O Tempora, O Mores! (January, 2004)

American Renaissance, January 2004

Racist Brains

A new Dartmouth College study claims to show that “racism” makes you stupid. A team led by Prof. Jennifer Richeson recruited 30 white college students and had them take an Implicit Association Test (IAT) supposedly to measure racial bias. The students sat before a screen with two buttons. If a “positive” word, such as “beauty” or a name like Nancy with no ethnic connotations appeared on the screen, they were supposed to push the left button. For anything else, they were to push the right button. After the first session, a number of black names like Tyrone or Kaneesha appeared on the screen. The greater the difference in the reaction to the black names, the greater the prejudice was assumed to be.

After the IAT, students spoke briefly with a black member of the research team, and then took an intelligence test known as the Stroop test. According to the study, the most biased students did worst on the Stroop test. As a further step, the scientists connected the students to a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, which can measure activity levels in different areas of the brain. They then showed photographs of black and white men. The more biased a student was according to the IAT score, the more activity the scientists found in the “executive control” part of the brain, which reportedly indicates a conscious effort to control inappropriate thinking.

Prof. Richeson says prejudiced people try so hard not to do or say anything inappropriate when they encounter people of another race that the struggle temporarily overworks the executive control center. “It’s almost like working a muscle,” she says. “If you work it out too much then you can’t lift any more weight.” She says people are “getting caught in this trap where they are trying not to do the wrong thing, rather than trying to act naturally.”

Some experts are already saying that Dr. Richeson’s technique may some day be used to screen people, such as police recruits, for racial bias. Others are hailing the study as the most successful attempt yet to use neuroscience to explain racism. Stanford psychology professor John Gabrieli is already happily concluding that “just having prejudice makes you stupider.” Whether or not the test is really measuring what it claims to measure, it would be interesting to see results with black test subjects. [Gareth Cook, Bias Taxes Brain, Research Finds, Boston Globe, Nov. 17, 2003. David Adam, Inside the Mind of a Racist: Scans May Reveal Brain’s Hidden Centres of Prejudice, Guardian (London), Nov. 17, 2003.]

More Police Racism

Darrell Shaw, who is white, is a ten-year veteran of the Portland, Oregon, police force. On Nov. 18, he got into what may be serious trouble when he answered a call at a hip-hop club with a stuffed, toy gorilla tied to the grille of his police cruiser. “I think everyone was kind of shocked,” says Clyde Fulkerson, manager of Ringlers Pub. “It’s either a real ignorant, insensitive policeman or an insensitive, racist policeman.” Patrons were furious, and some used cell phone cameras to record the outrage.

Why did Officer Shaw have a toy gorilla tied to his car? At 1:21 a.m. on the day in question, he was despatched to a strip club, where there was a report of a disorderly drunk. He found Robert Fowlkes, race unspecified but well known to police, cuffed him, and put him in the back of his patrol car. Mr. Fowlkes has a habit of carrying around a stuffed, toy gorilla that he bought for 25 cents at a thrift shop, and he had it with him that night. Officer Shaw says it was soaking wet and stank of vomit or urine, and he didn’t want it in his car. He knew Mr. Fowlkes would be upset if he threw it away, so he tied it to the front of his car to let it air out. At 2:34 a.m. Officer Shaw got a call about a fight at the hip-hop club, and this is why he arrived among the black patrons with the apparently unforgivable decoration on his cruiser.

Police Chief Derrick Foxworth has heard Officer Shaw’s explanation but says there will be a full investigation anyway. “We’ve opened a case and will attempt to make contacts with witnesses,” adds Richard Rosenthal, who is in charge of disciplinary hearings. [Maxine Bernstein, Officer Apologizes for Having Stuffed Gorilla on Car, Oregonian (Portland), Nov. 25, 2003.]

Brazilian Beauties

Rio Grande de Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state, is its most European, populated largely by the descendants of German, Polish, and Italian immigrants who arrived early in the 20th century. They tend to be tall, blonde, and blue- or green-eyed, and supply almost all of Brazil’s models. The world’s number-one model, Gisèle Bündchen, is from Rio Grande de Sul, and the man who discovered her, Dilson Stein, hopes to find more like her. “The mixture [of ethnicities] means you get these marvelous-looking women,” he says. [Alex Bellos, Tan, Tall, Lithe, and Lovely — Girls from Brazil Rule Catwalks, The Observer, (London) Nov. 3, 2003.]

A ‘Gubba’ is Vindicated

In early 2000, the board of the Boree Aboriginal Corporation (BAC), in New South Wales, Australia, decided to purge its supervisory staff of “gubbas,” Aborigine slang for whites. Among them was Sharon Carr, whom the board fired in June 2000, after nearly two years employment. The BAC also refused to pay her 100 hours of overtime, even though Aborigines normally received overtime pay.

Miss Carr fought the firing in court on the grounds that it violated the Australian Race Discrimination Act, and won. The BAC must now pay her $25,000 for lost wages, legal fees, and damages. The judge in the case said that Miss Carr also deserved a written apology for the “hurt, upset, and humiliation” she had experienced. “People don’t like not to be given a job because they’re black, or not given a go because they are black,” said Miss Carr. “If they don’t like to be judged in a certain way, they shouldn’t do the same thing to others.” [Leonie Lemont, Sacked Woman Gets Payout over Discrimination, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), Oct. 17, 2003.]

The Wrong Friends

Eric J. Moore, a black Milwaukee police officer, has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accusing his black supervisors of denying him promotions because he associates with whites. “I have been repeatedly denied a promotion despite my being qualified and having more tenure than the selectees,” he says. “Upper management has made known their biases against me because of my race and association with non-blacks.”

Mr. Moore has collected many statements to substantiate his complaint. He says police chief and mayoral candidate Arthur L. Jones called him a “shuffling-okey-dokey-for-the-white-man type of brother.” Mr. Moore’s former supervisor Leslie Barber reportedly said that he would not be promoted because he “runs around here talking to those damn white people.” Finally, Mr. Moore says another former supervisor gave this advice: “Don’t be a court jester like Eric Moore and be entertainment for these white folks. Eric be running around here and shucking and jiving, skinning and grinning in these white folks’ faces and he should realize . . . they don’t really like his ass.” [Black Officer: Befriending Whites Cost Promotion, WorldNet Daily.com, Nov. 13, 2003.]

Hoax Crimes

On Oct. 7, graffiti appeared at Wellesley High School in Wellesley, Massachusetts, saying, “On October 15 or 17 the school will burn and there will be no blacks in our schools.” This prompted a police investigation and much public hand-wringing. A week later, police had found the culprit: a 16-year-old black boy who had been bused into the predominantly white suburban school district for 11 years. Wellesley responded by showering the troublemaker with compassion and sensitivity. Deborah Ward, who is responsible for the school’s desegregation program, says, “It’s like having a sibling who’s in trouble. We’re all one. Most of the kids will rally ‘round that person.” Boston Globe columnist Eileen McNamara suggests that the solution to any racial problems at the school is to increase the number of black students. [Anand Vaishnav and Suzanne Sataline, Wellesley School Links Graffiti to Metco Teen, Boston Globe, Oct. 15, 2003. Eileen McNamara, Ugly Scrawl Hits Home, Boston Globe, Oct. 15, 2003.]

There was a more vigorous response to a racial hoax at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Student Jaime Saide claimed to have found anti-Hispanic slurs written near his dormitory room, and said a man had put a knife to his throat and insulted Hispanics. He used this story to great effect at an anti-discrimination rally. A few days later, police arrested him for fabricating the story, and charged him with felony disorderly conduct, which can carry a three-year prison term. Mr. Saide said he made up the story “to motivate minority students and staff to the problems of racism.” [Lisa Black, Police Say Hate Crimes Faked, Chicago Tribune, Nov. 19, 2003.]

Affirmative Anxieties

Last June’s Supreme Court Grutter and Gratz decisions on racial preferences in higher education were so unclear that colleges are having trouble figuring what is still permitted, and many legal battles lie ahead for colleges determined to discriminate against whites. “This is a war, and we are in the middle of it,” says Tom Parker, Dean of Admissions at Amherst College. One area of dispute is “minority outreach” programs, under which promising non-whites get all-expenses-paid visits to campus. Many colleges are taking no chances, and are extending outreach to whites. Administrators at Amherst fear this will lead to a “resegregation” of campuses. It also remains to be seen whether race-exclusive clubs, student organizations, and housing are still legal.

Another burden on colleges is that they must gear their preferences towards getting a “critical mass” of non-whites, and can no longer justify them with vague claims that they are making up for “past discrimination.” The language of preferences has gotten tricky. The term “affirmative action,” according to legal consultant Arthur L. Coleman, is no longer to be used in statements of college policy because it has become a “red flag.” “Underrepresented minority” is also no longer acceptable. “[U]nderrepresentation is not a concept that jibes very well with critical mass,” says Angelo N. Ancheta, legal director of Harvard University’s Civil Rights Project. The meaning and import of the term “critical mass” remain a subject of intense study for many college administrators, who say more research is needed on the concept.

As many predicted, the main effect of the rulings may only be to encourage colleges to conceal what they are doing, not stop doing it. The Gratz decision forbade a point system of racial preferences, yet Mr. Ancheta has told college officials, “Be wary of using a point system. If you advertise your point system, you are vulnerable to challenge.” He seems, in effect, to be telling colleges to lie. [Peter Schmidt, Affirmative Action Remains a Minefield, Mostly Unmapped, Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct. 24, 2003. Michael Dobbs, At Colleges, an Affirmative Reaction, Washington Post, Nov. 13, 2003.]

This is exactly the sort of thing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia cannot stand. He recently lashed out against the Court when it refused to hear a case against the city of Denver, which had been accused of discriminating against white-owned businesses. It was clear to Justice Scalia that the legally necessary evidence of past discrimination against non-white businesses had not been produced. Without that evidence, he pointed out, “the only function of the preferences is to channel a fixed percentage of city contracting dollars to firms identified by race.” [Anne Gearan, Scalia Lashes out at Supreme Court Judges, AP, Nov. 17, 2003.]

In Time for Christmas

A new Christian rock opera is touring the nation. Called !Hero, it is about a dreadlock-wearing black Jesus, born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who fights terrorists in New York. The musical is the brainchild of Eddie DeGarmo, described as a “Christian music veteran” who heads EMI Records’ Music Publishing Group. Mr. DeGarmo describes !Hero as “a very aggressive story” about a mysterious figure known as Hero, “who performs miracles, teaches, gains followers, and ends up on center stage.” Besides the musical, there are !Hero CDs, comic books, and novels. [Jim Remsen, A Modern Savior Wears Dreadlocks, Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 2, 2003, p. C4.]

Battling the Bantu

In the November issue, we reported that the residents of Cayce, South Carolina, were upset that their town had been chosen to get 120 Somali Bantu refugees without their knowledge or consent. Local officials, worried that the Somalis would drain city and school resources, persuaded Rev. Richard Robinson, the local coordinator of resettlement for the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, to cut the number in half. They thought 60 was still too many, but had no say in the resettlement decision.

The US State Department has since decided not to resettle any Somalis in Cayce, citing “insufficient local community support.” This is good news for Cayce, but just pushes the problem somewhere else; all 120 Somalis are now headed for nearby Columbia. Rev. Robinson calls the decision by the State Department “devastating.” He has enlisted the support of more than 30 religious groups and other organizations to put pressure on Columbia and make sure it doesn’t turn away the Bantu.

Mayor Avery Wilkerson of Cayce says the city would have accepted two or three families, but no more. “When it was forced down on us, it caused a negative reaction,” he explains. “It became a fairness issue.” [Monique Angle, Cayce Will Not Get Bantus; Lack of Local Support Cited, The State (Columbia, S.C.), Oct. 8, 2003.]

Meanwhile, 181 other Bantu are headed for Pittsburgh, thanks to Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Executive director Sister Patricia Cairns says the people of Cayce are misguided. The Bantu may be illiterate and may never have seen indoor plumbing but “they enrich our community,” she explains. [Chris Osher, 181 Refugees Pittsburgh Bound, Tribune-Review (Pittsburgh), Nov. 24, 2003.]

Let ’em All In

The US admitted 85,525 refugees in fiscal year 1999, 73,147 in 2000, and 69,304 in 2001. Improved screening following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks reduced the numbers, but did not halt the flow: 27,142 came in 2002 and 28, 421 in 2003. Under pressure from refugee advocacy groups, the Bush Administration has promised to increase the number to 70,000 during fiscal year 2004, which began October first.

Some congressmen want even more — at least 90,000 — but view the president’s goal as a good start. “Realistically, it’s not likely that we can get them to move immediately to a higher number,” says Rep. Christopher Shays (R-NJ). “But minimally, we want to make sure all 70,000 slots are used, and then get a bigger number next year.”

About 25,000 refugees will come from Africa, including several thousand from Somalia. Last summer, the Somalis rioted in their camp in Kenya, forcing US refugee workers to flee. The State Department has since spent $500,000 to fortify the camp, adding fences and guard towers, but still plans to bring the Somalis here. The department is also negotiating with China to bring in an unspecified number of North Korean refugees. [Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, U.S. Officials Aim to Admit More Refugees in 2004, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 3, 2004, p. A8.]

How’s Delivery?

The United States Postal Service (USPS) publishes a magazine for employees and philatelists called Mailers Companion, and the July issue highlighted diversity. For the fourth year in a row, the magazine bragged, the USPS scored high on Fortune magazine’s list of the 50 Best Companies for Minorities, coming in 11th, far ahead of rivals UPS (26th) and FedEx (41st). No fewer than 36.6 percent of USPS employees are non-white — 21.2 percent black, 7.5 percent Hispanic, 7 percent Asian and 0.6 percent Indian. Non-whites are 20.5 percent of the top executives, and 31.3 percent of management as a whole. Thirty-seven percent of all new hires are non-white. [Devoted to Diversity, Mailers Companion (USPS), July 2003.]

PC PCs

When one computer controls the operations of another the two machines are called “master” and “slave.” Los Angeles County has now decided such language is offensive, and has asked computer companies to call their machines “primary” and “secondary.” A black employee in the Probation Department took offense at the traditional nomenclature. Dennis Tafoya, director of affirmative action for the county, concluded that the employee had not suffered outright discrimination because of this language, but decided the terms are “antiquated and offensive,” and has asked vendors to change their ways. “If it means culture change, then we have to begin someplace,” he explains. [Troy Anderson, County Deletes ‘Master-Slave’ PC Term, Daily News (Los Angeles), Nov. 25, 2003.]

No doubt male and female connectors will soon have to be renamed “convex” and “concave.”

‘Three-Screams Rat’

The Southern Chinese have bizarre taste in food, and patronize animal markets that sell rats, dogs, goats, cats, snakes, and assorted birds. There is even a delicacy called “three-screams rat,” in which rats are eaten live. The rat is said to scream once when it is grabbed by chopsticks, the second time when it is dipped in vinegar, and the third time when it is bitten.

Wild animals are believed to be the source of SARS: many of the first SARS patients worked in the wild animal markets, and a virus similar to SARS has been discovered in the civet cat, an expensive delicacy. The Chinese government has tried to regulate the markets in order to exterminate the virus, but has not succeeded. [David Lynch, Wild Animal Markets May Be Breeding SARS, USA Today, Oct. 28, 2003.]

Mother of the Year

When Jacksonville, Florida, police arrested Dakeysha Telita Lee, 22, on aggravated assault and petty theft charges on September 10, she neglected to tell them her two-year-old daughter was home alone. The little girl lived on catsup, mustard, and uncooked pasta for more than two weeks before her father, who is separated from the mother, found her on September 28. She was sitting in front of the television, wearing only a towel, and was covered in filth and dried catsup. She is recovering from malnutrition in a Jacksonville hospital.

Ogden Lee said he had been trying to contact his estranged wife for some time, but did not know she was in jail. Mrs. Lee now faces an additional charge of felony child abuse, and remains in jail on $20,000 bond. [Girl, 2, Alone at Home While Mother in Jail, USA Today, Oct. 1, 2003.]

Joy of Diversity

As many as 5,000 women world-wide are murdered each year by relatives who believe the women have disgraced the family’s honor, usually because of a sexual indiscretion. Some women are even killed because of the shame they brought on the family by being raped. Most honor killings take place in Muslim or other Third-World countries, but the practice is coming to the West, along with immigration. In Britain, police say there were 12 honor killings in 2002. Abdalla Yones, for example, a Kurdish refugee who came to Britain 10 years ago, stabbed his daughter 11 times and slit her throat because she had become “too Westernized” and had taken up with a Lebanese Christian. A culturally sensitive court gave Mr. Yones just16 years for the murder. [Lyric Wallwork Winik, ‘Honor Killings’ Reach England, Parade Magazine, Nov. 9, 2003.]

Banned in Skokie

The first grade class at Madison School in Skokie, Illinois, was looking forward to the annual Thanksgiving party last November. Half had made Indian headdresses out of construction paper, and half made Pilgrim hats or bonnets. A parent said the Indian costumes were racially insensitive, but principal Pete Davis initially brushed the complaint aside. Later, however, he contacted two Indian organizations in Chicago, and “they advised us very strongly not to” wear headdresses. So, instead of the dress-up party, Mr. Davis invited Leonard Malatare of the American Indian Center to talk to the first-graders and give them a traditional blessing. Mr. Malatare says headdresses in first grade are the top of the slippery slope. “They’ll grow up with that image in their head,” he says. “I’ve had people come up and ask me if I was born in a teepee.” [No Pilgrims or Indians at Skokie First Grade Class, AP, Nov. 23, 2003.]

Racist ANC

When whites discovered diamonds on land occupied by the Nama tribe near Alexander Bay, South Africa, in 1925, they took the land under the legal concept of terra nullius (empty land), which holds that uncivilized peoples do not have property rights. The Nama, who are similar to South African bushmen, were nomadic goat herders. The South African government opened a state-run diamond mine, and earlier this year, miners found a 111-carat diamond that fetched $3 million.

When the ANC took over in 1994, it passed the Land Restitution Act, under which indigenous people who lost land because of “racial discrimination” could file to reclaim it or receive financial compensation instead. The Nama went to court, but the ANC government, which now owns the diamond mine, opposed their claim — citing the doctrine of terra nullius. ANC lawyers argued that the 2,200 Nama, who live in tin shacks without running water or electricity, are still so backward they have no ownership rights, and that returning their land would “open the floodgates” to countless other frivolous claims.

“I use this word carefully,” says Gert de Wet, leader of the Nama, “but I am accusing the ANC government of being racist. In my view . . . the [brown-skinned] Nama people are not black enough to be treated fairly.” [Tim Butcher, Tribe Accuses ANC of ‘Diamond Apartheid,’ Telegraph (London), Sept. 13, 2003.]

On Oct. 14, South Africa’s constitutional court ruled in favor of the Nama, awarding them the land at Alexander Bay, the diamond mine, and compensation for all diamonds mined since 1925. The compensation alone amounts to an estimated $1.5 billion — more than $680,000 per Nama. [Tim Butcher, Tribesmen Win “900m Suit Over Diamonds, Telegraph (London), Oct. 15, 2003.]

Treason at Treasury

The FBI says the matricula consular card issued by Mexico to its citizens in the US is unreliable ID and can be easily forged. The General Services Administration does not accept the cards for access to federal buildings and, as we reported in October, Mexican banks do not consider them proof of identity. Many American banks, however, accept the matricula with the blessing of the US Treasury Department. On Sept. 18, the department said it would not withdraw its recognition of the matricula.

Banks are happy. Steven Bartlett, president of the Financial Services Roundtable, says, “This is a win for the matricula, a win for the economy and a win for our close ally Mexico.” His organization represents the 100 largest financial service companies.

Some utilities, libraries, hospitals and even several state and municipal governments — including police departments — accept the matricula consular. Montgomery County, Maryland, in suburban Washington, DC, decided in mid-September to let Mexican immigrants use the card to get county handouts. [Treasury Allows Mexican IDs for Bank Accounts, AP, Sept. 19, 2003.]

Coming Home to Roost

The Hispanic population of Nashville, Tennessee, officially stood at 35,000 in the 2000 Census, and at an estimated 47,000 in 2002. Yuri Cunza, director of Nashville’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, says the real figure is closer to 100,000. He says one problem Hispanics face is that many don’t have health insurance and are “intimidated” by a medical system that requires prescriptions for many drugs. He is happy the Catholic charity, Saint Thomas Health Services, will spend $4 million to double the size of its street clinic, which serves an overwhelmingly Hispanic clientele. St. Thomas is a private hospital, but we can be sure that taxpayers contributed a substantial part of the $4 million. [M.B. Owens, New $4 Million Clinic Planned, The City Paper (Nashville), Nov. 4, 2003.]

Hispanics are as baffled by zoning as they are by prescriptions. County ordinances and health codes prohibit residents of Davidson County (Nashville) from keeping farm animals on their property. The ever-increasing numbers of Third-World immigrants moving into Davidson County are bringing their livestock with them anyway. County authorities now get many complaints about chickens wandering the roads and goats being slaughtered in back yards. Roosters can be even worse for insomniacs than barking dogs, and one woman complained her neighbor’s chickens had turned her front porch into a roost. [Diversity Brings Roaming Chickens, The City Paper (Nashville), Oct. 23, 2003, p. 6.]

A new study has found that the population of Nashville began declining in the late 1990s, as rich and even middle- and working-class residents began moving out. Poor people are replacing them, and the city fathers fret about declining taxes. David Penn, who did the study for Middle Tennessee State University, doesn’t understand why people are suddenly leaving Nashville, after years of growth. “We’ve heard a variety of explanations,” he says, “but the truth is I haven’t seen a decent study as to why people are moving out.” [Nashville Population Declining, The City Paper (Nashville), Oct. 23, 2003.]

Perhaps Mr. Penn might ask some of the people who have left what they think of neighborhoods that are filling up with people who slaughter goats and keep chickens.

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