Posted on October 1, 2005

O Tempora, O Mores! (October, 2005)

American Renaissance, October 2005

Evolving Brains

Researchers led by Bruce T. Lahn of the University of Chicago have discovered that different gene variants that control the development of the brain have different distributions in different populations. The two genes in question, microcephalin and ASPM, are disabled in a condition known as microencephaly, in which the brain is much smaller than normal.

Seventy percent of people in Europe and East Asia and 100 percent of people in three South American Indian tribes have one microcephalin gene variant or allele, but it is very rare in Sub-Saharan Africa. The allele appeared between 14,000 and 60,000 years ago, with the midpoint of 37,000 years as the best guess.

A new allele of ASPM appeared 500 to 14,100 years ago, most probably about 5,800 years ago. Half of the populations of Europe and the Middle East have this allele, but it is less common in Asia, and very rare in Africa. There are probably many different genes involved in brain growth and function, and it is significant that the ones now discovered are not distributed equally in all groups. The research suggests the brain is still evolving. Just 6,000 years ago — and 6,000 years is a short time in evolutionary terms — no whites had this allele. Now half do.

The research also suggests that brain structure and intelligence are not the same in all populations. Since the two genes are known to have an effect on brain size, the alleles may help explain the well-known race differences in brain size, which are correlated with intelligence. [J. Philippe Rushton, Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective, 3rd ed. (Port Huron, MI: Charles Darwin Research Institute), pp. 113-146.]

Scientists are nervous about this second implication, and they urge the public not to draw hasty conclusions. Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, says he is “worried about the way in which these papers will be interpreted.” “One should resist strongly the idea that [the alleles have] to do with brain size,” he adds. [Nicholas Wade, Researchers Say Human Brain is Still Evolving, New York Times, Sept. 8, 2005.]

Brown Out

According to US Census Bureau population estimates, Texas has become the fourth state to have a majority non-white population. Non-whites — mostly Hispanics — now make up 50.2 percent of the population; in the 2000 Census, it was 47 percent. California, New Mexico and Hawaii also have non-white majorities, with Hispanics the largest non-white group in the first two states, and Asians in Hawaii. Five other states — Maryland, Mississippi, Georgia, New York and Arizona — are now 40 percent or more non-white, and are expected to have non-white majorities by the time of the 2010 Census. Nevada isn’t far behind. In the 1990s, its population was 80 percent white. The figure is now 60 percent and falling fast. The nation is well on its way to becoming majority non-white by 2050, says Steve Murdock, a demographer at the University of Texas at San Antonio. “If you look in the 1990s, in every one of the 50 states, non-Anglo Hispanic populations grew faster than Anglo populations,” he explains. “It’s a very pervasive pattern.”

As the country goes brown, analysts fear it will also become increasingly poor, unless non-whites can be educated and brought up to the level of whites. They also fear more social friction as states try to reconcile the needs of younger non-whites with those of an aging, shrinking white population. [Alicia A. Caldwell, Texas Becomes a Majority-Minority State, AP, Aug. 11, 2005.]

As non-whites continue to displace whites, many are questioning whether the term “minority” has become obsolete. “Twenty or thirty years ago, we saw the country as a majority-white country with a black minority, but now you have places where that is a woefully poor description of what is going on,” says Roderick J. Harrison, a demographer with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a black think tank. He believes “minority” is “a confusing term as one thinks of today’s population,” where more than a third of Americans will soon be living in areas in which non-whites outnumber whites.

Luke Visconti of DiversityInc, a group which advises corporations on racial issues, believes “minority” needs to go because it implies second class status, and “language is the dominant way today of expressing oppression.”

In 2001, the San Diego city council expunged “minority” from official usage, and also stopped referring to neighborhoods that are largely black and Hispanic as “Southeast San Diego” in order to “move away from the pejorative connotations” toward “something that was respectful.”

What will replace minority? The media have begun using “majority-minority,” while academics prefer “people of color.” Others prefer “multicultural,” “diverse,” or “urban.” [Erin Texeira, Term ‘Minority’ Criticized as Outdated, AP, Aug. 18, 2005.]

“Invaders” does not appear to be on the list of possible replacements.

Ignoring the People

Every morning, about 150 men looking for work — most, if not all, Hispanic illegal aliens — gather in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven in Herndon, Va., a Washington, DC, suburb. These men have provoked complaints from the neighbors, who say they drink beer, urinate in public, frighten women and children, and lower property values. The police have made 21 arrests around the convenience store in each of the past two years, all for nuisance crimes like public drunkenness and trespassing. A long-time resident of the neighborhood, who sometimes picks up beer bottles left by the men, says few children come to the store now, whereas a decade ago the area was crowded with children.

After the town attorney said it would be “unconstitutional” to chase the men away, the town proposed this year to build a day-laborer center for them and make it illegal to solicit jobs anywhere else. A coalition of non-profit groups called Project Hope and Harmony (PHH), which hoped for a county grant to run the center, began lobbying for it.

The mayor, the police chief, and members of PHH repeatedly went to the area where the center was planned to reassure neighbors, but they objected strongly. In July, one said five of the 30 houses on her street were for sale. Residents submitted a list of 70 questions to the town, including, “Are the town and Hope and Harmony prepared to guarantee that property values will not decrease because of this site?” and “How will the project managers ensure that my grandchildren are not exposed to the workers while they are waiting for their school bus in the morning?” One resident suggested putting up an eight-foot-high fence around the center. [Carol Morello, Herndon Roiled by Site for Laborers, Washington Post, July 31, 2005.]

The town held three meetings on the hiring center in July and August that were attended by as many as 250 people. The first two were before the Herndon Planning Commission and the third before the town council. Outside the meetings, there were opposing demonstrations, with one side holding signs with messages like “Illegal aliens displace US workers” and “Stop rewarding illegals.” The other group’s signs read, “No human being is illegal” and “Open your hearts to the poor and needy.” The town let residents speak on the matter, and two of the meetings had to be stretched over more than one night to accommodate all the speakers. The majority opposed the center. They said it would bring gang violence and disease, as well as loutish behavior. [Carol Morello, Day Laborers Enter Fray Over Job Site, Washington Post, Aug. 2, 2005. Building Setback for Day Laborers Site in Herndon, AP, Aug. 4, 2005.]

Michael Graham, a local radio talk show host, urged listeners to call Herndon mayor Michael O’Reilly to protest the center on August 5. He said the mayor was “assisting criminal aliens who are . . . destroying this country, stealing jobs, running drugs, raping people.” The town hall got so many calls it had to shut off its switchboard. The town manager said the calls were “vile and resembled hate speech,” and The Washington Post took him at his words, referring to “hate calls” — without quotation marks — in the headline of its story. [Lisa Rein, Hate Calls Swamp Herndon Town Hall, Washington Post, Aug. 6, 2005.]

The debate struck a chord with many other towns that have the same problem with illegals. Scott Lingamfelter, a local state delegate who opposed the center, discussed it on CNN. Rep. Tom Tancredo, head of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, had a proxy speak for him a town meeting. The Federation for American Immigration Reform and Judicial Watch threatened to sue the town if it built the center. Jerry Kilgore, Republican candidate for Virginia governor, urged Fairfax County, where Herndon is located, to stop the center. [Samson Habte, Day Laborer Center Stirs National Debate, Examiner (Washington, DC), Aug. 8, 2005. Christina Bellantoni, Kilgore Urges Fairfax to Drop Day Laborer Center, Washington Times, Aug. 9, 2005.]

This massive opposition came to naught. The protestors persuaded the Herndon Planning Commission to vote against the center, but on Aug. 18 the town council voted five to two to approve it. PHH got a $175,000 contract from Fairfax County to run the center. It says it will not check anyone’s immigration status. [Christina Bellantoni, Herndon OKs Day Laborer Center, Washington Times, Aug. 18, 2005. Christina Bellantoni, Center Staff Won’t Check Legal Status of Laborers, Washington Times, Aug. 19, 2005.]

There is still hope for opponents. Judicial Watch has sued the town on behalf of six Herndon residents to block construction, on the grounds that the town is abetting illegal immigration. Neighboring Loudoun County has threatened to use zoning laws to block the center, which would stand near the Fairfax-Loudoun County border. Jerry Kilgore, currently the front-runner for Virginia governor, has reiterated his opposition to the center, and there is little doubt that, if elected, he would take steps to block it. [Carol Morello, Suit Filed to Block Herndon Labor Site, Washington Post, Sept. 2, 2005. Lisa Rein and Aymar Jean, Day Labor Center Faces a Fight From Loudoun Officials, Washington Post, Aug. 19, 2005.]

White is Beautiful

Southern California’s abundant sunshine holds no charms for many Asian women. They believe sunlight will make their skin dark and unattractive. “There’s a saying, ‘If you have white skin you can cover a thousand uglinesses,’” says Margaret Qiu, a 36-year-old Chinese immigrant who applies skin whitening creams to her face twice a day. She’s not alone. Many Asian women think a porcelain-like white face is the feminine ideal, and are willing to spend a lot of money trying to get one. Importing Asian whitening creams into the United States has turned into a multi-million dollar business. A set of cleansers and lotions that claims to control melanin production can cost $100, and beauticians charge $65 to apply whiteners. Asian women also shield themselves from the sun with umbrellas, masks, and UV gloves. Even doctors are getting in on the action, charging up to $1,000 for a procedure known as a “mesofacial,” in which they use electric fields to deliver vitamins, moisturizers, and bleaching agents to a woman’s face.

Although immigrant women defend the practice as a cultural tradition, many younger, American-born Asian women think the obsession with pale skin is an attempt to abandon their Asian identity and blend into white American culture, and may be a a reaction to racism. The companies that market the creams have taken note of this, and now refer to their products as “brightening” rather than whitening creams. [Jia Rui Chong, No Tans for These Women, Herald (Miami), Aug. 7, 2005, p. 12A.]

Wages of Sin

Arthur E. Teele, a black man who was City Commissioner of Miami from 1997 to 2004, committed suicide on July 28, after facing two indictments for corruption. It was a dramatic exit: Mr. Teele shot himself in the lobby of the Miami Herald building, in full view, through glass doors, of the street. Mr. Teele had reasons for suicide. Besides the indictments, Gov. Jeb Bush had removed him from the office of City Commissioner in 2004 for threatening to shoot a police officer who was observing him for a fraud investigation. He was convicted for that offense in March 2005 and got probation. [Gov. Bush Suspends Miami Commissioner Arthur Teele, Jr., AP, Sept. 22, 2004.]

One of the indictments was for an elaborate fraud that involved abusing a city set-aside program. Mr. Teele arranged for work on the Miami airport to be given to a company owned by non-whites through a set-aside program. However, this company was a front. A white-owned company had bribed Mr. Teele to set things up so that it would do all the work and get most of the contract money. [US Dept. of Justice Press Release, Dewitt Jackson, “Jack” Maxwell, and Arthur E. Teele, Jr. Charged with Conspiracy, Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Money Laundering, July 14, 2005.] The other charge against Mr. Teele was for taking $135,000 in kickbacks from a black-owned construction company while he was head of Miami’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).

It had also come to light that Mr. Teele patronized a male prostitute named Frederick Davis. Mr. Davis said he had four or five cocaine-laced sessions with Mr. Teele, for which he was paid $450 each. Mr. Teele also owed $1.7 million in debt — $815,000 of it to the Internal Revenue Service. Many humiliating details came out in a 14,000 word expose in the Miami New Timesthe day Mr. Teele committed suicide — and probably helped drive him to it. [Francisco Alvarado, Tales of Teele: Sleaze Stories, Miami New Times, July 28, 2005. Luis Yanez, Teele Kills Self in Herald Lobby, Miami Herald, July 28, 2005.]

Mongrelizing Italy

Marcello Pera of the Forza Italia Party is the speaker of Italy’s senate. “In Europe,” he said at a meeting of young Catholics, “the population is decreasing, the doors are open to uncontrolled immigration and we will all become members of a mixed race.” This shocked many in Italy, especially since Mr. Pera is the second highest official in the country. Cardinal Tariscio Bertone said he was “a bit stupefied” by the remarks. Parliamentarian Bobo Craxi of the New Socialist party said, “His speech is very dangerous if you consider that Italy is a country that lives at the center of the Mediterranean.” However, Deputy Prime Minister Giulio Tremonti said he agreed with Mr. Pera. [Phillip Pullella, Italy Shocked by ‘Mixed Race’ Remark, Reuters, Aug. 25, 2005. Tremonti: My Views Similar to Those Expressed by Pera, Agenzia Giornalistica Italia, Aug. 22, 2005.]

Afef Jnifen, a Tunisian-born former model who has Italian citizenship, said that Mr. Pera’s words amounted to “anti-Islamic instigation” and that “Italians [were] more tolerant than Pera.” Miss Jnifen, who is married to an Italian, promotes herself as unofficial ambassador for Islam in Italy. The Italian nationalist party, the Northern League, is part of Italy’s ruling coalition. Its newspaper discussed her political ambitions under the headline “Mongrel Candidacies,” and declared her slogan should be “Let’s mongrelize Italy.” [John Hooper, Muslim Socialite Splits Italian Right, Guardian (London), Sept. 3, 2005. Tunisian Beauty Aids Islam Debate,, Sept. 2, 2005.]

Closing Ranks

DNA tests are an increasingly common way for people to prove their right to join Indian tribes. Until now, would-be Cherokees or Seminoles had to rely on documentation of Indian ancestry; now they can buttress their claims with proof that they have a large share of Indian genes.

Many are taking the tests because of the cash bonanza for being Indian. The Chickasaw tribe of Oklahoma, for example, has assets of $315 million, mainly because of casinos. Also, the government pays reparations to Indians. In 1990, the Seminoles got $56 million in compensation because their ancestral lands in Florida were seized almost 200 years ago. There are other benefits: Genuine Indians can get federally subsidized medical treatment, and some tribes offer free school clothes for children, vocational training, college scholarships, low-interest home loans, and other services. These incentives have swollen tribal rolls. In 1980, there were 50,000 Oklahoma Cherokees; today, there are 250,000.

Many people think it is worth testing their ancestry even if they are long-shots. The chief of testing service at DNAPrint Genomics says, “Ninety percent of the people interested in Native American ancestry are people who look as European as could be. They think they might have a Native American ancestor three or four generations back. We call it the American Indian Great-Grandmother Princess.”

However, even if tests show Indian ancestry, they do not guarantee tribal membership. For one thing, the gene markers that indicate Indian blood are not exclusive to Indians. Someone with a low level of Indian markers — in the four to six percent range — could have gotten them from Greece or Turkey. Pakistanis generally show about 30 percent American Indian heritage for reasons scientists do not understand. Furthermore, ancestry tests cannot distinguish between Indians of different tribes, so proof of Indian genes is not sufficient for membership to any particular tribe.

One group that is particularly eager to prove its Indian ancestry is the Freedmen, or the descendants of slaves owned by Indians in the 19th century. After they were freed in 1866, say Indians, former slaves were accepted into the tribes as equals, and intermarriage was common.

However, once Indians came into money from casinos and reparations, they became more selective. In recent years, Indians have defined membership to exclude the Freedmen, whom they now claim were never really members of the tribe and are not Indian. In 2000, for example, the Seminoles kicked out 2,000 blacks, even though the blacks’ ancestors had been living with the tribe since the 18th century. Blacks sued to regain their membership, but to no avail.

The Freedmen thought they had found their vindicator in Rick Kittles, the head of African Ancestry, a company that purports to be able to tell blacks where in Africa they came from. Mr. Kittles heard about the Freedmen’s plight and agreed to test their DNA. The results were dismaying. A sample of 95 Freedmen showed African ancestry ranging from four to 76 percent, white ancestry from 0 to 62 percent, and Indian ancestry from 0 to 30 percent. The average Freedman was only six percent Indian, almost the same as the average East Coast black who does not claim to be Indian.

Mr. Kittle did, however, offer a ray of hope. He pointed out that Freedmen had a greater share of white genes than most blacks do. Since ordinary Indians also have substantial white ancestry, the Freedmen’s white genes might prove that they were Indians after all. [Brendan I. Koerner, Blood Feud, Wired, Sept. 2005. Karen Kaplan, Ancestry in a Drop of Blood, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 30, 2005.]

Pampering Polygamists

Polygamy has been illegal in France since 1993, but many African and Middle Eastern immigrants, particularly those from Mali, practice it anyway. In fact, there are between 8,000 and 15,000 polygamous households in France, and each has an average of 10 children. This can lead to squalid living conditions, with families packed into small apartments and houses.

Although polygamists are, technically, lawbreakers, France does not arrest and deport African violators. Instead, the government encourages wives to “de-cohabitate,” sending teams of social workers to offer them large, state-funded apartments and living expenses for themselves and their children. The government encourages extra wives to divorce their husbands, but this is not mandatory. So far, only 24 wives from polygamous families have divorced.

It is illegal to bring more than one wife into France, but the French do not enforce the law for fear of accusations of racism. [Geniviève Oger, France’s Polygamy Problem, Deutsche Welle, July 31, 2005. Frank Renout, Immigrants’ Second Wives Find Few Rights, Christian Science Monitor, May 25, 2005.]

Sticks and Stones

Urban Outfitters, a trendy Philadelphia-based retailer of youth-oriented clothing, recently began selling a T-shirt with a printed slogan reading, “New Mexico, Cleaner Than Regular Mexico.” The T-shirt has inflamed a number of pressure groups. One calling itself claims the shirt could promote “negative and racist ideas of ‘the dirty Mexican.’” A spokesman for the ADL says the T-shirt “is an inappropriate and unnecessary disparagement of [Mexico],” and that Mexicans “should not be subjected to this type of ridicule and debasing reference.” Both groups are calling on Urban Outfitters to pull the T-shirts from their stores immediately.

In 2003, the chain sold a parody of the board game “Monopoly” called “Ghettopoly,” which made fun of “gangsta” rap and “hip-hop” culture. Instead of houses and hotels, Ghettopoly featured crack dens and housing projects. Urban Outfitters stopped selling the game after it got complaints and bad publicity. [Wendy Tanaka, Sale of T-shirt Sparks Protest, Philadelphia Inquirer, July 22, 2005, p. C3.]