|Vol. 20, No. 4||April 2009|
The Dangers of Diversity, Part II
The ugly reality behind the myth
“The Dangers of Diversity, Part I” cited examples of the extravagant expressions of support for diversity that have become common in the United States. It also described the wide-spread school violence that has followed the mixing of black and Hispanic students. This article examines other examples of violence that result from diversity.
Although the primary ethnic fault line in America’s schools today is between blacks and Hispanics, there can be friction whenever different groups mix, and as student populations become more diverse it opens up new opportunities for conflict. In Hamtramck, Michigan, the tensions are between blacks and Arabs. After a racially-motivated brawl in 2004, the superintendent of schools promised a constant police presence at Hamtramck High School, but police patrols were not enough. The next year, the school spent $22,000 on surveillance cameras to try to keep peace in a school that was averaging at least one fight every three days. The cameras were in addition to metal detectors and photo IDs students had worn for years. “It’s just the way things are,” said Terrell Beasley, who was hospitalized after an attack by Arabs. “Blacks and Arabs don’t get along. It’s been like that since the beginning.”
In rural Gentry, Arkansas, Hmong immigrants are a source of friction. Between November 2005 and January 2006, police arrested 14 public school students for what they called “racially motivated” fights. One student had to go to the hospital, and two Hmong and two Hispanic teenagers were expelled. The town quickly called in professional help to try to ease the tension. “We really want to make people aware of what’s going on over there before someone gets killed,” said Tessie Ajala, who led an intervention program at the high school.
In 2000, at Valley Center High School in San Diego County, California, 30 police officers put down a fight between dozens of Hispanic and American Indian students. Juan Granados, who is the founder of an organization that tries to train young people in peace-making, said that Hispanic and Indian students had been feuding for 40 years.
At Sanford Middle School in Minneapolis, there is friction between Indian students and some 200 Somali immigrant children. In May 2003, parents of Indians held a rally outside the school to protest bullying and violence by Somalis. School officials promised a program of cultural awareness and sensitivity.
|“Blacks and Arabs don’t get along. It's been like that since the beginning.”|
At Purnell Swett High School in Lumberton, North Carolina, blacks and Lumbee Indians do not get along. Thirty Indians and nine blacks were suspended after an October 2002 fight, prompting 100 Indian students and their parents to demonstrate against what they thought was unfair treatment. Later that month the school was on edge over an anonymous letter filled with expletives about blacks that said, “I am a soldier in the Lumbee’s army. I will never surrender to the enemy.”
In Boston, there have been fights between Somalis and American blacks. At English High School a riot began when black students started snatching the Somali girls’ headscarves. “This was the most angry mob of kids I ever saw,” said Pat Mullane, a teacher. “It was very frightening.” She said the American blacks knocked Somalis to the floor and stomped them, while others linked arms around the mayhem to stop teachers from getting in to break up the fight. There were police officers on campus later that week, and all students were searched with metal detectors. “This is just the beginning,” said one Somali senior. “More will happen.”
|Hamtramck High: Arabs and blacks do not get along.|
There was similar tension at Roosevelt High School in south Minneapolis. In September 2001, a fight broke out between a Somali and a black former student, and more Somalis and blacks quickly piled on. Somalis stabbed a 14-year-old black in the chest and also stabbed an assistant coach who tried to break up the fight. Police said there was long-simmering hostility between these two groups.
At Evander Childs High School in the Bronx, American blacks and Jamaicans often fight. After a brawl that ended with one combatant stabbed in the chest, neck, and back, a 16-year-old Jamaican explained, “Most Jamaicans don’t like the black kids who are here and vice versa. They fight most of the time, but this time it got more physical than usual.”
There is trouble between Armenian and Hispanic students in Los Angeles County. In 2000, when 17-year-old Raul Aguirre came to the aid of a fellow Hispanic who was fighting two Armenians they stabbed Mr. Aguirre twice in the heart, twice in the head and beat his head in with a tire iron. Two Armenian boys, aged 17 and 15, and a 14-year-old Armenian girl were booked in connection with the killing. Hispanics took revenge a few days later. Just minutes after the conclusion of a community meeting held to promote ethnic harmony, three Hispanics in a car shot at a group of Armenians standing on a street corner. An 18-year-old Armenian went to the hospital with a bullet in his knee.
In March 2005, there was a riot involving 200 to 400 Armenian and Hispanic students at Grant High School in Los Angeles. Helicopters hovered overhead as police officers put down violence that sent four students, two teachers, and a police officer to the hospital. “The fight was very horrible,” said 15-year-old Grant freshman Mary Kirishyan. “All you saw was trash cans flying in the air and everyone running around, it was very scary.” There was so much chaos the Los Angeles police ordered a child development center across the street from the high school locked down to keep its 72 children from being injured. There had been persistent racial tension at the school, which was 68 percent Hispanic and 23 percent Armenian. According to a Hispanic student, the riot began when “the Armenians hit a 14-year-old girl in the face because she was Hispanic.”
Grant High School has had an Armenian-Hispanic problem that goes back many years. In October 1999, 20 or so Hispanics crossed the invisible line that divided the Armenian and Hispanic areas and were immediately attacked by a much larger group of Armenians. The fighting quickly escalated into a pitched battle involving 400 students. Fourteen students and two teachers were injured, and calm did not return until at least 30 Los Angeles police officers appeared, some brandishing shotguns. The school’s dean, Daniel Gruenberg, explained there have been similar ethnic battles at least once a year for more than a decade. The school has tried conflict resolution programs, cultural awareness classes, group mediation, peer counseling, and teacher training but nothing seems to work.
As we saw elsewhere (“Integration Has Failed,” AR, February/March 2008) so many whites have left urban public schools that those who remain are often a small minority. They usually do not push back in the escalation of affronts that lead to violence and hardly ever act in groups.
The exceptions usually involve white ethnics. At Herbert H. Lehman High School in the Bronx, 200 white students — all Albanians, many of them refugees — refuse to be intimidated. They are vastly outnumbered in a student body of 4,000 that is mostly black and Hispanic, but have stood up to mass attacks that had to be stopped by police. In December 2000, police arrested 12 students after a fight that involved dozens of Albanians fighting blacks and Hispanics. The year before, there was a major brawl when blacks spotted an Albanian wearing a black-and-red Albanian flag. Those are the colors of the Bloods.
“They all hate us,” said 17-year-old Diana Gjoljaj of the blacks and Hispanics. “That’s why we hang together.” “They’re a bunch of racists, all of them,” said John, a 19-year-old Albanian who was afraid to give his last name. “The kids think because we’re white we’re not going to fight back.” Fifteen-year-old Ylli Mujaj explained that unlike other white children, Albanians refuse to be pushed around. “We stick together,” he said. “We give as good as we get.” Evan Small, a black junior, explained that blacks stick together, too. “If you see guys fighting you are going to jump in and protect your people.”
Most of the time, racial incidents involving whites are relatively benign. In 2004, Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska had about 1,600 students — the vast majority of whom were white — and only about 50 blacks. Every year, Westside would choose one from among that handful for its “Distinguished African American Student Award.” Some of the whites decided to satirize the award by putting up more than 100 posters around the school, nominating a white student from South Africa for the award. The South African and several of his friends were suspended.
Occasionally, however, there are reports of racial violence involving non-immigrant whites. Lake Elsinore is a costal town in Riverside County, California. At Canyon High School, 18 students were suspended and eight faced expulsion after two days of fighting between whites and Hispanics. The violence reportedly began when a Hispanic girl started singing in Spanish and a white boy swore at her and told her to shut up.
Whites are almost never involved, however, in the massive riots that continue to wrack some schools, especially in Southern California. Perhaps this helps explain why the problem attracts no national attention.
Asian students, like whites, have a reputation for not fighting back, and black and Hispanic students often bully them. Aimee Baldillo of the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium said that this was “something we see everywhere in different pockets of the U.S. where there’s a large influx of (Asian) people.”
Administrators may be reluctant to admit there is racial tension in their schools. It is an embarrassment to have to admit failure in an area into which the country puts so much moral effort. Mara Sapon-Shevin, a professor of inclusive education at Syracuse University, says high schools and middle schools must face the problem honestly. “The truth is that every school has a racism problem, and the only differentiation is between schools that are doing something about it and schools that aren’t.”
Those that are doing something about it have tried just about everything, including professional mediation, multi-cultural training, anger-management classes, and a host of other interventions. In 2004, the Murrieta Valley Unified School District, in Riverside County, California, even considered a resolution to punish students merely for “rejecting” each other. No student would have been permitted to “form or openly participate in groups that tend to exclude, or create the impression of the exclusion of, other students.” The school board narrowly voted to table the proposal when it was pointed out that the ban would have prohibited membership in the Hispanic group “La Raza,” and could even have been read to forbid playing rap music in the hearing of white students. That such an absurd measure could even be considered shows how frantic educators are to solve the race problem.
High school class rings used to be signs of school spirit and class solidarity. Now they can be symbols of ethnic pride. When Jennifer Nguyen got a ring at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia, she had a dragon engraved on it as a symbol of Asia. “Even though I was born here, I’m still Vietnamese,” she explained. Vicky Rodriguez, a student at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, was also born in America but her parents came from El Salvador, so she got a ring emblazoned with her country’s flag. “I’m very proud of where I came from,” she said.
Conflicting loyalties are so close to the surface that some schools have banned all flags — even American flags. After Mexican students at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School in Santa Barbara County, California, brought Mexican flags to school, whites replied with American flags. The whites said they were simply being patriotic, but Principal Norm Clevenger said the American flags suggested “intolerance” and confiscated them.
Likewise, at Skyline High School in Denver, Colorado, American flags were banned from campus when principal Tom Stumpf decided they had been waved “brazenly” in the faces of Hispanic students. He banned all other flags, too.
The entire Oceanside Unified School District in San Diego County banned flags and even flag-motif clothing. The district decided flags were too provocative after Hispanics participated in large-scale marches demanding amnesty for illegal immigrants. Officials said flags were being used to taunt other students and stir up trouble. It is difficult to think of diversity as our country’s greatest strength when it forces a school district to treat Old Glory as if it were a display of gang colors.
Racial tension is probably the biggest reason increasing numbers of American high school students skip school because they fear violence. A 2003 survey found that 5.4 percent of students had stayed home at least once during the previous month because they were physically afraid. This was an increase over 4.4 percent ten years earlier.
|Flags are now the equivalent of gang colors.|
The racial violence that comes with diversity probably contributes to the increase in home schooling. In 2003, a government study reported there were nearly 1.1 million home-schooled Americans, an increase of 29 percent over the figure for 1999.
One little-noticed effect of increased diversity is the pressure it puts on textbooks. Beginning in the 1960s, schoolbooks were rewritten to reflect the views of blacks, women, and — increasingly — Hispanics. There are now other challenges.
In Fairfax County, Virginia, Sandhya Kumar led a successful campaign to force the school district — the twelfth largest in the country — to revise its fifth-, ninth-, and tenth-grade materials to show proper respect for Hinduism, Indians, and Indian immigrants. The district duly submitted the texts to George Washington University religion professor Balaji Hebbar for approval. Miss Kumar said she started the campaign because she wanted the school curriculum to instill a love of India in her three children.
Immigrants have brought the conflict between established Indian historians and Hindu nationalist revisionists with them. Hindu nationalists successfully pressured the California board of education to tilt textbooks their way — to the dismay of Michael Witzel, a Harvard Sanskrit scholar and India expert. In testimony about the revisions before a government commission in Sacramento, he explained that “the textbooks before were not very good, but at least they were more or less presentable. Now, it is completely incorrect.”
The Hmong have been worked into the California curriculum as well. They are a Southeast Asian hill people whom the CIA recruited to fight Laotian Communists during the 1960s and ’70s. Hmong immigrants have formed knots of unemployment, poverty, and school failure, and after a well-publicized rash of teenager suicides, the California legislature decided it should do something to boost Hmong self-esteem. A bill, sponsored by Sarah Reyes (D-Fresno) and passed in 2003, “encouraged” California schools to teach students about the role of Southeast Asians during the Vietnam War.
The bill did not mention the Hmong by name, the very thing many believed would be an important psychological boost. The reason was, alas, diversity. There are several sub-tribes of Hmong, and they fought over what to call themselves. The worst split was between the Hmong Der (white Hmong) and the Mong Leng (green or, sometimes, blue Mong) who could not agree on whether the term Hmong includes the Mong. There was such a wrangle that Rep. Reyes threw up her hands and put only “Southeast Asians” in the bill, and for a while the Mong were getting hate mail from Hmong who accused them of sabotaging the bill.
|Hmong in their natural habitat.|
By 2008 the sub-tribes had struck a deal on what to call themselves, and were pushing a bill to require changes to the California curriculum that would give Hmong children pride in their culture. Whether it would help or not, the purpose of a history class is not to make everyone in the room feel proud. As other immigrant groups grow in numbers some will no doubt press for similar treatment.
Diversity makes it difficult to agree on school names. As the racial mix of a school changes, a name that was once popular becomes odious. The New Orleans school district, for example, which is overwhelmingly black, decided in 1992 that no school could bear the name of a slave-holder or Confederate officer. There was little surprise or opposition when schools named for Robert E. Lee and Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard were renamed for black supreme court justice Thurgood Marshall and black astronaut Ronald McNair. However, George Washington Elementary, where 98 percent of 702 students were black, fell afoul of the slave-owner rule, too, and with practically no resistance from faculty, parents, or the community, it was renamed for Charles Drew, a black surgeon known for work in blood transfusions. As long-time black activist Carl Galmon explained, “to African-Americans, George Washington has about as much meaning as David Duke.”
Berkeley, California, has seen similar changes. In 1968, James Garfield Middle School was renamed for Martin Luther King, and in the 1970s, Abraham Lincoln Elementary became Malcolm X Elementary. The search for a new name can become a racial tug-of-war, however, if a school serves a diverse population. When Columbus Elementary in Berkeley had to be rebuilt after earthquake damage in 1999, it was rechristened Rosa Parks Elementary, but only after a fierce fight with a strong Hispanic contingent that insisted on honoring Cesar Chavez. At the end of 2008, the fight between blacks and Hispanics over what to name a new high school in Los Angeles — Hispanics wanted Cesar Chavez; blacks wanted the name of a black police officer killed in a shootout — was so bitter that the Associated Press headlined its story “Racial Tensions Flare Over School’s Name.”
In 2005, the teachers at Thomas Jefferson Elementary in Berkeley decided they could no longer work at a school named after a slaveholder, but again there was a fight between Hispanics who wanted Cesar Chavez and blacks who wanted Sojourner Truth. In a compromise that is likely to become more common as diversity makes it impossible to agree on a name that honors a person, the school finally proposed the neutral name of Sequoia to the school board. At what used to be Jefferson Davis Middle School in Palm Springs, Florida, it took a naming committee two years to reach a similar conclusion. Blacks and Hispanics could not agree on a hero so they replaced the Confederate president with the bland name of Palm Springs Middle School.
Chavez, however, was Mexican, and is therefore not a model for all Hispanics. There are 350,000 Salvadorans in Los Angeles County, mainly centered around MacArthur Park. In 2007 they opened Monseñor Oscar Romero Charter Middle School, named after an assassinated Salvadoran archbishop, to help Salvadoran children maintain their heritage. If the demographics of the neighborhood change, the name will no doubt have to be changed.
The racial diversity that leads to conflict in schools has the same effect in prisons. Prison race riots appear to be at least as common as school race riots — and more deadly. They can be a terrifying additional penalty to a prison term, but, like racial violence in schools, it is a problem Americans prefer to ignore. Southern California again leads the way.
Hispanics outnumber blacks in the prisons and racial tension has boiled beneath the surface for decades. It was old news in 1995 when the Orange County Register ran the headline, “Black Jail Inmates Say They Live in Fear of Being ‘Ambushed’.” Blacks in the Orange County Men’s Central Jail said they were afraid to leave their cells for fear of being attacked by more numerous Hispanics. “I don’t feel I can walk down to the infirmary without getting assaulted or without (someone saying) ‘We’re going to get you,’ ” explained one 29-year-old black inmate.
Racial tension often flared into violence, and up until they started using effective, non-lethal crowd control equipment around 2000, guards routinely put down brawls with live fire. On February 23 that year, when 200 blacks and Hispanics at Pelican Bay State Prison started slashing each other with home-made knives, guards could not control the fighting with tear gas or pepper spray. They shot 15 inmates, killing one and critically wounding another. Prisoners still managed to stab at least 32 fellow inmates.
|Guatemalan gang member.|
That may have been the last California prison riot put down with sustained rifle fire. A long series of incidents at the Pitchess Detention Center in Los Angeles County later that year proved the effectiveness of new crowd-control techniques. The problem at Pitchess — as in many other California prisons — was that the more numerous Hispanics had a policy of attacking blacks whenever they reached a certain numerical advantage. Critics said the authorities knew this but sometimes let the numbers in a dormitory tip as far as four or eight to one against blacks.
Whatever the cause of the outbreak, in April 2000, hundreds of blacks and Hispanics fought each other for three straight days. Approximately 80 men — most of them black — were injured and a black prisoner was beaten into a coma. Hispanics stuffed him under a mattress during a search for casualties, and would have finished him off if guards had not found him just in time.
Whenever the guards thought they had stopped the fighting it would break out again, and as a last resort, guards formally segregated the prisoners. Noting that there had been more than 150 major race-related disturbances since 1991, Sheriff’s Chief Taylor Moorehead explained that “it would be foolish to do anything but segregate.”
|Your new roommate for the next 90 days.|
The families of black prisoners were pleased. “I know that people say segregation is not fair, whatever, whatever, but segregation is safer for our boys,” explained Ethel Fuqua. “Can you imagine how it feels to go and visit your son and see 43 stitches ’cross his face?” asked Janice Cooper. Christopher Darden, who helped prosecute O.J. Simpson for murder, said black prisoners had to be protected at all costs, and that “if it takes segregation, then that’s exactly what the sheriff should do.”
The inmates enjoyed the respite. “It’s good to have us like this,” said a Hispanic prisoner. “We want to stay with who we know.” Blacks agreed. “I shouldn’t have to come to jail as a parolee and have to fight for my life,” said Leonard Bryant. The prisoners knew, however, that segregation was against state law and was only temporary. Asked what it would be like when the dormitories were reintegrated, a tattooed Hispanic gang member replied, “The raza’s always ready to fight.” A black was not looking forward to sharing quarters again with Hispanics: “It’s going to be very difficult for me to go to sleep with someone above me, next to me, under me who would kill me at the drop of a dime,” he said.
After several weeks of peace, the authorities reintegrated the prison, though they did develop special computer programs to track the racial balance throughout the complex to make sure Hispanics never achieved a crushing majority over blacks. Still, it did not take long for violence to resume. On July 8, 2000, blacks launched simultaneous attacks in three different dormitories to retaliate for the beating they took during the April riots that led to segregation. The next day, Hispanics in three other dormitories attacked black prisoners. Twenty-two men were hurt and two were hospitalized with deep facial cuts. Other Hispanics wrecked their own dormitory when they learned they were going to be moved from all-Hispanic housing to share quarters with blacks. Sheriff’s Chief Moorehead said that segregation would permanently eliminate racial tension but noted that the law required integration.
A month after the April riots, black inmates filed a class action suit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, claiming that it was a violation of civil rights to let the violence continue. “These riots have happened year after year,” said Leon Jenkins, the lawyer who brought the suit, “and if you don’t take corrective action it shows a deliberate indifference to the rights of these inmates.” ACLU lawyer David Fathi noted that “if the only way they can maintain control is to segregate — which is unconstitutional — then that’s a startling confession.”
The one good thing to come out of the Pitchess riots of 2000 was the discovery that with new types of “clean out gas,” pepper-filled balls, and sting-ball grenades, along with traditional hard rubber pellets fired from guns, guards could put down riots without lethal force. “I think the pilot [program] is over,” said Sheriff’s Chief Moorehead. “Let’s get more of ’em.”
New techniques did not, of course, stop the mayhem. In 2003, an estimated 150 blacks and Hispanics battled for 90 minutes at the Eagle Mountain prison about 60 miles east of Palm Springs. Two prisoners were killed, four had to be helicoptered to hospitals, and another 50 were treated by prison medical staff. Prisoners also broke windows and smashed furniture. “I walked onto the yard when it was over, and it looked like Beirut,” said Lt. Warren Montgomery, who rushed over from another prison to help put down the riot. He said prisoners attacked each other with knives and meat cleavers from the kitchen, as well as table and chair legs and mop handles — “anything they could get their hands on.” Eagle Mountain is a low-risk prison for non-violent prisoners.
In 2005, the state prison in Tehachapi had to be locked down after an estimated 480 black and Hispanic prisoners fought each other for 40 minutes. Mike Coghlan, a spokesman for the prison said racial disturbances were not uncommon at Tehachapi but that “this is a fairly large one.”
That same year, San Quentin State Prison had its worst prison riot since 1982 when Hispanics attacked whites, and 400 inmates joined in the fighting. Thirty-nine needed medical treatment and three of the most seriously wounded had to be taken to a hospital outside the prison. The fighting took place in part of the prison that had already been locked down for a week because of fighting between Hispanics and whites. Likewise in 2005, five inmates at the state prison at Chino, California, had to be hospitalized after some 200 black and Hispanic prisoners battled each other.
That same year, one white prisoner paid with his life for violating racial etiquette. At the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail there was a strict mealtime rule that reflected the racial balance of power: Hispanics ate first, followed by blacks, and whites last. A white decided not to wait for his dinner and got in line with 30 Hispanics. As soon as the guards were not looking, the Hispanics beat him to death. “Race is the predominate issue in everything going on in these jail modules,” explained Michael Gennaco, head of the county Office of Independent Review. There was to be an investigation into why guards left the men alone to eat their meal.
On February 4, 2006, 2,000 inmates went on a four-hour rampage at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic, California. The riot began when Hispanics started throwing furniture from an upper level dormitory onto blacks in a day room below, but soon became “massive chaos,” according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. It took 200 deputies to stop the fighting that sent 20 inmates to the hospital with serious injuries and resulted in one black prisoner being beaten to death. Sheriff Baca locked down the 21,000-man system and segregated prisoners even though it was against the rules. “Human life is more important than appearance,” he explained. The Sheriff added that racial violence “is impossible to prevent,” and released a letter from a Hispanic inmate that said: “If blacks come into the dorms we will fight … Please separate us race by race for everyone’s safety.” The initial assault on the blacks appeared to be retaliation for a stabbing attack two days earlier on a Hispanic inmate at the Los Angeles Men’s Central Jail.
According to official records, the riot was the seventh major incident in the county jail system in just two months. In the previous year, there had been 33 major inmate disturbances, including 19 at the North County jail, a state-of-the art facility that went into service in 1990.
The February 4, 2006 riot triggered racial violence that went on for nearly a month and spread throughout the Los Angeles County jail system. Six straight days of black-Hispanic riots in the Pitchess Detention Center left one black inmate dead and dozens injured. The Sheriff’s office admitted it was overwhelmed by constant warfare that had required hospitalization for 28 prisoners. Ironically, the last day of rioting — put down with rubber bullets — came just after a group of black clergymen visited the prison to meet with blacks who complained of being attacked by Hispanics. “Black inmates are begging us for help. They want to stay segregated and be protected,” said Najee Ali, of Project Islamic Hope.
On February 13 another black prisoner was killed, this time at the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail. Sheriff Baca locked down the entire county system and segregated as many dormitories as he thought he could without provoking a civil rights challenge. Meanwhile, the violence spread to juvenile lockups, with three black-Hispanic riots at youth detention centers, including Camp McNair in Lancaster.
That fall, whites battled Hispanics in a riot at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility about 25 miles southeast of San Diego. Guards broke up the brawl with tear gas, pepper spray, and wooden batons and locked down five housing units. Five inmates were hospitalized with stab wounds.
|Asian gang member.|
When California firefighting crews are overwhelmed, they occasionally get help from prisoners, but they are not always much use. In December 2007, white and Hispanic prisoners who were supposed to be fighting the Poomacha fire in San Diego County ended up fighting each other and had to be pulled off the job, just when they were needed most. The fire burned 50,000 acres and 217 homes and other buildings.
For ten years, Asians were kept in segregated dormitories in Los Angeles County jails. The Mexican mafia had put a “green light” on them, meaning that Hispanics were to attack them on sight. They were only about 3.5 percent of the prison population, so it was relatively easy to house them separately. In early 2004, when the “green light” went off, prison authorities decided to return Asians to the general population. “It’s like feeding us to the sharks,” said Raymond Lim, who was serving time for attempted murder. “You can see the tension around here, and when it hits us, it’s going to hit us hard.” Some Asians barricaded their cell doors with beds and set fire to mattresses to protest the decision.
Nearly two dozen family members of Asian prisoners met with Sheriff Lee Baca to urge him to keep the “Asian-only module” at the downtown Los Angeles jail. Rosie Tse, whose husband was in jail awaiting trial, said after the meeting that she was disappointed Sheriff Baca thought ending segregation was more important than safety.
It didn’t take long for the “green light” to go back on for Asians, reportedly in retaliation for Asian attacks in March on a Hispanic gang in Garden Grove in neighboring Orange County. Inmates at two Orange County jails were put on several weeks of lockdown to keep Asians and Hispanics apart. They were banned from all recreational and educational activities and not allowed into public areas. They went to the mess in racially segregated, staggered shifts to get one hot meal a day — as required by law — and got two cold bag lunches delivered to their rooms. Privileges were to be restored gradually if there was no violence. Strict racial segregation of Asians was not restored.
California is not the only state with prison riots. In the summer of 1999, several dozen Hispanics in the Dominguez prison near San Antonio, Texas, used everything from steel-toed boots to trash cans to attack a smaller number of black prisoners, whom they had managed to ambush during a lockdown. As a 19-year-old Hispanic participant explained, “everybody was just swinging … All that time, all I could think of was hurting (the blacks) best I could.” The prisoners wanted segregation but the authorities would not allow it. “They’re going to have to learn to live together,” said guard captain Don Dalton.
|Sheriff Lee Baca.|
In April 2000 a fight started at the Smith Unit in Lamesa, Texas, when a Hispanic inmate told a black to stop fondling himself in front of a female guard. This turned into a riot involving 300 prisoners, in which inmates hacked at each other with garden tools. One prisoner was killed, several critically injured, and a kitchen went up in flames before 300 guards managed to stop the riot. Outnumbered whites stayed out of the fighting.
In Oregon’s Snake River Correctional Institution a 2000 race riot put two guards in the hospital and did not stop until a guard fired a warning shot. The fighting began when a black sat down in an area reserved for Hispanics.
Arizona also has prisons with serious black-Hispanic tensions. In October, 1999, more than 280 inmates were involved in a two-hour race riot at Fort Grant state prison that could not be contained without the help of tactical support units from three other prisons. Hispanics attacked black prisoners, who took shelter in a security building from which prison guards had fled. Hispanics then burned down the 3,000-square-foot building, though guards were able to rescue the blacks before any were killed. Eighty inmates were treated for injuries and the guards put the prison on indefinite lockdown.
At High Desert State Prison in Nevada, blacks crushed the skull of a Hispanic prisoner with a rock during a 20 minute race riot in 2004. Prisoner advocate Mercedes Maharis blamed the guards. They “let the wrong people out in the yard together,” she said.
In 2007 at the Prince George’s County Detention Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, blacks heavily outnumbered Hispanics, who were only 10 to 12 percent of the prison population. However, Hispanics were well organized and refused to be intimidated. Tensions were so high that guards resorted to segregation. “There’s too much conflict and fighting,” a supervisor said. He added that the prison was abiding by “jailhouse law:” housing inmates only with people of the same race. “It’s nothing written, but you try to keep the calm,” he said. The jail also made sure blacks and Hispanics were let onto the recreation field at different times of the day.
One of the best-known prison riots in American history was the 1993 riot in Lucasville, Ohio, between blacks and whites that lasted eleven days and caused ten deaths. One of the chief demands of the rioters was that the prison be segregated.
Inmates would overwhelmingly welcome segregation. As Lexy Good, a white prisoner in San Quentin State Prison explained, “We segregate amongst ourselves because I’d rather hang out with white people, and blacks would rather hang out with people of their own race.” He said this was no different from life outside of prison: “Look at suburbia. Look at Oakland. Look at Beverly Hills. People in society self-segregate.”
|Prison ruined Motown for one inmate.|
Another white man, using the pen name John Doe, wrote that jail time in Texas had turned him against blacks.
“[B]ecause of my prison experiences, I cannot stand being in the presence of blacks. I can’t even listen to my old, favorite Motown music anymore. The barbarous and/or retarded blacks in prison have ruined it for me. The black prison guards who comprise half the staff and who flaunt the dominance of African-American culture in prison and give favored treatment to their ‘brothers’ have ruined it for me.”
He went on:
“[I]n the aftermath of the Byrd murder [the 1998 dragging death in Jasper, Texas] I read one commentator’s opinion in which he expressed disappointment that ex-cons could come out of prison with unresolved racial problems ‘despite the racial integration of the prisons.’ Despite? Buddy, do I have news for you! How about because of racial integration?” (emphasis in the original)
A man who served four years in a California prison wrote an article for the Los Angeles Times called “Why Prisons Can’t Integrate.” “California prisons separate blacks, whites, Latinos and ‘others’ because the truth is that mixing races and ethnic groups in cells would be extremely dangerous for inmates,” he wrote. He offered Rule No. 1 for survival: “The various races and ethnic groups stick together,” adding that there were no other rules. He wrote that every new inmate confronts “a dining area filled with cliques, all potentially unfriendly, where any move could break some taboo or cause offense, like a nightmare version of a high school cafeteria. Because so many of the taboos involve race, only a person of the same race can be an effective guide.”
In 2001, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit bowed to reality when it ruled that prison guards may sometimes have a duty to segregate prisoners. A black plaintiff claimed guards had let blacks and Mexicans mix in an exercise yard even though they knew there was so much racial hostility it could lead to attacks. Judge Harry Pregerson agreed, saying prison officials must take reasonable measures to protect inmates from violence, and that segregation is a reasonable measure when racial tensions are high. This ruling became law in California, Nevada, Arizona, Washington, and Oregon — but not for long.
|The Supreme Court insists on integration.|
In 2005, the US Supreme Court ruled that segregation of prisoners was unconstitutional. Until that time, the entire California system had a rule of putting new arrivals in double cells with someone of their own race while they were initially evaluated. Really dangerous men were then sent to single cells, and others were put into the general population. The ruling meant that even this initial, temporary segregation had to be stopped.
“They should be thinking about what kind of war they are going to start,” said a 36-year-old San Quentin inmate. “It is like putting a cat and a dog in a cell together.” Lt. Rudy Luna, assistant to the warden at San Quentin said, “I think we will have a spike in fighting because we have races that don’t get along. If it was up to us, we’d keep it the way it is.”
Prison segregation would be a blessing to inmates and guards. It would save lives, relieve tension, and probably, as prisoner John Doe suggests, improve race relations on the outside by sparing convicts harrowing experiences that permanently embitter them. However, because the United States is committed to the ideal of integration the wishes of the people who suffer most from it will not be granted.
Some would say that racial violence in prisons says nothing about diversity as a national goal because the prejudices of the dregs of society have no relevance for the rest of us. We should not be so hasty to condemn people who face challenges we can hardly imagine. Prisoners must suffer the company of strangers in acutely invasive ways. To then force them into racial integration that is vastly more intense than anything most of us would choose voluntarily borders on cruelty. Federal judges should think very carefully about putting men’s lives at risk in the name of principles they, themselves, may not practice in their own lives.
Only a few people see the connection between what is happening in the prisons to what is happening outside them. Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a black Los Angeles radio talk show host, says that “the jail violence is only symptomatic of something larger. There is conflict and competition in all areas. This city and this state is a caldron of racial issues. This thing is pulsating.” The advanced, non-lethal crowd-control techniques developed for prisons are now used to break up riots in schools.
“The Dangers of Diversity” will continue in the next issue.
Three Race Murders in Seattle
Media pretend race was not a factor.
Kristopher Kime, James Paroline, and Edward Scott McMichael had three things in common: They were white, they helped make Seattle a more civilized place, and they were murdered by blacks. Only Kime’s murder was officially recognized as racially motivated, but it is hard not to conclude that the other two men were also killed because they were white.
Edward Scott McMichael
Late last November 2 or early the next day, Edward Scott McMichael, 53, better known as “Tuba Man,” died of injuries he suffered several days earlier when he was stomped by five Seattle “youths” at a bus stop. Three of the five were arrested but their names were not released because they were only 15 at the time of the attack. McMichael, a lifelong Seattleite, had gained local fame as a busker, a street musician who played the contrabass tuba wherever people gathered for sports and cultural events. The gregarious eccentric could be identified by his tuba, Dr. Seuss or Uncle Sam hat, scraggly beard, horn-rimmed glasses, and by the fact that he often needed a bath. The classically trained McMichael took requests for a price, remembered old customers by name, and played rock songs, movie themes, American pop standards, and classical music.
At about midnight on October 25, five teenagers attacked McMichael and stole his ring and wallet. After they knocked him to the ground he curled up into a ball but they continued to beat and kick him. A passing police officer arrested two attackers on the spot. Police have also caught one of the three who ran away but are still looking for the other two.
On November 12, an estimated 1,500 mourners, mostly sports fans, gathered for a hastily organized memorial service for Tuba Man at Qwest Field Event Center, where Seattle Mariners president Chuck Armstrong tearfully read a tribute written by Mr. Armstrong’s son: “It was just impossible to be sad while he was playing that tuba.” The New York Times even sent a reporter to cover the service.
At the service, someone handed out a flier, pointing out that McMichael’s death was part of “the hidden campaign of murder against white people.” An indignant Todd Dybas, editor of Seattle Sports Online, said this took “a staggering level of insensitivity.” The truth may be staggeringly insensitive, but not as insensitive as beating someone to death.
None of the many prominent news stories and columns I read about the crime gave any description of the attackers still at large or mentioned the race of the two who had been arrested. It took several days for me to find a quote from a message board, and follow it to a copy of the Seattle Police Department’s “morning press release” at a crime blog, which reported: “Unfortunately, the only description that we have is that the suspects were black males in their mid-teens.”
On November 7, an entry for McMichael appeared at Wikipedia, the Internet’s most popular reference (see “Wikipedia on Race,” AR, August 2008). The entry did not mention race, and still does not.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer published a column on the killing that attracted over 1,000 reader comments. The vast majority of responses were deleted for “insensitivity,” and a number of people whose responses remain were permanently banned after complaints by politically correct posters.
On July 9, 60-year old, Vietnam War veteran James Paroline was killed in his residential Seattle neighborhood of Rainier Beach, as he did his daily duty of watering the garden in a small traffic circle in front of his house. He always put out traffic cones to prevent cars from driving over the hose, which he ran from his house. This meant some cars had to drive the long way around the circle to avoid the cones.
That evening, three black women in their teens and early twenties in two cars refused to drive the long way around. They stopped their car, and started yelling at Paroline. A neighbor shot a video of the confrontation, in which Paroline tries to ignore the girls, while one can be heard claiming they were hosed and beaten by Paroline. One can be seen throwing a jug of water at Paroline. One girl then fetched her sister’s boyfriend, 28-year-old Keith David Brown, who walked up to the older man, spoke quietly to him, and then “sucker-punched” him in the face, according to court documents. The blow knocked Paroline to the pavement, fracturing his skull in several places. Mr. Brown got in his car and drove away. Paroline died that night in the hospital, without ever regaining consciousness.
The next day, a white Seattle television reporter at the crime scene described the killer only as “a man in his twenties.” That same day, the black women admitted to police that they had lied, when they claimed they did not know the man who killed Paroline. Police also found no evidence that Paroline had assaulted them.
Once Seattle police learned Mr. Brown’s name, they publicized his photograph but still could not find him. His mother contacted the NAACP, which arranged for Mr. Brown to give himself up at what it called a “neutral” and “safe” location, a black church known for “social activism.” One week after the killing, the police finally got their man. Mr. Brown had a previous record of nine criminal convictions, including theft, felony drug possession, criminal trespass, and two convictions for felony assault. On one occasion, he head-butted and nearly strangled a woman to death.
His mother said Mr. Brown was wracked with remorse since killing Paroline and had been “praying continuously.” She called him the “sweetest” of her three sons, and said he would have attacked Paroline only to protect the women. She also explained that he had moved in with foster parents when she had had to serve time for bank robbery. Shewanda Coleman, the mother of Mr. Brown’s seven-year-old son, reported that he was “a sweetheart,” who “tries to do everything to help everybody.” Mr. Brown has pleaded innocent.
Wikipedia has no entry for James Paroline.
During Seattle’s 2001 Mardi Gras celebrations, gangs of blacks — male and female — charged into the crowd of predominantly white revelers, beating and robbing isolated whites, hitting them with brass knuckles, skateboards, rocks and bottles, and groping white women (see “Bloody Fat Tuesday,” AR, April 2001). White vandals smashed several cars, but the assaults were overwhelmingly by blacks against whites.
Kristopher Kime, a 20-year-old white man who worked in construction and attended Highline Community College, came to the aid of a lone, petite, white woman on the ground being stomped by blacks. One of them, 18-year-old Jerell Thomas, came up behind him and smashed a bottle on the back of Kime’s head. Kime went down, and the pack stomped him.
Seattle’s Finest were assembled nearby, some on the ground, and some on rooftops, and could see the savagery, but were ordered to stand down because Chief Gil Kerlikowske didn’t want to stir up the rioters. When Kime’s friends telephoned 911 for help, the dispatchers refused to send officers into the riot to rescue him. He died that night in the hospital as his grief-stricken father looked on.
After the murder, two Seattle police officers publicly condemned Chief Kerlikowske for ordering police to stay out of the fighting, and one sent the Kime family the $200 in overtime he had earned that night. He said it was to help pay for the funeral. Seattle police eventually recommended that the Kime murder and other black-on-white attacks be treated as hate crimes, but the King County prosecutor made no hate crime charges.
|Seattle police officers publicly condemned Chief Kerlikowske for ordering police to stay out of the fighting.|
Black Seattle preachers and community leaders were outraged — not by the racist violence — but because the media had dared to show that the perpetrators were black. Black preachers and the president of the Urban League, James Kelly, met with Mayor Paul Schell to demand that the media stop mentioning the riot’s racial character, calling complaints about black racism a “vilification of African Americans.” Chief Kerlikowske dutifully announced that race had had nothing to do with the race riot, and the media took the same line. Eventually, in a rare show of honesty, Chief Kerlikowske did admit that the attacks were racially motivated.
Jerell Thomas was convicted in 2001 of Kime’s murder and sentenced to 22 years in prison. In 2003, however, the Washington Supreme Court overturned Mr. Thomas’ conviction and those of hundreds of other killers in an arcane and controversial decision that appeared to require that murder convictions require incontrovertible evidence of an intent to kill. Mr. Thomas was then re-charged with manslaughter. In February 2006, he pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and received a sentence of 10 years in prison.
Kris Kime’s family sued the City of Seattle for failing to protect him, and in 2002 received a settlement of $1.75 million, a small scholarship fund set up in Kime’s name, and a plaque in Pioneer Square.
At Wikipedia, the original May 10, 2005 article about the riot clearly described the racial nature of the riots, but it was quickly removed by censors and replaced with a vaguely worded, 39-word stub that mentioned nothing about race. The current version says the riot’s racial character is a matter of dispute.
In all three of the above cases, the media were in some way complicit with the killers. During the 2001 Mardi Gras riot, the press photographed dozens of mob attackers, all of them black. After publicizing some images — the next day, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran a cover picture of a 250-pound black man wearing brass knuckles — the media remembered their duty to downplay black crime. The first images, however, were transmitted around the world via the Internet.
On the day following the murder of James Paroline at his traffic-circle garden, Karen O’Leary, a 24-year veteran of Cox Broadcasting’s KIRO Television, told viewers that “the suspect is a man in his twenties.” The police had, of course, told her the man was black, and she knew by then that she was reporting on a murder. The black girls who claimed Paroline had attacked them followed the “don’t snitch” policy and falsely claimed to the police that they did not know who he was. The police quickly publicized his name, but the “don’t snitch” mentality ensured that Mr. Brown had a full week in which to think over whether to turn himself in.
In the case of Edward Scott McMichael, the “Tuba Man,” I looked through dozens of news articles and columns without finding a single reference to the race of the killers, even though I was able — after much digging — to find the description the Seattle police had originally given the media: “two 15-year-old black boys.”
|Blacks attack a ponytailed white boy during the Mardi Gras rioting in which Kris Kime was killed.|
So how do you fight crime in a city in which race must not be mentioned and motives must not be examined? Seattle’s current mayor, Greg Nickels, first won office in 2001 with a promise that never again would a man be beaten to death in Seattle while police looked on. He said that if he were elected, he would hang Kristopher Kime’s death certificate on the wall of the mayor’s office. He kept that promise, but left Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske on the job despite campaign hints that he would fire him for incompetence. His latest crime-fighting proposal? Shortly after “Tuba Man” was killed, he proposed a new city regulation that would make it illegal for a private citizen to carry a gun in any city-owned building or park. This would include citizens who have the legal right to carry concealed weapons.
Most legally armed citizens are white, while a vastly disproportionate number of gun criminals are black. Law-abiding citizens would, of course, be the only ones who would obey this silly law, leaving them defenseless against robbers and murderers. If his proposal goes through, Mayor Nickels had better be prepared to hang more death certificates on the wall of his office.
Nicholas Stix is a journalist and researcher, much of whose work focuses on the nexus of race, crime, and education.
A Voice For Our People
Fighting the multi-culti monster.
Frank Borzellieri, Lynched: A Conservative's Life on a New York City School Board, Cultural Studies Press, 2009, 193 pp., $24.95 (soft cover)
From 1993 to 2004, Frank Borzellieri was a member of the District 24 school board in Queens, New York. As the only openly pro-white elected official in the United States, he was a lightning rod for controversy. His outspoken stand made him a prime target for leftist politicians, reporters, and activists but it also made him the top vote getter on the school board. Lynched: A Conservative’s Life on a New York City School Board, is Mr. Borzellieri’s account of his struggle against a hostile establishment that was determined to silence him.
In 1993, Mr. Borzellieri was living in an almost all-white Queens neighborhood but the surrounding areas were attracting large numbers of Third-World immigrants. Although he had no children of his own, the 30-year-old Mr. Borzellieri became incensed when he learned of the multi-culti nonsense being taught in schools. He ran as a complete unknown for his local school board on a platform blasting bilingual education and anti-white bias, and came in third in a field of 24 (the top nine candidates were seated). His campaign clearly appealed to ordinary voters.
Mr. Borzellieri picked his first major battle after reading the curriculum guide for students. “Entire sections of the guide were designed to have students express their feelings on ‘bigotry and racism,’ ” he writes. School-assigned reading selections would be followed by questions like ‘‘How would you have reacted to the foreman telling you that all African-American firemen were losing their jobs?”
Mr. Borzellieri issued a provocative press release stating that he would not tolerate school materials that suggested “white Europeans are to blame for all the historical troubles of man.” He also criticized a curriculum obsessed with praising the home countries of immigrants. “If I move to Pakistan, will they teach my kids about the wonders of growing up in Ridgewood, Queens?” he asked.
This press release exploded like a bomb. Newspapers attacked Mr. Borzellieri and talk show hosts invited him on their programs. There was even more outrage when Mr. Borzellieri criticized a school library for displaying a book honoring Martin Luther King right next to a book disparaging Columbus. King is beyond criticism, so the New York Civil Liberties Union, People for the American Way, and even Mayor Rudy Giuliani rushed to denounce this act of lèse majesté.
Other controversies soon followed. When Mr. Borzellieri declared that “we are a white, Christian, British, Protestant nation,” former New York City mayor Ed Koch called him “another David Duke.” The New York Daily News said he was “the devil,” and an insulting editorial about Mr. Borzellieri in New York Newsday was titled, “Mr. Whitebread.”
As Mr. Borzellieri’s public profile grew, so did opposition on the school board. The other members were almost all lefties, who usually defeated his proposals 8-1. The only other “conservative” on the board was Mary Cummins, who had made a name for herself in the 1990s by opposing the use in schools of pro-homosexual books like Daddy’s Roommate and Heather Has Two Mommies. Mr. Borzellieri quickly learned that her “conservatism” went no further than opposing militant homosexuals. She was a multi-culturalism-booster and — perhaps in a bid to win friends on the left — became a fierce Borzellieri critic. He, in turn, pointed out her mushy views to conservative organizations and publications, some of which withdrew support.
|Frank Borzellieri with some of the books he wanted school children to read.|
One of the more amusing episodes in Lynched is the author’s description of a 1994 school board meeting that drew over 400 protesters angry over his criticisms of multiculturalism and Martin Luther King. The “liberal freak show,” as Mr. Borzellieri calls it, included followers of black supremacist Leonard Jeffries — decked out in full African garb — NAACP officials, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union Norman Siegel, and Alan Hevesi, the Comptroller of New York and second highest elected official in the city.
Mr. Borzellieri knew he would not get much time to make his case and that the implacably hostile board president would not call on any of his supporters to speak. He therefore read a strong statement that concluded with these words:
“Finally, we are tired. The Italian-Americans are tired. The German-Americans are tired. The Hungarians, Irish and Polish Americans. We are tired of racial quotas, of reverse discrimination, of not getting jobs even though we scored higher on a test. We came to America, assimilated, and learned English. We are tired of every ethnic interest group demanding its own curriculum and street signs and government forms in different languages. It was never done for any of us. Why should we do it now? We are tired of being made to feel guilty for past grievances of so-called oppressed minorities. We never asked for special privileges. Stop asking for our dollars! Enough is enough.”
This enraged the mob. For four hours more that 40 fanatics harangued the board, calling Mr. Borzellieri a bigot and a racist and comparing him to the Ku Klux Klan. Through it all, he just smiled and replied with quips that flummoxed his critics. As a police detachment called to protect Mr. Borzellieri escorted him from the board meeting, the cops told him he had their full support.
|He thought there was a little too much of this.|
Other controversies followed, and Lynched describes them in detail. Mr. Borzellieri introduced a proclamation declaring American culture superior to foreign cultures, tried to introduce books on Paul Revere, Daniel Boone, and George Washington into school libraries, demonstrated the futility of bilingual education, and showed how tax dollars were being splashed out on special programs for non-whites even as their test scores plummeted. Mr. Borzellieri became a minor celebrity, certainly the best known school board member in New York City, with even something of a national following. He spoke at four AR conferences in a row, from 1996 to 2002, regaling audiences with his tales of fighting multi-cultural madness.
Mr. Borzellieri was repeatedly reelected to the school board. In the 1996 election, for example, after he had become famous, he sailed back onto the board with three times as many votes as the second-place finisher. What finally put a stop to Mr. Borzellieri’s career was a change in the system, whereby New York City abolished all local school boards.
Earlier, Mr. Borzellieri had a try at a city council seat. He won 38 percent of the vote against an incumbent — a very respectable outcome on a shoestring budget — but the money necessary to break into New York City politics at that level was simply not available. Mr. Borzellieri is now an adjunct professor of journalism at St. Johns University, also in Queens, but his involuntary departure from politics left a great void: There is no longer a single openly pro-white elected official anywhere in the United States.
|Mr. Borzellieri was never happier than when reducing his opponents to babbling idiocy.|
Mr. Borzellieri’s adventures raise an important question. Why have no candidates followed him into office with a similar message? Even in fanatically liberal New York City there is clearly a great deal of support for someone willing to declare in public that whites should be proud of their accomplishments rather than cringe and apologize. There must be hundreds, even thousands of communities that would love to put a Borzellieri on the school board or city council. From that springboard, why not the statehouse, Congress, or even the governor’s mansion?
Nor is standing up for whites and their civilization dreary or embittering. Mr. Borzellieri clearly enjoyed every minute of it. He was never happier than when reducing his opponents to babbling idiocy.
There is no reason why there could not be Frank Borzellieris in every town and city in America, fighting for whites and their heritage. He took a stand when nobody else would. His example should be an inspiration.
Peter Bradley works in marketing and lives in Maryland.
IN THE NEWS
O Tempora, O Mores!
The Obama ‘Fan Base’
Sgt. Rodney Hicok, a 27-year veteran of the Iowa State Police, had a sterling service record until earlier this year. From his home computer, Sgt. Hicok forwarded by e-mail a collage of mug shots of 15 people who were wearing Obama T-shirts when they were arrested. The forwarded message also noted that Mr. Obama had “quite a fan base.” Sgt. Hicok’s superiors found out and put him on administrative leave.
An investigation concluded that Sgt. Hicok’s e-mail was not “racist” — a few of the mug shots were of white people — but that the message was a “political statement” that violated Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS) professional standards. The department suspended Sgt. Hicok for 30 days, put a letter of reprimand in his file, and ordered him to take a class in department policies and procedures. Sgt. Hicok also had to grovel. “I am deeply sorry for my actions,” he wrote. “I apologize to anyone this e-mail may have offended, as well as my family, citizens in my community and Iowa taxpayers.” [Iowa Trooper Suspended for Obama Email, KETV-TV (Omaha), Feb. 9, 2009.]
Hip Hop GOP
Following its shellacking at the hands of Barack Obama, the Republican Party decided to play if-you-can’t-beat-’em-join-’em by electing a black man, former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele, as its party chairman. The GOP, Mr. Steele asserts, needs to change, or it will be dismissed as the party of the Old South. “We need messengers to really capture … [the] young, Hispanic, black, a cross section,” he said. He added that the party must “stand on principles” but “we want to apply them to urban-suburban hip-hop settings. We need to up tick our image with everyone, including one-armed midgets.” So far, no word of outrage from one-armed midgets.
On February 28, Mr. Steele joined Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Lani Guinier, and other luminaries at the annual State of Black America forum, where he did his best to explain that Republican opposition to President Obama’s policies does not mean Republicans oppose Mr. Obama himself. He also repeated his pledge to get more blacks — 95 percent of whom voted for Barack Obama — to vote GOP. “I’m about taking this party into your neighborhood — every corner, every community center, every church. I know some of you don’t want me there, I know some of you are going to yell at me, but I’m coming anyway.” He was not enthusiastically received.
Who might the Republicans have chosen instead? Mr. Steele’s closest rival was conservative South Carolina state GOP chairman Katon Dawson. Mr. Dawson’s chances were probably never much greater than zero because of his longtime membership in an exclusive country club in Columbia. Republicans feared headlines like: “RNC Chair Was Member of Whites-Only Country Club.”
It is a pity the RNC made the safe choice, since Mr. Dawson appears to have sound views. In 2003, he told a South Carolina student group why he got into politics. He explained that when he was a high school student the government closed down the high schools blacks were attending and bused them to formerly all-white schools, including his:
“The end of that story was, I was standing in a bathroom in public school … This scar over here [pointing to his forehead] was from a baseball bat. I will tell you it was a pretty harsh environment. Government reached into my life and grabbed me and shook me at the age of fifteen. I remember how blatant it was that government just thought that they knew better, that government just thought they knew better what to do in my school. And I can’t say it was so much racial. I can say that people had a lot of stuff thrust on them because politicians thought they knew better.”
This kind of straight talk scares what the late Sam Francis called the stupid party. Before the vote for party chairman, opponents were circulating these remarks and wondering if the GOP would be prepared to stand behind the man who had made them. [Nia-Malika Henderson, Steele Pledges to Fight for Black Vote, Politico.com, Feb. 28, 2009. Ralph Z. Hallow, Steele: GOP Needs ‘Hip-Hop’ Makeover, Washington Times, Feb. 19, 2009. J. Peter Freire, Katon Dawson and His GOP Mission, American Spectator blog, Jan. 26, 2009. Greg Sargent, Candidate for RNC Chair Was Member of Whites-Only Country Club, TalkingPointsMemo.com, Nov. 24, 2008.]
Something called the US Coin Network sells what it calls “engraved” Barrack Obama coins made by the United States Mint. It even hired black television talk show host Montel Williams to hawk them in television ads. Before our readers rush out to buy sets for their grandchildren they should realize that these are ordinary US coins with color pictures of Barrack Obama glued onto them. The US Coin Network promises a money-back guarantee, but unhappy customers say they are being stiffed. The US Mint is investigating. [Laura Gunderson, Portlander Finds ‘Obama Coins’ Not All That Mint, Oregonian, Feb. 13, 2009.]
Nation of Cowards
Speaking to an audience of Justice Department employees during ceremonies marking Black History Month, Eric Holder, the nation’s first black attorney general, said that “though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.” He went on to explain that “we, as average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.” Mr. Holder also chided Americans for living in “race-protected cocoons” after work and on the weekends. “Saturdays and Sundays, America in the year 2009 does not in some ways differ significantly from the country that existed almost 50 years ago.” [Devlin Barrett, Holder: US a Nation of Cowards on Racial Matters, AP, Feb. 18, 2009.]
Of course, Mr. Holder is right: We are a nation of cowards. At least whites are. Whites do not talk honestly about race because they know they will be called racists. The accepted views on race can be easily summed up: “Diversity is our greatest strength” and “White racism explains all the failures of blacks and Hispanics.” Anything else is heresy, and we can be sure Mr. Holder doesn’t want to hear it.
Legion of Foreigners
Eager to find soldiers to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, in 2002, the Bush administration offered green card holders a virtual guarantee of citizenship if they would serve in the military. Permanent residents who enlist can apply to become citizens on the first day of service, and can be naturalized in as little as six months. About 8,000 foreigners join up each year, according to the Pentagon, and about 29,000 foreign-born soldiers are not US citizens.
Now the Pentagon wants to offer the same deal to foreigners on student and temporary work visas — groups that are not now allowed even to enlist. The Army wants foreigners who speak odd languages or who have medical training. The idea is to recruit 1,000 foreigners the first year, and eventually go up to as many as 14,000 a year.
The doors will open first in New York City, where recruiters hope to bag 550 temporary immigrants who speak any of more than 35 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Igbo, Kurdish, Nepalese, Pashto, Russian and Tamil, but not Spanish — not exotic enough. The Army also thinks it can get 300 foreign medics.
Recruits will have to prove they have lived in the United States for two years, and that they have not been out of the country for longer than 90 days. They will also have to pass an English test and a background check. [Julia Preston, US Military Will Offer Path to Citizenship, New York Times, Feb. 15, 2009.] No one knows how many spies, terrorists, and psychopaths will get through.
Theodore Ricks is a 24-year-old black New Yorker with a colorful driving record: nearly two dozen suspensions or revocations since 2005. On Valentine’s Day, Mr. Ricks was driving a 1993 Mercedes — without a license — along Cebra Avenue in Staten Island with passenger, William Knight, who was carrying marijuana. He saw a police car in his rearview mirror and panicked. He floored the accelerator, ran a red light and plowed into a taxi, killing the driver and his wife. Mr. Ricks and Mr. Knight fled on foot but were caught. When the arresting officers told Mr. Ricks he had killed two people in the taxi he said they should have been wearing seat belts.
Mr. Ricks now faces many charges, including manslaughter, but his lawyer, Manuel Ortega, is angling to get him off. At his first court appearance, Mr. Ortega accused the police of racial profiling. “They were doing nothing wrong,” he said. “They were just driving on the road. It raises a serious question why two black men in a Mercedes were stopped.” [Sam Goldsmith and Alison Gendar, Racial Profiling Alleged in Trial of Staten Island Hit-and-Run Suspect, New York Daily News, Feb. 16, 2009.]
Recently the Census Bureau advanced the date by which the United States would become majority non-white, to 2042 from 2050. The reason is simple; the number of non-whites increased much more rapidly that the bureau anticipated. The US will reach another important milestone in 2023, just 14 years from now, when non-whites will become the majority of American children. The group driving the change is Hispanics. One of out every five children in public school is already Hispanic; among kindergartners, one in four. Hispanic children already outnumber whites in the Southwest. They make up 54 percent of the students in New Mexico, 47 percent in California, 44 percent in Texas and 40 percent in Arizona. Nationwide, forty percent of children under 18 are non-white, double the percentage from 30 years ago. [Percentage of Hispanics in US Schools Rising, AP, March 4, 2009.]
Preserving the West
Over the weekend of February 6, about 60 race realists met in Baltimore to participate in the first “Preserving Western Civilization” (PWC) conference, organized by Prof. Michael Hart, occasional AR contributor and author of Understanding Human History (see “Making Sense of the Past, AR, Dec. 2007). The conference was modeled on AR conferences, and included speakers familiar to AR readers: Prof. J. Philippe Rushton, Lawrence Auster, Prof. Roger McGrath, and Prof. Steven Farron. Other notable speakers were Peter Brimelow of Vdare.com and Prof. Henry Harpending, co-author of the deeply subversive new book, The 10,000 Year Explosion. The stated aim of the conference was to defend “America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and European identity.” In the “Extremism” section of its web page, the ADL headlined its write up, “Racists Gather in Maryland to ‘Preserve’ Western Civilization.” There is more about PWC at PreservingWesternCiv.com.
Monkey See, Monkey Do
In February, the New York Post took a drubbing when it ran a political cartoon that evoked a mauling attack on a Connecticut women by a chimpanzee. Owner Rupert Murdoch apologized after readers said the cartoon was “racist.” [Rupert Murdoch Apologizes for Chimp Cartoon, CNN, Feb. 24, 2009.]
Monkey see, monkey do. A few days later on Sunday, February 22, the Washington Post Magazine ran a column making fun of a study reported in the New York Times that said women were aroused by watching videos of apes having sex. The story, entitled “Monkey Business,” was accompanied by a cartoon and the following pre-emptive apology: “The headline, illustration and text of ‘Below the Beltway,’ a column in The Washington Post Magazine today, may cause offense to readers. The magazine was printed before a widely publicized incident last week in which a chimpanzee attacked and badly mauled a woman in Stamford, Conn. In addition, the image and text inadvertently may conjure racial stereotypes that The Post does not countenance. We regret the lapse.” [Editor’s Note, Washington Post, Feb. 22, 2009. Gene Weingarten, Monkey Business, Washington Post, Feb. 22, 2009.]
Not You, Whitey
If you are a high school senior with a grade point average of at least 3.0 you can apply for a National Youth Award and win up to $8,000 in scholarship money and a new laptop computer — if you are Hispanic. Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards are sponsored by the Subway sandwich chain as well as ExxonMobil, Southwest Airlines, UPS, the US Army, and a small army of Hispanic organizations. The contest does make one surprising concession to legality and good taste: you have to be a US citizen or legal resident. And you will be considered “Hispanic” with just one parent from South of the border. For more information, please go to HispanicHeritage.org.
Guadeloupe and Martinique are French “overseas departments” in the Caribbean. Each island sends deputies to the French National Assembly and is considered part of France. French is the official language, but many residents also speak Antillean Creole. Seventy percent of the population of Guadeloupe and 90 percent of Martinique are black or mulatto descendants of slaves. Whites are 11 percent and 5 percent, respectively, but control 90 percent of the economy. Racial tensions have been simmering for decades.
In January, blacks began peacefully protesting high prices and low wages. In early February, a wealthy white landowner, Alain Huyghues-Despointes, stirred things up when he publicly criticized mixed-race marriages, saying he preferred to “preserve his race.” The protests turned to roiting, with hundreds of blacks roaming the streets of the Guadeloupe capital of Point-a-Pitre, looting shops and restaurants, burning cars, and vandalizing public buildings. According to French media, the violence became a “virtual civil war,” with mobs of angry blacks targeting “all whites.” Dozens of policemen and rioters were hurt in numerous clashes, and one protester died when he was caught in the crossfire between armed rioters and police.
Authorities in Paris quickly dispatched 300 riot police to the islands, as panicked white tourists, mostly from France, Britain and the United States, headed for home. A spokesman for the Paris-based Association of Tour Operators says that while no tourists were hurt, “there is the threat of violence in the air and staying there no longer feels comfortable. People are scared.” The chief of the local tourism authority, Madeleine de Grandmaison, said 10,000 tourists had already canceled trips to the islands.
Guadeloupe’s socialist opposition leader Malikh Boutih says the islands are tinder. “All the same elements of the riots on mainland France in 2005 are present here. We don’t have the same concrete buildings, there are palm trees instead, but it’s the same dead-end, the same ‘no future’ for young people, with joblessness and a feeling of isolation.” And the racial dynamic is the same: “It is shocking to watch a police force which is almost 100 per cent white confront a population which is 100 per cent black.” [Britons Flee French Island of Guadeloupe as Rioters Turn on White Families, Daily Mail (London), Feb. 19, 2009.]
AR’s December cover story was about the rise of the nationalist right in Austria. At the time, there were doubts whether the Alliance for the Future of Austria, the smaller of the two “right-wing” parties, would survive the death in a car accident of its leader, Joerg Haider, governor of the southern Austrian state of Carinthia. In its first test, regional elections held on March 1, the Alliance crushed the Social Democrats in Carinthia with 45.5 percent of vote to the SD’s 28.6. Its campaign focused on Haider’s legacy, with posters pledging, “We will look after your Carinthia.” The equally nationalist Freedom Party also did well in the Social Democrat stronghold of Salzburg, winning 13 percent of the vote. [Austrian Far Right Gains in Polls, BBC News, March 2, 2009.]
LETTERS FROM READERS
Sir — The last cover story was a gruesome collection of riots, beatings, and stabbings. Helicopters flapping overhead while dozens of riot police try to keep students from killing each other? It sounds like something out of the ethnic wars in the Balkans.
This is a situation in which nothing can possibly be learned. Everyone knows blacks and Hispanics who go to Los Angeles public schools have miserable test scores. Couldn’t part of the problem be that they are afraid of being beaten up at lunch time?
Liberals are constantly wringing their hands over how little blacks and Hispanics are learning. Why do we hear almost nothing about the conditions in which they are learning almost nothing? Race riots in schools would be a national scandal — except that too much attention to them would invite an obvious solution: segregation. I would predict a significant improvement in grades if blacks and Hispanics were kept apart from each other once they reached middle school, but the liberals who claim to care so much about them would never consider this obvious step.
James Allston, Florence, Ala.
Sir — I am reading with fascination your rendering of American preoccupation with diversity. We in Europe have many problems and some, for example, laws against freedom of speech, are much worse than yours. However, even not one politician would say, “Diversity is the greatest strength of France.” I think this is a stupidity one finds uniquely among you Americans.
Of course, the several races cause many problems, notably in France, Holland, and Germany, where Islamic immigrants are numerous. It is forbidden to critique seriously these immigrants — just as in America — but only an imbecile would dare to say that their presence makes a country strong. It is foolish to say that something is precisely the contrary of reality. I wish you good courage to fight this sickness.
Didier Gendrot, Anvers, France
Sir — I was pleased to see your review of A Bridge Too Far in the March issue. One reason Turkey has been able to convince Europeans that the idea of Turkish membership in the European Union is not completely absurd is pressure from upper-class Turks who are essentially European. As in Mexico, at the highest levels of government and business one finds cultured, impressive people who move easily in sophisticated circles.
Take, for example, Tansu Ciller, who was prime minister of Turkey from 1993 to 1996. She has degrees from the University of New Hampshire and from the University of Connecticut, and did post-doctoral work at Yale. She led the True Path Party until 2002, and had a remarkable career in a nation that can only be described as male dominated. She was a very handsome woman in her youth.
She is, however, neither genetically nor culturally typical of Turks. She represents a very small class of Westernized Turks who are, individually, entirely capable of assimilating to European standards. She does not represent Turkey as a whole.
Sam Gardener, Roanoke, Va.
Sir — I greatly enjoyed Stephen Webster’s March story about the idolatry with which America greeted our first black president (I love the way the word “first” implies there will be so many more). However, I already see signs that the country is coming out of its trance.
First, the stock market was not taken in for a moment by Mr. Obama; it crashed straight through the inauguration, and is still heading south. The market reflects the overall assessment of millions of investors, and the overall assessment is “thumbs down.”
Also, to my surprise, the press has at least partially done its job in reporting on Mr. Obama’s foibles. He apparently operates according to CPT (colored people’s time). in sharp contrast to his predecessor, who was always on time. “He’s running late,” is the constant refrain from his handlers.
Likewise, it was recently reported that Mr. Obama is vastly more dependent on teleprompters than any president before him. He apparently can’t get thorough a six-minute speech without one, and if it goes on the fritz he stumbles. For a man with a reputation as an orator, this is hardly glorious.
I mention these points not because they are especially significant, but because they have been reported. The media practically wet themselves with excitement when Mr. Obama took office, and I am glad to see they have not remained completely hypnotized. I suspect that as the novelty wears off, the press will give him a kick when he deserves it — not with the steel-toed boots they put on for George Bush, but they will kick him nevertheless.
The country may already be looking back sheepishly on all that inaugural foolishness.
Gilbert Long, Manchester, N. H.