|Vol. 17, No. 3||March 2006|
A first-hand account from someone who saw it all.
Twelve years ago, I came to New Orleans, a 23-year-old professional cook, looking for something more exotic than my home-town of Minneapolis. What better place, I thought, than the opposite end of the Mississippi River: New Orleans. Over the years, I learned Cajun cooking and French/Italian Creole in French Quarter restaurants. I rose to the level of chef de cuisine in one of the legendary Brennan family restaurants, the same family that groomed Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme. I don’t claim to be another Emeril or Prudhomme, but the experience and knowledge I gained in New Orleans was priceless. The racial knowledge I gained in a city that was 67 percent black was priceless in its own way, too.
|This is what the plaza of the Superdome looked like on Wednesday, Aug. 31, when I first got there. It became more crowded later that day. (Photo by author.)|
As for hurricanes, people in New Orleans thought of them the way people in Los Angeles think of earthquakes. We all knew “The Big One” was coming eventually, but we never thought it really would — not in our lifetimes, anyway.
Friday, August 26
I got home from work and turned on the 10:00 p.m. news to see how badly Florida had been hit by Hurricane Katrina. It was a Category Two storm, and the forecast was for it to turn north, and head further up the East Coast. I felt a sense of relief. It seemed Katrina was coming nowhere near New Orleans. We had dodged another bullet.
Saturday, August 27
All day at work we got conflicting reports. Katrina was going north; Katrina was coming west. The mayor had ordered mandatory evacuations; the mayor had ordered voluntary evacuations. All roads out of town were grid-locked. No time to worry about it now, since the restaurant was packed.
|It was beginning to get dark outside when it dawned on me that once the stores had been fully looted, the looters would turn to the houses.|
I got home again in time for the 10:00 p.m. news, and tonight was a different story. Not only had Katrina not turned north, it had picked up strength and was heading straight for New Orleans. I had no car, but plenty of canned food and bottled water, so I battened down the hatches and did what any self-respecting New Orleanian would do: I headed to the bar to wait and watch and worry. I came home around 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. to pray for the best and plan for the worst.
Sunday, August 28
I slept until about 9:00 a.m., watched the news, and began calling family and friends to tell them cell phones would probably be out for several days, but that I would call as soon as I could after the storm. By about 8:00 p.m. there was rain, and the wind was up to a steady blast of about 30 mph with frequent gusts up to 60 mph. Around 9:00 p.m. the power went out. I turned on my battery-powered boom-box but the batteries were dead. I grabbed all the candles I had rounded up, and set up a “camp” of sorts with pillows, blankets and couch cushions in a central hallway with no windows. This is what we had been told to do: keep away from windows in case the wind blows them out and fills the room with shards of glass. I lay in that hallway all night praying, as the wind and noise got worse.
Monday, August 29
About 4:00 a.m. the noise of the wind was deafening and a window or two had blown in. Something very large fell over with a thud in the upstairs apartment, and the water was about two feet deep out in the street. The storm continued to rage and gain strength. It was terrifying. The last weather report I had seen had said the storm would hit the city about 11:00 a.m. Eleven a.m.?
I began to doubt the odds of surviving if this thing was going to get stronger for seven more hours. My apartment at the corner of Josephine and Brainard Streets was on the ground floor of a two-down, two-up, four-unit building on a slightly raised lot. The wood-frame structure sat about two feet off the ground and was fairly new by New Orleans standards, built perhaps in the 1920s or ’30s. Two feet of water in the street meant I had about another two or three feet before my floors got wet. Two feet of water was not uncommon where I lived. We got two feet of water after a light rain. However, we had always been told that a major hurricane would cover the city with 20 feet of water, and that now seemed entirely possible.
There was a steady racket of debris smashing into things outside, and to distract myself, I started counting time intervals between major gusts. I did this for several hours until I realized the gusts were no longer getting stronger, and the intervals were growing longer. Maybe the worst was over.
By 10:00 am the rain had subsided and there was a hint of daylight in the sky. By noon, the wind had died down enough to risk a walk around the block and survey the damage. Not too bad! Lots of wind damage, missing siding and stripped roofs. A lot of downed trees and power lines, but no flood water. I was safe. I had survived the storm, at least the one provided by Mother Nature.
I got back home and rounded up a bunch of different-sized batteries and some tape, stripped a computer cable and wired it all up to my boom-box and finally got a news report. I was shocked. Whole neighborhoods were under 20 feet of water, and people were being plucked from rooftops all over the city. Conditions in the Superdome were deteriorating.
This was not going to be over in a couple of days. I took a quick inventory of food and water — about six or seven days’ worth if I were careful — and decided I would hole up for as long as I could before heading for an evacuation point. I cooked a hot meal (the gas was still working), and took a cold shower (the water was still running).
|The Superdome was an island.|
I noticed an awful lot of black people — men, women and children — running down my street excitedly, and wondered what was going on. I soon had my answer as a caravan of shopping carts from the Wal-Mart down the street headed back. The carts were loaded with food, basketball shoes, plasma TVs, and all sorts of electronic gear. I remember one older black lady pushing a cart jammed full of Tide laundry detergent. One black boy of about eight was struggling to keep up with the others because the cart he had filled with goodies had a bum wheel. The looting was definitely a family affair. Nice values to teach your kids, I thought.
It was beginning to get dark outside when it dawned on me that once the stores had been fully looted, the looters would turn to the houses. I grabbed the shotgun from my roommate’s closet (he worked as a chef at the Superdome and had decided to go stay there Sunday morning). Just my luck: no ammo.
All my windows opened directly onto the street at about chest level, and many of the looters were passing by and looking in. I decided to light all my candles, open the blinds, and sit in front of the windows with the shotgun across my lap just to make sure all my “neighbors” knew there was somebody home.
I stayed up as late as I could watching as bands of drunken young black men began to break into the empty homes on my block. I finally moved all my food and water and some bedding into the windowless bathroom, and barricaded the door with a chair and went to sleep. With all the looting going on outside my windows, I was not taking the chance of being caught asleep and having my food and water stolen — or worse.
Tuesday, August 30
This was a fairly uneventful day for me. If you have ever been in New Orleans in late August you know how hot, humid and miserable it is. Despite the threat from looters, I opened a few windows to catch a whiff of breeze. Also, it made it easier to hear what the bands of roving blacks were saying, and I wanted “street news.” All I heard, though, was babbling about where to get the best stuff — two blocks over on wealthy St. Charles Avenue, apparently.
I also listened to the radio. More stories of rooftop rescues, a confirmed report of a cop shot in the head when he tried to stop looters, a desperate call for help from someone in a retirement high-rise full of sick people, and conditions getting worse still in the Superdome. I cooked a hot meal (still had gas), and took a cold shower (still had running water) and sat in front of the windows with my ammo-less shotgun again all day. I retired to the barricaded bathroom for a few hours of sleep.
Wednesday, August 31
I turned on the radio. Things are not good. The Industrial Canal to the east of me was broken, and the 17th Street Canal to the west was broken. Water was pouring into the city. The storm was over, but the water was rising.
|Armed rescue in New Orleans.|
I was living in what is called the Garden District, which is upriver from the French Quarter and downtown. The area is and isn’t affluent. One block is old Colonial/Civil War era mansions, the next block is old worn-out shanties. I lived somewhere in between. One myth about the busted levees was that they were blown to save rich white neighborhoods, but there really are no rich/poor, black/white neighborhoods in New Orleans. They are all mixed and blended, so you could not flood a poor neighborhood without flooding a rich one.
I was a long way from the levees but I kept a nervous eye on the street outside. Sure enough, water began to bubble up out of the storm drains in front of my house. The mayor was on the radio telling everybody left in the city to head for the only high ground in town — the Superdome or a highway overpass! I tried to cook a hot meal, but there was no more gas. I tried to take a cold shower, but there was no more running water.
The water was rising all over the city and all attempts to halt it had been futile. The radio kept telling us to get out right away. I didn’t know how high the water would get in my neighborhood. If I didn’t leave, I might end up on a rooftop. I had to make a hard choice: go to the known danger of the Superdome or stay and risk ending up dead, or being rescued from my roof and being airlifted to the Superdome anyway. If I knew then what I know now, I would have risked death and sat on my roof. Instead, I packed a bag with a change of clothes, some food, and bottled water. I headed out to the Superdome, 15 blocks away.
I got to within about three blocks of the dome and discovered it was an island, and the only way in was through nasty-smelling waist- and chest-deep water filled with gas, oil, broken plate glass from skyscrapers, and raw sewage.
I holed up under some shade to rest and get out of the unbearable noon sun before I made the final attempt. There was a convenience store across from me, past a large parking lot covered with water. There were some black teenagers trying to get the metal bars off the front window. After a while they gave up and start monkeying with a construction front-loader parked nearby. They managed to get it started, and tried to drive the thing into the store. A few people almost got run over in the parking lot before an older black man jumped up on the front-loader, kicked the kids off, and parked the thing.
|It was like someone busted open a piñata — there was a mad frenzy of black folks fighting each other to get into that store.|
Some time later, a milk truck from the local dairy processor near my house came careening down the flooded street with another black teenager at the wheel. He managed to steer the truck through the front of the convenience store. It was like someone busted open a piñata — there was a mad frenzy of black folks fighting each other to get into that store. The winners came out with garbage bags full of cigarettes, booze, chips, candy, and, most precious of all, ice. Remember, the power had been out for almost three days, and the heat was unbearable. Everyone needed a cold drink. Cold was like gold.
The looters proceeded to sell what they had stolen at extremely inflated prices. It was a sad spectacle.
About 2:00 p.m. I decided it was time for the final push, and headed into the murky waters toward the Superdome entrance ramp. The line was only about a block long, but it took me almost four hours to get in. That was four hours in 100-degree heat, standing in shoes and clothes soaked in gas, oil, and raw sewage. The National Guard had stationed only two people to go through everyone and his belongings.
The line was 99 percent black and very ill tempered and ill behaved. Fights kept breaking out among rival gang members. The line would get muddled and the guard would have to stop processing people and restore order. This was no place for a lone white boy. The blacks repeatedly called me “cracka-ass-mutha-fucka” or “bitch,” and violently shoved any non-black aside to let “homies” into the line in front of us. After about three hours of this I seriously considered going back out into that filthy water, and finding a place to hide in one of the nearby high-rises, but the dome was the only evacuation point in the area. I toughed it out because I wanted to get out of this disaster.
I eventually got inside the dome and immediately regretted it. It was an absolutely putrid-smelling zoo. The air was so foul I could barely keep from throwing up even with my shirt pulled up over my nose. The strong urine/feces/ammonia smell made my eyes burn, and it was hard to see because the only light came from wall-mounted battery-powered emergency lights. The bathrooms had stopped working the day after the storm, so people started urinating and defecating any place they could find. The main concourse around the inside of the dome was a river of urine. I do not know how all those people inside could stand it.
|More armed rescue.|
I made a bee-line to the nearest exit, which led outside onto the open-air, second-floor plaza that surrounds the dome. It was packed with people but at least the air was breathable.
I was utterly alone, exhausted and surrounded by angry blacks. Apparently, the dome had become a “blacks only” area, and I was “white-boy,” “white-bread,” “white mutha fucka,” “cracka-ass bitch,” or “ho.” I found a piece of cardboard, cleared a patch of the cobblestone plaza of trash near a National Guard outpost, and lay down to rest. It was a very long night.
The guardsmen were 90 percent white, mostly from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas. Every so often some loud-mouthed black would get in their faces and start screaming about how the white man blew up the levees. Why wasn’t the gub’mint sweeping all 30 thousand of us off to safety this very minute? Why were they leaving “black folk” here to die in the dome? Time and again the mob was whipped into a near riot by these screamers. Every time the crowd got going I thought, “This is it for you, white boy.” I was very grateful for the presence of the National Guard, even if there were very few guardsmen.
That was how I spent my first sleepless night at the Superdome: alone and scared.
Thursday, September 1
I decided to reconnoiter the area and found a white family of four. We agreed to stick together and watch each others’ backs. Later, I ran into a former co-worker and he happened to know the family I had hooked up with. We picked up a few more stray white people and circled the wagons.
The men in our group paired up and went out in shifts in the day-time and scavenged enough junk to build makeshift sun shelters. There were elderly black couples who desperately needed help, and we gave them food and water and built shelters for them, too. Young belligerent blacks seemed to take pride in knocking the shelters down. They didn’t care whether blacks or whites were using them. They were only too happy to knock down anything, especially anything whites had built.
The National Guard at this point was very undermanned and seemingly leaderless. They dared not attempt anything more than keeping the chaos away from the rescue chopper landing pads and their own area. This meant there was indescribable destruction that went unpunished. Even more shocking was the outright joy young ghetto blacks took in acting as savagely as they wanted with no threat of consequences. They broke into all of the more than 80 private suites and every office in the dome, and stole the alcohol and anything else of value. Then, most disgustingly, they smashed everything and anything they couldn’t cart off. They completely smashed the TV broadcast room. Millions of dollars of equipment was smashed in that room alone. Other expensive equipment was similarly smashed, and I mean smashed beyond recognition, much less repair. It was pure, senseless destruction.
I spent yet another sleepless night, not alone, but still plenty scared.
Friday September 2
Today, the guard brought in pallets of military-issue Meals Ready to Eat and bottled water, but they just dropped the pallets and ran. Gang-bangers swarmed off with cases of everything, and began selling them to starving and thirsty people before we could get there.
After their day of drinking and smashing, the “bruthas” got bored and turned their attention to the women. I did not personally witness a rape, but I certainly witnessed the aftermath. The accused man was cornered by the crowd outside on the plaza near me. All I saw was a screaming, punching, kicking mob, and then a dead body carted off an hour later by the guard. I remember thinking “Thank God it wasn’t a white guy who did it!”
That crowd was already furious at the white man, and we felt like lit matches in a dynamite factory. Through the night, gang fights broke out around and through and over us. Whenever things got hot, we moved. To stand and fight would have been suicide. When the people next to us got too rowdy and started cursing us “white boys,” we packed up our hard-won cardboard mats, milk-crate chairs, military cots, and our plastic beer advertisement banner-cum-sun-shades, and moved on around the plaza to some place less racially restless. One wannabe black leader confronted our group about how the flood was all our fault. We asked why, if it was our fault, we were trapped in there too. He went off on a crazy Farrakhan-type rant, and we moved once again.
It was at some point during this night that some “homies” sneaked out past the National Guard and went back through that nasty water to the projects to get crack and guns. The crack was soon all over the dome and made the previous two days seem peaceful by comparison. We heard gunfire throughout the night, but could not tell who was doing the shooting.
|Supplying the Superdome.|
The only bright spot in this day was seeing squads of nine soldiers each making the rounds wearing red berets. I believe it was the 82nd Airborne that had arrived to help out. There were also soldiers in black berets with Air Force Special Forces insignia. These were not the green farm boys of the National Guard. They were combat veterans, and everybody knew just from looking at them they would take no nonsense! Even the ghetto thugs noticed they carried sub-machine guns instead of M-16s, and the guys with shotguns weren’t carrying bean-bag rounds like the guardsmen. Several of these soldiers said they had felt safer patrolling Baghdad. We had high hopes that things would get better, but they didn’t. The Special Forces guys were sent to deal with snipers shooting at rescue helicopters and boats.
That day, there was an elderly, blind black man wandering around lost by himself. He seemed to be in pretty bad shape. We tried to escort him to a guard station, but he wouldn’t go. We gave him water and left him alone. I saw a little black baby — maybe about three years old — in nothing but a filthy diaper, wandering around in trash and broken glass looking for his momma. That was the first. The last two I saw like that didn’t even have a dirty diaper on. I tried not to cry, and to get some sleep. It was an awful day.
Saturday, September 3
This day started badly but got a little better. As the sun was about to rise, I saw a series of bright red fireworks-like flashes followed by very loud explosions near the river behind the high-rises next to the dome. Someone heard on the radio that a chemical warehouse had blown up and that the toxic smoke was drifting towards us. The warehouse turned out not to have chemicals in it after all.
The heat index was 115 degrees, and the mentally ill, homeless, sick and elderly were dropping dead all around us. There was no hospital for them, and the plaza got so crowded — I took the photograph on page 1 on Wednesday; there were many more people by Saturday — that it was impossible to move away from the bodies. The best we could do was pass them along through the mob to the nearest Guard medic. I helped haul two bodies, and I saw about a dozen bodies bundled along, all but two of them on this day.
The “bruthas” camped next to us were selling and smoking crack, and getting wasted on stolen booze. We were not comforted by this. One apparently senile old white man who had crapped in his pants stumbled into a group of young blacks. They pushed him away and he fell down. They then kicked him and beat him with poles. Yes, I saw an old man beaten to death. Another old guy whom we had given food and water the night before turned up dead that day, but we didn’t know how he died.
One “brutha” was selling stolen leather New Orleans Saints jackets from the sports store. Another “brutha” was selling 25-year-old Saints memorabilia from the office of Saints owner Tom Benson. Somebody else figured out how to fire up the portable propane grills in one of the kitchens and started selling burgers made of three-day-old unrefrigerated meat. The place caught fire and filled with smoke. The Guard soon put the fire out, and the happy chef was hauled away in cuffs and leg irons screaming “I ain’t did nuthin’ wrong. These crackers gonna shoot me an I ain’t did nuthin’.”
Until today, the Guard had thrown down supplies and run for it. This day, there was an orderly delivery. The soldiers made a perimeter around the food/water drop and rationed the stuff out: one mouth, one MRE and two bottles of water. No exceptions.
We noticed that “bruthas” would eat the entree and dessert out of two or three MREs and throw the rest away unopened. We picked up and saved what they tossed (cheese and crackers, rice, pasta, fruit salad packs, etc.). They threw away the instant coffee packs, too. We discovered that if we ate our food cold, we could combine the MRE heater packs to boil water and have coffee in the morning.
Plenty of people offered to sell us booze. No one needed a good belt more than we did, but we knew it would be dumb to drink alcohol in that kind of heat with limited water, and dumber still to dull our senses in that environment.
By now, many of us were on our third day of little or no sleep, constant threats, noise, chaos, and vicious heat and humidity. Evacuations had begun on Thursday, but the line to get to the line to get in line for a bus was a mob of pushing, shoving, trampling angry black people. The younger and stronger were pushing aside the old and weak. We decided it would be saner and safer to wait until the crowds thinned in the wee hours of the morning. We planned on spending another day in hell.
Sunday, September 4
About midnight we were surprised to see that the line had shrunk from 100 people wide and several blocks long to just a straggle of people. We then realized that all the people still left around us didn’t want to leave. This was one big party for them. They were used to living hand-to-mouth, and now they had a supply of drugs and booze, and the Army was handing out food and water every day. We packed up our stuff and made a break for it.
| The Houston Astrodome, briefly my home after
evacuation from New Orleans. (Photo by author.)
To get to the loading area we worked our way through a zigzag of crowd-control barricades like a cattle pen. We were astounded by the mountains of rubbish people had brought with them to the dome. Going out, we were allowed only one bag per person. People had brought grocery carts and suitcases, and were forced to leave them all behind. As we waited in our cattle pen, we watched as “brutha” after “brutha” was arrested trying to sneak piles of stuff stolen onto the buses. People were stupid enough to try to push a shopping cart right in front of soldiers and police, with such things as a Fender concert-sized speaker cabinet with the words “Property of Superdome” painted right on the side. Someone tried to get out with a brand new mountain bike from the Saints sport shop with the price tag still on it. Yet another man tried to get on the bus with a large box fan still in the carton with the Wal-Mart price tag on it. That wasn’t so strange until his wife and 4 small kids followed him, each carrying identical fans in identical boxes. We cheered when they were arrested.
We finally got on our school bus about 4:00 a.m. Governor Blanco had ordered all school bus drivers in the state to report for evacuation duty, and our driver was a very cute, very sweet volunteer driver from rural Madisonville, Louisiana. She could drive a bus as if it were a race car. I don’t know why we had to go so fast, except maybe to dodge snipers or because our military escort set the pace.
We raced through twisting half-flooded streets, past blazing buildings. We felt like we were in an old war movie, making a daring escape. We passed a great many cattle and horses that had drowned and ended up in ditches to rot. Our first reaction to the smell was “This is gross; it smells like the dome all over again.” It got very quiet when we realized why the dome smelled like dead animals. It wasn’t animals back there in the dome.
Our bus stopped in the middle of nowhere on the West Bank across from the city and up-river. It was pitch black and hard to see. We were told we were meeting a train and were not to get off the bus until it arrived. We looked around and saw there were two squads of soldiers, one on each side of the road, lying down prone in the ditches with M-16s aimed at us. They must have heard stories about what happened in the dome, and were taking no chances.
Our “Amtrak” train arrived and it was staffed by very serious-looking men with sidearms, whose jackets only said “Federal Agent.” They ended up being very gracious, professional, and genuinely concerned for our comfort, but they also never took their eyes off of us. We rode the train to Lafayette, Louisiana, where we switched to Greyhound buses for the last leg to Houston.
It was on the bus that it really sunk in — all we had been through and overcome. We had worked together and comforted each other, friend and stranger alike, and we had made it out of there. We did what you would expect any decent human being to do. But it was the white people who took care of their own and of as many other people as we could, no matter what color they were. The “bruthas” were perfectly content to let their own old and sick be pushed aside in the food and water lines or roast in the sun. We were a small band of white brothers in a sea of angry, uncooperative blacks.
If the few of us who were together in the Superdome can survive that onslaught of black hostility, there is still hope for America and Western Civilization. In the end, it was our civility, our teamwork and our willingness to sacrifice personal comfort for the needs of the group that got us through. That and lots of prayer.
I have since been repatriated to my hometown of Minneapolis, back with my family, marveling at the concept of snow. I am working for Wolfgang Puck. Every storm has a silver lining.
The Fight Against Integration
Segregation did not fall without a fight.
John P. Jackson, Science for Segregation: Race, Law, and the Case against Brown v. Board of Education, New York University Press, 2005, 291 pp., $45.00.
History is written by the victors, and this is as true of social movements as it is of war. Most histories therefore treat the process of American racial integration as a sustained campaign of moral superiority that was held up by violent spasms of bigotry, but faced no thoughtful or respectable resistance. Names like Carleton Putnam or Henry Garrett, court cases like Stell v. Savannah and Evers v. Jackson have almost entirely disappeared from the record, leaving “Bull” Connor and his snarling police dogs as the only recognizable symbols of resistance.
Science for Segregation is steeped in the mentality of the victors — the author calls arguments for segregation a “gospel of hate” — but it does take the trouble to look carefully into the work of scientists and intellectuals who resisted Brown v. Board, and who tried to preserve the traditions of the South. John Jackson, who teaches at the University of Colorado, seems to have consulted the papers of a number of prominent segregationists, and when he is not denouncing their motives seems to summarize their positions reasonably accurately. The result is a predictably slanted, but nevertheless very useful account of the work of an entire school of thought of which even race realists are generally ignorant.
Perhaps because Arthur Jensen is still so active and highly regarded, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that American racial thought was a desert of egalitarianism from the 1930s until his famous Harvard Educational Review article in 1969. Prof. Jackson demonstrates that this was by no means the case.
It was the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown decision, which ruled segregated schools unconstitutional, that galvanized the segregationists. In fact, until that time there was little threat to Southern traditions, whether in schools or at work. Under Jim Crow, there was no need for carefully elaborated racial science; Southern whites preferred to live apart from blacks and no one could interfere legally with that preference.
When Brown was decided, Southerners fought back on two fronts. The most common battlefield was Constitutional: It was common to argue that Brown had overstepped the bounds of federalism, and that the court was trampling states’ rights. This was the position endorsed by the overwhelming majority of Southern senators and congressmen who signed the “Southern Manifesto” denouncing Brown. Their most prominent spokesmen were Senators Richard Russell of Georgia and Harry Byrd of Virginia.
There was, however, a group that based its positions on science — on the evidence that the races are not equal — and argued that segregation had to be defended on biological grounds rather than by appeals to federalism. There was no more eloquent or dedicated advocate of this view than Carleton Putnam. Even Prof. Jackson appears to have a grudging respect for Putnam’s commitment to the “gospel of hate,” and if this book can be said to have a hero it is certainly Putnam.
A proud Yankee descended from Revolutionary War general Israel Putnam, Carleton Putnam originally made his name in the airline business, serving both as chairman and board member of Delta Airlines, from its founding in 1953 until his death in 1998. He was also an admirer of Theodore Roosevelt, and in 1958 completed the first of a projected three-volume biography. Despite critical acclaim, Putnam set aside Roosevelt for a more important cause: fighting racial egalitarianism. He could not understand how anyone could fail to see recognize differences, and he devoted the rest of his life to emphasizing their importance.
|Celebrating Brown v. Board.|
Putnam first took a position after Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne Division to integrate Little Rock High School in 1957. His “Open Letter to the President” was immensely popular in the South, where it was reprinted in many newspapers. In 1961, he followed this success with Race and Reason, which remains to this day one of the most lucid, persuasive treatments of racial differences and what they mean for society. Much of the work of the Southern resistance of the 1960s is dated; not Race and Reason. Putnam’s insights and parallels are as fresh today as they were 45 years ago.
Although it is difficult to imagine such a thing today, Mississippi and Virginia made Race and Reason part of their high school curricula. Governor Ross Barnett of Mississippi even declared October 26, 1961 “Race and Reason Day,” and invited Putnam to Jackson to give a major address, in which Putnam emphasized that it was futile to defend Southern traditions in the name of states’ rights. It was science, not the Constitution, that would protect whites from miscegenation.
Putnam was such a force, and had so obviously captured the mood of the South that academic associations felt compelled to condemn him. The first to do so was the American Anthropological Association, which, in November 1961, voted 192-0 to “repudiate statements now appearing in the United States that Negroes are biologically and in inherent mental ability inferior to whites.” Putnam was the clear but unnamed target.
The next year the American Association of Physical Anthropologists voted to “deplore the misuse of science to advocate racism.” The president of the association and chairman of the meeting that passed the vote was Carleton Coon, who taught at the University of Pennsylvania and was the author of The Story of Man and The Origin of Races. He and Putnam were kinsmen, and agreed on many matters. Coon asked how many of the assembled anthropologists had read the book they were condemning; only one raised his hand. Later Coon wrote: “There they were, some of them old and trusted friends, apparently as brainwashed as Pavlov’s puppies … I told my fellow members that I would no longer preside over such a craven lot, and resigned from the presidency.”
From this point, Putnam threw himself into a campaign to overturn the Brown decision. The Supreme Court had based its decision on faulty information: blacks and white were not equal, and segregation did not harm blacks psychologically. He was convinced that if the facts were put before federal judges, they would use their talent for sifting evidence to expose the Supreme Court’s error.
| The 101st Airborne integrates
Little Rock High School.
Accordingly, he played a key behind-the-scenes role in the 1963 case of Stell v. Savannah-Chatham Board of Education, which did exactly what Putnam had hoped for: line up a blue-ribbon panel of scientists to present the facts about race, and thereby expose the faulty reasoning of Brown. Each of the six men who testified as expert witnesses was deeply involved in the fight against egalitarianism, and are some of the central characters in Prof. Jackson’s book. Today they are largely unknown, but they deserve, like Carleton Putnam, to be honored for their important contributions to a proper understanding of the significance of race.
Wesley Critz George (1888–1982) was professor of anatomy at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and had been a strong opponent of racial mixing long before the Brown decision. He was a prominent scientist who recognized both that social science was ignoring biology and that biology itself was being increasingly purged of race. As early as 1952, in his presidential address to the North Carolina Academy of Sciences, he warned that political views were diverging ominously from biological facts. After Brown, he became politically active, running an organization called Patriots of North Carolina that helped defeat two North Carolina congressmen who had not signed the “Southern Manifesto.” As he pointed out in 1955, “There is already enough knowledge available to show the folly of [the Brown] decision. Our problem is to get that knowledge presented in impressive form and disseminated to the public to counteract the sophistry of the integrationists.” During the Stell trial, he gave convincing testimony on the biology of racial differences.
Robert Kuttner (1928–1987), who taught anthropology at the University of Connecticut, was a sworn enemy of Ashley Montagu and his famous UNESCO statements that denied racial differences. He particularly opposed Montagu’s claim that people have feelings of “universal brotherhood,” calling this “the ravings of a lunatic.” He wrote that given the weight of the evidence, “It is easier to believe that the Negro does not rank with the white race than to believe that every society that has contact with him has judged him unfairly.” He, too, testified on racial differences at the Stell trial, and later went on to testify before Congress against passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1965.
Henry Garrett (1894–1973) was likewise a distinguished university professor, who was head of the psychology department of Columbia from 1941 until his retirement in 1955. He was president of the American Psychological Association in 1946, and in the trials that led up to the Supreme Court’s Brown decision, he was the most prominent academic to testify in favor of segregation. He once wrote, “Despite glamorized accounts to the contrary, the history of Black Africa over the past 5,000 years is largely a blank.” In the 1960s, as it became clear that the country was going in an egalitarian direction, he gave up trying to influence the elites: “[T]he rank-and-file intelligent white is our best bet for reversing the tide. … The ordinary white man who is called to eat and live with the Bantu is the one who balks: he knows personally what ‘integration’ means.” In Stell he testified about the validity and importance of intelligence testing.
Also on the witness list was psychoanalyst Ernest van den Haag (1914–2002), who was born in Holland, and was closely associated with National Review before William Buckley went soft on race. His testimony centered on Kenneth Clark’s misleading doll tests that so impressed the Supreme Court in Brown (See “Brown v. Board: The Real Story,” AR, July 2004). Van den Haag even went on to testify in defense of apartheid in a 1966 trial at the International Court of Justice, but eventually gave up on the race question. By the 1970s, his main interest had shifted to defending capital punishment.
|Demonstration against integration in Baltimore.|
R. Travis Osborne (1913–) began teaching at University of Georgia in 1946, and was appointed director of the university’s Counseling and Testing Center in 1947. He was granted Pioneer Fund money to do large-scale testing of black and white twins, which underlined the largely heritable nature of the race difference in IQ. He, too, testified about intelligence testing, and was still publishing important work on race and IQ in the 1980s.
One of his close colleagues in later years, Frank C. J. McGurk (1910–1995), also gave evidence on IQ testing. McGurk was a clinical psychologist who first became interested in the race question in 1938, when he noticed that a large number of the black children passing through the juvenile court system were, by white standards, mentally retarded. He first published on racial differences in 1943, and gathered much important data when he served in a special training unit for blacks in the US Army. He also taught at West Point and Villanova, and continued writing about race and intelligence into the 1980s.
Today, it is not easy to imagine scholars and experts testifying in open court about why racial differences justify school segregation. Interestingly, the NAACP, which represented the integrationist view, did not call its own experts to oppose the testimony. For Brown, it had made a point of trying to load the case with as much social science as possible. In Stell, the NAACP simply moved to strike the expert testimony as irrelevant in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling that segregated schools were unconstitutional. Now that the law was on their side, blacks had no interest in doll studies, learning rates, or anything else.
The presiding judge, Frank M. Scarlett, who was known to favor segregated schooling anyway, duly found that the Brown decision had been based on incorrect facts, and that it was a reasonable use of state power to separate students on the basis of race. This amounted to a trial judge telling the Supreme Court it had got things wrong, and that he would ignore its ruling. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals quickly overturned Scarlett’s decision, arguing that in light of Brown, segregated schools were unconstitutional, and that Scarlett’s job was to determine whether schools were segregated and to order integration if they were.
The race-realist team appealed the Fifth Circuit decision to the Supreme Court, but it refused to take the case. Carleton Putnam reflected the disappointment of many when he wrote: “The appeal to truth, the levy upon honor, had failed.”
There was one more attempt to fight integration in the courts. In 1964, the NAACP sued in Jackson, Mississippi, to integrate the schools, and Judge Sidney Mize allowed expert evidence in support of segregation. Many of the men who testified in Stell once more took the stand. By then the Fifth Circuit decision had been handed down, and Mize could not stop integration no matter what the evidence. He left his sentiments clearly on the record, however, noting that the evidence presented to the Supreme Court was “unworthy of belief” — a “misleading concealment” of the truth — and that “the facts … ‘cry out’ for a reappraisal and complete reconsideration” of Brown. Rarely do lower courts write in such terms about recent Supreme Court decisions.
|Audrey Shuey: Author of The Testing of Negro Intelligence, 1958.|
Some day, a company charged with racial discrimination will present expert testimony to explain that differences in ability rather than discrimination explain why there are so few blacks in management. Until that day comes, the 1964 case of Evers v. Jackson will have been the last time the facts about race and IQ had their day in court. It is worth recalling that in both Stell and Evers, the facts were persuasive. There is no reason to think that with the accumulation of 40 more years of research, they would not be even more persuasive.
Many of the men who testified in the desegregation cases were affiliated with an organization known as the International Association for the Advancement of Ethnology and Eugenics (IAAEE), which was organized in 1959. Among the people who attended its first meeting were Carleton Putnam, Henry Garrett, Robert Kuttner, and Frank C. J. McGurk. With the financial help of Wickliffe Draper, who endowed the Pioneer Fund, the IAAEE went on to write many scientific papers that provoked considerable controversy in academic circles and sometimes even in the general press.
One of the IAAEE’s more important achievements was the distribution of The Testing of Negro Intelligence, written in 1958 by Audrey Shuey (1910–1977). Shuey, who had done her doctoral work under Henry Garrett, was head of the psychology department at Randolph-Macon Women’s College. Her massive book — the second edition, published in 1966, ran to 578 pages — was the standard volume on race and IQ until the work of later scholars like Arthur Jensen, Philippe Rushton, Richard Lynn, and Michael Levin. Unfortunately, the IAAEE essentially ceased to operate in the early 1970s.
In addition to the court cases launched against Brown, Prof. Jackson covers other little-known efforts to fight integration. For example, immediately after Brown, President Eisenhower ordered the integration of public schools in the nation’s capital. The House Committee on the District of Columbia held hearings on this order. Led by Congressmen John Davis of Georgia and John Bell Williams of Mississippi, the hearings looked into the low test scores of blacks, which committee members attributed to low black intelligence. Davis and Williams, along with two other members, subsequently urged that “racially separate public schools be re-established for the education of white and Negro children in the District of Columbia.” Needless to say, their advice was not taken.
Prof. Jackson even reminds us of Mississippi Senator Theodore Bilbo’s Greater Liberia Bill, which called for tax money to support voluntary repatriation of blacks to Africa. It was offered in the late 1930s, but lost support with the beginning of the Second World War. Strong sentiment against the racial policies of Nazi Germany greatly hampered Bilbo’s efforts. Prof. Jackson notes that Bilbo’s 1947 book, Take Your Choice: Separation or Mongrelization, was probably the last separatist book published by a major American political figure.
| Senator Theodore Bilbo called for
voluntary repatriation to Africa.
For these and many other long-forgotten facts about the fight against racial egalitarianism, Science for Segregation is an extremely illuminating volume. It is a pity contemporary readers must learn of the struggle from a hostile source, but today there are few other sources.
Prof. Jackson writes as if the egalitarian position were firmly grounded in science, but his position is not just unscientific; it is anti-scientific. “There is no line of demarcation between science and politics,” he writes. Of course there is. Science tells us some races are, on average, taller than others. If it tells us some races are more intelligent than others that is an empirical, not a political question. If Prof. Jackson really cannot tell the difference, it is because fear of taboos has blinded him to the obvious. He adds: “That racism speaks in a scientific voice should be no reason for not naming it as racism.” What Prof. Jackson is saying, of course, is that as soon as science uncovers facts uncongenial to his convictions, it is no longer science but “racism.” Such a closed-minded view will protect the egalitarian position against even the best research.
Science — and the truth — are indifferent to Prof. Jackson’s or anyone else’s wishes. That is why, 40 years after school integration, blacks are no better students than they were in segregated schools. As Horace noted in the Epistles, “You may drive nature out with a pitchfork, yet she will always return.” America has been driving out nature with more than pitchforks for 50 years. She may take her time, but she always returns.
Buy Race and Reason here.
The Hate Speech Double Standard
Talk of exterminating whites is a laughing matter.
The American cultural and political landscape is littered with the career remains of whites who said things offensive to blacks. In 1987, Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Al Campanis was fired for saying blacks may not have “some of the necessities to be, let’s say, a field manager, or perhaps a general manager” in major league baseball. The following year, CBS Sports commentator Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder lost his job for speculating that the dominance of blacks in certain sports was due to selective breeding: “During the slave period, the slave owner would breed his big black with his big woman so that he would have a big black kid — that’s where it all started.” Conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh was forced to resign as a commentator for the sports network ESPN in 2003 after implying that the only reason Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was considered a top player was because he was black.
Last September, former education secretary William Bennett nearly lost his radio program after saying: “If you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose — you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down.” He added: “That would be an impossibly ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.” He was simply making a point about crime rates and the possible consequences of abortion, but he had to endure sustained criticism and calls for his resignation.
| Laughed out loud at accounts of blacks
who fantasize about killing whites.
Blacks are not held to the same standard, and a particularly obvious case is that of Dr. Kamau Kambon, a black activist and a former visiting professor of Africana Studies at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Last October, Prof. Kambon was on a panel at Howard University Law School to discuss media coverage of Hurricane Katrina. He told the audience that “we [blacks] are at war” and that white people had set up an “international plantation” for blacks. “White people want to kill us,” he added. “I want you to understand that. They want to kill you. They want to kill you because that is part of their plan.” Dr. Kambon’s solution? “We have to exterminate white people off the face of the planet to solve this problem.” He concluded by urging blacks to “get very serious and not be diverted from coming up with a solution to the problem, and the problem on the planet is white people.”
Had the professor been a white man calling for the extermination of blacks, the media outcry would have been deafening, but there was silence about Dr. Kambon. Were it not for the Internet, his words would have gone unremarked, despite being aired on C-SPAN to a national audience. No black group or individual came forward to denounce him.
Prof. Kambon was the subject of a debate between American Renaissance editor Jared Taylor and James “Jimi” Izrael, a black editorial assistant for the Lexington Herald-Leader. The debate took place on the Sue Wylie Program of News/Talk 590 WVLK in Lexington, Ky., last Nov. 9.
Mr. Izrael refused to say that what Prof. Kambon had said was wrong. He at first dismissed him as a “kooky academic,” and said America “was a free country.” When pressed by Miss Wylie to condemn someone who promotes genocide, Mr. Izrael could say only that he defended Bill Bennett’s right to say whatever he wanted as well as Prof. Kambon’s. He seemed bemused that anyone would be disturbed by talk of extermination.
|Says whites must be exterminated.|
In response to a caller, Mr. Taylor mentioned other blacks, such as musician Miles Davis and poet bell hooks, who have publicly fantasized about killing whites but have suffered no consequences. Mr. Izrael began to laugh out loud. “Listen,” he said, “I’m laughing because if I had a dollar for every time I heard a black person [talking about] killing somebody white I’d be a millionaire, like, once or twice a week.” Mr. Izrael found it amusing that whites would be offended if blacks fantasize about killing whites, but did concede grudgingly, “I guess if I were white I wouldn’t think it was funny, either.”
He then explained why it is harmless for blacks to talk about extermination. Dr. Kambon should not be taken seriously because, as a black man, he has no power. If Sue Wylie or Jared Taylor started talking about exterminating blacks that would be cause for alarm because whites do have power. Mr. Izrael was dismissive of any caller who thought his position was inconsistent.
Mr. Izrael’s own performance was a perfect example of the racial double standard in “hate speech.” Despite his insistence that he spoke only for himself, and not for the Lexington Herald-Leader, if a white editorial writer refused to condemn genocidal remarks uttered by a white professor — and indeed, laughed at the idea of killing blacks — he would have lost his job by the time the program was over. When whites make even semi-humorous comments that offend blacks it is serious. When blacks talk of exterminating whites it is a laughing matter.
IN THE NEWS
O Tempora, O Mores!
The reaction to the publication of twelve caricatures of Mohammed in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten shows how alien fundamentalist Islam is from Western culture. It all started with an author’s failure to find an illustrator for a book. Last September, Kare Bluitgen, a Danish children’s author, could find no one willing to illustrate a children’s book on Mohammed. Danish artists knew that Islam forbids depictions of the prophet, and they feared they might meet the fate of Dutch director Theo van Gogh, who was murdered by a Muslim for making a film critical of Islam. [Danish Artists Scared of Islam, DR Nyheder (Denmark), Sept. 16, 2005.]
When he heard about this, Flemming Rose, the cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten, Denmark’s largest newspaper, decided to assert Danes’ right to free speech. He commissioned cartoonists to draw Mohammed, and published 12 cartoons at the end of September. The most provocative showed Mohammed with a bomb instead of a turban.
Muslim protests began a week later with a demonstration in the heart of Copenhagen against “Islamophobia.” The leader of an influential Danish mosque then led a delegation to several Muslim countries to complain about Denmark. In October, eleven Muslim states demanded that Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen meet with their ambassadors to discuss the cartoons. The prime minister refused, saying the government cannot influence the press. [Jörg Lau, Allah und der Humor, Die Zeit (Hamburg), Jan. 2, 2006.]
Jyllands-Posten began getting death threats and demands for apologies, but Mr. Rose stood firm. “They’re asking for subordination — for us as non-Muslims to follow Muslim taboos in the public domain,” he explained. [Imam Demands Apology for Mohammed Cartoons, Copenhagen Post, Oct. 10, 2006. James Brandon, Danish Editor Tests Right to Violate Muslim Taboos, Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 10, 2005.]
Syria, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Iran recalled their ambassadors because the newspaper and the Danish government would not apologize unreservedly for the cartoons. Angry crowds burned the Danish embassies in Syria and Lebanon, and attacked the embassy in Indonesia. In Lebanon, one of the demonstrators died in the attack, and 32 protestors and police were injured. The cartoons have been condemned by heads of state and in angry demonstrations in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Malaysia, and Bangladesh. Seventeen Arab countries have called on the Danish government to punish the newspaper. A boycott of Danish products in the Middle East is costing Danish dairy giant Arla Foods $1.8 million in sales every day, and the company has laid off workers. [Lebanese Torch Danish Embassy Over Cartoons, Reuters, Feb. 5, 2006. Outrage Grows over Mohammed Cartoons, CBS/AP, Feb. 3, 2006. Iran Recalls Ambassador to Denmark, Reuters, Feb. 5, 2006. Protestors Torch Danish Embassy in Beirut, AP, Feb. 6, 2006. Hamish Rutherford, Cartoon Backlash Costs Arla £1m a Day, Scotsman (Edinburgh), Feb. 4, 2006.]
In London, one thousand Muslims gathered outside the Danish embassy on February 4. They chanted slogans threatening more bombings in London and carried signs saying, “Behead those who insult Islam,” “Freedom go to hell,” and “Be prepared for the real Holocaust.” Although the demonstrators were clearly threatening violence, police made no arrests for fear of a riot. The police did detain two counter-demonstrators carrying cartoons of Mohammed — in order to prevent a breach of peace. British conservatives protested the double standard. [Muslim Protests are Incitement to Murder, Say Tories, Telegraph (London), Feb. 5, 2006.]
The Danes have begun to waffle. In his New Year’s Day address, Prime Minister Rasmussen urged the press to exercise free speech “in such a manner that we do not incite hatred and cause fragmentation of the community that is one of Denmark’s strengths.” At the end of January, Jyllands-Posten’s chief editor said, “We apologize for the fact that the cartoons undeniably have offended many Muslims.” However, neither the editor nor the government apologized outright for the cartoons. Polls show that large majorities of Danes oppose apologies. [Per Bech Thomsen, Danish Step Over Cartoons Eases Muslim Anger, Reuters, Jan. 4, 2006. Danish Paper Apologizes for Muhammad Cartoons Offense, Bloomberg, Jan. 31, 2006. Anthony Browne, ‘This is Not Just About Cartoons, but Standing Up for Our Values,’ Times (London), Feb. 1, 2006.]
Western elites have almost all said Jyllands-Posten was in the wrong. EU commissioner, Franco Frattini, called the cartoons “thoughtless and inappropriate.” The UN Commissioner on Human Rights, Louise Arbour, wrote, “I find alarming any behaviors that disregard the beliefs of others. This kind of thing is unacceptable.” She also said UN experts on racism would investigate. The US State Department said, “Inciting religious or ethnic hatred in this manner is not acceptable.” The Vatican called the cartoons “unacceptable provocation.” British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said republication of the cartoons in other newspapers “has been unnecessary, it has been insensitive, it has been disrespectful, and it has been wrong.” Only French Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy has defended Jyllands-Posten, saying he prefers “an excess of caricature to an excess of censor.” [Outraged: Cartoon Controversy Threatens Free Press, Florida Alligator, Feb. 2, 2006. Saul Hudson, US Backs Muslims in Cartoon Dispute, Reuters, Feb. 3, 2006. European Elite Scrambles to Defuse Furor Over Caricatures of Muhammad, Guardian (London), Feb. 3, 2006.]
European newspapers have shown solidarity with Jyllands-Posten. Papers in Norway, Holland, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and Italy reprinted the cartoons or their own caricatures of Mohammed. The Norwegian Christian newspaper Magazinet published the cartoons along with interviews with two Norwegian artists who said they would not draw Mohammed out of fear for their lives. The paper then had to endure an apology by the Norwegian government, and dozens of death threats. The editor apologized. The owner of France Soir fired its editor for printing cartoons of religious figures, including Mohammed, with the caption, “Don’t worry Mohammed, we’ve all been caricatured here.” [Norway Editor Regrets Mohammad Images After Threats, Reuters, Feb. 3, 2006. French Editor is Sacked over Cartoon, Reuters, Feb. 2, 2006. Alan Cowell, More European Papers Print Cartoons of Muhammad, Fueling Dispute With Muslims, New York Times, Feb. 2, 2006.]
So far, no major American newspaper has reprinted the cartoons, though millions of Americans have seen them on the Internet (the AR web site has posted them several times).
BNP Wins Round One
On Jan. 16, the British government put British National Party chairman Nick Griffin and BNP activist Mark Collett on trial for incitement to racial hatred because of speeches the two made in West Yorkshire in 2004. A BBC reporter had sneaked into the meetings and videoed them without permission. The extracts from the speeches that the prosecution read were largely focused on Muslim rapes of white women and other Asian-on-white crimes — in Britain, “Asian” means Indian and Pakistani. Mr. Griffin said Britain was becoming “a multiracial hellhole” and that Islam was “a wicked, vicious faith.” He also said Muslims were responsible for a “rape wave” in the town of Keighley, and that the Koran encourages Muslims to rape non-Muslim women. Mr. Collett said there were at least two rapes of white girls by gangs of Asians in Britain every week. The prosecution argued that these speeches were aimed at inciting racial hatred. [BNP Leader ‘Warned of Multiracial Hell Hole,’ Press Association (UK), Jan. 17, 2006.]
The pair’s defense was that their speeches could not be considered incitement to racial hatred because they were attacking Islam, not Asians, many of whom are not Muslims. Mr. Griffin pointed out that at one of the speeches he had condemned an attack by whites on an elderly Asian man, and told the audience that whoever had committed the attack should be hanged. His audience burst into applause. He said, “I admire people of all races but I would prefer my children, my people, to keep themselves to themselves.” He told the jury he had Sikh friends who agreed with him: “they want their grandchildren to look like they do.” [Paul Stokes, Islam is a Wicked, Vicious Faith, BNP Leader Tells Court, Telegraph (London), Jan. 26, 2006.]
Mr. Collett said he had never laid the blame for ethnic turmoil in Britain at the door of non-whites; rather, he had blamed “the Labour party, the establishment and the media.” He said the Labour party is a “soft touch” for asylum seekers, and the media underplays Muslim crime in Britain. Both defendants showed that their accounts of Asian-on-white crimes were based on government statistics and newspaper articles. [BNP Man ‘Didn’t Blame All Asians,’ BBC News, Jan. 24, 2006.]
On February 2, the jury acquitted Mr. Griffin of two charges relating to one of his speeches, but could not decide whether the “vicious, wicked faith” speech was incitement to racial hatred. Mr. Collett was acquitted of four charges, but the jury hung on four others. The British government says it will retry the two men on the unresolved charges. [BNP Duo to Face Race Hate Retrial, BBC News, Feb. 2, 2006. Nick Griffin and Mark Collett’s trial diary, Free Speech on Trial, https://freespeech ontrial.blogspot.com/.]
Recently “Stop Snitching” T-shirts have popped up in various cities to warn crime witnesses against informing on criminals. Police believe the shirts were inspired by a DVD put out by drug dealers and starring basketball star Carmelo Anthony. It threatened crime witnesses with a “hole in the head” for talking to police.
Buffalo policeman Anthony Barba says he first saw the T-shirts at a murder scene. He looked up and saw them being sold in a store window and then noticed a man walking back and forth around the crime scene wearing one. “This kind of thing in the community is a big deterrent to people coming out,” he says. “They have enough fear as it is.”
Some people wear the shirts because they are fashionable. Kyiesha Keeley of the Hip Hop Closet in Brooklyn, where the shirt is a big seller, explains: “A lot of times people are wearing things just for a fashion statement and not for what exactly it says. … But definitely some are wearing it as a badge of honor: ‘This is what I stand for.’”
There is no law against wearing the shirts. However, Massachusetts has banned them in courthouses after they showed up at trials. The state has also banned cell phones with cameras in them after friends of a defendant were caught using cell phones to take pictures of witnesses and the prosecutor. Mayor Menino of Boston is trying to discourage stores from selling the shirts, but ACLU lawyers say this violates free speech rights. [‘Stop Snitching T-shirts Stir Concern, AP, Jan. 4, 2006. ‘Stop Snitching’ Logo Banned from Courthouses, AP, Jan. 11, 2006.]
Hero of Hate
Users of Black Entertainment Television’s website, have elected Louis Farrakhan as the 2005 BET.com Person of the Year. They chose Mr. Farrakhan over Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Robert L. Johnson, who started BET, and “the suffering victims of Hurricane Katrina of New Orleans.” Mr. Farrakhan told BET.com he was greatly honored to receive the award and would continue “the work of the liberation of our people.” [Tracy Stokes, Min. Louis Farrakhan 2005 ‘Person of the Year,’ BET.com, Dec. 19, 2005.]
What did Mr. Farrakhan do to win this honor? Mr. Farrakhan got heavy news coverage twice in 2005. Once was when he promoted the theory that whites blew up the New Orleans levees to destroy black neighborhoods. The other was his “Millions More Movement” organized on the National Mall on October 15th to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Million Man March. Here are some of the things the speakers said on that occasion:
“We want to say to our young brothers of the Crips and the Bloods that we are one family. The real enemy doesn’t wear blue, but white, even when he’s butt naked.” — Michael Muhammad, National Youth Minister for the Nation of Islam.
“We are at war here in America and across the world. … We need soldiers now. We need black male soldiers, we need black feminist soldiers, we need Crips and Bloods soldiers … soldiers in the prisons, soldiers in the streets.” — Ayende Baptiste.
“We must force the lying, bloodsucking administration of this country to lift the sanctions against Zimbabwe.” — Viola Plummer, National Chairman of the Millions for Reparations Campaign.
“Is Mumia Abu Jamal the real criminal or is the real criminal the president of the United States? … On the charge of drowning our people in New Orleans and sabotaging the levees, how do you find George Bush?” — Malik Shabazz, head of the New Black Panther Party.
Other speakers said Katrina rescue crews had deliberately passed over blacks on rooftops so they could rescue whites and that “our slave masters” were in charge of the rescue equipment. The Congressional Black Caucus endorsed the event and five black Congressmen attended. [Steve Malzberg, Louis Farrakhan’s Inclusiveness, NewsMax, Oct. 17, 2005. Black Liberals Support Farrakhan Event, NewsMax, Oct. 4, 2005. More Than A Million Pledged To Restore, Rebuild and Repair Broken Lives, etc., Millions More Movement Press Release, Oct. 15, 2006.]
Camels for Norway
A Norwegian village has thought of a new way to keep refugees happy: give them camels. The refugee council of the village of Loeten in southeast Norway has applied for government money to bring 20 camels to the village for its 100 refugees, most of whom are from East Africa. “It’s hard to find jobs for anyone here,” refugee council leader Wenche Stenseth explained. “Then we found out that many of the refugees here have nomadic backgrounds, and know a lot about camel farming. So we want to import camels, and employ the refugees so that they can use the skills they already have.” The camels are supposed to provide milk, fur, hides and meat for the village, and the farm might become a tourist attraction.
The refugees are enthusiastic. However, if the town does get camels, they will be a different breed from the ones the refugees are used to. Only Bactrian camels, which come from the icy steppes of Russia and Mongolia, can survive in Norway. [Lars Bevanger, African Hopes Ride on Norway Camels, BBC News, Jan. 16, 2006. Norway Eyes Icebreakers of the Desert, SAPA-AFP, Jan. 4, 2006.]
Blacks vs. Africans
On Oct. 31, Jacob Gray, a 13-year-old from Liberia, was walking home from Tilden Middle School in Philadelphia when a gang of young blacks beat him so badly he needed hospitalization. Philadelphia police were unsure of the motive — they think the boy may have been suspected of being a snitch — but members of the Liberian community say it was an anti-African hate crime, and hardly the first.
“It’s been going on for quite a while,” says Sekou Kamara, a Temple University student. He says his younger brother was beaten up by blacks and that his sister had her braids ripped out by others. He believes American blacks view African immigrants as a threat. “You have this increasing African community competing with African-American kids,” he says.
Other Liberians believe blacks resent their success. “There’s anger about African immigrants coming here and doing so well,” says Orabella Richards, who teaches black medical personnel how to deal with African immigrants. “You see them fixing up their houses, buying cars.”
Black children, particularly, resent Africans. Tilden Middle School is 90 percent black and 20 percent West African. Liberian parents say American blacks make fun of their children’s accents and darker skin. “The kids talk about being called African chimps, African monkeys, sometimes being told to go back to Africa,” says Portia Kamara. She says African students form gangs to protect themselves.
“The worst of all is if you’re good in class,” says Varney Karneh, a Liberian immigrant and host of a local radio talk program. African immigrants make some American blacks look bad, “and they don’t want to look bad,” he adds. [Robert Moran, Gaiutra Bahudar and Susan Snyder, Residents Say Attack Exposes Larger Problem, Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 3, 2005, p. B1.]
Robbing the Hangman
On Nov. 8, 1999, Wesley Harris, a 27-year-old black fast food worker hijacked and kidnapped Whitney Land, a 22-year-old white woman, and her two-year-old daughter Jordan at a park in Clayton County, Georgia. Mr. Harris drove them to Gwinnett County, where he shot them at point-blank range. An autopsy showed Mr. Harris had put his gun right against the child’s face and shot her while she was still strapped into her car seat. With the help of a friend who arrived after the killings, he put the bodies in the trunk “at obscene angles,” according to press accounts, and then set the car on fire. It was not hard for police to catch Mr. Harris; he called his friend on the dead woman’s cell phone.
Mr. Harris went on trial last fall. Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter sought the death penalty and was sure he would get it. He says it was the strongest case for the death penalty he has ever tried. The trial lasted for 13 days, and the jurors took ten hours to convict Mr. Harris of first degree murder. Some jurors said they could have reached a verdict in minutes, but wanted to go over all of the evidence “just to make sure.” Afterwards, the jurors met again for the sentence. After deliberating for an hour, they voted ten to two for the death penalty. The majority favoring the death penalty tried to persuade the other two, but they wouldn’t budge. Mr. Harris will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Jurors who voted for death are unhappy. “We’re angry that the system didn’t work and frustrated that we didn’t see the outcome we thought we should have seen,” says Denise Schneiders. “Justice wasn’t done.” Another juror adds, “I really feel like our verdict was stolen from us. We feel robbed by two people for reasons that were not really voiced.” The holdouts said only that they couldn’t vote for the death penalty. At least one juror speculated that the issue was race. The ten who voted for the death penalty were white; the two others were a black and an Asian. [Lateef Mungin, Death Sentence ‘Stolen,’ Angry Jurors Say, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Nov. 13, 2005, p. E1.]
In 2003, John Smith, a white 51-year-old retired Navy submariner, began a second career as a teacher at predominantly black Brentwood Middle School in Charleston, South Carolina. It was not a pleasant experience. The students cursed, harassed and insulted him every day. He complained to the principal, Wanda Marshall, but she would not allow students to be disciplined because of behavior towards Mr. Smith and other white teachers. Mr. Smith filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), accusing Brentwood’s administration of allowing a racially hostile environment at the school. In April 2004, Principal Marshall told Mr. Smith he had successfully completed his first year of teaching, but that he was not welcome to return to Brentwood. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Smith went public with his EEOC complaint, after which he received a letter informing him that he had not successfully completed his first year of teaching, which effectively ended his teaching career. In South Carolina, first-year teachers have no right to appeal dismissals.
Mr. Smith then filed a lawsuit against the school district in federal court. Last fall the district agreed to settle with Mr. Smith for $50,000. The district did not admit any wrongdoing, but Mr. Smith’s lawyer says it did concede there were racial problems at the school. Mr. Smith, who now works as a longshoreman, says that he hopes his experience will encourage other white teachers to fight discrimination. [School District Settles Racial Allegation Case, AP, Nov. 6, 2005.]
Singing the Blues
On Feb. 1, New York City evicted the Harlem Boys Choir from its headquarters at the Choir Academy of Harlem. The choir has performed all over the world, but has fallen victim to financial mismanagement and bad leadership by its director and founder, Walter Turnbull. Things have been unraveling since one of the choir’s employees was convicted of molesting a chorister in 2002. The group is $5 million in debt, and did not honor an agreement to replace Mr. Turnbull, who was accused of covering up the molestation and keeping the molester on the payroll. The city says the choir has also failed to live up to its responsibilities to provide counselors, tutors, and musical training, and to offer a summer institute.
Mr. Turnbull accuses the city of racial bias. “They want to marginalize me as a black man,” he says. He is not alone. In late January a group of choir parents sued the city, claiming it is discriminating against a school run by blacks. They want the eviction reversed and demand more city money. [David Usborne, Harlem Boys Choir is Told to Face the Music and Leave the Premises, Independent (London), Jan. 5, 2006. Deepti Hajela, City Evicts Debt-laden Boys’ Choir from Home, AP, Feb. 5, 2006.]
Menace in Milwaukee
On Dec. 27, Samuel McClain, a 50-year-old black father of 12, was driving through northwest Milwaukee, Wisconsin, looking for crack. When the deal went bad, a gang of at least 15 black teenagers and young men beat him within an inch of his life. Witnesses told police that men jumped off cars and did flips onto Mr. McClain’s head, laughed, and blasted music as if they were having a “block party.” “They just started stomping on him, beating him,” said one witness. “They were having fun, like it was normal, like it was an everyday thing.” Mr. McClain is said to have brought on the attack by honking his horn at men who were blocking the road.
Although not quite yet an everyday occurrence, black mob violence has become increasingly common in Milwaukee. There were four such incidents in 2004. On July 4, blacks robbed 54-year-old David Rutledge and beat him so mercilessly he later died of his injuries. Four days later, a group of older boys attacked a 14-year-old after he supposedly had a playground argument with a girl to whom they were related. Later that month a mob of blacks attacked and beat a man whom a neighborhood girl falsely accused of groping her. On July 29, 2004, a gang fell upon a16-year-old and his brother, and beat them with bats, bottles, sticks, and socks stuffed with canned food. The most notorious incident of mob violence was in 2002 when at least a dozen blacks — including children — attacked 36-year-old Charlie Young, Jr., and beat him to death with shovels, tree limbs and other weapons.
The mob attacks have prompted police to push for a new law that would add one to five extra years of prison time to the sentence of anyone convicted of violence as part of a mob — defined as three or more people. [John Diedrich and Raquel Rutledge, Attackers Sought in Driver’s Beating, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Dec. 28, 2005. John Diedrich, Felicia Thomas-Lynn and Bob Purvis, At Least 9 Held in Mob Beating, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Dec. 28, 2005. Carrie Antlfinger, Milwaukee Mob Beating a Drug Deal Gone Bad, Police Say, AP, Jan. 18, 2006.]
In the Netherlands, Sinterklaas, from whom Americans get Santa Claus, does not arrive by sleigh on Christmas Eve. He comes by a boat from Spain on Dec. 5, and has a black-faced assistant named Zwarte Piet, or Black Pete. According to legend dating back to the twelfth century, Pete is black because he climbs down chimneys to deliver presents, although some variations on the legend hint that he may be Sinterklass’s Moorish slave. The latter view may be gaining support from the way in which Zwarte Piet is portrayed by contemporary Dutchmen: they wear woolly Afro wigs, black greasepaint and thick red lipstick.
“I understand it’s in their tradition to celebrate the event,” complains Patrick Chapell, a black American living in Utrecht, “but I must admit I am deeply offended.” Mr. Chapell is not alone. The population of the Netherlands is now more than 10 percent non-white, and many are offended.
Most Dutch fail to see what the fuss is about. “It’s our tradition, and I am really proud of it,” says Marjoline Wentzel. “I don’t see any racism in it. It’s just fun.” “I think I speak on behalf of many Dutch people when I say it’s utter nonsense to associate it with racism,” says Bert Theunissen, a history professor at Utrecht University. It’s a tradition that goes back to way before the 19th century, and it simply has no racial connotations whatsoever.” The Dutch government believes the legend of Sinterklass and Zwarte Piet is such an integral part of Dutch culture that it is included in the test it gives to immigrants who want to stay. [Bruce Mutsvairo, Dutch Sinterklass Tradition Stirs Racial Umbrage, Christian Science Monitor (Boston), Dec. 22, 2005.]
Blacks vs. Hispanics
On Feb. 4, blacks and Hispanics fought each other at the North County Correctional Facility, a 34-acre maximum-security jail housing 21,000 prisoners in Castaic, California, 40 miles north of Los Angeles. The violence left one inmate dead and 50 injured, 20 badly enough to be hospitalized. It took more than 200 deputies armed with tear gas and pepper-ball guns to restore order.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca says the riot began around 3:30 in the afternoon when Hispanic inmates began throwing bunks and furniture from the upper level of a dormitory onto blacks in a lower-level day room. He thinks it was in revenge for a stabbing of a Hispanic by a black two days earlier at the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles. “It is essentially a brown-on-black incident today which led to the fighting that occurred in these dorms,” he says. There were 200 prisoners involved in the initial outbreak, but it quickly turned into “massive chaos.” Inmates used fists, parts of beds, shoes and anything they could grab as weapons.
This was just the latest racial violence in the Los Angeles County prison system, which is 60 percent Hispanic and 30 percent black. There have been four nasty incidents since last December. On Jan. 13, a fight between blacks and Hispanics at the same North County jail put three men in the hospital. Last Dec. 27, 62 blacks and Hispanics fought it out at North County. On Dec. 4, 162 black and Hispanic prisoners rioted at the East Facility at the Pitchess center, leaving 22 injured. Three days later, 12 more inmates were injured during a fight involving 117 black and Hispanic prisoners at the same jail. One of the worst riots was at Pitchess in 2000 when several days of violence left 80 inmates injured, mostly blacks. Sheriff Baca separated the men by race, but they fought again as soon as they were reintegrated.
After the latest riot, a Hispanic inmate handed the sheriff a note that said, “if blacks come into the dorms we will fight.” It asked that he “please separate us by race for everyone’s safety.” After consulting with county lawyers, Sheriff Baca did just that — despite a Feb. 2005 Supreme Court ruling prohibiting racial segregation in California prisons (see “California Prison Segregation to End,” AR, May 2005). Sheriff Baca knows racial violence in prisons “is impossible to prevent.” “They will divide on racial lines,” he says. “There is a code of race. [You] are required to defend your race.” [Jean Guccione, Stuart Pfeifer and Rich Connell, 1 Killed, 50 Hurt in County Jail Race Riot, Los Angeles Times, Feb. 5, 2006.]
There is still time to register for the AR Conference, Feb 24-26, 2006.
Bold voices from Africa, Europe, Australia, and America.
LETTERS FROM READERS
Sir — Having read your review of Transforming Whiteness (Nov. 2005), I think I’ll rely on your critique and spare myself the immersion in psycho-flagellation. I have been a motivated racialist for many years, and in my earlier days I was irritated and even outraged by the left’s device of “psychoanalyzing” what made people like us tick and of determining what evil forces lay behind our behavior. I believe sometimes this technique was simply a pretext to silence us, but in most cases I think their motivation was a genuine interest in understanding people who were different from them.
Over time, I have come to believe that the fundamental difference between us and them is psychological and even physiological. The difference is rooted in our respective psychological makeups which, in turn, are based on our different physiologies.
Your review of Transforming Whiteness stimulated my thinking about minority claims that “racism is everywhere.” While oftentimes this claim is merely a justification for extortion, it is so ubiquitous and ripples up from even the lowest levels of at least the black and Hispanic minorities that it must be a genuine feeling for these people.
In my own experience, I have found that almost all people have profound feelings of insecurity. Perhaps this is a survival mechanism; anxiety often seems to make people (and other critters) warier, and, therefore, must have survival value. All of us (white, yellow, and the various shades of brown) also have an innate mechanism for sizing ourselves up against others. We want to know where do we fit in the pecking order. This is very deeply ingrained behavior.
For those who are less gifted, this must be a continuously frustrating process. Sadly, for non-whites, this frustration is dangerously compounded by a continuous loud banging on the drum that it’s all the fault of the white man.
For the poorly endowed, racism is everywhere, all the time, because they suffer from an unrelenting inferiority complex. And by the poorly endowed I do not mean only the brown minorities, but also those among our own people whose sense of insecurity is so deeply felt that they feel more connected to the brown minorities than to their own people.
These people cannot be persuaded. Persuasion is only possible for those of us who are relatively healthy. Though the research wasn’t available at the time, Lothrop Stoddard reached the same conclusion in his prescient and magisterial Revolt Against Civilization (1922). I recommend it as a strong antidote for those who have had their spirits sickened by the likes of Transforming Whiteness.
Sir — Your review of The Fate of Africa in the last issue was, for me, a bit of an alphabet soup of names and nations, but one message did come through unambiguously: Africans really cannot govern themselves. However, you left your readers with an unanswered question: How does Botswana manage to be the exception to the rule? If it really is a shining example of democracy and good management, you would think it had been studied, analyzed, petted, and exalted to within an inch of its life. And yet, an Internet search doesn’t tell me much. Is this another African hoax or is the miracle real?
Susan Langdon, Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.
Sir — Carl Horowitz has written an interesting expose of the Nigerian scam artists, but, I think he is a too sympathetic towards the suckers. Might there be a bit of — what should we call it? — racial bias at work here? If whites were skimming the money from the pockets of gullible Africans would Mr. Horowitz be equally harsh on the scammers or would he think it was all rather amusing? In your magazine, whites pride themselves on their intelligence. If they are outwitted by “small-brained” Africans it serves them right.
Adam Hersh, Bangui, Central African Republic
Sir — Thank you for reporting on race in Scandinavia in your very illuminating Dec. 2005 issue. It is important that we know about developments in other countries. We are often accused of knowing embarrassingly little about foreign countries, but the account of how the Swedes saw Katrina shows how little they know about us.
Robert Briggs, Sarasota, Fla.
Sir — In the January issue,Thomas Jackson reviewed and recommended my book The Affirmative Action Hoax; Diversity, the Importance of Character and Other Lies. I want to inform the readers of American Renaissance that I now have a website www.affirmativeactionhoax.com which has corrections and additions to the book, along with documents on genetic determinism.
Professor Steven Farron, Johannesburg, South Africa
Sir — Congratulations to Mr. Taylor for “France at the Crossroads” (Jan. 2006). As he did with Katrina, he seems to have covered events not only from an intelligent racial angle but also more thoroughly than anyone else. I especially liked the Chard cartoons. Could we see more of his work?
Ted Summers, Albany, N.Y.
Chard is actually the pen name of a woman. Rivarol, for whom she draws exclusively, is very fortunate to have a cartoonist of such talent. — Ed.