Posted on September 1, 2003

O Tempora, O Mores! (September, 2003)

American Renaissance, September 2003

Our Debt to Liberia?

The Congressional Black Caucus, which voted almost unanimously against the war in Iraq, is clamoring for George Bush to send troops to pacify Liberia. Members like Sheila Jackson Lee hint broadly that the only reason Americans aren’t there already is that Mr. Bush just doesn’t care about black people. Rev. Jesse Jackson is quite sure “racism” is the problem, and wants American soldiers on the ground as soon as possible.

Mr. Jackson’s role in promoting the current Liberian warlord, Charles Taylor, is not well known. In October 1997 President Clinton appointed Mr. Jackson Special Envoy for Democracy and Human Rights in Africa, and he first flew to Monrovia to meet Mr. Taylor in February 1998. Mr. Taylor had just been elected president after he sent his notorious “Small Boys Units” out to threaten to shoot anyone who voted the wrong way. Rather than lecture Mr. Taylor on human rights, Mr. Jackson became good buddies with the dictator. According to an American embassy report, “Rev. Jackson met several times privately with President Taylor and appeared to establish a strong personal bond with him.” Charles Taylor was like a Chicago gang leader, said the reverend, who could be “redeemed” with the right kind of personal stroking.

Two months later Mr. Jackson invited the warlord to Chicago for a “reconciliation conference” that was meant to showcase Mr. Taylor as a modern democratic leader. “It’s morning time in Liberia,” intoned Mr. Jackson, and urged Mr. Taylor’s opponents in Liberia to stop publicizing government atrocities on the Internet. “The international community frequents the Internet and takes note of whatever information is disseminated on the information superhighway,” he said, “so, please stay off the Net.” The assumption among Liberians was that only a paid promoter would be booming Mr. Taylor so vigorously, but Mr. Jackson denies he ever got money from Monrovia.

In November 1998, Mr. Jackson once again visited Mr. Taylor in Liberia, and instead of scolding him for his deteriorating record treated him like a statesman. He then went on to meddle in Sierra Leone’s civil war, even going so far as to call rebel leader Foday Sankoh another Nelson Mandela — despite the fact that Mr. Sankoh’s men liked to cut people’s arms off to show who was boss. Even William Clinton had enough, and in June 2000 finally fired his Special Envoy for Democracy and Human Rights in Africa.

Kenneth Timmerman, author of a book-length exposé of Mr. Jackson called Shakedown, thinks that without the reverend’s energetic boosting, Charles Taylor would have been diplomatically isolated and perhaps pushed out of power long ago. He also notes Mr. Taylor had a habit of splashing out diamonds smuggled from Sierra Leone whenever he needed something, and wonders if a few didn’t end up in Rev. Jackson’s pockets. [Kenneth R. Timmerman, Jesse, Liberia and Blood Diamonds, Insight Magazine, July 25, 2003.]

Now, Rev. Jackson, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and the blacks in Congress are braying for the US to save Africans from themselves. They point out that the French sorted out the mess in Ivory Coast, the British did the same in Sierra Leone, so now it’s our turn. At least they seem to recognize that Africa is a hopeless place that cannot pull itself out of barbarism unless white men show up with guns.

DC Sniper Hates Whites

John Lee Malvo, the youngster who spent last fall shooting up the DC area with his pal John Allen Muhammad, is reported to have blabbed to prison guards shortly after he was locked up last October. Wayne Davis and Joseph Stracke, guards at the “Supermax” prison in Baltimore, Maryland, came forward recently to relay comments from Mr. Malvo that suggest a racial motive for the sniper attacks. Mr. Malvo explained to the men — who are presumably black — that he hated white people, though “the shooting was mainly for money.” He told Mr. Stracke there were “a lot of ghettos in America,” and the two “were trying to clean it up.” Mr. Davis says Mr. Malvo told him many of the shootings were in Montgomery County, Maryland, because “that’s where the rich people are.” Mr. Davis also reports that one of the reasons for the shootings was that Mr. Malvo thought white people were trying to hurt Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. [Tom Jackman, Guards Say Malvo Described Near Hits, Washington Post, July 25, 2003, p. A1.]

These remarks were reported without comment, deep in a story about Mr. Malvo in the Washington Post. It does not seem likely that Mr. Malvo and Mr. Muhammad will be charged with hate crimes.

Big, Bloody Easy

The population of New Orleans is just short of half a million, which means it is not quite a “big city” for purposes of crime statistics. With another 14,000 people it would officially be the murder capital of the country, but is now just a footnote. With a murder rate of 54.5 per 100,000 — up over 30 percent in one year — it is ahead of its nearest competitor, Washington, DC. With more than two million people in jail, violent crime is generally down in the United States since the peak of the mid-1990s, and there is only speculation as to why New Orleans is in the middle of a crime wave. Recently, two big public housing projects were shut down, and the redistributed miscreants got into turf wars.

Because so many hardened felons are behind bars, the new criminals in the Big Easy tend to be young — and female. In a July 6 fracas, two 14-year-old girls jumped a 16-year-old and stabbed her to death with a steak knife. The victim had been shot in the leg the year before, and could not run. Her cousin, who was with her when she died, says the killers knew her. “They was jealous,” she explains, adding that her cousin was “the cute type. Boys liked her.” The stabbing came just one week after two other teenage girls went to prison for killing a 16-year-old girl, also with a steak knife. A number of black ministers have asked for National Guard patrols in the most violent neighborhoods. [Jeffrey Gettleman, New Orleans Struggles With a Homicide Rate That Belies Its Size, New York Times, July 11, 2003.]

Promoting Dispossession

Sixty-eight percent of Americans own their own homes but only 48 percent of Hispanics do, and National Council of La Raza wants more Hispanic homeowners. On July 11, at the national La Raza conference in Austin, Texas, the banking company Washington Mutual announced it would contribute $1 million to La Raza’s “Empowering an American Community Campaign,” the goal of which is to help 7,000 Hispanics buy houses next year through a “homebuyer education program” conducted in Spanish and English.

Washington Mutual’s $1 million means La Raza is just $5 million short of its goal of $30 million for its campaign, which will do more than teach Hispanics about down payments and interest rates. It will buy La Raza a new headquarters building, pay for continuing “advocacy and education efforts,” and fund the first ever Hispanic civil rights museum.

Washington Mutual likes to parade its “diversity.” More than 16 percent of employees are Hispanic, and in 2003 Hispanic Magazine named it for the second year in a row to its “Corporate 100: Best Places to Work for Latinos.” Hispanic Business ranked it second in the country among the “corporate elite,” for the number of Hispanic executives and managers. [Washington Mutual and the National Council of La Raza Team Up to Increase Homeownership Education and Opportunities for Latinos, Business Wire, July 11, 2003.]

Fake Miracle

The Houston, Texas, school district has been the crowning achievement in “the Texas miracle,” according to which the state has made impressive progress with “at risk” students. It was largely on the strength of Houston’s glowing record that Rod Paige, school superintendent from 1994 to 2001, followed George Bush to Washington to become Secretary of Education. Last year, the Los Angeles-based Broad Foundation gave Houston a $1 million prize as best urban district in America, and “the Texas miracle” was the inspiration for President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” education policy.

It now appears that much of the “miracle” was a fraud. Texas schools are judged on standardized test scores, as well as attendance and dropout rates. At least some schools systematically forced their worst-performing students to drop out, and then reported they had transferred. A recent state audit of 16 Houston middle and junior high schools found that their record-keeping was so fraudulent it recommended 14 of the 16 be downgraded all the way from top to bottom rank.

Many schools have “bouncers,” who track down truants and trouble-makers, force them out, and claim they transferred. A school may, for example, establish a rule that a student cannot return to classes after two absences, and enforce it only against undesirables. Another trick is to keep obvious losers from taking an important 10th grade math exam by holding them back in the 9th grade. Holding students back often encourages them to “transfer” and disappear.

Sharpestown High School seems to have been particularly zealous about purging its worst students. “We go from 1,000 freshman to less than 300 seniors with no dropouts,” says Robert Kimball, an assistant principal. “Amazing!” Joseph Rodriguez, a former employee of the district’s office of research and accountability, calls it “Enron accounting.”

When bad apples are culled, performance improves. In a third of Houston’s 30 high schools, scores on standardized tests rose as enrollment dropped. Austin High School, for example, shed more than 500 students between 1997 and 2000, and saw pass rates for the remaining 2,200 students rise from 65 percent to 99 percent. [Diana Schemo, Questions on Data Cloud Luster of Houston Schools, New York Times, July 11, 2003.]

Texans are in sack cloth and ashes over this, but Houston actually had a good policy. A sizable percentage of “inner city” students get nothing out of school, and only make it hard to teach the rest. It is just as well “the Texas miracle” has been exposed as baloney, but Houston’s methods do demonstrate the advantages of weeding out incorrigibles. The state should formalize the process.

DC: No More Excuses

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NEAP) test is considered to be the most comprehensive and consistent national evaluation of student performance. Until now, it has released average scores by state, with the District of Columbia as a separate category. DC was always dead last by a substantial margin, but school administrators claimed this was an unfair comparison because the states have high-achieving suburbs and the district does not. Compare us with other big, non-white cities, they said, and we will stack up just fine.

This year, NEAP calculated scores for Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, as well as the district, and DC is still dead last. “Charter schools,” which the district set up some years ago, and were to pull students out of the doldrums, had lower average scores than other public schools.

William Caritj, assistant superintendent for assessment and educational accountability, isn’t worried. He says the district is generally in the same league as the other cities and in many cases is down by only a few percentage points. “DC is not doing a lot worse than these districts,” he says. “The perception that we’re somehow a lot lower than other cities is wrong.”

The city does have a disadvantage. It has practically no white students: just four percent in the fourth grade and three percent in the eighth grade. Glad for any glimmer of good news, educrats point out that this handful of whites did better than the national average for whites — but this means the racial achievement gap is perhaps the greatest in the country. [Justin Blum, D.C. Tests Poorly in Reading, Writing, Washington Post, July 23, 2003.]

Whites Don’t Get It

Blacks in Oberlin, Ohio, are in a tizzy at the thought that a white person might teach black history at Oberlin High School. The usual teacher — suitably black — has a scheduling conflict. A.G. Miller, who teaches African religious history at Oberlin College, says the replacement sends the wrong message to blacks: “that we are not concerned about the importance of your historical background . . . that that is less important than a schedule conflict.” Michael Williams, interim director of Cleveland State University’s black studies program, says a black person is a better choice because he “has the advantage of the culture” and “can understand the nuances of the culture.”

Phyllis Yarber Hogan of the Oberlin Black Alliance for Progress says whites just can’t teach blacks about slavery: “When you talk about slavery, students need to understand it is not our fault. Our ancestors did nothing wrong to be enslaved. How do you work through that when the person teaching it is the same type of person who did the enslaving?” Parents at the high school have entered an official complaint with the school board. [Parents: White Teacher Should Not Teach Black History, NewsNet5.com (Cleveland television station), July 28, 2003.]

Scalp ’um White Man

As everyone now knows, California is struggling to cover a $38 billion budget deficit. As it happens, there is a whole class of Californians who do not pay taxes on business profits, and who are exempt from vehicle taxes: Indians. Fifty-three California tribes run casinos, and the profits are tax-free. Governor Gray Davis, desperate for money, proposed a bill to freeze expansion of Indian-owned casinos unless the tribes pay $1.5 billion, but later reduced the proposal to $680 million. The Indians are fighting back — successfully. They prefer to spend smaller amounts to influence state legislation. During the last five years, Indians have spent $120 million on lobbying and state politics. [Many Indians Exempt From State Taxes, Fees, Los Angeles Times, July 25, 2003.]

Gangstas to Pimps

Ten yeas ago, black rappers tried to look like — and sometimes be — gangstas. Now it is pimps. Typical, and in some respects leading the transformation, is Snoop Dogg, who first appeared in Crip-style baggy jeans and sneakers, but now prefers the full pimp regalia: pink pinstripe suits, two-tone shoes, wide-brimmed hat, and curly hair down to his shoulders. Mr. Dogg explains the rationale for his new look:

I wanted to look good and feel good about myself. Those are qualities that you get from a pimp that everybody’s not really understanding. [People] just think it’s take money from a girl and slap her and send her to the corner, but nah, it’s other things about this pimpin’ that you really don’t even know.

It’s cool to look good, it’s cool to have girls on your arm, and get money from them, and that’s a good feeling, you dig? There ain’t nothing wrong with it.

We’re teaching people how to hustle and how to look good. I’d rather be a pimp than a gang-banger, because I grew up being a gang-banger, and I tell you, you live longer being a pimp.

Mr. Dogg has even taken a former-pimp-turned-preacher as his “spiritual advisor,” none other than the self-proclaimed king of pimps, Archbishop Don Magic Juan. The archbishop is now an official part of the Dogg entourage, and sometimes goes on the road with the star. The archbishop explains his philosophy: “[It’s] the jewelry, the style of dressing, the cars, the houses — to be able to feel like you’re doing it your way, nobody tell you what to do. You can move and groove like you want to.”

“I stayed pimped out for 30 years,” he adds. “I always believed in it. Now that I say I don’t want to pimp no more, everybody wants to be a pimp!”

Indeed, Mr. Dogg and rapper 50 Cent co-star in a new video called “P.I.M.P.,” Lil’ Jon struts about in a pimp costume with a jewel-encrusted chalice that is the symbol of pimpdom, and one of Jay-Z’s most popular songs is “Big Pimpin’.” Even in the ‘90s, The Notorious B.I.G. was rapping: “Pimpin’ ain’t easy but it sure is fun.”

Real and former black pimps have become celebrities, thanks to documentaries like HBO’s “Pimps up, Hos Down,” and a film by the Hughes brothers, “American Pimp.” [Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Pimps: The New ‘Gangstas’ of Rap, MiamiHerald.com, Jul. 23, 2003.] Work is under way on a cartoon movie called “Lil’ Pimp,” about a nine-year-old boy who hustles hos around the neighborhood. Sony originally planned to release it in theatres but got cold feet, and it will go direct to video, cable, or even the Internet. Here is a description:

He’s a cute little whiteboy, he’s got freckles, and he’s a pimp — Lil’ Pimp, to be exact! Share the laughs, the magic and the seductive, brutal honesty each week as Mom, Dad, Lil’ Pimp and his pimpin’ pals Fruitjuice and Nagchampa — plus superfine ’hos Yam Basket and Honeysack — fill your heart with warmth and your computer screen with memories.

Eskimos, Too

On July 8, a 17-year-old white girl waiting for a bus in Fairview, Alaska, fell into conversation with three Eskimos. The Eskimos persuaded her walk with them, and she agreed, thinking she could catch the bus at one of the many stops along the way. When the four got to a field, one man pushed her to the ground, and two raped her while the third stood watch. She struggled to free herself, and was punched repeatedly in the face. One Eskimo told her she was stupid to have got herself into such a situation, and another threatened to kill her if she made any noise. A police officer drove by during the assault and was spotted by the lookout. The girl managed to break free, and ran, crying, to the officer, who arrested one of the men. Police are considering the rape a hate crime because of certain remarks made to the girl, which they refuse to repeat. [Tataboline Brant, Fairview Rape May be Hate Crime, Anchorage Daily News, July 12, 2003.]

The Moor Returns

For 800 years, Muslims ruled southern Spain from the Moorish capital of Granada, until King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella finally expelled them in 1492. For the first time in 500 years, Spain has a new mosque, which was opened to worship in Granada in July. Dignitaries from Arab and Muslim countries gathered for the occasion as Sheik Sultan bin Mohammed al-Qassimi of the United Arab Emirates — which paid for half of the construction cost — inaugurated the building, and a muezzin climbed the minaret of the Great Mosque of Granada to call the faithful to prayer. [Daniel Woolls, After 511 Years, a New Mosque in Spain, Chicago Sun-Times, July 11, 2003.]

Bantus Arrive in Phoenix

On May 22, Arizona got its first batch of Somali Bantus — a couple with six children, along with the man’s mother. They are expected to be followed by 800 more, who will be coming as part of the 12,000 the United States agreed to accept as refugees (see AR, May 2003).

In the 18th century, the Somali Bantus were taken from what is now Tanzania and Mozambique by Arabs, and worked as slaves for the Somalis. They are among the most primitive people on earth, and have spent the last several years in a refugee camp in Kenya after fleeing clan battles in Somalia.

When Hassan Muse, 42, arrived with his family at the apartment a church group had furnished for them in northwest Phoenix, he asked when the next group of refugees was moving in; he could not believe three bedrooms and two bathrooms were for his family only. In camp, they lived in a one-room mud hut with no electricity or running water.

The apartment has beds, but for the first few nights, the Muse family slept huddled together on the living room floor, the way they did in camp. After two weeks, the 14-year-old daughter, who does most of the cooking, still had not mastered a can opener, and sat on the floor, a can between her feet, stabbing at it with a knife. Riding in automobiles makes some of the Muses car sick, but one new toy they have all mastered is the television remote control.

Theoretically, Mr. Muse is supposed to go to work after several months of charity, but he speaks no English, cannot read or write in any language, has never driven a car, is blind in one eye, and is missing a finger. He and his family suffer from malaria, which they brought with them, and his nine-year-old son spent five days in the hospital because of an attack.

Of all the things Grandma Muse has seen in her new country, the pet food aisle in the supermarket has impressed her most. She says American pets eat better than she did in Kenya. [Pat Shannahan, A Family’s Culture Shock, Arizona Republic (Phoenix), July 20, 2003.]

Sioux Falls, South Dakota is getting a dose of Somalis, too, with perhaps 150 expected over the next two years. They will be settled by Lutheran Social Services, which has already established a large number of refugees in Sioux Falls. Thanks to their efforts, Minnehaha County had the fastest-growing percentage of foreign-born residents of any metropolitan area in the nation; their numbers doubled during the 1990s. [Additional Somali Refugees Could be Headed to Sioux Falls, AP, July 27, 2003.]

More Hmong, Too

The Laotian Hmong are another primitive group that finds the United States more congenial than the home country. After the 1975 Communist takeover in Laos, some 130,000 Hmong managed to get to America, leaving about 400,000 behind. Thai officials announced in July that we could be getting more, since the US says it will take another 8,000 who have been languishing in Thailand ever since 1975.

US-based Hmong say some of their compatriots back in Laos have started a low-level insurgency against the Communist government, and have asked the US to airlift them to America. The Laotian government denies there is any insurgency, but a Belgian journalist who was just kicked out of the country says he found some anti-Communist Hmong: “There were about 600, mostly women and children. Maybe 40 guys with guns, but no ammunition,” says Thierry Falise. He adds that the Hmong were starving, and hoping to be rescued by Americans. [U.S. to Accept 8,000 Hmong, Reuters, July 22, 2003.]

Saving the Hmong could be our next project after we save Liberia.

Why Not Koreans?

Famine and political instability may soon produce a flood of several hundred thousand North Korean refugees. Many of them will no doubt be eager to come to America. The US government considers North Koreans to be citizens of South Korea, so they are not eligible for refugee status in the US, but that may soon change. “There is an exodus of massive proportions taking place out of North Korea,” declares Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS). “South Korea really cannot be expected to take all of [them].”

Sen. Brownback — along with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) — recently sponsored a resolution making North Koreans eligible for asylum in the US. The Senate has already approved the measure, and the House of Representatives is expected to pass it, too. Sen. Brownback was also instrumental in bringing in the 12,000 Somali Bantu refugees. He and Sen. Kennedy are working with a coalition of human rights groups, refugee advocates, conservative think tanks, and the Christian Coalition to persuade the Bush Administration to let the North Koreans in.

Chuck Downs, a consultant and human rights advocate specializing in North Korea, thinks policy will certainly change. “There is a core group of State Department and Defense Department officials who are very eager to see the administration be responsive to this,” he says, “and I think they have the support of the president.”

“We will see the United States adopt very generous provisions for North Korean refugees, including relocating them from China and South Korea into processing camps in the region and into localities in the US,” he adds. Mr. Downs wants as many North Koreans as possible. If the administration can be persuaded to bring in 9,000, he says that would mean “a tremendous loosening of the floodgates.” With as many as 300,000 waiting in the wings, it could be a deluge. [Marian Wilkinson, US Prepares to Open Door to Flood of North Korean Refugees, Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald, July 30, 2003.]

‘Fair And Lovely’

Indian women, like all Third-World women, want to lighten their skin. Members of the highest castes have lighter skin tones, and fair-skinned women dominate billboards, magazine advertising, fashion and movies. The Sunday newspaper personals are full of marriage ads seeking fair-skinned brides, and the sale of skin lighteners brings in more than $100 million per year.

A recent television ad for a product called Fair And Lovely has set the country off on one of its periodic rumpuses about the desire for white skin. Known as “the air hostess ad,” it starts with a man lamenting that he has no son, and that his daughter does not make enough money to support him. She tries Fair and Lovely, turns lighter, and gets a job as a stewardess. The father is happy.

Brinda Karat, general secretary of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, calls the ad “racist.” “Of course, there is a cultural base in India for this kind of market,” she concedes. “[Fair And Lovely is] taking advantage of that and exploiting that very backward understanding.” She is pleased to note that the air hostess ad is off the air.

Hindustan Lever, which makes Fair And Lovely, says the spot is no longer televised only because it ran its course, and notes that others that make the same point are still on the air. They may not be for long. Rita Vorimer of the ruling BJP party, wants to ban ads of this kind. “They are polluting the minds of the younger generation,” she says. “Something must be done by the government, and the government has a responsibility to stop all this nonsense.” [India Debates ‘Racist’ Skin Cream Ads, BBCNews .com, July 24, 2003.]

Singapore Segregation

A six-month study of Singapore primary schools has uncovered the obvious: children prefer friends of their own race. Chinese, Malay, and Indian students mix in the classroom, but segregate themselves by race during recess and at lunch. To some degree, this reflects the fact that the three groups speak different languages at home. However, researchers found that the tendency to self-segregation grows stronger as children grow older, although they have all become more fluent in English. By sixth grade, 80 percent of Chinese and 70 percent of Malay and Indian students spend their free time only with people of the same race. The study found that extracurricular activities like sports and scouting can foster interracial friendships. [Sandra Davie, Pupils Aren’t Mixing, Study Finds, Straits Times (Singapore), July 27, 2003.]

Why Not Proportional Representation?

Vista is a town of 90,000 residents in San Diego County, California. It elects a mayor and four at-large city councilmen, but although 40 percent of its population is Hispanic, it has never elected a Hispanic. Hispanics have tried to run for city council. Last fall, Elvin Vega, who works for a tow truck company but has no political experience, planted signs in Hispanic neighborhoods, but finished fourth in a field of six. Frank Lopez has tried to run for city council twice but never made it. Neither man says there is anything wrong with the election system — they just didn’t get elected.

Many people point out that even when there are a lot of Hispanics, many may be illegal, others are too young to vote, and many don’t care. This not good enough for the US Justice Department, which is investigating Vista for possible violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Department spokesman Jorge Martinez says whites need not be trying to keep Hispanics out, but if they tend to vote for whites, and the at-large system works to the disadvantage of Hispanics, the feds can order the town to draw up districts, some with Hispanic-majorities, to ensure Hispanics are elected.

Not even the Hispanic activists in town are keen on the idea. Catherine Manis, who leads an advocacy group for Hispanics, says she never heard a complaint about the system until the Justice Department came snooping around. She says if Hispanics can’t win elections it’s because they run poor campaigns. Mr. Vega, the failed candidate who plans to run again next year, is surprised by the federal involvement, too. “I don’t like that idea because I want to represent the whole city,” he says. “I don’t want to just represent one area. I want to represent all races, all religions — it doesn’t matter.”

The Justice Department is undaunted. If it finds that an at-large system works to the disadvantage of Hispanics, it could order dozens of California towns to rejig their voting systems. [Beth Silver, Vista is Examined for Bias, Los Angeles Times, July 28, 2003.]

Bullets on the Border

Like most law enforcement agencies, the US Border Patrol uses hollow-point bullets. Hollow-points, also known as controlled expansion rounds, are designed so the tip of the bullet expands as it enters the body, causing massive trauma to the target and delivering enormous stopping power. Police prefer hollow-points because criminals are less likely to be a threat once they are shot. Hollow-points are safer for the public than the full-metal jacketed bullets used mainly by the military because they are less likely to pass through the target, or a door or wall, and hit bystanders. The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Border Patrol, is seeking bids on a contract to supply 225 million rounds of .40 caliber hollow-points — a five-year supply — to its enforcement agencies. The Border Patrol has used hollow-point ammunition since the 1970s.

That troubles the Washington DC-based Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), which supports “low-income” immigrants. “We don’t think that [hollow-points] are necessary; they cause massive injuries,” says Donald Kerwin, executive director. CLINIC has started a lobbying campaign to pressure Homeland Security Secretary Thomas Ridge to switch to the military round.

Congressman Joseph Baca (D-CA) is circulating a letter to colleagues hoping to drum up support for the change. He says if the effort fails, he may sue. Another supporter is Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), who says “It’s full deadly force with the hollow-point, they explode inside of you, that’s the point.” Mr. Grijalva’s fellow Arizona congressman, Republican Jim Kolbe, thinks law enforcement agencies should be left to choose their own ammunition. [Luke Turf, Effort Mounted to Strip Border Patrol of Hollow-Point Bullets, Tucson Citizen, June 17, 2003.]

Quotas in Brazil

Brazil is home to more blacks than any country outside Africa. While many of the country’s 180 million people are hybrids, and the country prides itself on “racial democracy,” the reality is that the upper classes are white. The government recently enacted American-style affirmative action to make universities less white, doubling and in some cases tripling the number of black and mixed-race students.

“Last semester,” says law professor Geraldo Monteiro of the State University of Rio de Janeiro, “there weren’t enough blacks in the law school to even mention. I’m generalizing only a little when I say that all of my students were blond, white, and rich. A lot of those kids are in court now, learning the law in a different way: by suing the university.”

White students denied admission under the quota system have filed more than 300 lawsuits against the State University. One of them is 19-year-old Gabriella Fracescutti, who wanted to study medicine. She scored better on the national college entrance exam than half of the students admitted, but was rejected because she is neither black nor poor. “I just don’t understand how you can justify someone with a lower grade getting into the school, and turning me down. Why, because I have blond hair?” she asks. “I have friends who are whiter than me and didn’t study and didn’t do well on the test, but they wrote down they were black on the their applications and they got in.”

Supporters of affirmative action like its psychological effect. “The biggest advantage of this quota system,” says Paulo Fabio Salgueiro, admissions director of the State University, “is that it has broken this myth of a non-racial society . . . [T]he debate over quotas has forced everyone to confront the fact that racism, discrimination and social exclusion are alive and well here.” [Jon Jeter, College Affirmative Action Debate Stirs Many-Hued Brazil, Washington Post News Service, July 6, 2003.]

Bone-Chilling

Workers in Chicago-area bum shelters called police when large numbers of badly injured bums started showing up. Police discovered the injuries were part of an insurance scam in which con artists scoured skid row, offering insurance settlement money to derelicts who agreed to have their bones broken in simulated auto accidents. “On the appointed day,” says Detective Ken Bigg, “they would take them to a garage and put their arm on a stone block. And they would smash the arm [with an ax handle].” The preferred injury, according to Mr. Biggs, was compound fracture with the bone protruding from the flesh, since the gang thought gruesome injuries would win bigger settlements. The scammers were afraid the insurance companies would be suspicious if the only injuries were to arms, so they alternated between breaking arms and legs.

The gang took the battered men to pre-arranged accidents, complete with smashed cars, and dialed 911. Members posed as relatives, saying they were desperate for money and wanted to settle quickly. Insurance settlements ranged from $10,000 to $100,000, but the bums got $1,500 at most, and often nothing at all. In June, Chicago police arrested six people — all black — on charges of insurance fraud. Michael Garner, known as the bonecrusher, was the one who swung the ax handle. [Bryan Smith, Six Accused in Bone-Breaking Insurance Scam, Chicago Sun-Times, June 8, 2003, p. 15A.]

Life in America

Honorio Martinez, an illegal immigrant, was driving without a license on a rural road in West Palm Beach, Fla., when he hit and killed a three-year-old black boy. More than a dozen men, who are friends of the boy’s father, managed to stop the car, pulled Mr. Martinez out, and beat him. Mr. Martinez staggered back to look at the three-year-old, and then said he was leaving because he did not have a license. The crowd pounced on him again, held him until sheriff’s deputies arrived, and then scattered. No one has been charged in the beating. [Motorist Beaten by Crowd After Boy’s Death on West Palm Beach Street, AP, July 13, 2003.]

It Must Be Love

Kenyans appear to have strong views on the inadvisability of older women marrying younger men. Wambui Otieno is a 67-year-old woman well known in Kenya as a fighter in the Mau Mau rebellion but also as the country’s most prominent feminist. She has just married her handyman, 25-year-old Peter Mbugua, in a match that has set the country on its ear. As one young Kenyan explained to a group of cheering men, “In Africa we all know that women are as old as they look. Men are as old as they feel. She’s disgusting.” Rumor has it the groom married Miss Otieno for her money, and his 53-year-old mother was shown in news photographs wailing with grief and disbelief. She died three days after the wedding, “of shock and sadness,” as Kenya’s leading daily, the Nation, explained. Many Kenyans believe her death is a sure sign the marriage is cursed.

Miss Otieno’s first husband died 16 years ago, and says she was lonely. Widowers in Kenya often marry young women, but widows are shunned; they do not even inherit their husband’s property, which goes to his family. Miss Otieno had no fewer than 15 children by her first husband, and has been feuding with all of them. They oppose her second marriage to what they call a “boy,” saying she did it only to make sure they won’t inherit her property. [Emily Wax, May-December Love With a Twist Throws Africa for a Loop, Washington Post, July 25, 2003, p. A18.]

Bullied by Somalis

As many as 200 young Somalis attend Sanford Middle School in Minneapolis, and there are many more at other schools in the district. Sanford also has a large number of American Indian students, and the two groups do not get along. Last May, parents of Indian students held a rally outside the school to protest ill treatment of their children by Somalis.

Jocelyn Burris says Somali students bullied her son Todd all year. At one point a group of them pushed him down the stairs, saying, “You’re native Indian, we’re going to kill you.” Carmalita Otter Robe says Somali thugs yelling racial insults cornered her son Russell Crow Ghost, and one of them hit him in the eye with a padlock. Other parents say bullying and racial taunts are commonplace, and fault the school.

School officials say they are aware of the racial tensions, but insist there is no widespread problem — just isolated incidents between small groups of students. Still, they say they will take steps this fall to improve cultural awareness and sensitivity. [James Walsh, Racial Bullying Alleged at Middle School, Star Tribune (Minneapolis), May 14, 2003, p. B3.]

The Gang’s All Here

The fastest-growing criminal gang in New York is neither the Crips nor the Bloods, but the El Salvadoran MS-13. Police say the MS-13s are ultra-violent thugs who kill, steal, rape, and deal drugs without fear of either other gangs or the police. The gang got its start during the civil wars in El Salvador in the 1980s, and moved to Los Angeles, where it ran protection rackets, stole cars and sold drugs. Members were arrested and deported, but many made it back to the US, and now the gang is in California, Texas, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, Iowa, and Nebraska.

They began moving to New York during the 1990s, and recruit heavily among Hispanics (not just Salvadorans), offering them money, beer and marijuana. If a prospect refuses to join, recruiters may stab him or beat him to death with baseball bats. Initiation rites include being punched and kicked for 13 seconds, and a new recruit may be forced to shoot a member of the rival Salvadoran gang, SWP-18.

Members of MS-13 wear the number 13 on their clothing, and have it tattooed on their lips, tongues and foreheads. They wear blue and white — the colors of the Salvadoran flag — and identify each other with hand signals, extending the little and index fingers to form devil’s horns. Meetings are held on the 13th of every month, and dues are $13.00.

Police say that while MS-13 usually preys on other Salvadorans, it attacks bystanders and other gang members. “We get Bloods and Crips who tell us, ‘Why don’t you do something about those MS-13 guys — they’re crazy!’” says Long Island anti-gang taskforce member Jason Robles. “The reason that they’re such a threat is that they’re violent for no reason. They’ll fight over anything.”

One member recently bit the face of a Blood in a prison holding cell, despite being outnumbered 10-1, just to show how crazy he was. Last October, three members of the gang killed a patron outside a nightclub on Long Island because they were kicked out of the club. MS-13 is not afraid of the police, either. Last year they formed a hit squad to kill a random Fairfax County, Va., police officer, just to raise their status (though the killing didn’t take place). MS-13 members took down the license plate numbers of members of the anti-gang task force on Long Island and followed some to their homes. Police estimate there are perhaps 2,000 members in New York, and as many as 10,000 nationwide. [Marcus Baram and Brad Hamilton, Toughest of Toughs: Bloodthirsty Latin Gang Invades New York, New York Post, June 1, 2003, p. 9.]

Detroit Fumbles

Blacks have been complaining for years that there are too few black head coaches in the NFL (there are three). Tired of being threatened with litigation, the NFL owners adopted a policy last December that requires all teams to interview at least one non-white candidate for any future head coach opening, unless the position is filled internally.

In January, Detroit Lions owner Matt Millen fired head coach Marty Mornhinweg, replacing him with former San Francisco 49ers coach Steve Mariucci. Mr. Mariucci, who is white, was the only candidate interviewed. Mr. Millen says he tried to interview five non-whites for the job, but all turned him down after it was widely reported that Mr. Mariucci had the inside track.

On July 25, the NFL fined Mr. Millen $200,000 for failing to honor the December agreement. While NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue acknowledged that Mr. Millen had at least tried to interview non-whites for the job, he faulted him for not taking “sufficient steps to satisfy” the December agreement. Presumably, he didn’t try hard enough. Mr. Tagliabue added that any team failing to take “sufficient steps” in the future could face a fine of $500,000 or more for “conduct detrimental” to the NFL. The Lions are considering an appeal. [Mike Householder, NFL Fines Lions $200K Over Coach Search, AP, July 25, 2003. Lions Execs Slam NFL for Hiring Fine, AP, July 27, 2003.]

Black Hebrews

Back in 1967, Ben Carter, then a Chicago bus driver, says he was visited by the angel Gabriel who told him he was God’s representative on earth. Mr. Carter, who is black, came to believe that American blacks are one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel. He quit his job, changed his name to Ben Ammi Ben-Israel, collected followers, and led 350 of them to Liberia. Two years later, he led those that were left — now calling themselves African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem — to Israel, where they settled in the desert town of Dimona. The Black Hebrews, now 2,500 strong, wear fancy black-striped self-made robes, practice polygamy, shun birth control, and forego meat, dairy products, eggs and sugar. They sell crafts, make clothes, and operating “vegan” restaurants. They also run a factory that produces tofu ice cream. In 1999 two Black Hebrew singers represented Israel in the annual Eurovision song festival.

Most Black Hebrews arrived in Israel on tourist visas and illegally overstayed. They have petitioned succeeding Israeli governments for citizenship under the Law of Return, which grants Israeli citizenship to nearly all Jews. Israel’s chief rabbinate has ruled that the Black Hebrews are not really Jews, and the government refused to grant citizenship, but did give the Black Hebrews temporary residency in 1992 — on condition that no more would come. Over the years, the Black Hebrews have attracted a number of high-profile supporters, such as Jesse Jackson and singer Whitney Houston, who have lobbied the Israeli government on their behalf.

In July, Interior Minister Avraham Poraz, following the recommendation of an interior ministry committee, awarded the Black Hebrews permanent residency. Black Hebrews now will be able to serve in the Israeli army and establish their own residential communities, and may eventually become citizens. “We’re ready to take on responsibilities and obligations as permanent members of the community,” says Chicago native Adiv Ben-Yehuda, a former college basketball player with two wives and 12 children, who has lived in Israel for 30 years. [Peter Enav, Israel Recognizes ‘Black Hebrew’ Community, AP, July 28, 2003. Jill Lawless, Israel OKs Status of ‘Black Hebrews’, AP, July 29, 2003.]

Another Shakedown

Several years ago, blacks got a lot of money from Denny’s restaurants with suits claiming they were treated badly because they were black. The chain went on to “diversity” programs, and high-profile blacks. Now it looks like the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain is about to get the same treatment.

On July 30, 23 blacks in Little Rock, Arkansas, sued the chain. They say whites who came in later were seated first, and that when they were finally seated they were stuck in the back of the smoking section. They say they got slow service, and that when they complained to management, they were told there was a Burger King down the street.

A spokesman for Cracker Barrel says the suit is an attempt to discredit the company. She says a judge has dismissed a similar lawsuit filed in Georgia. [David Hammer, Bias Lawsuit Filed Against Cracker Barrel, AP, July 30, 2003.]

‘Entirely Anti-Hispanic’

The Mexican government has been pressuring American government agencies, police departments, banks, and other businesses to accept ID cards issued to its citizens in the US by Mexican consulates. Many banks eager to profit from the immigrant cash economy and police departments afraid of being called racist have agreed. The FBI believes the cards, known as matricula consular, pose a security threat because they are easily forged, as are the documents, such as birth certificates, on the basis of which they are issued. The FBI worries the matricula could be attractive to terrorists, since the only people who need them are illegal aliens. Legal immigrants have visas and green cards issued by the US government.

On July 16, the House of Representatives voted 382-42 to require Mexico and any other government issuing consular identity cards to guarantee that the recipient really is a citizen of that country, and to turn over the names and addresses of each recipient. It would be better to forbid the issuance of the cards, but the Republicans were not up to that. Still, Democrats are denouncing the amendment as “entirely anti-Hispanic.” “While the Republicans claim that their focus is broad in nature, this amendment exposes their true colors and sets a dangerous precedent,” says Robert Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and highest-ranking Hispanic in Congress. “It is the brainchild of certain Republicans,” he added, “who obsess over their fear and hatred of the immigrant community late at night on the House floor.” [Stephen Dinan, Democrats Assail Bill Restricting ID Cards, Washington Times National Weekly Edition, July 21-27, 2003, p. 7.]

Barring Crime

Johannesburg, South Africa is one of the most dangerous cities in the world. In 2000, it had 15,000 residential burglaries and nearly 2,000 murders or attempted murders. The black government cannot control lawlessness, so the city’s more affluent — mostly white — residents have closed off access to their neighborhoods with bars, gates and manned barricades on public streets. The first barricades went up within days of the 1994 election that brought black rule, and there are now estimated to be 500.

There have been complaints that the blockades are “racist,” restrict traffic, and inconvenience domestic workers who must show ID. The city council has announced that residents must now submit access control applications to justify barricades. Unless they get council approval, which is expensive, time-consuming and unlikely, residents must dismantle the barricades or pay the city to tear them down. Jo’burgers are looking for other ways to protect their homes. [Toby Reynolds, Anti-Crime Barriers in Johannesburg Raise Hackles, Reuters, July 16, 2003.]

Wretched Republicans

Ward Connerly, the black businessman who has steered anti-affirmative action ballot initiatives to success in California and Washington, has his sights on Michigan for 2004. Who opposes him? Blacks, of course, but also the Michigan Republican party. Besty DeVos, state party chairman, has been full of mealy-mouthed nonsense: “The potential for a racially divisive campaign, complete with the typical kinds of irresponsible rhetoric that often comes from both sides, is my chief concern.” A measure to stop discrimination against whites might prompt “irresponsible rhetoric.”

There has been similar mush from the party’s executive director, Greg McNeilly: “What we need now, and what would be best for our state, is to commit ourselves to reducing racial tensions and focus on policy objectives that unite us as Americans.” A majority of Michiganders oppose racial preferences. Why do Republicans pretend they want to “unite us as Americans” by throwing whites to the dogs?

“What nobody wants to acknowledge is that this opposition is concerned that [the initiative] will negatively impact President Bush’s re-election,” says Leon Drolet, a Republican state representative who supports the initiative. Michigan is likely to be an important battleground in 2004, and the party is still smarting because it couldn’t deliver the state to George Bush in 2000. Party hacks seem to think having a “controversial” initiative on the ballot in November will bring out Democratic voters who could tip the balance against Mr. Bush.

Mr. Drolet is not the only Republican office-holder who is crossing the party line. “The primary job of the Michigan Republican Party is to get Michigan candidates elected,” says representative Jack Brandenburg. “We have a national party to take care of the president.” He, too, is backing the initiative. [Steve Miller, Michigan GOP Leaders Oppose Race Initiative for Bush’s Sake, Washington Times, July 30, 2003.]