American Renaissance archives
|Vol 4, No. 8||August 1993|
Genetics, Personality, and Race
Personality appears to be greatly influenced by heredity. Do races differ in “average personality”?
It usually takes time for scientific knowledge to become generally accepted. Even when there is no entrenched opposition to new ideas, information spreads slowly. Sometimes, though, powerful vested interests mount such effective attacks on scientific inquiry that they are able to keep discoveries almost completely sealed off from the public.
This has been the case with recent research on race and IQ. Today, there are almost no qualified geneticists or experts in mental testing who claim that racial differences in intelligence are not due, in large part, to genetic differences. And yet, the popular press overwhelmingly supports the view that intelligence is almost exclusively a product of environment rather than heredity.
It may be even less well known that many of the traits we think of as “personality,” such as gregariousness, political views, personal mannerisms, and even choice of hobbies appear to be governed to a significant degree by heredity. The power of genes that has been confirmed in recent studies has surprised even the most convinced geneticists.
The new findings have racial implications. After all, the races have a great many physiological differences that are clearly inherited (see AR, Dec. 1992) and the evidence for racial differences in average intelligence is overwhelming (see AR, Nov. 1992). Are there then group psychological differences that are inherited? Is there such a thing as an “average personality,” like an average intelligence, that differs from race to race? The small number of studies done in this field suggest that there is.
The most eye-opening findings on how genes determine personality — whatever a person’s race — have come from studies of identical twins who were separated at birth and reared apart. Since identical twins have identical sets of genes, they are ideal subjects for study. Even when they have been reared in different families in different environments they show astonishing similarities that can be explained only by their shared genes.
|Identical twins show astonishing similarities that can be explained only by their shared genes.|
Thomas J. Bouchard and his colleagues at the Minnesota Center for Twin and Adoption Research have done the most extensive and convincing research on identical twins separated at birth. They have found more than 100 pairs of such twins and have been studying them for more than 12 years. Time and again they have found similarities that cannot be explained by coincidence.
For example, of all their subjects, only two were afraid to go into an acoustically shielded room for special testing. The same two people agreed separately to enter the room only if the door were wired open. Whenever they were at the beach, they went into the water backwards and only up to their knees. They were, of course, a pair of identical twins, and since they had been reared apart their curious behavior can only be explained genetically.
Another pair of twins discovered on their first meeting as adults that they both used Canoe shaving lotion and Vademecum toothpaste, and smoked Lucky Strike cigarettes. After they parted, they exchanged birthday presents that crossed in the mail and proved to be identical.
Some similarities are even more uncanny. One pair of twins had both divorced women named Linda and then married women named Betty. They later discovered that before they met each other as adults, they had taken several Florida vacations on the very same stretch of beach and had driven there in the same model of Chevrolet. They had both named their sons James Alan (one was “Allen”) and both chain smoked Salems. Both chewed their nails and had woodworking shops in their basements.
Another pair of twins who were reunited at age thirty found that they had similar mustaches and hair styles, aviator glasses, big belt buckles and big key rings. Both were volunteer firemen and had jobs installing safety equipment. Both drank Budweiser and crushed the empty cans.
|Separated at birth.|
One pair of twins confessed that they did not vote in elections because they did not think they were well enough informed to make wise decisions, another pair had each been married five times, and a third pair firmly refused — in separate interviews, of course — to answer controversial questions. One pair of twins were habitual gigglers and said that until they finally met the other twin they had never known anyone who laughed so freely.
Dr. Bouchard and his colleagues found that similarities of this kind were the rule rather than the exception. Moreover, identical traits are uniquely characteristic of identical twins. Fraternal twins, who are no more genetically alike than ordinary siblings, do not show this kind of remarkable similarity even when they are reared together in the same family. As for intelligence, it was discovered long ago that identical twins reared apart have IQs that are closer to each other than those of fraternal twins reared together.
No one would argue that environment has no effect on the mind. However, it is increasingly clear that there are deep-seated psychological and personal traits that are established at birth and are unaffected by environment.
In an article in the December 1992 issue of American Psychologist, Dr. Bouchard and his colleagues have speculated on what their findings mean for genetic theory. The traditional Mendelian approach has been to look for traits that run in families. High intelligence, schizophrenia, diabetes, baldness, and blue eyes are all likely to appear in succeeding generations and are therefore accepted as having genetic origins.
But what about a liking for woodworking or Budweiser, or the conviction that one is not well-enough informed to vote? These traits are either not likely to run in families or, if they do, have usually been thought to be caused by parental influence. However, since the Minnesota twin studies suggest that genes are at work even at the level of individual personality traits, genetic theory must be revised to explain this.
In addition to those physical traits that are clearly genetic, and distinct conditions and diseases for which the genetic origins have been discovered, it appears that we all have many traits that are genetically influenced in complicated ways that are not yet understood. David T. Lykken, one of Dr. Bouchard’s colleagues, has coined the term “emergenesis” to describe this phenomenon. According to his definition, an emergenic trait is a “novel or emergent property” that results from combinations of more basic genetic traits.
|If genes are at work even at the level of personality traits, genetic theory must be revised.|
The random genetic mixing that takes place through sexual reproduction can produce chance combinations that result in traits not seen in any ancestor. Since these traits do not run in families, they would not ordinarily be thought of as genetic. The remarkable similarities found in identical twins suggests that even those uniquely individual traits heretofore thought to be products of environment or of chance occurrence are strongly influenced by genetics.
The American Psychologist article gives an example of how twin studies have shifted our understanding of the balance between environment and heredity. In one case of identical twins reared apart, both developed serious psychological problems by age ten. According to a psychoanalyst who examined both girls, their disorders were so similar that he described them as “equivalently pathological.” However, he also noted that if each child had been studied separately, most clinicians would never have suspected a genetic cause. Although their families were very different from each other, it would have been tempting to explain the girls’ conditions in terms of parental personality and family dynamics. It was only because the children were identical twins and had become “equivalently pathological” at the same age that doctors realized that this was probably a genetic problem.
The study of identical twins therefore suggests that heredity accounts for much more of our personalities and characteristics than even geneticists had thought possible. As Dr. Bouchard puts it, “the vast majority of psychological traits are influenced to some degree by genetic factors.” Personality testing of twins has led him to conclude that although environment has a clear effect on personality, even such things as religious fervor, political convictions, gregariousness, and moral integrity appear to be 40 to 50 percent determined by heredity.
How do these new findings apply to the different races? Although it is difficult to evaluate personality, and the political pressures against racial comparisons are enormous, a certain amount of data has nevertheless come to light.
For example, it is well known that criminals typically have lower IQs than non-criminals. The lower average intelligence of blacks and Hispanics as compared to whites and Asians doubtless explains much of the differences in crime rates. However, other genetic factors may be involved.
In their wide-ranging book, Crime and Human Nature, James Wilson and Richard Herrnstein point out that criminals are almost always more impulsive than non-criminals. They cannot put off the satisfaction of their desires, even if immediate satisfaction means smashing and grabbing. Other researchers, whose work has been exhaustively summarized by J. Philippe Rushton of the University of Western Ontario, have found that blacks are more impulsive in this sense than whites, who are in turn more impulsive than Asians.
If it is true that blacks favor immediate impulse over long-range goals and if they are less able to sacrifice today for rewards tomorrow, it would help explain not just high rates of criminality but the chaos and lack of development that characterize all black societies. It takes foresight and self-control to work at a boring job rather than rob a liquor store, or to invest money rather than spend it, or to do homework rather than watch television. Any group that cannot defer satisfaction will not progress very far.
Prof. Herrnstein and Prof. Wilson also point out that blacks and whites get different scores on standard, pencil-and-paper personality tests. The best known such test is the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory), which measures the extent to which someone deviates in various ways from the norm. Black men get higher scores — meaning they are less “normal” — than whites on every measure except femininity. Whether or not, as Prof. Wilson and Prof. Herrnstein suggest, the MMPI is based on an arbitrarily white definition of “normal,” it is still significant that blacks and whites get different scores. It makes no difference if, by black standards, it is whites who are abnormal; what matters — and is scarcely known outside the expert community — is that measurement of personality consistently gives different average results for different races.
Victor Elion and Edwin Megargee have tried to test the validity of the MMPI for blacks by concentrating on just one of its components, the Psychopathic deviate (Pd) scale. They compared the scores of college students, first-time criminals, and repeat offenders — for both blacks and whites — and found that for both races, Pd scores rose with the degree of criminality. Their conclusion is that the MMPI is an accurate predictor of deviance. Therefore, higher average scores among blacks probably reflect a real, underlying difference in personality.
The view that the races differ psychologically is scarcely new. In a recent paper, Michael Levin notes that 15th-century Arab slaveholders concluded that blacks were unintelligent, had a good rhythmic sense, and were highly sexed. These were opinions of men who had had no previous contact with blacks and had no other information about them.
In our own era, a number of authorities have concluded that psychological differences between the races are as striking and profound as physical differences. The great British anthropologist, Sir Arthur Kieth, maintained that “the primary marks of race are psychological.” Louis Leakey of more recent fame has said, “I would be inclined to suggest that however great may be the physical differences between such races as the European and the Negro, the mental and psychological differences are greater.”
Albert Schweitzer, who devoted his life to ease the sufferings of Africans concluded at the end of his career: “They [Africans] have neither the intellectual, mental or emotional abilities to equate or to share equally with white men in any of the functions of our civilization.”
The views of such men as Dr. Leakey and Dr. Schweitzer are confirmed by the consistent failure of blacks to conform to the demands of white society. It may well be, as Michael Levin is brave enough to suggest, that it is foolish to expect them to do so. As he puts it: “At an aggregate statistical level it may not be possible for blacks to satisfy white norms … If so, blaming Negroids for deviation from white norms of self-restraint is as pointless as blaming cats for not eating hay.”
Foundations of Liberalism
Clearly stated conclusions like this account for why any discussion of inherent genetic differences terrifies the defenders of orthodoxy. Virtually every attitude that can today be described as “liberal” depends on blind faith in the power of environment to overcome the consequences of genetics. (An interesting exception to this is the acceptance among many liberals of the view that homosexuality is biologically determined. People who would be horrified at the idea that women are biologically better suited than men to child-rearing or that blacks are inherently less intelligent than whites seem to turn into instant geneticists when it comes to homosexuality.)
Liberals believe that crime, stupidity, poverty, and deviance must not be the result of hereditary limitations and must be caused by bad surroundings. Government must therefore intrude into every corner of our lives as part of its sacred mission to improve those surroundings. Likewise, since it is only accidents of environment that cause people of different races to attain different levels of civilization, environmental tuning can raise people of any race to the highest levels. It therefore makes no difference if whites are displaced by waves of non-white immigrants.
Since liberalism does not even begin to make sense unless these things are true, its defenders are ruthless opponents of any scientific inquiry that might unearth awkward facts. That is why a conference that was to be underwritten last year by the National Institutes of Health suddenly lost its funding when the guardians of orthodoxy learned that it was to study genetic causes of crime. They were afraid — perhaps justifiably — that blacks would be found to be more inherently crime prone than other races.
For the last several decades, the forces of militant liberalism have been remarkably successful at preventing even the expression of inconvenient facts, much less further discovery. This is beginning to change. Facts can be suppressed for only so long before they come tumbling out in a rush. The dam is cracking and before long it will break.
Why Some Nations are Rich and Others are Poor
Do inferior and superior “cultures” account for differences in wealth?
Who Prospers? How Cultural Values Shape Economic and Political Success, Lawrence Harrison, Basic Books, 1992, 280 pp., $22.00.
Why are Europe and the United States rich while Africa and Latin America are poor? How a person answers this question is an almost fool-proof indication of his politics. Until recently, the most common view was that white countries grew rich by exploiting poor, non-white ones. On university campuses there are still Marxists who roar about imperialism and neo-colonialism, but most people have begun to realize that economics is not thievery.
Lawrence Harrison, author of Who Prospers?, confesses that in 1962, when he first went to work for USAID, he thought that Latin America was poor because of American “neglect.” He also recalls that when President John Kennedy launched the Alliance for Progress in 1961 nearly everyone believed that Latin America would blossom as quickly and gratifyingly as Europe did under the Marshall Plan.
Mr. Harrison now believes that the reason poor countries stay poor is not because rich ones squeeze them but because they are hobbled by unhelpful mores and folkways, which he rather grandly calls “cultures.” In an era in which it is fashionable to pretend that all “cultures” are equally valid, it is a minor milestone to point out that the folkways of certain peoples are inferior to others.
Mr. Harrison’s analysis suffers from his unwillingness to violate certain taboos, but to speak of “culture” is an enormous improvement over blaming imperialism. Many of the foolish ideas that have influenced our immigration and foreign policies have grown out of the myth that overseas squalor is somehow all our fault. Mr. Harrison tries to avoid blaming anyone for anything, but a vital message gets through despite his scruples: We are not responsible for the failures of others.
Growth Through Culture
Mr. Harrison backs his culture argument with accounts of nations that he considers successful — Brazil, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan — and contrasts them with Latin American countries that have stagnated. In his view, the cultures of Spain and Portugal, especially when transplanted overseas, have been terrible obstacles to development. Spanish culture in particular, with its emphasis on male strutting rather than compromise, leisure rather than work, and plunder rather than production, is said to disadvantage a country.
Both cultures reportedly promote a narrow “radius of trust,” that is to say, people trust their own families but do not care about anyone else. This means that cooperation is rare but littering and tax evasion are common. Corrupt, nepotistic governments dispense favors to friends rather than services to the public, and philanthropy is virtually unknown.
According to Mr. Harrison, another Iberian influence on Latin America is the view that since wealth is limited and cannot be increased, the only way to get it is to take it from someone else. Hard work, which can sustain life but cannot lift a man from poverty, is therefore a curse and an indignity rather than something honorable. Most people are victims of fate, success is reserved for the few, and there is no such thing as the Latin American Dream.
Mr. Harrison offers Brazil as an exception to the Hispanic rule, pointing out that at least until 1980 it was growing at a pace that made it the wonder of the continent. He argues that this was because the Portuguese, who colonized Brazil, had a less stultifying culture than the Spaniards, who colonized the rest of Latin America.
People who are familiar with the region all seem to agree that the Brazilians are different: They are willing to compromise and believe that hard work will be rewarded. Mr. Harrison traces this to the fact that Portuguese are less preoccupied with honor and confrontation than are Spaniards, and that they are more tolerant of competition and the success of others. He is a specialist in Latin America and in how Portuguese differ from Spaniards, so one may well take his word for this. However, even at this point, there are defects in his argument.
First, it was presumably the same, suffocating Iberian culture that made Spain the richest nation in the world in the 16th and 17th centuries and Portugal a major power. Why was it an advantage then but an obstacle later? Likewise, if Portuguese culture is better than Spanish culture, why is Spain now so much richer than Portugal?
As for Latin America, theories about Iberian culture disregard the Indians. Throughout the region, they are the poorest people of all, yet they are the least influenced by the cultures that are supposed to be holding the continent back.
The best indication of a Latin American nation’s success is simply the percentage of white people. Mr. Harrison tells us over and over that Costa Rica has somehow escaped the Iberian blight; he fails to mention that it is also overwhelmingly white. Likewise, the part of Brazil that works the best — the South — has a large white majority, and even Mr. Harrison admits that much of Brazil’s success can be attributed to the entrepreneurial spirit that German and Italian immigrants brought with them.
Finally, although the combination of traits Mr. Harrison describes as Iberian certainly sound daunting, he concedes that many of them are common to all poor countries. In fact, he describes something called “universal peasant culture,” which sounds almost exactly like Spain at its worst. He finds, for example, that Thais and Filipinos are unable to work cooperatively because they do not trust each other, and that peasants all over the world have the same fatalistic acceptance of life as something over which they have little control.
Mr. Harrison as much as admits that it is progress, not stagnation, that is the exception and requires explanation. Besides whites, only North Asians have built rich, industrial societies, and Mr. Harrison claims to have plumbed the cultural secrets that helped them do it.
Of all the national success stories of the modern era, Japan’s is the most astonishing. During the last decades of the 19th century, it transformed itself from an illiterate, pre-industrial peasant society into a world power. It did it almost as an act of pure volition, without foreign aid and in the face of a hostile world.
Poor as they were, mid-19th century Japanese hired foreign experts to teach them industry, engineering, and public administration. Their ambition and self-sufficiency stand in stark contrast to today’s Africans, Latin Americans, and South Asians, who continue to stew in poverty despite technology transfers, international investment, concessionary trade, and billions of dollars in foreign aid. Nations are like people: Those that can benefit from help rarely need it; those that are always clamoring for it are no better off after they get it.
Although they made their ways in the world later than Japan, Korea and Taiwan have also pulled far ahead of the third-world pack. Colonization by Japan — which ended in 1945 — established the industrial infrastructure for both countries, but the most dramatic growth came after the Second World War. Since 1952, Taiwan’s real GNP has increased almost 20 times, and Korea’s real GNP grew nine-fold in the 15 years from 1962 to 1987.
Predictably, Mr. Harrison attributes all this to good culture, specifically Confucianism. There is no question that the Confucian emphasis on learning, hard work, loyalty, and promotion by ability is conducive to development. However, in the 1950s, when Korea and Taiwan were as poor as Ghana, it was fashionable to argue that Confucianism was a great hindrance to development because it held commerce, trade, and manual labor in low esteem. Mr. Harrison’s arguments are a little like astrology: For believers, anything can be read into either a culture or a horoscope.
The Toils of Dogma
Of course, for anyone who tries to use culture rather than race to account for national success, Africans are the greatest challenge. Mr. Harrison’s arguments are the conventional ones: slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation thwart black progress. The trouble, of course, is that blacks, in the aggregate, have been unsuccessful no matter what their circumstances — as natives or immigrants, as minorities or majorities, as colonists or colonizers, as slave or free.
To be fair, Mr. Harrison probably knows this. Although he makes much of the “culture of slavery,” he points out that today’s black Americans are vastly better off than the descendants of their brothers who stayed in Africa. Nor is he fooled by arguments about colonialism; the African countries that were most thoroughly colonized are the most successful. Mr. Harrison thus bows the knee to egalitarian dogma but quietly supplies facts that refute it.
The next step would be to realize that to speak of culture but ignore race is to put the cart before the horse. Cultures do not drop from the sky, with lucky people getting the good ones. People make their own cultures and successful peoples make superior ones. Mr. Harrison seems to think that different cultures are just accidents. He does not consider the possibility that although mores and folkways do help make a people successful, they are themselves the products of biologically distinct races and subraces. For anyone who accepts the evidence for racial differences in intelligence and perhaps in other traits as well (see cover story), cultural explanations simply beg the question of the origins of culture.
All the same, even though it is much easier to explain the success or failure of peoples in terms of race rather than culture, it would be wrong to ignore a nation’s circumstances. The two Germanies — or the two Koreas — are striking examples of how different social systems can either smother or stimulate a people. Race is the more powerful, deeper force but culture can certainly ruffle the surface.
There is yet another dogma Mr. Harrison recites only to undercut with his own examples: “Democratic capitalism does a better job of promoting human progress and well-being than other systems.” In fact, not one of the countries Mr. Harrison uses to make his case for growth-through-culture was a democracy during its period of rapid growth! Even worse, economic progress in both Korea and Brazil began to bog down just when military dictatorship began to soften, and Taiwan’s recent flirtations with democracy show no sign of stimulating commerce and industry.
Singapore and Hong Kong are two examples of rapid development that Mr. Harrison mentions, but one has been a semi-dictatorship and the other is a colony. Even modern Japan, whose rebirth as an industrial power after defeat by the United States is another remarkable achievement, is only debatably democratic; politicians of the same center-right stripe have run the country since 1948. By contrast, the limping economies of Britain, the United States, Italy, and India are poor advertisements for democracy as a growth tonic.
|To speak of culture but to ignore race is to put the cart before the horse. Cultures do not drop from the sky, with lucky people getting the good ones.|
Although it is easy to tear large holes in Mr. Harrison’s theories, this does not mean his book is not worth reading. First of all, he is honest enough to include facts that do not support his views and his facts are interesting. Also, theories about culture are much more respectable than theories about race, and under Mr. Harrison’s deft hand they often lead to the same conclusions. Culture, after all, is durable stuff and Mr. Harrison has no illusions about how easy it will be to turn Haitian boat people into scout leaders and PTA members.
Mr. Harrison therefore argues that waves of Hispanic immigrants are bringing their inferior cultures with them to the United States and are retarding our development. Also, he maintains that it is the culture of slavery and not white racism that thwarts black progress. These are useful positions for a self-styled “life-long Democrat” to take, and they rest on arguments worth understanding. Finally, even if theories about culture are ultimately unsatisfying, they have the refreshing advantage of not laying all the world’s problems at the feet of the wicked white man.
The Drug They Thought He Was Using
When four Los Angeles police officers finally caught up with Rodney King on March 3, 1991, he resisted arrest so maniacly that they thought he had been taking PCP. This drug is little known to the public, but police know all too well how wildly dangerous a user can be.
PCP (phenyl cyclohexyl piperidine) is a powerful hallucinogen that can cause immunity to pain and confer great strength. It is such an effective pain-killer that when it was first discovered, it was used experimentally as an anesthetic that allowed patients to remain conscious during surgery. Doctors stopped using it because patients would turn violent in the operating room.
PCP had a vogue among hippies during the 1960s, when it was sold as a powder called “angel dust.” Today it is stronger, distributed as a liquid, and users dip marijuana cigarettes into it. One ounce costs about $7,000 and is enough to lace 700 cigarettes. It is known for its intense, prolonged high and is called “Love Boat” or just “Boat.” PCP remains in a user’s fat and can cause sudden flashbacks.
Not yet understood by clinicians but of great concern to police is PCP’s tendency to drive people to violence and to give them herculean strength. Users have been known to kick the doors out of police cars, break through glass doors, and fend off as many as eight officers. Wild-eyed criminals continue to fight with police after being shot enough times to kill anyone not on the drug.
For completely unknown reasons, PCP can cause people to shout profane, heavily religious curses and to attack children and babies. Users commit especially gruesome murders, often hacking their victims to pieces. Another peculiarity of the drug is that it frequently produces a burning sensation that prompts male users to strip off all their clothing. The police nickname for PCP is “bare butt.”
PCP has become more popular among blacks, as police begin to obstruct the flow of crack. This year, nearly ten percent of the suspects tested for drugs through the Washington, D.C. Superior Court had taken the drug. Last year the figure was 4.6 percent. [Brian Reilly, Stronger PCP strain concerns area police, Washington Times, 6/16/93, p. A1.]
To return to Mr. King, when police first tried to wrestle with him, he tossed them off like match sticks. He then withstood two 50,000-volt taser gun shots, one of which is usually enough to bring down any man. In light of their belief that he was on PCP, the police officers’ use of batons seems almost restrained.
IN THE NEWS
O Tempora, O Mores!
When Will They Learn?
The headline of a recent story in the Detroit Free Press (April 9, 1993) is almost a perfect summation of the problems we face and why we face them: “Black Students Score Lower on Math Test: Educators Blame Poor Resources.”
Dire Threats at MSU
At Michigan State University in Lansing, minority students have discovered a new way to get the administration to bow to their demands: They have threatened to change their official registration to “white.” They know that MSU, like all other American universities is under tremendous pressure to recruit more non-whites. [MSU Students Threaten to Yank Minority Status, Detroit News, 4/18/93.] The possibility that they may refuse to let themselves be counted for affirmative action purposes strikes fear in the hearts of bean-counting administrators.
The Price of Diversity
Texas courts used to call on registered voters to serve as jurors. Now the state is encouraging courts to send jury summonses to anyone with a driver’s license, since registered voters tend to be disproportionately white, and not enough non-whites were getting on juries.
The change has been met with a collective groan of annoyance from the state’s judicial system. Jurors used to be law-abiding, English-speaking citizens who respected the courts and were reasonably well informed. Now, many potential jurors have criminal records, speak no English, are not citizens, and have no idea how the adversarial justice system works. Also, they are less likely to answer the call for jury duty. Harris County, for example, found that in order to get enough jurors, it had to increase the number of weekly summonses from 8,000 to 13,000. [John Makeig, “Disorder in the Court,” Houston Chronicle, 4/13/93, p. 9A.]
Discriminating to the Bone
Recently a Chicago woman who is a frequent blood donor decided to register as a potential bone marrow donor. She learned that she had to pay $75.00 as part of the registration process, but that if she had not been white, the federal government would have picked up the tab.
The human body is very finicky about whose marrow it will accept, and cross racial transplants almost always fail. Very few non-whites volunteer as marrow donors (or as blood or organ donors) so the government encourages them by discriminating in their favor. [Donor Questions, Letters, Chicago Tribune, 5/3/93.]
Discrimination Starts Young
Although it is fashionable to claim that people must be taught to notice racial differences, a recent study by Lawrence Hirschfeld of the University of Michigan confirms that most children are well aware of race by age three. He showed children of various races a drawing of a fat black child and a drawing of a fat white man, a normal white man, and a normal black man. He then asked the children which of the adults was the father of the fat child. A few three-year-olds guessed it might be the fat white man, but 65 percent chose the black man. By age four, 75 percent chose the black man and by age seven 100 percent did so. Dr. Hirschfeld also found that children of all races think that children with one black and one white parent are black. [Elizabeth Atkins, “Kids Influenced by race at early age, study says,” Detroit News, 3-26-93, p. 1B.]
Here They Come
Since September 1991, when Haiti’s President Jean Bertrand Aristide was deposed in a military coup, 40,000 Haitians have fled their country, mainly to the United States. There are several countries closer to Haiti and it has a land border with the Dominican Republic, but the U.S., with its easy welfare and free medical care, is the favorite destination.
Most of the latest wave of boat people were returned to Haiti after their claims of political persecution were found to be false. However, 138 were in legal limbo for as long as 20 months because they were thought to have valid refugee claims but were infected with the AIDS virus. The law says that anyone with a valid fear of persecution cannot be returned to his country but the law also says that HIV carriers cannot be admitted. The Haitians were therefore lodged at the Guantanamo naval base while America pondered their dilemma.
It is not as though there was no solution. The government could presumably have tried to find some other country to take them, but there is no indication that it tried. In June, District Court Judge Sterling Johnson ruled that the 138 sick Haitians had to be brought to the United States, and they were duly admitted. All are paupers and are expected to go on welfare. It costs $100,000 to care for an AIDS patient from the time he is diagnosed until he dies. Judge Johnson is black.
To their credit, 41 U.S. Congressmen were unhappy enough about Judge Johnson’s decision to write President Clinton, asking him to order the Justice Department to appeal the ruling. The President has done nothing. [Jerry Seper, Clinton urged to appeal ruling on HIV Haitians, Wash Times, 6/16/93, p. A3.]
African Plea Bargain
A young boy recently died in the remote Ivory Coast village of Gahatou. A woman who had been caring for him accused Helene Manou of killing him with witchcraft. Miss Manou went to the police to complain of slander. She denied killing the boy, but admitted that she ate the corpse. She, and two other women who, between them, had reportedly eaten four people, were sentenced to five years in jail for cannibalism. [3 cannibals jailed in Ivory Coast, Memphis Commercial Appeal, 4/27/93.]
It’s a Black Thing …
The latest fashion among young urban blacks is gang jewelry. These are rings, necklaces, and earrings with elaborate initials like BD for Black Disciples or GD for their Chicago rival, the Gangster Disciples. Other popular designs are gleaming, miniature Uzis, AK-47s, and Tec-9s, which customers ask for by model and caliber. Earrings are often shaped like daggers, dollar signs, or marijuana leaves.
Customers walk into jewelry stores with fat wads of 20-dollar bills and pay cash. One store owner reports that some buyers are so young they cannot count into the hundreds; they just spread a wad of bills across the counter and tell the owner to take the right amount.
Some stores do custom work, such as setting diamond chips into gang logos or making one-off pieces from crude drawings brought in by customers. “If you have some [of this jewelry] on, girls notice you,” explains a high-school age buyer; “You shine a little bit and people want to be with you.”
Most of the jewelry, however, is made of 10-carat gold, which jewelers consider second-rate. Customers do not seem to mind. “Tomorrow is not necessarily going to come for them,” explains one Chicago dealer, “so a piece that will last tomorrow is not important.” [Robert Blau & David jackson, Jewelry to die for, Chicago Tribune, 5/22/93, p. 1.]
Jewelry makers can look forward to younger and younger customers. Teachers in slum schools report that boys are already members of violent proto-gangs by the third or fourth grade, and second-graders turn in gang insignias as art assignments. John West, principal of one South Chicago school, says that in a fourth-grade science class, he asked students for examples of machines. The first reply was “machine gun.” In January, Mr. West joined a first grade class that was watching President Clinton’s inauguration. Some of the children told him they were watching the funeral of what must have been a very high-ranking gang member. [Louise Kiernan, Gangs getting younger, but no less deadly, Chi Tribune, 5/27/93, p. 1.]
Another Black Thing …
In June, the Chicago Bulls won its third straight professional basketball championship, and blacks celebrated in what has come to be their usual style. They looted and rioted, took shots at police officers and killed two people. The city spent several million dollars on police overtime, and put four times as many officers on the street as on an ordinary night. Mike Royko reports in the June 22 Chicago Tribune that this lowered the over-all crime rate for the evening:
“There were so many cops on duty and visible that the gangbangers, muggers, head-busters, porch-climbers and window-crawlers were unable to engage in their usual hot summer night activities.”
He concludes, tongue in cheek, that 700 arrests during the celebration is an encouragingly small fraction of the population of a city of seven million. [Mike Royko, Bulls’ celebration ought to be a gas,’ Chicago Tribune, June 22, 1993, Sec. 1.]
It’s a Korean Thing …
Darow Han and Ha-Nan Che are two suburbia-reared Korean Americans, who met while they were studying at Columbia University. Model minorities? Not exactly. They have formed a rap duo called Fists of Fury. Here is a sample of their “lyrics:”
The AsAm Nation’ll go blow to blow
With any white racist
Maybe get a maggot like the
stupid-ass trucker —
Reginald Denny —
And now I’m in a frenzy,
If I see a pale face I don’t
[Gerard Lim, Fists of fury take to the streets with rap’s invective and vision, AsianWeek, April 30, 1993, p. 10.]
It’s a Hmong Thing …
The Hmong are among the most primitive people ever to have immigrated to this country. They are Laotian hill tribesmen who had no written language until 30 years ago, when missionaries devised one for them. Boatloads of Hmong came to the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, along with other South East Asian refugees. Of the 125,000 who now live in America, 62 percent are on welfare.
The Hmong have brought their quaint marriage practices with them to America. There is a common saying among Hmong men that if a man marries a woman his own age, by the time she has given him all the children he wants she will look twice his age. To avoid that problem, the men take brides as young as age 12 and 13. Hmong mothers then go on to have an average of 9.5 children each.
Snatching the girl by force is a time-honored courtship practice. The man abducts the girl, takes her to his family’s home, and stops on the doorstep. The groom’s father blesses the couple with a live chicken in a 30-second ritual and the bride becomes part of the family. The bride’s parents ordinarily do not learn of the ceremony until it is over. Then the elders of each family sit down together over a bottle of whiskey and work out a bride price-usually $2,000 to $5,000 in cash.
In California, where many Hmong live, sex with a girl not yet 15 is a felony, and a girl under 18 must get court permission in order to marry. The Hmong simply ignore the law; an estimated 70 percent of Hmong girls marry before age 17. [Mark Arax, California’s Child Brides, SF Examiner & Chronicle, 5/16/93, p. 4.] There have been a few attempted prosecutions for rape and abduction, but convictions are almost impossible to get because the victims refuse to testify against their husbands.
Fit to Print
In May, two 25-year-old white women were raped, sodomized, beaten, robbed, and terrorized for two hours in their swish New York apartment house. The New York Post described the suspect thus: “A muscular black man, 5-10 to 6-feet tall, wearing a red sweatshirt and dark pants.” This was the New York Times’ version: “The attacker is estimated to be between 25 and 30 years old, muscular and 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall. He was wearing a red long-sleeve sweatshirt, the police say.” [Larry Celona & Sandy Gonzalez, 2 women in rape nightmare, NY Post, 5/27/93, p. 2. Man rapes and robs 2 women in Chelsea, NYT, 5/27/93, p. B4.]
Blacks in Little Rock, Ark. have been complaining about police racism, pointing out that although blacks are one third of the population they account for two thirds of the arrests. Police Chief Louie Caudell then ordered a survey to find out if the races of the criminals who get away are the same as those who are caught. He chose to study robbery, assault and battery, and rape, because the victim almost always gets a good enough look at the perpetrator to know what his race is. He found that blacks commit 93 percent of Little Rock’s robberies, 81 percent of the rapes, and 75 percent of the assaults and batteries. A survey of witnesses suggests that blacks also commit 83 percent of the murders. Black leaders have attacked the report as biased. [Olivier Uyttebrouck, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 4/14/93.]
Power of Suggestion
The Denny’s restaurant chain has lately been accused of discrimination against black customers. Since initial charges were filed, there have been thousands of similar claims made against the chain. All of these plaintiffs are to be represented in a class-action law suit.
This brings to mind another corporation that has recently been in the news. People in at least 23 states claim to have found hypodermic needles, bullets, and other strange things in cans of Pepsi Cola. The initial claim may have been a genuine mistake, but all subsequent ones appear to be false accusations prompted by the publicity given to the first one. [Ronald Ostrow & Eric Malnic, Feds report no evidence of nationwide tampering, LA Times, 6/18/93. Jerry Urban, Denny’s again accused of bias, Houston Chronicle, 6/18/93.]
Another Churchill in the News
Winston Churchill, grandson of Britain’s wartime Prime Minister, is a Tory party member of parliament. Late in May, he drew the ire of the orthodox by saying publicly what many Britons feel privately: that the British way of life is threatened by a “relentless flow of immigrants.” Even the current Tory Prime Minister, John Major, joined in the criticism.
Mr. Churchill is unrepentant. He claims that despite the widespread public condemnation, many colleagues, including government ministers, have privately expressed their agreement. [William Schmidt, A Churchill Draws Fire With Remark on Race,” NYT, June 6, 1993]
Tried and Convicted
Students at the University of California at Berkeley have held a mock trial of “the American consciousness” and have found it guilty of “apathy towards the oppression of people.” The verdict came after more than two hours of testimony from students enrolled in a “course” called “Martin and Malcolm: Flipsides of the Same Black Revolutionary Coin.”
Whites were accused of all the usual sins, but a student who represented the voice of Martin Luther King did take time out to mount a defense of “the American consciousness.” The audience of 400 greeted him with hisses and boos. After the verdict was in, black senior Rochelle Brock closed with the words, “Wait and do nothing, America, and you will burn.” [J. Yentsun Tseng, Class puts America on Trial, Daily Californian, April 26, 1993, p. 4.]
Books We Missed
The May issue of the “Book of the Month Club News” is offering readers a book called Negrophobia, described as follows:
“A racist blond teenager falls under a voodoo spell and becomes ‘Alice in Negroland’ in this outrageous and controversial debut, ‘by far the best novel to emerge from New York’s Lower East Side literary scene.’(Kirkus Reviews)”
A Lyrical Defense
Ronald Howard is a member of the Houston gang called the Five Deuce Hoover Crips, which requires that members commit murder as part of their initiation. He killed a state trooper, was arrested, and has been convicted of murder. During his trial, the defense argued that Mr. Howard was brain washed by violent anti-police rap “lyrics” and was therefore not fully responsible for his crime. To sway the jury, the lawyer played a recording of the sort of thing Mr. Howard listens to and turned the volume up loud enough to make windows rattle. Reporters noted that Mr. Howard, who had been impassive throughout the trial, nodded his head in time to the beat. [Ross Ramsey, “Violent lyrics swayed teen, defense says,” Houston Chronicle, 6/15/93, p. 15.A.]
LETTERS FROM READERS
Sir — In the June issue, you have a short item on the NBC TV movie, “Moment of Truth” which, though based on a real-life torture, rape, and murder of a white girl by a black man, switched the killer’s race to white. This reminded me of a similar switch in another “fact-based” TV movie, “Nightmare in Columbia County.” This CBS Movie of the Week was about the kidnap-murder of a young blonde South Carolina girl. Attempting to cash in on the crime, a second man tried to extort ransom money from the anguished family by pretending to be the kidnapper. In real life, the man was black; in the TV version he is white.
I know of two other cases of cinematic whitewashing. In the 1986 film, “River’s Edge,” a group of white California high-school students fail to inform the authorities when one of them strangles his girl friend. The real-life murderer was black. “Casualties of War,” made in 1989, is the story of the rape and murder of a Vietnamese woman by American GIs. Two of the four perpetrators were Hispanic but in the movie one became white.
Finally, I seem to recall that the 1985 TV movie, “The Atlanta Child Murders” generated a bit of controversy by hinting that convicted black serial killer Wayne Williams was not the one responsible, or at least not the only one, and that the real villain — an evil white man, naturally — is still at large.
Ted Klein, New York, N. Y.
Sir — Your July book review about school integration reminded me of something that has recently been happening in schools in Oak Park, Illinois. When the resident liberals discovered that very few blacks were qualifying for programs for gifted students they just did away with the programs.
What does this say about American liberals? That they don’t believe black children have the same mental abilities as white children. They didn’t ask why whites were outperforming blacks. They didn’t say that blacks should be given extra help so they could catch up to the whites. They just assumed that the best thing to do would be to eliminate the advanced classes. Since the white children are no longer allowed to outperform the black children they are now all equal.
This sort of thing has been going on all over the country ever since racial integration of schools began in the 1950s. This means that liberals are quite willing to cheat white children out of their futures for the sake of “equality.”
Michael Flanagan, Chicago, Ill.
Sir — Thomas Jackson’s review of The Burden of Brown recounts in distressingly clear terms how Supreme Court decisions led from desegregation (letting students go to school where they choose) to integration (forcibly mixing students by race). However, Mr. Jackson does not touch on what is, to me, the crux of the matter: How did racial mixing become the supreme educational goal?
I ask this question for practical reasons. Connecticut has just passed legislation that will lump all school districts in the state into a few giant districts. This way, integration can be carried out across what used to be district lines that separated miserable, urban, non-white schools from first-rate, suburban, white schools.
Since many of the miserable urban schools actually spend more money, per pupil, than the first-rate suburban schools, this latest plan is not about disparate funding. Nor is anyone arguing seriously that the new plan is going to improve the academic performance of non-whites. We are going through this great upheaval for one reason only — to achieve that great and noble goal of race mixing!
Why, oh why, are we doing this? Can someone please tell me how “racial balance” became our supreme objective?
Paul Harding, Bridgeport, Conn.
This is one form of The Great Question of Our Era. If we knew the answer, we would also know why America cheerfully practices racial discrimination against the majority race, why it tolerates an immigration policy that will reduce whites to a minority, and why, in short, whites are always expected to put the interests of other races before their own. However, nature can be distorted only so far, and a race can be made to work against its interest for only so long. Even insanity such as this will come to an end. — Ed.
Sir — I was fascinated by your account in the July issue of a criminal defense strategy for an underclass black whose violent upbringing was supposed to have so predisposed her to mayhem that she should not be held to ordinary standards of conduct. Her lawyer was arguing that she has been rendered so crime prone by her environment that she should not be held to the standards that apply to normal people.
Just think what it means if defense strategies like this succeed. Would it not mean that law-abiding citizens have the right to shoot first and ask questions later if an underclass black approaches them? If ghetto blacks arc so crazed by their environment that they are not responsible for what they do, then we should not be held responsible for what we do when we are menaced by them.
Allen Short, New Albany, Ind.
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