|Vol. 2, No. 12||December 1991|
The Nation We Are Becoming, Part II
A people that allows its language to be supplanted will, itself, be supplanted.
Part I of this article noted that during the decade of the 1980s, more immigrants came to the United States than during any other decade except that of the 1900s. Whereas earlier waves of immigrants were overwhelmingly white, the current huge influx is overwhelmingly non-white. If immigration policy is not changed, whites can look forward to being a minority in just a few decades. Part II examines the corrosive effect of recent immigration on the very foundation of American culture: our common language.
In November of 1988, the New York City public utility, Con Edison gave an English-language proficiency test to 7,000 applicants for entry-level jobs. This was an elementary test to see whether applicants knew enough English to handle the simplest jobs. Only 4,000 passed.
Some large employers have given up trying to hire people who already speak English; they try to teach it to them on the job. Motorola, which has large operations in Illinois and California, holds classes at company expense and on company time. By 1992, it expects to have spent $30 million on an English-teaching program it started in 1986.
At least Motorola and Con Edison have some kind of commitment to English, if only as a means of business communication. Increasing numbers of Americans — teachers, bureaucrats, social activists, immigrants — have no loyalty to English at all and denounce any recognition of its primacy as “racism” and “cultural chauvinism.” Government policies, immigrant demands, and majority apathy are rapidly undermining the central, unifying role of English.
|In New York CIty, students were taught in 82 languages, including Kpelle, Nyanja, Twi, Gurma, Ewe, and Cham.|
In the past, when almost all immigrants were European, they learned English as a matter of course. There was no question but that English was the national tongue and that those who did not speak it had better learn. It was the immigrant who had to change, not America. No more. The United States is unique among nations in the extent to which it has abandoned even the pretense of asking foreigners to conform to its own standards. Just as immigration policy itself is working revolutionary change on the racial composition of the United States, official recognition of foreign languages is working the same change on America’s cultural landscape.
The Babel of Instruction
Although attempts to unthrone English have succeeded in many areas, the most obvious victory has been in the classroom. “Bilingual education,” which began in 1968 as a way to teach Hispanic students enough English to keep up in school, has grown into a massive undertaking to teach children academic subjects in their own languages.
Some local school districts still refuse to teach in any subject but English, but districts that must attempt to educate large numbers of immigrants inevitably bow to activist pressure and introduce “bilingualism.” In some schools, the goal is still to shift immigrant children gradually into an all-English curriculum, but as the foreign-language-instruction interests gain power, the goal changes. Now “bilingual education” often means education in any language but English and even the unabashed promotion of the “cultural heritages” of foreigners — this, in public schools and at taxpayer expense.
Just as “equal opportunity” now means the reverse of its original meaning, “bilingual” has been twisted into another liberal code word for its precise opposite. “Bilingual” education can now be monolingual education, so long as it is in a foreign language.
Astonishing as it may seem, public school instruction in the United States is now carried out in 153 different languages. In New York City, during the 1988-89 school year, students were taught in 82 languages, including such exotica as Kpelle, Nyanja, Twi, Gurma, Ewe, and Cham (see box for a full list). A child who speaks absolutely any obscure language under the sun has a right to demand instruction, in the public schools, in his native tongue. Presumably, if this means that Twi-speaking or Ewe-speaking teachers have to be imported from wherever it is that people speak Twi or Ewe, so be it.
In fact, Ewe is spoken in parts of Togo, a small country in West Africa. The Togolese, sensible folk, do not offer public instruction in Ewe. They teach school in French, a language that American liberals would denounce as that of the former colonizer, but one that the Togolese recognize as having certain advantages over Ewe. One is that it can be written down. Since Ewe-speakers never developed writing, one wonders just what New York City does about Ewe textbooks.
The Los Angeles public school district has the same language policy as New York, but goes even further. Fully two thirds of its students come from homes in which English is not spoken, and in one recent year, Los Angeles offered instruction in 103 languages. PTA meetings, in schools that still manage to have them, are madhouses of clashing languages and competing interpreters.
As bad as all this sounds, it could get worse. It is not yet possible for Ewe-speakers, for example, actually to get a diploma. In New Jersey, they would have to choose from one of only twelve languages in which to take the test of basic knowledge necessary to graduate from high school. But this does mean that someone could march into an employer’s office brandishing a New Jersey diploma and speaking no language but Arabic! In Oklahoma, there are public schools in which the language of instruction is Cherokee.
|Instruction in languages other than English is “a blow against injustice.”|
With all this “bilingual” teaching going on, there is a huge demand for people to do it. Even when non-white children are taught in English, the fad for same-race “role models” puts an effective hiring freeze on whites who speak only English. All across California, “bilingual” teachers get a several-thousand-dollar premium ($5,000 a year in Los Angeles) over the usual kind, and recruitment drives bring in teachers from all over the world.
Everyone recognizes that “bilingualism” is crushingly expensive, but funding schemes only perpetuate it. Since California schools get an extra $350 a year in state and federal money for each student with “limited English” the more such students they have the better. The “bilingual” interests therefore want as many non-English speaking students as possible, and may try to keep them speaking “limited English” for as long as possible.
Spanish is especially well entrenched. In Los Angeles, there are plenty of schools at which 90 percent or more of the students are Hispanic. They live in an entirely Spanish-speaking environment that includes Spanish-language magazines, newspapers, radio and television. Public education does nothing more than confirm their alien character.
The standard text in the Los Angeles “bilingual” community is Empowering Minority Students, by Jim Cummins. He argues that instruction in languages other than English is a blow against injustice and an act of rebellion against white domination. He writes that the way to “empower” non-white children is “consciously [to] challenge the power structure both in their classrooms and schools and in the society at large.” At least the English-speakers can’t say they weren’t warned.
Bilingualism got a new twist in Miami, recently, when a candidate for the school board explained that “bilingual” education means that “Anglos” must learn Spanish. For anyone who didn’t care for this, he suggested, there was always neighboring Broward County, which does not yet have a Spanish-speaking majority. As Maurice Ferre, former mayor of Miami, put it several years ago, “Within ten years there will not be a word of English spoken — English is not Miami’s official language — one day residents will have to learn Spanish or leave.” So much for bilingualism.
Into Society at Large
Although foreign-language instruction in the classroom is only the best known example of the assault on English, the campaign knows no boundaries. Philadelphia and Florida now offer civil service examinations in Spanish. Chinese- and Vietnamese-speakers are demanding the same treatment, and California may soon offer tests in Spanish. People who call the Department of Motor Vehicles will be even less likely to get someone who speaks English than they are now.
Even though traffic tickets, storm warnings, and accident reports are (still) written in English in most parts of the country, there are only 11 states left out of 50 that make drivers take their written test in English. Some states offer the test in as many as a dozen languages.
Perhaps the greatest absurdity of all is foreign-language ballots. It might be possible to make a case for foreign-language education that does not completely do away with the concept of nationality, but a ballot in Chinese makes a mockery of the idea that being an American citizen means anything at all. Theoretically, there is still a legal requirement that naturalized citizens be able to speak English, but it has about as much force today as does the Tenth Amendment.
Whatever the legal status of English, the current invasion of foreigners has immense day-to-day consequences that are as costly as they are little-known. In every locale where there is a concentration of Hispanics, police find a concentration of Spanish-speaking criminals. For a policeman who doesn’t speak Spanish, this is both a frustration and a danger. Not only is he unable to get information about a crime, he may be unable to calm a dangerous gunman or understand a shouted warning from a bystander. Suspects and witnesses may disappear because they can’t be questioned.
Police departments from California to Florida to Ohio are desperately trying to teach their officers Spanish or hire people who speak it. In the mean time, they make do with interpreters or simply tell patrolmen to try to find someone on the spot who will interpret. This takes time. A study by the Westminster (CA) Police Department found that language problems force officers to spend 30 percent more time on calls than they would if everyone spoke English. The Placentia (CA) department has developed a semester-long Spanish course that includes a two-week trip to Mexico. All this costs a great deal of money.
As with teachers, the demand for Spanish-speakers is so high that departments must pay extra to get them. Police in Los Angeles, San Jose (CA), and Albuquerque (NM) already get bonus pay if they speak Spanish, and the trend is picking up elsewhere. Firemen and para-medics are demanding extra pay if they speak Spanish. The FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration already pay Spanish-speakers up to 25 percent more than English-speakers.
Whether or not they offer premiums, police departments must run ruthless affirmative action programs simply to get police who can talk to criminals. The police chief in Santa Ana (CA) wanted half of all officers hired in 1990 to be bilingual. He managed to get only 40 percent. “This year, we increased the goal to 100 percent,” he says. Likewise, the Garden Grove (CA) force didn’t quite meet its goal, last year, of filling half its openings with non-whites, so it has raised its sights to two-thirds this year. Of course, this means that native-born whites, through no fault of their own, have virtually no chance of getting a police job.
Asians are less crime-prone than Hispanics, and don’t commit much street crime. Nevertheless, they pose some of the most thorny language problems of all. Hong Kong gangs known as Triads have now pushed the Mafia aside and have taken over the heroin trade. Hong Kong will be handed back to China in 1997, and the Triads do not plan to stick around and wait for stern Chinese justice. They are moving operations overseas, mainly to Canada and the United States. They have codes of silence, revenge, and loyalty that make the Mafia look like boy scouts. American police have had virtually no success in infiltrating them.
Vietnamese gangs, often made up of ethnic Chinese, are just as much of a problem. With names like Flying Dragons, Ghost Shadows, and Born to Kill, they conduct savage warfare on each other and prey on immigrant Vietnamese. They, too, are nearly impossible to infiltrate.
Language poses further difficulties whenever non-English-speakers go to trial. Naturally, criminal defendants must be given interpreters, at public expense. The state of California alone spent more than $16 million on criminal-trial interpreters in 1988 — twice as much as it did five years earlier. It’s not enough. The low rates the court pays are a fraction of what a competent interpreter normally gets, so many cases bog down in a morass of mistranslated testimony.
Another little-known language problem that non-white immigration brings with it is strange new demands on the medical profession. Sick immigrants who can’t talk to doctors slow down the pace of treatment for everyone. Hospitals and Medicare bureaucrats are hunting for interpreters and “bilinguals” just as hard as schools and police are. Sometimes the problems are cultural as much as linguistic. Many Asians are too squeamish to talk about sex, and refuse to be told about AIDS or venereal disease.
Even more frustrating are immigrants with psychoses. One study of Hmong tribesmen, who came to America from Cambodia after the Vietnamese war, found that 43 percent had serious psychiatric disorders. People fleeing wars in Central America have equally high rates of mental illness. No one has much of an idea how to treat these people.
|How does an American treat a Laotian peasant who thinks he is about to be stabbed to death by his own penis?|
One East Asian disease called “koro” has the doctors completely baffled. Men and women become paralyzed with the fear that their nipples or penises will retract into their bodies and kill them. How do you treat a Laotian peasant who speaks no English and is convinced that he is about to be stabbed to death by his own penis?
Is America destined to smother in a babble of mutual incomprehension? People who want to prevent that have two approaches. One is to limit immigration or, failing that, to make newcomers speak English. Both measures are going nowhere. Last year, Congress raised immigration ceilings so that the 1990s may well see more legal immigration to this country than any other decade. The proposal that English-speakers be given some kind of priority was voted down as “racist” and “chauvinist.”
Organizations like U.S. English are trying to promote the idea that America should have one official language. At one level they appear to have had some success. Despite opposition from the usual liberal forces, eighteen states have enacted laws establishing English as their official language. These laws change nothing. Drivers can still take their exams in Portuguese, and voters can still cast ballots in Cantonese. Hispanic activists, who like to point out that the United States already has more Hispanics than Venezuela does, are demanding that government business be conducted in Spanish — or at least with simultaneous interpretation. The latest liberal craze is to insist that non-citizens be given the right to vote.
Nothing is more vital to a culture or to a people than its language. The non-English speakers know this, of course, and that is why they are so vehement about keeping their own languages. They do not want to become American; they want America to become what they are. Without English, America will cease to be American. A people that allows its language to be supplanted will allow itself to be supplanted.
These are the 82 languages in which public instruction was given in New York City in 1988-89. The first 26 are in order of the number of students who speak the language. The rest are in alphabetical order. Who would have thought that the third most common foreign language — after Spanish and Chinese — would be Haitian Creole?
Afrikaans, Amharic, Armenian, Amoy, Assamese, Azerbaijani, Balante, Bemba, Belorussian, Bambara, Branui, Burmese, Breton, Bulgarian, Cham, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Ewe, Finnish, Fanti, Ga, Gurma, Guarani, Hungarian, Hausa, Ibo, Indonesian, Kamarese, Kpelle, Karen, Kurdish, Khowan, Lao, Luo, Macedonian, Malagasy, Malay, Mossi, Marathi, Maltese, Nepali, Nyanja, Oriya, Pashto, Papiamento, Tibetan, Turkmen, Tigrinya, Tuareg, Twi, Ukrainian, Uzbeck, Yiddish, Yonba, Yoruba.
The Noble Red Man
Although it is difficult to imagine an era more receptive to ethnic flummery than the present (see review of The Invented Indian below, the impulse to glorify the Indian is scarcely new.
In 1870, Mark Twain, never a man to leave foolishness unrebuked, vented his contempt for worshipful accounts of imaginary Indians. His essay, which originally appeared in the September issue of The Galaxy, is omitted from most anthologies.
In books he is tall and tawny, muscular, straight and of kingly presence; he has a beaked nose and an eagle eye.
His hair is glossy, and as black as the raven’s wing; out of its massed richness springs a sheaf of brilliant feathers; in his ears and nose are silver ornaments; on his arms and wrists and ankles are broad silver bands and bracelets; his buckskin hunting suit is gallantly fringed, and the belt and the moccasins wonderfully flowered with colored beads; and when, rainbowed with his war-paint, he stands at full height, with his crimson blanket wrapped about him, his quiver at his back, his bow and tomahawk projecting upward from his folded arms, and his eagle eye gazing at specks against the far horizon which even the paleface’s field-glass could scarcely reach, he is a being to fall down and worship.
His language is intensely figurative. He never speaks of the moon, but always of “the eye of the night;” nor of the wind as the wind, but as “the whisper of the Great Spirit;” and so forth and so on. His power of condensation is marvelous. In some publications he seldom says anything but “Waugh!” and this, with a page of explanation by the author, reveals a whole world of thought and wisdom that before lay concealed in that one little word.
He is noble. He is true and loyal; not even imminent death can shake his peerless faithfulness. His heart is a well-spring of truth, and of generous impulses, and of knightly magnanimity. With him, gratitude is religion; do him a kindness, and at the end of a lifetime he has not forgotten it. Eat of his bread, or offer him yours, and the bond of hospitality is sealed — a bond which is forever inviolable with him.
He loves the dark-eyed daughter of the forest, the dusky maiden of faultless form and rich attire, the pride of the tribe, the all-beautiful. He talks to her in a low voice, at twilight of his deeds on the war-path and in the chase, and of the grand achievements of his ancestors; and she listens with downcast eyes, “while a richer hue mantles her dusky cheek.”
Such is the Noble Red Man in print. But out on the plains and in the mountains, not being on dress parade, not being gotten up to see company, he is under no obligation to be other than his natural self, and therefore:
He is little, and scrawny, and black, and dirty; and, judged by even the most charitable of our canons of human excellence, is thoroughly pitiful and contemptible. There is nothing in his eye or his nose that is attractive, and if there is anything in his hair that — however, that is a feature which will not bear too close examination … He wears no bracelets on his arms or ankles; his hunting suit is gallantly fringed, but not intentionally; when he does not wear his disgusting rabbit-skin robe, his hunting suit consists wholly of the half of a horse blanket brought over in the Pinta or the Mayflower, and frayed out and fringed by inveterate use. He is not rich enough to possess a belt; he never owned a moccasin or wore a shoe in his life; and truly he is nothing but a poor, filthy, naked scurvy vagabond, whom to exterminate were a charity to the Creator’s worthier insects and reptiles which he oppresses. Still, when contact with the white man has given to the Noble Son of the Forest certain cloudy impressions of civilization, and aspirations after a nobler life, he presently appears in public with one boot on and one shoe — shirtless, and wearing ripped and patched and buttonless pants which he holds up with his left hand — his execrable rabbit-skin robe flowing from his shoulder — an old hoop-skirt on, outside of it — a necklace of battered sardine-boxes and oyster-cans reposing on his bare breast — a venerable flint-lock musket in his right hand — a weather-beaten stove-pipe hat on, canted “gallusly” to starboard, and the lid off and hanging by a thread or two; and when he thus appears, and waits patiently around a saloon till he gets a chance to strike a “swell” attitude before a looking-glass, he is a good, fair, desirable subject for extermination if ever there was one.
There is nothing figurative, or moonshiny, or sentimental about his language. It is very simple and unostentatious, and consists of plain, straightforward lies. His “wisdom” conferred upon an idiot would leave that idiot helpless indeed.
He is ignoble — base and treacherous, and hateful in every way. Not even imminent death can startle him into a spasm of virtue. The ruling trait of all savages is a greedy and consuming selfishness, and in our Noble Red Man it is found in its amplest development. His heart is a cesspool of falsehood, of treachery, and of low and devilish instincts. With him, gratitude is an unknown emotion; and when one does him a kindness, it is safest to keep the face toward him, lest the reward be an arrow in the back. To accept of a favor from him is to assume a debt which you can never repay to his satisfaction, though you bankrupt yourself trying. To give him a dinner when he is starving, is to precipitate the whole hungry tribe upon your hospitality, for he will go straight and fetch them, men, women, children, and dogs, and these they will huddle patiently around your door, or flatten their noses against your window, day aft er day, gazing beseechingly upon every mouthful you take, and unconsciously swallowing when you swallow! The scum of the earth!
And the Noble Son of the Plains becomes a mighty hunter in the due and proper season. That season is the summer, and the prey that a number of the tribes hunt is crickets and grasshoppers! The warriors, old men, women, and children, spread themselves abroad in the plain and drive the hopping creatures before them into a ring of fire. I could describe the feast that then follows, without missing a detail, if I thought the reader would stand it.
All history and honest observation will show that the Red Man is a skulking coward and a windy braggart, who strikes without warning — usually from an ambush or under cover of night, and nearly always bringing a force of about five or six to one against his enemy; kills helpless women and little children, and massacres the e men in their beds; and then brags about it as long as he lives, and his son and his grandson and great-grandson after him glorify it among the “heroic deeds of their ancestors.” A regiment of Fenians will fill the whole world with the noise of it when they are getting ready invade Canada; but when the Red Man declares war, the first intimation his friend the white man whom he supped with at twilight has of it, is when the war-whoop rings in his ears and tomahawk sinks into his brain …
The Noble Red Man seldom goes prating loving foolishness to a splendidly caparisoned blushing maid at twilight. No; he trades a crippled horse, or a damaged musket, or a dog, or a gallon of grasshoppers, and an inefficient old mother for her, and makes h er work like an abject slave all the rest of her life to compensate him for the outlay. He never works himself. She builds the habitation, when they use one (it consists in hanging half a dozen rags over the weather side of a sage-brush bush to roost under); gathers and brings home the fuel; takes care of the raw-boned pony when they possess such grandeur; she walks and carries her nursing cubs while he rides. She wears no clothing save the fragrant rabbit-skin robe which her great-grandmother before her wore, and all the “blushing” she does can be removed with soap and a towel, provided it is only four or five weeks old and not caked.
Such is the genuine Noble Aborigine. I did not get him from books, but from personal observation.
James A. Clifton, The Invented Indian, Transaction Publishers, 1990, 388 pp., $29.95
In America virtually all non-whites can trade on their skin color and on tales of past victimization in order to extract benefits from guilt-ridden whites. Blacks are recognized experts at this game, but American Indians have been perhaps even more successful.
At the heart of their success has been the creation of a mythical past inhabited by Indians who never were. The Invented Indian, edited by veteran anthropologist James Clifton, is a brilliant dissection of the myths that have been so widely circulated by Indians and their white apologists. Each of the collection’s 16 authors demolishes an aspect of the myth or describes the cynical purposes it has served.
This book so brazenly flouts America’s unwritten rules on how to talk about minorities, that it is a wonder it was ever published. It would be impossible to bring out a similar book about blacks or Hispanics, and it is a joy to find serious scholars who are willing to write the truth as they see it, without regard to political consequences.
The great myth is essentially borne out by whatever one is likely to hear about Indians from non-specialist sources. Professor Clifton devotes several pages to fleshing it out, but it can be quickly summarized: Indians were spiritual, egalitarian, innocent people living in perfect harmony with the earth. They welcomed the white man, taught him the secrets of the wilderness, and shared with him the wisdom of their social institutions. In return, the white man enslaved and slaughtered the Indian, afflicted him with hideous diseases, and tried to destroy his culture.
Nevertheless, runs the myth, the Native American has survived. Though he has been dispossessed and politically emasculated, his spirit remains pure. As the white man begins to acknowledge the horrors he has wrought upon the Indian, so has he begun to study and appreciate the age-old wisdom and natural virtue to which all Indians, everywhere, are heir.
Like all myths, this one leaves certain things out: in this case, cannibalism, infanticide, ritual torture, geronticide, slaughter of prisoners, slavery, and the like. Such practices, though well substantiated, are seldom written about by historians and ethnographers for fear of violating what Prof. Clifton calls the Eleventh Commandment of the Indian business: Never Say No To An Indian. One of the Commandment’s corollaries prohibits writing or saying anything that Indians might not wish to hear. Most Indians know very little about their ancestors of centuries ago, and would vigorously deny accusations of slavery or cannibalism.
In Canada, certain agreeable fictions have semi-legal status. Whenever work crews find human bones at ancient camp sites, for example, they must take special measures not to violate the sacred dead. Broken or burnt human bones — evidence of certain now-embarrassing practices — can be treated like animal bones.
Stressing the Positive
On the stress-the-positive side of the myth we find the wisdom that the white man is supposed to have learned from the Indian. Every school child has heard of Squanto, the Algonquin who taught the Pilgrims to fertilize their corn with fish. As Lynn Ceci points out in a fascinating essay, there is no evidence that any North American tribes used fertilizer of any kind. Squanto, who had a very interesting and well-documented career, probably learned about it in Newfoundland, where he lived for some time among English settlers who routinely fertilized with fish.
School children do not learn that Squanto had lived in both England and Spain, spoke fluent English, and was hardly the noble, simple savage the history books make him out to be. As Dr.Ceci points out, the image of generous Squanto tends to obscure the more accurate picture of Indians who often attacked and killed settlers.
Another part of the great Indian myth that has recently been picking up steam, is that early Americans learned about democracy and the advantages of unity by studying the Iroquois Confederation. One of the authors traces the origins of this myth, and explodes the idea that the Constitution could have been influenced, in any way, by the matrilineal and hereditary form of representation practiced by the Iroquois.
One reason such preposterous notions make any headway at all is that it has become nearly obligatory to describe Indian societies as idyllically egalitarian, even “non-sexist.” Of course, there were hundreds of different tribal societies with different customs, but all of them had well defined sex roles that would horrify Gloria Steinem. Often, women were treated scarcely better than beasts of burden.
As for egalitarianism, it is difficult for bare subsistence-level hunters and gatherers to practice anything else, but as soon as material surplus appeared, some people got more of it than others. Leland Donald writes about the Tutchone of the southern Yukon, who lived on land so harsh as to be nearly uninhabitable. Nevertheless, their society was divided into hereditary classes of rich, poor, and slaves. As Dr. Donald puts it, “even in conditions that seem ideal for the presence of the classic egalitarian Indian society, it is possible for marked inequalities to emerge.”
The potlatches and ruinous gift-giving that were required for status among the more prosperous Northwest Indians are well known, but somehow coexist with the myth that Indians all lived in innocent classlessness. Even well known expressions like “low man on the totem pole” fail to puncture the myth.
Another important part of the image is the perfect harmony with nature in which Indians are said to have lived. Once again, sparsely scattered, stone-age people have very little choice about the matter, but “Mother Earth” is central to the myth. All Indians, it is said, saw the earth as their beloved mother. Hills were her breasts, streams were mother’s milk, and vegetation was her lovely hair.
Astounding as it may seem, one of the authors explains that the entire Mother Earth story can be traced to a single statement made by a single Indian in 1885. There is virtually no other evidence that Indians thought of the earth as mother. Nevertheless, the Mother Earth belief is now so widely attributed not only to American Indians but to all primitive peoples that it is frightful heresy to point out how unsubstantiated it is.
Not surprisingly, there are plenty of entrepreneurs — Indian and non-Indian — who have parlayed the notion of the noble, nature-wise Indian into a means of parting gullible whites from their money. People with names like Rolling Thunder and Spotted Fawn do a brisk business promoting sweat lodges, sun dances, purification ceremonies, or whatever else aging hippies can be made to pay for. These ceremonies bear only a vague resemblance to anything the Indians of the past ever did, but there is a steady market for them.
According to another author, the same can be said for the pottery sold on the Pamunkey Indian reservation in Virginia. The Pamunkey stopped making pottery in the 1890s and started up again in the 1930s only because the state of Virginia paid to establish a pottery school on the reservation. Now tourists happily buy “Indian” pots, decorated with stick figure “writing” that is likewise a 20th century invention.
The High Counters
Minor frauds like these are relatively harmless. Deliberate attempts to manipulate thinking about Indians are more serious. David Henige of the University of Wisconsin reports that there is a small academic industry devoted to inflating the population estimates of Pre-Columbian America. If evidence can be found that tens of millions of healthy, happy Indians were living on the continent before the white man arrived, then the reduction of their numbers through warfare and disease can be made to seem all the more heinous.
The High Counters, as Mr. Henige calls them, pore over ancient accounts, pick the most exaggerated population estimates they can find, and solemnly pass them along as wholly credible. One scholar, for example, believes that a single energetic priest actually baptized, and counted, 14,000 Indians in a single day — one every six seconds, ‘round the clock. Others think that when Cortes said he faced an army of “more than 149,000” men, he can be relied on to have counted them accurately.
As Mr. Henige points out, numbers like these are just another way of saying “a lot,” but it is the scholars who are prepared to believe the worst of the colonizing white man who have the deepest faith in his ability to count people in crowds. Other High Counters would have it that European diseases swept through native tribes before the white man found them, killing up to half the population before Europeans could even start counting them.
If, by whatever means, the High Counters can gin up enough pre-Columbian Indians, they can then trot out the great, anti-white totem word, “genocide,” when they talk about the legacy of Columbus. The University of Oklahoma has even published a book called American Indian Holocaust and Survival.
Present descendants of invented Indians have woven the strands of myth into a mighty whip with which to beat the white man. They have, for example, mobilized reservoirs of public sympathy for huge land claims. Allan van Gestel, who has defended current owners against such claims, estimates that since 1970, Indian law suits have clouded the title to 35 million acres in the Eastern United States alone. This is an area the size of Austria or Ireland.
Indians can always call on teams of eager whites who will work for them pro bono. Clever lawyers have based most land cases on an obscure Congressional proclamation of 1783 that forbade the states to buy land from Indian tribes without federal permission. This was six years before the Constitution even went into effect, and several state governments had bought land from Indians even before the proclamation. This has not stopped tribes from trying to get back land that was duly purchased — and that has been enormously improved in the last two hundred years.
Public sentiment, stoked by tales about the invented Indian, is such that Indians can virtually monopolize the services of scholars and historians; to testify “against” Indians can ruin a career. Some Indian claims have cost current land-owners hundreds of millions of dollars.
Today, the federal government has primary responsibility for dealing with Indians, but states and Canadian provinces also manage publicly funded Indian programs. According to Steven Feraca, a long-time worker at the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), all of these bureaucracies have long been given over to race-based hiring and promotion. Preferences at the Bureau are so blatant, and career prospects for non-Indians so bleak, that although Indians are only 1/2 percent of the US population, they hold 75 percent of the jobs at BIA.
In the last few decades, the “Indian desks” of virtually all branches of government have been turned over to Indians, so that decisions that are supposed to be made in the names of larger jurisdictions are in the hands of unabashed partisans. Tribal “leaders” are now often indistinguishable from Indian-affairs bureaucrats, with no way to sort out the resulting conflicts of interest. What is more, as another author points out, chronic lateness and absenteeism in these offices are routinely excused by the notion that Indians work according to mysterious earth rhythms rather than by the white man’s clock.
In sum, both in Canada and in the United States, Indians have succeeded in becoming a kind of Uber-citizen. Off the reservation, they have all the usual legal rights, in addition to the strenuous affirmative-action preferences that are now obligatory. On the reservation, they enjoy a kind of extraterritoriality, which exempts them from many taxes and laws, and entitles them to a complete array of Indians-only health and welfare benefits. They have suckled at the public teat for longer than any other group in North America, and bear the stigmata of listlessness and squalor to prove it.
Next year will mark the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America. What, by all rights, should be a proud celebration of the spread of civilization to the New World, has already been hijacked by cultural relativists who see in the white man nothing but wickedness. The October issue of National Geographic begins a series of “quincentenary” articles, in which the editors flatter themselves on letting Indians write from “the most intimate — and perhaps truest — perspective of all.”
Such a series is likely to be filled with the exploits of invented Indians — more of what Prof. Clifton calls “perfectly enchanting fiction … that is both believed by its impresarios and presented as believable to others.” His book, impressively researched and stuffed with fascinating details, is the perfect antidote.
IN THE NEWS
O Tempora, O Mores!
The Majesty of the Law
A Martian watching the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas — at least before they were side-tracked by charges of sexual harassment — might well have concluded that the only questions that ever come before the court have to do with abortion and minority rights. The senators asking questions appeared to have nothing else on their minds.
Now that Judge Thomas has been confirmed, The Washington Post puts it this way: “The single most important duty of the court lies always in balancing the rights of minorities in a majority-driven society.” Such a statement would have astounded the men who signed the Constitution. They set up a federal judiciary to hear cases involving suits against the United States, suits involving citizens of different states, controversies between states, cases affecting ambassadors and public ministers, and treason. Now, their highest court is to devote itself mainly to the rights of non-whites.
The campaign in schools to whoop up non-whites appears to be succeeding. According to a recent nation-wide survey, more 17-year-olds have heard of Harriet Tubman than of Winston Churchill or Joseph Stalin. They are more likely to know who she is than to know that George Washington led the American army during the Revolution or to know that Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Comptroller of the State of New York has uncovered strange doings at something called the Academy for Science and Technology at the New York Technical College in Brooklyn. The Academy was set up in the late 1980s at the urging of a black Brooklyn assemblyman, Roger Green. It was supposed to encourage young Brooklyn non-whites to take an interest in math and science.
The Academy never had more than about 100 students, and they showed up for class less than half of the time. Most students received no grades. Of the $850,000 in public money given to the Academy, $500,000 disappeared without a trace. The same location, New York Technical College, already had a program that was supposed to turn young non-whites into mathematicians and scientists. The real surprise is that the state legislature has declined to give the Academy any more money.
This “Academy” was no doubt administered by blacks who claim to be devoted to the welfare of their people. One might expect devoted servants of the black race to stretch every penny to better the lives of the “underprivileged.” Instead, they squandered the money, just as African dictators squander the aid that white countries so faithfully and foolishly send them.
Jean LaMarre, chairman of the student senate of the City University of New York, is learning about big-time public service at an early age. In the first few months of last school year, the black speech major managed to authorize expenditures of more than $400,000 in student funds. This included $13,000 for limousines to carry Mr. LaMarre and a few other student leaders around town. The charge was a little high, he explained, because they always rented limos that had cellular phones. When student leaders aren’t in limousines, they stay in touch with telephone pagers of the kind that drug dealers use. Mr. LaMarre had City University pay for them, too.
Mr. LaMarre also hired his twin sister as executive assistant at $24,000 a year, and gave his best friend a $27,000 a year job, also as an assistant. When asked if this wasn’t a bit odd, he explained that he works better with people he gets along with. Mr. LaMarre also authorized $4,500 in air tickets so that three students (black, perhaps?) could attend the African-African American Summit held in the Ivory Coast (see AR, Sept., 1991)
Then there was $49,000 for a three-day student lobbying trip to Albany. Mr. LaMarre and 75 other students stayed at the Hilton and ran up $24,000 in room service bills. What were they lobbying for? The deficit-ridden state legislature was proposing a modest tuition hike, and Mr. LaMarre argued passionately that the 200,000 working-class students he represents couldn’t afford to pay more. Student senate funding comes out of an activity fee that all students must pay.
“I’m one of the poorest students,” explains Mr. LaMarre, who gets $650 a month for his senate work, and who has been reimbursed by the university for $8,197 in “personal expenses.” Mr. LaMarre, who lives with his mother in Brooklyn, is on full financial aid.
It would be a mistake to assume that even the chairman of the student senate has sole authority to spend $400,000. Mr. LaMarre’s spending was approved by Tilden LeMelle, who was vice chancellor for student affairs. Mr. LeMelle, who is also black, has since resigned to become president of the University of the District of Columbia.
Building a Browner Future
Although non-whites are still only one quarter of the U.S. population, they are younger than whites and have more children. By 1995, it is expected that one third of all public school students will be non-white.
In 1989, New Mexico, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia already had non-white majorities in public schools. By 1995, California and Mississippi will too. Whites are in the minority at the University of California at Berkeley and at the University of New Mexico, and are likely to dip below the 50 percent mark soon at other universities in the South West.
The state with the smallest number of non-white public school students (and, we might add, the highest average SAT scores) is New Hampshire. In 1989 it had only 1.2 percent. That figure is expected to jump to five percent by 1995.
Memorial Avenue, the most beautiful boulevard in Richmond (VA), gets its name from the statues of Confederate heroes that shelter beneath its great trees. Now, city officials want to put up statues of “civil rights” leaders to look the rebel generals in the eye.
Since 1977, the City Council has had a black majority. “The heroes of civil rights and the heroes of the Civil War in a democracy could stand alongside one another,” says Councilman Henry Richardson, who first proposed the new statues.
On October 14, the United States held a lottery to give 40,000 people the right to permanent residency — a giant first step to citizenship. All anyone had to do was mail a letter to Merrifield (VA); the first 40,000 to arrive that day would win. Applicants could send in as many copies of their letters as they liked, and some sent thousands. Three million arrived on October 14, and another six million were expected during the week. Illegal residents may apply just like anyone else. If they are chosen they are, in effect, amnestied. When Congress passed the great amnesty law for illegal aliens in 1986, it promised never to vote another amnesty again.
Applicants had to be from certain countries, mostly European, but could also be from Algeria, Indonesia, Japan, or Tunisia. 16,000 slots were to be set aside for the Irish. This silly procedure is a sop to Europeans and a few others, who are virtually excluded from the million or so immigrants who come by the usual routes. There will be similar lotteries in 1992 and 1993. Has any other country in the history of the world ever raffled itself off?
The Federal Reserve has just released a massive study showing something everyone already knew: that blacks and Hispanics are turned down for home mortgages more often than whites. Like virtually every other study done on bank lending, it simply counted heads; no one bothered to check the credit histories of the applicants or the quality of the collateral. Bankers point out that blacks and Hispanics are just not as credit-worthy as whites, but the usual yahoos are screaming “racism.”
How, exactly, is “racism” supposed to keep white bankers from making mortgages to blacks? No one has ever suggested that whites refuse to sell blacks shoes, for example, and handling a customer’s feet is a good deal more intimate than handling his credit application. It’s difficult to imagine thousands of white bankers depriving themselves of profits just because the customer was black.
Another detail: The study shows that Asians are less likely than whites to be turned down for mortgages. Is this supposed to be because white bankers are racially prejudiced in their favor?
Building a Blacker Future
The reason South African blacks are in ignorance and poverty, it is said, is because of the oppression of Apartheid. It doesn’t sound that way at the Veritas Secondary School in Soweto. Ten years ago, it was a model school, complete with science labs, home economics kitchens, and a library that “would rival the library in any white school,” according to one parent.
Now, thieves have stolen every book, and have even pulled out the shelves. The laboratory and kitchens were stripped long ago. Thieves have even ripped out the school’s wiring and plumbing, so it has neither electricity nor water. Rival tribal factions bring guns to school, and students threaten to kill each other. Once white rule is brought to an end, South Africa will begin to look more and more like the rest of black Africa.
LETTERS FROM READERS
Sir — In your October issue, Marian Evans mentions Prof. Leonard Jeffries of the CIty University of New York. His latest anti-white tirade, delivered over the airwaves at public expense, upset even the liberals. New York State’s highest education body, the Board of Regents, was asked to condemn such carryings on by issuing a legally non-binding statement against the use of school facilities to express “racial and religious diatribes which foment hate and divisiveness.”
Most government bodies can issue statements like that in their sleep so long as the alleged fomenters of hate are whites. Somehow, this one stuck in the Regents’ craws. Although the statement didn’t even mention Prof. Jeffries, they refused to vote for it. THey explained that the statement might involve law suits.
Christopher Schmidt, New York (NY)
Sir — I am glad you have written about Detroit in recent issues. Let me give you an update on the events you mentioned. As you reported in September, a number of white women were attached by blacks at a summer fireworks display, and the mayhem was recorded by an amateur video cameraman. It is less well known that a white man, Andrew Schultz, was also beaten by blacks. When he pointed out his attackers to a black policeman, the officer reportedly told him he “did not belong in Detroit and he should just go back to the suburbs.” Mr. Schultz has sued the city.
The “carjackings” you wrote about in October, in which thugs steal cars at gunpoint from their owners, continue apace. Ten a day was the usual rate for a while, but the cold weather is expected to calm things down a bit. Carjacking has caused such a scare this year that several downtown restaurants have gone bankrupt. Their customers are afraid to drive in for a meal.
Mary Sorensen, Oak Park, (MI)
Sir — I enjoyed your two-part article on the Japanese. How fortunate that we still live in a diverse world. Although growing Japanese economic power is a cause for concern and perhaps even a threat to out very independence, Japan does provide us with sort of a control group, an alternative social structure against which we can measure our own. In its own way, Japan is confounding the “One-World” forces in a way they didn’t expect and don’t know quite how to deal with.
Long live racial and national diversity.
Name withheld, Coral Springs (FL)
Sir — The Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings were surely one of most farcical events ever to take place within the halls of congress. George Bush who claims to oppose racial quotas because they give race priority over qualifications, appointed a man because of his race rather than his qualifications. Liberal senators found themselves telling a black man that he didn’t act black enough. Conservative senators, some of whom used to support segregation, found themselves defending Judge Thomas because he isn’t liberal.
The greatest irony of all was the candidate’s final defense against accusations of sexual harassment. Judge Thomas, who claims to stand firm for race-blind policies, who claims to deplore trading on skin color in order to get preferences, finally rolled out the heavy artillery once his back was against the wall. The harassment accusations were a “lynching,” he said, a plot to get him because he is black. This put his opponents in the politically incorrect position of appearing to ignore a black man’s cries of racial persecution. Vote for a black man and you are a noble liberal. Vote against him and you are insensitive to his plight.
Of course, to the extent that the harassment charges were the work of organized liberaldom, they were motivated by opposition to Judge Thomas’ views (or absence of them) on abortion and affirmative action, not to his race. But not even George Bush’s champion in the fight against racial preferences could resist the urge to shout “racism” when the going got tough. In the end, the judge acted on race, not principles.
George Spooner, Nashua (NH)
Sir — please accept my congratulations on your publication’s successful first year and my heartfelt wishes for many more anniversaries to come.
When I meet people who instincts and synapses have not been dulled by the effects of “liberal” education and media propaganda I offer them American Renaissance as a compass, stimulant, and antidote.
Pat Neville, Brooklyn (NY)
Sir — Am I an optimist? I am now 83, but hope to see 24 more issues. I am resubscribing for two years.
Kurt Graf, Baltimore (MD)