American Renaissance, March 2010
Bob Kellar, a Republican, has been on the Santa Clarita, California city council for the past ten years. On January 16, Mr. Kellar spoke at a rally against illegal immigration and quoted Theodore Roosevelt’s remarks that the United States has room for only one flag and one language. He recounted what happened when he used that quote at a city council meeting: “The only thing I heard back from a couple of people was ‘Bob, you sound like a racist.’ I said, ‘That’s good. If that’s what you think I am because I happen to believe in America, then I’m a proud racist. You’re darn right I am.’ ”
The usual suspects reacted in the usual way. “I think it’s a metaphor for California’s Republican Party that is so out of touch with people in this state,” said Eric Bauman, chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party. “Santa Clarita, even though it’s a conservative community, is diverse. I think I’m surprised that Republicans have not stood up and spoken.” Another Democrat, community organizer Carole Lutness, says, “[Bob Keller’s] attitude is whites-only, and the rest need not apply.” She puts anti-illegal immigration rallies “just above the Aryan Nation.” Protestors have started picketing Santa Clarita city council meetings, demanding a vote of censure.
Mr. Kellar, an Army veteran who spent 25 years with the LAPD, isn’t backing down: “I’m a conservative,” he says. “I have a big problem with illegals. When are we going to stop all this foolishness? I stand by everything I said.”
Santa Clarita is 70 percent white, and most of Mr. Kellar’s constituents are with him. “Illegals are here at the expense of our community,” says local businessman Larry Rasmussen. “I agree with Bob. Our nation is a nation of laws.”
One of the people joining Mr. Kellar at the rally was Jamiel Shaw, a black man whose 17-year-old son was killed two years ago. “My son was murdered by an illegal alien that was released from LA County jail on a Saturday night and on Sunday night, he had murdered my son,” he told the crowd. “No one called ICE. No one cared. If this makes me a racist, then hey, I’m going to be the best one I can. It’s not racist to be pissed off, and I’m a pissed-off dad. I miss my son.” [Susan Abram, Santa Clarita Councilman Calls Himself ‘Proud Racist,’ Daily News (Los Angeles), Jan. 24, 2010. Ann M. Simmons, ‘Proud Racist’ Comment Roils Santa Clarita, Los Angeles Times, Jan. 28, 2010.]
Panthers vs. ‘Crackers’
The New Black Panther Party, accused of voter intimidation in Philadelphia during the 2008 election, has said little about the dismissal of the charges last May by President Obama’s Justice Department. Now that two Republican congressman — Frank Wolf of Virginia and Lamar Smith of Texas — are calling for a Congressional investigation of the dismissal, New Black Panther Party president Malik Zulu Shabazz is silent no more. “These right-wing, white, red-faced, red-neck Republicans are attacking the hell out of the New Black Panther Party, and we’re organizing now to fight back,” he told an interviewer named “Brother Gary” in a radio podcast in January. “We gearing up for a showdown with this cracker. He keep talking — we going to Capitol Hill, we’re just gearing up right now, we’ll go to Capitol Hill.” Mr. Shabazz is also critical of GOP chairman Michael Steele, who is black, describing him as an “Uncle Tom” and “the black Negro who heads the Republican National Committee.”
The Republican congressmen, as well as the US Commission on Civil Rights, want to know whether politics played in a role in the dismissal of the charges, which came just as a judge was about to issue a default judgment against the New Black Panther Party. Mr. Shabazz denies any special treatment from the Obama administration. “People know that’s crazy as hell; they don’t owe us no favors. If the Obama people thought we were their political allies, they would run in the other direction because we don’t give them no political help.”
Of the incident in Philadelphia, Mr. Shabazz says that the Panther poll watchers “just happened to be a little too black or too strong” and “made a mistake” by carrying billy clubs. [Ryan J. Reilly, ‘Red-Neck Republicans’ Out To Get Them, New Black Panther Says, MainJustice.com, Jan. 13, 2010.]
Black to White
Liberals are upset that the next US senator from Illinois, who will fill what’s left of Barack Obama’s term, will be white. On February 2, Illinois voters chose Congressman Mark Kirk to be the Republican candidate, while Democrats chose state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. Both are white. After Barack Obama became president, Illinois blacks were confident they could keep the seat in black hands, where it has been for 11 of the past 17 years (Carol Moseley Braun held the seat between 1993 and 1999. Mr. Obama occupied it from 2004 to 2008, and Roland Burris has served since last year). Their efforts were derailed by disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich’s scheme to sell the seat to the highest bidder. Front runner Jesse Jackson, Jr. was ensnared in the scandal, which also tainted Mr. Burris, whom Mr. Blogojevich appointed to hold the seat until the election.
The Senate will have no black members unless Harold Ford, Jr., succeeds in a long-shot bid to replace Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. Since the end of Reconstruction, only four blacks have served in the Senate: Miss Moseley Braun, Mr. Obama, and Mr. Burris. The fourth, Edward William Brooke of Massachusetts, served one term in the 1970s. [Andrew Greiner, Illinois Loses African-American Senate Seat, NBCChicago.com, Feb. 2, 2010.]
According to an old joke, on the eve of Earth’s destruction, the Washington Post’s headline will read, “World to End Tomorrow; Minorities to be Hardest Hit.” Now that Illinois voters will replace Barack Obama with a white man, a similar headline could read, “Nation Elects Black President; Setback for Senate Diversity.”
Meal Not Fit For a King
A recent controversy in Denver demonstrates the challenges faced by purveyors of diversity. In January, Denver Public Schools honored the legacy of Martin Luther King with a special meal: “Southern-style” (fried) chicken and collard greens. Jennifer Holladay, a white woman married to a black, was among the first to complain. She is a former director of Teaching Tolerance — a propaganda project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the mother of a kindergartener. “Denver Public Schools are great because they are so diverse,” she says “but this sort of thing undermines the positive things that kids can get in school. These caricatures can slip in without any malicious intent.”
Lecia Brooks, a director at the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery, Alabama, says, “For me, it’s heartbreaking for Dr. King and all he did and what he is about is now reduced to the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech and now chicken. It’s very upsetting. If that is the message young people are receiving, then why have a holiday?”
The Denver public schools apologized, calling the meal “well-intentioned but highly insensitive in light of certain hurtful cultural stereotypes still harbored in parts of our society.” [Jeremy P. Meyer, DPS Menu for MLK Birthday Hard for Some to Digest, Denver Post, Jan. 13, 2010.]
Lifting the AIDS Ban
In 1987, the Department of Health and Human Services added HIV and AIDS to the list of communicable diseases that disqualified a person from entering the United States. The department tried to lift the ban in 1991, but Congress kept it. In 1993, other diseases came off the list and AIDS became the only medical bar to admission. Applicants for permanent residency had to test negative for the disease.
President Barack Obama has long opposed the ban, describing it as “rooted in fear rather than fact.” As he explained, “We lead the world when it comes to helping stem the AIDS pandemic — yet we are one of only a dozen countries that still bar people with HIV from entering our own country.” He removed the ban, and HIV-infected foreigners started coming in January. Among the first was Clemens Ruland, 45, of the Netherlands, who arrived in New York for a week-long vacation. “For the first time, in a legal way, without lying about my HIV status, I’m very proud to be here as myself,” he said. “People with HIV are not a threat to anybody, so there is no reason to exclude them.”
The ban went into effect 22 years ago, so why the urgency to lift it now? In 2012, the US is scheduled to hold the World AIDS Conference and many activists were demanding that it be held elsewhere because of the ban. [US Lifts HIV/AIDS Immigration Ban, BBC News, Jan. 4, 2010. Marcus Franklin, HIV-positive Foreigners Enter US After Ban Lifted, AP, Jan. 7, 2010.]
During his reelection campaign in 2006, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin rallied the black vote by proclaiming New Orleans a “chocolate city” and promising to keep it that way. Since then, even blacks have grown tired of his antics, and many were looking forward to 2010, when term limits would force him out.
Elections in Louisiana are non-partisan, meaning all candidates run in a primary, regardless of political affiliation. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two face each other in a runoff. The New Orleans primary took place on February 6, with a victory for a white man, Mitch Landrieu, the current Louisiana lieutenant governor, who is the brother of US senator Mary Landrieu, and a son of New Orleans’s last white mayor, Moon Landrieu. Mr. Landrieu won in a landslide, with 65 percent of the vote, despite running against 10 other candidates. Troy Henry, the great black hope, was a distant second, with just 14 percent of the vote.
State senator Edwin Murray would have been a more promising black candidate, but he unexpectedly pulled out of the race in January, reportedly because polls showed he would lose badly to Mr. Landrieu. The New Orleans Tribune, a black news magazine, called Mr. Murray’s withdrawal “a betrayal of the black community.”
For New Orleans blacks, the mayor’s office is “the franchise,” which delivers political appointments and city contracts. “The mayor has always been the citadel of strength for the black community in this town,” says Bernard L. Charbonnet Jr., a lawyer who is active in black political circles. “It has always been the prize.” Mr. Charbonnet says it is unfortunate that Hurricane Katrina weakened black political power and sees the racial switch as “an earth-shaking event.”
Mr. Landrieu, the first white mayor in more than 30 years, acknowledged the importance of race. “People that say that race isn’t an issue are either blind or deaf,” he said. “But you can’t go around it. You can’t go over it. You have to go through it and deal with it.” [Campbell Robertson, Race Assumes Central Role in New Orleans Vote, New York Times, Jan. 12, 2010. Chris Herring, Landrieu Elected Mayor of New Orleans, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 7, 2010.]
A recent analysis of Census Bureau data from 2000 to 2009 shows just how far the displacement of whites has gone. White children — those under 18 years of age — are now a minority in seven states, including two of the nation’s most populous: California, Texas, Hawaii, Maryland, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. And white children are on the verge of becoming minorities in five more: Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey and New York.
America is also aging. Even with immigration and the higher birthrates of immigrants, especially Hispanics, no state had a higher percentage of children in 2009 than it did in 2000. Experts say the changing demographics may lead to political strife between an older, whiter electorate and a younger population that is more Hispanic, black, and Asian. These different segments will have very different political and social priorities. [Sam Roberts, Half of States See Dip in Under-18 Population, New York Times, Jan. 2, 2010.]
California’s San Fernando Valley — part of Los Angeles that once tried to secede from the rest of the city — used to be the ultimate middle-class, all-American suburb: tranquil, affluent and white. It is still affluent, but no longer white. By 2009, the Valley was 42.4 percent Hispanic, 41.8 percent white, 10 percent Asian, and 3.6 percent black. In comparison, Los Angeles as a whole is 49.1 percent Hispanic, 28.9 percent white, 10.2 percent Asian and 9.5 percent black. Forty point six percent of the Valley’s population is foreign born, and only 40.4 percent of the households are exclusively English speaking. [Zach Behrens, Census Report Shows Valley Residents are More Educated, but Spend More Time in Traffic, LAist.com, Jan. 5, 2010.]