O Tempora, O Mores! (July, 2006)

American Renaissance, July 2006

Rue Mumia Abu-Jamal

The Paris suburb of Saint-Denis has named a street after Black Panther and cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Mr. Abu-Jamal was convicted of the 1981 killing of police officer Daniel Faulkner in Philadelphia and given the death penalty. Although five eyewitnesses testified to seeing Mr. Abu-Jamal shoot Mr. Faulkner, and others to hearing him confess the crime shortly thereafter, his case has become a cause célèbre abroad. He has been made an honorary citizen of Paris, Venice, Palermo, and Montreal, as well as San Francisco. Jacques Chirac, Nelson Mandela, and the European Parliament have demanded he be retried or released. Many American celebrities, including Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, Whoopi Goldberg, and Oliver Stone have tried to have his conviction thrown out. All this has had an effect: In 2001, Mr. Abu-Jamal’s death penalty was overturned, and last year, a federal appeals court agreed to consider whether there was racial bias in jury selection.

The newly named street is in the Saint-Denis “Human Rights district,” which also contains a stadium named after Nelson Mandela. Hundreds of Mr. Abu-Jamal’s supporters turned out for the April 29 dedication ceremony. There were delegations from England, Ireland, Germany, and Spain, as well as the US, and the mayor of Saint-Denis and other dignitaries were there. Many speakers addressed the crowd, including Julia Wright, a black American translator who lives in Paris, who called Mr. Abu-Jamal “our Mandela.” Some actors read selections from the Black Panther’s writings, and black dance troupes performed. Afterwards, there was a concert, mostly featuring rap groups. [HNS-Info, Inauguration d’une Rue Mumia Abu Jamal à Saint-Denis, May 3, 2006.]

Maureen Faulkner, the slain police officer’s widow called the honor “disgusting.” “The people of Philadelphia,” she added, “should think if they have any trips to Paris this summer, to cancel those trips.” Congresswoman Allyson Y. Schwartz, who represents a Philadelphia district, wrote to the mayor of Saint-Denis that naming a street after Mr. Abu-Jamal “is an insult to Daniel Faulkner’s memory, to his family, and to all of us who stand for the rule of law.” [Jennifer Lin, Paris Suburb Names Street for Cop-Killer Abu-Jamal, Philadelphia Inquirer, May 16, 2006. Allyson Y. Schwartz, French Insult: Rue de Mumia, Centre Daily Times (State College, PA), May 23, 2006.]

Soccer to the Rescue . . .

Research by two British government agencies, the Home Office and the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), suggests that multiracial communities are less happy and trusting than homogeneous ones. “We’ve done work here which shows that people, frankly . . . like to live within a comfort zone which is defined by racial sameness,” says the ubiquitous Trevor Phillips, CRE chairman. “People feel happier if they’re with people who are like themselves.” Mr. Phillips believes the key to solving the problems of diversity is to create identities that transcend race. This is known as “bridging” in social-science jargon.

According to people who study this sort of thing, such as Harvard professor Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, “bonding social capital” is what ties similar people together, while “bridging social capital” brings dissimilar people together. “A society that has only bonding social capital and no bridging social capital looks like Beirut or Belfast or Bosnia, that is tight communities but isolated from one another,” he says. Prof. Putnam warns that the lack of bridging social capital that could bind whites and non-whites together is the most serious challenge Western societies face: “The kind of social capital that is most important for the success of a modern, pluralist, multicultural democracy — the bridging social capital — is the kind that’s hardest to build. Therefore we’ve got to go about the task of creating new opportunities for people to make connections to people different from them.”

Trevor Phillips of the CRE seems to think the racial tension Britain is suffering will vanish if people just spend more time together. “We need to respect people’s ethnicity but also give them, at some point in the week, an opportunity to meet and want to be with people with whom they have something in common that isn’t defined by their ethnicity,” he says. “If we can find a moment, an idea, an activity which takes us out of our ethnicity and connects us to other people of different ethnicities and if only for an hour in a week then I think we can crack this problem.”

The solution? Watching professional soccer. The bridge-builders say rooting for the same team can bring us together and make us happy. [Mark Easton, Does Diversity Make Us Unhappy? BBC News, May 30, 2006.]

. . . Or Maybe Not

FIFA, the international body that governs World Cup soccer, says there has been a rise in abusive behavior towards blacks as more Africans join European teams. After a match in the German city of Halle in March, fans made monkey noises and spat on Nigerian forward Adebowale Ogungbure. In April, spectators again chanted monkey noises at Oguchi Onyewu, an American who plays for a Belgian team.

FIFA worries that this “deplorable trend” will embarrass the sport during the World Cup to be held in 12 cities in Germany beginning June 9, and the organization has vowed to crack down. FIFA has launched a “Say No to Racism” campaign that includes television commercials and stadium banners, and will have team captains make “anti-racist” speeches before games. FIFA will slap five-match suspensions on players, coaches and officials who step out of line, and may deduct points from team standings if players misbehave. Spectators face fines of $16,600 to $25,000 for each offense and two-year stadium-bans.

Despite FIFA’s efforts, there are likely to be monkey noises and derisive banners during the World Cup, and some fans may toss bananas onto the field, as commonly happens in Spain, Italy, Eastern Germany and Eastern Europe. [Jere Longman, World Cup Plans Defense Against Racism, New York Times, June 4, 2006.]

UCLAsia

Of UCLA’s incoming class of 4,852 freshman, just 96 — two percent — are black, the fewest since 1973. Twenty of the 96 are athletic recruits. “Clearly, we’re going to have to meet this crisis by redoubling our efforts, which have not yielded the results we’d like to see,” says Chancellor Albert Carnesale. Mr. Carnesale blames Proposition 209, the 1996 voter initiative that banned racial preferences in admissions and hiring. Others say blacks are just not qualified or that few apply because there are so few on campus.

No one seems to care that only 33.3 percent of the incoming freshman are white, and are outnumbered by the 41 percent who are Asian. Twenty years ago, UCLA’s incoming class was 49.7 percent white, 22.2 percent Asian, 14.8 percent Hispanic, and 9.6 percent black. [Rebecca Trounson, A Startling Statistic at UCLA, Los Angeles Times, June 3, 2006.]

La Mordida

According to a survey by the Mexican branch of Transparency International, last year Mexicans paid bribes 10 percent of the time when they dealt with a government employee, and bribes cost them $1.8 billion dollars. Sixty percent of the time, when police threatened to tow a car, they accepted a bribe to leave it alone. Mexicans paid bribes 23 percent of the time when they applied for permits to sell on the street, and seven percent of the time when they wanted marriage, birth or divorce papers. Twenty-three percent of Mexicans paid a bribe to the garbage men for trash pickup, and others had to pay for mail delivery.

Vicente Fox came into office in 2000 promising to fight corruption, but has made little progress. In 2001, Mexicans paid bribes 11 percent of the time they dealt with government employees and nine percent of the time in 2003. [Karen Mahabir, Survey: Bribes Still a Way of Life in Mexico, AP, May 10, 2006. Mexicans Paid $1.8 Billion in Bribes: Study, Reuters, May 10, 2006.]

Toronto the Bad

Toronto, which used to call itself “Toronto the Good” because of its low crime rates, has suffered a rash of shootings. There were 52 handgun killing in 2005, as opposed to 12 in 1995. Handgun murders and injuries doubled between 2004 and 2005 alone, and are mostly the work of blacks, mainly West Indian immigrants. A Toronto deputy police chief says blacks are eight percent of the population but commit 43 percent of the murders. By some estimates, Jamaicans commit 80 percent of gun crime. [Linda Frum, Q&A with Former NYC Chief of Police, William Bratton, Macleans, Jan. 14, 2006.]

Black violence drew particular attention after a December 26th, 2005 gunfight known as the “Boxing Day Bloodbath.” Ten to 15 blacks, all in their teens and early 20s, blazed away at each other on Yonge Street, which was crowded with shoppers. They missed their targets but wounded six bystanders and killed a 15-year-old white girl named Jane Creba. Canadians were shocked by a brazen shootout on a busy street. Mourners set up a memorial for Miss Creba on Yonge Street, and two weeks later there was a pile of flowers 14 feet wide. So far, no one has been charged. [Chris Doucette and Tom Godfrey, Feud Grew Into Battle, Toronto Sun, Dec. 28, 2005. Phinjo Gombu, Creba Memorial Still Stirs Emotions, Toronto Star, Jan. 6, 2006.]

The Boxing Day murder drew special attention because an innocent was killed, but Toronto saw several public shootouts in 2005. There was another killing on Yonge Street, one at a funeral, and another on a crowded bus. [Licia Corbella, Metropolis Lost its Innocence Long Ago, Calgary Sun, Dec. 28, 2005.]

In January, high crime rates helped the Conservative’s Stephen Harper end 12 years of Liberal rule. The Ontario government is promising to crack down, but blacks keep killing people. In May of this year, a black 19-year-old named Jacqueline Levesque, accompanied by four men, killed her black ex-boyfriend and the father of her child. It was Toronto’s 25th murder this year. [Harper Goes After Crime, Corruption, Toronto Star, Jan. 2, 2006. Josle Newman, Canada Cracks Down on Rising Violence, Christian Science Monitor, May 26, 2006. Tamara Cherry, Woman Sought in Slaying Surrenders, Toronto Star, May 31, 2006.]

Pimpfants

A new online clothing store called “Pimpfants” wants to “bridge the generation gap” by selling baby versions of black and Hispanic gangster clothes. “Inspired by a decade of living on the streets of San francisco [sic],” reads the website, “our designer’s creations embrace the urban street culture and reflect the vibrant underground that has now become mainstream.” The clothes allow “babies and tots everywhere the opportunity to hit the playground with fresh gear and street cred.”

The clothes carry designs reading “Baby Bling,” “40 oz. Milk,” “Da Bomb,” “Sucka Free Baby,” “The Notorious K.I.D,” “Pimp Squad,” and “My Mommy’s a M.I.L.F,” which stands for “mother I’d like to fuck.” Many of the clothes feature the word “Pimpfants,” written in gang-style Gothic lettering. The store sells velour track suits, tanktops, “basketball sets” consisting of tanktops and long shorts, and “Lil’ Beaters.” The frequently-asked-questions page explains the meaning of this term: it is a type of tank top similar to something called a “wife-beater” in the vibrant underground. The website shows no racial preference in models — it features as many white as black or Hispanic babies. [Pimpfants website, pimpfants.com/]

More Betrayals

In Dec. 2006, AR ran a story called “Betrayals of Office” about dozens of Hispanic US government employees who had used the power of their offices to smuggle illegal immigrants and drugs into the country. Since the article was published, more examples have come to light.

In May, two Hispanic Navy sailors pled guilty to smuggling illegals across the border last January. Antonio Piña, who worked in the Shore Patrol at the Old Port building, which is just 10 feet north of the Mexican border at Tijuana, opened the building after hours and let fellow sailor Jose Valdez smuggle in six illegals. They each paid $3,000 to the Navy men. Mr. Valdez has also agreed to be deported, since he turned out to be an illegal himself, having falsely claimed to be a US citizen when he joined the Navy in 2000. [Onell R. Soto, Sailors Face 3 Years in Smuggling Case, San Diego Union-Tribune, May 30, 2006.]

Juan Posas, Jr., a customs agent at the Brownsville, Tex. Port of Entry, was arrested in March for taking $5,000 worth of bribes to let drug smugglers across the border. [Sergio Chapa, Customs Agent Arrested, Brownsville Herald, March 9, 2005.]

Also in March, Sergio Efrain Valle, a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, was arrested for trying to solicit a bribe from federal detainee Francisco Gutierrez, a Mexican immigration official who was himself being held for an immigration violation. Mr. Valle offered to have the charges against Mr. Gutierrez dropped for $20,000, and Mr. Gutierrez’s lawyer reported the offer to the authorities. Undercover agents then showed up with the money and arrested Mr. Valle when he accepted it. [ICE Agent Arrested, AP, March 20, 2006.]

Last December, Arizona police officer Keith Duckett pulled over a pickup truck loaded with 670 pounds of marijuana wrapped in several bundles. The driver and passenger fled into the desert, and the officer went after them, leaving the pickup unattended but with his video camera on. The camera was rolling when Border Patrol Agent Michael Gonzalez stopped by in an official vehicle. He took one of the bundles of marijuana and then arranged the others to fill the space it left behind. Because Mr. Gonzalez was wearing his service firearm, he faces a maximum term of life in prison for drug possession with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm while committing a trafficking crime. [Alexis Huicochea, Border Patrol Agent is Indicted, Arizona Daily Star, Jan. 26, 2006.]

Diversity Follies

The Washington State Department of Corrections has issued what it calls a “diversity calendar” that has angered some employees. The calendar marks not only the usual holidays, but also the birthdays of Ho Chi Minh, Lenin, Karl Marx, and Isoroku Yamamoto, the Japanese commander who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor. A spokesman for the department explains: “This calendar was meant to be an instructional tool that just lists people who had an impact on the world and provoke thought . . . One of the goals of diversity is that we coexist in the world with people we disagree with.”

Employee David Holbrook, a Vietnam veteran, particularly objected to Ho Chi Minh. He complained by e-mail to coworkers, and was reprimanded for inappropriate use of his work e-mail account. Fortunately, Washington State Senator Jim Honeyford is on Mr. Holbrook’s side: “To me if you’re going to represent diversity, it should be someone worthy of honor, and I have a great deal of difficulty with these bloodthirsty people who killed a lot of people.” The Department of Corrections says it will be more careful in the future. [Leah Beth Ward, Calendar Marks Dubious Birthdays, Yakima Herald-Republic, April 29, 2006.]

Good Imperialists

The following letter recently appeared in The Wall Street Journal:

In regard to Shelby Steele’s May 2 editorial-page essay ‘White Guilt and the Western Past’:

Mr. Steele characterized the worldwide collapse of white supremacy as the transformative event of the 20th century: ‘This idea [white supremacy] had organized the entire world, divided up its resources, imposed the nation-state system across the globe, and delivered the majority of the world’s population into servitude and oppression.’ One such oppressed non-white, grandfather of Gurcharan Das (author of India Unbound, Harvard graduate, former CEO of Proctor & Gamble Co. of India, and currently columnist of The Times of India), had this to say regarding their oppressor:

‘But you must remember, my son, that India had been the best governed country in the world for one hundred years. Yes, the English were arrogant, but it was a cheap price to pay for a hundred years of peace, good government, railways, irrigation canals, and the best law and order in the world. You may call me anti-national, but this is how I feel.’ [Jack G. Willard, Arrogant, Yes, But They Ran the Country Superbly, Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2006.]

Not Guilty

For the past two years, white Chicago police officer Bryan Vander Mey has been suspended without pay and under indictment, facing four counts of official misconduct and two counts of battery for allegedly beating a black criminal, Rondell “Nightfall” Freeman, during an arrest at Chicago’s notorious Cabrini Green housing project (see “The Racial Politics of Policing in Chicago,” AR, October 2004). The battery charges were filed against Officer Vander Mey despite the fact that a doctor who examined Mr. Freeman found no evidence of bruising or other injuries, and Mr. Freeman himself never said he had been beaten. Prosecutors tried many times to get Officer Vander Mey to plea to lesser charges, but he refused, insisting that he did nothing wrong, had nothing to apologize for, and that the video a Cabrini resident had made of the incident would prove it.

On April 11, Judge Joseph Kazmierski found Officer Vander Mey not guilty on all counts, saying it was unclear from the video tape who was actually striking Mr. Freeman. As the judge announced the verdict, more than a dozen of Officer Vander Mey’s supporters — including several Chicago police officers — burst into loud applause. Jim Knibbs, one of the prosecutors, said he was “disappointed with the outcome.”

Unfortunately, Officer Vander Mey may not get his job back. He now faces a termination hearing before the Chicago Police Board. As for “Nightfall” Freeman, he has been arrested four more times since the incident, most recently for possession of large amount of crack cocaine and possession of a firearm by a felon. [Stefano Esposito, Chicago Cop Acquitted in 2003 Beating, Chicago Sun-Times, April 13, 2006.]

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