O Tempora, O Mores! (August, 2003)

American Renaissance, August 2003

Into Africa

After 13 years of doing nothing while Liberians slaughter each other, the United States has suddenly decided to bring peace. The current warlord, Charles Taylor, has agreed to seek asylum in Nigeria, and the Pentagon has plans to send 2,000 soldiers to tramp around Monrovia. Why, after announcing during the 2000 elections that he had little interest in Africa, is President George Bush now determined to liberate Liberia? He says “failed states,” of which Liberia is certainly one, are breeding grounds for terrorism. This is an odd argument, given that there is very little anti-Americanism in Liberia, and that the country that supplied 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers — Saudi Arabia — is not exactly a “failed state.” Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, the Black Congressional Caucus, and other highly-placed blacks are said to be pushing the president to pay more attention to their co-racialists. [Karl Vick, Liberia’s President Agrees to Leave, Washington Post, July 7, 2003, p. A1. Michael Dobbs, Trip Marks President’s Turnabout on Africa, Washington Post, July 7, 2003, p. A1.]

One wonders whether it will occur to the president’s black advisors to propose a change to the Liberian constitution in exchange for the uplift we propose to apply. Chapter IV, Article 27b is unambiguous:

“In order to preserve, foster and maintain the positive Liberian culture, values and character, only persons who are Negroes or of Negro descent shall qualify by birth or naturalization to be citizens of Liberia.” We note also, in Chapter III, Article 22, that “only Liberian citizens shall have the right to own real property within the Republic.”

Needless to say, no one in Liberia pays any attention to the constitution, and most Liberians cannot read it and probably have never heard of it. However, once we have established democracy, which will no doubt be our goal, this little matter of “Negro descent” might require attention.

The president’s father tried to bring peace and prosperity to Somalia and failed. President William Clinton tried to “restore democracy” in Haiti and failed. Mr. Bush will fail in Liberia. Let us hope this futile mission to Africa never gets out of the planning stage.

Meanwhile, Mr. Taylor is reported to be clinging to power with the same techniques that got him to the top: black magic. He is known to have drunk the blood of prisoners when he was a rebel in the bush war, and now that he is besieged in Monrovia by two enemy armies, he is said to be drinking blood and casting spells like never before. “Right now he is surrounding himself with the strongest zoes [witch doctors] and using the strongest ju ju [magic] to keep power,” says a Monrovian expert on magic. “There is no way you can be at his level and not do rituals. These guys deal in blood.” One Taylor associate used to keep the bones of a murdered rival in his desk drawer. [Tim Butcher, Taylor Turns Back to Cannibalism, Telegraph (London), June 23, 2003.]

West Africa, of which Liberia is a part, is reported to be a large market for imported ingredients for magic rituals. At a recent international business fair in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the government set up a gruesome exhibit of products the country would prefer not to export. All parts of the human body appear to have some value for witch doctors, but complete human skins are especially prized. Southern Tanzania has had a rash of murders in which corpses have been found without their skins. In 2001, Tanzanian police broke up a skin-smuggling ring and charged 13 people with murder.

The Dar es Salaam exhibit includes skulls, arms, and legs, but the main attraction is the skins. A spokesman for the exhibit says its purpose is to alert people in the skin trade that the authorities are on to them, and “to educate people that they do not have to use human skin to become rich.” However, the price of a skin can be as high as $9,600, and so long as the West Africans want them that badly, there will be suppliers. [Tanzania Fights Human Skinning, BBC News (bbc.co.uk), July 4, 2003.]

Childhood Injury

A Washington, DC, organization called the National SAFE KIDS Campaign reports that unintentional injury is the leading cause of death among children age 14 and under. More than 5,600 children die in accidents each year, an average of 15 per day. In 2000, automobile accidents accounted for 28 percent of accidental deaths, followed by drowning at 16 percent and choking at 14 percent.

Accidental Child Deaths by Race

The SAFE KIDS study shows significant racial differences in death rates (see chart). American Indian and black children have the highest rates — nearly twice that of whites — and Asian children have the lowest. While the overall accidental childhood death rate declined 39 percent from 1987 to 2000, among Asians it declined 52 percent. American Indians saw the smallest decline at 20 percent, followed by blacks at 36 percent and whites at 39 percent. The study did not look at Hispanic children as a separate racial category.

The authors are quick to claim that “racial and ethnic disparities in unintentional injury rates have more to do with living in impoverished communities, a primary predictor of injury, than with biological differences.” [Report to the Nation: Trends in Unintentional Childhood Mortality, 1987-2000, National SAFE KIDS Campaign (Washington, DC), May 2003, p. 6.]

White Man’s Burden

Luis Alberto Jimenez is an illegal alien from Guatemala who was severely injured in a head-on car crash in Florida three and a half years ago. Since then, he has had more than $1 million in medical treatment from Martin Memorial Medical Center in Stuart, Fla. Since Mr. Jimenez has no money or health insurance, Martin Memorial has asked a federal judge to send him back to Guatemala.

According to federal guidelines, hospitals accepting Medicare — like Martin Memorial — may not discharge illegal aliens unless they have arranged to have a hospital in the home country give the patient adequate care. Martin Memorial has worked closely with the Guatemalan government, and has received assurances from the minister of public health that Mr. Jimenez will be well treated.

That isn’t good enough for Montejo Gaspar, Mr. Jimenez’s cousin by marriage and court-appointed guardian, who is fighting Martin Memorial to keep his cousin-in-law here. Mr. Gaspar says he will agree to Mr. Jimenez’s removal only if he approves the hospital, the treatment, and the doctors. [Pat Moore, Hospital Seeks to Send Immigrant Home, Palm Beach Post, June 6, 2003.]

Animal Farm

AIDS, the Ebola virus, monkeypox, and SARS are all diseases that probably started in wild animals and switched to humans. It now appears likely that the recent outbreak of SARS got its start from the close contact between Chinese animal merchants and their wares. The people of Guangdong Province in southern China are famous for eating “everything with four legs except a table, everything that flies except an airplane, and everything that swims except a submarine,” and support a brisk trade in cats, snakes, bats, dogs, civet cats, pangolins, and anything else hunters can get their hands on. People like the taste, but also claim a daily dose of snake’s blood or powdered pangolin scales can cure disease. Another reason for the popularity of bush meat is its price. South China is full of wheeler-dealers who like to flaunt their wealth by eating tiger penis or filleted cobra.

The Xinyuan market in Canton is the perfect place to get diseases from animals. The floor is littered with dead cats, birds, fish, frogs, and rats, and the place stinks of blood and feces. Animals of every description are crammed into tiny cages, where they gnaw at and defecate on each other. People in the trade are always around animals, and get up to their elbows in blood when they butcher them. “Patient zero” in the SARS outbreak is thought to have been a Canton animal handler, and Chinese scientists report that up to 50 per cent of the people who work with wild animals in Canton have antibodies to the SARS coronavirus.

The authorities have outlawed the animal trade, but enforce the ban only half-heartedly. Western reporters have had no trouble finding the usual assortment of animals for sale in the usual filthy conditions. The animal handlers say the link to SARS is a myth. As one explains:

“We are not afraid of any disease in our market. Chinese people have been eating wild animals for thousands of years. We eat and sleep among our animals, and not a single one of us has ever caught SARS, and neither have any of our friends or relatives.” In any case, he adds, “I think our jobs are more important than SARS.”

The World Health Organization reports that if the trade in animals continues, there could well be another outbreak this fall or winter, when the weather is more favorable for transmission. [Geoffrey York, Chinese Taste for Exotic Flesh, Globe and Mail (London), June 28, 2003.]

Unhappy Trails

Movie cowboy Roy Rogers, his wife Dale Evans, and his horse Trigger all used to be American cultural icons, and there is still a museum that celebrates their lives. For years, people visited the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum in Victorville, California, to view Roy Rogers memorabilia, including his gun, boots, and Trigger himself — stuffed and on display.

As the Roy Rogers generation passed on, and immigrants moved in, attendance dropped, and last April, the museum decided to relocate to Branson, Missouri. Branson has become a major resort area catering to bluegrass and country music fans, who are overwhelmingly white, and the museum hopes to be more popular there.

Victorville mayor Terry Caldwell is sad to see the museum go. “It’s left a big hole in the heart of Victorville. There was a wholesomeness synonymous with Roy Rogers and now that the museum has gone, it marks the end of an era here.” That’s just fine with immigrant Rosalina Sondoval-Marin. “Roy Rogers? He doesn’t mean anything,” she sneers. “There’s a revolution going on, and it don’t include no Roy Rogers . . .” [Charlie LeDuff, Roy Rogers Museum Hits the Trail, New York Times, June 1, 2003.]

Wales Too?

Over the past year, Iraqi Kurdish refugees have been moving into the northern Wales town of Wrexham. There are now about 70 of them, and most live in a public housing project called Caja Park. On the night of June 22/23, the town had its first full-scale race riot, as 40 Kurds and young Welshmen battled it out near the project, swinging baseball bats and metal poles. Two men were taken into intensive care with serious head injuries, and police arrested four Iraqis and two Welshmen. Rumor had it that busloads of Kurds bent on revenge were rolling in from Stoke and London. Eirian Jones works at a late-night convenience store and witnessed the violence. “I am not surprised,” she says. “There has been tension for the last week. If the police don’t sort it out there’ll be more trouble.” Of course, it is the immigration authorities, not the police, who should sort it out. [Faisal al Yafai, Race Riot Rocks Welsh Estate, Guardian (London), June 24, 2003.]

More Extortion

Now that blacks have taken over the country whites built in South Africa, they are demanding “reparations” for apartheid. The reasoning is as follows: Whites kept blacks out of certain jobs and certain areas. Whites were (and still are) richer than blacks. Therefore whites owe blacks money. This ignores the fact that although blacks in South Africa were certainly poorer than whites, they were far better off than the neighboring blacks who had no whites to run their countries. Under apartheid, South Africa had a big problem with illegal African immigrants who wanted a piece of the good life under apartheid. Now that blacks are in charge, immigrants are less eager to come.

Activists have sued companies, foreign and domestic, for reparations because they “propped up” apartheid. The United States has the best laws for this sort of shakedown, and the South African Council of Churches was planning a big meeting in July to report on the suits. Blacks were looking forward to the big payday when it began to dawn on a few people that South African companies and South African subsidiaries of American companies might be liquidated if courts award damages. This would mean the end of many of the best jobs in the country.

Companies doing business in South Africa have instead agreed to contribute “voluntarily” to a reparations fund if the suits are dropped. Justice Minister Penuell Maduna wants everyone in South Africa to contribute. The fund will be run by a committee that will decide who are the most deserving victims of apartheid and which groups should be specially rewarded for their part in ending white rule. [Christelle Terreblanche, Business Pledges Reparations for Apartheid, Sunday Independent (London), June 29, 2003.]

The Majesty of Law

Cheating on examinations is a tradition in India, especially on law school examinations in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. Brazen cheating is so widespread that the state supreme court issued an order banning it, and the authorities got tough. “On frisking in the presence of the police, we found almost all students carrying books and photocopied notes hidden on their body,” explains education official Radhanath Mishra in the state capital of Bhubaneswar. The students refused to hand over their crib sheets, and instead turned violent, finally leaving the examination halls in protest. The boycott spread to 20 law colleges in eastern India and involved more than 3,000 students.

Aspiring lawyers at the University Law College of Bhubaneswar and Madhusudan Law College of Cuttack blocked the Calcutta-Madras national highway for more than three hours and burned tires to protest the ban on cheating. Angry students told local television reporters they wanted the examinations rescheduled and demanded that cheating be allowed, as it has been “for years.” [Shaikh Azizur Rahman, Students Riot Over Cheating Ban, The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Australia), July 10, 2003.]

India is the fourth most common country of origin for immigrants to the United States.

May Day Mayhem

On May 1, a gang of 18 black and Hispanic children, ages nine to fifteen, attacked a 13-year-old white girl as she walked home from Wilbur Wright Middle School in Cleveland, Ohio. The victim, identified only as Melissa, says her attackers were calling her “white trash” and other names when one girl grabbed her from behind by the hair and pulled her to the ground. The others joined in, beating, kicking and choking her. When police asked the young perps why they did it, they said simply, “It’s May Day.” Asked to elaborate, they explained, “That’s the day black students beat up on whites.”

Blacks at schools on Cleveland’s West Side have reportedly been assaulting white classmates on May Day since the 1970s, after the imposition of court-ordered busing. School officials claim tales of May Day violence are largely apocryphal, but teacher Michael Charney disagrees: “If you look through the history of Cleveland schools, there’s been incidents on May Day. It exists. It’s not a figment of imagination.”

Parents are taking no chances. Many whites, like JoAnn Nelson, keep their children home on May Day. “I’m not going to have them getting beat,” she explains. Her daughter Amber, who attends the same school as Melissa, says she’s glad she didn’t go to school that day — fellow students later told her she was on the hit list. On Thursday, May 1, Wilbur Wright reported 224 student absences; on Monday of the same week, there were only 115 absences.

Elsie Morales knows about May Day. The Puerto Rican mother of two says that when she was a student in the late 1970s, she joined in attacks on whites, which she saw as payback for their treatment of non-whites. She now thinks this was “retarded,” and forbids her children to attack whites. Her daughter Jasmine says there is pressure to join in the violence: “It’s like if you don’t jump this person with us, you’re a wimp and we’ll get you next.”

Since her attack, Melissa experiences blackouts, and remains under medical care. Police are charging her assailants — twelve girls and six boys — with felonious assault, ethnic intimidation, and aggravated riot. [Brian Albrecht, 18 Kids Are Charged With Racially Motivated Beating of Teenage Girl, Plain Dealer (Cleveland), June 14, 2003. Rachel Dissell and John F. Hagan, ‘May Day’: Fact and Myth, Plain Dealer, June 22, 2003.]

Not Learning English

A new study by the Brookings Institution shows that many foreign-born residents cannot speak English proficiently. Here are the data for the 10 metropolitan areas with the largest foreign-born populations.

[Mary Beth Sheridan, D.C. Region’s Immigrants Faring Better than Others, Washington Post, June 12, 2003.)

Metro Area Foreign-born Population Poor English
Los Angeles 3,449,444 37.0%
New York 3,139,647 26.4%
Chicago 1,425,978 31.0%
Miami 1,147,765 37.1%
Houston 854,669 37.0%
Orange County (CA) 849,899 34.7%
Washington D.C. 832,016 21.1%
Riverside (CA) 612,359 34.5%
San Diego 606,254 27.2%
Dallas 591,169 41.0%

Presidential Material?

On June 8, Ford Motor Credit Co. filed a lawsuit in Manhattan against Democratic presidential candidate Rev. Al Sharpton to collect money he owes on a 2001 Ford Explorer. Mr. Sharpton last made the $1,127.95 monthly payment in November 2002. In February, he wrote Ford a check for $3,600 — it bounced — and now the repo men are after him. According to a spokesman, this is all news to the reverend. “Rev. Sharpton personally does not drive, nor does he have a driver’s license,” she says. [Missing SUV, New York Post, June 11, 2003, p. 10.]

The aspiring chief executive has a long history of skipping out on debts. After the Sept. 11 attacks, he got nervous about his offices in the Empire State Building, and cleared out despite a ten-year lease. His landlord sued. State and federal authorities are often after him for unpaid taxes. He did a midnight flit on $30,000 rent on his 1996 campaign headquarters, and tried to stiff the Millennium Hotel for $25,000 in expenses for a Jan. 2000 conference timed to celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday. His refusal to pay a $65,000 libel judgment for accusing a former prosecutor of raping Tawana Brawley became so embarrassing, a group of black businessmen finally paid the fine for him. [Lois Weiss and Andy Geller, Rev. Deadbeat Bounced, New York Post, July 13, 2002.]

Flyer Flap

Last Nov. 12, California Polytechnic State University student Steve Hinkle walked into a lounge in the school’s Multicultural Center to post a flyer announcing a speech by black conservative Mason Weaver. Mr. Weaver was to discuss his book, “It’s OK to Leave the Plantation,” which argues that government programs are bad for blacks. Several students in the lounge said Mr. Hinkle’s flyer was racist and violated the Multicultural Center’s posting policy. They said they would call the police if he posted it.

Mr. Hinkle left without putting it up, but students called the cops anyway, and told them a suspicious white male was distributing racial material. On Jan. 29, Mr. Hinkle was charged with disrupting a campus event — the students told police they were holding a Bible study meeting, though they had not yet started and there was no sign asking for privacy. According to one of the students Mr. Hinkle was in the room for “no more than five minutes.”

On March 12, the offender was hauled before Cal Poly’s Office of Judicial Affairs, and Vice Provost W. David Conn found him guilty of disruption and ordered him to write a formal apology. Mr. Hinkle is fighting back. An organization called the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is demanding that the university overturn the disruption conviction, remove it from his record, and apologize. If not, they may sue. [Michael Carney, California Student Struggles Against ‘Disruption’ Finding, Washington Times, July 2, 2003, p. A3.]

Respite for Lewiston?

City officials in Lewiston, Maine, are reporting a significant downturn in the number of new Somali refugees moving there. Since September 2002, new arrivals have averaged fewer than ten a month. During the previous year, the number was 40 a month. Some say the Somalis no longer feel welcome in Lewiston since last October when Mayor Larry Raymond wrote a letter asking them to go somewhere else. Others say the winters in Maine are too cold for Somalis. Still others think it’s because there aren’t many jobs in Lewiston (the Somali unemployment rate is 50 percent). Whatever the reason, Lewiston’s respite may be short-lived. Somali leaders say as many as 200 Somalis may move to Lewiston from Columbus, Ohio, this summer. [Somali Immigration into Lewiston Drops Significantly Since Fall, AP, June 26, 2003.]

Multi-Culti London

Only two percent of the London Metropolitan Police force’s 28,000 officers are Muslim, so clearly the city needs more. On June 16, assistant police commissioner Bernared Hogan-Howe announced a new recruiting tactic: Muslims may wear turbans instead of the traditional “bobby” helmet. Sikh policemen have worn turbans for years, and last year Muslim women got permission to wear headscarves on duty. [Muslim Police in London May Wear Turbans, AP, June 16, 2003.]

Fade to Brown

In just two years, 2000 to 2002, the number of Hispanics living in the United States increased by 3.5 million, and now stands at 38.8 million. The Hispanic population more than doubled in the 1990s, and in 2001 Hispanics officially surpassed blacks to become the largest minority (13.5 vs. 12.7 percent). According to the Census Bureau, Hispanics are increasing nearly four times as quickly as the general population, and almost ten times faster than non-Hispanic whites.

Two thirds of all Hispanics are Mexican, and one third are under age 18. Forty percent are foreign-born. Forty percent of Hispanics 25 and over have failed to complete high school, and 21 percent live in poverty. For the Census Bureau “Hispanic” is a cultural, rather than racial category. Of the 38.8 million Hispanics living in our midst, no fewer than 36.3 million — 93.5 percent — say they are “white.” [Genaro C. Armas, Hispanic Population Up 10 Pct. Since 2000, AP, June 18, 2003.]

(His)pandering Republicans

“It’s our responsibility as Republicans to communicate our message better to Hispanic communities,” says Republican Congressman Gerald Weller of Illinois. “In the past, we have not been as aggressive as we should have in conveying that Republican values are Hispanic values . . .” In order to get the message across, Rep. Weller has organized a 10-week course of Spanish classes for about 20 Republican congressmen and 50 staffers.

“It is great that they are taking language classes, and it’s about time,” says Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX), chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “But they also need to understand our concerns and issues . . .” Hispanics vote Democrat two to one. For that to change, says Cecilia Muñoz, vice president of the Hispanic pressure group National Council of La Raza, the GOP must change some of its policies — like the post-Sept. 11 restrictions on immigration.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Hispanics are about eight percent of registered voters and 500,000 more become eligible to vote each year. Both major political parties want their votes. “They are the jump ball in American politics,” says Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-TX). [Alex Kingsbury, How Do You Say ‘Vote GOP’?, Dallas Morning News, June 17, 2003.]

Mayor Hip-Hop

At 32, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is one of the youngest mayors of a major American city. He also sports a diamond stud is his left ear and rides a Harley. Mr. Kilpatrick comes from a black political family — his mother is Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI) and his father is a former Wayne County, Mich., commissioner — and his rapid rise to power in the nation’s 10th largest city has won national attention. The Los Angeles Times calls him a “politician who runs on hip-hop,” the Democratic Leadership Council named him one of 100 Democrats to watch, and BlackVoices .com hailed him as one of “America’s New Kings” and a possible future presidential candidate. He was the inspiration for the 2003 film Head of State (produced by and starring comedian Chris Rock), in which a black city alderman becomes president of the United States.

There have been rumors of orgies at the mayor’s mansion, but Mr. Kilpatrick says it’s just talk: “I think the reason it comes out is that we are sexy. I think this is a very sexy administration because of the youth.” Rumors started again in May, when Mr. Kilpatrick fired Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown. Mr. Brown says he got the axe because he was investigating the mayor’s 20-man security force for falsifying overtime records and covering up DUIs — and because he was looking into a coverup of an assault at a wild party at the mayor’s mansion involving the mayor and nude dancers.

Mr. Kilpatrick says he fired Mr. Brown because he betrayed “the trust of his chief.” The Michigan State Police and Detroit’s US District Attorney are investigating. [Patricia Montemurri, Alejandro Bodipo-Memba, and Chris Christoff, Mayor Didn’t Roll Off Assembly Line, Knight-Ridder News Service, May 18, 2003.]

Haitian Delusion

In 1803, an army of Haitian former slaves drove the French army out of Haiti (the soldiers were dying of yellow fever) and massacred the remaining whites. Toussaint Louverture, the hero of the revolution, died in a French prison a few months later. Thirty-five years later, the French government agreed to recognize Haitian independence in exchange for 90 million francs in gold to compensate French landowners who lost property.

The government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide is now using the bicentennial of Louverture’s death to mount a PR campaign aimed at shaming the French government into giving the money back; they say its worth $21,685,135,571.48. The French have no intention of paying, pointing out that Haiti’s corrupt government is the real source of its problems.

Nevertheless, the Haitian government is acting as though they expect the French to pay up any minute. Haitian TV and radio stations run ads calling for payment, and banners and bumper stickers demanding money are all over the country. Headlines in newspaper give the impression the check is virtually in the mail. In a recent interview, Haitian Foreign Minister Joseph Philippe Antonio said the French are embarrassed by colonialism, and are refusing to pay restitution because they are afraid of setting a precedent, which other former colonies could follow. But, he says, “France will pay restitution for the monies it owes Haiti.” [Carol J. Williams, Quixotic Haiti Seeks French Restitution, Los Angeles Times, June 14, 2003.]

Unhappy Hmong

The Hmong are perhaps the most unsuccessful people to wash up on our shores because of misadventures overseas. They are Southeast Asian hill people whom the CIA recruited to fight Laotian Communists during the 1960s and ‘70s. They are extremely primitive even by south Asian standards, and have formed knots of unemployment, poverty, and school failure in the three states in which they have congregated: Minnesota, Wisconsin, and California. After a well-publicized rash of teenager suicides, the California legislature decided it should do something about Hmong self-esteem, and passed one of those meaningless laws of which Americans are so fond. The bill, shepherded through the statehouse by Sarah Reyes (D-Fresno), “encourages” California schools to teach students about the role of Southeast Asians during the Vietnam war. (Even if schools do this, the example of blacks shows that stuffing them full of Hmong history and happy mumbo-jumbo will not change their behavior.)

Alas, the bill does not mention the Hmong by name, something many believed would be a huge boost to self-esteem. The trouble is, it turns out there are all manner of different kinds of Hmong — blue, green, white, even striped — and they couldn’t agree on what to call themselves. The distinctions seem subtle to outsiders, but the biggest split is apparently between the Hmong Der (white Hmong) and the Mong Leng (green or, sometimes, blue Mong). The Mong, who insist they are not Hmong, are even more backward and failure-prone than the Hmong, and have learned to blame this on oppressors, including the Hmong. The Hmong say “Hmong” is inclusive and covers them all, but Mong say no, they want to be mentioned specifically by name, too. There was such a wrangle that Rep. Reyes threw up her hands and put “Southeast Asians” in the bill. Now the Mong are getting hate mail from Hmong who accuse them of sabotaging the bill. [Lee Romney, What’s in a Name? For Hmong Disappointed by Bill, Everything, Los Angeles Times, July 5, 2003.]

Connerly Redux

Ward Connerly is the black man who has made a career of banning government-sponsored affirmative action. As one of the regents of the University of California system, he played a key role in eliminating racial preferences in college admissions in the state, and was the most prominent backer of Proposition 209, the ballot initiative that abolished preferences state-wide. He was promoting a similar initiative in Michigan, but when the Supreme Court agreed to hear the two University of Michigan cases, the effort came to a halt in expectation of a victory.

Now, Mr. Connerly is back in Michigan to revive the initiative. His formal announcement on the U of M campus was met with boos and heckling from dozens of affirmative action supporters who don’t want to let the voters decide. Within the state, both the Republicans and the Democrats are siding with the hecklers. “I fear that this proposed ballot initiative would only serve to further divide people along racial lines,” says state GOP Chairwoman Betsy DeVos. Presumably affirmative action unites them.

Encouragingly, the Supreme Court decision has stimulated action from others who may have held off in anticipation of sanity from Washington. In Colorado, lawmakers have proposed a bill to eliminate or greatly restrict race as a factor in college admissions. Gov. William Owens says he favors such legislation. [David Runk, Group Takes Race Issue to Mich. Voters, AP, July 9, 2003.]

Serial Abuser

Last January, former Rochester, New York, police officer Clint Jackson was convicted on 15 counts of third-degree sexual abuse for groping eight women while on duty. The women claimed Mr. Jackson, who is black, fondled their thighs and breasts as he searched them following traffic stops. The city fired Mr. Jackson in January 2002, after less than two years on the force, and he is now serving a two-year prison sentence.

In July, Mr. Jackson said he may sue the city alleging malicious prosecution, and charging the department failed to train and supervise him properly. “I was being inadequately supervised leading to my loss of employment,” he wrote. “I had been poorly trained to do my job.” Rochester City Attorney Linda Kingsley calls Mr. Jackson’s claims absurd, and notes that as for malicious persecution, a jury found him guilty. “This [suit] is an offensive waste of taxpayers’ money,” she says. Mr. Jackson has already cost the citizens of Rochester $44,000 in payments to the eight women. [Rick Armon, Ex-Cop, A Convicted Molester, Blames Training, May Sue City, Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester), July 3, 2003.]

Starting Young

Black Teenage Criminals

On June 24, 19-year-old Kevin Johnson and his 16-year-old cousin Nafeese Holton left a birthday party at a house in largely black southwest Philadelphia and were waiting at a stop to catch a trolley home when five teenage boys approached them. They demanded that Mr. Johnson hand over the custom Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers basketball jersey he was wearing. When Mr. Johnson refused, 15-year-old Raymond Ferguson shot him in the neck. Another 15-year-old, Robert Chisholm, shot Mr. Holton, hitting him in the jaw. Both shots were fired from less than a foot away.

Philadelphia detective Michael Chitwood says the two shooters had been at the party with the victims, and had noticed they were not from the neighborhood, were dressed well, seemed to have money, and were chatting up girls. The two rounded up some friends and decided to rob them partly, police speculate, as punishment for coming onto their southwest Philly turf.

The victims remain hospitalized. Mr. Johnson will probably be paralyzed from the neck down and Mr. Holton has a bullet lodged near his carotid artery. [Thomas J. Gibbons, Jr., 5 Teens Charged in S.W. Phila. Shootings of Two, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 27, 2003.]

Secret Racists?

Lauren Ellison says she had to quit her job at the Victoria’s Secret lingerie store in the Oxford Valley Mall in Langhorne, Pa., in 2001 because co-workers and managers made “offensive remarks and engaged in practices that were insulting” to her race and religion. Miss Ellison is black, and a Baptist. She says she was forced to work when she wanted to attend church, and was told to assume black shoppers were shoplifters. Miss Ellison complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which sued Victoria’s Secret — part of Limited Brands, Inc. — on her behalf. The company settled for $179,300. [Victoria’s Secret to Settle Suit, Bloomberg News, June 27, 2003.]

Oh, Canada!

In June, after a gang of a dozen young blacks attacked and slashed a 23-year-old white man in suburban Ottawa, Canada, city councilor Jan Harder told a local newspaper, “The problem arises when a large group of — I’m going to say it — non-whites comes into our community looking to cause trouble.” Miss Harder’s remarks set off the usual shrieking about “racism,” but she is sticking to her guns. “I’m not defining race,” she says. “It’s police terminology, not mine. That’s how the police report it and that’s why I use that terminology. In that particular case, it was non-whites, so I’m reporting accurately.” She says her constituents support her: “I’ve had so many e-mails and calls from people saying ‘We’re really glad you’re working on this, Jan. We’re nervous about letting the kids go out in the evening.’”

Young whites in the area agree with her. “I have been chilling here since I was 12. It was a safe haven, but they’re [non-whites] going to keep coming and it’s getting worse,” says Andrew Racine. “She may be racist, but she’s truthful,” adds J.L. Jarvis. [Jason Fekete and Adam Grachnik, City Councillor Blames ‘Non-Whites’ for Violence, Ottawa Citizen, June 20, 2003.]

Meanwhile, in Toronto, on June 11, police and social workers took four of a Jamaican Rastafarian woman’s five children into custody. She had not sent them to school for eight months, and Children’s Aid Society (CAS) officials feared for their health and safety. Immediately after the police took her children, the woman forced her way into a neighboring townhouse and attacked Madelene Monast with a machete. She had been feuding with Miss Monast for more than a year, and was already the subject of an arrest warrant in connection with an assault on Miss Monast. She mistakenly believed Miss Monast had called CAS about her children, and in revenge fractured her skull, broke her arm, cut up her face, and nearly severed both hands.

“Her hands were basically just hanging by the tendons,” says Anthony Barnes, a neighbor who helped the white 44-year-old mother of five until paramedics arrived. “It was awful — gruesome, terrible, terrible.” Miss Monast underwent hours of microsurgery to reattach her hands, but doctors think only one can be saved. [Jim Wilkes, Slashing Horrifies Community, Toronto Star, June 13, 2003.]

Creating the Fifth Column

On July 6, Manuel de la Cruz of Norwalk, California, became the first American citizen to win a seat in Mexico’s Congress. Jose Jacques Medina of Maywood, California, was waiting for late returns to determine whether he would join the 500-seat Mexican legislature. Four other US citizens ran for office and lost. All six are all among the two million Mexicans with dual citizenship living in the United States. No fewer than 10 million Mexicans living here are eligible to vote in Mexican elections, and one of the campaign issues Mr. Medina and Mr. de la Cruz both pushed was measures to make even more Mexicans living here eligible to vote in the 2006 Mexican elections.

Beyond this, both men have another goal: to make the United States Mexico’s sixth electoral district. The country now has a complex system with five districts, but with 20 percent of all Mexicans — more than 20 million — living in el norte, why shouldn’t they have formal representation? Mr. de la Cruz envisions a kind of virtual Mexico, north of the border, with amnesty for illegals and easy guest-worker status for millions more.

Mr. Medina, a labor leader who fled to the US in the 1970s because of alleged “political crimes,” says that if he has won a seat, he will stay in Maywood. “I am Mexican,” he says, “but I will always live in California, fighting for the emigrant Mexicans who live here.” [Ken Bensinger, Mexican Lawmaker Sees Voting in U.S., Washington Times, July 10, 2003, p. A1.]

Mr. Medina makes it refreshingly clear where his loyalties lie, and his goal for the United States is entirely consistent with those loyalties. Nothing could better symbolize the debased nature of American citizenship and America’s colonial tie to its neighbor than to make it a voting district of a foreign country. Whether this happens — and the necessary arrangements could be made before the 2006 elections — is entirely up to the Mexican authorities and the Mexicans who live among us as citizens but whose loyalties lie elsewhere.

Who Drops Out?

What is the US high school dropout rate? This is a surprisingly difficult question; no one really knows. One simple calculation is to count the number of 11th graders, count the number of students who graduate the next year, and call the difference the dropout rate. That ignores students who dropped out before the 11th grade, as well as the fact that the US population is growing because of immigration.

Different calculations result in big differences. The federal government says the high school graduation rate for 2000 was 86.5 percent, while Jay Greene of the Manhattan Institute says the figure is 69 percent. The feds include people who get a high school equivalency diploma while Mr. Green does not. More important, Mr. Green counts students who end up in prison as dropouts whereas the feds do not.

Racial differences are also unclear. According to some studies, the black dropout rate has fallen from 21 percent in 1972 to 11 percent in 2001 — a considerable decrease. However, at the same time, the number of high school-age blacks behind bars has shot up, and if jailbirds are counted as dropouts, graduation rates decline. Bruce Western of Princeton University says imprisonment accounts for about half the fall in dropout rates, and that the decline is really from over 20 percent to about 15 percent. He says that in 1980 14 percent of black men aged 22 to 30 who had dropped out of high school were in jail. By 1999, just under 20 years later, that figure had jumped to 40 percent. No doubt the gentlemen pictured on the previous page will add to that figure.

No matter how the rate is calculated, Hispanics are the group least likely to graduate. The government says that in 1972 their dropout rate was 34 percent but declined to 27 percent by 2001. US-born Hispanics appear to be more likely to graduate than the foreign born. Richard Fry of the Pew Hispanic Center says that during the 1990s their dropout rate dipped from 15 to 14 percent. [Marjorie Coeyman, The Story Behind Dropout Rates, Christian Science Monitor, July 1, 2003.] No one appears to have calculated the effect of imprisonment on the Hispanic rate, and it may be that if prisoners are counted as dropouts, the rate for the US-born has actually risen.

‘One if by Land . . .’

Paul Westrum likes to think of himself as a modern-day Paul Revere, warning fellow Minnesotans of the dangers of mass immigration. Mr. Westrum heads a group called the Steele County Coalition for Immigration Reduction, which wants fewer legal immigrants, deportation for all illegals, and English as the official language. He recently mailed letters to officials in Steele County informing them that “we are watching” how they handle immigration policy.

Thanks to immigration, the number of Hispanics in Minnesota increased by 166 percent during the 1990s, and Mr. Westrum’s organization is growing. It has 27 branches in southern Minnesota and four in Iowa.

The coalition has run into the usual opposition. On June 12, Omar Jamal, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in St. Paul, held a press conference to denounce the group as “racist.” “It sounds like a group of citizens who are misinformed about the contributions of immigrants to this country,” he explained.

For his part, Mr. Westrum says, “This is not an anti-immigrant group. It’s not anti-immigration, and this has nothing to do with race. The group is nothing more than trying to cut back on immigration.” [Renee Ruble, Groups Draw a Bead on Immigrants, AP, June 15, 2003.]

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