O Tempora, O Mores! (November, 2005)

American Renaissance, November 2005

Norway Makes Progress

Norway’s anti-immigration Progress Party, won 22 percent of the vote in September’s national elections. This amounts to 38 of 169 seats in parliament, up from 26 seats, making Progress the second largest party in the country and the largest on the right. Party leader Carl Hagen will become vice-president of Norway’s parliament. The left also did well in the election: a “Red-Green” alliance made up of socialist and environmental parties ousted the previous center-right coalition.

Progress campaigned primarily on the threat of non-white immigration. Its main goals are to cut non-Western immigration and deport criminal immigrants. One of its campaign slogans was, “Dangerous Africans walk the streets.” On the cover of its campaign brochure was a picture of a man wearing a hood and pointing a gun at the reader; the caption read, “‘The criminal is of foreign origin!’ (Press quote we often read.)” This sparked the usual outrage. One of the leaders of the Liberal Party said the brochure was “absolutely appalling.” “This is a low,” he continued, “and places the [Progress Party] on the outermost right-wing of European politics.” [Norway’s Far Right Surprises in Polls, Reuters, Sept. 13, 2005. Jagland Will Lead Parliament, Aftenposten (Oslo), Sept. 22, 2005. Progress Party Brochure Sparks Racism Charges, Aftenposten, Aug. 16, 2005.]

The Progress Party, which is also Christian and libertarian, enjoys much support among the young. A poll of high-school students found 40 percent agreed with the statement that immigrants “pose a serious threat to Norway’s distinctive national character.” This nearly doubles figures from 1999. Teenagers were much more skeptical about immigrants than adults, only 28 percent of whom agreed with the poll statement. Boys were more nationalist than girls: 50 percent of boys and 33 percent of girls thought the national character was threatened. Norwegian sociology professor Knud Knudsen thinks the upsurge in ill-will towards immigrants since 1999 is due to the terror attacks in New York, Madrid, and London. [Norwegian Teens Xenophobic? News24.com (South Africa), Sept. 26, 2005.]

Coming Your Way

According to a new study by the Pew Hispanic Center, more immigrants enter the country illegally than legally. In 2001, there were more than 578,000 legal immigrants. Tighter post-September 11 screening and a slowing economy reduced that figure to 455,000 in 2003. During the same period, however, the number of illegals increased from an estimated 549,000 to 562,000. Of course, it is impossible to know the real numbers, which could be much higher.

The study confirms that the US is in the midst of an unprecedented demographic revolution that began in the 1980s and took off in earnest during the 1990s, with an average of more than 1.5 million foreigners — legal and illegal — settling in the country each year. More than 34 million immigrants now live in the US, and make up 12 percent of the population. That number has tripled since 1970, when the foreign-born population was just 9.6 million. Approximately one third of current immigrants are from Mexico.

Many parts of the US were not affected by the wave of immigrants during the 1990s, as most foreigners settled in the traditional immigration states like California, New York and Texas. That is changing, as today’s immigrants are far more likely to move to the “new settlement states” of Georgia, North Carolina, Iowa, Utah and Delaware. [Stephen Ohlemacher, Report: Illegal Immigration Has Increased, AP, Sept. 27, 2005. D’Vera Cohn, New Illegal Immigrants to US Surpass Legal Immigrants, Washington Post, Sept. 27, 2005.]

Zimbabwe II

When the ANC took power in South Africa in 1994, 87 percent of the country’s farm land was owned by whites. More than a decade later, whites still own 80 percent, and many blacks are frustrated at the slow pace of “land reform,” under which 30 percent of white-owned land is supposed to be turned over to blacks by 2014. In August, the government’s Commission on Restitution of Land Rights decided to “fast track” land redistribution, breaking an earlier promise that all transfers would be voluntary, willing buyer-willing seller transactions. The government accused the white farmers of acting in bad faith by asking too much for their farms, and said they would force whites to sell.

In September, the government served its first expropriation notice. Hannes Visser owns a 1,250-acre farm in North West province, which the government says was wrongfully acquired by his father in an apartheid-era forced sale in 1968. It has offered Mr. Visser $275,000 but he says the farm is worth twice that amount, and has vowed to fight expropriation in court. Regional land commissioner Blessing Mphela says expropriation is a last resort, but is necessary to speed up the pace of land reform and to prevent black frustration leading to chaos.

Many white farmers are worried. Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe remains very popular among South African blacks who support his seizure of white-owned farms. Some South African officials, like Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, are looking across the border for inspiration. “There needs to be a bit of ‘oomph,’” she says. “That’s why we may need the skills of Zimbabwe to help us.” [Basildon Peta, South Africa Reveals Plan to Seize White Farmers’ Land, The Independent (London), Aug. 3, 2005. S. African White Farm to be Seized, BBC, Sept. 23, 2005. S. Africa to Seize White Owned Farm, The Australian (Sydney), Sept. 24, 2005.]

Princeton’s Failing School

Princeton High School is in Princeton, NJ, the home of the university. As one would expect, the Ivy League town makes sure the school is well-funded and offers an excellent education. The average SAT score is 1237, the third-highest in the state. Ninety-four percent of graduates go to college, many to elite schools. The school offers 29 Advanced Placement courses, and 98 percent of students exceed the math and English standards required by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

Princeton Test Scores

However, for the past two years, the school has not met NCLB standards because of the scores of the small minority of black and Hispanic students. Since NCLB requires that the scores of each race be reported separately and that all races meet standards, the whole school can get a failing grade if students of only one race do poorly. In spite of the excellent overall performance, 37 percent of black 11th-graders failed the English standards, and 55 percent of blacks and 40 percent of Hispanics failed the math standards.

The Princeton school district superintendent says, “If the gap can’t be narrowed in Princeton, then where can it be narrowed? There can’t be a question here of resources, or of community support, or of quality of staff.” [Samuel G. Freedman, The Achievement Gap in Elite Schools, New York Times, Sept. 28, 2005.]

Meanwhile, the Bush administration continues to tout the successes of NCLB. In July, the Dept. of Education put out a press release saying, “The results from the newest Report Card are in and the news is outstanding.” The release trumpeted rising test scores and declining gaps between whites and non-whites. However, this enthusiasm was based solely on the performance of nine- and 13-year-olds on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) tests, which the Dept. of Education uses to measure school performance. In some cases, but not in all, there has been a slight closing of achievement gaps in math and reading for these age groups since 1990.

The real test of NCLB’s effectiveness is the scores of 17-year-olds, since these reflect the final outcome of American education. As the charts show, the scores of whites and Hispanics on the NAEP reading test have declined since 1999, substantially in the case of Hispanics; the scores of blacks have remained the same. In reading, the scores of all groups are towards the bottom of their 20 year range. Also, the gaps between the scores of whites on the one hand, and blacks and Hispanics on the other, are wider than they were in 1988. The pattern is the same in math. [Dept. of Education, Spellings Hails New National Report Card Results, July 14, 2005. National Center for Educational Statistics, The Nation’s Report Card: 2004 Long-Term Trend Assessments, June 15, 2005, http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/ltt/results2004/.]

Discrimination Positive

Despite its large and growing non-white population, France does not officially recognize ethnic minorities. It clings to the fiction that non-whites shed their cultures and become good Frenchmen — part of “the Indivisible Republic” — and are indistinguishable from natives. The French therefore oppose American-style racial preferences, which they call discrimination positive.

However, as more non-whites fail to get ahead, some French leaders, like Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, have begun to question the policy of race neutrality. Mr. Sarkozy favors preferences, particularly in higher education. One elite French university, the Paris Institute of Political Studies — commonly known as Sciences Po — already has a preference program.

The French system is based solely on merit, and students must pass grueling exams to get into elite schools. Non-whites do poorly on these exams, much to the chagrin of Sciences Po chancellor Richard Descoings, who thinks the school does not reflect France’s increasing diversity. Five years ago, Sciences Po started a parallel admissions policy to admit more “socioeconomically disadvantaged” students. The program recruits from 23 high schools in poor neighborhoods where immigrants live. Instead of taking the entrance exam, students write a senior-year report and present it to a panel of teachers. If they are accepted, and also pass the national high school graduation test, they are then interviewed by a panel of Sciences Po professors for admission. Fewer than 60 out of a total of 6,000 students have gotten in this way, but that is enough to make some Sciences Po students worry their diploma is being devalued.

Racial preferences are unpopular in France, and both President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin oppose them. Even Sciences Po feels compelled to deny that the program is based on race. It insists it considers only socioeconomic factors, pointing out that its 23 high schools are in special government-designated zones that lack “educational and economic resources.” It is merely a coincidence that Africans and Arabs live in these zones. [Tami Abdollah, French Test Affirmative Action, Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2005.]

America’s Priority

According to a poll by Rasmussen Reports, 54 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the Minutemen, the group of citizens dedicated to patrolling the borders; only 22 percent have a negative view. Forty-eight percent believe the federal government should be encouraging citizens to guard the border, versus 33 percent who disagree. Middle-income Americans are more likely to support the Minutemen than high- or low-income Americans. Sixty percent of whites support the group, but only 35 percent of non-whites.

Thirty-eight percent of Americans say immigration will be a very important issue to them in the next presidential election, and 31 percent say it will be somewhat important. Seventy-three percent of Republicans rank the issue as important, as do 64 percent of Democrats. [Most Say Volunteer Patrols Reduce Immigration, Rasmussen Reports, Sept. 22, 2005.]

Another Rasmussen poll found 76 percent of voters thought it was too easy for people to enter the US; only 11 percent thought it was too hard. Sixty-three percent believe current immigration laws are a threat to national security, and 62 percent say they are a threat to the economy. [Immigration Seen as a National Security Threat, Rasmussen Reports, Sept. 20, 2005.]

Republican members of Congress report that their constituents care more about immigration than any other issue. A poll conducted in July by the National Journal found that 17 of 37 Republicans in the House and Senate who responded said immigration was most on the minds of their constituents. Only ten said the economy was the most important issue.

By contrast, only two of 35 Democratic members of Congress reported that immigration was the top issue for constituents. Rep. Tom Tancredo, leader of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, explained how Democrats think: “Immigration is a problem issue for the Democrats — no one wants to say they embrace breaking the law and sacrificing national security. It makes sense that their leadership is dancing around this issue.” [Stephen Dinan, Immigration Worries Republicans, Washington Times, July 16, 2005.]

Paid for Failing

A federal judge has ruled that a literacy test the Delaware State Police used between 1992 and 1998 discriminated against blacks. The state must pay $1.4 million to 104 black candidates who failed the test, and give them another chance to join the force. The state required a score of at least 70 percent, and blacks failed more often than whites. US District Judge John A. Kent said the test was a “blunt instrument” that could not distinguish qualified candidates. He decided on his own authority that anyone who scored 66 percent was literate enough to be a policeman. Since 104 black candidates scored between 66 and 70, the state police have to pay damages and let them reapply. The judge did not give the same deal to non-blacks who failed the test. One of the plaintiffs said the test made him “think outside his culture,” but could not give specifics. The US Justice Department took the case for the black candidates.

Some current Delaware police officers are furious. One wrote the judge: “It’s an insult [to us] to take someone off the street who accomplished nothing for his state, except to fail a test, and treat him like an 11-year veteran or hero.” The Police Superintendent, however, spoke of the need for “an inclusive organization” and “a diverse and talented work force.” [Charlotte Hale, In Deal, State Police to Pay $1.4 Million, News Journal (Wilmington), Aug. 3, 2005. Sean O’Sullivan, Judge OKs Suit Payout Over State Police Test, News Journal, Sept. 23, 2005.]

FedEx is facing a similar lawsuit. On Sept. 29, US District Judge Susan Illston granted class certification to 10,000 black and Hispanic hourly workers and 1,000 black managers who claim discrimination. They say FedEx pays non-white workers less than whites, denies them promotions, and disciplines them more harshly. James M. Finberg, their lawyer, says the racial makeup of FedEx’s workforce proves discrimination: non-whites are 56 percent of workers who load and unload freight, but only 29 percent of low-level management positions, and 23 percent of senior management positions. The source of this discrimination is the “basic skills” test FedEx gives employees to determine who should be promoted. Mr. Finberg says, “FedEx knows that blacks and Hispanics fail at a much higher rate, but yet has not changed the test.”

FedEx is sticking to its guns for now. A spokesman says promotions are based on “objective” factors like time in service, scores on the test, and performance evaluations. He also says that in many job categories, non-whites get better evaluations and higher pay than whites. [FedEx Discrimination Suit Moves Ahead, AP, Sept. 29, 2005. Thousands Certified in FedEx Bias Suit, Law.com, Sept. 203, 2005.]

In an even more novel case, blacks are suing the Pinellas County School District in the St. Petersburg, Fla. area, blaming the district for their low achievement and high discipline rates. The suit cites the Florida constitution’s requirement that local authorities give all students a “high quality” education, and claims racial differences in outcome are clear evidence blacks are not getting the “high quality” schooling to which they are entitled.

Guy Burns, the Tampa lawyer who represents the blacks, says he is not sure what form an appropriate remedy would take, but that it is up to the school district to find one. The district says it has taken every practical measure to help blacks, and that the performance gap is due to factors schools cannot control.

In its defense, the district is likely to rely on the usual sociological explanations for low black achievement: black families are poor, blacks watch more television, some blacks distrust white-run schools, etc. The district is considering taking testimony from students that would highlight the varying home and personal circumstances of different students, and show that they are what cause differences in achievement. So far, the district does not seem to be prepared to use racial differences in IQ to deflect the charge that it is, somehow, short-changing black students.

A three-judge appeals court panel just reconfirmed class-action status for the case, which means that all 20,000 black students in the district are parties. The Pinellas County School District is the 22nd largest in the nation, and results in the case could set an important precedent for the state and the rest of the country. [Thomas C. Tobin, Judges Bolster Students’ Lawsuit, St. Petersburg Times, Sept. 29, 2005.]

Thin White Line

In 2003, two black congressmen, Charles Rangel of New York and John Conyers of Michigan, introduced a bill in the House to reinstitute the draft so as to remove, as Rep. Conyers put it, “the long-held stigma that people of color and persons from low-income backgrounds are disproportionately killed and injured while serving.” Although the bill went nowhere, Rep. Rangel pressured the Pentagon for demographic data on fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan. In late September, the Defense Department produced a racial breakdown of the 1,841 Americans killed through May 28, 2005.

Whites, who make up 67 percent of the armed forces, accounted for 71 percent of the fatalities. Blacks, 17 percent of military personnel, made up just nine percent. Hispanics were nine percent of the overall force and suffered ten percent of the fatalities, while the fatality rate for Asians, Pacific Islanders and Indians exactly matched their proportion in the military: four percent. Whites, therefore, are slightly overrepresented in fatalities while blacks are considerably underrepresented.

What accounts for the difference? Blacks tend to avoid combat specialties. “Blacks are underrepresented in infantry and armor,” explains Larry Wortzel, a retired Army colonel and now a defense analyst with the Heritage Foundation. “They’re clustered in support services, like ordnance and field supply, medical support, places where you’re not in direct combat.”

Whites accounted for even more casualties in past wars. In Korea, 80 percent of fatalities were white, in Vietnam, 86 percent, and during the Persian Gulf War, it was 76 percent. [Tony Perry, Most War Casualties White, Report Says, Los Angeles Times, Sept. 25, 2005. Darryl Fears, 2 Key Members of Black Caucus Support Military Draft, Washington Post, Jan. 3, 2003.]

The Enemy Within

In August, four Hispanic US elected officials went to Mexico City to take part in a press conference, held at the offices of the Mexican Secretary of State, denouncing efforts by civilian groups to enforce US immigration laws. The four, San Bernadino County, California, Supervisor Josie Gonzales, Lynwood, California, Mayor Ramon Rodriguez, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Camon, and Delaware State Representative Joseph E. Miro, issued a statement calling on President Bush to “openly declare that he is against the Minuteman Project, and more aggressively criminalize their activities, which are motivated by anti-immigration sentiments that are racist and paranoic.” They claim the Minutemen — whom they liken to the KKK and white supremacist militias — are responsible for a series of hate crimes and murders along the US/Mexico border, and want the government to punish “border vigilantism” under federal hate crime laws.

The Bush Administration is receptive. Earlier this year, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, whose parents were born in Mexico, told an audience in heavily-Hispanic East Los Angeles that the Justice Department is closely monitoring the Minutemen and other civilian border enforcement groups, and would not hesitate to enforce federal hate crime laws against them. [Hector Carreon, USA Officials Seek to Declare ‘Border Vigilantism’ a Federal Hate Crime, La Voz de Aztlan, Aug. 15, 2005.]

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