Posted on September 1, 2009

O Tempora, O Mores! (September, 2009)

American Renaissance, September 2009

Discovering the Truth

In the May issue of American Renaissance, we reviewed The 10,000 Year Explosion by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending. It is a remarkable account of why evolution has speeded up over the last 10,000 years, and why different human populations are therefore diverging more rapidly than ever.

Remarkably, the cover story of the March issue of Discovery magazine took up the same subject. It quoted Professor Harpending as saying, “It is likely that human races are evolving away from each other. We are getting less alike, not merging into a single, mixed humanity.” The article did not shirk from the implications this research has for racial differences in intelligence. Of course, it quoted hand-wringers, such as Francis Collins of the National Institutes of Health: “When it comes to brain functioning, let’s be honest: That is a tinderbox of possible explosive reactions based on a very unpretty history . . .”

On the whole, however, the article gave the impression people like him are afraid of the truth. It quoted Steven Pinker of Harvard making a concession that sounds like wishful thinking: “People, including me, would rather believe that significant human biological evolution stopped between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago, before the races diverged, which would ensure that racial and ethnic groups are biologically equivalent.” Gregory Cochran is quoted as mocking “the extraordinary claim . . . that evolution somehow stopped once we developed culture. You’re allowed to change, but only below the neck.”

The article notes that geneticist Robert Moyzis of UC Irvine puts a “sunny spin” on recent findings: “It would be boring if all the races were fundamentally the same. It’s exciting to think that they bring different strengths and talents to the table.” Of course, to mention differences of any kind is to ask just what those differences are and what they mean for society. [Kathleen McAuliffe, Are We Still Evolving? Discover, March 2009, pp. 51-58.]

Remarkably, only one or two subsequent letters to the editor expressed shock at this matter-of-fact reporting on evidence for racial differences in intelligence. More and more people seem to be waking up to the evidence of their senses.

It’s Official

After the presidential election last year, Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer of the tiny Caribbean twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda said he would rename Antigua’s highest mountain, 1,319-foot Boggy Peak, after Barack Obama. On Tuesday, August 4, Mr. Obama’s birthday, it became official. Mr. Spencer presided over the re-christening ceremony at the base of the mountain, unveiling a stone sculpture and plaque honoring the president. “This great political achievement by Barack Obama resonated with me in a way that I felt compelled to do something symbolic and inspiring,” he told a crowd of about 300 people. “As an emancipated people linked to our common ancestral heritage and a history of dehumanizing enslavement, we need to at all times celebrate our heroes and leaders who through their actions inspire us to do great and noble things.”

The plaque reads, “Mount Obama, named in honor of the historical election on Nov. 4, 2008, of Barack Hussein Obama, the first black president of the United States of America, as a symbol of excellence, triumph, hope and dignity for all people.” In the audience were the charge d’affaires for the US Embassy for the eastern Caribbean, a black American congresswoman who was born in Jamaica, and actress Angela Bassett, who wept during a performance of a calypso song inspired by Mr. Obama called “For You Barack.” “It wasn’t only about Barack Obama,” she said. “It was about the history of black people around the world and the struggle and sacrifices that have been done so that he could rise to the position that he is in today.”

Although Mr. Obama remains wildly popular on the islands, not everybody was excited by the name change. Lester Bird, leader of the opposition Antigua Labor Party, called the change “silly” and said the country might as well “name it for Michael Jackson.” [Anika Kentish, Antigua’s Highest Peak Renamed ‘Mount Obama,’ AP, Aug. 4, 2009.]

Sabor Latino

Hispanics spend about $30 billion a year on groceries in the US, and Food Lion, a grocery chain based in Salisbury, North Carolina, which operates about 1,300 stores in the Southeastern and mid-Atlantic states, wants that money. Last August, Food Lion began gearing five stores in the Raleigh-Durham area to Hispanics: more dry goods, such as beans, tortillas and spices, and meat and produce Hispanics like. Food Lion also gave employees lessons in Spanish and Hispanic culture, and ran advertisements boasting about “Sabor Latino,” or “Latin Flavor.”

The company says the program went so well that it has converted 10 more stores in Raleigh-Durham to the Hispanic-friendly format, along with 13 other stores in central North Carolina. By summer’s end, it plans to make over 19 stores in Charlotte. Its goal is to turn 59 of its 503 North Carolina outlets into temples of Sabor Latino.

Bill Greer, spokesman for the Food Marketing Institute, says Food Lion is just one of several American grocery chains hopping to the salsa beat. “Food is a very important part of the Hispanic culture,” he explains. “We’ve had several mainstream chains develop whole formats around Hispanic food.” [Sue Stock, Food Lion Caters to Latinos, News & Observer (Raleigh), July 11, 2009.]

How It Happened

After last November’s election, most commentators claimed Barack Obama’s victory was made possible by a multi-racial coalition of blacks, Hispanics, and other non-whites, along with liberal whites and young people. The Republicans, they said, could no longer rely on their white base alone to win national elections because there are fewer white voters. Critics of this view countered that Sen. McCain lost precisely because he did not appeal to whites, and that many whites who could have supported the Republicans stayed home.

Recent data from the US Census Bureau bears out this analysis. For all the talk of a “historic” election, the percentage of eligible voters who cast ballots in November declined for the first time since 1996 to 63.6 percent. In 2004, the figure was 63.8 percent. The big drop — down 1.5 percent to just under 72 percent — was in whites, of age 45 and over, who usually vote Republican. This had an impact in key battleground states, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. This also brought the overall white voting rate down to 66 percent from 67 percent in 2004.

Black turnout increased by 5 percent to 65 percent, nearly matching the white rate. Hispanics improved turnout by 3 percent, and Asians by 3.5 percent, to bring each group to nearly 50 percent. In all, non-whites made up nearly 1 in 4 voters in 2008, the most ever. When asked why they didn’t go to the polls, 46 percent of non-voting whites said they didn’t like the candidates, weren’t interested, or had better things to do — up from 41 percent in 2004. [Hope Yen, Voting Rates Dip in 2008 as Older Whites Stay Home, AP, July 20, 2009.]

A significant number of whites were indifferent to a choice between a black liberal and white who did not even hint at positions that favored whites.

Freedom Comes to Texas

Jose Merced, 46, is a native Puerto Rican who now lives in Euless, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth. He is also a Santero, or Santeria priest. As part of his religious duties he slaughters animals; sometimes as many as nine lambs or goats, sometimes as many as 20 chickens or other birds. His Euless neighbors called the police, who enforced a long-standing city ordinance banning animal sacrifice.

Mr. Merced tried to get a permit to slaughter animals in his house, but the city refused. He then sued the city for violating his religious freedom. Mr. Merced lost his first round in federal court, but on July 31, the Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that the Euless ordinance placed a “substantial burden” on Mr. Merced’s “free exercise of religion,” and that he has the right to kill animals in his backyard.

“Now Santeros can practice their religion at home without being afraid of being fined, arrested or taken to court,” says a happy Mr. Merced. His lawyer agrees: “It’s a great day for religious freedom in Texas.” Euless city attorney William McKamie says he plans to file a motion for a rehearing. The Catholic charity, the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, helped pay Mr. Merced’s legal fees, and he got help from Douglas Laycock, who is a law professor at the University of Michigan. [Linda Stewart Ball, Court Gives Santeria Priest OK to Sacrifice Goats, AP, July 31, 2009.]

Panthergate Update

As we reported in the July issue, the Justice Department raised eyebrows in May when it suddenly dropped charges against three members of the New Black Panther Party who were accused of voter intimidation. Minister King Samir Shabazz and his pals had appeared in battle gear at a Philadelphia polling station last November, waving billy clubs. The men failed to appear in court to answer charges, and the judge was set to issue a default judgment against them, when Justice did an about face. When department officials could not come up with a good explanation for the reversal, speculation centered on the role Obama political appointees played in the decision.

It appears to have been a significant role. Justice Department lawyers were apparently in the final stages of seeking sanctions against the Panthers when acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King of the department’s Civil Rights Division ordered a delay. She then met with Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli, the department’s number-three political appointee, who approved the decision to drop charges. Only anonymous sources within the department have been willing to talk about this.

The US Commission on Civil Rights now wants the full story, saying the department has so far offered only “weak justifications.” On June 16, the commission sent a letter to the Justice Department stating that the turnaround caused the commission “great confusion” because the Panthers were “caught on video blocking access to the polls, and physically threatening and verbally harassing voters.” Commission Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds pointed out that other groups would not have been treated so leniently. “If you swap out the New Black Panther Party in this case for neo-Nazi groups or the Ku Klux Klan, you likely would have had a different outcome,” he says.

When asked to comment on the commission’s letter and the chairman’s remarks, a Justice spokesman said only that the department is “committed to vigorous enforcement of the laws protecting anyone exercising his or her right to vote.” [Jerry Seper, Panel Blasts Panther Case Dismissal, Washington Times, Aug. 4, 2009.]

No ‘Hate’ Here

Barbara Frische is a white woman who has lived in her East Austin, Texas, neighborhood for 10 years. Miss Frische is a minority in East Austin, which has been full of blacks and Hispanics since the late 1920s. Recently, however, more whites have moved in, buying and renovating houses. Property taxes are beginning to price out the older residents. On July 24, Miss Frische awoke to the sound of glass shattering in her four-year-old son’s bedroom. She called police, who discovered that someone had thrown a brick through the window. Attached to the brick was a note reading, “Keep Eastside Black. Keep Eastside Strong.”

Austin police say whoever threw the brick faces criminal mischief and deadly conduct charges, but without “hate” enhancements. According to police spokesman Sgt. Richard Stresing, the note didn’t include “hate speech.” The president of the Austin chapter of the NAACP thinks the police have it right. “Throwing a brick into somebody’s home, that’s a crime,” says Nelson Linder. “It’s a criminal act, and that’s how it should be addressed.” [Juana Summers, Police: Brick Thrown Through Window Not Hate Crime, Austin American-Statesman, July 25, 2009.]

What would they think of a brick that went through the window of a black or Hispanic family with a note reading, “Keep Austin White. Keep Austin Strong”?