|Vol. 8, No.1||January 1997|
Hell on Wheels
The job of a conductor on a New York City subway train is a voyage into the heart of darkness.
I was born in Hungary, from which I escaped in 1982 at age 18. I settled in New York in 1984 with the intention of becoming an artist, but after nearly a decade of struggle I realized I might never make it. In 1993 I enrolled in the City University of New York, while I supported myself for four years as a conductor on New York City subway trains. There can be only a few jobs that so quickly introduce an immigrant to the realities of multi-racialism. Beneath the streets of New York I have seen and done things that very few whites will — I hope — ever see or do.
Conductors operate the doors of trains, make announcements, give information to the passengers, and oversee the safety of people on trains and platforms. Most of the time they stay in a small compartment, or cab, in the middle car of the train. There are many cities that operate subways with only a driver, but New York City is a challenging place, where putting only one person on the train would expose the system to violence and chaos.
Attending college while working under ground is not a dream come true, but conductors are well paid. The starting salary is $30-40,000 a year, with a top salary of $40-50,000, which can be reached in three years. Conductors who become drivers can earn $50-70,000 a year, depending on overtime. The high salaries are a result of the monopoly the Transit Authority (TA) enjoys over city transportation. The union is a mostly-black workforce, which cannot be tampered with by any politician who wants a career in New York. Even as far back as the 1930s, the all-powerful TA got through the depression without laying off a single employee.
|“Don’t white Americans want a job that pays $40-60,000 a year and doesn’t even require a high-school education?”|
I went to a high school in China Town to take the civil service exam for the job. Once inside, I noticed that I was the only white person there. Except for an Asian-Indian woman who sat in front of me, I saw only black people, even though there were at least 40 of us taking the test. “How come I’m the only white person here?” I wondered. “Don’t white Americans want a job that pays $40-60,000 a year and doesn’t even require a high-school education?” Perhaps in answer, one of the blacks in front of me turned around and gave me a bizarre, hate-filled look — a look I would often encounter in the years ahead.
The test was easy — surprisingly so — and I wondered if it was possible for anyone over the age of six not to pass it. I clearly remember one of the questions; I find it impossible to forget:
If you are a bus driver and find that a kid jumped onto the back of the bus, traveling on the outside, what are you going to do?
- I will suddenly break, then accelerate, repeating this process until the kid falls off and learns a lesson.
- I will just ignore the kid and keep on driving as if unaware of the problem.
- I will stop the bus and personally make sure that the kid gets off.
As part of the test, we also had to find various places in the city, such as the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the United Nations, with the help of a city map provided to us. This is similar to having Parisians find the Eiffel tower with the help of a map. Needless to say, the test went well and I congratulated myself for having settled in a country where well-paying jobs are so easy to get.
I began learning about the reality of America’s racial dilemma right at the beginning of my training program at the Transit Authority. There was a huge black fellow in our class who had the habit of physically bumping into me at every opportunity. I could feel that he did this intentionally, trying to make it hurt more than an accidental collision would, but not enough to make it look like an assault.
The class consisted of about 80 people, with only a half dozen whites. Most of the training was given by an old white veteran who kept telling us funny and scary stories about transit workers on duty. We were told to watch out for assaults by passengers. “Every one of you will be spat at,” he insisted repeatedly, “I guarantee it.” After the class training, which lasted about four weeks, we spent two weeks on trains, operating under the supervision of experienced conductors. Right on the first day, a strong black man who stood on the platform, whose right arm was bigger than both of my thighs put together, made a sudden attempt to punch me in the face as I leaned out the window to observe the platform. The conductor who supervised me assured me that such things are very dangerous and happen every day.
Also during the break-in period, I saw a horrible incident in the East New York section of Brooklyn. A horde of black teenagers descended upon a black boy who was sitting quietly by himself. Within seconds, they beat him from head to toe, then quickly fled before the doors closed. We tried to talk to the boy, who was in bad shape, asking him if he wanted medical help or the police. When he said he didn’t want either, we asked about the attack. It turned out he was on his way to the first day on a job. The gang beat him up because they didn’t want him to work.
|I felt their threatening presence instinctively, but the rules require that the conductor lean out the window…|
After the break-in period, I was qualified as a conductor and began to operate without supervision. It didn’t take long for our instructor’s prediction to come true. I was conducting a D train in the Bronx when I noticed a large group of black men gathered on the platform, just outside the conductor’s window. I felt their threatening presence instinctively, but the rules require that the conductor lean out the window and look down the platform in both directions before he closes the doors. I had no choice but to open my window and take the risk. As soon as I opened it, one of the men spat right into my eyes. I was wearing safety goggles but still got some of the saliva on my skin — regulations require that goggles be worn primarily to protect against passenger assaults.
Throughout the four years I spent as a conductor, blacks and Latinos would hide behind posts or other cover and spit at me — with astonishing power and accuracy. Other times they would throw things at me, try to punch me, or yell vile and sometimes inarticulate things at me.
One attack involved a black man of about thirty, who threw a large, glass bottle at my face. I managed to close the window just as the bottle struck — it hit with such force, that pieces of glass stuck in the acrylic window of my cab all the way to the end of the trip. As we came into the terminal, I spotted a black supervisor on the platform and couldn’t help asking: “What am I supposed to do when someone attacks me as I operate, and the attack is really nasty?” “If you have an injury, you pull the cord and call command to send for the police and the ambulance,” was the reply. “But what if you have no injuries? What if he almost killed you but you lucked out?” I continued. “Then there is no problem,” said the supervisor, “you keep on going.”
On another occasion, when conducting a “D” train in the Bronx, a boy in a crowd of high-school students threw a heavy stone right at my face with great accuracy and force. I instinctively held up my hand to shield my face and was injured severely enough to go to the emergency room. At the hospital, the nurse told me that a bus driver, also injured in an assault, had just been treated and released a couple of hours earlier.
When operating during the “school hours,” the early afternoon when students come home from public schools, rowdy students — none of whom was ever white or Oriental — would routinely disable the trains. They would break windows, pull the emergency break, and tear open the seats so they could cut out electric switches. If the train crew couldn’t fix the problem, we would discharge the passengers and transfer the train to the storage yard for repair. When we discharged trains, black and Latino passengers would threaten violence, accusing us of deliberately disabling trains so that we could “go home early.”
My ordeal did not end with the work-day. The commute home was just as agonizing as time on the job. In the late hours, when I usually made my way home, the trains were largely bereft of normal, working people. Often there were gangs of “youths” roaming the trains, walking from car to car, jumping on seats, starting fights, and harassing passengers. I often locked myself in the conductor’s cab, as I did on the job.
One night, after work, as I was climbing the steps from the subway platform in my own neighborhood, a tall black man came running the other way and crashed into me. He was so badly dressed he looked like a bum. He was carrying a box of Chinese take-out food, which he dropped when he slammed into me. There went his dinner. Although the collision was entirely his fault, he began threatening me, cursing me, and demanding money. I looked around to see if there was anybody else in the station — not that one can expect help from whites in situations like this — but there was no one.
I don’t know how long we argued, but it seemed like an eternity. Keeping him from attacking me took all the energy I had. I finally managed to break away and run home. Exhausted, I collapsed on the floor and began crying, in a way I don’t remember doing since I was a small child. What broke me down was not so much this particular incident but the sum of all the assaults and humiliation that took place before it — the attacks, the spitting, the name calling, and, ultimately, my complete inability to do anything about it. Violent self-defense would certainly cost any white transit worker his job.
My job offered me the opportunity to see parts of New York whites seldom see. The United States may be the only country that has never been attacked, but still has places that look as though they went through a war. This once-glamorous cultural capital has neighborhoods, the size of cities, that look like Stalingrad or Yokohama right after a carpet bombing.
The job also acquainted me with blacks I would never otherwise have known. My black colleagues never seemed upset by the behavior of our “customers,” nor did they try to avoid working in horrible neighborhoods. One reason was that although they were not entirely safe, they did not face attacks of the same severity or frequency, let alone attacks with racial overtones.
In their off hours, the blacks often held little parties in our filthy, stuffy, underground crew rooms, where they celebrated birthdays or Kwanzaa with cheap cake and fast food. Non-blacks were ordered to leave the room before such events; most blacks believed that segregation on equal terms was better than integration.
The blacks also talked about what a scandal it was that the schools do not teach that Jesus Christ and the ancient Egyptians were black. Every day, during lunch breaks, I witnessed heated debates about such topics. I also learned that anything wrong in black neighborhoods is the fault of whites. My colleagues believed that slavery caused illegitimacy and welfare dependency, and that the government simply refuses to spend money on neighborhoods where they live. “When are they going to take the money and clean up the Bronx, Brooklyn, and upper Manhattan?” they would ask.
Whites never engaged in open debate about such things, preferring to scribble their opinions on the walls of the bathrooms provided for transit workers. “Kill all Niggers,” was the harshest sentiment I ever saw, along with such admonitions as “Do your country a favor, kill a liberal!” Working underground seemed to degrade everyone.
In addition to the pressures of the job, I was forced to put up with the anti-white atmosphere of City College. One of the most anti-white teachers was an otherwise intelligent English professor named Hannah Rogers. After a few classes filled with insults to whites, Prof. Rogers made a little speech that went something like this:
“In the beginning, before the white man came along, the colored peoples who once owned this land lived here peacefully, cohabiting with each other, with nature, and with the animals. Then came the Europeans, who killed the people and the animals, and destroyed nature. Now, however, the people of color are beginning to reclaim the land that belongs to them, and there will come a day when the colored masses rise up, and the white people who managed to enslave every other race will be destroyed. The land will be taken back so that the people to whom it belongs can return to living in peace and harmony with each other, and nature. I only hope,” she concluded, “that when that day comes, the whites who were good will be spared.”
I was offended and shocked, but I learned something I had never suspected. I always thought “liberals” are the way they are because they live in white ghettos and don’t realize what is happening around them. Not so. At least some of them believe a civil war is on the horizon. They hope for it, they encourage it, and may even expect to gain from it.
East New York
Perhaps the most dreadful incident of my career at the TA was in the summer of 1993, while I was working on the A line. This is one of the lines that goes into the worst neighborhood of the city, the East New York section of Brooklyn. I never operated there for a single day without being assaulted or humiliated in some way.
On one hot afternoon, as I opened the doors at the Ralph Avenue station, I heard what sounded like gunshots. They were a lot quieter than in movies, and at first I thought it was just some noise coming from the equipment. However, I was unnerved to see a couple of blacks, wearing face masks, rush out of the last car, up the steps, and disappear.
There was no way to misunderstand the situation; an incident had taken place in the last car, and the rules required the conductor to investigate. No experienced conductor would ever go back to the last car in a situation like that, no matter what the rules say, but I was not very experienced. After making some announcements to the passengers, I gathered all my courage and walked back to the last car, pretending to be calm.
There were people standing in every door shouting about the delay. In the last car, I found a man lying on the floor with bloody wounds in his legs. I used my portable radio to tell the train operator what had happened, and began to walk back to the center of the train to my position. The train operator made a loud announcement requesting that all passengers leave the train, and I was to make sure that all the cars were empty before we closed the doors to wait for the police.
I was the only white person in the station. As the passengers got off, they stayed on the platform and began to form a row close to the train. I walked toward my position, fenced in by the train on the left and by the row of people on the right. I passed three cars and had two more to go, to reach the only position from which I could close the doors. I was supposed to walk all the way to the front, passing all ten cars, to make sure that no passengers remained in them. I sensed that I could not make it to the front of the train, and tried only to get back to my position.
|There was a real chance that I could be — well — lynched before the police arrived.|
As I advanced, the people seemed to move closer to the train, gradually narrowing the path until it became too narrow for me to pass without touching them. “Who got shot, black or white?” I heard a young man shout. Then I saw hands reaching out to grab me and fists aimed to punch me. Just as I was about to pass the third car, one of the punches hit my shoulder. At this point I realized there was a real chance that I could be — well — lynched before the police arrived.
My heart pounding, I jumped into the car and began running inside the train, trying to reach my position. I no longer cared about any passengers remaining in the cars; I just ran. There were two more cars to cross, each separated by a pair of heavy, steel doors that open slowly. I wrenched them open with all my might. Meanwhile, the crowd seemed about to follow me into the train. I finally reached my position and, without any announcements or sticking my head out to observe the platform, shoved my key in and hit the door close buttons. The lights indicated that half the doors had not closed, meaning that people were holding them. When this happens, normally the conductor opens them again to let people in or out, but I refused to open up. After several tense minutes, people stopped holding the doors and they finally closed.
I hid in my cab for perhaps as long as half an hour until the police finally arrived. “What kind of people did you see running in masks?” asked a black bureaucrat dressed in a business suit. I refused to answer, for fear that mentioning blacks could get me in trouble. He seemed to be familiar with this attitude on the part of whites, because he calmly and understandingly said, “They were black, right?” He nodded his head in answer to his own question, and made a note on a piece of paper.
Later, as we were slowly moving into the service yard, accompanied by a police escort, I reflected on the incident. I recalled how many times I have heard liberals claiming that 99 percent of the blacks who live in these neighborhoods are “hard working and law abiding,” with only a tiny one percent who cause trouble. Perhaps I’m prejudiced, but among the hundreds of people on that platform who looked as though they were ready to lynch me, I didn’t see many who looked hard working or law abiding.
During the same summer, there was another incident, while passing Kennedy Airport. I heard something that sounded like an explosion. I investigated but didn’t find anything that could have caused it, though the sound seemed to come from nearby. Then, as we pulled into the next station, I was notified over the radio that my train operator, a black woman, had had her windshield broken out by a stone block, the size of a child’s head, thrown from somewhere on the airport’s property. I then realized, that what I had heard was the sound of another stone smashing between the two cars, just missing my cab window. One of these rocks is heavy enough to kill a person easily. The train operator was lucky to be alive.
It is hard to believe, but I worked for two more years in the subway before I finally turned my back on that hellish job, in the summer of 1995. I now live in a privately policed community in Manhattan. I ride the subways only if an emergency requires it.
Daniel Attila is a junior at Columbia University
Déjà Vu: Liberia and Black Politics
One can’t help feeling sorry for the well-meaning folks at National Public Radio (NPR). Recently, NPR broadcast a special report on the incursion of United States troops into Haiti, for the purpose of restoring democracy. It was an up-beat, optimistic report, glowing with enthusiasm. Sadly, the news of the day, broadcast just before the special report, recounted the previous day’s political killings and the “reinsertion” of yet another contingent of U.S. Marines.
Not long ago the news briefly focused on the civil war in Liberia. General Butt Naked was leading his men into battle dressed in nothing but a pair of boots and an automatic rifle. One platoon reportedly went into action dressed in the choir robes they had just looted from a church. Western observers could no longer detect political or military objectives to the action; it seemed to be killing for the sake of killing. Media commentary emphasized that until recently Liberia had been a democracy. This haven on the coast of Africa, established for returning American slaves, had in some unknown way recently deteriorated after a history of stability. But had it?
Honest accounts of historical facts that touch on racial matters seem to be harder to come by with each passing year. Perhaps a return to the actual record, written at the time, can be of value. What follows are excerpts from an “Address on The Negro,” by the eminent jurist, Thomas M. Norwood, on his retirement from the bench on December 31, 1907. Writing in a era quite different from ours, Judge Norwood used language that is far blunter than anything considered acceptable today, but the reality he describes may not be so different from what even the more muted, “sensitive” tone of today’s journalism fails to conceal.
‘Government by Negroes Impossible’
In 1822 the Republic of Liberia was formed. The abolitionists of New England were the chief phylanthropists [sic] in that move. They founded it to convince the world what free negroes could do. With white men to council, direct, and to pay all expenses, all that can be truthfully said, is that the name Liberia is still on the map of Africa. The experiment was a complete failure. Over a million semi-savages, says a cyclopedia, with about eighteen thousand of what are called civilized negroes, constitute the republic; and, yet, within fifty miles of the capital, Monrovia, the negroes know nothing of and want none of that civilization. Last year the American consul to Liberia, a Northern man, threw up his job because, as he alleged, the condition of things there was intolerable.
If you would know the limit of the negro’s capacity for government, read Bishop Hartzell’s apology for Liberia in the January number of the magazine, The World Today, (Chicago), page 75. Like Shem and Japheth, he tries to cover the nakedness of that racial debauch. He has the deepest sympathy for that immensely subsidized and pampered republic, and while hoping against hope, he unconciously [sic] writes across its face, “Thou art weighted in the balance and found wanting.” Liberia is “confirmation strong as proof of Holy Writ,” that the negro is incapable of self-support.
|“Liberian negroes … are sinking and crying to the white man to save them.”|
In Liberia no white can can [sic] vote or hold office. With untold money from white promoters mortified by failure to prove their boastful contention that the negro can stand alone, Bishop Hartzell says, the black republic is rapidly sinking. Licentiousness is the order. Men and women are drunkards. Poligamy [sic] is its curse. The college built and furnished by whites is abandoned; the Presbyterian school house is a “heap of debris.” Presbyterians and Baptists have withdrawn their missions in despair. The debt is overwhelming, and, for fifty years with tools furnished, “no agricultural progress has been made and the people are now dependent on the outside world for the necessities of life.” With the white man’s arms and lavish purse supporting the negroes, with white Christian teachers and preachers trying to hold them up, after 86 years of a trial such as no other people on the earth has ever had, the Liberian negroes and mulattoes, under the operation of their unchangeable phylogeny, are sinking and crying to the white man to save them…
Mr. Froude, the historian, visited St. Domingo and Hayti, and in 1888 published his account of the West Indies. I give but one sentence. “But behind the immorality, behind the religiosity, there lies active and alive the horrible revival of the West African superstitions; the serpent worship, and the child-sacrifice and the cannibalism. There is no room to doubt it.”
Both Mr. Froude and Sir St. John, were hopeful to disprove the stories of Vaudoux worship and cannibalism — but the proof astounded them. Slavery eixsted [sic] in St. Domingo and Hayti over 300 years. It was abolished in Hayti in 1801…
[R]eligious orgies were common, says Sir St. John, in 1867. Thus within fifty years the negroes had become savages. Both authors emphasize their opinion that “the negro is incapable of the art of government.” …
[In the United States] secrecy and suspicion, coupled with his disregard of the white man’s laws, give rise to the worst trait of the negro, except his lust, with which the white race, North and South, has to deal. This trait leads to his almost unanimous conspiracy to conceal, harbor and to defend the negro criminal. If the crime be against the white race, from rape, murder, arson, burglary, forgery, perjury, down to petty larceny, the criminal always finds with his race shelter, protection, secretion and aid to escape …
Timothy Scott is the nom de plume of a professor of social sciences at a university in the Southeast.
Assault on The Bell Curve
The view that genes don’t matter.
Inequality by Design, Cracking the
Bell Curve Myth, Claude Fischer, Michael Hout, Martin Sanchez Jankowski, Samuel Lucas, Ann Swidler, Kim Voss, Princeton University Press, 1996, 318 pp., $14.95 (soft cover)
A number of books now claim to discredit The Bell Curve, published in 1994 by Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein. The most serious and non-hysterical critique is probably Inequality by Design, written by six members of the sociology department of the University of California at Berkeley. Within its limited sphere, it may be about as good an anti-hereditarian effort as can be made, and is worth reading for that reason alone. It is also an illuminating example of the thinking that still thrives on university campuses.
The authors of this book are offended by inequality — of any kind — and expect their readers to be, too. They see success and failure as almost exclusively the result of arbitrary social circumstances: “Research has shown that “nature’ determines neither the level of inequality in America nor which Americans in particular will be privileged or disprivileged; social conditions, and national policies do. Inequality is in that sense designed.”
This theme, set forth in the introduction, is repeated over and over: “It is not that low intelligence leads to inferior status; it is that inferior status leads to low intelligence test scores.” (italics in original) Heredity is not completely irrelevant, but it should be: “Being tall, slender, good-looking, healthy, male, and white helps in the race for success, and these traits are totally or partly determined genetically. But these traits matter to the degree that society makes them matter — determining how much, for example, good looks or white skin are rewarded. More important than these traits are the social milieux in which people grow up and live.” Anyone who does not understand this and who thinks that ability has something to do with success is “morally complacent.” Having thus shown their colors, the Berkeley professors spend their first 100 pages directly attacking The Bell Curve.
Much of The Bell Curve [see AR review, Feb. 1995] is an analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY), which has been tracking the lives of 12,000 young Americans since 1979. Although sociological studies usually pay no attention to intelligence, this group was given the Armed Forces Qualifications Test (AFQT), which yields results not unlike those of an IQ test. This way, The Bell Curve was able to determine the effect of intelligence on various social outcomes tracked by the study.
Intelligence was found to be a far better indicator than family background of whether an American is going to be poor, go to jail, have an illegitimate child, etc. The book also summarizes the evidence that intelligence is largely hereditary and debates the question of whether races differ in average intelligence because of genetic differences. (The authors of Inequality By Design provide an eight-page summary of the book for people who would rather read the critique than the object of the critique.)
Genes or Environment?
The Berkeley Six launch a variety of attacks. First, since the authors disbelieve in any unitary quality called intelligence, they deny that the AFQT measures it. They say it tests learning rather than intelligence, and to some degree it does — Drs. Herrnstein and Murray discuss the test’s nature and limitations. Inequality By Design nevertheless concedes that just as the SAT accurately predicts college grades, the AFQT accurately predicts performance in the military. This, though, is a vicious cycle: “The more institutions sort people by test scores, the better the test scores predict sorting. This predictive ability is then taken as a sign that the tests must be measuring intelligence …” For this to be true, it would require that the army, universities, and all other test users let the tests determine the kind of performance they value rather than the other way around. Instead of devising tests for the abilities they seek, they are shifting the abilities they value by selecting people who do well on tests.
The Berkeley Six also make the standard claim that if tests do measure intelligence it is only narrow, “classroom” intelligence, and “there is not much transfer between academic intelligence and everyday intelligence.” They also say that high test scores reflect nothing more than social class — the “privileged” do well because they grew up in fancy houses with books in them. If that were true, universities would presumably not bother with the SAT but would just ask applicants for a copy of their parents’ tax returns. Also, if the SAT is a test of social status, it is odd that whites from poor families should get higher scores than blacks from wealthy families.
The authors also claim that tests in general draw false distinctions between people who are all much the same: They “discover, magnify, and therefore solidify originally trivial differences.” The authors prefer the pass-fail system and recommend drivers’ tests as a model — the presence or absence of basic competence is all that matters, and finer gradations are meaningless and invidious. This seems to have been the thinking behind the Transit Authority employment test described in this month’s cover story. This approach would hardly help someone hire the best qualified, but at Berkeley there is presumably no such thing as the best — only the broadly qualified and the unqualified.
Probably because virtually everyone has a vivid, subjective sense of what intelligence is, the authors do not argue that there is no such thing. After explaining that IQ tests don’t measure it, they have a go at defining it: “Intelligence in the information-processing framework is mental self-management, and mental self-management involves selecting, adapting to, and shaping real-world environments. These intelligence skills can be taught and trained …” because “researchers are learning how to teach cognitive strategies explicitly.”
But if that is so, why don’t Berkeley public schools teach “intellectual self-management” along with reading and math? And if “researchers” are only now getting to the bottom of the arcane business of teaching “cognitive strategies” to children, how do high-status parents manage to do it without even trying? And if, as the authors repeatedly claim, intelligence can be taught, where are the school-room data to prove it? The authors do little to flesh out these claims.
Having demonstrated that intelligence can be taught but is not measured by IQ tests, the authors nevertheless go on to argue that even if the AFQT really does measure intelligence, the data in The Bell Curve still show that IQ is affected by environment, not genes. In what is actually the best and most carefully argued part of the book, the authors use the same regression analysis as in The Bell Curve to make their point.
The heart of their argument lies in The Bell Curve’s definition of socioeconomic status, or SES. Drs. Herrnstein and Murray determined the SES of a subject’s household from a combination of mother’s education, father’s education, household income, and parental occupation. As the graph on the next page shows, for people of average SES, AFQT scores predict the probability of poverty much more powerfully than does SES predict poverty for people with average AFQT scores.
The Berkeley professors think there is much more to SES. They added the number of siblings (children in big families get less adult attention), whether reared in a city or on a farm (they do not explain why this matters), and whether the subject lived with both parents until age 14 (having done so being a good thing). Adding these factors gives SES considerably more predictive power, but still not as much as the AFQT score.
(More specifically, when all the NLSY members with the average AFQT score are compared, those of the lowest SES, as defined by the authors, were about six times more likely to have become poor than those of the highest SES. However, when NLSY members of the average SES (as defined by the authors) were compared, those with the lowest AFQT scores were still 11 times more likely to be poor than those with the highest scores.)
The Bell Curve’s Findings
In order to get a combination of environmental factors that predict poverty as well as the AFQT does, the authors have to assemble a definition of SES that includes: father’s education, mother’s education, parental occupation, household income, number of siblings, urban or farm household, single-parent rearing, whether the subject was living in a depressed part of the country, and whether he went to a miserable school. When all these factors are combined and arrayed from very best to very worst they finally add up to enough “environment” to give predictions about poverty that are as good as a single score on a single standardized test.
To the extent they are willing to grant that AFQT scores may actually be indications of intelligence, the Berkeley Six argue that their array of social and environmental factors causes differences in intelligence rather than differences in intelligence producing different social outcomes. This is the well-worn environmentalist line. In the case of race differences, disbelievers in heredity hunt down whites living in the most degraded circumstances and report triumphantly that their IQs are as low as those of blacks.
The hereditarian reply is that these low IQs may be somewhat affected by environment but come mainly from low-IQ parents who, because they have low-IQs, give their children degraded environments. The authors note this argument but then claim, with no further elaboration, that they “have rejoinders to this charge.” They then cite a reference — a single unpublished talk given at a seminar.
This, then, is the heart of the book’s “refutation” of The Bell Curve: that an unfortunate family background, poor current circumstances, undesirable social outcomes, and low AFQT scores all go hand in hand, but that low test scores are strictly a consequence and not a cause. According to this analysis, rich parents can never have dim children nor can brilliance ever emerge from a slum. The book does not even attempt to deal with the evidence for the heritability and biological basis of intelligence: twin studies, adoption studies, inbreeding depression of test scores, reaction-time studies (it claims, without elaboration, that they have been discredited) brain-size research, and the extensive set of biological correlates to intelligence presented by Philippe Rushton. By ignoring the most direct evidence for the heritability of intelligence, and concentrating only on the correlation between low scores and failure in life, the book loses the argument by default.
The authors then round up the conventional, thread-bare arguments to explain the social failure of blacks and Hispanics. Unlike Asians, blacks are “involuntary minorities” brought to American in chains, and anyone who doesn’t understand how deep are the scars of slavery and Jim Crow is “historically and sociologically naive.” It is, of course, exquisitely irrelevant whether one’s great-great-great, great-great-grandparents came voluntarily or not. Whites born in America have as little choice about the matter as blacks. Moreover, Africa is full of people who would love to move the United States, for the same reasons that our “involuntary minority” shows no signs of going back. The Berkeley Six even call Hispanics an “involuntary minority” because of the Mexican-American War; they appear not to have noticed that most of them arrived long after 1848.
Slum-dwellers, we learn, are just as smart as business executives, and the authors go beyond the usual suggestion that bossing a drug gang takes as much brains as running Exxon: “Young men who “hustle’ a living, single mothers who balance limited funds and demanding children, [and] working men who juggle multiple low-paying jobs” are doing “the same kinds of sophisticated calculation required of professionals and executives.”
One problem blacks face is segregation. The authors do not believe that blacks might ever prefer to live with each other; even wealthy or middle-class blacks, we learn, cannot move to safe neighborhoods because whites won’t let them in. Moreover, “housing segregation means that minority renters and home purchasers pay more than whites for the same housing stock.” Of course, the opposite is true; the same house or apartment costs more if it comes with white neighbors. We learn that because segregation is now voluntary rather than legal, it may be even more hurtful to blacks, since whites are now expressing genuine preferences rather than submitting to law. Perhaps blacks would feel better if we brought back restrictive covenants.
Non-whites face other problems: “Numerous studies show that the economic advantages of staying in school are not nearly as great for blacks and Latinos as for whites.” In fact, if a non-white and a white graduate from the same school, with the same qualifications, the non-white often gets more job offers.
Finally, we learn that although conservatives may say anti-poverty programs, compensatory education, and affirmative action have failed to raise up blacks, the real problem is that they weren’t really tried. The notion that welfare encourages illegitimacy is hopelessly wrong; it is poverty that makes unwed women have babies.
|“As for the structure of inequality, individuals’ native abilities are largely irrelevant.”|
Having disposed of the heritability of intelligence and the race/IQ question, the second half of the book is an explanation of how government could make America more equal — by taking money from people who have it and giving it to those who don’t. The authors grudgingly concede that there are already some policies that help the poor but complain, for example, that people actually have to have a taxable income before they can benefit from the earned income tax credit. They want handouts for the poor, centralized wage negotiations, and dream of a “system that encouraged employers to hire more, rather than fewer, workers.” This was tried in the Soviet Union. Only people who seem not to have noticed could write the following two sentences in sequence:
“Many egalitarian policies stimulate and reward energy and initiative. If American law encouraged higher rates of unionization, more jobs would pay a decent wage.”
There doesn’t seem to be much that government can’t do. After it has stimulated initiative through egalitarian policies, it can stimulate old people: “[C]ognitive skills keep changing over the life course and are changed by experience. Policy can intervene here by, for example, increasing older people’s opportunities for intellectual stimulation.”
For people not in the Berkeley sociology department, it is instructive to learn what these people think. Unfortunately, they are unusual only in their explicitness and in their willingness to carry egalitarian ideas to logical conclusions. In piecemeal fashion, ideas like theirs have seeped into popular consciousness and inform not only “liberalism” but much of what passes for political discourse.
Still, only people with doctorates in sociology are likely to write: “As for the structure of inequality, individuals’ native abilities are largely irrelevant.” How many business owners, athletes, musicians, authors, or even jail-birds and Bowery bums would agree with that? For some people, the more they study, the less they seem to know.
IN THE NEWS
O Tempora, O Mores!
Fish Swim, Birds Fly
In October, there were race riots in St. Petersburg, Florida. Two white policemen stopped two black men who were speeding in a stolen car. The driver refused to obey repeated orders to roll down his windows, which were so heavily tinted it was impossible to see into the car. Despite repeated warnings to open his windows and to keep the car still, the driver lurched the car forward, bumping one of the officers four times. The officer, who saw this as an attempt to run him over, finally fired through the windshield, killing the driver.
When word of the incident got out, blacks burned 28 buildings, including a police substation, a post office, and a community center established to provide government services to the neighborhood. In at least one case, rioters looted an Asian-owned store but spared black-owned businesses on either side. Blacks burned police and news vehicles, and attacked passing whites. When rioters started stoning firemen, fire trucks withdrew and a number of buildings were left to burn. At least 11 people were injured and 20 were arrested.
On the day after the riots, young blacks paraded on the street corner where the shooting took place, bearing signs that said, “Stop the genocide,” and “You can’t kill us all.” The mayor of St. Petersburg reported that race relations had never been worse in the city, and called for a federal civil rights investigation. The police chief declared a 72-hour emergency and both the state police and National Guard were put on alert.
The next month, when a grand jury decided that the white officer had been justified in killing the driver, blacks rioted again attacking passing whites, and firing shots at the police. One officer was hit in the leg and the co-pilot of a police helicopter was hit in the arm. A black separatist group called the National People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, which has called for death for the white police officers, had been urging violence if there were no criminal charges. Things would have been worse if 200 police in riot gear had not been deployed in advance of the grand jury’s decision.
The federal government’s reaction is true to form. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Henry Cisneros, has proposed spending $20 million on the black part of town, for job training, public works, and to encourage employers to move there. He said the federal money was not “for the purpose of rewarding any behavior that may have resulted in the disturbance.”
The will of the people of California has been at least temporarily thwarted. Chief U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson has issued a temporary restraining order against implementation of Proposition 209, which would abolish all state-sponsored race and sex preferences. He will hold a hearing in December to determine whether the voter initiative violates the Constitution. At that point he can decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction against the measure, which the state of California could then appeal.
In his ruling, the judge, who is black, wrote:
“Plaintiffs argue that Proposition 209, despite its facial neutrality, violates the Equal Protection Clause because it restructures the political process to disadvantage those seeking to enact affirmative action programs designed to remedy past or present discrimination against women and minorities.”In other words, despite the fact that the proposition says all people are to be treated equally without regard to race or sex, Judge Henderson thinks that it really means they will be treated unequally. Such is the logic of today’s “civil rights” movement.
The case against 209 was argued by Mark Rosenbaum of the American Civil Liberties Union. In 1980, when he was appointed to the bench, Judge Henderson was on the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, the Black American Political Action Committee, and Equal Rights Advocates (a group that litigates against sex discrimination). (Confirmation hearing of Thelton E. Henderson, June 10, 1980, p. 4.)
Big California companies were almost unanimous in opposition to Proposition 209. It took intense lobbying by Gov. Pete Wilson to keep them from lining up behind Pacific Gas & Electric, which publicly opposed the measure. Now, many are saying that 209’s success means only that they must put more effort than ever into “diversity.” (Heather Mac Donald, Race Still Matters to California Companies, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 11, 1996.)
On almost the same day, another federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that blocks a California plan to stop using state money to fund prenatal medicine for illegal immigrants. The state gives prenatal care to some 70,000 illegals every year at an estimated cost of $69 million. (Craig Marine, Judge Blocks Wilson Ban of Illegals’ Prenatal Care, San Francisco Examiner, Nov. 27, 1996, p. A2.) It is not clear why illegals cannot be deported if they can be identified and counted. Of course, all babies are born on American soil become U.S. citizens.
Two years ago, Californians approved a ballot initiative to strip illegal aliens of a number of benefits. This expression of the people’s will has also been thwarted by a federal judge, but is still in litigation. More and more Californians are waking up to the fact that they live under a judicial dictatorship rather than a democracy.
The Great Shakedown
November was a big month for corporate “racial discrimination.” Texaco drew national attention because of a controversy over whether an executive had been caught on tape talking about niggers (the company said he was talking about St. Nicholas). The suit was resolved with a record-breaking and well-publicized settlement for $176 million. Texaco has hired a black ad agency to tout to blacks the company’s “commitment to diversity.” Lawyers for the firm that brought the case against Texaco, Bernstein, Litowitz, Berger, & Grossmann, reported they were getting about ten calls a day from people asking how to sue employers and make a lot of money. Just a few days after the Texaco settlement, 22 former employees of the nation’s largest printing company, R.R. Donnelley and Sons, accused the company of racial discrimination, and demanded $500 million in compensation.
In the same month, both the U.S. State Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms settled multi-million dollar class action suits brought by blacks. Some 245 black ATF agents were to get $4.7 million in an agreement that Hispanic agents (no doubt correctly) called nothing more than quotas for blacks. Black foreign service officers were to get a windfall of $3.8 million.
Likewise in November, three blacks brought a federal class action suit against an Avis Rent-A-Car franchise with outlets in North and South Carolina, claiming they had been turned away because of race. Before the month was out, the owner of Avis, HFS Inc., said it would break its contract with the franchisee, John Dalton. Henry Silverman, chairman of HFS, said he did not know if the bias suit had any merit, but feared that the controversy would hurt Avis as a whole. HFS also hired a law firm to snoop on other Avis franchisees and see if they have been “racist.”
(Jim Fitzgerald, Texaco Argues Claim Of Racism, Associated Press, White Plains, N.Y., Nov. 12, 1996. Texaco Scandal Encourages New Plaintiffs, Reuter, New York, Nov. 25, 1996. Tamara Starks, Donnelley Sued For Race Bias, Associated Press, Chicago, Nov. 26, 1996. Settlement Approved in ATF Race Discrimination Suit, Raleigh News and Observer, Nov. 23, 1996. Avis Wants to Cut Ties With Franchise Owner Accused of Racial Bias, Associated Press, Raleigh, Nov. 26, 1996.)
These cases are infuriating for many reasons. First of all, a private employer should have the right to make hiring decisions on any basis he chooses. Second, the U.S. government and companies like Texaco are probably already giving blacks preferential treatment, and have been snared on the basis of “statistical underrepresentation” alone. Finally, most of the beneficiaries of these “class-action” settlements don’t have to show any actual injury in order to collect; checks and promotions drop out of the sky simply because they are in the “injured” class, which includes all blacks. And, of course, the plaintiffs’ lawyers routinely become millionaires.
The greatest annoyance, however, is the pusillanimous behavior of whites. Not one company has ever mounted a defense on the basis of group differences in ability. They have watched silently as company after company is shaken down for huge settlements, and have meekly accepted the label of “racist,” and the resulting de facto racial quota system of employment. They have done nothing to counter forces that could make it impossible to run a large company in this country without a workforce that is in perfect racial balance — at every level of pay and responsibility — with the surrounding community. If they are beaten by foreign competitors who can actually hire people because they are capable, they will have only themselves to blame.
Glimmerings of Common Sense
A survey of American high school students with A and B averages has unearthed a certain amount of common sense. Fifty-two percent said they thought the country has too many immigrants. Fifty-nine percent said they thought immigration and affirmative action would make it more difficult for them to get jobs. Seventy-two percent of the respondents were girls and 79 percent were white. (Deb Riechmann, Teens: Too Many US Immigrants, AP, Washington, Nov. 13, 1996.)
Army Sex Abuse
Reports that army drill sergeants have been molesting and even raping lady recruits have the feminists and uplift artists in a lather. On the front page of the November 19 New York Times there was a photo of black non-voting congresswoman Eleanor Jordan of the District of Columbia grilling a pair of white generals while two other congresswomen looked on. Once allegations of groping began to emerge others have come in a torrent. So far, only the foreign press seems to have wondered what kept the lid on for so long. Says the Sunday Times of London:
“Another reason why many allegations have been covered up is that the sergeants and officers involved were black and the privates were white. In politically correct America, where race is a sensitive and volatile issue [read: where whites are cowards], it was simpler to disregard the complaints and bury the problem. (James Adams, Women Expose Rape Cover-up by US Army, Sunday Times, Nov. 24, 1996.)Pity the poor white generals. Congress forces them to recruit women and pretend to treat them like men. It then forces them to put white recruits in the hands of all-powerful boot-camp sergeants who are black. Women in congress then yell when officers molest the privates.
Branded a Paedophile
Christopher Brand is a professor of psychology at the University of Edinburgh who has written a sensible book on intelligence called The g Factor (reviewed in AR, July 1996). Because he wrote about the heritability of intelligence and the strong likelihood that blacks are less intelligent than whites, Prof. Brand got into trouble with the media and with his university. In April, his publisher, John Wiley & Sons, suddenly discovered that the book was “repellent,” and withdrew it from stores.
Since that time, the University of Edinburgh has been trying to think of ways to fire Prof. Brand, and has finally hit upon an excuse. In his on-line newsletter, the professor came to the defense of a 73-year-old Nobel prize winner, Carlton Gadjusek, who went on trial in the United States in October for acts of paedophilia committed while doing research in New Guinea.
“It seems incredible that a court should be concerning itself with events of some twenty or thirty years ago that apparently yielded no complaint at the time,” wrote Prof. Brand. “Academic studies and my own experience [when he was a choir boy he was occasionally propositioned by older men] suggest that nonviolent paedophilia with a consenting partner over age 12 does no harm so long as the paedophiles and their partners are of above-average IQ and educational level.”
If Prof. Brand were a liberal, this might be considered a noble form of “gay advocacy,” but in his case, it is “conduct [that] is bringing the university into disrepute.” Prof. Brand has been suspended from all duties and a process has been initiated that could lead to revocation of tenure and dismissal.
More information is available at: www.cycad.com/cgi-bin/Brand/index.html
Carbon dating on the skeleton of a white man, found in a remote part of Washington state, shows that it is some 9,300 years old. This suggests that at least a few whites crossed the land bridge from Asia 12,000 years ago and settled in North America. Scientists are eager to do more studies on the skeleton, but may be stymied by the Umatilla Indian tribe.
The tribe has invoked a 1990 law that requires ancient Indian remains to be turned over to Indians for burial. The Umatilla claim to have an oral history that goes back 10,000 years and that anyone found in their territory must be an ancestor. Anthropologists say it would be nearly impossible to match the skeleton with any American Indian tribe, and that the Indians probably fear the racial implications of the discovery. So far, the Army Corps of Engineers, which has custody of the skeleton, says it will hand the bones over to the Indians. (Timothy Egan, Tribe Stops Study of Bones that Challenge History, New York Times, Sept. 30, 1996, p. A1.)
‘Mind Frame of Entitlement’
In 1994, Chicago’s most famous woman, black talk show host Oprah Winfrey, announced that she would finance a program to get 100 poor families off public aid. Two years and $1.3 million later, only five families have gone through the self-help training — with indifferent success — and the program is on hold.
Even the most ardent liberals are scratching their heads over the results. The program was called Families for a Better Life, and was administered by Chicago’s most famous benevolence agency, the Jane Addams Hull House Association, which heavily loaded the dice in favor of success. After Miss Winfrey’s much ballyhooed announcement, 30,000 people called, asking to take part. Hull House ended up sending out 4,000 applications to people who met the criteria for participation: poor people who lived in public housing. Out of the 1,600 applications they got back, they picked six women with children and one married couple with children. These people were thought to have the best possible chances of getting out of poverty, and were not typical welfare bums. No one had a drug or alcohol problem, and four of the seven families had a member who had completed some college. One woman was actually in college when the program started and another was in nursing school.
The eight-week training program involved intensive doses of such mumbo-jumbo as “setting directions,” “preparing for change,” and “taking risks.” All participants got spending money and, if necessary, driving lessons, help with house-cleaning, and cooking lessons. Two families dropped out.
The progress of the remaining participants has not been stunning. Four of the five families were on AFDC when the program started. One is still on it, and another is getting food stamps. Four of the families had an adult who had at least a part-time job when the program began. Two of these people now work full-time, two still work part-time, and the one who started out with no job still doesn’t have one. The women who were attending college and nursing school are still in school.
Isabel Blanco, who ran the program for Hull House says that no matter how carefully the candidates were screened they still had “the mind frame of entitlement.” “We had to keep emphasizing that this is not about what you get. This is about what you do.” Even the Chicago Tribune, in a lengthy account of the program, concluded that poor people lead such disorganized lives and have been so bred to a hand-out mentality that their mentality “def[ies] even programs designed to overcome these obstacles.” (Louise Kiernan, Oprah’s Poverty Program Stalls, Chicago Tribune, Aug. 27, 1996, p. 1.)
Freedom of Religion
Under the guise of attending Islamic prayer services, prostitutes have been entering the D.C. maximum security prison at Lorton, Virginia, to peddle their wares and sell drugs. The women claimed to be members of the Moorish Science Temple of America, and because they were thought to be coming for religious services at the jail they were not subject to usual search procedures. Guards fear lawsuits on religious freedom grounds if they pat down congregants, so it was easy for the women to smuggle drugs.
The “services” were held in a room into which guards could look through a small window, but prisoners set up partitions to block the view. Inside, the prostitutes handed over the cocaine and had sex with prisoners. Another prisoner videotaped the encounters and sold the tapes to other inmates. Thirty-six women and two men have been arrested for a pattern of behavior that dates back to early 1995. (Gretchen Lacharite, Religion Used as Guise for Lorton Sex, Drug Ring, Washington Times, Sept. 27, 1996, p. A1.)
The University of Pennsylvania is one of many American campuses that was established in a civilized city but is now surrounded by squalor and savagery. In the month of September alone, 28 students were mugged or robbed on or near the campus. In the latest incident, a 21-year-old student was shot twice while he was walking near the campus with two friends. The predation continues despite strict security measures that cost the university about $15 million a year. (Kimberly McLarin, Robberies Near Penn Spark Fears, New York Times, Sept. 27, 1996.)
As was the case in the previous Presidential election, whites did not get the candidate they voted for. Robert Dole edged out William Clinton, 45 to 44 percent among whites (Ross Perot got nine percent of the vote). Interestingly, Asians voted for Mr. Dole by an even greater margin: 49 to 42 percent. Mr. Clinton won, thanks to the black vote (84 percent to 12), and the Hispanic vote (72 to 21 percent). (Vote for the President, U.S.A. Today, Nov. 7, 1996.)
A black judge in Pensacola, Florida, has given a black defendant a slap on the wrist for beating up a white police officer. In September, Raymond Hewitt was leaving a night club and was accused by the doorman of using false identification. Mr. Hewitt, who is black, says the doorman was being “racist.” There was an altercation, and the doorman called for help. A white police officer, Mark Holmes, was on bicycle patrol wearing civilian clothes and answered the call. He says he identified himself as a police officer repeatedly and showed his badge. Mr. Hewitt says Mr. Holmes attacked him without provocation. In any case, Mr. Hewitt knocked the white officer to the ground and beat him severely.
Mr. Hewitt pleaded no contest to battery on a law-enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, and criminal mischief. The black sentencing judge, Ken Williams, let him go with a $253 fine and an order to pay for the officer’s broken glasses. He said the beating was “a one-time unfortunate incident,” and that police have sometimes beaten criminals more severely than officer Holmes was beaten. Pensacola police chief, Norman Chapman is furious. “The message is you can come to Pensacola, beat up a police officer, get a $250 fine and leave without a criminal record.” (Judge, Police Feud Over Sentence in Officer’s Beating,Tallahasse Democrat,Nov.12,1996,p.3B.)
Until now, the Delaware Bar Association and the Delaware state government have sponsored a minorities-only clerkship program for law school students. Two whites sued for discrimination and received $20,000 settlements. The Clinton Justice Department sided with the sponsors of the program because, as one of the lawyers who represented the students put it, “the Clinton Administration has never met a quota it won’t defend.” (Delaware Desegregates, Human Events, Nov. 8, 1996, p. 25.)
Calling all Black Saxons
The Coca-Cola Foundation has established a new, full-tuition scholarship at the University of Arkansas. As a spokesman for the university explains, it is available to “anyone other than white Anglo-Saxons.” “The neat part about this scholarship is that it’s based on merit,” she adds. “We’ve never had a minority scholarship based on merit before. Usually, the scholarships are based only on financial need.” The meritorious non-Anglo-Saxon must maintain a grade-point average of 3.0 in order to get the money. (Tammy Williams, Minority Merit Scholarships Established, Arkansas Traveler (University of Arkansas at Fayetteville), Nov. 15, 1996.)
Ford Motor Company wants non-white suppliers to account for five percent of its purchases by the year 2000. In order to help such suppliers financially, it has agreed to pay the interest on some of their loans. This program is not open to white-owned companies. (Ford to Pay Interest for Minority Suppliers, Washington Times, Nov. 8, 1996, p. E12.)
Sign of Things to Come
One of the common ways to “fight apartheid” in the black townships was to refuse to pay utility bills. The new government has tried to get blacks to pay up, but with only modest success. Now, in Johannesburg, the plan is to increase rates in the white parts of town by as much as 300 percent to subsidize service for blacks. Whites have actually marched in protest over the move and are threatening a rate boycott of their own. (Sudarsan Raghaven, South African Whites Balk at High Utility Bills, San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 24, 1996, p. C2.)
Holding the Bag
A jury in Minneapolis has awarded $400,000 to a black baggage handler for Northwest Airlines because of “racism.” In 1992, after he was involved in an accident, Robert Landon was tested for drugs and was found to have marijuana in his system. He was then fired. It is Northwest policy to test people for drugs after an accident if they appear to be acting abnormal. Witnesses said that Mr. Landon was not acting abnormally, and the jury was persuaded that the decision to test him was based on race. (Jury Awards Bag Handler $400K, Associated Press, Minneapolis, Nov. 28, 1996.)
Nat Turner, Role Model
Grolier Inc. publishes a series of books for young people on black history. One of the titles is Nat Turner: Slave Revolt Leader. In 1831, Turner led a small-scale slave rebellion, in which about 60 whites were killed, mostly in their sleep. Here are passages from the book:
“As the General, the Prophet, the leader of the rebellion, Turner knew that he must strike the first blow and draw first blood. He struck with a blunt sword, and the master of Travis farm screamed bloody murder. Will moved in from behind and finished off Travis and his wife before they were fully awake.
“Downstairs, the other men began to kill the rest of the whites in the house, one of them being 12 year old Putnam … Soon all in the house were dead but an infant, momentarily forgotten in its cradle. Remembering Turner’s instruction to “spare neither age nor sex,’ Henry Porter and Will returned upstairs and killed the child.”
Coretta Scott King says this series of books can help the reader “discover the principles that we will use to guide our lives.” (Circular from Heritage Preservation Association, 1996, no date.)
Meanwhile, Simon & Schuster’s children’s publishing division has just released its Winter, 1997 catalogue. Books for blacks are sprinkled throughout the 50-page catalogue, but there is a five-page section, beginning on page 5, that is exclusively black. One title is Mississippi Chariot, which unfolds in the following setting: “In Depression-era Mississippi, twelve-year-old Shortnin’ Bread Jackson discovers his father may be lynched for a crime he didn’t commit.” Power to the People, about the Black Panther Party, describes its criminal founders, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, as “two feisty youngsters.” Some titles appear to be realistic inspirational stories. Forged by Fire is about a black teenager “who has to overcome a home of addiction and abuse to save his sister and himself.”
More Good Democrats
The motor-voter law requires states to let people register to vote when they get a license or to take them to the nearest voter registration office. Across the country, social service agencies are interpreting this to mean that they are to register mentally retarded inmates of public institutions. In practice, this often means that the people who tend the inmates cast their ballots for them. Interestingly, some of the fiercest opposition to this practice comes from the parents of adult inmates. They know very well that their children are incompetent and think it is an outrage to give them the vote. (Christi Parsons, Mentally Disabled Join Voter Ranks, Chicago Tribune, Oct. 17, 1996, p. 1.)
LETTERS FROM READERS
Sir — I greatly enjoyed Edwin Clark’s learned series on the origins of the white man. If I may quote him, he concludes by saying that we must “learn from these ancient and noble warriors…from them we can remember who we are and where we come from.” The problem, though, is one that Mr. Clark points out earlier:
“Having conquered them [other races] through military combat and technological and economic progress, we nevertheless face racial and cultural extinction as the perversion of our strengths into weakness is exploited against us and our rivals seek victory through our back doors.”
How true and how tragic! Whites are marvelous in the face of clear, physical threat, but they appear to have no defense against trickery. They are helpless against the gradual encroachments of socialism, the clever distortions of old truths, the cumulative effects of court decisions, the gradual discrediting of racial traditions.
Whites still have the sound instincts of their ancestors. Through publications like AR, those baffled instincts can be given a focus. Once our natural dynamism and courage can be again enlisted in our own interests, we will easily shake off our tormentors.
Cullen Atwood, Fort Worth, Tx.
Sir — You often publish articles about “white racial capitulation,” “our current decline,” and “suicidal liberalism.” Having taught for 32 years in several large universities, I am inclined to attribute the rise of “suicidal liberalism” to the effects of university education. Since about 1920, an ever-increasing portion of the American population has been attending colleges and has thus been subjected to the “thinking” of their faculties, especially in the social sciences. These fields attract many liberals who promote suicidal thinking that has come to have a strong influence on American Life.
Still another factor that intensifies “suicidal liberalism” is the sickeningly destructive Second World War, which had to be rationalized as a struggle against “racism.” The psychological effects of this war are still very much with us.
On what can we pin our hopes for an awakening? The small, oppositional, truly patriotic print medium seems to be our best hope, even if such periodicals have small circulations. If whites have not lost the will to survive they should seek out such periodicals and subscribe to them, if only for a sense of solidarity.
Charles Weber, Tulsa, Ok.
Sir — About six months ago, I predicted that if the California Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI) ending racial preferences passed, it would ultimately be declared unconstitutional on the grounds that it violated the 14th amendment guarantee of “equal protection of the laws.” The rationale for this, I said, would be that since America is a racist, discriminatory country, equal treatment under the law requires that different groups be treated unequally. The prediction was so far out that it had a science fiction or Orwellian ring to it, though I did believe it would come to pass. Yesterday, a federal judge put a restraining order on CCRI, pending a hearing next month. He said that based on the plaintiffs’ arguments, it is likely that CCRI will be found to violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
We are living in an Orwellian world. If the Constitution can be taken to mean the opposite of what it plainly means, and can become a mandate for socialist tyranny, then the United States of America is really finished.
If the judge voids CCRI, will the Supreme Court affirm his decision?
Maybe, maybe not. But even if in this instance the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of CCRI, I believe that ultimately, as America becomes more diverse, the Supreme Court will say that “equal protection” under the 14th amendment requires racial preferences.
Lawrence Auster, New York, N.Y.
Sir — Let me quote from the October issue in which you discuss the “defeated state of mind now common among whites.” Whites have lost the capacity to judge,” “distinctions require judgment,” “what has brought about the destruction of distinctions?”
Later, as if in answer to your own question, you promote the CCRI simply as “a ballot measure that would prohibit state-sponsored racial preferences,” despite the fact that the CCRI repeats the language of the 1964 Civil Rights Act mandating equal treatment. You list our inability to make distinctions and then support the very statutory language that started the problem in the first place! You rightly complain of our inability to distinguish between men and women, yet condone the law that tries to render us androgynous and interchangeable!
Edward Chuynoweth, Sanger, Ca.
Sir — Professor Edward Miller of the University of New Orleans has come under attack merely for pointing out, in a letter to a weekly newspaper, that there is expert scientific consensus about the correlations between brain size, race, and IQ. Full details of his story and of the disgraceful way he has been treated are available at www.csra.net/lrand/miller.htm.
William Summers, Manhattan, Kan.