O Tempora, O Mores! (February, 2002)

American Renaissance, February 2002

It Must Be Love

Marcella Anderson is a 21-year-old white woman from Minnesota who had an illegitimate child with a black man. On Christmas Eve, she was in Chicago with mulatto toddler Jasmine, and a three-year-old by another father. She was trying to take the children to the Greyhound station to catch a bus back to Minnesota, and was happy to accept a ride from Sheila Matthews, a 33-year-old black woman she had never met before. When Miss Anderson went to the ticket window, Miss Matthews made off with Jasmine.

Miss Matthews, we now know, has a history of kidnapping, faking pregnancies, and telling men she has had their children. In this case, she had told her convict boyfriend she had had his daughter while he was in prison. The boyfriend got out on parole in May, and wanted to see the girl, who Miss Matthews claimed was living with relatives. Desperate for evidence, Miss Matthews befriended Miss Anderson, stole Jasmine, and carried her off in triumph to her boyfriend in the suburbs.

When Miss Anderson got back from the ticket window and found Jasmine and her new friend gone, she went to police with pictures. Some were broadcast on television, and a few days later one of the boyfriend’s relatives recognized the child and reported the crime. Jasmine and her mother were quickly reunited. The kidnapper is now likely to face jail. She has at least two children of her own, but lost custody of them. The father of her children is in jail for child molestation. [Robert Pierre, Missing Girl Found Unharmed, Washington Post, Dec. 28, 2001, p. A4. Kim Barker and Cam Simpson, Abduction Suspect Was Accused Before, Chicago Tribune, Dec. 30, 2001.]

Our Kind Only

As the nation diversifies, so do the possibilities for housing discrimination. Integration advocates in California have discovered that as soon as immigrants become landlords, they discriminate in favor of their own kind. Some are willing to rent to whites, but it appears that only a minority of Hispanic landlords, for example, will rent to blacks. When the San Fernando Valley Fair Housing Council sent testers into the largely Hispanic area of Panorama City and North Hills, 13 of 20 apartment buildings would not rent to blacks. In Koreatown, 12 of 40 buildings discriminated against blacks, and in South-Central Los Angeles, 13 of 25 buildings discriminated. One black tester, Aretha Jackson, quit her job in disgust, convinced that Hispanic discrimination against blacks is so widespread nothing can be done about it. “I don’t look like scum, you know, I’ve been to school,” she says. “I ring a doorbell, and they won’t even show me anything.”

Sharon Kinlaw, who works as an investigator for the housing council, says landlords of every group discriminate, and none realizes it is illegal: “One thing we’re seeing across the board is, no matter if the managers are white, black, Hispanic or Asian, these folks don’t have a clue about state or federal fair housing law.” She also points out that Hispanics discriminate against each other. “You have the Guatemalans versus the Mexicans versus the Salvadorans,” she says.

Chancela Al-Mansour is a lawyer with Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County. “I’ve heard people saying, ‘Well, he’s from another state [within] Mexico,’” she says. “And the apartment manager only rents to people from the same state in Mexico. Our fair housing laws haven’t even anticipated that.” In fact, courts have already found that illegal.

Needless to say, when immigrants discriminate it’s not as bad as when whites do. “I don’t consider it the malicious kind of white racism we see against people of color,” says Shanna Smith (race unspecified), executive director of the National Fair Housing Alliance. “It seems to be more of a cultural preference . . . But it’s still illegal.” [Sue Fox, Mi Casa No Es Su Casa, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 21, 2001.]

The Babble of the Airways

Diversity brings other sorrows. The San Francisco Bay area has a Mandarin-language television station that immigrants love to watch, and are horrified that the country’s biggest Spanish-language network Univision is about to buy it. Several San Francisco activist groups and politicians have asked the Federal Communications Commission to force Univision to keep the daily 41/2 hours of Chinese programming, which includes news, variety shows and soap operas.

There are more Asians in San Francisco than Hispanics, but they do not have a common language as hHispanics do. Even among Chinese, there are Mandarin — and Cantonese-speakers, but all Hispanics speak Spanish. According to New California Media, an ethnic news network, there are more than 2,500 non-English news organizations in the state, but Spanish is often the only language with an audience large enough to support network television. [Michelle Smith, Ethnic Media Involved in Struggle, AP, Dec. 23, 2001.]

More Human Rights

Charles F. Holman, III is director of the Washington, DC Office of Human Rights, which stamps out discrimination among the district’s 33,000 employees. Mr. Holman, who is black, now faces charges of discrimination in a case filed by two whites. Since his office is the one that handles this kind of complaint, the two women filed their grievance with the discrimination-fighters at the DC public schools.

Laurie Bay says Mr. Holman treated her differently from blacks, requiring weekly activity reports and denying her training. She also says two other black supervisors in the office singled her out for harsh treatment, and that Mr. Holman recently hired a less qualified black woman to replace her. After she complained informally, she says, he gave her an unsatisfactory performance rating. Miss Bay has not worked since Dec. 4, claiming she suffers from a work-related stress disorder. The other white complainant, Shari Acosta, who reported to Miss Bay, says she got similar treatment and that Mr. Holman suddenly fired her without cause.

Blacks have noticed some things, too. Shelly Whiting, who used to work at the office as a receptionist, says she twice heard a black manager make insulting remarks about whites and light-skinned blacks. She says Mr. Holman did not discourage such talk, and definitely treated blacks and whites differently. Tamika Maultsby, a case worker who also resigned, says that with “a lot of [that kind of] stuff going on in the office, it’s just too much.” A source on the security staff for the building says Mr. Holman twice ordered guards to escort employees from the building for no apparent reason. “That’s totally not standard operating procedure,” he said. “You would only do that if someone’s violent or suspected of stealing.”

The problem with Mr. Holman should be resolved soon. Carolyn Graham, the deputy mayor who oversees the Office of Human Rights, has paid an organizational psychologist $19,000 to interview the staff and defuse tensions. [Sewell Chan, Rights Chief Accused of Bias, Washington Post, Dec. 30, 2001.]

Nation of Dropouts

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the country has an 86 percent high school graduation rate, and that people of all races graduate at about the same rate. Jay Greene, author of a recent study published by the Manhattan Institute says that figure is inflated. He disregarded GEDs and other substitutes, and simply compared the number of eighth graders in one year and the number of graduates four years later. He juggled the numbers to account for demographic change, and found that 78 percent of whites graduate but only 56 percent of blacks and 54 percent of Hispanics. Naturally, graduation rates differ greatly from state to state. In Iowa, 93 percent of all students graduate but in Georgia only 57 percent do. Blacks do best in West Virginia, where 71 percent graduate, and worst in Wisconsin, where only 40 percent graduate. [John Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru, There Aren’t as Many High-School Graduates as You Think, National Review, Nov. 13, 2001. Cheryl Wetzstein, Study: Graduation Rates ‘Implausibly High,’ Washington Times, Nov. 14, 2001.]

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Dan Issel used to make $2.5 million a year as the coach of the Denver Nuggets basketball team. Not any more. On December 11, he got into a shouting match with a fan after a 99-96 loss, and concluded the exchange with: “Go drink another beer you Mexican piece of (expletive).” It was “Mexican” that got him in trouble, not the expletive. Hispanics bellowed and threatened boycott. Mr. Issel made a tearful public apology and groveled to Hispanic leaders. The team first suspended Mr. Issel for four games and fined him $112,000, but that apparently wasn’t enough. On December 26, general manager Kiki Vanderweghe told reporters, “Dan thought it was best for himself, his family and the Nuggets that he step back from coaching.” [Denver Nuggets Coach Resigns Over Ethnic Slur, Reuters, Dec. 26, 2001.]

Loose Lips Sink More Ships

Tarvis Simms is a black man married to a white woman. They have two children and live in Milford, Connecticut. In 1999, they got into a feud with their white neighbors, Wilfred and Michelle Chaisson, over the use of a shared driveway. The Simms say that before long the Chaissons were shouting racial insults at them. They also say the Chaissons “harassed” them by flying a Confederate flag. This led to candlelight vigils, prayer meetings and the formation of something called the Milford Anti-Hate Task Force. In November 1999, police arrested the Chaissons on felony hate crime charges, and in March 2001, the couple pleaded no contest to reduced charges and got suspended sentences.

What makes this case unusual are the conditions a Superior Court judge attached to the plea bargain. The Chaissons had a choice between jail and taking down the Confederate flag, selling their house and moving out of town, and submitting to “cultural diversity training.” They sold the house, moved, and took the training. Now the Simms are suing them for monetary damages in civil court, claiming the Chaissons’ actions hurt Mr. Simms boxing career and made his children get bad grades in school. [Tucker McCormack, Family Sues Over Harassment, New Haven Register, Dec. 29, 2001. Frank Juliano, Milford Bias Victims Suing Former Neighbors, Connecticut Post, Dec. 29, 2001.]

Blacks v. Blacks

There are 269 Somalis in the Boston public schools, and nearly 100 of them attend English High School. American blacks don’t like them. On November 6, tensions escalated into a serious brawl when black students started snatching off the scarves Somali girls wear on their heads. “This was the most angry mob of kids I ever saw,” says Pat Mullane, a teacher. “It was very frightening.” She said the American blacks knocked Somalis to the floor and stomped them, while others linked arms around the mayhem to stop teachers from getting in to break up the fight. There were police officers on campus later that week, and all students were searched with metal detectors. “This is just the beginning,” says one Somali senior. “More will happen.”

Boston Schools Superintendent Thomas W. Payzant is clearly on top of the situation: “When you have students representing many different cultures and some different values, we’re going to need to be sensitive to differences and give young people the kind of tools to understand those differences and respect them without trying to resolve them with inappropriate or illegal behavior,” he says. [Sandy Coleman, Somalis Say Students are Targeted, Boston Globe, Nov. 10, 2001.]

Dat Ol’ Debil Racism

On October 27, the Water Street Tavern and Restaurant Association in Milwaukee sponsored a Halloween costume contest. Master of ceremonies for the contest was a radio personality from a local FM radio station. Station interns picked out 10 particularly good costumes, and then judged the winner according to how loudly the crowd cheered. Alas, the winner was a white man in black face dressed as Aunt Jemima. He wore a padded calico dress with a cloth around his head, and strutted around a makeshift stage carrying a frying pan and throwing pancakes to the crowd. The mostly-white audience whooped with approval. The usual people are distressed. Jerry Hamilton of the NAACP is “sad and distraught” and “really shocked” by the contest, saying there should have been sensitivity standards for the costumes. The radio station has apologized and says it will set guidelines for taking part in promotions. [Tom Heinen and Gary Rummler, WKTO Site Featured ‘Aunt Jemima,’ Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee), Nov. 4, 2001.]

Keeping the Police Busy

As they do in many cities, police officers in Los Angeles must now keep a record of the race of every person they stop. Beginning on Nov. 1, they had to record the “apparent descent” of the person (white, black, Hispanic, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, American Indian or other). They also have to indicate whether they frisked the person and why they stopped him. During the coming year, Los Angeles officers will probably fill out 700,000 such forms.

The reason for the paperwork is that they are presumed to be guilty of racial profiling, and the data are supposed to smoke out offenders. It is all part of a federal consent decree the department entered into with the US Department of Justice, which suspected “racism” on the force. There are now more than 60 police departments in California that gather this kind of information, and several other states also require it.

Of course, no one knows what the data will mean. How many frisked Mexicans is too many frisked Mexicans? Some people have pointed out that anti-gang units do a lot of stopping and frisking, and that gang members “happen to be” black and Hispanic. Also, during commuting hours, there may be a lot of whites driving through Hispanic neighborhoods. Will their presence skew the results?

A recent Los Angeles Times article on the new system even hints there may be good reason to stop non-whites. It cites a study by a University of Southern California professor Howard Greenward conducted for the Sacramento Police Department:

Although more than twice the percentage of blacks were stopped by police for minor violations than are present in Sacramento’s population, racial bias did not seem to explain the disparity, he [Prof. Greenward] said.

Only 14% of Sacramento’s population, blacks represented 42% of suspects described by witnesses to dispatchers and 46% of parolees, both factors that give police additional cause for scrutinizing people.

More important, he said, the high percentage of blacks stopped by police appeared to be tied to targeted law enforcement in high-crime neighborhoods, which happened to be disproportionately black.

Courts have given police wide latitude to stop people in areas where crimes have occurred, and because more blacks lived in such areas in Sacramento, they got stopped more.

Greenward found no significant difference in the racial and ethnic patterns of traffic stops among black, white and Latino officers. He also said the patterns seemed to permeate the ranks and were not limited to the activities of a few rogue officers. [Jill Leovy, Paper Trail Begins on Racial Profiling, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 12, 2001.]

Even in these benighted times, a few people are still willing to look at the facts.

Aiding the Virus

New antiretroviral drugs now make it possible to keep people with AIDS alive indefinitely, but the drugs have to be taken consistently. People on the dole who have AIDS get the drugs for free, but many forget to take them. In a recent study of 1,740 welfare recipients with AIDS who started taking antiretroviral drugs in 1996, 35 percent had stopped taking their free drugs two years later. Not surprisingly, there were racial differences: Thirty percent of white welfare recipients couldn’t manage to keep taking them while 40 percent of blacks couldn’t. As Stephen Crystal of Rutgers University who conducted the study delicately put it, “African Americans still seem to experience barriers not just to initiating these therapies, but perhaps more critically to continuing on them consistently.” Such carelessness can be dangerous to others. People who do not take the drug consistently make it easier for the AIDS virus to mutate into drug-resistant forms. [Charnicia Huggins, US Blacks Delay Start of AIDS Therapy, Quit Sooner, Reuters Health, Dec. 26, 2001.]

Bad to Worse in Zim

Cathy Buckle is a white woman who lives on a farm in Zimbabwe, and writes occasionally about the horrors that beset her country. She reports that although Zimbabwe used to export food, the paralysis caused by farm invasions means the country is running out of food. International relief agencies estimate as many as one million Zimbabweans could go hungry in the months to come. Government authorities acknowledge the crisis and have asked for aid, but they have forbidden aid agencies to distribute the food. “We will not allow strangers to roam around our country interfering,” explained the information minister, saying Zimbabwe would handle distribution. Mrs. Buckle notes that the food crisis will only get worse because the blacks who have invaded white-owned farms are often unable even to grow food for themselves, much less run a commercial farm.

On November 17, a gang of about 500 supporters of President Robert Mugabe rampaged through the streets of Bulawayo, attacking whites. They knocked many to the ground and pulled others from cars and beat them. Most of the victims, both men and women, were old people. Police were present but seemed to be acting mainly as escorts to the mob. [Mugabe’s Mob Rule, Sunday Times (Australia), Nov. 18, 2001.]

Mrs. Buckle writes that white farm houses are being looted with impunity, and that farmers live in fear for their lives. Mrs. Buckle concludes: “We are all alone, powerless and frightened of where, how and when this will stop.”

Hasta La Vista, Baby

For years, Mexican immigrants have been pouring into North Carolina to work in furniture and textile factories. Now, with the economy weaker, some are losing their jobs and going home. The evidence is everywhere. Newspaper reporters learned that sales of charter bus tickets to the Mexican border are up 20 to 40 percent over last year. Apartment complexes that used to be jammed with Mexicans are now reporting vacancy rates of 20 to 25 percent. Mexicans are wiring less money home. The manager of Lupitas Tienda Mexicana on Central Avenue in Charlotte says that on an ordinary weekend Hispanics use her Western Union machine to send home about $70,000. Now they are sending about $40,000. The Mexican National Migration Institute reports that in the two months since the Sept. 11 attacks, 350,000 Mexicans returned from the United States, nine percent more than during the same period last year. [Christina Breen, Numbers in Holiday Exodus Grow, Charlotte Observer, Nov. 17, 2001.]

It is common for Mexican illegals to go home for the holidays and then sneak back in January. Now, with heightened surveillance because of terrorism, it is harder to cross the border, so there is a good chance many of the Mexicans heading south will stay there.

Mullah Protectionism

Britain, with its tolerant amnesty laws, has long been a haven for radical Muslims for whom even the Middle East is too hot. Abu Hamza al-Masri is wanted in Yemen for terrorist bombings, but preaches at a mosque in London. Sheikh Omar Bakri was expelled from Saudi Arabia for anti-government activity, but now teach radical Islam in Ealing.

Men like them have found a ready welcome among the millions of British Muslims. Muhammed Kureishi, for example, was born in Blackburn of Pakistani parents and has lived in northern England all his life. He has never been to Pakistan or the Middle East, but is a fervent Muslim who dreams of the day when the caliphate is reestablished and Islam rules the world. “Legally, I’m a Brit,” he says, “but I don’t consider myself British.” Recently he joined some 100 demonstrators in Blackburn, who carried pictures of Osama bin Laden, and chanted slogans like “Muslims of the world unite with the Taliban.” A number of radical clerics have bragged about the number of “Brits” like Mr. Kureishi who have been recruited to fight in Chechnya and Afghanistan. [Sharon Waxman, True Believers, Washington Post, Nov. 23, 2001, p. C1.]

This sort of thing bothers a few people — but not, apparently ordinary Englishmen. The most vocal opponents of radical Islam are the “moderate” Muslims who don’t like foreign preachers poaching on their turf, and who think the crazier ones give them a bad name. They also think that by cosying up to the government they can get financial help for their own religious institutes. Sheik Ahmed Badwi, who runs a training center for clerics called the Muslim College, says he wants the government to shut down some 300 after-hours schools that teach jihad and martyrdom. He says the government should support his school, and make it harder for foreign mullahs to get work visas.

Abdul Haqq Baker, who runs a London mosque, is also a protectionist. He says too many imported preachers can’t even speak English and don’t understand the West. He says they get funding from Arab countries to turn British-born Pakis and Bangladeshis into holy warriors. According to current regulations, if a British mosque sponsors a foreign mullah, he gets an immediate visa, and both Sheik Badwi and Mr. Baker have complained to Home Secretary David Blunkett about this. Mr. Blunkett has agreed to changes that would give preferences to British-trained clerics and make it harder for foreigners to take their jobs. [Paul Martin, London Targets Muslim Radicals, Washington Times, Dec. 28, 2001. p. A13.]

More Pakis

Mr. and Mrs. Shujat Ali of Pakistan are the parents of the first baby born in Australia in 2002. Mrs. Ali speaks almost no English and had little to say about the birth, which occurred at 12:15 a.m., but Mr. Ali pronounced himself pleased that his seven — and five-year-old daughters now have a baby sister. [First 2002 Baby Dad’s Birthday Surprise, Sydney Morning Herald, Jan. 1, 2002.]

Wretched Refuse

Just over a majority of the people living in Miami-Dade County in Florida were born in a country other than the United States. At 51 percent, the figure is the highest for any “American” metropolitan area. In the city of Miami itself, 61 percent of residents are foreign-born. [Andrea Elliott and Jason Grotto, 51 Percent in Miami-Dade Were Born in Other Nations, Washington Post, Nov. 20, 2001.]

Not coincidentally, Miami has the highest poverty rate of any “American” city of 250,000 or more. Thirty-two percent fall below the standard of $17,603 for a family of four or $8,794 for a single person. The city is almost always near the top of the poverty list. In 1990, it was fourth, and in 1980 it was third. As City Manager Carlos Gimenez explains, “This is a city of extremes. You have rich and very rich and you have a lot of poor people. What we don’t have is the middle class.” [Jason Grotto and William Yardley, Miami Herald, Nov. 20, 2001.]

Quick Justice

Penis thieves have been spotted again in Africa, this time in Cotonou, the capital of Benin. It is widely believed they can steal penises right out of a man’s trousers with just a handshake. This time, the thieves got their just deserts. In November, alert citizens caught three foreigners of unspecified nationality and burned them to death. College students likewise caught a Nigerian penis thief and gave him a sound thrashing. [Three Alleged ‘Penis Thieves’ Burnt Alive, Agence France Presse, Nov. 24, 2002.]

Hide and Sikh

As part of heightened security in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, airport security guards have been asking Sikhs to remove their turbans for searches. Under pressure from the Maryland-based Sikh Mediawatch and Resources Task Force, the Federal Aviation Administration has now declared it illegal to make a Sikh take off his turban. For Sikhs, the turban is sacred, and a Sikh man may never bare his head in public. Sikhs will also be allowed to carry ceremonial daggers or kirpans on board airplanes, but they must be small,, and packed in their luggage. [Viji Sundaram, Turban Searches Illegal, FAA Says, San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 25, 2001.]

Who Needs Americans?

Last year, executives from Intel, Motorola, and Sun Microsystems lobbied Congress to expand quotas for what are known as H1-B visas, which are granted to scientists and computer specialists. The companies insisted there were not enough trained Americans to keep the industry going, but by the time new regulations were written, the dot-com boom went bust and the economy slowed. There have been 600,000 layoffs in the industry during the last 10 months, but that has not stopped high-tech companies from bringing in a record 163,200 foreign workers during the year on H-1B visas.

Texas Instruments is typical, with 800 H-1B workers who make up three percent of the payroll. In the past year, TI has laid off 2,500 workers but will not say if any of them held H1-B visas. American workers claim the system is mainly a way to recruit docile foreigners who are so grateful to be in the United States they will accept low pay and bad conditions. There is almost no policing of companies who hire H-1B workers, and even some of the immigrants have begun to complain of starvation wages and threats of deportation if they complain. [Jube Shiver, Tech Workers Complaining About Use of Visa Program, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 25, 2001.]

Abu-Jamal Lives (For Now)

On Dec. 9, 1981, Black Panther Party activist Mumia Abu-Jamal shot Philadelphia policeman Daniel Faulkner once in the back, and then again in the face, killing him. He has never denied the crime. Convicted and sentenced to death, Mr. Abu-Jamal has since won the support of European leftists and Hollywood liberals like Martin Sheen, who say he is a victim of a racist justice system. With their support, Mr. Abu-Jamal has conducted a relentless publicity campaign to avoid his sentence. Despite all the noise, Mr. Abu-Jamal’s efforts bore little fruit. In 1995, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence, and denied his attempt at another appeal in 1998. The US Supreme Court rejected his appeal in 1999.

With a new team of lawyers, Mr. Abu-Jamal launched another round of appeals. On Dec. 17, he got lucky. Although he found that Mr. Abu-Jamal had a fair trial, Federal judge William Yohn said the jurors who sentenced him may have been confused by the judge’s instructions and the verdict sheet, and may not have had a chance to consider “mitigating circumstances.” Judge Yohn overturned Mr. Abu-Jamal’s death sentence, ordering prosecutors to hold a new sentencing hearing within 180 days.

The Philadelphia District Attorney was outraged, as was Daniel Faulkner’s widow. Prosecutor Lynn Abraham promised to appeal the ruling, and even if the ruling is upheld and a new sentencing hearing takes place, there is no guarantee the death sentence will be overturned. Mr. Abu-Jamal may yet face the needle.

There was jubilation in Europe, where Mr. Abu-Jamal has become the fair-haired lad of the lefties. “We are pleased,” said Elisabetta Zamtarutti of the Italian anti-death penalty group Hands off Cain. “Abu-Jamal became a symbol because he was a black writer who raised both the question of racial discrimination and the death penalty.”

Sparing this killer’s life will not be enough for his fans. Amnesty International says justice won’t be done until he gets a new trial. Jeff Mackler of something called Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal wants him back on the streets. “If they give him a life sentence without bail, that’s totally unacceptable to us.” [David Morgan, Judge Overturns Death Sentence for Abu-Jamal, Reuters, Dec. 18, 2001.]

Disorder in the Court

For the first time in 26 years, the Illinois Courts Commission has removed a sitting judge from the Cook County Bench. Oliver Spurlock, who is black, was found to have sexually harassed four female prosecutors. Over a period of several years, he made a practice of luring them into his office, where he groped and kissed them.

Judge Spurlock stoutly denied all charges, claiming the women who brought them were “racists” or “drunks.” The commission chose to believe the women. The judge did admit he had managed to get a court reporter into his office and have sex with her, and grudgingly conceded this was a violation of judicial ethics. He has now been bounced from his $127,000-a-year job, and the state agency that disciplines lawyers will decide whether he should be disbarred because of the false testimony he gave during the inquiry. [Abdon Pallasch, ‘An Embarrassment to the Robe,’ Chicago Sun-Times, Dec. 4, 2001.]

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