American Renaissance archives
|Vol 9, No. 12||December 1998|
Race and the American Identity, Part I
To claim that we are a “universal nation” is to deny the past.
In December 1991, as Pat Buchanan announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, the Republic was edified by the reflections of columnist George Will. Mr. Will quoted from a column by Mr. Buchanan to the effect that “No one questions the right of the Arabs to have an Arab nation, of China to be a Chinese nation… Must we absorb all the people of the world into our society and submerge our historic character as a predominantly Caucasian Western society?” and then proceeded to explain what was wrong with the candidate’s reasoning. Mr. Buchanan, he wrote, “evidently does not understand what distinguishes American nationality — and should rescue our nationalism from nativism. Ours is, as the first Republican president said, a nation dedicated to a proposition. Becoming an American is an act of political assent, not a matter of membership in any inherently privileged group, Caucasian or otherwise. The ‘Euro-Americans’ who founded this nation did not want anything like China or Arabia — or any European nation, for that matter.”
Mr. Will’s bald assertion that America is a “nation” defined by no particular racial or ethnic identity and indeed by no particular content whatsoever is not unique. The best-known formulation of the same idea is the phrase popularized by Ben Wattenberg, that America is the “first universal nation,” and indeed only this year the new Washington editor of National Review, John J. Miller, has published a book, The Un-Making of Americans, in which he too asserts the universalist identity of the nation and uses that concept as the basis for endorsing virtually unlimited immigration. “The United States can welcome immigrants and transform them into Americans,” Mr. Miller writes, “because it is a ‘proposition country.’” The proposition by which the American nation defines itself, the sentence fragment from the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal, means that the “very sense of peoplehood derives not from a common language but from their adherence to a set of core principles about equality, liberty, and self-government. These ideas [Mr. Miller writes] … are universal. They apply to all humankind. They know no racial or ethnic limits. They are not bound by time or history. And they lie at the center of American nationhood. Because of this, these ideas uphold an identity into which immigrants from all over the world can assimilate, so long as they, too, dedicate themselves to the proposition.”
|We are seeing the emergence, not just of a One Party State in the United States, but also of a Single Ideology.|
Nor is the idea of America as a universal nation confined to the contemporary right. Historically, it is based on a core concept of the left, born in the salons of the Enlightenment and underlying the French Revolution’s commitment to a universal “liberty, equality, and fraternity” — which was sometimes imposed at the points of rather unfraternal bayonets. Today it continues to inform the American left as well as the right. Bill Clinton himself last year cited the projected racial transformation of the United States from a majority white to a majority non-white country in the next century as a change that “will arguably be the third great revolution in America … to prove that we literally can live without in effect having a dominant European culture. We want to become a multiracial, multiethnic society. We’re not going to disintegrate in the face of it.” More recently, in remarks at commencement exercises at Portland State University in Oregon in June, Mr. Clinton praised the prospect of virtually unlimited immigration as a “powerful reminder that our America is not so much a place as a promise, not a guarantee but a chance, not a particular race but an embrace of our common humanity.”
The idea of America as a universal nation, then, is an idea shared by and increasingly defining both sides of the political spectrum in the United States. The fact that the right, in such persons as Mr. Will, Mr. Wattenberg, and Mr. Miller, to name but a few, does share that idea with Mr. Clinton helps explain why the right today can think of nothing better to criticize the president for than his sex life and his aversion to telling the truth. Any substantial criticism of his globalist foreign policy, his defense of affirmative action, his policy of official normalization of homosexuality, his support for mass immigration, and in particular his “national dialogue on race” would involve a criticism and a rejection of the universalist assumptions on which those policies are based.
The common universalist assumptions of both left and right, then, are a major reason for the rapid convergence of left and right in our political life.
|The equality clause of the Declaration is one of the most arcane — and one of the most dangerous — ever written.|
They are the reason why, to coin a phrase, there is not a dime’s worth of difference between them on so many issues and a major reason why we are seeing the emergence, not just of a One Party State in the United States, but also of a Single Ideology that informs the state and the culture. As I discovered myself, those who dissent from the Single Ideology of a Universal Nation or Proposition Country are not allowed to express their views even in self-proclaimed conservative newspapers [Dr. Francis was fired as staff columnist for the Washington Times because of his speech at the 1994 AR conference], and it is hardly an accident that Mr. Miller accuses me in his recent book of what he calls “racial paranoia.” Prior to his elevation to National Review, he admitted that he had “wanted to run [me] out of polite society for months, if not for years.” Nor am I the only journalist to discover that you get “run out of polite society” for departing from the Single Ideology of Universalism. Joe Sobran, the New York Post’s Scott McConnell, and National Review’s Peter Brimelow have all met the same fate for essentially the same reason, though all of them remain in circles rather more polite than the ones I travel in.
But the most casual acquaintance with the realities of American history shows that the idea that America is or has been a universal nation, that it defines itself through the proposition that “all men are created equal,” is a myth. Indeed, it is something less than a myth, it is a mere propaganda line invoked to justify not only mass immigration and the coming racial revolution but also the erosion of nationality itself in globalist free trade and a One World political architecture. It also justifies the total reconstruction and re-definition of the United States as a multiracial, multicultural, and transnational swamp. Nevertheless, the myth of the universal nation or proposition country is widely accepted, and today it represents probably the major ideological obstacle to recognizing the reality and importance of race as a social and political force.
In the first place, it is not true, as Miller writes, that the “Proposition” that “all men are created equal” and the ideas derived from it are universal and “not bound by time or history.” If that were true, there would never have been any dispute about them, let alone wars and revolutions fought over them. No one fights wars about the really self-evident axioms of Euclidean geometry. Mr. Miller’s propositions are very clearly the products of a very particular time and place — late 18th century Europe and America — and would have been almost inconceivable fifty years earlier or fifty years later. Nor have they ever appeared in any other political society at any other time absent their diffusion from Europe or America. They are based on concepts of anthropology and history, including an entirely fictitious “state of nature,” a “social contract,” and a view of human nature as a tabula rasa, that no student of human society or psychology took seriously after the mid-19th century.
Secondly, it is by no means clear what the proposition that “all men are created equal” does mean, either objectively or in the minds of those who drafted and adopted it in the Declaration. Assuming that “men” means women and children as well as men, does it mean that all humans are born equal, that they are equal, or that they are created equal by God? If they are born or created equal, do they remain equal? If they don’t remain equal, why do the rights with which they are supposedly endowed remain equal, or do those rights remain equal? If they are created equal by God, how do we know this, and what does it mean anyway? We certainly do not know from the Old Testament that God created all men equal, because most of it is about the history of a people “chosen” by God and favored by Him above others. Does it mean that God created humans equal in a spiritual sense, and if so, what does that spiritual equality have to do with political and social or even legal equality? Or does it mean that we were created equal in some material or physical sense, that we all have one head and two legs and two arms and so forth? If it means the latter, it is true but platitudinous.
In short, taken out of the context of the whole document of the Declaration and the historical context and circumstances of the document itself, the “equality clause” of the Declaration opens so many different doors of interpretation that it can mean virtually anything you want it to mean. It has been invoked by Christians and freethinkers, by capitalists and socialists, by conservatives and liberals, each of whom merely imports into it whatever his own ideology and agenda demand. Taken by itself, it is open to so many different interpretations that it has to be considered one of the most arcane — and one of the most dangerous — sentences ever written, one of the major blunders of American history.
Yet, if the sentence is taken to imply that race and other natural and social categories are without meaning or importance, it ought to be clear that America as a historic society has never been defined by that meaning. The existence of slavery at the time of the Declaration and well after, and the fact that no small number of the signers of the Declaration were slave-owners and that some parts of Jefferson’s original draft denouncing the slave trade were removed because they were objectionable to Southern slave-owners ought to make that plain on its face.
The particularism, racial and otherwise, that made the American people a nation was very clearly seen by John Jay, in a now famous passage of The Federalist Papers, No. 2, that:
“Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people — a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs…”
The racial unity of the nation is clear in Jay’s phrase about “the same ancestors,” and with respect to the U.S. Constitution, although the words “slave” and “slavery” did not appear in the text until the 13th Amendment, the Constitution is, as historian William Wiecik of Syracuse Law School writes, “permeated” with slavery:
“So permeated was the Constitution with slavery that no less than nine of its clauses directly protected or referred to it. In addition to the three well-known clauses (three-fifths, slave trade, and fugitive slave), the Constitution embodied two clauses that redundantly required apportionment of direct taxes on the federal-number basis (the purpose being to prohibit Congress from levying an unapportioned capitation on slaves as an indirect means of encouraging their emancipation); two clauses empowering Congress to suppress domestic insurrections, which in the minds of the delegates included slave uprisings; a clause making two provisions (slave trade and apportionment of direct taxes) unamendable, the latter providing a perpetual security against some possible antislavery impulse; and two clauses forbidding the federal government and the states from taxing exports, the idea being to prohibit an indirect tax on slavery by the taxation of the products of slave labor.”
Moreover, Professor Wiecik notes, with respect to the changes in the Constitution after the Civil War,
“Only by recognizing the extent to which the constitutional vision of Lincoln and the Republicans was a departure from the original Constitution can we understand the long struggles through the war, Reconstruction, and after to incorporate black Americans into the constitutional regime. Freedom, civil rights, and equality for them were not the delayed but inevitable realization of some immanent ideal in the Constitution. On the contrary, black freedom and equality were, and are, a revolutionary change in the original constitutional system, truly a new order of the ages not foreseen, anticipated, or desired by the framers.”
But even aside from slavery, the persistence of clear and widespread recognition of the reality and importance of race throughout American history shows that Americans never considered themselves a universal nation in the sense intended today. Historian David Potter writes:
“The ‘free’ Negro of the northern states of course escaped chattel servitude, but he did not escape segregation, or discrimination, and he enjoyed few civil rights. North of Maryland, free Negroes were disfranchised in all of the free states except the four of upper New England; in no state before 1860 were they permitted to serve on juries; everywhere they were either segregated in separate public schools or excluded from public schools altogether, except in parts of Massachusetts after 1845; they were segregated in residence and in employment and occupied the bottom levels of income; and at least four states — Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Oregon — adopted laws to prohibit or exclude Negroes from coming within their borders.”
Nor were blacks the only non-white racial group to be excluded from civic membership. The first naturalization act passed by Congress under the Constitution in 1790 limited citizenship to “white men,” and even after citizenship was granted to blacks through the 14th Amendment, naturalization continued to be forbidden to Asians: to Chinese until World War II, and to Japanese even later. Racial and ethnic restrictions on immigration remained in federal immigration law until 1965, when they were removed, as Larry Auster has shown, after sponsors of the reform assured opponents that removing them would not alter the ethnic and cultural composition of the nation — an assurance we now know to have been false.
Samuel Francis is a syndicated columnist and author of Beautiful Losers and Revolution From the Middle. This article, which will conclude in the next issue, is adapted from his remarks at the AR conference held in August, 1998 .
‘Jungles and Savages’
A first-rate account of the European conquest of Africa.
Divide and Rule: The Partition of Africa, 1880-1914, H.L. Wesseling (trans: Arnold Pomerans), Praeger, 1996, 446 pp., $29.95 (soft cover).
The colonization of Africa was one of the most colorful chapters in the history of European expansion. It is common to think of it as a period of greed tempered by occasional flashes of Christian idealism, but it was a great deal more than that. Just how much more is recounted clearly and divertingly in this excellent history originally published in Dutch, in 1991. Prof. H.L. Wesseling of the University of Leiden presents the crucial 35 years of African partition in a way that is both accessible to the layman and entertaining to the specialist. Divide and Rule is an ideal introduction to a geopolitical adventure that dates from the high-water mark of European self-confidence, but that sowed the seeds for the massive immigration of ex-subjects that now plagues the former colonizers.
As Unknown as the Moon
As Prof. Wesseling points out, Europeans had been colonizing America, Asia, and the antipodes for centuries before they set their sights on Africa. This was because the continent was so disease-ridden, and because the only useful things it produced — ivory and slaves — could be had by trade. Until the mid-nineteenth century the interior was as unknown to Europeans as the surface of the moon. With better medicine it became possible for at least a few hardy white men to tramp the jungle and survive, and once Europe began to take an interest in Africa it carved the whole continent into colonies and protectorates in a matter of a few decades.
What started the scramble? Prof. Wesseling suggests that it was a combination of French ambition and British reluctance to be left out. Once the rush was on, though, everyone else seemed to think he had to have part of Africa, too.
|Africa’s early exports.|
For the French, defeat in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871 was an important catalyst. Having lost Alsace and Lorraine to the Germans, they hoped to rebuild national prestige through overseas exertion; some politicians even dreamed of getting back the lost provinces by offering chunks of Africa to the Germans. Also, after the socialist uprising of the Paris Commune immediately after the war, French politicians thought distant bits of empire would be useful whenever it was necessary to banish trouble-makers. There was also much public enthusiasm for empire, so France had both a clear strategic purpose in Africa and the will to carry it out.
The British were more restrained. No one in government thought African colonies would be anything but a financial drain and administrative headache, and for years, Britain turned colonies away. For example, Prof. Wesseling reports that Lovett Cameron was the first explorer to cross the continent from East to West. He spent two years at it, staggering out to the mouth of the Congo in 1875. In the process, he claimed everything he saw for the queen but the queen wasn’t interested. The Foreign Office explained that Britain had no need for “more jungles and more savages.”
In 1882, when a British consul in West Africa argued for a protectorate, the secretary for the colonies turned him down with the laconic explanation: “The coast is pestilential; the natives numerous and unmanageable.” The previous year, Zanzibar had asked Britain to make it a protectorate, but the Foreign Office declined.
The British Prime Minister for most of the time between 1885 and 1902, when much of the partition took place, was Lord Salisbury. Prof. Wesseling credits his diplomatic skill with preventing serious disputes among the Europeans. Salisbury thought of himself as born to govern — his ancestors had been running the country for centuries — and he viewed foreign affairs with humor and detachment. “British policy is to drift lazily downstream, occasionally putting out a boat-hook to avoid a collision,” he once explained. He thought Africa was a sideshow and joked about the horsetrading that went into drawing colonial borders: “We have been giving away mountains and rivers and lakes to each other, hindered only by the small impediment that we never knew exactly where the mountains and rivers and lakes were.” He also complained that “constant study of maps is apt to disturb a man’s reasoning powers.”
The British hated having to manage natives, but did not want to be left without influence. As one consul put it, “so long as we keep other European nations out we need not be in a hurry to go in.” It was the ambitions of the pesky French that made it necessary to “go in.” As Percy Anderson of the Foreign Office complained in 1883, West Africa was “a question between British Protectorates, which would be unwelcome, and French Protectorates, which would be fatal.” However, by 1887, the new Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain (father of Neville) was an ardent imperialist, who loved to plant the flag as much as the French did.
One of the principles of colonization was that of the “hinterland,” the idea that settling the coast entitled a European power to inland territory. Some countries were more ardent hinterlanders than others. As one British undersecretary complained, “If the French or Germans have a strip of coast they claim, and claim successfully, everything behind it to the North Pole.”
|Africa in 1914|
French West Africa
For the French in West Africa, though, it was the natives who were the main problem, not the British. The areas France was after had been penetrated by Islam, which brought with it strong government and anti-infidel fervor. There may have been little choice in the matter, but the men on the ground tended to think all problems had military solutions.
One of France’s toughest problems was Samory Touré, West Africa’s most talented military organizer and empire builder. He fought the French off and on for 17 years before he was finally captured and exiled to Gabon. The king of Dahomey also put up a stiff fight, with the help of his famous troop of Amazons. These women were wives of the king and were not allowed to have relations with other men; Prof. Wesseling reports that enforced chastity was said to explain their ferocity.
Actually, the greatest killer of the French was disease. When soldiers could actually find their enemies, Western fire-power usually won the day. The French also discovered that natives could be turned into useful soldiers, and Senegalese infantry won many battles for them. All in all, French imperialism was a martial sort of business, and many of the famous names on the French side of the First World War first saw action in West Africa.
It was in East Africa, though, at the face-down at Fashoda in 1898, that France nearly came to blows with England. One of the few things Britain really cared about in all of Africa was control of the Nile, and the French thought they could steal a march and claim the headwaters in the Sudan. Jean-Baptiste Marchand had been raising French flags along the White Nile when Lord Kitchener marched into town and told him to clear out. Kitchener was fresh from a victory in Khartoum, where he had killed 11,000 rebellious Sudanese (Kipling’s “fuzzy-wuzzies”) at a loss of only 48 of his own men. Marchand, badly outgunned, took down his flags and went home. This was mortification for the French, who even considered declaring war. Prof. Wesseling tells the famous story — as he does so many others — with just the right combination of economy and piquant detail.
Colonization was not, of course, without its catastrophes for the British, and it was one of the these that had brought Kitchener to the Sudan in the first place. Britain had stumbled into control of Egypt in 1882, at a point when Egypt had just taken over the Sudan. The Sudanese were not keen on either the British or the Egyptians, and the fuzzy-wuzzies (properly known as the mahdists) were making trouble. Charles George “Chinese” Gordon, the copy-book model of the eminent Victorian, went to Khartoum in 1885 to restore order but was killed in a siege. Gordon’s death was a tremendous shock; it was hardly assuaged when the leader of the victorious mahdists later wrote to Queen Victoria, inviting her to come to the Sudan, submit to him, and convert to Islam. It took the British 14 years to avenge the death of Gordon, but they took care of the French on the same trip.
One of the most amazing of the many amazing adventures Prof. Wesseling recounts is the establishment of the Belgian Congo. This was the doing of a single man, King Leopold II who was, in the professor’s words, “the constitutional ruler of a small but respected country which wanted no part of colonies, and at the same time a colonial conquistador in his private capacity and before long sole ruler over a gigantic colony.”
Leopold was a huge man with huge appetites, who toured the capitals of Europe looking for good food and underage women. He was also the sort who gave colonialism a bad name. He thought colonies were good for one thing — exploitation — and before he sank his hooks into Africa, he looked all over the world for prey. At one time he wanted to buy the Philippines and he even considered a pirate rate on the Japanese treasury.
However, he knew enough to drape his avarice with talk of philanthropy, and by the time he got serious about Africa, he was full of pieties about missionary work and putting down the slave trade. The king fell in with another man who was, in his own way, just as colorful: Henry Morton Stanley. Together, they founded an African empire that was several times the size of Europe.
Stanley, Prof. Wesseling tells us, was born in Wales to unmarried parents, sent to a workhouse, escaped to America, fought on both sides in the War Between the States, and finally found his niche as a war correspondent. The New York Herald packed him off to Africa to find David Livingstone. Finding Livingstone ensured Stanley’s fame and gave him a taste for Africa. He was exceptionally healthy, and was often the only white man to survive an expedition. He did not believe in roughing it, though, and always traveled with a portable bed, a silver toilet set, and plenty of champagne.
He was all set to claim great chunks of Africa for his native England, but ran into two obstacles. Queen Victoria didn’t like him — she called him “a determined, ugly, little man” — and the Foreign Office still wasn’t interested in more jungle and savages. Desperate to claim the Congo for someone, Stanley went to work for Leopold. The Belgian government did not want the bother of running colonies, so the king set about acquiring Europe’s only privately-held empire.
Treaties With Chiefs
One of the great curiosities of African colonization was its sham legalism. Stanley could not simply wander around staking claims for Leopold. He had to find some local chief, get him to sign over sovereignty, and get the treaty recognized by the European powers. Stanley went back to Africa with sheafs of pre-printed treaties with blanks for chiefs to make their marks. All told, he and his men brought home three or four hundred of them. At the time, Pierre de Brazza was trying to sign up some of the same territory for France, so the years 1879 and 1880 saw a great deal of crashing through the jungle and looking for chiefs.
As Prof. Wesseling points out, one can well wonder what the Africans thought about this. Some chiefs were apparently coerced into signing but many were glad to make a mark in return for a few bottles of gin or a snappy uniform. Back in Europe there was much skepticism about treaties signed with people who could not read. Bismarck once pointed out that it was suspiciously easy “to come by a piece of paper with a lot of Negro crosses at the bottom.” Nevertheless, since all the colonizing powers were collecting treaties, no one scrutinized anyone else’s too closely for fear his own might be found to be worthless.
In the end, King Leopold got the Congo, but at a price. Empire bled King Leopold white. He sold the livery off his servants’ backs, skimped on meals, and eventually had to borrow money from the Belgian government to keep the colony going. In 1908 Belgium had to take over despite its reluctance to manage natives.
Another less-than-enthusiastic colonizer was Germany. After the Franco-Prussian War, it found itself a great power at a time when great powers were acquiring colonies. Bismarck was not convinced colonies were worth the trouble, but the people were clamoring for them. “That whole colonial business is a sham,” he once said, “but we need it for the elections.”
Germany was more or less pushed into empire. Carl Peters, for example, was a private citizen who defied the opposition of the German government and set off for East Africa with a bundle of treaties. In 1884 he went on a signing jag, picking up in about a month 55,000 square miles of what is now mostly Tanzania. His methods, as Prof. Wesseling describes them, were pretty typical: “The signing ceremony was usually preceded by a merry-making session, during which guns were fired, German songs sung, schnapps was drunk …”
|East African village?|
He came home brandishing his treaties, and tried to whoop up public support for ratification. He said East Africa was “sublimely beautiful,” and in his enthusiasm even claimed parts of it were really rather like Heidelberg. The German government swallowed hard and bowed to the popular will.
Bismarck, still deeply skeptical, was determined to run colonies without spending money. He appointed “chartered companies” and gave them commercial monopolies in return for governing the colonies. Empire on the cheap didn’t work. Chartered companies floundered and the Reich had to take over; Bismarck cursed the very idea of Africa.
Interestingly, the British tried chartered companies and failed, too. Only the French, who were serious about empire, never fooled themselves into thinking it would be cheap or could be left to businessmen.
There is no denying that European expansion was sometimes unpleasant for Africans, and it is certainly true that Europeans sometimes treated Africans more ruthlessly than they would have treated each other. For example, the French Voulet-Chanoine mission of 1899, which was supposed to march to Lake Chad, requisitioned supplies from the natives in a most bloodthirsty manner. However, this caused a huge scandal in France, and the government was relieved to learn that Paul Voulet and Julien Chanoine had managed to get themselves shot. Nevertheless, it could well be argued that the worst colonial excesses were committed against a white population — the Boers.
As Prof. Wesseling points out, what the Dutch-descended Boers cared about most was freedom. They set out on the Great Trek in 1835 to escape from British rule, find an uninhabited part of the continent, and build a country. They built two — the Transvaal and the Orange Free State — but freedom did not last long. The British were feeling expansive and wouldn’t leave the Afrikaners alone. The result was a brisk little war, which the Boers surprised everyone by winning. In 1881, Britain recognized the independence of the two Boer states.
All might have been well had not gold been discovered in the Transvaal. The British appear to have been willing to let their defeat go unavenged, but they could not bear to let unmannerly Afrikaners get all that gold. In 1899, on the pretext that Boer authorities were mistreating Englishmen in the Transvaal, Britain started the second Boer War. This was a hard slog, which took three years and half a million British soldiers to win. The entire Boer population was armed and hostile, and the British resorted to terror tactics and concentration camps. By war’s end, 30,000 Boers had died in camps, 20,000 of them children under age sixteen. All of Europe was revolted by British tactics, but no one was willing to fight England to save the Boers. It would be hard to think of another major war that was fought for so purely mercenary reasons.
By the end, therefore, Britain was as resolutely imperialist as the French. Although the cost of acquiring each additional British subject had been about 15 pence a head elsewhere in Africa, each Boer cost about £1,000 to subjugate.
Lessons of Empire
Colonization was full of drama and adventure — much of Divide and Rule reads like a novel — but, as Prof. Wesseling points out, it all ended with a fizzle. Although at the turn of the century Britain was willing to kill thousands of white men for gold and country, only 60 years later virtually all of Africa was independent. In Prof. Wesseling’s words it “reverted to what it had been before the partition: a continent of little importance to Europe.”
Blunt assessment of this kind is one of the book’s great strengths. Prof. Wesseling tells us the story — and tells it well — but does not moralize. To be sure, not everything he describes redounds to the glory of Europe, but he has no illusions about the sweetness of African folkways either. He notes that many Europeans devoted their lives to fighting slavery, cannibalism, child sacrifice, illiteracy, and witchcraft.
Aside from the liveliness of the subject and of Prof. Wesseling’s style, this is an extraordinary record of a mentality that is today almost impossible to imagine. The West was supremely confident, and no European disputed the white man’s right, even duty, to rule the world. It was also a time of deep patriotism. Many Europeans risked leaving their bones in Africa because they believed they were doing something great and noble for their countries.
Today the left criticizes imperialism on moral grounds while nationalists criticize it because it gave rise to reverse colonization. Nevertheless, it is a mistake not to recognize in it the exuberance of a strong and dynamic people. In its deepest origins it was no different from the voyages of discovery, the establishment of science, and the industrial revolution. If today Europe is paying a high price for empire, it is because of the across-the-board loss of nerve of which decolonization — and subsequent Third-World immigration — was only a part. Whatever the cost of empire, Europe with colonies was far healthier than Europe without them.
Lying About Race
Proposition 209 was the 1996 California voter initiative that prohibited the state from practicing “affirmative action,” or racial preferences. I was the Marin County chairman for 209 and I attended a debate between Prof. Ron Takaki, the founder of the UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Department, and Ward Connerly, the former Prop. 209 spokesman. Midway in the debate Prof. Takaki, who was arguing for racial preferences, was caught in a lie.
To support his claim that the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) was “racist,” he said there were no Asian faces on the force 20 years ago. Retired SFPD officers in the audience knew otherwise: the first Asian-American joined 41 years ago, and the present Chief of the SFPD, Fred Lau, a Chinese-American, joined the Department in the early ’70s along with a number of other Asians.
Lying to substantiate charges of racism isn’t uncommon or usually so benign. A recent exchange of letters between California State University at Chico African History professor Charles Geshekter, and John Hope Franklin, Chairman of the President’s Commission on Race, illuminates another fabrication.
To support his claim that schools are becoming “resegregated,” Prof. Franklin told a San Francisco Examiner reporter of a young black student who worked hard on an assignment, only to have his white teacher ask, “Where did you get this paper?” According to Prof. Franklin, “the boy was destroyed,” quit school, and now lives on the street.
Appalled to learn of the incident, Prof. Geshekter, a graduate of Howard University, a member of the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center, wrote to Prof. Franklin, asking for particulars: the name of the school, the student, and what was done to the teacher.
Repeated requests to Prof. Franklin went unanswered for ten months before he finally explained that his duties on the Race Commission, “as well as my usual professional responsibilities” delayed his reply. Dr. Franklin continued, “I can provide no more details about the incident … I do not wish to expose either him or his family to further unauthorized disclosure.”
Prof. Geshekter persisted: “Unless you provide such elementary facts you leave the putative ‘incident’ devoid of any corroboration and hence it should be dismissed as a misleading and unverifiable story.” Professor Franklin has not responded.
Another artful anecdote was repudiated early this year when reporters found that the disturbing tale consistently delivered to gullible audiences by black Wisconsin educator James Hood was also a lie. For years Mr. Hood had claimed his uncle was hanged and burned by “a gang of whites.” Local reporters researching the story discovered Hood’s fabrication-which he eventually confessed.
In California, San Jose federal district judge James W. Ware withdrew his candidacy for an appellate court judgeship when his story of the murder of a brother was also exposed as a lie. He had altered the death of his half sister at the hands of a black and had blamed it on whites.
An account of race lies would not be complete without President Clinton’s heart-tugging recollection of the rash of black church arsons he claimed to remember from his youth. Digging into newspaper files, Little Rock reporters found there were no such incidents at that time in Arkansas.
What prompts these digressions from truth? Faulty memory, a genuine wish to right old wrongs, or devious attempts to further a cause so lacking in substance it must be supported with lies?
One is reminded of the words of Lenin: “We can and must write in a language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, scorn, and the like, toward those who disagree with us.”
Mr. Batz was a San Francisco fireman for 30 years. He retired from the department in 1996 and lives in San Rafael, California.
IN THE NEWS
O Tempora, O Mores!
Crimes You May Have Missed
The beating death of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming duly turned into an orgy of homosexual self-righteousness. Here are a few crimes that, somehow, didn’t get quite as much attention.
A few days before the attack in Wyoming, three black teenagers beat a white homosexual to death in Buffalo, New York. They attacked Gary Trzaska after he left a bar, damaging nearly every internal organ in his body. Witnesses say the blacks jumped on Mr. Trzaska’s head with both feet and pounded him with a chair.
“Whether it was racial, or because he was gay, or for whatever reason, we refuse to believe this was a routine robbery,” says George Boos, a friend of Mr. Trzaska. William P. Conwall, a Buffalo assistant detective chief says at this point it would be “alarmist” to call the murder a hate crime. (Family Asks if Death Hate Motivated, Las Vegas Sun, October 19, 1998.)
In Madison County, Alabama, a group of black jailbirds beat a retarded white inmate to death. Robby Sevigny was 19 but his adopted parents say he had the mental capacity of a twelve-year-old. He had been held in a single cell and had only recently been released into the general population. (Wendy Reeves, Beaten Inmate A Slow Learner, Remembered As a Nice Kid, Huntsville Times, September 10, 1998, p. A1.)
In Torrance, California, three weeks after a black woman bought a house in a Hispanic area, her neighbors greeted her with a molotov cocktail. “We were asleep and we heard gunshots and we happened to look out the window and the car was on fire,” said Maria Walker. She is not sticking around in the hope that Hispanics will begin to appreciate diversity. “We have to go,” she says. “I can’t stand all this stress.” (Hate Crimes are Driving a Family of Four Out of Their Home, www.ABCNews.com, October 26, 1998.)
In Burlington, North Carolina, three black teenagers have been charged with murder, kidnapping, and rape in the case of a ten-year-old white girl, Tiffany Long. One of the suspects is reported to have tried to strangle Tiffany with television cable while another pulled off her underwear. They eventually beat her to death. The badly-beaten body of the outgoing fifth-grader was found in a pool of blood after a short search. The suspects did not live far from Tiffany and had known her for about a year. One of them may have attended her church.
No one can think of a motive. Alamance County District Attorney Rob Johnson says “I’m somewhat at a loss to explain that.” However, he is sure of one thing. The fact that Tiffany was white and her killers were black “is absolutely no evidence this was a hate crime.” (Taft Wireback and Nancy McLaughlin, 3 Teens Charged in Burlington Girl’s Death, News & Record (Greensboro), October 22, 1998. Kerry Hall, Suspects Saw Tiffany Long Killed, Court Records Show, News & Record, Oct. 27, 1998.)
A Richmond, Virginia, jury has punished Nationwide Insurance Co. with a $100 million fine because of alleged discrimination against black homeowners. The case was brought by something called Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME), which received federal money to help it investigate insurers. Nationwide will appeal the verdict — rendered by a jury of six blacks and one white — to the Virginia Supreme Court.
The HOME activists argued that there were several kinds of evidence that Nationwide was reluctant to write home insurance for blacks. First, it pointed out that Nationwide did more business in the white suburbs than in the black parts of Richmond, and that it directed its publicity to the suburbs. It also claimed that the company quoted higher rates in the city than in the suburbs. HOME also used entrapment: It sent mixed-race pairs of “testers” to Nationwide to see if “equally qualified” customers got equal treatment. They claimed that in seven cases out of 15, the black tester was not offered a policy.
A verdict like this is an outrage on any number of grounds. First, private businesses should have the right to choose their customers for whatever reasons they see fit. If Nationwide doesn’t want to do business with blacks no one should force it to. Second, businesses rarely pass up profits just because customers are black. If Nationwide was not writing much business in shabby black neighborhoods, it was probably because it was not profitable. If Nationwide really was turning its back on profits some other company would have been doing the business. Third, “testers” are unreliable. They cannot be perfectly matched for qualifications, and the desire of the blacks to uncover “racism” cannot help but taint their performances as applicants. Fourth, it makes no sense to give an activist group this kind of money, because they are not the “injured” party. Finally, the chance of getting a virtually all-black jury to understand any of this is close to zero.
Secretary for Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo said the verdict was “good news.” HOME spokesmen said they would spend the money in neighborhoods that have suffered discrimination. (AP, Nationwide Ordered to Pay in Bias Case, Oct. 27, 1998.)
AIDS and Africa
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs is revising its population estimates for Africa because of AIDS. South Africa, for example, is projected to have a population of 43.3 million but would have nine million more were it not for AIDS. Zimbabwe is likely to have 13.6 million but without AIDS would have 3.2 million more. The UN notes that in the worst-hit countries, a life expectancy that would have been 64 years without AIDS is now 47.
Reducing population estimates by millions does not mean that Africa is actually shrinking. No matter how high the death rates from AIDS, fertility in Africa is higher. (IPS, AIDS is “Devastating” Africa’s Population, Oct. 29, 1998.)
White liberals in the “new” South Africa find they are not appreciated by their black former comrades. Professor John Dugard was one of South Africa’s most prominent intellectuals. He is a world authority on international law and was an architect of the “progressive” post-apartheid constitution. He recently left South Africa after he was passed over for a judicial post, apparently because he is white. He now imparts liberalism to students at Leiden University in Holland.
Mandi Smallhorne was a member of “Black Sash,” a group of white women who crusaded against apartheid. She recently wrote in a Johannesburg newspaper that “in the old South Africa a significant number of people of darker hues accepted and welcomed me because of my anti-apartheid views. In the new South Africa I am treated with contempt and hatred, for no other reason than that I have white skin.” Referring to Bishop Desmond Tutu’s description of South Africa as a “rainbow nation” she says, “What kind of rainbow is it where every colour is acceptable as long as it is black?”
The stress of living under black rule is taking its toll on South Africa’s whites. A poll last month shows 74 percent of those with skilled jobs are thinking of leaving. (David Beresford, No Room in the Rainbow for Liberals, The Guardian News Service, September 17, 1998.)
Rays of Light I
Insight magazine has begun to wonder what the future holds for America if Miami is any guide. It finds that the city is “a microcosm of cultural diversity … plagued by corruption, racism, poverty and drugs.” The article finds that Miami is rated “the most unfriendly city in America,” by Travel and Leisure. Fodor’s International calls it the nation’s, “most unsafe” destination, and George says it is “the most corrupt city in America.”
Insight actually understands the implications of this: “Unless you’re living or traveling there, none of this might seem to matter except that Miami also may be the nation’s capital of multiculturalism, a showcase for the demographic bouillabaisse the country seems destined to become — and a harbinger of the consequences of dramatic change.”
If multiculturalism is the future, what can we anticipate? In Miami corruption is widespread, thanks mainly to the Cubans who control government and business. Politicians, including former mayor Xavier Suarez, have been convicted of voter fraud as well as bank and mail fraud. A grand jury cited the Miami-Dade building department for taking kickbacks for permits and failing to enforce building codes. The Miami Herald reports that “phantom road projects” that were never built have swallowed up one million dollars, and contractors overcharge and double bill. The city has the second-lowest credit rating in the country, just above Washington, DC’s.
And there is crime: “By now it’s violent-crime rate is legendary, highlighted by brutal attacks upon tourists, and so wanton that Miami’s ‘perps’ have helped add new crimes — including carjacking, drive-by shootings, home invasion — to the national police argot.”
Miami’s population is 55 percent Hispanic, 24 percent white and 21 percent black. Insight calls the mix “a largely segregated melting pot that often seems on the verge of boiling over.” Retired people who came to the city thirty years ago have noticed the change. Mary Cohen, who is in her seventies, says, “My God! I no longer live in America.”
Insight goes on to draw the only sensible conclusion: “The implications are ominous not just for Miamians, but for all Americans who may see in this city’s turmoil the dark mosaic of a troubled future.” (Ellen Sugarman, A Miami Vision of Our Future?, Insight, September 28 — October 5, 1998, p.16.)
Rays of Light II
In its September issue, the libertarian magazine Liberty published an article about South Africa that could have come right out of AR. Some excerpts:
“One world atlas reports: ‘South Africa is the world’s most dangerous country (besides war zones), with 40,000 murders a year.’ It wasn’t this way four years ago, before the ANC took power. But the government says the murders are a ‘legacy of apartheid.’ That’s part of the problem. Everything that goes wrong is ‘a legacy of apartheid.’ The violence in the rest of Africa is a ‘legacy of colonialism.’ It’s a legacy that has gone on for almost 40 years. Every time something goes wrong (and that happens constantly), the same litany of excuses are recited. ‘We inherited this problem from the corrupt apartheid regime.’”
“In the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, citizens are fighting back [against crime]. In some areas they have put security guards at the entrance to a subdivision. Entrances are closed off with gates to control who comes in and who goes out. Criminals can no longer simply load their cars with stolen goods and speed out when security guards stop them at the gate. These areas have seen dramatic reductions in crime. But the ANC has ordered the gates removed. It claims these efforts force crime away from white areas and are therefore racist.”
“You turn on the television … and hope you get the right sound with the right picture. Sometimes you get the sound of one show with the picture of another. Sometimes it’s just the one or the other. Or a radio station instead of the soundtrack … [A] large number of the ‘old’ employees have walked out of the broadcasting studios. They couldn’t take it any more. And since television is an arm of the government, their replacements are appointed politically, not because of their experience or ability.”
“The hospitals in South Africa have become nightmares. Two years ago Mandela announced free medical care for children. The hospitals are now filled with unemployed women and their children. They sit there for hours to have a cough or a runny nose checked.”
“In America, you don’t see what’s happening. I know; I watch CNN. It doesn’t even come close to telling the truth about the decline and death of South Africa. The American media can’t tell the truth now — they have invested too much in telling everyone what a saint Mandela is.” (Jim Peron, Die the Beloved Country, Liberty, Sept. 1998, p. 30.)
Kinshasa on the Potomac
The World Bank, which lends money and gives aid to “developing countries,” is forbidden to lend to industrialized countries. However, it has decided to help Washington, DC. It will give the city $1 million in grants and services and let the city use its professional staff. A bank employee explains that “the District has high rates of unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, an unfriendly business environment — in other words, issues we face in our regular business.”
Some Washington officials do not like being compared to the Third World, but George Grier, a demographer who has studied the district for 38 years, notes, “Some of our child welfare indicators are right up there with what you would expect in a Third World country.” Infant mortality in the District was 16.2 per 1,000 births in 1995, worse than the 16 per 1,000 in Sri Lanka.
“This has always struck me as being much more a Third World city than many other cities I’ve been to,” says Deepali Tewari, a former bank official who has worked in Vietnam and Pakistan. She now heads a community agency called DC Agenda. “Everybody here is pretty horrified at the way this place works. It’s not that things are run poorly for lack of money — they’re just run poorly.” (Michael Phillips, The World Bank, Third World Savior, Aids Washington, The Wall Street Journal, August 27, 1998, p. 1.)
Hit and Run
Michael T. Brophy is an 80-year-old white man from up-state New York who stopped in Washington, DC, for a night on his way home from a trip to Florida. He was driving through a black neighborhood when he hit a teen-aged girl. When the frail Mr. Brophy got out of his car to help, a man emerged from the crowd, knocked him down, and disappeared. Mr. Brophy suffered a broken jaw and a concussion. He and the girl were taken to the hospital, where he was in “critical” condition; she was listed as “fair.” One of the witnesses complained that the incident “perpetuates the negative stereotypes that some people have about Southeast [a largely black part of Washington].” (Cheryl Thompson and Avis Thomas-Lester, Attack on Driver Who Hit Woman Stuns Witnesses, Washington Post, Oct. 31, 1998.) It is common in Africa to beat or kill a driver who is foolish enough to stop after an accident.
The following is excerpted from a letter that appeared last summer in the New York Times:
“Not only was there an American Eugenics Society, but the National Socialist party in Germany drew upon the work of American scientists like Dr. William B. Shockley and Dr. Arthur Jensen, who argued for the genetic inferiority of minorities.” (Stephanie Olson, Eugenics in the U.S., Letters, New York Times, Aug. 23, 1998.)
Notes From the Third World
An Air Myanmar (Burma) plane recently crashed in Burma’s Shan state, and all 39 people on board were initially reported dead. In fact, at least five adults and a baby survived. They were found by Shan tribesmen, who hate the Burmese junta that runs the country. The tribesmen left the baby to starve, tortured the men, and raped the air hostess for several days. They also looted the luggage and cargo, and cut off fingers and ears for rings and earrings. Authorities did not find the wreckage until four days after the crash, and speculate that the tribesmen may have been especially provoked by the sight of passengers wearing Burmese military uniforms. The government says reports of rape and torture have been “exaggerated.” (Lewis Dolinsky, Notes from Here and There, San Francisco Chronicle, September 25, 1998, p. A12.)
School Board Baffled
Officials in Orange County, North Carolina cannot understand why whites keep outperforming blacks on annual “end of grade” tests. For 1997-1998, 77.1 percent of white third graders were “proficient” in math compared to 48.4 percent of blacks. In reading, the figures were 73.4 percent and 51.2 percent.
“I don’t understand this,” says Delores Simpson who chairs the Orange County school board. “These [African-American] students have the same teacher, are in the same classroom, and are learning the same subjects [as white students]. But they still don’t do as well.” The gap is even greater in the district’s model school, New Hope Elementary, which has computers and uses the Internet. Only 25 percent of black fourth graders were “proficient” in reading compared to 91 percent of whites. “This is a great cause of concern for me,” says New Hope principal Barbara Chapman. “I don’t know what happened.”
New programs for “low-achieving students,” don’t seem to work. “We keep coming back to the same problems,” said Miss Simpson. “It seems we haven’t corrected anything.” (Deborah Robiglio, Blacks Gain On Tests, Still Trail Whites, Raleigh News & Observer, October 7, 1998, p. 1B.)
An Ill Wind
Hurricane Georges killed three people in Puerto Rico and caused an estimated $2 billion in damage, and you and I will pay the bill. Because the Spanish-speaking island is a U.S. territory, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will give homeless people up to $25,000 plus a maximum of $13,500 for new appliances and furniture. This could swallow a quick $1 billion.
Governor Pedro Rosello has a plan to use Housing and Urban Development (HUD) money to build new houses that were better than the shacks many people lost. He wants to offer houses worth $65,000 for $15,000, with mortgage payments of $100 a month. “We’re talking megabucks,” says Michael Colon, the Caribbean coordinator for HUD.
Many of the people who are now crowded into temporary shelters were squatters, bums, and welfare recipients. (Steven Gutkin, AP, U.S. Pays to Rebuild Puerto Rico, Oct. 4, 1998.) A few years from now many are likely to think that Georges was the best thing to blow into their lives in years.
The 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are redistributed every ten years according to census data. Congressional districts are based on number of inhabitants — not number of citizens — so large influxes of aliens, legal or not, mean more congressmen for some states. About three out of four of the approximately 800,000 legal and 400,000 illegal immigrants who enter every year settle in just six states: California, New York, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and Illinois. The reallocation of seats on the basis of the 2000 census will probably give California nine new congressmen it would not have gotten without the arrival of non-citizens. New York will probably get two and Texas and Florida one each.
Which states are the losers? After the 1990 census, because of the flow of immigrants to other states, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, and Ohio lost seats, and Georgia and Kentucky failed to get new seats. The effect of immigration, therefore, is to take congressional representation away from states with few immigrants and turn it over to states with lots of them.
Because non-citizens can’t vote but are counted for the establishment of congressional districts, it takes fewer votes to win in immigrant-heavy districts. In 1996, 200,000 votes were cast in typical congressional races in Michigan, where virtually everyone is a citizen, but in districts in California and Texas an election may draw only 50 or 60 thousand votes. When immigrants become citizens they will also ensure more safe seats for Democrats. (AP, Study: Immigrants Affecting House Seats, Oct. 9, 1998.)
Cardell Cooper is a black man who was mayor of East Orange, New Jersey, from 1990 to 1997. He appointed as police chief a black who placed sixth on the examination. Richard Wright, the white who placed first, sued for discrimination and has just won the position of chief and about $180,000 in back pay and legal fees. East Orange decided to pay up, just as Captain Wright’s case went to a jury for deliberation. The current black chief will go on immediate leave.
During the trial, Mr. Cooper said he chose a black because he was the best qualified, but admitted he never considered anyone else. Two East Orange police officers testified they heard Mr. Cooper say the city would never have another white police chief, and the chief who was replaced by the black testified that Mr. Cooper told him he would be the city’s last white chief.
President Clinton recently nominated Mr. Cooper as Assistant Secretary at the Environmental Protection Agency. (AP, City Settles Police Bias Case by Naming White Chief, Oct. 7, 1998.)
Another Nation of Immigrants
Germany’s new leftist government has announced it will change the country’s citizenship laws to permit foreigners born in Germany to become citizens. According to the current law, was passed 85 years ago, German citizenship is based on blood rather than on place of birth.
Seven million foreigners — who account for nearly 10 percent of the population — now live in Germany. Of this number, two million are Turks. Many of them came to Germany during the economic boom of the 1960s. There are now many second-generation Turks but they are not automatically German citizens. Under current law they may apply for naturalization after they have lived in Germany for 15 years, and must renounce Turkish citizenship. Under the new law, anyone born in Germany would have automatic citizenship if one of the parents was a resident of Germany for at least 14 years. The law would also permit dual citizenship, which Turks want.
A representative of the Green party, which is the junior partner of Gerhard Schroeder’s Social Democrats, says the agreement “is a clear signal for integration. This government will recognize that Germany is a country of immigrants.” (Tony Czuczka, German Group Seeks Integration, AP, Oct. 14, 1998.)
Please Help Promote AR
Videos of the 1998 AR conference are available for cable access. If you make arrangements with your local cable company — all are required to make their services available to the public — we will send you tapes in the format they specify. These videos are professionally produced and are a very effective way to spread the word. For details, please call James Lubinskas at (703) 716-0900.
LETTERS FROM READERS
Sir — I greatly enjoyed the November issue. For years I have been hearing about the Front National and I was pleased to get a full report on that movement. Bruno Gollnisch’s analysis of the right and left in France is almost perfectly applicable to the United States. I believe that the great lesson for us is that there is no substitute for mass organization.
Robert Brigg, Punta Gorda, Fla.
Sir — I found your article on the Front National’s celebration informative and inspiring. I am a registered Republican, but if a more conservative and nationalist party were to emerge — something like the FN — I would join immediately.
Alex McKenzie, Charlotte, N.C.
Sir — I was impressed by Bruno Gollnisch’s analysis of the political situation in France. His remarks show that the same diseases of the mind are common both to Americans and Europeans. I believe he is correct in his description of the role of the media in spreading these diseases. As he points out, the Frenchman — like the American — gets essentially the same limited views but with a “liberal” or “conservative” flavor that gives the illusion of debate and disagreement.
Even so, French politics cannot be as intellectually sterile as ours. After all, they have not only the FN as an active and hated movement but actual Communists in their cabinet. If there is a dime’s worth of difference between the Republicans and the Democrats the French must have at least a dollar’s worth of difference between the parties they can vote for.
Richard Conliff, Eugene, Oregon
Sir — I wanted to congratulate you on the success of your most recent AR conference. I must admit that when I first thought of going I assumed I would find 25-30 grumpy middle-aged white men who had soured on America. How pleasant it was to be totally wrong! To find 200 other people like myself all in one room with the same grave concerns and the same racial beliefs as my own was like a renewal of spirit. I would especially like to compliment Mr. Lubinskas on his tireless enthusiasm.
The camaraderie at the sing-along was heart-warming and all the speakers were excellent. It was wonderful to talk to all these prominent people one-on-one. They are obviously not the ogres the media make them out to be, but warm people with a sincere wish to see America fulfill her racial destiny.
Perhaps at the next conference we could hear some more positive news and views. We must have a plan for action. I’ll see you then.
Marty Gatliff, St. Louis, Mo.
Sir — I was disgusted to learn that Los Angeles has decided to spend twice as much money on Mexican Independence Day (El Grito) as on July Fourth. I was struck, though, by the comments of Adolfo Nodal, manager of L.A.’s Cultural Affairs Department. He says that celebrations of the Fourth are just fireworks and rah rah rah. In fact, most Americans just take the day off, but to the extent that they actually do celebrate, Mr. Nodal is right. How many citizens reflect on the fact that fireworks are a symbol of war, that they memorialize the will of our ancestors (well, the ancestors of some of us, anyway) to risk everything in the name of nation and freedom.
Mr. Nodal’s implication was that Mexicans — perhaps especially those living in the United States — bring more genuine patriotism to their celebration. That is because Mexicans still have a robust sense of nation that has not been beaten out of them by traitorous intellectuals. To hear American liberals talk about nationalism you’d think they didn’t even know that the nation’s capital is named after a man who was prepared to kill thousands of people to bring into being a new nation. They would repudiate as hateful and intolerant anyone who expressed such sentiments today.
John Turley, Concord, N.H.
Sir — I’m not sure who behaved more despicably in the exchange between Illinois Senator Carol Mosely-Braun and George Will that you described in a November “O Tempora” item. Mr. Will writes a column about some of the awful things Sen. Braun has been up to. Sen. Braun says Mr. Will called her “corrupt” because he couldn’t use the word “nigger,” and likens him to a Klansman. When even the liberal press clucks about her intemperateness, Sen. Braun sends Mr. Will an apology. And how does he reply? In four words: “Apology accepted. Go, Sammy!”
Not only is he willing to brush the whole thing aside, he even makes a joke of it by boosting Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs. We can be certain that if there were a race-related exchange in which a black had reason to be angry with a white, there would not be anything like immediate forgiveness. And it is impossible to imagine the equivalent of a groveling, I-want-to-be-your-friend postscript like “Go Sammy.” What wimps white people are!
Sharon Cummings, Irvine, Cal.
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