O Tempora, O Mores! (June, 2004)

American Renaissance, June 2004

White Refugees

There has been a trickle of South Africans applying for asylum in the United States on grounds of racial persecution. Almost all have been deported.

In 1999, Michael and Carol Gormley, both 55, came from Durban to the US on a tourist visa, in part to visit family near Seattle, but also because they were victims of the “New South Africa.” Mr. Gormley worked as a construction supervisor and Mrs. Gormley was a cargo coordinator for the railway. Both lost their jobs to “affirmative action,” and could not find work. They claimed that the new affirmative action laws amount to race-based persecution, and told the court they were victims of “violent, rampant crime,” largely aimed at whites.

On April 22 of this year, a three-judge panel of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “the Gormleys have established only that they fear (1) future racial discrimination with adverse economic consequences, and (2) potential criminal attacks from black assailants. These fears, while perhaps well-founded, do not amount to persecution.” (In order to qualify for asylum, applicants must demonstrate persecution based on race, religion, national origin, political opinion or membership in a distinct social group.)

The Gormleys’ lawyer, Carol Edward, says they are considering an appeal to either the full circuit court or the US Supreme Court. “They are afraid to go back,” she says. “Our argument was that the South African government took one racist government and replaced it with another one that is racist.” [David Kravets, Court: Being White Not Grounds for Asylum from South Africa, AP, April 23, 2004. Sam Skolnik, South Africans Lose ‘Persecution’ Appeal, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, April 23, 2004.]

Some white South Africans are so desperate to leave the country they fall prey to criminals who claim they can get work visas for them in the US. Wessel and Frieda Steenkamp and 26 other South Africans each paid $2,000 to Petras Botes, who claimed to be a recruiter for temporary agricultural workers in the US. When the group arrived in Salina, Kansas, Mr. Botes was missing — immigration authorities had arrested him and four relatives on charges of alien smuggling and visa violations. The Steenkamps and their two young children were stranded with virtually no money, and the problems with their visas meant they could not work.

The Steenkamps decided to apply for political asylum, since they had been farmers in a region where blacks have murdered many whites. “My husband farmed with a gun on his body,” Mrs. Steenkamp told a reporter. She said she quit her job at a bank in town because it was unsafe to drive on country roads, and that blacks were raping white women and girls because they thought it would cure AIDS.

The INS advised them to travel to Mexico and reenter the country legally, so they borrowed money, rented a car, drove from Kansas to Mexico, turned around and recrossed the border. They surrendered their questionable visas, asked for asylum on the grounds of racial persecution, and were granted parole status, which meant they could work while their case was considered. The Steenkamps got jobs on a farm in Warner, South Dakota, attended a local church, and were by all accounts model immigrants.

In 2002, a federal immigration judge denied asylum, saying black attacks on white farmers are criminally — not racially — motivated, and ordered deportation. Carey Nilsson, the man who offered them jobs, said, “It’s the biggest injustice I’ve ever seen in my life. [Mr. Steenkamp] is doing everything for all the right reasons to make a better life for his kids. He’s here, keeping all his money here, and they’re going to kick him out.” Another associate said, “If there were good productive people who would be an asset to our state and this country, it would be these people.” The government deported Wessel and Frieda Steenkamp and their two sons on January 9, 2003. [Betsy Rice, Warner Couple Forced to Return to South Africa, AP, January 1, 2003.]

There has been at least one successful but odd case. In 1997, after black employees of Michelle Thomas’s father-in-law tried to kidnap one of her children, Mrs. Thomas and her family fled their home in Durban to the United States. The Thomases applied for political asylum, claiming they would be persecuted and possibly killed by blacks if they returned to South Africa. Mrs. Thomas said her father-in-law, “Baas Ronnie,” was a racist who abused blacks, and that his workers would retaliate against her and her family. She said blacks poisoned her dog, ransacked her home, and threatened to kill her in front of her children, and that the police did nothing. She claimed that as a white South African she became a victim of persecution by black South Africans.

In 1999, an immigration judge denied asylum because he found that the South African government did not promote violence against or persecute whites. The Thomases appealed, and this March, Immigration Appeals Court Judge Ferdinand Fernandez granted asylum. While he argued that merely being white in South Africa was not sufficient grounds, he believed the Thomases were targeted because they are “members of a particular social group” — the family of the allegedly racist “Baas Ronnie.” [Marthinus van Vuuren, SA Family Gets US Asylum, News24.com (S. Africa), March 15, 2004.]

South Africans who want asylum but don’t have a “racist” father-in-law might try contracting exotic diseases. In April, after a five-year legal battle, Canadian authorities granted permanent residency on compassionate grounds to a South African family that suffers from porphyria, a potentially life-threatening allergy to sunlight. The disease forced the Vivier family to leave Johannesburg, which receives 3,126 hours of sunshine each year, for the tiny Canadian port of Prince Rupert, 40 miles from Alaska, and Canada’s wettest and cloudiest town. It gets 100 inches of rain and snow per year, and only about a third as much sun as Johannesburg. [Jane Flanagan, Family Find Their Dream Place in the Gloom, Telegraph (London), May 2, 2004.]

Lower Standards or Else

Of the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Law School’s 140 graduates in 2004, only five are black and two are Hispanic. The 2006 class has even fewer. Other law schools across the country also graduate few non-whites. That, says UMKC professor Rogelio Lasso, an immigrant from Panama, is “a formula for disaster in the making.”

“In 20 years,” he asks, “when Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans and Asians make up nearly 50 percent of this nation’s population, who will be the judges, lawmakers, and business leaders?” Prof. Lasso says lawyers are the guardians of “the rights and liberties of all members of society,” but thinks whites will not be good at this when they become a minority:

“I know that I am more comfortable with people who look and are like me. White prosecutors and judges will see themselves in young white offenders and are more likely to ‘cut them a break.’ To the white judge or prosecutor, a black or Latino offender is more alien, more likely to be perceived as guilty.”

He says whites are fighting to maintain dominance in the courtrooms and legislatures as their numbers dwindle, and fears this may lead to a form of apartheid, or minority white control over a non-white majority. Unless whites make way for non-whites in higher education, he says there could be disturbances like the riots of the 1960s. “In a very real sense,” he says, “the health of the nation and of our communities depends on how much access we give to the growing population of color to higher education and professional schools.”

Prof. Lasso thinks law schools put too much emphasis on objective criteria like the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), on which blacks and Hispanics do poorly. He has designed an alternative law school admissions system that would increase the number of non-whites. His goal is to produce a “critical mass” of non-white lawyers who can help run a post-white America. [Carmen Cardinal, UKMC Law School is as Segregated as Ever, But Now for Different Reasons, MissouriBarReview.com, April 16, 2004.]

Quaint Customs

Nuran Halitogullari, a 14-year-old Turkish girl, survived kidnap and rape, but her father Mehmet believed her defilement stained the family honor, so he garroted her. Miss Halitogullari is the latest victim in the centuries-long tradition of “honor killings” in Turkey and other Islamic countries. The Turkish government, under pressure from international women’s groups, is trying to stop the practice. [Turkish Father Strangles 14-Year-Old in ‘Honor Killing,’ Orlando Sentinel, April 30, 2004.]

In Khanbary, Pakistan, a man known only as Ibrahim suspected his wife Rozina was having an affair. In keeping with local custom, he chopped off her right ear and shaved her head. The practice of removing the ears and shaving the heads of adulteresses is a longstanding tradition in remote northern Pakistan, but the local police arrested Ibrahim anyway. [Pakistani Husband Cuts Off Wife’s Ear Over Suspected Affair, AFP, May 4, 2004.]

Americans have quaint customs, too. On March 30, in Volusia County, Florida, police discovered Michael Rogers, an American Indian, skinning the head of a bald eagle. Mr. Rogers, who has a license to handle live bald eagles — but not mutilate dead ones — says he found the bird already dead and was preparing the carcass for a spiritual ritual and burial at an Indian mound near the Daytona International Speedway. The police arrested Mr. Rogers, who faces a $500 fine or 60 days in jail. They sent the eagle to Colorado for an autopsy. [American Indian Arrested After Skinning Head of Bald Eagle, Local6.com (Orlando), April 20, 2004.]

On April 14, police partially evacuated the Palm Beach County, Florida, Courthouse and called the bomb squad after discovering a suspicious package and a bag of dead animals near the entrance to the judges’ parking garage. The bomb squad blew up the package, which contained only brown powder. Investigators think the powder and the dead animals — three birds and a turtle — may be part of a Santeria spell that someone put on either the courthouse or the judges. Animal sacrifice is an important part of Santeria, a religion popular among Caribbean immigrants. [A Suspicious Package and Bag of Dead Animals Left Outside the Palm Beach County Courthouse, Palm Beach Post, April 15, 2004.]

Intolerable Fairness

The latest class of recruits to the Baltimore Fire Department is entirely white, the first time this has happened in 50 years. Although the test was carefully vetted for “bias,” almost all the candidates who passed were white. The blacks who passed had criminal records or failed a drug test.

This caused much distress. The Baltimore Sun put the story on the front page, with the headline, “City Fire Department Recruits 1st All-White Class in 50 Years.” A group of retired black firefighters said the results “set this department back 50 years.” One councilman declared the results of the test “unbelievable.”

Fire Chief William J. Goodwin held a press conference and promised, “We will make sure that this never happens again.” “Was [the process] fair?” he asked. “It was absolutely fair. Did we follow all the civil service laws? Absolutely.” Later he added, “The process will be changed immediately.” The department quickly let six blacks join the class on probation. [Reginald Fields, City Fire Department Recruits 1st All-White Class In 50 Years, Baltimore Sun, April 20, 2004. Les Kinsolving, A ‘Fair’ Process Results In All Whites! WorldNetDaily, May 1, 2004.]

Who Are the Criminals?

Starting in late March, rumors of immigration raids began spreading in Houston, and were picked up by Spanish-language radio and television. Illegals lay low, and construction sites, meat markets, and taco stands were emptier than usual. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) denied raids were taking place, but many Hispanics did not believe them.

Houston authorities felt compelled to lay their fears to rest. On April 26, immigration officials, police, and politicians held a meeting, conducted almost entirely in Spanish, to explain that illegals had nothing to fear. Joseph Webber of ICE promised his agency had not been conducting raids. The Houston police explained there was nothing to fear from them, since Houston is a sanctuary city that does not enforce immigration law. US Representative Gene Green said the main goal of immigration services was to protect national security. “If you don’t get in trouble with the law, you probably won’t get picked up,” he said, implying that immigration violations were not really against the law.

The crowd took an accusatory and indignant tone, as if illegals deserved compensation for the disturbance they had suffered. Immigrants’ rights groups complained that ICE was causing panic by parking its vehicles near work sites. The groups made it clear the meeting did not let ICE off the hook, and that they were keeping an eye on them.

This was too much for Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado. Two days later, he angrily demanded a White House investigation into the meeting. “The fact that an administration official and a United States Congressman would take such pains to publicly assure people that they have no plans to enforce the laws they are sworn to uphold is simply mindboggling, and they owe the people an explanation,” he said. [Edward Hegstrom, Work Nearly Grinds To Halt as Immigrant-Raid Rumors Circulate, Houston Chronicle, April 16, 2004. Edward Hegstrom, Immigrant Roundup a Myth, Officials Say, Houston Chronicle, April 26, 2004. Tancredo Slams Immigration Bureaucrat For Refusing to Enforce the Law, Press release from Congressman Tom Tancredo, April 28, 2004.]

Integrating Nicely?

The American Association of Retired Persons commissioned a Gallup poll on the state of race relations in America, and the May cover story of their magazine reports the results. It says Americans have made great “progress,” meaning they accept integration more than they used to. The writer, Adam Goodheart, believes the strongest evidence of this “inclusive spirit” is the finding that 71 percent of Americans and 66 percent of whites said they would not object if a child or grandchild married someone of another race, which is up from just four percent of whites in 1958. Non-whites are more enthusiastic about miscegenation than whites: the results for blacks and Hispanics were 86 percent and 79 percent, respectively. The article fails to point out that the statistics for actual intermarriage are low: only 3.5 percent of whites and 4 percent of blacks marry someone outside their race.

Fifty-seven percent of whites, 61 percent of Hispanics, and 78 percent of blacks said they would “prefer to live in a neighborhood that is mostly mixed,” again showing that non-whites find whites more attractive than the other way around. The 2000 census shows, however, that segregation has not decreased over the past 10 years, and some researchers claim that it has actually increased, and is now at the level of the 1960s. One wonders how genuine this “inclusive spirit” is.

Whereas 42 percent of Americans thought race relations would always be a problem for their country in 1963, 63 percent do today. Moreover, respondents over 65 were most optimistic about the prospects for harmonious race relations, and those under 30 were least optimistic. [Adam Goodheart, The New America, AARP Magazine, May 2004, pp. 43-61.]

Following Sherman

According to the 2000 census, six percent of Georgia’s 8.2 million people are Hispanic, but demographers say the actual number could be twice as high. Hispanics started moving to Georgia in large numbers during the late 1980s and ‘90s to work in the carpet mills of Dalton and the poultry plants around Gainesville, but are now spreading everywhere. “There’s not one single county in the state of Georgia that does not have Latinos. We are everywhere,” says Sara Gonzalez, president and CEO of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. (In Henry County, southeast of Atlanta, the second-most common foreign language after Spanish is the Indian language of Guajarati, of all things.)

Hispanics make no secret of their desire to reshape America. “In 2050 [when Hispanics are projected to be at least one quarter of the US population], we’re going to look back and sort of laugh about the fact that in 2004, we pointed to [just] one Latino governor and a handful of Latino members of Congress as the extent of our opportunity for future Hispanic leadership,” says Adam Segal, director of the Hispanic Voter Project at Johns Hopkins University. “I would certainly question anyone who would suggest that Spanish will not become a far more dominant language in the United States by that time.” [Larry Copeland and Haya El Nasser, Population Getting More Diverse as it Gets Bigger, USA Today, March 18, 2004, p. 2A.]

It already is. This fall, voters in Hall County, Georgia, (home of the Gainesville poultry plants) will have a choice of ballots in English or Spanish. The federal government says counties in which more than five percent of voting-age residents do not understand English must offer foreign-language ballots. Although Hall County has not yet reached that threshold — most of its 19.6 percent Hispanic population is under 18 — state officials decided to offer the Spanish ballots as part of a pilot program to prepare for the future. [Elliot McLaughlin, Bilingual Ballots Come to Northeast Georgia, Herald (Miami), April 15, 2004, p. 3A.]

In St. Paul, Minnesota, the Hispanic population doubled between 1990 and 2000; in neighboring Minneapolis, it quadrupled. Many smaller cities and towns in Minnesota have also seen big increases. Just five years ago, only 48 of Minnesota’s 439 schools districts had at least 100 Hispanic students, and only four had more than 500. The current figures are 68 and 14, respectively.

The proximity of Latin America, coupled with modern technology, means today’s immigrants are not assimilating as the Scandinavians did when they settled large parts of Minnesota and the upper Midwest. “I’ve been back and forth a few times,” says Mexican immigrant Jose Salinas. “I maybe want to stay here. But even if I do, I can’t forget my country, my family, my traditions.”

Dan Pena, an American-born Hispanic who is a chef at a restaurant in Chaska, Minnesota, doesn’t expect Hispanics to assimilate. “When Europeans came here, home was an ocean apart. For Mexicans, it’s a river, just 60 feet wide . . . We are headed toward that ‘one world’ thing, like it or not.” [David Peterson, Immigrants Not Settling in Traditional Enclaves, Star Tribune (Minneapolis), March 18, 2004.]

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