O Tempora, O Mores! (December, 2002)

American Renaissance, December 2002

Sport of Kings

King Mswati III of Swaziland wins his brides the old-fashioned way — he kidnaps them. Not content with the nine he already has, the 34-year-old absolute monarch wants three more. He looked women over during the annual reed dance festival, and had his aides spirit away three of the best. Families in Swaziland are usually glad to marry daughters off to kings, but Lindiwe Dlamini was horrified that he picked her 18-year-old daughter Zena Zoraya Mahlangu. She decided to sue to get Zena back. The royal family was not amused. “We have traditional forums where such issues should be addressed and we are surprised this woman decided to go to court,” says royal advisor Malamlela Magagula. “The [king] wondered whether [the] mother was really a Swazi citizen or not.”

The Swazi High Court tried to interview the woman several times after taking the case in October, but the royal family would not permit it. In late October, the king sent the attorney general, the national security chief, the police commissioner, and the head of the army to visit Chief Justice Stanley Sapire and other judges, demanding that they either dismiss the case or resign.

This angered many Swazis. The Law Society of Swaziland said, “Their conduct blatantly undermines the independence of the judiciary and directly interferes with the smooth administration of justice and the rule of law.” “This is a national crisis,” added Jan Sithole, secretary-general of the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions. The Human Rights Association of Swaziland called the kidnapping “degrading, dehumanizing and traumatic to the dignity and person of women folk.” Even Amnesty International complained about a woman’s “right not to be subjected to forced marriage.”

None of this matters to Africa’s last remaining absolute monarch. On Nov. 4, the king officially announced his engagement. Two days later, the girl’s mother postponed the lawsuit, but reserves the right to reinstate it. The officials sent to intimidate the court apologized.

Last year King Mswati irritated many of his subjects when, after decreeing that as an AIDS-prevention measure women under age 18 were not to have sex, he went on to marry a 17-year-old. He later paid a fine of one cow. The king may have as many wives as he can manage. His father, King Sobuza II, had more than 100. [Thulani Mthethwa, Mother Sues Swaziland Royal Family, AP, Nov. 4, 2002. Fiancée’s Mom Postpones Lawsuit Against Swazi King, AP, Nov. 5, 2002.]

So Sorry

Many slaves were exported from the West African port city of Ouihdah, in what is now the nation of Benin. Africans native to the region helped load the slave ships and often rounded up the cargo. In 1999, Benin president Mathieu Kerekou apologized for the role his ancestors played in the slave trade: “We must acknowledge and share responsibility in the humiliations.” Last August, Benin’s ambassador to the United States, Cyrille Oguin, again admitted that people of his region were slave traders, and repeated the call for forgiveness and reconciliation.

The government of Benin hopes apologies will be good for business. Mr. Oguin says American blacks still resent their African brethren, and hard feelings prevent them from investing in Africa. “No amount of money can fix anything that has already happened,” he adds. “This apology is from the heart. And that is more valuable than money because of the psychological impact. Once we have that confidence that we have spiritually addressed those concerns, then the relationship in business, trade and culture will follow and become larger, stronger and long-lasting.”

“The apology is too late,” says Charlene Crafton of Prince George’s County, Maryland. “The damage has been done. The apology cannot compensate for everything we’ve been through.” [LaWanda Johnson, Benin Apologizes for Slavery, Washington Afro-American, Sept. 21-27, 2002, p. A1.]

Modest Proposal

The city of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, has approved nearly $200,000 for a feasibility study for a 30-story-tall statue of Nelson Mandela. The city is planning a colossus half again as tall as the Statue of Liberty, to be set on a plinth 50 yards high. The plinth would house a “museum of freedom,” devoted to the events leading to black rule. The city expects tourism revenue to recoup most of the $20 million or so the project would cost, and plans to ask the French to pay for the casting, as they did for the Statue of Liberty. [Rory Carroll, ‘Colossus Mandela’ Planned, Guardian (England), Oct. 21, 2002.]

Rape is Normal

A study on sexual violence in South Africa has found that many children think rape is normal and acceptable. A survey of 9,300 children under age 18 found that, depending on the part of the country, 12 to 20 percent of boys, and five to 13 percent of girls admit having forced themselves on others. “Girls in the 10 to 14 years age group made shocking revelations,” says Neil Andersson of Community Information Empowerment and Transparency: Africa, which conducted the study. “Many claimed to have had sex with other children [boys and girls] without their consent. They have tough attitudes about sex, similar to the attitudes of adult men,” he added. The study also found that by age 18, 30 percent of children who attend schools have had sex in some form forced on them. “The children believe that this is what they have to do to be successful in life,” says Mr. Andersson. [Suthentira Govender, Girls and Boys Think Raping Fellow Pupils is Normal, Sunday Times (Johannesburg), Oct. 6, 2002.]

South African Diversity

Asian Indians make up about three percent of the population of South Africa. Many South African blacks think Indians benefited unfairly under apartheid, and they see them as oppressors who pay low wages and despise blacks. These feelings are echoed in the lyrics of a song by black playwright Mbongeni Ngema, who wrote the musical “Sarafina!” The song is called “Amandiya” or “Indians,” and is about the exploitation of blacks. Some of the words are: “Oh my fellow brothers, we need strong, brave men to confront Indians. Everything was taken by Indians and then they turn to oppress our own people.” Indian leaders say Mr. Ngema is racist, and want radio stations to stop playing the song. Former president Nelson Mandela wants Mr. Ngema to apologize.

No apology is likely. “If there wasn’t this reality, I wouldn’t have written this song,” says Mr. Ngema. “People would rather not deal with it, but the African-Indian problem is a very deep rooted one. As long as I can remember, people have been talking about how oppressive Indians are to Africans.” [Rachel L. Swarns, A Hit Song Puts Ethnic Tensions at Center Stage, New York Times, June 10, 2002.]

Bloody Zimbabwe

Blacks have killed 12 white farmers as part of Zimbabwe’s campaign to drive whites off the land. Four men who murdered David Stevens on April 15, 2000, have actually gone on trial. The militants of the Zanu-PF party are charged not only with the murder but with drinking Mr. Stevens’s blood. A witness testified that one of the killers drained blood from the corpse, mixed it with alcohol, and shared the cocktail with the others. Blood-drinking may not be uncommon. In October, Jocyline Chiwenga, the wife of Zimbabwe’s army commander, threatened to kill a white farmer, saying she had not “tasted white blood” for a long time. She was furious that the farmer had taken legal action against her after she had him thrown off his land. [Basildon Peta, Mugabe Men ‘Shot White Farmer and Drank His Blood,’ Independent (England), Oct. 25, 2002.]

Lake Worthy

Most American cities with any appreciable number of illegal Mexicans have been encouraging — under pressure from the Mexican government — local businesses to accept ID cards issued by Mexican consulates. Even many police departments now recognize matriculas consulares, which appear to be part of the Mexican government’s attempt to regularize the status of illegal immigrants (see AR, Oct. 2002). One south Florida city has resisted local Hispanic groups and pressure from the Mexican consulate in Miami. On Sept. 17, the Lake Worth city council voted 3-1 to table a proposal to recognize the matricula, effectively killing the ordinance. [Bill Douthat, Lake Worth Commission Kills Mexican-ID Proposal, Palm Beach Post, Sept. 18, 2002.]

Windy City Blowhards

On Oct. 2, the Chicago City Council voted 44-0 to require all companies doing business with the city to disclose whether they ever profited from slavery. Insurance companies must disclose information about policies written on slaves, and other companies must publicize any profits they or their predecessors made from slave labor.

Alderman Dorothy Tillman, the notorious anti-white council member who proposed the measure, says, “I believe people would like to know if a corporation they’re contemplating doing business with has its roots in trading in human cargo.” “The insurance industry is just the tip of the iceberg,” she adds. “The financial industry, textile industry, tobacco industry, railroads, shipping companies and many others got rich off the suffering and free labor of our ancestors.”

“We are the first city in the country to pass this ordinance,” crows Mayor Richard M. Daley. However, he adds, “It will not prevent companies from doing business with the city.” Last year, California became the first state to require insurance companies to publicize information on policies written on slaves. Supporters of this kind of disclosure hope it will help descendants of slaves win reparations. [Jerry Crimmins, Chicago Requires Its Contractors to Disclose Slavery Ties, AP, Oct. 3, 2002.]

On Black Hair

The following is from an article in a black Philadelphia newspaper:

Our hair . . . contains many microscopic (tiny) knots. These knots make the hair more prone to breakage while combing. So it is important to comb the hair gently with a wide-tooth comb, never pulling.

Good Black hair care begins with washing and conditioning. Washing our hair every seven to 10 days is important for healthy hair and scalp. However, African-American women often tend to under wash their hair. Our hair must be washed more than once a month! [Susan C. Taylor, MD, Uniqueness of Black Hair, Philadelphia Tribune, Oct. 13, 2002, p. 6-F.]

Miscegenation

Elise Lemire, assistant professor of literature at the State University of New York’s Purchase College and author of Miscegenation: Making Race in America says the rate of interracial marriage is “an excellent indicator of the levels of racism in America.” “Ninety-seven percent of whites are marrying whites,” says Prof. Lemire, who has a black husband. “It’s a subtle kind of racism that people don’t ordinarily measure.”

According to the latest figures released by the US Census Bureau, while interracial marriages in United States have more than doubled since 1980 — from 651,000 to 1.4 million — they account for only 2.5 percent of all marriages. However, the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago says Americans increasingly accept the practice. As late as 1990, it found that 64 percent of non-black adults opposed black-white intermarriage, but in the most recent survey, the number dropped to 32 percent.

In Utah, which is 90 percent white, the overall rate of intermarriage — five percent — is higher than the national average. Since blacks are fewer than one percent of the population, most interracial marriages involve whites with Hispanics or Asians. Still, 68 percent of Utah’s black men who married in 2000 chose white women, up from 11 percent in 1990. Only 23 percent of black men in the state who married wed black women, a 13 percent decrease since 1990.

This doesn’t sit well with the women. “Many African-American women complain that is why they can’t find any eligible men — because they have been grabbed by a different racial group,” says France Davis, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City. “Many [black] women end up frustrated and ultimately throwing in the towel as far as a meaningful relationship and marriage.”

Nationally, only 95,000 white men are married to black women, while three times as many black men are married to white women. Prof. Joel Wade of Bucknell University says — rather fancifully — that this is a legacy of slavery. “White plantation owners were able to force black female slaves to have sex with them,” he explains. “[Black women] have that history in mind, that associating with white males is perpetuating the master/slave image. There is a reluctance on their part to even consider it.” [Brooke Adams, Barriers to Interracial Marriage Falling, Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 13, 2002.]

Joys of Diversity

Purnell Swett High School in Lumberton, North Carolina, has 1,200 Lumbee Indian students, 300 blacks, and a few dozen whites. It is not a harmonious mix. On Oct. 7, dozens of Indians fought a handful of blacks, and 30 Indians and nine blacks were suspended. Two days later, 100 Indian students and their parents protested, saying Lumbees were treated more harshly than blacks. At the end of the month, a letter began circulating at the school in which an anonymous Lumbee wrote, “I am a soldier in the Lumbee’s army. I will never surrender to the enemy.” The letter uses rude language to describe blacks.

“This is a hate letter,” says Lillie McKoy, a spokesman for Swett High’s black parents. “My fear now is that someone will get hurt. A child can’t learn if he’s not safe.” Frightened black parents are rushing to have their children transferred to other schools. [Racial Fight, Letter Put School on Edge, AP, Nov. 2, 2002.]

Too White

The US government plans to build a new, $70 million, 107,775 square-foot federal courthouse in Benton, the seat of Franklin County, Illinois. But G. Patrick Murphy, Clinton-appointed white chief judge of the Southern District of Illinois, thinks Franklin County is too white for such an important building, even though the city has been home to the federal district court since 1958. According to the 2000 Census, only 20 blacks live in Benton, and only 72 in the entire county. “Franklin County, for all practical purposes, is white,” says Judge Murphy. “I think it is fundamentally wrong to send the resources of the federal government, particularly in regard to the court system, to a community that is not diverse and is not enthusiastic about letting our employees participate fully in community life.”

Benton mayor Pat Bauer says Judge Murphy, who hails from Marion, just wants to put the courthouse in his home county of Williamson. The judge admits he would like the convenience of working closer to home, but says the blacks who work for the Southern District Court wouldn’t like living and working among so many white people. “Our black employees are not comfortable in Benton,” he claims. “It’s more difficult to recruit when people don’t feel they are welcome in the larger community, the school, the business community.” Judge Murphy does not have the same concerns about his white employees. He now works at the federal courthouse in East St. Louis, a notoriously miserable city with a population that is 97.7 percent black. [Linda A. Krutsinger, Judge Says Benton Too White, Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale), Oct. 10, 2002. Judges Weigh in on Whether to Build in White Town, Register Star (Rockford), Oct. 23, 2002.]

Freaky News Network

In order to bolster sagging ratings, CNN’s cable Headline News recently adopted a list of black hip-hop slang terms, to be used by anchors, in the news “crawl” at the bottom of the TV screen, and in graphics. Among the new terms are bling-bling (jewelry), flava (style) and freak (to dance provocatively or have sex). The network hopes black lingo will attract young viewers. [Timothy D. Pollard, Yo, Yo, Yo! This is the Hip-Hop CNN, Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct. 9, 2002, p. A23.]

Hispanic Dropouts

Hispanics drop out of school at even higher rates than blacks. In 2000 there were 1.56 million people living in the United States aged 16 to 19, who were neither high school graduates nor enrolled in school. Hispanics account for 16 percent of that age group but for 34 percent of the dropouts. Twenty-one percent of Hispanics in that age group had dropped out of school in 2000, compared to 12 percent for blacks, and just under seven percent for whites. [AP, Census: Hispanic Dropout Numbers Soar, Oct. 11, 2002.]

Hispanic Solidarity

Ana Belen Montes, a 45-year-old Puerto Rican woman, began working for the Department of Justice in 1979. By 1992 she was a senior analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency, specializing in the Cuban military. She was also a Cuban spy. Miss Montes’ 17-year espionage career came to an end when FBI agents arrested her in September 2001. According to court records, Miss Montes gave documents to her Havana spymasters that blew the cover of four undercover agents (who were caught by the Cubans), details about US surveillance of Cuban weapons, and other secrets so sensitive prosecutors say they cannot be publicly discussed.

Miss Montes made a bargain with federal prosecutors in March 2002, whereby she agreed to tell everything she knew about Cuban intelligence in exchange for a 25-year sentence. At her sentencing hearing on Oct. 16, Miss Montes refused to apologize. “I believe our government’s policy toward Cuba is cruel and unfair, profoundly unneighborly, and I felt morally obligated to help the island defend itself from our efforts to impose our values and our political system on it,” she told the judge. “We have displayed intolerance and contempt toward Cuba for most of the last four decades. We have never respected Cuba’s right to make its own journey toward its own ideals of equality and justice.” With time off for good behavior, Miss Montes could be free in 20 years. [Ted Bridis, Confessed Cuban Spy Gets 25 Years, AP, Oct. 16, 2002. James Vicini, US Spy for Cuba Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison, Reuters, Oct. 16, 2002.]

Body Snatchers

Leonard Perna of New Jersey died in 1986 and his children sorrowfully laid him to rest in the family crypt. Police have now learned that someone snatched the body, and that several Newark men — country of origin unspecified — planned to use it for the Afro-Cuban Palo Mayombe cult. Police arrested Eddie Figueroa and his son, Eddie, Jr., along with Franklin Sanabria after they found piles of human bones in the basement of the Figueroa house on Central Avenue. Mr. Sanabria admitted he stole the corpse to use in a ritual to make him a Palo Mayombe priest. Newark police say there has been a rash of body thefts, which suggests the cult is on the rise. [Jamie Schram and Brad Hunter, Voodoo Furor in Body Snatch, New York Post, Oct. 15, 2002.]

‘Freedom Fighter’

The former capital of the Confederacy has honored Gabriel Prosser, a slave who was foiled in a plan to lead a slave insurrection and murder whites. On the 202nd anniversary of his hanging on Oct. 10, 1800, the city council voted unanimously to rehabilitate Prosser. “This resolution seeks to correct an error in history whereby Gabriel has been seen by many as a criminal, as opposed to a patriot and a freedom fighter,” Councilman Sa’ad El-Amin explained. Prosser and his conspirators planned to kill whites, burn down buildings, and then raid the city arsenal. They hoped to take Gov. James Monroe hostage and negotiate their freedom. [Ex-Confederate Capital Honors Slave, AP, Oct. 28, 2002.]

Loyal Citizens

An estimated one percent of South Koreans who give birth fly to the United States to do it so their children will be American citizens. The practice is so common several companies offer package tours for pregnant women, complete with immigration lawyers, pre-natal clinics, and even baby-sitters. Most of these agencies are discreet, but at least one, with a slick web page called birthinusa.com, markets itself with pictures of happy Korean mothers kissing their American newborns and being attended by smiling Korean nurses. The packages cost in the range of $20,000, which includes about a month in the United States because airlines do not let women fly in the ninth month of pregnancy. Los Angeles is the most popular destination because of its large Korean population, but New York, Boston, Hawaii, and Guam are also popular. A considerable number of women from Hong Kong and Taiwan also fly in for delivery. The United States is perhaps the last country that has birthright citizenship. Britain and Australia abolished the practice in the 1980s.

“There is nothing inherently illegal about somebody coming over here as a tourist and bearing a child,” says Thomas Schiltgen, district director of the INS office in Los Angeles. “Doing so doesn’t necessarily violate the terms of being a tourist.” [Barbara Demick, The Baby Registry of Choice, Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2002.]

Rap Attack

Early in the morning of June 7, Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitcher Nick Bierbrodt, on a rehabilitation assignment in Charleston, S.C., was in a taxi with fellow pitcher John Vigue at the drive-through window lane of a Hardee’s restaurant. While they waited for service, they were disturbed by the loud rap music being played by a young black on a bicycle. Mr. Bierbrodt told the black to turn the music down. A few minutes later, the black rode up, pulled a gun and shot the pitcher twice in the chest. Mr. Bierbrodt was expected to recover. Charleston police were still looking for the shooter. [Marc Topkin, Bierbrodt Shot in Chest, Times (Tampa Bay), June 8, 2002, p. 1C.]

Back to Brass Tacks

John Denham, the British Home Office Minister, was recently in a debate at the Police Federation conference in Bournemouth, England, and used the phrase “get down to the nitty gritty.” Officers immediately told him this is a phrase they are not allowed to use because it is said to be offensive to blacks. They told him it had been explained to them that this was slave-trader’s slang for the muck left in the bottom of the boat after transporting a cargo of Africans. They went on to explain that they have to watch their language all the time, and never know when an expression that used to be common will be banned. Until recently police called Gypsy criminals “pikeys” but an officer can now be called before a disciplinary board for using it. “Beanflicker” used to be police slang for lesbians, but that, too, is out of bounds. One officer with 30 years service was reprimanded for using the abbreviation WPC (woman police constable), rather than the sex-neutral PC.

According to lexicographers, “nitty gritty” comes from grit-like nits and small lice in head or body hair. It is an expression that does not appear to pre-date the 1960s and the first users were black Americans, not slave traders. [Minister Prompts Race Row Over ‘Nitty Gritty,’ Times (London), May 14, 2002.]

Consider the Genes

In Britain there is something called the Nuffield Council of Bioethics, which was established to report on the ethical questions raised by advances in science. It has released a report entitled “Genetics and Human Behavior: the Ethical Context,” in which it hesitantly concedes that genes really do predispose people to certain kinds of behavior — even criminal behavior. It goes on to recommend that in the future, once we know more about the genetic causes of crime, judges should consider the genetic makeup of criminals when they pass sentence. The council does not, however, conclude that if certain people are biologically predisposed to crime they should be kept out of circulation. Instead, it argues that genes, in effect, absolve criminals of responsibility. “If you found that someone had a genetic makeup of this kind together with certain environmental factors, you might find probation plus anger treatment or therapy more appropriate than sending them to prison,” says Professor Bob Hepple, chairman of the Nuffield Council’s working party. Prof. Hepple also says that although scientific advances may make it possible to produce biologically improved children, this should not be done. It may be all right to prevent genetic diseases, but there must be no tampering with “what we regard as the normal makeup of mankind.” [Michael Holden, Judges Urged to Consider Criminal Genes, Reuters, Oct. 2, 2002.]

‘First Black President’

William Clinton, whom black author Toni Morrison once described as “our first black president,” is being inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame as an honorary member. He will be the first white. “It is this community’s way of saying thank you to him for the work that he has done,” says Charles Stewart, the hall’s chairman and founder. Mr. Clinton appointed many blacks to high positions in both state and federal governments, says Mr. Stewart, and since he left the White House, has devoted himself to fighting AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean. Mr. Clinton says he is thrilled: “Most members of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame have been personal friends or heroes of mine. To be included in their numbers, after a lifetime of working for equal rights and greater opportunity, is a wonderful gift.” [Black Hall of Fame Plans Honor for Clinton, AP, Oct. 17, 2002.]

Public Servant

Joyce Britton is a black Chicago lawyer who handles adoptions for the Illinois state child welfare agency. She does the paperwork when someone adopts a child who was in the custody of the state. These are “uncontested adoptions,” in which all parties agree to the adoption, and about the only non-routine question is how large a subsidy the state will pay if the child is retarded or handicapped. “An uncontested adoption, my 17-year-old son could do in his sleep,” explains Patrick Murphy, a public official who works in children’s services.

Miss Britton has apparently been doing adoptions in her sleep. According to her billing records from the past year, she worked on adoptions an average of 19 hours a day, seven days a week, without a vacation. On a few days she billed no hours, but on other days she billed as many as 48 hours. She charges $120 an hour, and got $862,000 from the state of Illinois during the past two fiscal years. There is no question that she handles a great many cases, and that she manages to charge close to the maximum of $1,400 the authorities budget for each one. Some suspect she manages to get so many cases from the child welfare authorities because she never tries to get larger subsidies for parents who adopt children with expensive problems. [Abdon Pallasch, Lawyer’s Adoption Billing Not Quite 24/7, But Close, Chicago Sun-Times, June 26, 2002.]

Dinka Dentistry

The Dinka of Sudan like to remove the bottom front six teeth of pre-adolescents. They bash them out with a spear, and think the resulting collapsed lip and toothless grin are attractive. They make fun of anyone who still has his teeth, and call him a dog. Missing teeth are not considered attractive in Nebraska, where 500 Dinka were resettled by the federal government, along with 7,000 other Sudanese.

Dinka without bottom teeth say they find it hard to speak English and eat American food. And their neighbors stare at them. “Here in America, we look ugly,” says David Ajak, a 21-year-old living in Lincoln. “In church, at work, people ask ‘Why don’t you have teeth?’”

Thanks to a local dentist with the unlikely name of Randy Toothaker, the Dinka may no longer be asked that question. Dr. Toothaker has performed dental restoration surgery on a few of the Dinka, and plans to apply for a $750,000 taxpayer-funded grant from the National Institutes of Health to help 100 more. The procedure, which involves implanting titanium posts into the bone under the gumline and capping them with artificial teeth costs $10,000. [Jeffrey Zaslow, A Nebraska Dentist Offers African Refugees a Rare Gift: Their Smile, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 15, 2002, p. A1.]

Fed Up in Hartford

Like most policemen, officers in Hartford, Connecticut must attend sensitivity training. On Aug. 28, instructor Margaret Steinegger-Keyser, a black South African, told a group of officers that her country was now more of a true democracy, and less oppressive of minorities, than the United States. When white officers questioned her about the endemic black-perpetrated violent crime and unrest in South Africa, she became defensive and combative, prompting five white officers to walk out. “I’m a Gulf War vet, and I shouldn’t have to sit and listen to someone badmouth my country,” says Officer Darren Besse. Because of the walkout, the Hartford PD has temporarily suspended training. [Matt Burgard, Friction Stalls Sensitivity Training, Courant (Hartford), Sept. 20, 2002.]

No Love Lost

The Columbia Heights area of Washington, DC, is changing. During the 1990s, the Hispanic population grew by more than 5,000 while the black population dropped by 6,800. Neither group appears to appreciate the diversity. Hispanics yell unkind things at the blacks, who tell the Hispanics to go back where they came from. “A lot of black people in this area feel like they’re being overrun,” says Franklin Hall, a black who runs a clothing store and who says he may have to start learning Spanish. Hispanics complain that blacks rob them, and that they are afraid to go to the police because so many are here illegally.

On Sept. 29 Florentin Bustillo, a 48-year-old from El Salvador, decided to do something about the blacks. He had been drinking with friends when a Hispanic man joined the group, saying he had just been beaten up by blacks. “I feel like killing me some black people,” Mr. Bustillo shouted, first in Spanish, then in English. He started off after a black, threatening him. “Come on,” the black is reported to have said, and Mr. Bustillo drew a ten-inch knife and started slashing the air. The black man pulled a gun from his waistband and fatally shot Mr. Bustillo.

Jim Graham, who represents the area on the Washington, DC, city council, says there is plenty of racial tension in Columbia Heights, but it rarely leads to killing. [David A. Fahrenthold and Mary Beth Sheridan, Cultures Clash Following Fight, Washington Post, Oct. 30, 2002, p. B1.]

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