|Vol. 21, No. 5||May 2010|
Race and Paternalism in Schools
Federal intervention to “narrow the gaps.”
In the United States, education has historically been a local responsibility. The federal government had essentially no role in education until the establishment in 1953 of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and the 1954 US Supreme Court Brown ruling that banned legally segregated schools. In 1979, there was a sharp increase in federal involvement when a full-fledged Department of Education was set up under Jimmy Carter. Many Republicans have argued that there is no Constitutional authority for federal meddling in schools, and Ronald Reagan tried unsuccessfully to abolish the department.
There have been federal interventions in various aspects of K-12 education — national standards are an example — but the most intrusive and controversial revolve around race. Forced integration was unquestionably the most hotly contested attempt by the central government to reorder educational priorities. Not only did it dramatically change the character of many American schools, it prompted massive white flight to the suburbs and increased residential segregation.
Now, federal involvement centers on attempts to close the racial gaps in performance. Instead of continuing the Republican effort to get the US government out of local schools, President George W. Bush raised involvement to an unprecedented degree with the 2001 “No Child Left Behind” law that mandated that all racial groups would perform at the same level. In the succeeding years, from 2002 to 2004, the department’s budget grew 70 percent.
|I emphasize the paternalism of school reformers — their belief that they know best and can impose their policies on parents of all races.|
Most governments try to expand their power, and federal intrusion into important, new areas of American life is always noteworthy and sometimes worrying. The federal record in K-12 education is not brilliant. The campaigns to integrate schools and to narrow racial gaps in achievement brought much disruption and little lasting success. That these efforts should have been centered around race only underlines the intractable difficulty of race for American society as a whole. One might even argue that absent the American race problem, the federal government would never have concerned itself with K-12 education.
Educational reformers are now planning a new campaign, to emphasize the importance of early childhood, pre-K intervention — and, again, it is centered around race. It is increasingly common to argue that black and Hispanic children cannot be brought to parity with whites and Asians without very early government action. The more moderate reformers propose starting formal education at age three, two years before kindergarten. The more ambitious would have public education begin virtually at birth.
My purpose here is to emphasize the paternalism of the school reformers — their belief that they know best and their confidence about imposing their policies on parents of all races. In the 1970s and 1980s, most reformers favored court-ordered busing to achieve racially balanced integration but also recognized that most white parents did not think their children would benefit from racial mixing. Therefore, if integration were to be achieved, it would have to be imposed by authoritative judges.
In the words of Jennifer Hochschild, a professor who was then at Princeton, “democracy” should “give way to liberalism.” Since most parents chose not to send their children to racially balanced schools, courts should insist that they do so. Quoting John Dewey, Professor Hochschild maintained, “what the best and wisest parent wants for his child, that must the community want for all its children.” If most Americans would not voluntarily choose to have racially balanced schools, “they must permit elites to make that choice for them.”
James Liebman, a Columbia law professor who worked on school integration cases for the NAACP, explained that one goal was to withdraw control from parents and to give children “a wider range of choices about the persons with whom they might associate and the values they might adopt as they approach adulthood.” A principal purpose was to deny parents the right to send their children to schools that would reinforce “the ‘personal features’ and values those parents have chosen as their own.” Liebman urged federal judges to protect the “autonomy” of children from the “tyranny” of their parents. The courts should make sure that children were exposed to “a broader range of … value options than their parents could hope to provide.” As Liebman saw it, family life was too often “marked by exclusiveness, suspicion, and jealousy as to those without.”
In a series of remarkable decisions, the US Supreme Court essentially adopted this view and forced its vision of racial integration on reluctant Americans. I have written about the resulting social upheaval in my 1984 book, The Burden of Brown (see review, “Integration … Disintegration,” AR, July 1993). Eventually, in the face of resistance and sustained failure to achieve many of integration’s goals — especially the equalization of black and white test scores — the court turned away from busing for racial balance. In decisions handed down since 1991, the high court has provided a road map that allows school districts to move away from court-ordered busing. In doing so, the Supreme Court took account of the fact that most white parents, and many blacks also, regarded busing as an interference with what Justice Lewis Powell called “the concept of community” and with the “liberty to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.”
The demise of court-ordered busing did not mark the end of what might be called “reform paternalism,” but this time the targets of paternalism are different. Unlike forced busing, whose primary targets were whites who would not otherwise associate with non-whites, school reformers who support early childhood and pre-K education have aimed their ministrations primarily at black and Hispanic parents. And many of these parents, like the white parents of the 1970s and 1980s, have taken exception to being told that they do not know how to run their lives and rear their children.
The push for early childhood and K-12 programs has occurred against a background of persistent racial and ethnic disparities in academic achievement. Despite all previous reform efforts, already by kindergarten 85 percent of African American students, and 75 percent of Hispanics, score below the average for whites and Asians. These proportions remain about the same as students move through the grades, and by the senior year of high school the average black student is reading and computing at about the level of the average white eighth-grade student.
The intractability of the achievement gaps has led many reformers to think something is wrong with the culture of the underachieving minority groups. This explains the shift away from K-12 toward early childhood. This trend received a special boost from a Nobel Prize-winning economist, James J. Heckman, who teaches at the University of Chicago. One of Prof. Heckman’s econometric models measured the benefits of early childhood education by comparing the life histories of youngsters who either did or did not receive early childhood education. After comparing the recipients’ rate of employment, welfare dependency, criminal behavior, and incarceration with that of a control group, Prof. Heckman concluded that the economic benefits of early childhood education were substantial. “Rates of return are 15% to 17%. The benefit-cost ratio is eight to one.”
Prof. Heckman based this conclusion on studies of a few intensive programs that had targeted disadvantaged children and continued to study them until they were adults. One of these programs was the Perry Preschool in Ypsilanti, Michigan. From 1962 to 1967, Perry provided three-year-old disadvantaged black children with two and a half hours of daily preschool. Perry also placed teachers with advanced degrees in the children’s homes, where they spent 90 minutes each week giving the Perry parents lessons in child rearing. The students were then compared with a control group at ages 14, 15, 19, 27, and 40.
The Abecedarian Program in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was another intensive program. The children were enrolled at the age of three to four months and continued with substantial intervention up to age eight.
|James J. Heckman|
After noting that the Perry and Abecedarian children did better than similar children who did not receive enriched early childhood education, Prof. Heckman concluded that academic problems and achievement gaps stemmed from “the lack of stimulation afforded young children,” and that families were “the major source of inequality in American social and economic life.”
Prof. Heckman recognized that “American society has been reluctant to intervene in family life, especially in the early years,” but he thought “paternalistic interventions in the early life of children in certain dysfunctional families” could close the achievement gaps. Such intervention was urgent because of “the growth in single-parent families,” especially among blacks, 70 percent of whom are now born out of wedlock. Because “an increasing fraction of all US children are growing up in adverse environments,” he wrote, “the best way to improve schools is to improve the students sent to them.” Students could be improved by reforming the way parents reared their children.
Prof. Heckman urged that the way to bring up the underperformers was to “catch ’em young,” because the traditional methods of school reform came too late to make much difference. Once students started school, “test scores across socioeconomic groups are stable, suggesting that later schooling has little effect in reducing or widening the gaps that appear before students enter school.” Prof. Heckman did not say that all essential aptitudes were determined by age three. Nevertheless, because he was an economist, he wanted to act where the return was highest, and he thought the payoff from early intervention was greatest. His research helped establish the foundations for the push for early childhood education.
Richard E. Nisbett, who teaches psychology at the University of Michigan, also touted the benefits of early childhood education. Like Prof. Heckman, Prof. Nisbett recognized that previous school reforms had had “only modest effects on student achievement” and also concluded that the Perry Preschool and the Abecedarian program, as well as a similar program in Milwaukee, could accomplish a great deal.
|Catch ‘em young|
Prof. Nisbett’s 2009 book, Intelligence and How to Get It, challenged the hereditarian view that intelligence and academic talent are substantially under genetic control. Prof. Nisbett acknowledged that “many if not most experts on intelligence” were hereditarians and believe that heredity accounted for much of the variation within racial groups. He also cited a 1988 poll in which a majority of 600 experts in the field of psychological measurement believed that heredity was partly responsible for the 15-point gap between the average IQs of whites and African Americans.
Nevertheless, Prof. Nisbett insisted that “the accumulated evidence of research, much of it quite recent, provides good reason for being far more optimistic about the possibilities of actually improving the intelligence of individuals [and] groups … than was thought by most experts even a few years ago.” In addition to the record of youngsters who had attended intensive preschools, Prof. Nisbett cited studies that suggested the IQs of adopted children increased substantially if they were reared by upscale white parents.
Earlier adoption studies had found that the IQs of adopted children resembled those of their birth parents more than those of their adoptive parents. Many scholars had therefore concluded that intelligence was relatively immune to changes in environment. Prof. Nisbett, however, criticized the earlier studies on the ground that the environment of adopted children usually did not change much, since most adopted children moved from one middle-class family to another.
Prof. Nisbett put great emphasis on three recent French studies that compared poor children who were adopted by well-to-do parents with similar poor children who were not adopted. According to Prof. Nisbett, the IQs of the adopted children increased by an impressive 12 to 18 points. Prof. Nisbett made much of these studies because they supposedly demonstrated that preschool programs could boost the intelligence of disadvantaged children if the programs simulated the practices of upscale adoptive families. Prof. Nisbett strongly concluded that parents can affect a child’s intelligence.
Although he rejected the idea that races differ in reasoning power and imagination, Prof. Nisbett embraced the theory that there was something wrong with the child-rearing practices of African Americans. He attributed part of the problem to socio-economic status (SES). “Compared with higher-SES parents, lower-SES parents are less likely to be warm and supportive of their children and are more likely to punish infractions harshly.” “The lower-SES child is likely to have peers who are on average less intellectually stimulating than those available to higher-SES children.” According to Prof. Nisbett, the environment in single-parent families was especially bleak.
In addition to SES-related problems, Prof. Nisbett maintained that even middle-class blacks reared their children “in ways that are less likely to encourage high IQ scores.” Compared with whites of comparable social and economic circumstances, blacks did not “interact verbally with their children.” They were less likely to provide books or educational toys. They were “more likely to frown and scowl.” They did not encourage children to make “problem-solving efforts.” Prof. Nisbett reported that “the IQs of black and interracial children raised by white adoptive parents were 13 points higher than those of black and interracial children raised by black adoptive parents.”
Prof. Nisbett softened his criticism by insisting that “genes account for none of the difference in IQ between blacks and whites.” Environmental factors, especially child rearing practices, “plausibly account for all of it.” “Aspects of black culture — at every social-class level — are less likely to promote cognitive performance compared with white culture. … I’m saying black parents need to do some stuff differently.”
Prof. Nisbett nevertheless recognized that he was saying things that might offend some African Americans. If he had published his book in 1969 instead of 2009, he would have been raked with criticism. The conventional wisdom among reformers of the 1960s and 1970s was that underclass African-American students knew they belonged to a despised group and therefore quickly turned against reformers who showed even a semblance of patronizing condescension. It was said that students in the inner cities would not cooperate with anyone who considered their values deviant or inferior. The conventional wisdom posited that middle-class teachers were doomed to fail unless they recognized and built on cultural strengths that already existed in the black community.
Education writer Herbert Kohl, whose book 36 Children (1967) was one of the classic expressions of left-liberal educational thinking in the 1960s, summed up this explanation in an influential essay: “I Won’t Learn from You.” According to Mr. Kohl, disadvantaged minority students would shut down and refuse to learn if they sensed that they were being taught in ways that somehow dishonored their culture.
|Second-generation welfare mother.|
In the 1970s, liberal school reformers scoffed at “the inadequate mother hypothesis” as surely as they downplayed the importance of IQ. They rejected the theory that blacks were doing poorly in school because their mothers’ vocabularies were limited, because black mothers were sullen and authoritative, or because they did not give their children intellectual stimulation.
Prof. Nisbett therefore expected to be criticized for resurrecting the social pathology rationale in the 21st century. “I’ve said some things that I really thought would bring the wrath of people onto me,” Prof. Nisbett told one reporter. But such criticism barely surfaced when Prof. Nisbett published his book in 2009. Instead of attacking the idea that black families are responsible for the shortcomings of black students, influential reformers of both left and right embraced Prof. Nisbett’s approach.
The New York Times published a précis of Intelligence and How to Get It, and columnists Jim Holt and Nicholas Kristoff weighed in with special applause. In an extended essay, Times education writer James Traub noted that the “accomplishments of [school] reform” had been “modest,” but that was because of bad parenting practices. Black children grew up “in a world without books or even stimulating games.” This was true even of middle-class children, for there was a significant “difference in child rearing habits and peer culture between the black and white middle classes.” As Mr. Traub saw it, schools could not solve the problem. The only hope was “a kind of … paternalism in which mothers are expected to yield up their children to wise professionals.”
Some conservative writers expressed similar views. Former Assistant Secretary of Education Chester E. Finn wrote that “to compensate for conversational, educational, and cognitive shortfalls at home, boys and girls from acutely deprived environments need more intensive instruction . … Their parents … need help.” David J. Armor of George Mason University similarly opined that black and Hispanic infants and young children would benefit if their mothers gave them up for several hours a day. These children could “maximize” their intelligence, Prof. Armor wrote, if their parents “let others become, in effect, ‘surrogate’ parents who provide the type of care that the parents should be providing.” Prof. Armor, however, recognized that most mothers did not wish to be separated “from their infant and toddler children for substantial periods of time.” He doubted that it would be possible to convince these parents that they should let others become substitute parents.
Barack Obama eventually emerged as the most influential proponent of early childhood education for infants and toddlers, and pre-K programs for three- and four-year olds. Mr. Obama’s Democratic Party platform of 2008 promised to “make quality, affordable early childhood care and education available to every American child from the day he or she is born.” The editors of Education Week calculated that Obama’s education plans would add about $30 billion per year in additional spending, but Mr. Obama explained: “We know what a difference early childhood programs make in the lives of our kids.”
On balance, it may be an advance to have accepted the possibility that if certain children arrive in kindergarten already behind it may not be the fault of the schools if they never catch up. Prof. Heckman’s proposal that “the best way to improve schools is to improve the students sent to them” is a radical departure from the usual round of blaming teachers. That he has not been hounded out of the debate with shouts of “blaming the victim” shows how little has been accomplished by conventional school reform and how desperate reformers are for new schemes
Largely in response to the efforts of the “early intervention” movement, the nationwide enrollment of four-year olds in state-funded pre-kindergartens increased by 40 percent between 2004 and 2009. However, this was largely in response to pressure from school-reform lobbies in various state legislatures. Rank-and-file citizens had many misgivings, and voters in California rejected “universal pre-K” when the policy was submitted to them as an initiative proposal in 2006.
In explaining the defeat in California, proponents of early childhood and pre-K education stressed that well-to-do people feared they would be “taxed into oblivion” and therefore mounted a campaign of disinformation. According to David L. Kirp, a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, wealthy entrepreneurs “went on TV, reinforcing people’s cynicism about any government program.” The expense of early childhood education was certainly a consideration since, according to the calculation of another Berkeley professor, sociologist Bruce Fuller, the yearly expense at the Perry Preschool was $15,166 per student (in 2000 dollars), about twice what Head Start spent per pupil. For the more interventionist Abecedarian experiment, the estimated annual cost was $34,476.
|Violating their sense of ethnic identity?|
But more than money was at issue. Prof. Fuller also noted that many black and Hispanic parents opposed “universal pre-K” because they wanted their children to be cared for close to home, either by relatives or friends. These parents noted that school reformers wanted to funnel government funds into programs that hired teachers with college degrees in early childhood education, and many minority parents feared such programs would undermine their children’s sense of ethnic identity and pride.
One Hispanic activist explained that the people who were in charge of the less formal neighborhood day care centers were “98 percent … Latina” and “really conscious of the children’s culture.” Many African Americans had the same concerns. Ronald Ferguson, a black scholar at Harvard, expressed their view when he wrote, “Black folks don’t want white folks coming into their communities and saying, ‘You ought to be more like us.’ ”
The desire to preserve black and Hispanic identity merged with the interests of those who were already providing day care. In 2007 there were some 113,000 child care enterprises in the United States, many in private homes or church basements. Most did not provide the sort of socialization that early childhood reformers recommended. Many could afford to hire only high school graduates who supervised play but did little teaching.
Many of the smaller, less-formal day care centers were subsidized by the federal welfare reform legislation of 1996, which cut back on welfare benefits but gave poor parents vouchers they could use at any child care provider, licensed or not. By 2008, the federal Child Care Development Fund was paying for about $10 billion a year in vouchers for 1.75 million preschool children. One scholar at the Brookings Institution joked that welfare reform had turned out to be “a money machine for child care.” The thousands of small operators who were collecting those billions of dollars did not want to see the system change.
Does early intervention work?
Aside from whether the presumed beneficiaries want it, much depends on whether one believes the reports on the effectiveness of early intervention. James Heckman and Richard Nisbett claim that money spent on early childhood programs eventually saves taxpayers’ money. Their research involves complicated calculations and assumptions that compare the money spent on programs with later income from taxes and later spending on welfare and prisons. As noted, Prof. Heckman calculated the benefit to cost ratio at Perry and Abecedarian as eight to one, but other scholars have put the ratio at about 2:1, and even that may be too high. Robert Weissberg, a political science professor at the University of Illinois, has written that “this is advocacy research” and “biases are everywhere.” “Faulty assumptions are just piled one on top of another.” Prof. Nisbett has conceded, “a huge amount of research needs to be done to establish whether something like the Perry or … Abecedarian program would be effective and feasible if scaled up to national proportions.”
|Early intervention will narrow the gaps.|
Only a small number of students participated in the Perry and Abecedarian programs. Between 1972 and 1977 there were a combined total of 111 mostly African American children in Abecedarian’s full-time program and in the control group. And there were only 123 students in the Perry study: 58 Perry students and 65 in the control group. If even a few of these children had atypical experiences, the overall results would be out of kilter. And although Abecedarian’s interventions were intensive, with one adult for every three infants and toddlers and one adult for every six of the three- and four-year olds, the results were not spectacular.
In her book It Takes a Village (1996), Hillary Rodham Clinton reported that the average IQ of the Abecedarian three-year-olds was 17 points higher than that of the control group. Mrs. Clinton did not mention that by age eight the advantage had faded to three points. Meanwhile, 43 percent of the Perry graduates were employed at age 40, compared with 35 percent of the control group, and 21 percent of the Perry graduates had been arrested more than five times, compared with 31 percent of the control group. According to Prof. Fuller of Berkeley, who calculated the costs of the program, “exposure to Perry explains less than 3 percent of all the variation in earnings … and about 4 percent of the variability in school attainment levels.”
Like so many results that advocates of environmental change celebrate, they appear to fade after a few years.
Today’s emphasis on early childhood and pre-K education would appear to be only the latest cunningly contrived irony. In the 1970s and 1980s many white parents protested against the favorite school reform of those decades. They said court-ordered busing interfered with communities and with their liberty to direct the upbringing and education of their children.
Today, school reform has reached the point where many Hispanic and African American parents, for reasons that in some respects resemble those of white parents a generation ago, are uneasy about proposals that would place very young children in childcare for long periods of time. Just as they did in the era of busing, the reformers think they know best. But given the precariousness of the social science research and the expense of the early childhood programs, there is reason to be skeptical. Among the skeptics are Hispanic and African American leaders and parents who naturally do not want others to take over the job of rearing their children.
Raymond Wolters is the Thomas Muncy Keith Professor of History at the University of Delaware. An expanded, annotated version of this essay is scheduled for publication in the Spring 2010 issue of The Occidental Quarterly.
Postscript by Jared Taylor
Few observers are prepared to note something else these two intrusive reforms — busing and government-run pre-K — have in common: that they would probably never have been attempted except for the fact of race. There was always non-racial segregation and stratification in American education. Families have always separated their children to some degree on the basis of wealth, religion, class, etc. The children of the wealthy have consistently achieved at higher levels than the children of the poor, and the most able children have always far outstripped the less able children of their own race. It is only when these divisions fall along racial lines that the federal government finds them intolerable.
It is impossible to imagine the disruption of school busing being forced upon Americans in order to make the children in the nice part of town go to school with the children from the other side of the tracks — or to get the children from the Jewish day school to mix with the Episcopalians.
Of course, racial segregation in the South was different from such voluntary, residential segregation because it was required by law. And yet, even outside the South, government compulsion eventually forced families to mix against their wills. Why was race the only fault line the federal government felt compelled to erase, even at the cost of great disruption to neighborhoods and schools?
Likewise, hardly anyone notices the huge academic achievement gaps within races. The test scores gap between the highest and lowest quintiles of whites is greater than the average achievement gap between blacks and whites, yet no one tracks it, worries about it, or devises massive programs to narrow or eliminate it. Most people would welcome teaching innovations that generally raise the performance of school children, but few people find it scandalous that some children outperform other children of the same race and demand that the gap be closed. That is why it is impossible to imagine the smothering bureaucracy and paperwork of No Child Left Behind being inflicted on American schools for that purpose. Some human differences are accepted as part of the natural environment; it is only when there is a racial component that what are probably natural differences are treated as national crises.
The same arguments can be made about early intervention. Would anyone be pushing it were it not for racial differences? And if it really works, who is to say middle-class white children would not benefit as much as poor blacks from hours of expert instruction? The reformers think they know best how to rear children. Surely they are not so modest as to believe that only certain people would benefit from their wisdom. If the child-rearing practices of barrio Hispanics can be improved, why not those of white suburbanites? After all, it is the white suburbanites who will be taxed to pay for early intervention. Why should they not reap some of its benefits? Again, without the problem of race, the concept of large-scale, government-run early intervention might be nothing but a curiosity. As it is, the presence of different races in the United States, and the persistent differences in outcome will guarantee an interminable parade of intrusive “reforms” — at least until the day Americans come to terms with the fact that racial equality in achievement is as much a chimera as equality of achievement within a single race.
‘What Shall We Do With the Negro?’
Racial politics during the Civil War.
Paul Escott, “What Shall We Do With the Negro?” Lincoln, White Racism, and Civil War America, University of Virginia Press, 2009, 304 pp., $29.50
Paul Escott, who teaches history at Wake Forest University has written a fascinating account of Civil-War-era racial attitudes and how they influenced the conduct of the war. This is not a happy account of crusading abolitionist heroes; instead it is a serious attempt to understand what white people thought about race and how that affected their actions.
Prof. Escott puts Lincoln under the microscope, and makes no apologies for dispelling the rosy illusions many Americans have about “the Great Emancipator.” To a lesser degree, he also examines Jefferson Davis’s views on race and slavery, as well as the reasons Southerners gave for leaving the Union. Prof. Escott traces how racial convictions influenced politics, and demonstrates that the North was in many ways just as “racist” as the South. There is probably no other book that gives so well-rounded and unsentimental a picture of the racial thinking that drove decisions both in the North and the South.
It was racial thinking that drove the country apart, much as some would deny it. Confederate heritage organizations have been hunting for years for any possible reason other than slavery to explain why the South seceded. They say protective tariffs that hurt the South and a distinctly sectional spirit prompted secession. This was part of it, but Prof. Escott quotes effectively from the declarations of secession. Nothing could be clearer: Southerners thought Lincoln’s election was a threat to slavery. As the South Carolina declaration put it, it meant the federal government now believed “that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States.” Alabama declared that the election of Lincoln was “so insulting and menacing” to slavery that secession was the only way to preserve it.
|Vice President Alexander Stephens.|
Prof. Escott also quotes Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens, who wrote of the “great truth” on which the Confederate government was founded: “that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition.” Some declarations of secession also cited northern states’ refusal to enforce runaway slave laws as a reason to leave the Union. Prof. Escott adds that Southerners believed their hierarchical, patrician society was superior to the more populist North, but leaves no doubt that the main motive for secession was to protect slavery from outside interference.
But was Lincoln’s election in November 1860 the first step in an abolitionist campaign? It is true that he had famously claimed that “government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” but in his Cooper Union speech in February 1860 he told a New York audience that although slavery should not be extended to the territories, it should remain unmolested where it was. The ultimate goal for him was separation: “In the language of Mr. Jefferson, uttered many years ago, ‘It is still in our power to direct the process of emancipation, and deportation, peaceably, and in such slow degrees, as the evil will wear off insensibly; and their places be, pari pasu, filled up by white laborers.” Still, any decision on emancipation would have to come from the states because the federal government had no power to bring it about.
Most Republicans were anti-slavery in the sense that they did not want it brought into the territories and would have endorsed Lincoln’s view that the new lands were to be “for the homes of free white people.” Only a small minority were determined to abolish slavery where it already existed.
|Stephens: “The negro is not equal to the white man; slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition.”|
Lincoln took office on March 4, and the firing on Fort Sumter was still more than a month away. In his inaugural address he said, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”
From the beginning, Lincoln’s primary goal was to bring the seceded states back into the Union. Whatever he did with regard to blacks was in the service of that goal, and he was not alone in hoping the Confederates would come back if they could be assured they could keep their slaves. On February 28, before Lincoln took office, Congress had passed what was known as the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, which forbade any attempt by Congress to amend the Constitution to give itself the power to “abolish or interfere” with slavery. Seven southern states had already seceded and did not vote on the amendment but it still got the necessary two-thirds majority. Outgoing president James Buchanan endorsed it, and it was presented to the states for ratification. In the brief period between’s Lincoln’s inauguration and the beginning of the war, he wrote letters to all the governors urging them to support state approval. The legislatures of Ohio, Maryland and Illinois actually ratified the amendment before the war got underway in earnest and absorbed the nation’s attention.
Two weeks before the first Battle of Manassas, Congress officially resolved that the war was being fought to preserve the Union and not for the purpose of “overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions” of the Confederate states. It was only later, after it became clear that the Confederacy could not be quickly crushed, that northerners begin to think of abolition as a means to deprive the South of slave labor and also as an added moral objective for what was turning into a bloody slog.
Professor Escott makes a strong case for the view that certainly Lincoln and probably a large number of northerners would have been willing to make virtually any concession on blacks and slavery in order to tempt the Confederate states back into the Union.
Unlike the radical Republicans, Lincoln never thought of slaveholders as moral inferiors, even saying they were “just what we would be in their situation.” He was related by marriage to Confederates. His wife, Mary Todd, came from a family of 14 children, six of whom supported the North and eight supported the South. One of his wife’s sisters was married to a Confederate general.
Virtually until the end of the war, Lincoln supported gradual, compensated emancipation coupled with colonization — on the initiative of the states, but with federal support. Late in 1861, for example, he proposed a compensated abolition program for Delaware that would have been so gradual that some blacks would have remained slaves into the 20th century. The state legislature did not act on it.
Lincoln thought slavery was wrong but that a society with large numbers of free blacks living among whites was just as wrong. Gradual emancipation coupled with colonization would solve both problems. In 1861, he persuaded Congress to pass a resolution in favor of colonization, but nothing came of it.
In August 1862, Lincoln invited black leaders to the White House — the first time blacks ever came in an official capacity — to ask them to persuade their people to emigrate. As Prof. Escott explains: “He accepted as a fact that the racial problem in America was profound and intractable; he wanted to end the conflict between white Americans and reunite the sections; and he favored the removal of black Americans as a solution.”
Lincoln’s reputation as “the Great Emancipator” rests mainly on the proclamation, but Prof. Escott points out that this document is hardly a ringing endorsement of liberty. As is well known, it promised freedom only to those slaves in Confederate-controlled territory, which is to say, to those slaves over whom Lincoln had no power.
It is less well known that what is called the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, issued on Sept. 22, 1862, offered the Confederate states 100 days to stop the fighting and send representatives to Congress. Any state that did so was urged to enact compensated emancipation, with funds to be paid from the US treasury. Blacks so freed would be encouraged to emigrate. However, emancipation was to be strictly a matter to be determined by the states, and any state that returned to the union could keep slavery intact. It was only if the southern states persisted in war that the slaves under their control would be freed. As the Cincinnati Gazette explained, “The way to save Slavery is simply to submit to the Constitution. … The way to destroy it is to persist in rebellion.”
| Edwin Francis Jemison, 2nd Louisiana Regiment,
killed in action, July 1862, age 17.
At that time and repeatedly thereafter, Lincoln stated that the proclamation was strictly a war measure designed to weaken the South’s capacity to fight. He did not draft it in anything like the orotund phrases of which he was capable and thereby make it a monument to liberty. If anything, it reads like a bill of lading. At the same time, Lincoln was so solicitous of the cooperation of border state slave-holders that he exempted Kentucky and Tennessee from the proclamation, even though parts of those states were under Confederate control and would therefore have been subject to emancipation. As he explained, “What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps save the Union.” Professor Escott summarizes the three central themes of Lincoln’s thinking at this time about blacks: “that freedom was not an object but a means of victory; that colonization was a major goal; and that no ideas of racial equality were being entertained.”
In his annual message of December 1862, Lincoln called on Congress to pass a Constitutional amendment that would direct the federal government to compensate any state that abolished slavery during the next 37 years, up until the year 1900. He even provided for the possibility that a state might reintroduce slavery after having first abolished it, but that would require repaying any compensation received. The amendment went nowhere, but shows the tentative, leisurely pace at which Lincoln was prepared to free slaves.
Lincoln eventually approved raising black troops but he took some convincing. In the fall of 1862 he complained that “if we were to arm them [blacks], I fear that in a few weeks the arms would be in the hands of the rebels.”
In his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction of December 1863, Lincoln drew up a road map for future Southern race relations. It included “apprenticeships” and “peonage” for freed blacks that would have been little different from slavery. His only requirement seemed to be that no slaves freed under the Emancipation Proclamation be reenslaved outright.
|Planter family with slave.|
In a famous conversation reported by General Ben Butler but not otherwise confirmed, Lincoln was still talking about colonization at a time when the war was nearly won. In April 1865, he told the general it would be best for both blacks and whites if blacks could be sent away to some foreign land with a warm climate. At about the same time, he also expressed a mild “preference” that the most intelligent blacks might, under certain circumstances, be allowed to vote. Never in his life did Lincoln talk about social or political equality for blacks.
Prof. Escott devotes a dozen fascinating pages to the Hampton Roads peace conference of Feb. 3, 1865. Lincoln, along with his Secretary of State, William Seward, met with three Confederate representatives, including Vice President Alexander Stephens. No official records were kept of the discussions, but later accounts make it clear that even at this late date, Lincoln’s only non-negotiable demand was peace and reunification. Slavery was still an option. He again held out the possibility of making federal money available to compensate slaveholders for their property. By then, the 13th amendment had already been voted by Congress, but Lincoln suggested that if the Confederate states laid down their weapons and rejoined the Union they could vote as they pleased on the amendment, possibly defeating it. He even proposed the possibility of “prospective” approval of the amendment, or ratification to take place at some future date. This would have avoided what he called the “many evils” of immediate emancipation.
These reports from the conference show that even with the war nearly won, Lincoln was still thinking of ways to stop the killing and reunite the country, and was prepared to sacrifice the interests of blacks to those ends. It is far from certain whether he could have persuaded Congress to vote money for compensation, and some believe he was promising more than he could deliver in the hope of tricking the Confederates into stopping the war. In any case, his priorities at Hampton Roads were what they had always been: Union first, with blacks only a consideration to that end.
The Yankee view
There were certainly crusading egalitarians in the North, but they were rarities. Most whites were like Lincoln: they liked blacks no more than they liked slavery. When former slaves came streaming into Union camps, commanders had to do something with them. Several proposed sending them north but northern politicians would not accept them. In some occupied parts of the South, the Army rented out former slaves to Yankee plantation managers who treated them more harshly than their former masters did.
Many Northerners in the ranks met blacks for the first time. “We found them docile but they are great liars and great thieves,” one wrote. Another noted that their “opinions of conjugal fidelity” were “very loose.”
The US government set up the American Freedman’s Inquiry Commission to think about what should be done with former slaves once the war was over. In its final report, issued in May 1864, the commission concluded that most blacks would stay in the South and that they could be made to work for wages. However, the “African race” was “a knowing rather than a thinking race,” and would never “take a lead in the material improvement of the world.”
Paternalism was widespread. The New York Times, for example, wrote that even if they were free, blacks had no more business voting than did women or Indians, and that it was “little short of insane” to think otherwise. The Times was also relieved to learn that most blacks seemed to want to stay in the South and would not “swarm to the North.”
|Lincoln with Union officers at Sharpsburg, Maryland. McClellan is facing Lincoln.|
Prof. Escott reminds us that at the time of the 1864 election, there was so much unhappiness about the war that at one point Lincoln despaired of being reelected. Although his stance on blacks was essentially utilitarian, Democrats accused him of waging war for abolition and called him “a man who loves his country less and the negro more.” Democrats circulated “Campaign Document #11,” with the title, “Miscegenation Indorsed by the Republican Party.” It called the Republicans “the Abolition party now in power,” and said that “their object is to unite in marriage the laboring white man and the black woman, and to reduce the white laboring man to the despised and degraded condition of the black man.”
Prof. Escott notes that there were proponents of slavery in the North, among them New Yorker J. H. Van Everie, who published a book in 1861 called Negroes and Negro “Slavery”: The First an Inferior Race; The Latter its Normal Condition. Democrats circulated his work widely during the 1864 campaign. In Van Everie’s view, “the strongest affection” a slave “is capable of feeling is love for his master.” Free blacks, he argued, were unnatural and “destined to extinction.”
Anti-black campaigning was effective. Only after Atlanta fell to Sherman’s armies in September did voter sentiment shift back towards Lincoln and to further prosecution of the war.
Prof. Escott gives us another indication of the state of northern thinking about blacks. In the months just after the war, Connecticut, Minnesota, and Wisconsin took popular votes on whether to extend the franchise to blacks. All three voted not to. This result was especially significant for Wisconsin. In 1849, the state had voted for black suffrage but the measure had not taken effect because of a technicality. By 1865, the majority had turned against giving blacks the vote. At about the same time, Colorado joined the union, voting itself a constitution that denied blacks the vote.
The Southern view
Prof. Escott notes that there was never unanimity about slavery even in the South. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Patrick Henry all worried about its consequences, and did not want it extended into the territories. In the upper South there had been active anti-slavery societies in the 1820s and 1830s, but as the sectional controversy sharpened, southerners grew intolerant and it became dangerous to criticize slavery. In private, however, even Robert E. Lee wrote in 1856 that “slavery as an institution is a moral & political evil in this country.”
The most common defense of slavery was that it was part of the divine plan. Even some northern churchmen — Alexander T. McGill of Princeton Theological Seminary, for example — took this view. Ironically, it was after secession, and after slavery had been written into the constitution of the Confederacy, that southerners felt freer to criticize slaveholders. Preachers, in particular, tried to reform the system so as to recognize slave marriage, stop the separation of families, and to consider slaves “a sacred trust” rather than mere property. There was also a strong push to ensure religious instruction for slaves.
|“Contrabands” who entered Union lines May 14, 1862.|
It was not long, though, before massive slave defections to Union lines began to disabuse whites of the myth that slaves were loyal by nature. “Those we loved best, and who loved us best — as we thought — were the first to leave us,” was not an uncommon complaint.
As the war ground on and victory seemed less likely, many southerners began to consider the unthinkable: Arm the slaves. As the Jackson Mississippian wrote in 1863, “We must either employ the negroes ourselves, or the enemy will employ them against us.”
Late in the war, Jefferson Davis came around to this view. He had always been a very lenient slaveholder who believed in educating slaves and punishing them only when a jury of older, respected slaves believed it was deserved. By the end of 1864, he was quietly promoting the idea of freeing and arming slaves. At about that time he sent a delegation to France and Britain offering to abolish slavery in return for recognition, but those countries rejected his offer.
By 1864, however, Davis’s prestige was at low ebb, so he recruited the best-loved man in the Confederacy, Robert E. Lee, to be the public voice for arming blacks. Lee believed that without more manpower the South would surely lose the war and that freedmen could be loyal southerners. Lee found that support for black troops was strongest among white soldiers still in the field; they knew better than anyone how thinly they were stretched and welcomed any measure that might bring victory and justify their terrible sacrifices.
On March 13, 1865, by a slim majority, the Confederate Congress passed a law authorizing black troops but not emancipation. Davis wanted to offer emancipation as well, but in any case, the war ended before black Confederates saw action. Prof. Escott notes that most southerners thought that even if black soldiers would have to be freed, they could be kept in a state of “serfage or peonage” that would not be much different from slavery.
“Serfage or peonage” is a partial answer to the question raised by Confederate emancipation: If the South left the Union to preserve slavery, what was the point of independence if slavery had to be sacrificed to achieve it? Southerners expected to be able to control blacks — even if they had served as soldiers — and by 1864 or 1865, after years of war and hundreds of thousands of casualties, the South was determined to go its own way.
Similar questions can be raised about the South’s earlier decisions. If maintaining slavery was the main reason for secession, why were Southerners not reassured by Lincoln’s support for the Corwin Amendment and his promise that he had no desire to interfere with slavery where it already existed? Why did not Southern states reenter the Union and help ratify the Corwin Amendment? While it was still in the Union, the South had at least some northern cooperation in returning fugitive slaves. Outside the Union it would have none. Within the Union, it had some possibility of extending slavery into the territories; outside the Union it had none.
The Southern answer is that independence was always more important than slavery. The 20 years that led up to the secession crisis — 20 years of insult and interference — convinced the South that real protection would come only with independence.
Lincoln always overestimated Union sentiment in the South. If he believed that Southern states would take the bait of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and reenter the Union he was wrong. By then, his armies had invaded the South, and southerners were committed to repelling invasion, not striking deals. One could argue in retrospect that the South should have taken the bait and, later, should have accepted Lincoln’s terms at Hampton Roads. Compensated emancipation or readmission to the Union in time to block passage of the 13th Amendment would have been much better than defeat, occupation, and uncompensated emancipation. Of course, there is no guarantee a Republican Congress would have approved those terms.
In hindsight, Confederate political calculations were disastrous. At the start of the war, the South could have demanded very strong assurances in return for rejoining the Union, but it felt its destiny was outside the Union. The longer the fighting went on, the dimmer the South’s prospects became, yet it fought until it could fight no more, and got the worst possible peace — forcible reunion on terms set by Republicans.
Ultimately, however, which section — North or South — had the more sensible race policy? The Confederate constitution continued the ban on the slave trade, but an independent South would have entrenched slavery and the presence of blacks. If any territories had joined the Confederacy they would have been slave states. The North had a different policy: free the slaves and encourage them to leave the country; reserve the territories for free white labor. The subsequent history of the United States would have been vastly different if the South had made an early peace and adopted Lincoln’s plan of gradual, federally-funded emancipation and colonization.
Prof. Escott’s book does not draw this conclusion, of course, but it points the reader in that direction. It would have been far better if the country had never had to ask itself, “What shall we do with the negro?” but the North’s answer was wiser and more far-sighted than that of the South.
The Galton Report
Galton returns! From 1997 to 2001, Glayde Whitney was Science Editor for AR, and his column, “The Galton Report”, was one of the magazine’s most appreciated regular features. Whitney was a scientist through and through, who followed wherever the data lead, no matter how rocky the road or controversial the conclusion. We first learned of him from news accounts, and he first appeared in AR in an “O Tempora, O Mores” item in August 1995:
“On June 2nd, the Behavior Genetics Association held its annual meeting, in Richmond, Virginia. The outgoing president, Prof. Glayde Whitney of Florida State University, gave the traditional presidential address. Prof. Whitney, who has made his reputation in animal genetics, surprised many in the audience by speaking about racial differences in crime rates. He gently suggested that there might be a genetic explanation for these differences.
“Two people sitting at the head table walked out during the speech. One, the president elect of the organization, later returned and apologized to the waiters — ‘our black brothers’ — who had been in the room. Prof. Whitney was shunned for the remainder of the conference. During a meeting of the association’s executive committee no one would even look at him, though one person replied when Prof. Whitney spoke to him directly. The editor of the association’s magazine, Behavior Genetics, ordinarily asks that presidential addresses be submitted for publication but specifically refused to publish this one. As usual in cases of this kind, there has been public condemnation but private approval of Prof. Whitney’s remarks. Fortunately, he has tenure.”
We contacted Whitney shortly after this and he began to write for AR. His articles and columns were of enormous value because they combined the knowledge of a first-rate scientist with the nose for claptrap of a race realist — and a knack for clear writing. Since Whitney’s untimely death in 2002 at age 62, AR has had a few promising nibbles but never found anyone who would take the job as science editor.
We are pleased to announce that another prominent scientist has agreed to revive “The Galton Report.” He will be using the name Hippocrates, the father of medicine.
Richard Lynn Answers the Questione Meridionale
Regional differences in per capita income are large in Italy. The north is as prosperous as central and northern Europe, but the south is much poorer. The Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam, who has become famous for his book Bowling Alone, in which he shows that trust between neighbors is low in multi-racial neighborhoods, did his early work on the Italian “rich north–poor south problem” and wrote, “To travel from the north to the south in the 1970s was to return centuries into the past … many lived in one- and two-room hovels; farmers still threshed grain by hand … transportation was provided by donkeys that shared their rocky shelters, alongside a few scrawny chickens and cats.”
|Ferarri headquarters in Maranello in northern Italy.|
Statistics showing the differences in living standards between the rich north and the poor south in Italy became available in the mid-19th century and these differences persist to the present day. It is estimated that in 1861 per capita incomes were about 15-20 percent higher in the north than in the south. By 1911 the north-south gap had widened to 50 percent, and this difference has persisted into the 21st century.
Many theories have been advanced to explain what has become known as “Italian economic dualism.” The Italian economist Emanuele Felice has written that “there is a huge literature dealing with the so-called ‘questione meridionale,’ the social, cultural, and economic backwardness of southern Italy.” Another Italian economist, Gianni Toniolo, has written that “works dedicated to the southern question would fill an entire library but many of the economists’ questions as to the size and causes of Italian economic dualism remain unanswered.”
|Neighborhood in Palermo, Sicily.|
Despite the attention given to this question, no consensus has been reached on the answer. In 1993, Prof. Putnam wrote that “the historical record, both distant and recent, leads us (like others) to suspect that socio-cultural factors are an important part of the explanation.” But what are these socio-cultural factors? Prof. Putnam favors the theory of low “civic trust” in the south as a crucial factor, but concedes that other socio-cultural factors are probably involved. More recently, in 2009, the Italian economist Guido Tabellini proposed that “culture measured by indicators of individual values and beliefs, such as trust and respect for others, and confidence in individual self-determination” helps explain regional differences in economic development in Italy and western Europe.
Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of the University of Ulster and speaker at AR conferences in 2000 and 2002, has now published what is likely to be the real explanation: IQ differences. IQs in the north are the same as in central and northern Europe — 100 — but begin to drop south of Rome. From Naples into the south, they decline to 90 and to as low as 89 in Sicily. Prof. Lynn attributes low IQs in the south to the genetic legacy left by North Africans when they invaded during the dark ages. He estimates the IQ of North Africans at about 82, so south Italians have IQs about midway between those of northern Italians and North Africans. In genetic terminology, south Italians are a cline, or hybrid population, with characteristics, including IQ, that are midway between the two parent races.
The full text of Prof. Lynn’s research is available at: Lynn, R. (2010), In Italy, North-South Differences in IQ Predict Differences in Income, Education and Infant Mortality, Stature and Literacy. Intelligence, 38, 93-100.
IN THE NEWS
O Tempora, O Mores!
All in the Family
Last October, 15-year-old Tremaine Davis lost a fight with another “youth” at the Considine Little Rock Family Center (yes, that is its name) in Detroit. His mother, 35-year-old Tarranisha Davis, who was at a gas station across the street, told him he should get even, and gave him a pistol she kept in her car. Tremaine went back into the center and fired several shots in the direction of the boy, but missed. Instead, he hit 19-year-old Dmitri Jackson in the head, killing him. Both mother and son were convicted of second degree murder.
|Tremaine and Tarranisha Davis.|
At the sentencing in March, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Ryan gave Tremaine 10-25 years in prison, and his mother 22½ to 40, plus an additional two years for using a firearm while committing a felony. Judge Ryan said he gave her a stiffer sentence because there would have been no shooting without her. Tarranisha Davis took exception to this, started screaming, and attacked a sheriff’s deputy. As police rushed into the courtroom to subdue her, several of Miss Davis’s family members jumped over the railing to attack the police.
It took three officers to cuff Miss Davis. By the time order was restored, two officers had minor injuries and four more of Miss Davis’s relatives were under arrest. Judge Ryan says there have been outbursts in his courtroom before, “but absolutely nothing like this.” “Basically a riot erupted,” he says. [Joe Swickard, Brawl Erupts at Sentencing of Mom Who Gave Gun to Son, Detroit Free Press, March 11, 2010. Robert Brignall, Hot Headed Tarranisha Davis Starts Brawl During Sentencing for Killing of Dmitri Jackson, Detroit Examiner, March 12, 2010.]
At a March meeting about disruptive students at the Pinellas County, Florida, school board, Chairman Janet Clark, who is white, said, “So much time is taken up with addressing hoodlums, with kids who don’t want to be in school,” adding, “We are talking about a small number of children.” Most of the students in Pinellas County schools are white, but most of the trouble-makers are black, and everyone knows it. Black school board member Mary Brown says “hoodlum” was a code word for “black,” and wants an apology. Miss Clark refuses, saying she said nothing about race.
Ray Tampa, president of the St. Petersburg branch of the NAACP, doesn’t think saying “hoodlum” is racist, but he says Miss Clark’s refusal to apologize is “disgusting.” The International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement wants Miss Clark to resign. In March it demonstrated outside Johns Hopkins Middle School (where police have arrested 84 students so far this year) chanting, “Janet Clark! Must Go!” “School board! Must go!” and “First they fail black children! Then they jail black children!”
A St. Petersburg newspaper online poll found that only 72 of 2,676 respondents thought using the word hoodlum was “racist.” [Ron Matus and Jamal Thalji, Pinellas School Board Chairwoman Under Fire for Calling Disruptive Students ‘Hoodlums,’ St. Petersburg Times, March 11, 2010. Reader Poll: Was ‘Hoodlums’ Too Harsh? St. Petersburg Times, March 10, 2010.]
Year of Mexico
As more Mexicans move to the US, many formerly American communities feel compelled to celebrate their holidays. This is most obvious in the case of Cinco de Mayo, a minor Mexican holiday that now ranks with St. Patrick’s Day in many American cities. 2010 is the year Mexico celebrates the bicentennial of its independence from Spain, and also the centennial of the Mexican Revolution. These events may be important to Mexicans but they are of little consequence to Americans.
More Mexicans — nearly 600,000 — live in Chicago than in any other US city besides Los Angeles, and Chicago and Mexico City have been sister cities since 1991. The city was over 25 percent Hispanic at the time of the 2000 census, and the figure is sure to be higher now.
| Chicago demonstrators carrying the Mexican flag with an image
of the Virgin of Guadeloupe during a pro-amnesty march in 2007.
At a reception in March, Mayor Richard M. Daley proclaimed 2010 the “Year of Mexico” in Chicago. Among the 70 events scheduled for the year will be a parade on September 11, followed on September 15 by the El Grito de Independencia (Mexican Independence Day) Celebration in Millennium Park. Mayor Daley urges all Chicagoans to “take part in the numerous cultural, civic and academic events planned for this year.” [Mayor Daley Proclaims 2010 the Year of Mexico in Chicago, Press Release, Mayor’s Press Office, March 10, 2010.]
‘Turn Them Into KFC’
Many black Zimbabweans fleeing the wreckage of their country travel illegally to South Africa where they hope to find work. Black South Africans don’t like that. Late last year, they attacked a Zimbabwean migrant camp near the town of De Doorns, only to be scolded by the local media as “xenophobic.” That word had no effect.
“We will braai (roast) them and turn them into KFC if they come back. There’s no place for them here,” says Pastor Frans Henke. “They are a different nation with different cultures. I’m not angry with them, but they must go back to their own country.” “It’s got nothing to do with xenophobia. It’s all about work and resources,” says Moses Masimini, a labor broker who lives in the area. “There’s no space here for them. They were never part of this community, and would never stand with us.” Other locals call the Zimbabweans dirty, accuse them of practicing witchcraft, and say they undercut wages. [Esther Lewis, ‘If They Return, We’ll Braai Them,’ Argus (Cape Town), Jan. 18, 2010.]
Censorship Down Under
Like Canada and Britain, Australia has a law banning “hate speech.” Adopted in 1975, the Federal Racial Discrimination Act makes it “unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person, or of some or all of the people in the group.” The Act doesn’t have enough teeth for some critics — for example, complaints go through the Human Rights Commission rather than straight to criminal courts — who worry that “cyber racism” is on the rise. Their evidence? A “proliferation” of “racist” social networking Internet groups such as SPEAK ENGLISH OR PISS OFF!!! (SEOPO), which has nearly 50,000 members, “F*** Off We’re Full” and “Mate, Speak English, You’re in Australia Now.”
Internet “hate” accounts for 18 percent of the complaints filed before the Commission, and authorities want more power to stop it. Australian attorney general Robert McClelland wants greater commission authority to order Internet service providers to remove “racist” content, and wants to change the Racial Discrimination Act to make it easier to apply criminal sanctions. [Josh Gordon, Law to Take On Internet Racism, The Age (Melbourne), Feb. 21, 2010.]
When the Denistone East Methodist Church was established 57 years ago in Denistone, New South Wales, northwest of Sydney, Australia, it was all white. Thanks to immigration since the end of the “White Australia” policy, Denistone has been transformed by Koreans, and in March, the church held its last service in English. Reverend Les Pearson says the community has been “delightfully Asianized” and is pleased that Koreans are taking over. “At a time when church-going for Caucasian people seems to be diminishing, it is a healthy thing for our church to become more ethnic,” he says. “We live in a land enriched by migrants.”
Ron Hoffmann, a member for 49 years, longs for the church the way it was. “I will always remember its heyday where the Sunday school had 300 children, our youth group had 70 teenagers and at Christmas you couldn’t fit everybody into this hall.” Pastor Jim Ho Cho says now that the English-speakers are out of the way, he can hold two morning services on Sunday as well as evening services during the week. [Vikki Campion, Last Rites for English at Sydney Church, Daily Telegraph (Sydney), March 14, 2010.]
Not So Pleasant Land
A recent editorial in the London Telegraph is about what it is like to be a white, working-class man in modern Britain. The editorial takes a swipe at John Denham, a member of the British cabinet who serves as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The editorial gets some things right, some wrong:
“[Mr. Denham’s title] signifies the multiculturalist patchwork the country has become. The word ‘communities’ is often used as a euphemistic shorthand for ethnic minorities, on whose advancement the Government has concentrated in recent years. So successfully has it done so, said Mr. Denham, that ‘being black or Asian no longer means being automatically disadvantaged.’ He effectively declared the war on racism over, and claimed it was Labour that won it.
“Mr. Denham traces the improvements to the Race Relations Amendment Act introduced in 2000, after Sir William Macpherson’s inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence. But the truth is that things have been getting better for 30 years or more, as a tolerant country has come to terms with being more racially diverse than it once was. As Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has observed: ‘Britain is by far the best place to live in Europe if you are not white.’
“The problem is that if you are white — and working-class and male — Britain is not necessarily such a pleasant land. Whereas ethnic minorities, especially those who have arrived relatively recently, tend to have high aspirations, stable homes and make great sacrifices to ensure the best education for their children, the same culture does not pervade white working-class families. Their children, particularly the boys, have for many years been out-performed at school by virtually every other social group, and the decline in heavy industrial jobs that once offered a livelihood to young men with no qualifications has compounded their disadvantages.”
The Telegraph, however, isn’t as concerned about the welfare of the white working class as it is fearful it may support the British National Party (BNP). The rise of the BNP on Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s watch is a great “stain” against him, and “is the true legacy of Labour’s years in power.” [Britain Is No Place for the White, Working-class Male, Telegraph (London), Jan. 14, 2010.]
British police used to ask suspects for their Christian names and surnames. This is now thought to be offensive to Muslims, Sikhs, and other bringers of diversity, so officers now ask for “personal” or “family” names. A new 62-page “Faith and Culture Resource” booklet for bobbies also says it is unprofessional to put an arm around a crime victim or grieving family member, or to call women “my dear” or “love.” The guidelines also suggest officers refer to mixed-race suspects as being of “mixed parentage” or “mixed cultural heritage,” and warn them to call foreign blacks Nigerians or Ugandans, for example, rather than Africans. They also encourage officers to offer to remove shoes when they go into someone’s house.
All this offends some policemen: “Most of us are fully aware of how to treat people from different cultural backgrounds,” says one, “but being told we can’t even ask what their Christian name is is just plain ridiculous. That is what we are brought up with — Christian name and surname — and to be honest if you had an officer ask for your personal name and family name it’s just going to confuse people. It’s just the latest in a long line of annoying PC-related nonsense that we keep getting shoved down our throats.”
Top bureaucrats say the new rules “recognize and value important human rights” and will ensure that officers “treat everyone with fairness, respect and dignity.” [Rebecca Camber, Police Banned From Asking for Someone’s ‘Christian’ Name Because It Might Offend Those of Other Faiths, Daily Mail (London), March 19, 2010.]
|Not just Koreans anymore.|
Korean women have come here as “birth tourists” for years, and now Turks are doing it. An industry has sprung up to cater to the more than 12,000 Turkish birth tourists since 2003. “We found a company on the Internet and decided to go to Austin,” says Selin Burcuoglu, who had a daughter last year. “It was incredibly professional. They organized everything for me.” As for her daughter, “American citizenship has so many advantages.”
Levent Baş, general manager of Gurib Tourism, says his company has been offering birth tourism since 2002. “We are preparing a package that covers everything from the flight and city tours to accommodation for several months and hospital expenses,” he says. Costs vary according to location — $25,000 is for bargain cities, but if parents want to have a baby in New York, it costs upwards of $40,000. Mr. Baş believes American authorities welcome birth tourism because “otherwise they would prevent it. I think it is part of an integration policy. They want people to become American citizens.”
The Turkish-owned Marmara Hotel group recently announced a birth-tourism package that includes accommodation at their Manhattan hotel. “We hosted 15 families last year,” says general manager Nur Ercan Magden, adding that the charge was $45,000 each. In some cases, Turkish immigrants living in the US open their homes to countrywomen. [Işýl Egrikavuk, Birth Tourism in US on the Rise for Turkish Parents, Hurriyet Daily News (Istanbul), March 12, 2010.]
The United States is one of the few countries in the world that still grant citizenship to anyone born on its soil. Britain and Australia stopped the practice in the 1980s, and India did so in 2004.
LETTERS FROM READERS
Sir — In the conclusion of his April cover story about the cancellation of the AR conference, Jared Taylor writes ominously about the unpredictable consequences of institutional indifference to the legitimate interests of whites. What does he think is going to happen? Violent demonstrations? Armed uprising? That might happen if whites still had anything like the fighting spirit of their ancestors, but I think the most likely outcome is despair. A few screwballs may bungle an attack on something, but the only effect will be to discredit sensible, non-violent race realists.
It is hard enough to “fight the system” when you have even a little public, media, or institutional support. Whites have nothing. This is why I laugh when people write about the “courage” of black civil rights marchers or gay-rights protesters. They certainly had opponents, and at least some blacks faced physical danger. But they had enormous support from the media and from the political establishment. The same was true for Soviet dissidents. Their own authorities brutalized them but they were lionized in the West. That kind of outside, institutional support is a tremendous morale booster.
Today, the only real courage is on the racialist right. It takes guts to speak out when you know that the government, the press, schools, churches — everyone — will denounce you. I believe Mr. Taylor is right to say that more and more white people now see the treason being done them, but how many will do anything for their own people? Courage is a rare quality in men, and it is rarer than ever among whites.
Bernard Schneider, Ossining, NY
Sir — Thanks to Stephen Webster for his very interesting April article about the thugs who think they have the right to shut down anyone who disagrees with them. There was a time when even the Democrats would have found their behavior so contemptible they would have pressured them into behaving themselves. Not any more. I suspect many on the mainstream left are perfectly happy to see AR shut down — if they even know it happened.
The United States is becoming more divided, spiteful, and uncivil as the years go by. Even among senators and congressmen, disagreement is much sharper and nastier than at any time I can remember — and I remember the 1950s.
I think this is because so much on which Americans disagree has now become matters of faith rather than rational debate. Race is the most obvious example of emotion and assertion leaving no room for facts and analysis, but abortion and homosexual rights are also beyond rational discussion. Even the question of the role government should play no longer permits polite disagreement. Anyone who opposes President Obama’s federal power-grabbing is a “racist” or a “hater,” and some of Mr. Obama’s opponents call him a Nazi or a Communist. (He is many unpleasant things but he is not a Nazi.)
Add racial division to unprecedentedly bitter political division and you have a very volatile society that could split along many fault lines.
Sarah Wentworth, Richmond, Va.
Sir — It is interesting that Russia Today interviewed Jared Taylor about the forced cancellation of this year’s AR conference while the American mainstream media ignored the story. Evidently the spirit of free speech is alive and well in Russia, but not here.
During the Cold War we Americans viewed Russia as a land of political enslavement and thought control, but history is full of irony. Today ours is the country in which the media parrots the ruling orthodoxy and excludes the views of dissidents.
William McGaughey, Minneapolis, Minn.
Sir — In the conclusion of your April report on the survey of Hispanic young people by the Pew Research Center you compliment the center for being willing to publicize data that show Hispanics are not assimilating. You seem to be suggesting that the Hispanics who run the center are bravely publishing the truth despite the possibility that immigration-control advocates might use their data to support restrictive policies.
How could AR be so naive? If Hispanics are not assimilating, if they are dropping out of school and going to jail, whose fault is that? Why, yours and mine, of course. In the current climate of egalitarianism and white capitulation, the failures of Hispanics will not be used as arguments against immigration. When is the last time you heard FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) or NumbersUSA or CIS (Center for Immigration Studies) or even the Minutemen talk about Mexican illegitimacy or crime rates? There is only one reason to publicize the failures of Hispanics, and it is the same reason for publicizing the failures of blacks: to persuade whites to open their purses yet further and pay for more uplift and compensation programs.
Tom Candless, Albuquerque, N.M.