O Tempora, O Mores! (May, 2008)

American Renaissance, May 2008

Absolut Stupidity

This spring Swedish vodka maker Absolut ran ads in Mexico featuring a map of North America from the 1830s—when Mexico included Texas, and everything up to present-day Oregon. The accompanying slogan “In an Absolut World” implied that in a perfect world, Mexico would still be in control. Images from the ads were soon circulating online, prompting sovereignty-minded Americans to threaten a boycott. The Los Angeles Times wrote about the ad on one of its blogs, and asked readers what they thought. As of April 8, 63.2 percent of more than 62,000 respondents took the following position: “The ad is an affront to Americans. I’m going to boycott the product.”

In an Absolut World Mexico Map

Absolut began to feel the heat, and on April 4, posted an explanation on its website:

This particular ad, which ran in Mexico, was based upon historical perspectives and was created with a Mexican sensibility. In no way was this meant to offend or disparage, nor does it advocate an altering of borders, nor does it lend support to any anti-American sentiment, nor does it reflect immigration issues. . . . Obviously, this ad was run in Mexico, and not the US — that ad might have been very different.

That did not stop calls for a boycott, so on April 6, Absolut did a little better:

We are truly sorry and understand that the ad has offended several persons. This was not our intention. The ad has been withdrawn as of Friday April 4th and will not be used in the future. . . . To ensure that we avoid future similar mistakes, we are adjusting our internal advertising approval process for ads that are developed in local markets.

This is a genuine and sincere apology.

[Mexico Reconquers California? Absolut Drinks to That!” La Plaza (LA Times Blog), April 3, 2008. Vodka Maker Apologizes for Ad Depicting Southwest as Part of Mexico, AP, April 5, 2008.]

Ads “developed in local markets?” Mexican ad men clearly know what appeals to Mexicans.

In 2007, Absolut had between 10 and 11 percent of the US vodka market. It will be interesting to see how it does this year.

White Decline

In 1950, at 27.98 percent of the world’s population, whites were the single largest population group (if East Asians and South Asians were considered separately). By 2000, whites were just 18.5 percent, behind both East and South Asians. By 2060, whites will be 10 percent of the world population, and will be the only group whose numbers have actually declined. Blacks are surging. In 1950, they were 9 percent of the world population; by 2060 they are projected to be one quarter of the world’s 8.5 billion people. [Global White Population to Plummet to Single Digit—Black Population to Double, National Policy Institute, April 7, 2008.]

Goodbye to All That

Advanced Placement courses offer college-level study for high school students. Taking AP courses can boost grade-point averages, because AP grades get more weight than regular high school grades. Some colleges give course credit to students who pass AP exams with scores of three or better on a five-point scale.

Teachers are congratulating themselves on the performance of Hispanics on the 2007 California AP tests. Much has been made of the fact that 66.5 percent of Hispanic AP test-takers passed with three or better, which is virtually the same as the figures of 68.6 for whites and 66.8 percent for Asians, and considerably better than the 32.5 percent for blacks. However, by themselves, these numbers mean nothing unless we know what percentage of students of each race took AP tests. If only a few of the smartest whites and Asians took the tests while virtually all blacks took them, the black rate of 32.5 percent would be very impressive.

In fact, proportionately, twice as many Asians as whites take the tests, so although their pass rate was slightly lower than that of whites, the average Asian is about twice as likely as a white to get a three. Hispanics are only about two-thirds as likely as whites to take the tests, which devalues their 66.5 percent pass rate. What is more, the AP test most Hispanics take is Spanish. When their scores of three or better in Spanish are deducted, they had a pass rate of only 16.1 percent.

Blacks were about half as likely as whites to take AP tests, so their pass rate per capita was about the same as that of Hispanics. [Mitchell Landsberg, California Students Fare Well in AP Exams, Los Angeles Times, Feb. 14, 2008.]

The College Board now offers courses in 37 subjects. In early April, however, the College Board announced it would eliminate four AP classes after the 2008-09 school year: advanced computer science, Italian, French literature and Latin literature. The reason? The College Board wants more blacks and Hispanics taking AP courses and they almost never take any of the four classes being cut. [Scott J. Cech, College Board Intends to Drop AP Programs in Four Subjects, Education Week, April 5, 2008.]

Oops

Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski is a member of the village board of Carpenterville, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. On Saturday, April 5, two boys were playing in a magnolia tree next to Mrs. Ramirez-Sliwinski’s property. She complained to their parents that they were damaging the tree, but the father told her it was none of her business. As she describes the conversation, “I calmly said the tree is not there for them to be climbing in there like monkeys.”

Mrs. Ramirez-Sliwinski is Hispanic; the boys are black. The mother of one of the boys called the police, accusing her of “racism,” and officers gave Mrs. Ramirez-Sliwinski a $75 ticket for disorderly conduct. Police say a local ordinance prohibits anything that “disturbs or alarms people.” One of the boys told officers he was “scared” by her comment, and the mother said she was disturbed. Mrs. Ramirez-Sliwinski says she will fight the ticket in court and denies what she said was racist. In fact, she was a delegate for the Obama presidential campaign until resigning three days after the tree incident. [Obama Delegate Resigns after Remark, AP, April 8, 2008.]

A Glimmer of Sanity

In October 2005, Joey Vento, owner of Geno’s Steaks, a famous Philadelphia cheese steak restaurant, posted signs informing customers, “This is America. WHEN ORDERING PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH.” Mr. Vento says the signs reflect his disapproval of illegal immigration and of the increasing number of people in his neighborhood who can’t speak English. Mr. Vento says he never refused to serve anyone who couldn’t speak English, but that didn’t stop someone from filing a complaint with Philadelphia’s Commission on Human Relations.

In February 2007, the commission found “probable cause” that Geno’s was guilty of discrimination because the signs could be discouraging customers of certain backgrounds. The case then went to a public hearing, in which the lawyer for the commission argued the signs were ethnic intimidation, not political speech. Finally, on March 19 of this year, a three-member panel finally ruled 2-1 that Mr. Vento was not discriminating. Mr. Vento’s attorney, Albert G. Weiss, was pleasantly surprised. “We expected that this was not going to go our way,” he says.

The president of the commission says he won’t appeal the decision. Mr. Vento can keep his signs. [Patrick Walters, ‘Speak English’ Signs OK at Philly Shop, AP, March 19, 2008.]

Allah in Oxford

In The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon wondered what would have happened if Charles Martel had not defeated the Muslims at the Battle of Tours in 732: “Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mohamet.”

Today, about 7,000 Muslims live in Oxford, and the Central Mosque wants permission from the city council to blast the call to prayer over the city, as in Muslim countries. The call begins with “Allahu Akbar” or “God is great” and ends with “There is no God but Allah.” Traditionally, a muezzin shouted out the call from a minaret, but in Oxford, a loudspeaker would blare out a recording.

Allan Chapman, an Oxford historian and practicing Christian, says, “We are very angry that they are presuming to inflict this on a non-Muslim community. We see this as an attempt to impose Islam on a Christian-culture community.” Charlie Cleverly of St. Aldate’s, one of Oxford’s largest Anglican churches, calls the plan un-English. “When such an area is subject to such a call to prayer, it may force people to move out and encourage Muslim families to move in,” he says. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was criticized for recently appearing to advocate the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law in the UK, says the call makes him uncomfortable.

Imam Munir Chisti is willing to compromise. He says it isn’t necessary to broadcast the call five times a day as in Muslim countries. “We suggest that we have a call to prayer every Friday, because that is a special day for Muslims,” he explains. “It won’t be heard over the whole of Oxford. It won’t hurt anybody or force anything on anyone.”

The Anglican Bishop of Oxford John Pritchard supports the Muslims. “Part of living in a civilized society is respecting our diversity, even if aspects of it are not to our taste or belief,” he says. [Georgina Cooper, Will Muslim Call to Prayer Ring Out Over Oxford?, Reuters, Feb. 11, 2008.]

Bad Idea

Good Friday is a public holiday in Australia, but that will change if John Evans has his way. Dr. Evans, a minister at the Church of All Nations in Carlton, Victoria, believes that since Australia is becoming a “more multi-cultural, multi-faith society,” Good Friday should be replaced by a day recognizing Aborigines. “We have done a great thing with the national apology [to Aborigines] but when you look at our public holidays there are no public holidays that recognize the role and place of Aborigines as the first people of this land,” he says. Dr. Evans also thinks replacing Good Friday with a day honoring Aborigines is in the spirit of Easter, which he says is about reconciliation between individuals, God and each other. [Michelle Draper, AAP, March 20, 2008.]

Another Apology

On March 26, the Florida legislature passed a resolution expressing “profound regret for Florida’s role in sanctioning and perpetuating involuntary servitude upon generations of African slaves.” Before the vote, John Phelps, curator of the state capitol, read out a history of the slave codes in Florida, citing the number of lashes slaves could get for crimes such as robbery or burglary. State Sens. Larcenia Bullard and Arthenia Joyner, both black, burst into tears. “I felt a pain that wouldn’t go away,” says Sen. Bullard. “I knew the facts, but to hear it put in those terms, I just fell apart,” says Sen. Joyner.

Like the apologies passed by Alabama, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia, Florida’s does not call for reparations. One of its sponsors, Rep. Joseph Gibbons says the resolution isn’t “about people wanting to get paid,” but Republican governor Charlie Crist says he’s open to the idea of reparations “if we can determine descendancy.” Gov. Crist is often mentioned as a possible running mate for John McCain. [Marc Caputo, Florida Offers Formal Slavery Apology, Herald (Miami), March 27, 2008.]

White Hoaxer

The urge to report fake hate crimes has now infected even white people. Melanie Bowers is a 13-year-old freshman at Athens High School in Athens, Texas. For a history assignment, she had to make a protest sign either for or against an issue, and she chose illegal immigration. Her sign read “If you love our nation, stop illegal immigration.” Three students took the sign away from her. She reported this to school authorities, and the three were given a day of in-school suspension.

Later, however, Miss Bowers claimed a group of Hispanics attacked her and threatened to rape and kill her. The school searched surveillance tapes for evidence of the attack and instead saw that she had scratched her own face and arms so as to fake the attack. She has admitted the hoax and will be charged with filing a false police report. [Molly Reuter, East Texas Teenager Attacked Over History Project, KLTV.com, April 7, 2008. Adam Russell, Update: Athens Student Caused Injuries to Herself, Tyler Morning Telegraph, April 9, 2008]

No Benefit

As in the United States, Britain’s rulers keep telling their people mass immigration brings countless benefits, many of them economic. Immigration increases the population by 190,000 each year, and foreign-born workers now make up 12.5 percent of the workforce—all reasons for joy. Unlike in the US, an arm of the British government actually disputes this rosy view. In April, a House of Lords committee issued a report refuting the government’s assertion that foreigners add £6 billion to the wealth of the nation each year. After calculating costs and benefits more carefully, the committee concluded that “the economic benefits of net immigration to the resident population are small and close to zero in the long run.” [Philip Johnston and Robert Winnett, Migration Has Brought ‘Zero’ Economic Benefit, Telegraph (London), March 29, 2008.]

More and More Visible

Canada calls non-whites “visible minorities,” whom it defines as “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.” (Last year the United Nations said the term “visible minorities” is “racially insensitive.”) New census data show that the number of visible minorities in Canada is increasing at five times the rate of the invisible population. Three fourths of the 250,000 immigrants to Canada each year are non-whites, of whom there are now five million, or 16.2 percent of the population. Rural Canada remains overwhelmingly white, with non-whites concentrated is cities, primarily Vancouver and Toronto. Vancouver itself is 51 percent non-white, while Toronto is 47 percent “visible.” Markham, Ontario and Richmond, British Columbia are both 65 percent non-white. Twenty-three percent of the Canadian population lives in the Vancouver and Toronto area, but 60 percent of non-whites do.

David Ley, a professor of geography at the University of British Columbia, says Canada does a better job of assimilating its immigrants than other countries because it does not make them become Canadian. “We’ve chosen not to go the French way, which is a very strong position that you come here and you be like us. A more multi-cultural view is that there’s give and take and there’s an evolution of a national society. That is the choice that Canada has made.” [Graeme Hamilton, Visible Minorities the New Majority, National Post, April 3, 2008.]

Cracking Down in RI

On March 28, Rhode Island became the latest state to crack down on illegal aliens. Republican governor Don Carcieri signed an executive order requiring state agencies and companies that do business with the state to check the legal status of all employees. He also ordered the Rhode Island State Police to investigate anyone they think might be here illegally and prison officials to turn imprisoned illegals over to immigration authorities. “If you are here illegally, you shouldn’t he here,” he said. Gov. Carcieri dismissed criticism that the executive order would spark xenophobia, saying it was the media that was responsible for inflaming the immigration debate. [Ray Henry, Rhode Island Targets Illegal Immigrants, AP, March 28, 2008.]

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