American Renaissance, April 2002
As AR goes to press, the people of Zimbabwe are at the polls, presumably choosing between current president Robert Mugabe, who has run the country during all 22 years of black rule, and his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai, a trade union leader and head of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Neither the campaign nor the election has been remotely fair. Since the hard-fought election of 2000 activists in Mr. Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party have killed more than 100 MDC supporters and candidates, and have beaten and tortured thousands. The government has banned MDC campaigning in large parts of the country, and reduced the number of polling stations in Harare and Bulawayo, where the MDC has the most strength. As balloting began on March 8, there were lines of voters a mile long at downtown Harare polling stations, where red tape and antiquated polling equipment were processing an estimated eight people per hour.
Several opinion surveys have shown that Mr. Tsvangirai could beat Mr. Mugabe in a fair election. In the last years of his power, Mr. Mugabe has grown increasingly erratic and anti-white, blaming the country’s annual six to eight percent decline in GNP on sabotage by the white minority, who are no more than 70,000 out of a population of six million. He says Mr. Tsvangirai, whom he calls a “tea boy,” is a stooge of the whites and of Britain, the former colonial power, which wants to reestablish white rule.
It is, of course, ZANU-PF’s mismanagement and corruption that have brought misery and famine to what was once one of Africa’s best-run economies. After strangling the formerly profitable mining sector, Mr. Mugabe turned on white farmers. Whites are virtually the only people in Zimbabwe who run commercial rather than subsistence farms. They accounted for the country’s profitable food exports, and their efficiency kept food prices low. Three years ago, Mr. Mugabe gave bands of thugs the green light to occupy white farms and terrorize workers and owners. Blacks have killed half-a-dozen farmers and have driven thousands off the land. Blacks who occupy the farms have neither the knowledge nor the discipline to run them, and what were once bustling plantations are now shanty towns surrounded by hand-tilled plots. Large-scale farming is essentially at a standstill, and the country now needs food aid. Foreign investment has dropped from $436 million in 1998, before the latest anti-white excesses, to $5.4 million last year. Tourism, which used to be an important industry, has virtually disappeared.
Mr. Mugabe makes no secret of his goals: “Zimbabwe is for black people not white people,” he said at a recent political rally. He has encouraged supporters to mob the headquarters of white-owned businesses, and to beat up passing whites in the streets. Although most Zimbabwe whites have no legal ties to any other country, Mr. Mugabe has revoked their Zimbabwean citizenship and struck many from voting lists. He follows the standard black pattern of blaming everything that goes wrong on whites.
The election results cannot be good. If Mr. Mugabe wins, everyone will assume he stole the election. As he explained when asked if he would abide by the results, “I would accept the results because I would have won.” In the unlikely event there is enough honest vote-counting to confirm a victory for the MDC, there would probably be a military coup. Either outcome could lead to civil war, further economic deterioration, and untold horrors.
Events in Zimbabwe have prompted edifying developments elsewhere. At its biennial summit in Australia in March, just before the election, the Commonwealth debated — and shelved — a British proposal to suspend Zimbabwe from the organization. There was a perfect black/white split, with all white countries in favor of suspension and all African ones opposed. British Prime Minister Tony Blair insisted the disagreement had nothing to do with race. Mr. Mugabe contributed to the debate by telling reporters Mr. Blair could “go to hell.”
Both in the Commonwealth and at the US State Department, which recently issued a report criticizing Zimbabwe, the focus has been on Mr. Mugabe’s repression of political opposition. There is hardly an African country — Commonwealth member or not — that has free elections, and plenty of respectable countries like Saudi Arabia don’t bother with elections at all. Far more serious is his campaign against whites, for which criticism is ominously absent in neighboring South Africa. In healthier times, British troops would be instantly dispatched to end such outrages, and the American public would be shouting for stern measures. Now, the whole continent knows that whites can be murdered and dispossessed with impunity. South African whites should be paying close attention.
On Feb. 21, a white teenage girl living in Ballard, Washington, held a party at her house while her mother was out of town. Just past midnight, four Hispanic men in their 20s, dressed identically in FUBU-brand jackets and black pants, arrived uninvited. “Do you feel like beating some white guys?” they reportedly asked a black partygoer, who declined the invitation, and went into the backyard for a smoke. The Hispanics then attacked a white teenager, whom they threw to the ground, where they repeatedly kicked and punched him. They also punched several other whites who tried to come to his rescue. After a few minutes, they went out the door to a car, but returned to give the victim a few more kicks before driving off. The 17-year-old was hospitalized in serious condition. [Ian Ith, Hate Crime Suspected in Attacks in Ballard, Seattle Times, Feb. 22, 2002.]
Early in January, 18-year-old Clark Barr hung a large Canadian flag on the sliding glass door of his ground-floor apartment in Edmonton, Canada, as a gesture of support for Canadian troops preparing to leave for Afghanistan. A few days later he got a note from his landlord ordering him to take down the flag because it might offend non-Canadians and new immigrants. Mr. Barr’s landlord is not even foreign. It is Boardwalk Equities, a Calgary company that owns many apartment buildings in Edmonton. Mr. Barr did as he was told. [Jim Farrell, Tenant Ordered to Remove ‘Offensive’ Canadian Flag, Edmonton Journal, Jan. 21, 2001.]
Pandering Shamelessly to Whites
Candidates for the March 12 Democratic primary for the Texas governor’s race have debated each other in Spanish. On March 1st, businessman Tony Sanchez and former Texas attorney general Dan Morales spoke in English for an hour and then switched to Spanish for a second hour. The first hour’s discussion was about conventional politics whereas the second hour concentrated on such things as racial preferences and relations with Mexico.
Mr. Morales, who made a more traditional appeal to Hispanics, seems to have won the Spanish debate. He accused Mr. Sanchez of hypocrisy for going to Harvard Law School but opposing race preferences. Mr. Sanchez also lost points by occasionally speaking English during the Spanish debate, and by saying English is the “primary language” of Texas. Carlos Rivera, who watched the debate, said Mr. Sanchez was “pandering to non-Hispanics.”
Texas is 35 percent Hispanic, and the electorate is 20 percent Hispanic. [Kelley Shannon, Texas Candidates Debate in Spanish, AP, March 2, 2002.]
According to South Africa’s Minimum Sentencing Act, child rapists are supposed to get life sentences unless there are “essential and compelling circumstances.” Magistrate Seka Monaledi managed to find such circumstances, when he heard the case of 18-year-old Success Makwetsa, who admitted raping a five-year-old girl. Medical examiners found evidence the girl had already had sexual intercourse and was therefore not a virgin. Given the loose character of the girl, Magistrate Monaledi decided the appropriate punishment was a suspended sentence.
A Pretoria High Court Judge, Johan Els, was furious when he learned of the ruling, pointing out that if the girl was not a virgin it was no doubt because she had been raped before — perhaps by Mr. Makwetsa — and that the past experience or behavior of a five-year-old could have no possible bearing on the rapist’s sentence. He promised to reopen the case against Mr. Makwetsa. [Nicolize Mulder and Sonja Carstens, Rape Victim, 5, ‘Not a Virgin,’ News24, South Africa, Feb. 4, 2002.]
Israelis are considering firm measures to keep Israel Jewish. In an article called “How To Force Them To Leave,” one of the most prominent writers for a leading Russian-Israeli daily, Novosti, suggested that if Arabs were threatened with castration they might be persuaded to go elsewhere. Marian Belenki also proposed the Chinese method for lowering birth rates: Any Arabs who had more than one child would be deprived of benefits, fired from their jobs, and threatened with exile. She also suggested Arab men be offered cash in return for sterilization. Novosti’s editor later apologized for the article, and gave the editor who approved it a three-month suspension. Novosti did not, however, receive any complaints about the article from its readers. [Lily Galili, Israeli-Russian Journalist Calls for Castration as Anti-terror Step, Haaretz (Israel), Jan. 19, 2002.]
Anarchy in the Congo has left a power vacuum in which old tribal animosities have taken a deadly turn. Fighting between the Hema and the Lendu in the northeastern part of the country claimed up to 200 lives during intense clashes on Feb. 14 and 15. Tribesmen fought with spears and machetes in the latest battles of a feud that has left thousands dead in just a few years. A spokesman for the Hema says the fight is over land. “There are too many economic interests, too much interest in raw materials,” explained Baptiste Dhetchuvi. “It’s a region that has gold and timber.”
The America to Come
In New York City, 20.4 percent of every high school senior class fails to graduate. However, when the city tallies all the students who drop out before senior year, or who are held back and “age out” of the system when they turn 21, the dropout rate rises to 30.5 percent. The rate would be even higher if it included students who leave during junior high school, but no one keeps track of them. Blacks and Hispanics drop out at twice the rate of whites and Asians. [Carl Campanile, Call it Dropout City, New York Post, March 2, 2002.]
A federal judge has ruled that the US Army’s promotion standards discriminate against white men. In a ruling that could completely revamp the Army’s personnel policies, Judge Royce Lamberth of the DC Circuit Court found the current race and sex preferences unconstitutional. The US Supreme Court has clearly ruled that preferences are permitted only if there has been proven past discrimination, and Judge Lamberth found that, if anything, since 1970 blacks have been promoted more quickly than whites. It was not immediately clear whether the Army would appeal the ruling or what position the Bush administration would take. [Neely Tucker, Judge Halts An Army Policy on Promotion, Washington Post, March 5, 2001, p. A1.]
Keeping Them Out
Malaysia is a reasonably successful Asian nation that has attracted immigrants from poorer countries. It is a member of the Commonwealth, and has traditionally admitted citizens of other Commonwealth nations without visas, but is about to change that policy for Africans. Too many are overstaying their tourist period, setting up as street vendors, and committing crimes. “They are not only depriving locals of business opportunities but are also a nuisance,” says Deputy Home Minister Chor Chee Heung, noting that Africans cause disturbances in bars and other entertainment spots. Just a few weeks ago, Malaysian police rounded up 200 Africans as part of an anti-crime effort in the capital Kuala Lumpur. There are now 5,000 foreigners in Malaysian jails and many are African. [Malaysia Considers Visa Restrictions on Africans, Reuters, Feb. 10, 2002.]
Making the Grade
ABC News president David Westin has put his staff on notice — use non-whites for on-air or taped comments, or else. The network has a database of 480 minority commentators, but news producers ignore most of them. In February, Mr. Westin upped the ante by reminding his staff that evaluations will be based in part on how many non-white sources they use. ABC spokesman Jeffrey Schneider explains that “diversity is very important to this news division and company, both in front of and behind the camera. We’re proud of our efforts to try to reflect the great diversity in our country.”
CBS and NBC have similar lists of non-white sources, and also grade producers on how often they use them. CNN has diversity plans, but doesn’t grade producers. Fox News has no plan. Spokeswoman Irena Steffan says its sources are “people who know what they’re talking about.” [Peter Johnson, ABC News’ Evaluation: Diversity is a Priority, USA Today, Feb. 18, 2002.]
Cassandra Chandler was appointed FBI training director on February 5, making her the highest-ranking black woman at the bureau. Her top priority? Eliminating the FBI’s “old-boy network.” “I think you are going to see that crashing rapidly,” she says. “The world is changing. We have to make sure that we have the skills, the mindset and the type of individuals with multiple backgrounds who can take on this big world.” Assistant Director Chandler will oversee training for the 900 new agents the agency wants to hire by September. [Toni Locy, FBI Appoints Training Director, USA Today, Feb. 6, 2002, p. 5A.]
In February, as part of her 50-year jubilee, Queen Elizabeth visited Jamaica. She performed her usual ceremonial duties, but was met with frequent messages along her route from Rastafarians. They have long sought repatriation to Africa, which they consider their homeland, and think the Queen can somehow help them. “Colonization has disfigured us, and we deserve some response to what we have been through,” says Sam Clayton of something called Mystic Revelation of Rastafari. The Queen’s views of the matter are not recorded. [Ratsas Want Queen to Send Them to Africa, Miami Herald, Feb. 18, 2002, p. 11-A. Horace Helps, Britain’s Queen Arrives in Jamaica for Visit, Reuters, Feb. 18, 2002.]
Tafari Rennock is a 23-year-old Jamaican who would rather be in North America than go back to Africa. He lived in the United States for several years, where he accumulated a lengthy criminal record of burglary, rape, drug-peddling, and robbery. Two years ago, the US deported him back to Jamaica, but he slipped into Canada. Police arrested him as an illegal and turned him over to immigration officials. The Immigration and Refugee Board promptly granted him refugee status, and now refuses to discuss the case, citing the need for confidentiality. [Tom Godfrey, Cops Rage Because Violent Fugitive’s Still Here, Toronto Sun, Feb. 20, 2002.]
When the Spanish conquered Mexico in the 16th Century, they converted the natives to Catholicism. Rather than turn away completely from their ancient beliefs, many Indians wove them into the new ceremonies. Now the Tzeltal Indians of Chiapas want the Church officially to recognize their brand of hybrid Catholicism as a distinctive Catholic rite. Juan Giron, a Tzeltal representative, said they need a Church with “its own identity in its own language, with a faith and spirituality that reflect reality, in its own liturgy, symbols and celebrations.” [Indians Ask For Mix in Religious Rites, Herald (Miami), Jan 14, 2002, p.5-A.]
On a Wing and a Prayer
We reproduce the following news story, verbatim, from the South African news service, News24:
Johannesburg — Huffing and puffing, a fainting pilot, a missing jack and an empty nitrogen canister added to passengers’ fury when a Kenya Airways flight was stranded with a flat tire.
After the flight was postponed by a fortnight ‘for technical reasons,’ an airline official added fuel to their fury by calling passengers and journalists unpatriotic trouble-makers.
About 42 passengers were on board and ready to fly from Kisumu to Berlin via Jomo Kenyatta Airport when the pilot noticed the flat tire. No spare was available and the nitrogen canister at the airport at Kisumu was empty.
‘One of the passengers suggested that we take the tire to the nearest garage to have it inflated. But then we discovered that the jack was missing, so we couldn’t remove the tire,’ airline spokesperson Weseka Sambu explained to Kenyan newspaper The Standard.
‘Our technicians bravely tried to pump it with a bicycle pump but it didn’t work. One pilot even tried to inflate it by mouth but he fainted,’ said Sambu.
When I announced that the flight had been cancelled, one of the passengers slapped me in the face with the whistle of a life-jacket and said we (Kenya Airways) were a national embarrassment.
I told him he was exaggerating and that there would be another flight in two weeks’ time. He could use the opportunity to explore the wonderful natural beauty of Kisumu.
He was just very upset that he would not be reimbursed for the two weeks’ accommodation in Kisumu.
Sambu said any airline could develop such a technical problem. ‘It was nothing serious.’ [Erika Gibson, Huffing About Flat Plane Tyre, News24, March 3, 2001.]
The dimensions of the AIDS epidemic in South Africa are generally well known. In 1994, at the start of black rule, about eight percent of the adult population carried the HIV virus; now the figure is 25 percent. International organizations call AIDS the single biggest killer in the country, and project that more than half of the country’s 15-year-olds will die of AIDS-related diseases. Not everyone is worried. Thabo Mbeki, president of South Africa, says whites deliberately overplay the disease so they can think of Africans as “promiscuous carriers of germs.” His advisors say foreign drug companies want to stir up fear so they can sell more drugs that don’t work anyway.
Meanwhile, the New York Times recently looked into the way ordinary Africans in the most heavily infected province, KwaZulu Natal, think about the disease. In the Zulu town of Hlabisa, 35 percent of adults are HIV positive. The men are essentially fatalistic. “Because if your are a man, you are born to die,” says one. “We are not scared of death,” says a police officer. “I don’t see the importance of AIDS.” Another man is somewhat more reflective: “Because we are Zulus, we don’t believe AIDS can affect us. We see our sisters dying, but we don’t believe it’s AIDS. We think it’s TB or pneumonia.” By now they have all heard the message about safe sex, but when more than 1,000 Hlabisa adults were asked about condoms, only 26 percent said they had ever used one. The men say condoms dull the pleasure, and many are suspicious of them. “Some men say condoms come from the white man to stop us having children,” says one 40-year-old. “Some think the AIDS is inside the condom,” he adds.
Most women have no say over whether a man uses a condom. One morning eight women in their 20s and early 30s who work as volunteer AIDS educators gathered to practice delivering the message: Don’t have sex; if you do, use a condom; stick to one partner. Not one of the women takes her own advice. As one explained:
“For us Zulus, it has been a tradition for men to have extra women. We do ask them to stop, but it’s up to them to change. If he doesn’t want to use condoms, I can’t do anything. If I say no, he might go and take another lady.” If a woman asks a man to wear a condom he will accuse her of being promiscuous or infected. “And he will hit you,” says one woman. “Definitely, he will hit you.”
Zulu men agree that women have no say in the matter. “The woman has no power with the man,” says a schoolteacher. Of his wife, he says, “Because I paid 11 cows for her, she is supposed to do everything I say.”
In a town where there is a lot of fornication and much promiscuity, there is still great embarrassment about AIDS, because it is sexually transmitted. Zulu children almost never get sex education at home because their parents are too shy. When even prominent townspeople get sick with AIDS, it is as if they suddenly ceased to exist. No one talks about them, because they are dying of an unspeakable disease. Zebulon Mthethwa is a retired Anglican priest called back into service because there were not enough priests for funerals. He says AIDS is taboo. “People are afraid of talking about it. They are afraid to say, ‘Here is the danger that is coming.’” [Rachel Swarns, South Africa’s AIDS Vortex Engulfs a Rural Community, New York Times, Nov. 25, 2001. Donald McNeil, AIDS and Death Hold No Sting for Fatalistic Men at African Bar, New York Times, Nov. 29, 2001.]
It’s Who You Know
President George Bush and his brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, like to blame bad non-white schools on the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” Black lawmakers in Florida are accusing Gov. Bush of insultingly low expectations in appointing Representative Rudy Bradley to a post on the Public Service Commission. Mr. Bradley, who is black, embarrassed other black legislators during confirmation hearings last month with his halting answers, and inability to understand some of the key issues he will face on the commission.
“It’s minority access in the worst way,” says state Senator Kendrick Meek. Fellow senator Mandy Dawson walked out of the hearing before voting. She said she felt pressured to vote for a fellow black, but couldn’t stomach Mr. Bradley. She noted that his job application was handwritten and that in describing his 2000 state senate bid, he wrote “I lossed my election.”
“It is the natural stereotype that they would accept this kind of work from an African-American,” she adds. “It sends a terrible message from the governor that says, ‘Don’t worry. You don’t have to be qualified.’ My fear is that they put a red ribbon on him and parade him through the black community, and he becomes a role model.”
Mr. Bradley, a former Democrat who switched parties to support Gov. Bush, says attacks on his qualifications are just politics. As he explains: “I’m an inner-city African-American. I speak two dialects. I speak English and ebonics. I guess ebonics came out the day I did that application.” The committee voted 9-1 to recommend confirmation to the $119,000-a-year job. [Peter Wallsten, Black Legislators Riled by Bush Nominee’s Dubious Qualifications, Herald (Miami), Feb. 17, 2002, p. 6B.]
In September, 1995, Haitian refugee Melanie Jeanbeaucejour was convicted in Buffalo, N.Y., of second-degree manslaughter. Mrs. Jeanbeaucejour worked as a nanny and beat to death an 18-month-old child (race unspecified) in her care. In court testimony, she said she struck the child to make it stop crying. An autopsy showed the child died from severe trauma to the head, chest and abdomen, and an official familiar with the case said he had never seen such a brutally beaten child. Mrs. Jeanbeaucejour’s conviction came less than a year after her arrival in the United States as a refugee from Haiti. After she got out of prison in 1997, the INS called for her deportation as an alien convicted of a violent crime. Mrs. Jeanbeaucejour appealed her deportation on the grounds that her family would suffer “extreme hardship” if she were returned to Haiti, and last March a three-judge panel of the U.S. Immigration Board of Appeals overturned the deportation order, in an astonishing ruling that concluded she was not guilty of a crime of violence. The INS has appealed to the full 18-member appeals board, but an agency spokesman said the full board rarely meets, and is unlikely to accept the case. Mrs. Jeanbeaucejour will probably stay in the United States. [Jerry Seper, U.S. Panel Overturns Deportation, Washington Times, August 22, 2001.]
Hijacking the Battle Flag
Black rap performers are trying to “demystify” the Confederate flag. Lil Jon appears on the cover of his most recent album draped in the battle flag, while two more burn in the background. David Banner burns rebel flags on stage, and Pastor Troy encourages his audience to wave Confederate flags during his performances. This is supposed to strip the flag of its power over blacks.
“My thinking is that if they [whites] see us with the flag, see us nit-pick at it, toss it, shake it, throw it on the ground, the flag loses its pride, its value,” says Pastor Troy. “It’s time we change our thinking, let the world know we are beyond the flag and they can’t keep us down anymore. This is a new day.”
Big Gipp of the Goodie Mob says: “The Confederate flag is a symbol of racism. Anytime I get the opportunity to speak the truth, I do. I wear it to show that racism is still alive.”
“It pisses people off,” says Lil Jon. “I take something that is precious to them and put it on. It’s like going out with their daughter.”
But Kevin Powell, the black author of Keepin’ it Real: Post-MTV Reflections on Race, Sex and Politics, says all this may give young blacks the wrong idea about the flag, and anyway, its reputation is too ugly to be reinterpreted:
The problem is that the history always gets lost or forgotten, and a lot of young people who see these rappers incorporating the Confederate flag into their work and lives will not get the manipulation of it. Black people, no matter who we are, need to cease always trying to claim what white folks have put on us, be it the ‘N’ word or the Confederate flag, and act as if claiming those things somehow makes them right or OK. The only response to white racism is to resist those words and symbols, not to embrace them in a twisted notion that we are making it our own. [Audra D.S. Burch, The Rebel’s New Cause, Herald (Miami), Sept. 6, 2001, p. 1E.]
William Clinton — Black Superstar
Former President William Clinton remains very popular with blacks. In a recent ABC News poll, they overwhelmingly chose him as the greatest American President. Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, came in a distant second. [Americans Place Lincoln at Top of Greatest Presidents’ Poll, George W. Bush Ahead of Reagan, AP, Feb. 18, 2002.]
Black entrepreneurs are hoping to capitalize on that popularity by opening businesses near the future site of the Clinton presidential library in Little Rock, Arkansas. “Moving down here is about being at the right place at the right time,” says Deun Shonowo, owner of Afrikan de Boutique, a store that sells West African clothing and art. “One of the reasons I moved down here was the library and the tourists.” Andy Ingraham, president of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers, said the library is a “big deal in terms of economic impact and an opportunity for African-American vendors to get a piece of the pie.”
There are plans to promote the Clinton library specifically to black tour groups, citing its proximity to Little Rock’s Central High School, where the National Guard enforced integration in the 1950s. Blacks are already flocking to the site, where a preview exhibit opened last December. They like photographs of Mr. Clinton with black singers, gifts Mr. Clinton received from African heads of state, and a statue of basketball player Michael Jordan. “This is tight,” says 11-year-old Keagan Scribner. “I didn’t know President Clinton liked Michael Jordan.”
Blacks are vague about why they love Mr. Clinton. Author Toni Morrison, who once referred to him as the nation’s first black president, says he understands the black condition because he grew up poor and was reared for a time by a single mother. Little Rock fifth-grade teacher Joann Williams says its because “President Clinton had the decency and dignity to let people know that African-Americans are capable.” Adds Rev. Arthur Hughes of West Helena, Arkansas, “We love him, we celebrate him, we just believe in him. He has always given African-Americans their just due.” [Melissa Nelson, Blacks Eye Clinton Library Profits, AP, Feb. 14, 2002.]
Flocks of a Feather
Churches continue to be among the most segregated institutions in America. According to one study, only 3.5 percent of all congregations include a second race that accounts for as much as 20 percent of members. There are now nearly 4,000 Asian congregations (3,000 Korean, 700 Chinese, and 200 Japanese), which are thoroughly segregated. Most sprang up after the 1965 change in immigration laws, and many still conduct services in Asian languages, but even the English-speaking congregations are overwhelmingly Asian.
Some Asian preachers are trying to change that. Victor Kim of Remnant Presbyterian Church in New York City pulled out all the stops to diversify his Korean congregation. He barred Korean food at church functions, and refused to make announcements for Asian events. He even discouraged members from going to nearby Koreatown for lunch. Six years later, his church still has only a handful of blacks or whites. “I just never really fit in,” explains Kyle Allen, who attended for a while and dropped out.
At NewSong Community Church in Irvine, California, half-Korean Senior Pastor David Gibbons has tried mightily to integrate. He caters to a young flock with a hip-hop dance ministry and MTV-style videos of black, white, Hispanic, and Asian members cavorting. He preaches what he calls a “theology of discomfort,” which means people at his church will have to mix with people unlike themselves. He regularly features a black assistant preacher and has hired a Hispanic. The result? His 1,500-member congregation is still 80 percent Asian.
Stacy Heisey-Terrell is a 27-year-old white woman married to a man who is half-black and half-Hispanic. She and her husband have decided racial reconciliation is a big part of their Christianity, so they drive half an hour to attend Evergreen Baptist Church in Rosemead, California, another Korean congregation that is trying to integrate. It still doesn’t work. “I can’t take this anymore,” she says, of being the only white woman. “There’s no one like me.” She was mortified when she organized a church picnic and the Koreans would not touch her bean salad.
Some people have sense enough to accept the inevitable. David Ahn is a Korean who grew up in America and attended a white church in San Francisco for a while, but went back to a Korean congregation. “In general, Korean people and white people just act very differently,” he explains. “I don’t necessarily see them as good or bad, just very different than I am.” David Kang, is another Korean who does not apologize for his preferences. “Where else can I go to feel Korean, or feel Asian?” he asks. [Michael Luo, Asian-American Christians Find Church Integration a Complicated Challenge, AP, Jan. 20, 2002.]
The tide may be turning in the Netherlands. The country famous for tolerating anything — especially non-whites — was shocked on Feb. 7 to find that an openly anti-immigrant movement has now won the largest vote in Rotterdam, the country’s second largest city. The movement is led by Pim Fortuyn, an openly homosexual former Marxist, who has come round to the view that immigration is changing his country for the worse. In August last year, the 52-year-old author and television personality became the leader of a mildly anti-immigrant party called Livable Netherlands, but lost the job in February when he gave a newspaper interview that shocked party leaders. He declared that “16 million Dutchmen are about enough,” adding “this is a full country.” He said if it were up to him, he would cut immigration to no more than 10,000 a year and close the borders. He is alarmed by the 800,000 mostly Moroccan and Turkish Muslims who live in Holland and comprise five percent of the population. He said they have “a backward culture,” stick together, and look down on the Dutch. “Moroccan boys never steal from Moroccans,” he said. “Have you noticed that?” But what particularly alarmed Livable Netherlands was his call to revoke a non-discrimination clause in the constitution that is much like the American Civil Rights Act of 1964.
After he was booted from the party he promised to organize a new movement and was as good as his word. In the Feb 7 elections his candidates won 34.7 percent of the vote and 17 of 45 city council seats, finally ending the Labor Party’s post-war dominance. Opinion polls from earlier this year suggest Mr. Fortuyn will be a powerful force in national elections in May. Thirty-six percent of women ages 18 to 30 and 46 percent of young men said they planned to vote for him, and his party could win 36 of 150 seats. He has made no secret of his desire to be prime minister. His supporters may yet get a “livable Netherlands” after all. [Andrew Osborn, Dutch Youth Back Far-Right Immigration Policy, The Guardian (England), Feb. 23, 2002. Andrew Osborn, Huge Gains for Dutch Far Right, The Guardian, March 8, 2002.]
Tiffany and Lakeisha Grayson, sisters and both in their 20s, used to teach at Beaufort High School in Beaufort, South Carolina. They were furious to discover that a student was having sex with Tiffany’s adult boyfriend. On Feb. 5, Tiffany was overheard yelling in the school office: “That little ho, she thinks she’s grown because she sleeping with a grown man.” That same day at a basketball game she reportedly approached three students and offered them money to beat up the “little ho.” On Feb. 19, Lakeisha made a similar offer to four students, and the next day repeated her offer in a classroom. No beatings are reported to have taken place, but both sisters are now charged with disturbing school and contributing to the delinquency of minors. [Stephanie Broadbent, Teachers Allegedly Tried to Hire Students to Beat Girl, Carolina Morning News (South Carolina), March 9, 2002.]
On Feb. 21, a 14-year old Hispanic student at Cashmere High School in Cashmere, Washington, ran up to a 16-year-old white student after school and stabbed him eight or nine times in the back, side, and chest. Mike Placentia claimed Dane Montgomery had made racial insults earlier during the day. The Hispanic was expelled from school and charged with first-degree assault, but what has surprised many people in the area is that the white stabbing victim — whose injuries were not life-threatening — has been suspended. “Evidence suggests the boy who was attacked made some serious racial, racist comments toward the Latino boy,” says Principal Sam Willsey. “That’s against the law, that’s against school policy and that’s something that resulted in serious punishment.” [School Suspends Stabbing Victim, Spokesman-Review (Spokane), March 2, 2002.]
The Spokane Spokesman-Review posted this story to its web site and invited comments from readers. There was intense criticism of the school for disciplining the white boy, and virtually no one defended the suspension.
February is Black History Month. A Giant supermarket in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, posted the following special promotion: “In honor of Black History Month, we at Giant are offering a special saving on fried chicken.” Customer Lance Sellers was offended by the sign and complained to the store manager — who couldn’t understand why anyone was upset. Paula Harris of the local NAACP was called in to explain that the sign reinforces “racist” stereotypes. Giant Foods apologized for the promotion, saying the sign appeared in only one store and was taken down after the complaints. [Store Apologizes for Fried Chicken Special for Black History Month, AP, Feb. 6, 2002.]
This is Diversity?
According to a recent poll carried out by the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, more than 80 percent of Ivy League professors voted for Al Gore in the 2000 election and only nine percent voted for George Bush. Only three percent described themselves as Republicans. When asked who was the best president in the last 40 years, 71 percent chose a Democrat and only eight percent chose a Republican. The top vote getters were William Clinton (26 percent of those polled), John Kennedy (17 percent), Lyndon Johnson (15 percent), and James Carter (13 percent). Ronald Reagan, the top-scoring Republican, was the first choice of only four percent. [Robert McCain, Poll Confirms Ivy League Liberal Tilt, Washington Times, Feb. 14, 2002.]
Let the Little Felons Come Unto Me
In 1996, Congress passed a law requiring automatic deportation of immigrants who commit felonies. It was retroactive so immigrants convicted of felonies before 1996 could also be expelled. Prior to the law, the INS had discretion over deportation, meaning many immigrant felons were allowed to stay. Now Democrats, led by Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank and black Michigan Congressman John Conyers, want to change the law back. They held a press conference on March 7 to tout the Restoration of Fairness in Immigration Law Act of 2002, which Mr. Conyers says will stop the “scapegoating” of immigrants. The bill would allow immigrant criminals who hold green cards and have jobs and family in this country to petition immigration judges to let them stay. According to Mr. Conyers, Congress has been passing anti-immigrant legislation since 1994 by “playing on our worst fears and prejudices.”
“We are fending off legislation almost daily intended to reduce, if not eliminate, immigration to this country,” he says. Among the bills Mr. Conyers has been fighting are proposals to eliminate birthright citizenship, prohibit bilingual ballots, and limit the number of refugees. Joining Reps. Frank and Conyers at the press conference were members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the National Council of La Raza, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the National Immigration Forum, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund. [Michael W. Freeman, Frank Pushes Bill to Soften Deportation Laws, Fall River (Mass.) Herald News, March 9, 2002.]
Winsome Matthews, an Australian Aborigine, is chairman of the New South Wales Aboriginal Justice Advisory Council. Unlike many ethnic activists, she does not want to conceal or deny failure but to publicize it in the hope of correcting it. Her particular interest is sexual assault and domestic violence, and she has been studying offense rates among Aborigines. She says Aborigines in New South Wales are three times more likely than whites to be rapists, and 2.6 times more likely to commit sexual assault against children. They are no less than 6.2 times more likely to attack spouses, and Miss Matthews says this figure is probably too low because Aboriginal women are reluctant to report domestic violence. The Advisory Council recently surveyed almost 100 Aboriginal women in jail and found that three quarters had been sexually assaulted but that 80 percent of the victims never told anyone.
Miss Matthews thinks jail does not work for Aborigines. She proposes an ill-defined “alternative sentencing process” that would “empower people who are victims” and would “aim at healing and reparation.” [Jon Reid, Black Violence and Sex Assault ‘is an Epidemic,’ Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), March 1, 2002.]
Driving Mr. Biggs
Chante Mallard is a black, 25-year-old nurse’s assistant. Last October 26, she crashed her car into a white pedestrian, who ended up stuck in the windshield with half his body hanging into the passenger side of the car. Miss Mallard reportedly drove to her Ft. Worth, Texas, home, parked in her garage, went into the house, and had sex with her boyfriend. The two then came out to the garage to have a look at Greg Biggs, who was still alive and stuck in the car. Miss Mallard kept the car in the garage for 48 hours, during which time she came out several times to talk to the man, who begged for help. She did nothing for him, and the man, who was homeless and suffered from mental problems, bled to death.
Miss Mallard then got her boyfriend and several friends to help her dislodge Mr. Biggs’ body and dump it in a park. Police found the body soon after, and concluded it must have been a hit-and-run case, but had no leads. Several months afterwards, Miss Mallard explained to a group of people why she was no longer driving. “I hit this white man,” she explained, and giggled. On February 25 someone who heard her say this reported it to the police. Officers found Miss Mallard’s car still in her garage, with the windshield and front seats removed, but with Mr. Biggs’ blood and hair still on it. Miss Mallard said she had burned the seats to get rid of the evidence, and planned to burn the car and buy a new one when her tax refund check arrived.
Miss Mallard was charged with murder, and was at first held on $10,000 bail at home with an electronic monitor, but prosecutors had bail raised to $250,000 to keep her in jail. Her lawyer says she is not a monster but a confused woman who was drunk and using Ecstacy when she hit Mr. Biggs, and didn’t know what she was doing. [Judge Raises Bail of Hit-Run Suspect to $250,000, AP, March 9, 2002.]
Keeping Georgia Decent
Dorothy Pelote is a black woman who has served in the Georgia state house for ten years. She is known for proposing strange laws that do not make it out of committee. At one time she wanted to ban long fingernails for students, and make it a crime for supermarket baggers to lick their fingers. She now plans to sponsor a bill to prohibit Georgians from answering their doorbells naked. “The law allows [a person] to come to the door naked. It just doesn’t let him go outside,” Miss Pelote explains. “I don’t even want him coming to the door naked.” No one expects this bill to go anywhere. During a special legislative session last summer, Miss Pelote startled house colleagues by claiming to have been visited by the spirit of missing Washington DC intern, Chandra Levy. [Dave Williams, Pelote Stands Against Nudity at the Door, Savannah Morning News, Jan. 16, 2002.]
In the early 16th century, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expelled all the Moors left in Spain. It is estimated that some 270,000 were forced across the straits to North Africa. Now their descendants want an apology and recognition of their “historic rights” to go back to Spain as immigrants. Mohamed Azzuz, a Moroccan historian, says “We are like the Palestinians who keep the keys to their houses for their return. Our expulsion was a disaster, a form of ethnic cleansing.” He adds: “King Juan Carlos has already given a sort of apology for the expulsion of the Jews when he visited Israel so why not do the same for us?” The king is reportedly studying the matter. No one seems to remember the invasion that brought the Moors. [Isambard Wilkinson, ‘Moors’ Want Apology for Spanish Exodus, Electronic Telegraph, Feb. 15, 2002.]
Riots Rumble On
Cincinnati is still suffering from last year’s race riots, which erupted when a white police officer shot and killed a black criminal. A black group called the Coalition for a Just Cincinnati has been sabotaging the Cincinnati Arts Association’s attempts to book black entertainers to perform in the city. The coalition has persuaded Bill Cosby, Wynton Marsalis, and the Temptations to call off performances, leaving the non-profit arts association liable for nearly $80,000 in losses. Federal law forbids boycotts of groups or people who are not parties to the initial dispute that prompted the boycott, and the arts association has invoked that law in a suit against the coalition. The coalition says it will not stop the sabotage, and Mr. Cosby has issued a statement saying “I still stand by the fact that I feel very uncomfortable playing the concerts at this time in this climate.”
Another city group called the Black United Front is trying to keep tourists away. Both it and the coalition say they will not stop their efforts until the city meets a long list of demands, including amnesty for all rioters, billions of dollars in development money for black areas, and a host of other handouts. [Steve Miller, Arts Group Threatens to Sue Boycott Leaders, Washington Times, March 11, 2002, p. A1.]
Taking From the Poor
“Mother” Clara Hale was a New York City black woman who worried about some of the most vulnerable black New Yorkers: drug-addicted children whose parents were in jail. Thirty years ago she founded Hale House in Harlem, where her staff raised money from private donors to care for these children. When “Mother” Hale died in 1992, her daughter Lorraine took over the operation. Lorraine is now charged with stealing about $1 million from the charity, and spending it on improvements to her home in Scarsdale and on expensive artwork. The state attorney general has started civil forfeiture proceedings against Mrs. Hale and her husband, who are said to have roughly $10 million in cash and real estate. [Joe Cunningham and Devlin Barrett, Hale and Hubby Indicted, New York Post, Feb. 6, 2002.]
Fly by Night
Federal agents have arrested six commercial pilots and two airport ramp workers who paid as much as $25,000 for illegal documents to enter the United States. All eight are Venezuelans, and two of the pilots flew for American Airlines. One was arrested when he landed his plane at Dallas-Fort Worth, and two when they touched down in Miami. The fraud involved paying high prices for forged passport stamps of the kind issued by American consulates to clear an immigrant to live and work in the United States. The flying licenses were apparently valid, but all the men had immigrated and were working without security checks of any kind. The INS is looking for the people who forged the hard-to-duplicate consular stamps. [Luisa Yanez and Charles Rabin, Pilots Got Papers Illegally, INS Says, Herald (Miami), Feb. 10, 2002, p. 1B.]