemporary insurance giants originally capitalized on the premiums of Confederate slaveholders who treated their slaves like personal property, America needs to know the truth and compensation may be owed to the descendants.

It was common for slaveholders to insure their slaves, just as they insured their houses and their own lives. It is unclear how the descendants of a slave could possibly have a claim on an insurance company because a slaveowner in the distant past insured a slave against damage.

A different bill proposed by Mr. Hayden has recently become law. It asks the University of California at Berkeley to assemble a committee to “analyze the economic benefits of slavery that accrued to [California] owners and businesses” and submit a report of its findings. These findings are intended to be the basis for possible reparations for blacks. [Jordan Pine, Companies That Insured Slaves Must Offer Details Under New Calif. Law, DiversityInc.com, Oct. 5, 2000.]

Family Ties

Ernestine Williams, 63, is an arthritic black grandmother confined to a wheelchair. This did not stop her from running a successful family business that operated across the South from Florida to Georgia. The staff of 15 was recruited largely from among her 12 children and countless grandchildren, and sometimes took in as much $50,000 a day. In October, this thriving business — organized pickpocketing — suffered a serious blow when police arrested Miss Williams, along with two of her children and a grandson. They now join four other members of the staff who are already guests of the state.

Miss Williams, arrested 28 times from 1960 to 1988 for such things as burglary, heroin possession and weapons violations, taught her family the finer points of pickpocketing and sent crews off to stores to lift the wallets of elderly shoppers. She liked to wait in the parking lot for her family to return with cash, checks, jewelry and credit cards. [AP, Florida Police Say Grandmother Ran Family Pickpocket Ring, Oct. 26, 2000.]

Norway Awakes

In Norway, the anti-immigrant Progress Party has now outstripped the ruling Labor Party to become the most popular in the country. With an approval rating of 35 percent, it is poised to take power in elections that will be held in less than a year. Party leader Carl “King Carl” Hagen campaigns on a program to reduce immigration to a maximum of 1,000 a year and would hold a referendum for Norwegians to vote on whether to let in any foreigners at all. He would also deport any asylee who committed a crime.

“Let’s not be naive and blue-eyed,” he says. “If you have too many immigrants you will get social conflict. You can like it or dislike it, but that’s a fact.” He points out there are already so many Pakistanis in eastern Oslo it is known as Little Karachi: “We have knives in schools, which we never had before, and we have gangs shooting at each other.” Mr. Hagen would also cut off all foreign aid, which he says does nothing but buy weapons and luxury goods for dictators. He says poor countries are poor because they can’t organize themselves properly. Mr. Hagen rejects the label “right-wing,” pointing out that he is in favor of expanding the welfare state. He just wants its benefits to go to Norwegians. [Andrew Osborn, Power in Prospect for Norwegian Right, Guardian (London), Oct. 6, 2000.]

Britain-Bashing

Jack Straw, British Home Secretary, is an ardent anti-racist. Three years ago he set up something called the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, which has finally produced a report. It says British history should be “revised, rethought or jettisoned” because it doesn’t pay enough attention to minorities. It says the country should be formally recognized as a multi-cultural society that is a “community of communities” rather than a nation.

It also suggests the country needs a new word to describe its inhabitants: “Britishness, as much as Englishness, has systematic, largely unspoken, racist connotations. Whiteness nowhere features as an explicit condition of being British, but it is widely understood that Englishness is racially coded.” The report does not suggest what term should replace “British,” but it does make all the usual recommendations about enforcing “tolerance,” putting more non-white faces on television, policing the police, “inclusiveness education,” etc.

Mike O’Brien the Home Office minister calls the effort “a timely report which adds much to the current debate on multi-ethnic Britain.” Lord Parekh, a Labour peer and chairman of the commission that wrote it, says it is “a statement of who we are,” adding that “it is a way of saying to ethnic minorities and the world that we not only tolerate but cherish our diversity.”

Not everyone is glowing with anti-white ardor. Tory MP Gerald Howarth calls it “social engineering on an enormous scale” and “an extraordinary affront to the 94 percent of the population which is not from ethnic minorities.” [Philip Johnston, Straw Wants to Rewrite Our History, Telegraph (London), Oct. 10, 2000.]

Yet another report to the Home Office has recommended that British police give preference to non-white officers in recruitment and promotion because it will “have the effect of increasing the visibility of ethnic minorities in the police service and the visibility of senior ethnic minority officers in the popular media.” Opposition Tories denounced the report, which was the result of 18 months of study, as “political correctness gone mad.” [David Bamber, Police Told to Promote Black Staff Above white, Telegraph (London), Oct. 29, 2000.]

White Bashing

Britain is reporting an increasing number of hate crimes, and non-whites are committing more of them. The number of such crimes in the year ending March 2000, was 20,632 or more than double the preceding period’s 9,503. Of the 27,017 suspects 63.3 percent were white, 20.1 percent were black and 7.8 percent were Asian. Britain does not keep detailed figures of the number of non-whites in the population they are estimated at five to ten percent. Even if they are as much as ten percent, they are four times more likely than whites to commit what is classified as a hate crime. As in the United States, however, it is crime committed by whites against non-whites that receives the most attention. [John Steele, More Whites Become Victims of Racially Motivated Crime, Telegraph (London), Oct. 12, 2000.]

Russell Revealed

The British publisher Jonathan Cape has just brought out the second volume of a massive biography of Bertrand Russell, and some of the philosopher’s observations have set the usual alarm bells ringing. In 1929 he reportedly wrote, “It seems fair to regard negroes as on the average inferior to white men.” In his book Marriage and Morals he wrote that “feeble-minded women” should be compulsorily sterilized, because “as everyone knows” they “have enormous numbers of illegitimate children, all, as a rule, wholly worthless to the community.” The book, Bertrand Russell 1921-70: The Ghost of Madness, is by Ray Monk. [Richard Morrison, Haunted by Madness, Times (London), Oct. 9, 2000.]

The Future of Fiji

The Pacific island of Fiji has a population of about 800,000 of whom 51 percent are native Fijians and 44 percent are descended from Indians brought in by the British during colonial times to do administrative work. In the July issue we reported that a group of ethnic Fijians was attempting to overthrow an elected government dominated by Indians. They stormed the parliament building and held government ministers hostage for 56 days before the Fijian-dominated military installed a Fijian, Laisenia Qarase, as interim prime minister. Mr. Qarase, who has been pondering options for a new constitution, says the Fijian majority will write Fijian dominance into law. “The general feeling among Fijians is that there must be better and stronger guarantees for indigenous Fijians to be in control of their political destiny,” he explained recently.

This is an almost letter-perfect replay of recent Fijian history. When Britain gave the country independence in 1970 it wrote Fijian “paramountcy” into the constitution. In April, 1987, an Indian-dominated party came to power but one month later a Fijian army colonel named Sitiveni Rabuka overthrew the new government and established himself as ruler. White countries put Fiji in the deep freeze, and in 1997 Mr. Rabuka accepted a constitution that did not guarantee Fijian supremacy. By May, 1999, Indians — who are much better organized and harder-working than Fijians — were back in the saddle, and this is what led to the coup this year. Once again the Fijians, who feel they are entitled to run the country, are being treated like international pariahs. Australia, New Zealand, the United States and France have imposed sanctions, cutting military links, reducing aid, ending foreign scholarships and banning visits by Fijian sports teams. Even the British Commonwealth has chucked Fiji out. No doubt Fijians will eventually relearn the benefits of “tolerance.” [Reuters, Fiji Leader Says Ethnic Indians Will Not Rule Again, Oct. 9, 2000.]

Non-Whites Needed

Everyone knows that a newspaper cannot report news properly unless it has non-white journalists. The 90 percent of American daily newspapers that have circulations under 75,000 are having a lot of trouble finding and keeping non-whites, so the American Society of Newspaper Editors, The Freedom Forum, and the Associated Press Managing Editors will sponsor a special effort to help them. The group will pay for 50 two-year fellowships of $20,000 each to supplement the salaries the journalists would have gotten anyway. The plan is to help retain non-whites, who leave the profession at nearly twice the white rate, and to give smaller papers a chance to compete with the big ones. Part of the problem, it appears, is that although most whites still start their careers at small papers, big papers so crave diversity that they are snapping neophyte non-whites up right out of school so the little papers have no chance at them. [Julie Aicher, AP, Oct. 20, 2000.]

Clean Break

The Oslo peace process, begun in 1993, anticipates an eventual independent Palestine with close ties to Israel. The two nations would share water, resources, and electricity, and have relatively open borders. In the wake of the current violence Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Barak has ordered preparation of a plan for complete separation that would reduce contact between the two peoples to zero. Besides separating the economies completely, the most immediate consequence would be to shut 120,000 Palestinians out of their current jobs in Israel. Israelis are confident they can bring in more East Europeans to do the work. The plan would include an elevated highway joining the West Bank and Gaza so Palestinians could move from one part of their country to the other without setting foot in Israel. Palestinians would be forbidden to ship products out of Israeli ports for fear that explosives might be hidden in the cargo. Current Israeli settlements close to the boundaries would be annexed and a few of the more remote ones — surrounded by hostile Palestinians — could be dismantled. The two countries would then behave as if they were thousands of miles apart rather than neighbors.

Separation is being promoted in a recent book that is all the rage in Israel. The author Dan Shueftan is a professor at Haifa University and says bluntly, “I don’t think anything based on goodwill can work with Palestinians . . . We should not be linked in any shape or form. The less contact the better.” [Ben Barber, Barak Scraps Joint Peace Efforts in Favor of Total Separation, Washington Times, Oct. 26, 2000, p. A11.]

Doubting Tomas

In 1997 and 1999, Thomas Edwin Wesson ran unsuccessfully for the Dallas, Texas, city council in a heavily Hispanic district. This year he is running again, but under a different name: Tomas Eduardo Wessen. His opponent, Mike Dupree, accuses him of trying to trick Hispanic voters, and wants the county district attorney to charge him with assuming a false identity. The county elections administrator says there is nothing he can do if someone files election papers under a new name. Mr. Dupree understands the temptation: “You know, someone actually approached me and said I should change my name to Miguel. But I said I wouldn’t do it because I’m not Hispanic. I’m Mike, not Miguel.” Mr. Wesson admits he isn’t Hispanic but defends his new name. “That’s how I spell Thomas,” he says. [AP, Texas Candidate Accused of Pandering, Oct. 11, 2000.]

Snakes Yes, Whites No

Thomas Fallon, a member of John Fremont’s American forces in California, is credited with raising the first American flag in what is now San Jose. Fallon, who later served as mayor of the city and whose restored house is a tourist attraction, planted the flag with little bloodshed in 1846 during the Mexican-American War. In the late 1980s the city spent $500,000 on an equestrian statue of the soldier but stored it in a warehouse when Hispanics complained he was an imperialist wretch. The city council decided it would be best to erect monuments to other ethnic groups before honoring a white man, and over the years put up a statue of local Ohlone Indians, one dedicated to the founding of the original Pueblo San José de Guadalupe by Hispanics, and a representation of the Aztec serpent-god Quetzalcoatl. The city fathers, believing that ethnic harmony had now been achieved, proposed to dust off old Fallon early in 2001 — along with a plaque explaining the controversy about him (no such apologies were necessary for the other statues). A plaque was, of course, not enough. A group called Pueblo Unido (People United) is up in arms, demonstrating at the Fallon House. “The statue is an insult to our ancestors, people who were lynched here,” said member Pascual Mendivil. “It’s like a red flag to racists out there that it’s open season on Mexicans.” The statue question remains unsolved. [Brian Bergstein, Statue Brings Controversy in Calif., AP, Oct. 15, 2000.]

Forbidden Flags

Santa Ynez Valley Union High School in Santa Barbara County, California, has forbidden students to bring flags to school — even American flags. Mexican students brought in a Mexican flag, to which whites replied with American flags and at least one Confederate flag. The students said they were merely showing patriotism but Principal Norm Clevenger said he thought the flag-waving “suggested intolerance.” He confiscated several American flags and suspended four students — race unspecified. Now the only flag allowed on school grounds is the American flag that flies from the school flagpole. [In Brief, San Jose Mercury News, Oct. 9, 2000.]

No Dual Loyalty Here

Matty Arreola is a Mexican who came to the United States illegally some time in 1980s and benefited from the 1986 amnesty, which made her a legal resident. She is now the co-host of a Spanish-language San Antonio, Texas, talk show called Matty y Ramon en la Mañana. The program, which airs shortly before sunrise and can be heard across the border in Mexico, regularly solicits call-ins from Mexicans who report where Border Patrol agents have been active that day. The idea is to give illegals tips on which border crossings to avoid. On the program agents are called limones verdes (green limes) because, as Miss Arreola puts it, “They are green and they will sour your whole day.” [Coded Radio Broadcasts Used to Tip Off Illegal Immigrants, AP, Oct. 15, 2000.]

Meet Mr. El-Amin

Sa’ad El-Amin is a member of the Richmond, Virginia, city council best known for wanting to remove Robert E. Lee from of an outdoor display of Virginia history. He is a firm opponent of any remembrance of the city’s Confederate past because “it glorifies slavery.”

Mr. El-Amin, a graduate of Yale Law School, was first elected from a largely black district in 1998. He changed his name from JeRoyd Wiley Greene to JeRoyd X Greene but then became Sa’ad El-Amin in the 1970s when he was chief counsel to the Nation of Islam. As a lawyer in Richmond, he set a state record for contempt-of-court violations and had his law license suspended for four years because he neglected clients’ interests.

Mr. Sa’ad El-Amin is in trouble again. He missed so many mortgage payments he almost had his house repossessed, and is now under fire for spending $1,115 in city money on a junket to Jamaica. He says he was hoping to encourage tourism by looking into making the Jamaican city of Negril a sister-city of Richmond but even the black mayor, Timothy Kaine, says Richmond already has six sister-cities and doesn’t need more. [Stephen Dinan, El-Amin Accused of Improper Spending, Washington Times, Sept. 18, p. A1.]

Indian Territory

Sports teams that play for San Diego State University in California are called Aztecs, and the school mascot is Monty Montezuma, who whoops around the field in a loincloth. Something called the Native American Student Alliance has made the usual stink, complaining that this is racist and “dehumanizing.” The student council has duly recommended that Monty, who has been the mascot since 1925, be retired in favor of something tame.

Surprisingly, this cave-in prompted an enormous surge of support for Monty and his Aztecs. The campus has been awash in “Save Monty” posters and buttons, and the school decided to take an official vote on the question. Campus votes are usually lackadaisical affairs, with only seven percent of students turning out to vote for the most recent election of student officers. The Monty vote garnered what was, by contrast, a massive 26 percent turnout. No fewer than 95 percent of voters wanted to keep the Aztec name and 87 percent wanted to keep Monty himself, loincloth and all. The final decision is up to university president Stephen Weber, who is not saying what he will do. [Samuel Autman, 95 Percent of SDSU Students Back Aztec Nickname, San Diego Union Tribune, Oct. 26, 2000.]

Break With the Past

Alabama was one of more than 20 states that wrote a ban on miscegenation into their constitutions. The 1964 Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia overturned all such laws and since then most states have amended their constitutions to remove the unenforceable provisions. Alabama has yet to do so, but a black state legislator has managed to get an amendment on the ballot this November. It is expected to pass, but it may not win by very much. The last state to vote on a similar issue was South Carolina, in 1998. Forty percent of voters wanted to keep the ban on interracial marriage.

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