O Tempora, O Mores! (August, 2005)

American Renaissance, August 2005

Surprise Attack

The Bulgarian nationalist “Attack” party, whose slogan is “Give Bulgaria back to Bulgarians,” surprised the country by winning nine percent of the vote in national elections on June 25, making it the fourth most popular party. Attack will get 21 seats out of 240 in parliament. The party criticized Turkish and Gypsy minorities during the campaign — Turks make up nine percent of the population, and other non-Bulgarians make up six percent. The party’s leader, Volen Siderov, says that if it is admitted into the governing coalition, it will ban Turkish-language television and require that Turks add “ov,” the typical ending for Bulgarian names, to their names. All other parties have ruled out a coalition with Attack.

The party’s platform calls for the abolition of ethnic political parties and separatist organizations — the ethnic Turkish party Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms won 13 percent of the vote in the elections. Attack also calls for Bulgaria to withdraw from NATO and sever ties with the IMF and World Bank. [Bulgarian Nationalist Party Attack: We’ll Assimilate the Minorities, Journal of Turkish Weekly (Ankara), June 27, 2005. Bulgaria’s Socialists Win Most Seats, Election Commission Confirms, Deutsche Presse Agentur, June 29, 2005. Bulgarian Nationalists Reject Cooperation with Other Parties, Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (Sofia), June 26, 2005.]

On the Warpath

Indian nationalist movements in South America have grown in recent years. In 2001, the Peruvian Mestizo Alejandro Toledo won the presidency, in part because of his appeals to Indian pride. Campaigning as “a stubborn Indian rebel with a cause,” he won handily in the majority-Indian nation. After his victory, supporters chanted “Pachacutic returns!” an allusion to a legendary Inca king. Pachacutic has become an international symbol of Indian nationalism, with parties named after him in Ecuador and Bolivia. In 2002, Lucio Gutierrez, a Mestizo, won the presidency of Ecuador with the backing of Indian nationalist groups.

Indians are also gaining power in Bolivia, where they make up 60 percent of the population. Bolivia has two Indian nationalist parties. The Movement to Socialism, headed by Evo Morales, has 21 percent of the seats in parliament. Mr. Morales has spoken of “uniting Latin America’s 135 Indian nations to expel the white invasion, which began with the landing of Columbus in 1492.” The other Indian party, the Pachacutic Indigenous Movement, is led by Felipe Quispe, who espouses violence. A former member of the Shining Path guerillas who was convicted of terrorism in the 1980s, Mr. Quispe talks of restoring the ancient Incan empire in Bolivia and Peru. Although his party received six percent of the vote in the last elections, Mr. Quispe took his men out of Bolivia’s parliament last year to prepare for what he calls an “inevitable resumption of armed struggle.” [Martin Arostegui, Indian Movement Seeks ‘To Expel White Invasion,’ Washington Times, June 24. A Political Awakening, Economist, Feb. 19, 2004.]

Bolivian Indians have sought power in the streets as well as at the ballot box, and have succeeded in toppling the last two presidents, both of them white. In 2003, 60 people died during clashes between Indian protestors and the army, and the unrest forced then-president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada out of office.

Indians have been protesting on and off this year by blockading streets and striking. Their immediate grievance is Bolivia’s rich natural gas and oil fields. Mr. de Lozada’ successor, Carlos Mesa, wanted to encourage foreign investment by giving favorable deals to multi-national companies. The Indian nationalists want the fields nationalized. Mr. Mesa tried to appease Indian groups by levying a stiff tax on the multi-nationals, but to no avail.

The protests came to a head in early June. A gasoline shortage caused by blockades kept most traffic off the streets in the capital La Paz. Protestors cut off the city’s water, and blocked all but one road into the city, leading to food shortages. Police fired tear gas to dispel thousands of demonstrators but miners, who joined the protesting Indians, threw sticks of dynamite at police. Indian guerillas took over seven oil fields, and Pres. Mesa warned that the country was “on the verge of a civil war.” [Bolivian Oil Crisis Verges on Civil War, All Headline News, June 8, 2005. Bill Cormier, Riots Continue after Mesa’s Offer to Quit, AP, June 8, 2005.]

Pres. Mesa resigned on June 9; Eduardo Rodriguez of the Supreme Court took over and promised to call elections later this year. The mobs have dispersed, but Indians promise more protests unless oil and gas are nationalized and the constitution is revised to grant more power to Indians. Meanwhile, the wealthier and predominantly white eastern provinces are calling for greater autonomy. [Corralling the Gas — and Democracy, Economist, June 9, 2005.]

IQ Flap

Back in 1971, a group of black students and parents sued to prevent California from giving IQ tests to blacks, claiming they were biased, and resulted in disproportionate numbers of blacks being assigned to remedial classes. In response, California stopped giving IQ tests to blacks in 1986, but still uses them for everyone else. Now, blacks are claiming they can’t get into remedial classes because there is no easy way for them to prove their IQs are low enough. Instead, they have to get subjective teacher evaluations, which are not always forthcoming.

Last year, Pamela Lewis, who is white, wanted her six-year-old mulatto son to take an IQ test to see if he qualified for special education speech therapy. School officials turned her down, and told her she would have to change his paperwork to reclassify him as white if she wanted him tested.

Seventeen-year-old Dominique Miller was falling behind and asked to take an IQ test so she could get special education. “They said I couldn’t take the IQ test because I was black,” she says. On June 10, Miss Miller joined a group of other black high school students to lobby state lawmakers and education officials to lift the ban. They say it was well-intentioned but is now outdated. [Black Children Denied IQ Tests in California, FoxNews.com, July 2, 2004. Eric Stern, Teens Lobby to Take IQ Tests, Modesto Bee, June 11, 2005, p. B1.]

Comic Episode

The most popular comic books in Mexico feature the character Memin Pinguin, and have been published since 1945. In their heyday during the 1960s, millions of people bought the comic every week; now it sells 80,000 copies a week. Memin Pinguin is a black caricature: He has simian features and speaks with a Cuban accent; he is also a bit dim and gets into scrapes. His white friends tease him, but the mockery is gentle. [More on Memin Pinguin, Mile High Comics, Comicon.com, June 30, 2005.]

In June, Mexico released five stamps featuring the character as part of a commemorative series on Mexican cartoon characters. American blacks, already irritated by President Vicente Fox’s remarks that Mexicans do jobs in America “not even blacks” want, were furious. Jesse Jackson said the stamps “insult people around the world.” NAACP President Dennis Courtland Hayes found it “inexplicable that the Mexican government would not comprehend the insensitivity.” Even a White House spokesman complained that “Images like these have no place in today’s world.” [Mexican Stamps ‘Insult People around the World,’ AP, June 30, 2005. Jackson Blasts Mexico over Postage Stamp, AP, July 1, 2005.]

This only irritated Mexicans. A Mexican embassy spokesman said Mexicans did not interpret the character “on a racial basis;” it was no more offensive than Speedy Gonzalez, the classic American caricature of Mexicans. Mr. Fox himself said the cartoon was universally loved in Mexico, and that he himself was fond of it. He refused to consider having the stamp withdrawn. [Morgan Lee, Mexico’s Fox Says New Stamp not Racist, AP, July 1, 2005.]

The artist who draws the comics, Sixto Valencia Burgos, also does not understand the fuss. He says he always made Memin “the good guy,” and that he even used the comic to protest American “racism.” In one episode from the 1960s, Memin and his friends travel to Texas, where a waitress tells him, “Here we don’t serve Negroes, Mexicans, or animals.” Memin’s friends stand by him and fight for him in the scuffle that follows. [Monica Campbell, Columnist Defends Stereotyped Image on New Mexican Stamps, San Francisco Chronicle, July 4, 2005.]

The outcry against the stamps provoked a buying spree in both Mexico and the US. So many people bought the stamps that the first batch of 750,000 sold out in two days, and on E-Bay, the price of a set of five reached $127.50, 45 times face value. One Mexican standing in a long line outside a post office suggested he was buying the stamps to spite Americans: “They’re the racists. They’re worse than we are, but they just want to belittle us, like always.” [Mark Stevenson, In Mexico, Stamps Become Symbol of Resentment against United States, AP, July 1, 2005.]

Whether Memin comics insult blacks, there is no doubt some Mexican comics are deeply insulting to whites. A pornographic comic entitled “Sangre de Lobas” (Blood of the She-Wolves) tells the story of a blonde, white woman captured by a tribe of Blackfoot Indians. When the Blackfoot chief leads his newly-captured wife into camp, the squaws warn him not to mix his blood with “this paleface.” The blonde uses sexual practices that disgust the tribe to gain the chief’s favor and introduces him to liquor; the whole tribe then turns into drunks. After a brave rejects her sexual advances, the white woman tells the chief he tried to rape her. The chief fights the brave but is defeated. The squaws then gang up on the blonde and tear her hair out, leaving her grotesquely disfigured. She goes back to white society and ends up a ghastly and pathetic prostitute. [Hecho en Mexico: The Trouble with White Women, SignalStation.com, Oct. 18, 2002.]

Real Hate Crimes

A white-on-black hate crime in Howard Beach, a white neighborhood in Queens, New York, has been much in the news. At about 3 a.m. on June 29, Frank Agostini of Howard Beach was walking home when two blacks, Richard Pope and Richard Wood, commented on the necklace he was wearing. Fearing the blacks wanted to rob him, Mr. Agostini ran away and found two acquaintances, Nicholas Minucci and Anthony Ench. The three took Mr. Minucci’s car and went looking for the blacks.

When they found them, the blacks had been joined by a third, Gerald Moore. Mr. Minucci threw an aluminum bat at Gerald Moore; the blacks fled but the whites eventually caught Mr. Moore and beat him. Mr. Minucci did the worst damage when he fractured Mr. Moore’s skull with the bat. Mr. Ench stole the man’s sneakers and a bag containing another pair of sneakers. The whites may or may not have used racial slurs during the crime. Mr. Minucci and Mr. Ench have been charged with assault and hate crimes. One of the blacks, Richard Pope, has admitted he was in the neighborhood to steal a car, and all three blacks have criminal records. [Michelle O’Donnell and William K. Rashbaum, White Men Attacked Three Black Men in Howard Beach Hate Crime, the Police Say, New York Times, June 30, 2005. William K. Rashbaum and Kareem Fahim, Man Says Robbery Fears Preceded Attack with Bat, New York Times, July 2, 2005. Marc Santora and William K. Rashbaum, Two Men with Differences, and Many Similarities, New York Times, July 4, 2005.]

The crime has received a great deal of attention, partly because there was a famous (and even more ambiguous) “hate crime” in Howard Beach in 1986. Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent the day after the beating denouncing the attack and promising it would be prosecuted to the maximum extent of the law. “I cannot stress it enough,” he said, “we are going to live together and nobody, nobody, should ever feel that they will be attacked because of their ethnicity, their orientation, their religion, where they live, their documented status, or anything else.” Al Sharpton came to town with 40 followers, and talked about marching through the neighborhood. [Jim Rutenberg and Corey Kilgannon, Bloomberg Vows Strong Response in Bias Attack, New York Times, July 1, 2005. Kareem Fahim, Restraint as Sharpton Visits Howard Beach Attack Site, July 5, 2005.] According to Google News, there have been 424 news stories about the incident across the country.

People in Howard Beach explain that many in the area have been attacked by blacks, and that the failure of police to stop black crime has led to a spirit of vigilantism. They say the men attacked the blacks to protect their turf, not because of race. [Ray Sánchez and Daryl Khan, Howard Beach Attack, Newsday (New York City), July 1, 2005.]

That same week, there were two black-on-white murders that were undeniably motivated by racial hatred, but neither received much attention. On the same day as the Howard Beach attack, Phillip Grant murdered Concetta Russo-Carriero, a legal secretary, in a parking garage in White Plains, a suburb of New York City. As Mr. Grant explained, “I was thinking that the first person I see this morning that looks white, I’m killing them;” “I wanted someone who lived a lily-white lifestyle and was a closet bigot;” “I never seen her before, and I didn’t care. As long as she had blond hair and blue eyes, she had to die.” He had no remorse because he believed he was in a race war. His only regret was that if he had known biological warfare, he could have killed even more whites. Mr. Grant was a convicted rapist who had been living in bum shelters since his release from prison in 2003. [Richard Liebson and Christine Pizzuti, Suspect on Tape: Victim ‘Had to Die,’ Journal News (Westchester, NY), July 6, 2005. Leah Rae, States Grapple for Ways to Hold Repeat Rapists, Journal News (Westchester, NY), July 3, 2005.]

The mayor of White Plains has not made speeches about the need for racial tolerance, and no march is planned. An article on the reactions of White Plains residents points out that none of them said anything about race. Instead, they spoke of the need for more security and for the death penalty. [Joe Ax, White Plains Slaying Outrages Residents, Journal News (Westchester, NY), July 7, 2005.] A Google News search turned up just over 100 articles on the incident.

A black-on-white murder in Seattle, Washington got the same treatment. On June 26, Samson Berhe shot-gunned Michael Robb, a popular tennis coach at a local high school, after Mr. Robb stopped his car on a Seattle street, possibly to help Mr. Berhe. The men did not know each other, and Mr. Berhe had talked about how much he wanted to kill white people. One of his neighbors said Mr. Berhe told her, “I’m going to kill all the white people.”

There has been no public outcry. Prosecutors have not even charged Mr. Berhe with a hate crime, although they are thinking about it. [Noel S. Brady, Teenager Accused in Coach’s Murder Spoke of Killing Cops, Whites, King County Journal (Kent, Wash.), July 1, 2005.] Google News lists only 91 stories on this crime. As usual, when whites hurt blacks, it’s racism; when blacks kill whites it’s just crime.

Fallaci’s Wisdom

Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci faces trial in her home country on charges of “villifying” Islam in her recent book, The Force of Reason. In it, she argues that Europe will soon become a Muslim dominion because the West has lost the courage to defend itself.”

Miss Fallaci, who lives in New York City, is sticking to her guns. “Europe is no longer Europe, it is ‘Eurabia,’ a colony of Islam,” she says, “where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense. Servility to the invaders has poisoned democracy with the obvious consequences for the freedom of thought, and for the concept itself of liberty. The increased presence of Muslims in Italy, and in Europe, is directly proportional to our loss of freedom.”

She believes the West is committing suicide, and that the signs are everywhere. “Look at the school system of the West today. Students do not know history! . . . You cannot survive if you do not know the past. We know why all the other civilizations have collapsed — from an excess of welfare, of richness, and from lack of morality, of spirituality. The moment you give up your principles and your values, the moment you laugh at those principles, and those values, you are dead, your culture is dead, your civilization is dead. Period.” She is not entirely without hope. Although she is an atheist, she is encouraged by what the new Pope, Benedict XVI, has said about Islam and the crisis of faith in the West.

Miss Fallaci’s trial is set for June 2006. Ill with cancer and in her mid-70s, she has no intention of attending. She could be sentenced in absentia to two years in prison. [Tunku Varadarajan, Prophet of Decline, OpinionJournal. com, June 23, 2005.]

Hating History

When students at Jefferson Davis Middle School in Palm Springs, Florida, come to class in 2007, it isn’t just the building that will be new, but the name as well. After two years of thinking, a renaming committee has proposed the strikingly creative name of Palm Springs Middle School. The majority of students at Davis are black or Hispanic, with whites at just 26 percent. Those who want the name change say it’s wrong to send black children to a school named after the president of the Confederacy. “I don’t think we should name a school after Adolf Hitler,” says school board member Debra Robinson, who is black. “It’s really at that level with Jeff Davis. I don’t think we should name schools for anybody that represents intolerance or straight-up hatred.” [Cynthia Kopkowski, Middle School May Lose Confederate-Era Name, Palm Beach Post, June 22, 2005.]

There are at least 30 schools in the South named after Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, or Robert E. Lee, and many more named after other notable Confederates such as Turner Ashby, Nathan Bedford Forrest and J.E.B. Stuart. If Erenestine Harrison has her way, there will soon be fewer. Miss Harrison, a black college instructor and substitute teacher in Hampton, Virginia, has started a petition drive to change the name of Hampton’s Jefferson Davis Middle School. Noting that between 60 and 70 percent of Davis’s students are black, Miss Harrison worries that children may suffer emotional damage from the name of the school. “Confederate heroes are not looked up to in the black community,” she says. “Would Jews send their children to Adolf Hitler Elementary School?” Miss Harrison claims she has collected 400 signatures on a petition supporting the name change.

The people of Hampton appear to be made of sterner stuff than those of Palm Springs. The local school board has greeted her campaign largely with indifference, and the local superintendent, who is black, says her main concern is “high student achievement.” Miss Harrison originally wanted to remove Robert E. Lee’s name from an elementary school, but “reevaluated” after studying the general’s personal qualities

It is not just Confederate heroes who have got to go. A few years ago, New Orleans yanked George Washington’s name off an elementary school, replacing it with that of Charles Richard Drew, a black surgeon and Howard University professor. Even Booker T. Washington is under attack. Black journalist and author George E. Curry calls him “an accommodationist who defended segregation,” who was therefore more palatable to all-white Southern school boards than W.E.B. DuBois, who was an “uncompromising” foe of racism. Mr. Curry wants equal numbers for DuBois and Washington. “If we can’t get one of the black Booker T. Washington schools renamed for DuBois,” he says, “at least we should have his name replace that of Confederate rebels.” [Brian Willoughby, What’s in a School Name, Tolerance.org, June 2005.]

Berkeley, California, is no stranger to the name game. In 1968, James Garfield Middle School was renamed for Martin Luther King, and in the 1970s, Abraham Lincoln Elementary became Malcolm X Elementary. When Columbus Elementary had to be rebuilt after earthquake damage in 1999, it was rechristened Rosa Parks Elementary, but only after a big fight over whether Cesar Chavez Elementary wouldn’t be better.

There was a two-year movement to change the name of Thomas Jefferson Elementary School because he owned slaves. “It’s very clear that the name is offensive to a significant part of the population,” says kindergarten teacher Marguerite Talley-Hughes, who is black. “There’s no reason why we can’t have a name that everyone likes.” This spring, after considering a list that included Cesar Chavez and Sojourner Truth, the school chose Sequoia, after the tree, and submitted its proposal to the school board.

Supporters of the name change flocked to the school board chambers in late June, expecting the board to rubber-stamp the decision. To the surprise of all, the board voted three-to-two against the change, with board president Nancy Riddle casting the deciding vote. Sequoia supporters were shocked and outraged. Many started singing “We Shall Overcome,” while opponents shouted, “Get over it!” The disappointed crowd stormed out of the chambers, while one black man shouted, “White people win! Niggers lose! That’s the message.” [Patrick Hoge, School to Vote on Renaming Jefferson Elementary, San Francisco Chronicle, March 22, 2005. J. Douglas Allen-Taylor, Board Vetoes Jefferson School Name Change, Berkeley Daily Planet, June 24, 2005.]

Black History a Must

Beginning this fall, high school students in Philadelphia will be required to take a course in African and black American history. The three other required social studies courses are American history, world history, and geography. In most school districts, black history is an elective — Philadelphia is the first to require it. Two thirds of the district’s 185,000 students are black.

The course will use a textbook called The African American Odyssey by Darlene Hine, which covers everything from the beginnings of the human race to the flowering of “classical African civilizations” to the US civil rights movement and black nationalism.

Not all parents are happy. Miriam Foltz, who is white, considers it an insult. “There are other races in this city. There are others cultures that will be very offended by this,” she says. “How can you just mandate a course like this?”

District officials agree that it would be better to offer classes that reflect all cultures — they are already thinking they may have to start offering courses in Hispanic history — but say black history has been ignored for too long. “This isn’t about being politically correct,” says chief executive officer Paul Vallas. “We have a whole continent that has been absent from most of our textbooks.” [Susan Snyder, Phila. School Mandate: African History, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 9, 2005, p. A1.]

Blacks are delighted. Julian Bond, national chairman of the NAACP calls it “splendid” and “wonderful.” Jesse Jackson says the requirement is an “asset to truth.” Black poet Maya Angelou thinks it is “brilliant.” “The truth is,” she says, “this country was built for hundreds of years on the work of slaves, and the slaves were African Americans.” Miss Angelou thinks it will be particularly good for white children to understand the impact and legacy of slavery. [Martha Woodall, Nationally, Praise for the Decision, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 22, 2005, p. A10.]

Pennsylvania State House Speaker John Perzel opposes the requirement. In a letter to the chairman of the school reform commission, he asked it to reconsider, saying students should master reading, writing, math, and American history before worrying about African history. Besides, he writes, “most of these kids will never go to Africa. They have no affinity to Africa.” He also worries that the mandate is divisive, and notes that when the Irish were the predominant ethnicity in Philadelphia there were no classes in Irish history. [Susan Snyder, Perzel Roils African Studies Debate, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 22, 2005, p. A1.]

Studying African history is supposed to boost black self-esteem and improve school performance, but no one can show evidence for this claim.

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