|Vol. 21, No. 9||September 2010|
The Wages of Idealism
A white woman who wanted to change the world.
I grew up in a suburb of white, middle-class families. My schooling, from elementary school through college, was with people who were also overwhelmingly white and middle class. Like so many others, I was reared to think that “all men are created equal” and that people should be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. Since my ears could hear, I was taught blind faith in color blindness and the virtues of diversity.
My mother is in the medical field and my father worked for the New York City Transit Authority. Both are lifelong Democrats, working people who never had much time to study culture or politics. The only instruction they ever gave me in politics was that the Democratic Party was for the working people and the Republicans were for the rich. My mother taught me never to be judgmental, and to love everyone the same, especially those less fortunate than I. She told me discrimination was wrong and that all people should be treated equally.
|Harlem: a perfect place to lift up the downtrodden.|
I have a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Looking back, all my professors were white and very liberal. College was the first place I ever heard race discussed seriously, and the message was constant: diversity was vitally important and whites were guilty. My fellow students had been brought up just as I had been, so my professors had very fresh meat to feast on. I graduated from college the perfect racial liberal.
Like so many white, middle-class girls from the New York City suburbs, I therefore decided to serve the downtrodden. I knew I could never live well on my salary, but the satisfaction and moral superiority I would enjoy over friends in business would be worth the sacrifice. I would venture into the ghettos, much like an urban Jane Goodall, and protect noble souls from the evils of white privilege and arrogance. I genuinely believed I would be making amends for the terrible acts of my ancestors.
The first job I took as an adult was in the daycare center of a domestic violence shelter on Staten Island, New York. It was part of a network of organizations run by a large charity called Safe Horizon.
|I have seen whites go on their knees before blacks and apologize for slavery, white privilege, blacks in prison, etc.|
This was my first real encounter with blacks and Hispanics. My supervisors were black and Hispanic, the clients were black and Hispanic (I never saw a white woman come in), and I was one of the only white faces in the neighborhood. I felt as though I had to prove to these women and teach their children that white people were not their enemy. I thought that if I could make them see me as a good person and not as a “white person” I could help make the world a better place. I was convinced I had nothing to fear, and that my generosity would certainly be noticed and appreciated.
The women who came in did not have to prove abuse; they just had to show a police report. Later, in conversations with the mothers, I learned that much of the abuse was phony. All they had to do was walk into a precinct and say they had been assaulted. Before I took the job, I could not have imagined that anyone would lie about being abused.
The women could stay rent-free for three months, and then their cases were reevaluated for extension. All they had to do then was seem scared or present some marginally coherent story to get extensions. In some cases, women finagled the system and managed to stay in the shelter for nearly two years. Most got apartments to themselves, though some had private bedrooms but shared a kitchen and living room.
At the daycare center, my job was to take care of the children while the mothers were getting their lives back together. I also helped children get into schools in the neighborhood, as they now lived in a completely new area, and were not supposed to tell anyone where they were for fear the abuser would track them down.
I devoted myself to the children, some of whom, like their mothers, had suffered serious violence. I assumed that these women, who didn’t work, didn’t go to school, and didn’t seem to do much but have lots of children, would be experts in child rearing. Hispanics, especially, who all seem to have large broods and for whom procreation seems to be the center of their lives, would teach Americans new techniques in child care that would be a great lesson for our society.
|Caring for the children of others.|
I was horrified to find that black and Hispanic mothers alike routinely left their children in unchanged diapers until they were covered with feces. They would take children — often younger than 10 — to R-rated, midnight horror movies. They would let children play on busy streets without the slightest concern for their safety. They littered their quarters with pizza boxes, soda cans, filthy clothes, and upturned furniture.
I was shocked but not discouraged. I began spending extra hours after my shift ended, taking care of the children as if they were my own. I would wash their diarrhea-sodden bodies and clean their filthy apartments. I would rock crying, fever-stricken children to sleep while the mothers were out buying malt liquor and cigarettes with their WIC money (Women, Infants, and Children — a food-payments program for poor women with children up to age five), getting ready for a date with whatever ghetto gigolo they were courting that week. I would throw birthday parties for the children and attend school functions because their mothers could not be bothered. This devotion earned me no respect or appreciation. The mothers called me “cracka ass” and “white bitch” while I labored on their behalf.
I did notice racial differences. On the whole, the Hispanics were cleaner and quieter than the blacks. Their standards were below those of the average white, but higher than the average black. Many despised the blacks with whom they were forced into contact. Hispanic mothers were there mostly for free services, and were always looking for the next entitlement. They were intensely proud of their ethnicity, and would explode into anti-white, anti-American anger if they felt slighted in any way — this included being denied a service or being asked to pay for something they thought should be free. They were often inarticulate to the point of being unintelligible, but it was clear that they thought America owed them anything they needed.
Even the more reasonable, friendly clients and staff constantly explained their failures by saying, “The white man keeps me down.” I learned that many blacks and Hispanics sincerely believe this cliché, no matter what their salary or station in life.
I never complained, and did everything with zeal and professionalism. I was nevertheless passed over for promotions and received scant appreciation from clients or staff. In that community, socializing seemed to be the key to popularity and promotions, and hard work seemed to be greeted with disdain. If I designed a new program for the staff, they resented it because it meant they would have to work, which was something they did only when forced.
I got complaints from clients. Some said I was arrogant and behaved as if I thought I was superior to them: “She thinks she betta than us cause she be in college!” The director — a black woman — told me I shouldn’t flaunt my privileged background. Wearing a T-shirt with my college name on it, for example, was considered offensive.
I also got in trouble for expecting people to follow the rules for using the daycare center. All children were welcome from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. for help with homework (management had the good sense to realize that our clients could not or would not do that). Otherwise, they were supposed to look after their own children unless they gave us advance notice and showed proof of an appointment or some other obligation. In fact, the mothers were always trying to “dump” children into daycare so that they could go out with boyfriends. This was a common fraud, but I tried to stick to the guidelines.
|Not quite the way it turned out.|
Once, after I denied a woman’s last-minute request to take her children, she complained to the director. I was called into the director’s office, where the woman said, “You do not want to take care of my children because you think you are better than us.” Of course, the director took her side, scolded me in front of her, and countermanded my decision. The mother’s fraud worked, and I had to watch her children that day.
I thought our program should teach the women to be better mothers to their children, and not to put them into daycare at every opportunity. After the director disciplined me for following the guidelines and trying to prevent fraud, she accused me of racism and told me, “We are here for the mothers, not the children.”
I went home crying that day, shocked for two reasons. I could not understand how anyone could possibly think I was racist, and I believed that whatever the shelter was for, the needs of the children came first. After almost two years at the shelter, I decided to find a different job, and switched to an administrative office in Manhattan.
Later I got a job at a different charity run by Safe Horizon called “The Streetwork Project.” This was a “drop-in” center in Harlem for “street involved youth” up to age 24. The majority of the clients were local teenagers, most of whom did not work, and who had drug habits that kept them in a state of desperation. They tended to be gang members, prostitutes, and runaways. Streetwork offers shelter, counseling, food, showers, a music room, computer labs, basic medical attention, and even acupuncture and meditation. It also served as an unofficial safe haven for illegal aliens and other criminals hiding from the police.
Safe Horizon and all of its programs are funded by city, state, federal, and private funds. One of my jobs at Streetwork was Coordinator of Data Quality and Reporting, which entailed keeping statistics. Almost every month my supervisor changed my report, increasing the number of clients served, so we would get more funds from backers.
When I interviewed at Streetwork, the supervisor’s very appearance should have been a warning, but years of indoctrination had conditioned me to squelch sensible worries. The man was large, black, dreadlocked, and obviously homosexual. A huge wooden penis sculpture was prominently displayed on his desk. He ended the interview by telling me, “Especially because you are a pretty white girl, you are not going to fit in here at Streetwork until you sleep with somebody here.” I laughed because I thought it was some sort of joke.
The Streetwork motto is “We are a non-judgmental environment.” Yet, every Wednesday all 75 staff members were required to meet in a circle and air their grievances. For eight to ten hours every Wednesday, these mandatory sessions would interrupt our mission to serve children in trouble and force us to play out our personal lives to a crowd of co-workers. More times than not, a black staffer — they were the vast majority — would vent his anger against a white staff member for no apparent reason. It seemed that it was an offense if white people were not sufficiently subservient or reverential to blacks.
|Gender non-specifics are people who decide each day which sex they want to be, and they insist on being referred to as gender-neutral “ze” instead of he or she.|
The unintentionally offending white person would be made to grovel at the feet — yes, I have seen whites go on their knees before blacks — and apologize for slavery, white privilege, blacks in prison, the poor state of black neighborhoods, AIDS, drugs in their community, etc. Often the white worker was reduced to tears in a desperate attempt to appease the mass of angry black and brown faces. Finally, when the white employee was humiliated enough, and the cathartic cleansing had been achieved, a tentative truce would be called. The angry black employee would be praised and his anger encouraged, while the traumatized, cowering white worker would be put on probation and, through an act of supreme magnanimity, allowed to keep his job. These sessions were supposed to be run by social workers, but often just ran themselves while the social workers watched.
I was required to attend these sessions, and sometimes the spotlight was turned on me. I was never fully and publicly brutalized, but the anti-white sentiment was clearly directed at me as well.
Racial politics were very strict. We were forbidden to observe Columbus Day because Columbus was a “genocidal racist.” Instead, I had to observe Martin Luther King Day and black history month. In fact, I was required to do unpaid, after-hours work on King day.
I saw the only white, heterosexual male employee fired for saying “black people are born to dance,” in a moment of self-deprecation at a bar after work with co-workers. Apparently, a white man didn’t have the right to say anything about race, even if it was flattering. This white man was framed for a robbery and fired. Everyone on the staff knew he was innocent of the robbery, but he was white and proved himself to be a racist by that remark, and to them, that was reason enough to fire him.
Sometimes we were forced to participate in diversity or sensitivity training, and often we were split into groups by sexual orientation. There were heterosexual, homosexual, bi-sexual, transgendered, and gender-non-specific groups. Gender-non-specifics are people who decide each day which sex they want to be, and they insist on being referred to as gender-neutral “ze” rather than he or she. On Monday, such a person is Brenda, but next month, Brenda may become Carlos. Then a week later, Carlos becomes Brenda again, and if you mistakenly call her Carlos, you are in danger of being fired for discrimination or at least sent to special “sensitivity classes.” We had about eight of these “ze” people, and it was an even split between biological men and women.
|Loitering black men screamed filthy comments.|
The view of the staff was that the country was overrun with white, Jesus-freak-bigot, heterosexual “breeders,” and that anything that undermined that order deserved support. The heterosexual, white world was bland, unintelligent, uncreative, unattractive, morally repugnant, and something that needed to be eliminated. Therefore there was intense pressure, which included psychological prodding, to try to convert a heterosexual into something else. When a middle-aged white, married woman with teenage children walked out of the heterosexual group to count herself amongst the bisexuals, there was tremendous applause and a daylong celebration in her honor.
We gave away free condoms and held safe-sex workshops, AIDS clinics, and offered counseling to child sex victims and prostitutes. Yet, the staff used donor money to take the children on a field trip to the New York City Museum of Sex, which glorifies every conceivable type of promiscuity and degeneracy.
There was a heavy sexual atmosphere at work. I was always being sent X-rated email, and people would stop by my desk and make filthy comments about my body. After one foul remark, one man even said to me, “That would be sexual harassment anywhere else, but this is Streetwork.” Homosexuals would describe the previous night’s sexual exploits in graphic detail. Men were always exposing themselves to women on the job, and nobody complained or reported it.
Streetwork had a no-violence policy, but we helped hide violent criminals. Even when staff knew that a client had raped, robbed, or even tried to kill someone, they hid weapons, gave false alibis, and obstructed police investigations. They would not let the “white devil” get his hands on another “beautiful black child.”
During the 2008 elections, Streetwork did everything possible to get “street involved” young people to register and vote for Barack Obama, including bribing them with free metro cards, McDonald’s food vouchers, and other gifts donated to the organization. It is against the law for a nonprofit organization to try to influence elections.
All standards of decorum and professionalism were considered “white.” Instead, the management at Streetwork considered partying (with drugs and alcohol) and sex among staff members essential to the workplace. Staff members who did not take part in these debaucheries were isolated and eventually brought before David Nish, a homosexual who was vice president and top day-to-day manager of Streetwork. He would accuse them of “not being a team player,” and they were either fired or forced out by some other means.
At Streetwork, every aspect of race was turned upside down. The day after six people were shot in front of our building, I said that Harlem was a dangerous place. For this I was reprimanded and told to “shut up,” because that reflected an ignorant view of Harlem and of blacks. When I bought a house in Staten Island, I was brought before Mr. Nish to explain myself. Streetwork considered Staten Island a racist place because it is 75 percent white. The staff also said it was “dangerous” because people of color could not walk down the streets without being attacked.
|A visit from the Panthers always stirred up the black children.|
It was, of course, the reverse that was true. On the streets of Harlem, my blonde hair, blue eyes, and white skin made me an irresistible target. I was cursed at, intimidated, and had beer bottles thrown at me from moving cars and high windows. Once, when I stopped and bent down to tie my shoe laces, somebody dropped a ten-pound barbell from an apartment building, which smashed the pavement just inches away from me. I was once surrounded by a group of black girls who promised to kill the “snowflake” who was in their neighborhood. I could not walk ten feet without hearing grotesque and threatening sexual comments screamed at me from loitering black men who followed me from the subway to the front door of the Streetwork building.
Our office regularly got phone calls from angry blacks who said they were going to “get that white bitch.” When I answered the phone, even some of the clients would say, “Are you that white bitch? I’m going to get you!!” You often see the slogan “Keep Harlem Black” in windows, store fronts, and on cars. I assume that the purpose of the calls was to drive me out.
Of course, when I brought this to the attention of management I was told either to “shut that mouth!” or that I was learning a valuable lesson in what blacks and Hispanics go through in white areas. Most times, my grievances to management or appeals for help ended with my being the target of another group sensitivity experiment, in which I was belittled and called a bigot for succumbing to my innate white, racist tendencies. On another occasion, I was called into the office of the senior director — a black man in his 50s — who told me to read a book about “white privilege,” because I lived in a bubble and that bubble had to be burst.
The Streetwork project used donor funds to invite the New Black Panther Party to speak to our young clients. I had to appear excited at the prospect, although it always made me feel unsafe, because the Panthers stirred up the children to the point they would attack or at the very least “dis(respect)” any non-blacks in their paths. Streetwork thought this was good for the clients, because it gave them pride, and inspired them to fight against the white man instead of each other.
Why, you are wondering, would a white person work in a place like this? That is a difficult question to answer. For myself, I went into this field, because I was trying to make a difference. I wanted to help people who were suffering, and I thought I was doing the right thing.
I think some whites find the ghetto environment exciting, and consider the racial abuse to be just another interesting facet of their adventurous new life. Popular culture certainly plays a part in pushing people in this direction. Some suburban whites idolize blacks and see their ghetto world as a playground for the imagination. Popular music, movies, sports, and television are largely black oriented, and white children come to believe that white is lame. In fact, I can remember white friends, during my teenage years and even to this day, criticizing something by saying, “That’s so white.” People from the suburbs may think they are missing something, and that they can live tragically hip lives among ghetto blacks.
Whites in these situations accept astonishing abuse, yet they are proud of their work and think they are improving the world. It seems that “white privilege” is an extremely powerful concept that makes some people believe they deserve humiliation. It leads to a bizarre form of cultural suicide, and an inability to defend one’s own interests.
|A wall in Harlem.|
One of the people who was publicly humiliated at one of the Wednesday sessions was an attractive white woman who was engaged to an actor. Even after being attacked and scorned for weeks, she kept coming to work. She probably didn’t need a full-time job, but she loved being there. She loved being leered at by Harlem blacks, and was sleeping with several of her black and Hispanic coworkers. Clearly, this was kept a secret from her handsome, white, soap-opera-actor boyfriend, whom many women would have thought an enviable catch.
I should add that Streetwork was something like a cult, and tried to control every aspect of our lives. The managers set the tone and encouraged us to believe that we were immensely fortunate to have such a wonderful job in which we were loved by our clients, co-workers, and supervisors. We scorned outsiders, and believed that being “inside” was the most important thing in the world. Streetwork considered itself a self-contained, multicultural and multi-sexual paradise and model for the world. We were constantly indoctrinated and pushed to live by the narrow Streetwork dogma.
The staff were very intertwined in each other’s personal lives. We went to happy hour after work together every day, and every weekend we attended parties and various events together — always together. We gave each other advice on intimate aspects of each others’ lives, but always filtrated through the liberal, diversity, multicultural prism. For example, when I bought the house in Staten Island, I was told I should stay in a lousy apartment in a bad neighborhood, so that I could better understand the plight of the black man. I was dating a musician, who sometimes went away on tour. My “friends” told me to cheat on him as much as possible, so I wouldn’t care if he were doing it himself.
In fact, it was my boyfriend, an outsider to this world, who began to change my thinking. He is an intelligent, white, eighth grade drop-out who has traveled the world as a piano player since he was 18. He was never subjected to the multiple layers of indoctrination that the typical white, suburban person gets in high school, college, and the workforce. He even owned a copy of Jared Taylor’s Paved With Good Intentions. It took someone like him, far outside of the conventional system, to explain to me how crazy Streetwork was.
He knew that everyone at work referred to him as “that white boy you are with,” so he wrote a letter to a black staffer — one of the worst offenders — and addressed it to “Black Boy.” The purpose was not to offend, but simply to point out the hypocrisy and double standards of claiming to be “non-judgmental” while constantly slurring whites, but considering “black boy” a deep insult. My boyfriend also helped me realize that no one was ever better off at Streetwork, despite my efforts. All I saw was abuse of the system and lack of gratitude.
My attitude at work began to change. I started objecting to sexual harassment. I stopped letting Streetwork examine and analyze my personal life. This alone made me a social outcast, but the fact that I was dating a “white boy” from the suburbs was cause for great alarm. People who I thought were my friends treated me as a pariah because I was not keeping to the Streetwork policy of spurning the white man. My ideas were ignored, and incompetents were promoted to positions once promised to me. The large black man who first interviewed me called me into his office to tell me how worried and disappointed he was. He promised me a very substantial promotion if I “came back to the fold” rather than return to my “bubble.”
|Staten Island: obviously dangerous for blacks.|
I handed in my resignation anyway. Vice president David Nish telephoned me and begged me to come back in for a discussion. He told me how much he cared about me and that my happiness and success were his main concern. My boyfriend agreed that I should go see him because we thought I might be offered the long-promised promotion. On the drive out to Harlem, we put together a list of offenses and abuses I had suffered. I thought that if Mr. Nish really cared about me he would correct the abuses.
When I arrived I was shocked to be greeted by an entire “intervention group.” The first thing it did was to send me back outside and tell my boyfriend, who was waiting for me, to go home. When I came back in, they all had copies of the “Black Boy” letter my boyfriend had sent. Just as he had said they would, they used the letter to label him a dangerous bigot. I was shocked to see this roomful of people, including the vice president, brandishing this personal correspondence.
Next, they lied, and claimed that my boyfriend had written letter after letter to various people within the organization. In a clear attempt to make me feel guilty, they said he was angering people throughout the organization and was getting in the way of the “the mission.”
I presented my list of abuses but they dismissed every one, saying that “this is what goes on at every job site.”
Next, David Nish explained that he had 30 years of experience observing domestic violence, and he could see blatant warning signs. He asked if my boyfriend ever hit me or got angry. I said he never hit me but was angry at how I was treated at Streetwork. “Well, that is the first step of abuse,” he said. “I’m sure that if he hasn’t started hitting you yet, he will start very soon.”
While the rest of the group looked on, gesturing their approval, he talked for an hour or more: You are in grave danger. We love you and you’ve been with us for so long. This guy you are seeing has only been around for a few months. You can’t know everything about him, but we know the warning signs. This is what we do for a living. We see the changes in you. Haven’t you noticed your coworkers have not been talking to you? That is because they miss the old Tracy, whom this new boyfriend is trying to kill. Are you going to let him kill you?
They made my boyfriend seem like he was a psychotic, dangerous bigot from whom I needed to escape. His opinions were unlike those of anyone else in my life, and he was the minority. Faced with this vast sea of important people who claimed to be on my side and against him, I felt powerless to resist, and foolish to disagree. They made me believe I was in great danger.
I look back in horror and amazement at this, but after this brainwashing I actually agreed to call my boyfriend, break up with him, and order him out of the house we were sharing. Several people listened in on the call, taking notes, and planning the next steps to make sure the breakup was permanent. Mr. Nish then sent me right back to work at my old job.
While I worked, shivering from what I had been through, Mr. Nish made arrangements for me to go into a domestic violence shelter. He called my parents and friends to tell them how he had rescued me from my wicked boyfriend. He then called me back into his office and offered to call the police and send them to my home to make sure my boyfriend was out. He even ominously offered to send “some other people, not cops” to throw him out. I said that would not be necessary.
After my unexpected full day of work, I got into a taxi and was on my way to a “safe house” when the cruel absurdity of it all began to hit me. The further I rode, the clearer it became. I told the driver to change routes and take me home to Staten Island and my boyfriend. He had been bewildered by my phone call but was waiting for me, determined to speak face to face. That night, I left a message for Mr. Nish and told him I would not go back. I never did. The next morning he called me at home, but I didn’t answer the phone and he left no message.
After that, I was completely cut off from everyone associated with Streetwork. No doubt the word went out that I was to be shunned. All the people who claimed to care about me, all the people who called themselves my friend for life disappeared.
At first I couldn’t understand why the vice president of an important, non-profit organization like Safe Horizon as well as other executives would go to such bizarre lengths to keep me in their control. I would imagine it was partly because they could not stand to think that someone might not like the perfect, liberal paradise they think they have built for themselves. It deflates their sense of superiority for someone to see through them.
Later, I learned from someone who worked in personnel at Safe Horizon that Streetwork was in a crisis for several months after I left because no one knew how to do my job or even the jobs of others I had been doing for them. It seems that a madhouse of homosexuals, transgendereds, gender-non-specifics, unqualified blacks, anti-American Hispanics with poor language skills, and unrepentant gang members, all organized according to principles of diversity and multiculturalism, did not run properly without a white slave doing the work. I learned that I was doing the jobs of more than ten people who spent their days socializing, shirking work, and pilfering from the donation room.
I once believed that my experiences involving race were unique to the places where I worked. I have since heard tales similar to mine, if not so harrowing. All the whites involved meekly accepted what happened to them as part of the march of progress toward a new world and a new way.
|Safe Horizon public service: white abuser and white victim.|
My father, for example, after 20 years with the New York City Transit Authority, was forced into retirement when a black man was elevated to one of the highest positions in the authority. My father once heard him say to a meeting of chiefs, “There’s too much salt in here — now I’m gonna add some pepper.” Personnel policies changed drastically in favor of blacks. It became difficult for whites to get promotions, and the workplace became intolerable for my father.
My sister works for a large medical insurance company used by most of the people who work for New York City. She is one of the secretaries to the black CEO. She is the only white person in the office, and she is kept there to do all the work the others won’t do. Her black coworkers show up two hours late, take an extra hour for lunch, and leave one or two hours early, nearly every day. Last winter, she was scolded by her boss for coming in 30 minutes late on a day when a snowstorm hit and nobody else in the office came in to work at all. Recently, a black co-worker disappeared for two weeks. When she came back, she told the boss her baby had been dying in the hospital. Later that day, it became clear that she made the story up; she just wanted a vacation. This black woman got a salary increase and was promoted over my sister’s head.
Although I have left Safe Horizon and Streetwork for good, I still see some of the things I noticed there at my current job in an emergency room, where I help doctors treat patients. The doctors spend an enormous amount of time looking after indigent, uninsured Hispanic children who have nothing more serious than skinned knees, headaches, or diarrhea. The doctors are furious at having to prescribe aspirin and Band-Aids to clueless Mexicans, and even have a saying for it: “Hispanics come dancing into the ER and whites come in on their backs.”
Everyone who works around blacks and Hispanics knows the truth about them. Many who don’t, know anyway. But the propaganda mill is always working to show things as they are not. Not long after I left my job at Streetwork, Safe Horizon produced a public service TV clip about domestic violence (you can find it on YouTube if you look for “safehorizon trailer”). The abused woman looks superficially similar to me and her abuser is a white man who looks something like my boyfriend. Perhaps it was a coincidence, perhaps not. The poor white girl goes to her non-white co-workers for help and protection.
While I was at Safe Horizon, I compiled the statistics for the shelter’s clients. Approximately 92 percent of the violence was committed by black men, 7 percent Hispanics, and less than 1 percent by white men. Somehow, Safe Horizon chose to depict an evil white man, a helpless white woman, and noble non-whites who rescue her.
Lords of the Southern Plains
Recycling John Wayne.
Duncan Hengest’s “War With the Comanche” in the July issue reminds me that the media prefers the past when it comes to Indians. Comanches didn’t get much coverage when they opened the first national feather repository for migratory birds of prey in Cyril, Oklahoma, operated by and for American Indians, but there is always mileage in reminding readers that the Comanche were the meanest sons of thunder in American history. After all, in these modern liberal times, the white man is obliged to flagellate himself. A quick look at the ferocity and pride of the Comanches, though, and the white man doesn’t feel so bad after all.
That is the kind of article Mr. Hengest has written. One can easily see the terrorism of the Comanche, and the great courage of the white man in overcoming it. The subtitle of the article, however, is “How a Proud People Was Finally Defeated,” and the key word is “defeated.” It’s been a long time since the white man defeated anyone, but he can look back into history to find a sense of well-being and purpose. There he can at least imagine again what it feels like to be brave, strong, and victorious.
Mr. Hengest’s piece is really the basic John Wayne approach again. “If ya wanna show your grit, pilgrim, pick a fight with the Comanche.” Of course, this is true; that is the reputation of Comanches and all Dukesters. Comanches were the scariest of the lot out on the prairie, a terror to other Indians as well as to the white man. In order to be the biggest hero he could be, the Duke always fought the Comanche. (Indeed, we Comanche had hope of immortality as long as John Wayne was still alive. Now it’s all just a matter of movie archives. Modern Comanches have been infected with liberalism and Democratic delusions like the other tribes in America, sorry to say. But, the deeper point Mr. Hengest seems to miss (as well as some finer points of fact along the way): Comanches were defending their territory.
|Perhaps Mr. Hengest is trying to suggest that Americans need to be more like the Comanches: repel the invaders.|
That the Comanche was particularly good at war is not to be seen as something pejorative or faulty. Would God that every nation were so quick and faithful to defend itself! “Different races, especially aggressive ones, should not try to share the same territory,” writes Mr. Hengest. If taken to heart, and applied politically today, that would mean a lot more separate nations in the greater Middle East. The Kurds would have their own nation, and the boundaries of places like Kyrgyzstan would not include a huge population of Uzbeks. For that matter, Romania would not include half a population of Hungarians. Moreover, ethnic groups would not be allowed to migrate into other nations, and then try to rob the host nation of the land, and call themselves a separate nation, as the Albanian Muslims did when they moved into Serbia’s Kosovo province.
But the case of the American Indian is different. Indians didn’t migrate into American territory. It was the other way around. Indians ended up on reservations, not nations they made for themselves on someone else’s property. It was Indian land left to Indians, by those who had taken nearly all the land for themselves.
Mr. Hengest makes the archetypical error of faulting the Comanche for defending their territory. Telling the story from the white man’s point of view, albeit with at least the appearance of respect, he creates an image of the Comanche as vice-gripped in blood lust. He would never honor the Comanche with words like “consistency,” “determination,” “devotion,” or “patriotism;” no, the Comanches were untrustworthy, perfidious truce breakers, unable to resist the passion for war. And in his story of the wars, Mr. Hengest never bothers to point out that the Comanches were essentially out-gunned, out-numbered, and outmaneuvered by geopolitical circumstances. That was the cause of their demise. The whites were not superior warriors; they had superior numbers and superior weapons. This is not to diminish the incredible courage of the Texans, and especially the Texas Rangers; but, man to man, the white warrior was no match for the Comanche. In the process of time, the white man simply overwhelmed the Indians with numbers and technology.
|NATO in Kosovo: trying to separate aggressive peoples.|
War is never a fair sport, nor should it be. Wars are rarely won by man-to-man measurements. It’s all about numbers: of supplies, weapons, and ammunition, as well as the numbers of the men themselves. A victory by superior numbers is certainly a valid, phenomenological, ontological victory; but to tell the story without citing the numbers is less than authentic.
We must consider Mr. Hengest in the tradition of English historians in the American colonies. Like Cadwallader Colden (1688-1776) Mr. Hengest exhibits an agonizing duality of devotion. He manifests a sort of admiration for the Indian, but also an obligatory condemnation. Colden, in The History of the Five Indian Nations (1727), could not bring himself to attribute a sense of justice to the Indian, but rather, an unbounded lust for revenge. Mr. Hengest, likewise, does not see the Comanche as a nation-loving, patriotic people in defense of their territory, but rather a loosely connected horde of thugs, eager to plunder, rape, and torture. Mr. Hengest praises the American government, by contrast, for its “humane” disposition toward the Indian, and its persistent attempts to teach Indians a new way of life. But Comanches were ill-suited to domestic life; peace was not part of their psyche.
Like the new book, Empire of the Summer Moon by S. C. Gwynne, Mr. Hengest notes the Comanche war custom of attacking at night, by moonlight. It was terrorism of an earlier age. Mr. Gwynne uses the tired old story of Quanah Parker — the Quahada Comanche band leader with the white mother — as the architecture of his story about the Comanche. White authors continue to reap fame and fortune by telling Indian stories, while no publisher is interested in the Indian’s telling of the Indian story. Perhaps the zenith of this insult was Being Comanche (1991), by white man Morris Foster. Indians are simply incapable of writing about ourselves. The white man must do it, with references to whatever Indians he may be acquainted with. The white man has his own experience with Indians, and he has the right to tell it as he sees it or feels it. But he should also evaluate, if not publish, the Indian’s version of the story. We Indians love our nations, too.
|John Wayne on the lookout for Comanche.|
In the end, however, it does seem that Mr. Hengest recognizes the Comanche as an example of patriotism. Though he doesn’t say it outright, Mr. Hengest sees the white American invasion of Comanche land as comparable to the Mexican invasion of America. The parallel lesson is a comparison of the Comanche to today’s Americans. Mr. Hengest says that Americans, unlike the Comanches of old, “are numbed into acquiescence.” Perhaps Mr. Hengest is trying to suggest that Americans need to be more like Comanches: repel the invaders — with every possible means.
Dr. Yeagley is a fifth-generation descendent of Quahada Comanche band leader Quin-ne Kish-su-it (Bad Eagle). He holds degrees in music, religion, literature.
The Galton Report
Who is capable of democracy?
Tatu Vanhanen is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of Tampere in Finland, and the father of Matti Vanhanen, who just resigned after serving as prime minister of Finland for five yeas. Professor Vanhanen’s main work during his long career has been on democratization (the extent to which different countries have established democracies), ethnic and racial conflict, and the application of evolutionary ideas to the study of politics and human conditions.
|Belgium: Number one in democracy.|
In his early comparative studies of democratization, Professor Vanhanen used a resource-distribution theory to explain national variations in the levels of democratization. According to this theory, more equal distribution of important intellectual and economic “power resources” is expected to lead to democratization, whereas the concentration of resources in the hands of a few is expected to lead to autocratic systems. Empirical evidence supports this theory; Professor Vanhanen has found a strong correlation between distribution of power resources and democratization.
In these earlier studies, however, Professor Vanhanen did not try to explain why resource distribution varies so greatly from country to country. In his recent book, The Limits of Democratization, he provides one answer to this problem: The level of resource distribution is partly dependent on average national intelligence. He compares the national IQs published in IQ and Global Inequality, co-authored by Professor Richard Lynn, to 172 countries’ scores on how democratic they were in 2006. On a scale that runs from zero to 44.2, the highest Index of Democratization values were for the following ten countries: Belgium 44.2, Denmark 43.5, Netherlands 42.0, Switzerland 41.4, Iceland 40.4, Sweden 40.1, Cyprus 38.7, Norway 38.6, Finland 37.6, and Germany 37.0. The United States scored 34.5, and the United Kingdom 29.5. The lowest-scoring European country was Russia (17.3). The East Asian countries populated by the classical Mongoloid peoples are more varied. Japan (32.8), South Korea (26.8) and Taiwan (28.7) score high, but Singapore (9.0), China (0) and North Korea (0) score low, despite high IQs.
Few of the countries of South East Asia, South Asia, and North Africa achieve high scores. The most successful are India (25.6) and Sri Lanka (25.3), followed by Bangladesh (17.3), but none of the others approach these scores: Cambodia (4.0), Thailand (0), Malaysia (11.4), Pakistan (5.7), Iran (3.0), Burma (0), and Saudi Arabia (0) are undistinguished, while in North Africa the scores range from zero for Libya to 5.5 for Tunisia.
The results for Latin America are more varied. The highest scores on the Index of Democratization are achieved by the countries with almost entirely European populations: Argentina (which beats the United States with a score of 35.8) and Uruguay (31.8), followed by Brazil (28.1), in which about half the population is European. The countries with minority European populations all score below 25. The countries of the Caribbean with black majority populations all score below 23. Jamaica (13.1) and Haiti (11.3) are typical.
Sub-Saharan Africa scores low. Ghana is at the top, at 19.1, but most countries score below 12 and five (Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, Eritrea, and Somalia) score zero. There is a correlation of 0.57 between national IQ and democratization, and by Prof. Vanhanen’s calculations national IQ explains 33 percent of the variation in democratization, but distribution of power resources counts for a lot too (see below.)
As for why countries have different average IQs, Prof. Vanhanen adopts what has become the accepted theory among those working on this problem. This is that when early peoples migrated north out of Africa, they encountered colder environments where it was more difficult to survive. The colder these new environments, the more intelligence was required. To check this theory, Prof. Vanhanen examines the relation between annual mean temperature and national IQ, and finds a negative correlation of 0.52. This explains why IQs are highest among the North East Asians (105), followed by Europeans (100), North Africans and South Asians (80-85), and finally by sub-Saharan Africans (67).
Professor Vanhanen therefore proposes a causal sequence in which geographical differences in temperature have been the original stimulus driving up the IQs, first of South Asians and North Africans in temperate latitudes, and later driving up further the IQs of Europeans and North East Asians in colder environments. He argues that the higher IQs of the Europeans and North East Asians contribute to democracy in two separate ways: through first, the advantages of high IQ itself, and second, the better distribution of power resources in high-IQ countries.
Prof. Vanhanen proposes that high IQ per se is necessary for democracy because “people in countries with low national IQs are not as able to organize themselves, to take part in national politics, and to defend their rights against those in power as people in countries with higher national IQs” (p.270). The peoples of low-IQ countries may want democracy, but they cannot establish and maintain it.
| Somalia gets a zero in democracy. These people
were killed in a shoot out in Mogadishu in
High IQ also contributes to the other factor essential to democracy: broad distribution of power resources. One might assume that the level of concentration of wealth and power reflects the standard deviation of IQ in a society rather than the average; that societies of the very rich and very poor might have greater variations in intelligence than societies with large middle classes. Prof. Vanhanen concludes otherwise: A high average, rather than a tight distribution of IQs is what creates the middle class. More intelligent people are better able to defend and further their interests and to acquire education, which prevents the concentration of power resources. This distribution of political power supports the emergence of market economies, which help distribute power resources more widely. Standard deviation in IQ is probably similar for most countries, but those with high averages are more equal and more democratic.
The conclusion to be drawn is that none of the low-IQ countries of sub-Saharan Africa is capable of sustaining full democracy. The South East Asian, South Asian, North African, Caribbean, and Latin American countries with minority European populations — with IQs in the range between 80-89 — are capable only of imperfect and fragile democracies.
Professor Vanhanen’s conclusions are unquestionably important, not least for American presidents who have been persuaded by gung-ho neo-cons that the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan (and no doubt Iran) are all ready and longing for democracy, and that all America need do is send in the army, topple their corrupt rulers, and the people will welcome democracy and adopt it! The president and his staff could learn a great deal from Prof. Vanhanen.
Tatu Vanhanen, The Limits of Democratization: Climate, Intelligence, and Resource Distribution, Washington Summit Publishers, 2009, 382 pp., $21.95 (soft cover)
Should All Confederates Have Been Hanged?
Prof. Jonathan Farley thinks so.
The November 2005 issue of AR included an article entitled “Hypocrisy 101: Free Speech for Leftists but not for Race Realists.” Written by a talented race realist who uses the pen name Alexander Hart, it described the contrast between the outrage that greets all white dissent from racial orthodoxy and the indulgence non-whites get when they fail to practice the alleged virtues of tolerance and diversity.
|Confederate veterans in 1917. Did they deserve to be hanged?|
As Mr. Hart wrote:
“In 2002, Vanderbilt University tried to change the name of Confederate Memorial Hall and remove a plaque that honored the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) for contributing to building costs. The UDC was understandably opposed to this, and sued. Jonathan Farley, a black professor of mathematics at Vanderbilt, responded with a column for a Nashville newspaper claiming that the ‘UDC honors traitors.’ He wrote that ‘every Confederate soldier, by the mores of his age and ours, deserved not a hallowed resting place at the end of his days but a reservation at the end of the gallows,’ and went on to suggest that America’s racial problems are rooted in the fact that ‘the Confederacy was not thoroughly destroyed, its leaders and soldiers executed and their lands given to the landless freed slaves …’
“Approximately 1.2 million Confederate soldiers survived the war, and so what Prof. Farley called for was nothing less than the extermination of virtually the entire white male population of the South, along with a land distribution program that makes Robert Mugabe look timid. Even Joseph Stalin killed only Polish army officers at Katyn. In his column, Prof. Farley went on to compare Confederate apologists to ‘Holocaust revisionists,’ while at the same time advocating a holocaust of his own.”
Naturally, black student organizations endorsed Prof. Farley’s views, and the mild reproval he got from the Vanderbilt administration was smothered in devotion to the First Amendment. Mr. Hart contrasted this with the rough treatment white academics get for doubting the wisdom of mass immigration or pointing out racial differences in IQ. Since Mr. Hart wrote the article there have been many examples of this, the most recent being the flap over third-year Harvard Law School student Stephanie Grace. In April she was humiliated and forced to apologize after a former friend publicized a private e-mail message in which Miss Grace speculated mildly about the possible genetic contribution to the black IQ deficit.
|A source of grave offense …|
To return to Prof. Farley, he has finally replied to Mr. Hart in a message with the title, “You defend Mass Executions.” The professor does not waste words:
“Defenders of the Confederacy defend the mass executions of all the slaves who attempted to free themselves, as well as the rape, murder, torture of millions of innocents. These rapes and murders actually occurred; they weren’t hypothetical situations.
“Tell me what the penalty for treason is (in 1865 or 2010). Is it being tickled?
“What you argue is that if enough people commit crimes against humanity, they should all be pardoned. That may be pragmatic and political, but it is not moral or legal.
“Why don’t you write under your real name, coward?
“Oh, and the ‘free speech for leftists’ you speak of? Doesn’t exist. You will note Ward Churchill was fired. The co-author of The Bell Curve wasn’t, and the people who sent me death threats weren’t even prosecuted.”
Mr. Hart replied to Prof. Farley as follows:
|… to Professor Farley.|
“To deal with each point one at a time: Except in very few cases in a few states, runaway slaves were not subject to execution, and when it occurred, it by no means constituted ‘mass executions.’ As for slave rebellions, there were only a handful, such as the one led by Nat Turner, who killed white children in their sleep. We are talking about a few hundred slaves at most, rather than millions. And of course, it is a complete non-sequitur to say that anyone who does not believe that Confederate solders should have been executed must support every single practice in the Antebellum South.
“As for treason, it is interesting that someone who styles himself a Marxist revolutionary is so concerned about the authority of the federal government. When a rebellion — if you want to call the South’s secession that — becomes an all-out war, it is unheard of in the West to kill surrendering soldiers. One of the most universally condemned acts in the Second World War was Stalin’s murder of Polish officers in Katyn, but even he killed only officers.
“Aside from the moral aspects, there are practical repercussions to a policy of executing soldiers. If a soldier knows he will be killed, he has no reason to surrender, and will go to extreme measures to avoid capture. Your policies would have led to the deaths not only of millions of Southerners, but also hundreds of thousands or even millions of Northerners as well.
“Comparing Ward Churchill to Charles Murray is spurious. Dr. Murray is a serious scholar who worked for a private think tank. Dr. Churchill worked for a public college, and advocated mass murder of American citizens. He was not fired for his views. Rather, his outrageous statements brought attention to his research, which was found to be full of plagiarism and falsification.
“I use a pen name, because unlike you, I will face professional repercussions for making these moderate points, while you can vent your hatred for whites without ever worrying about your job. Contrary to your claims of oppression, your job was never in jeopardy. When you voluntarily chose to leave Vanderbilt, you had other universities lining up to get another affirmative action hire.
“Perhaps you did receive anonymous death threats, but I am certain that if the police found out who made them, there would be prosecutions. I am also certain the police made more of an attempt to find the perpetrators than they did for the people who made death threats against the hotels that were to host the 2010 American Renaissance conference.”
IN THE NEWS
O Tempora, O Mores!
Fathers’ Day Gift
|David Brown, Jr.|
On Father’s Day, police in the Dallas suburb of Lancaster, Texas, responded to reports of a shooting in an apartment complex parking lot. When they arrived, the shooter fired on officers from a parked car, killing Officer Craig Shaw, a five-year veteran. The other policemen returned fire, killing the gunman, who was later identified as 27-year-old David Brown, Jr. — the son of Dallas Chief of Police David Brown, Sr. Police also discovered the body of 23-year-old Jeremy McMillian, whom Brown had just killed.
While police have offered no motive for Brown’s killings, they may have something to do with a domestic dispute between Brown and his white girlfriend Misti Conaway just a few hours earlier. Miss Conaway had called 911, saying Brown had hit her and was acting “nuts,” like someone “on PCP,” and had barricaded himself in the apartment with their two children. When police arrived, they say they found him calm and non-threatening, and decided not to arrest him. After Brown was killed by police, an autopsy revealed that he was high on marijuana, PCP, and alcohol. He also had a criminal record, for, among other things, dealing marijuana. [Sheriff: DPD Chief’s Son Shot Lancaster Officer, KTVT-TV (Dallas), June 21, 2010. Shaun Rabb, Gunman’s Girlfriend: Tragedy Could Have Been Prevented, KDFW-TV (Dallas), June 24, 2010. Steve Pickett, J.D. Miles & Matt Goodman, Autopsy Shows Brown Jr. Used PCP before Shooting, KTVT-TV (Dallas), June 30, 2010.]
Gangs in Uniform
The Pentagon outlawed military service by gang members in November 2009, but veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan say the problem is worse than ever. More gang graffiti keeps showing up on buildings, latrines, and armored vehicles. Soldiers who return to gang life are especially dangerous because they know military tactics; in 2005, a former Marine killed a police officer and wounded three others in a California ambush. Civilian contractors are part of the problem. In Iraq, large quantities of drugs confiscated from US contractors have been destroyed.
According to a Chicago policeman who recently completed a tour with the Army reserve, Bagram Air Base is covered with Chicago gang graffiti, from the Gangster Disciples to the Latin Kings. Back in Chicago, he says he has arrested high-level gang members who keep the Army Field Manual 7-8 — which describes basic infantry tactics — in their homes. “It’s scary,” he says. [Frank Main, ‘Scary’ Growth of Gangs in War Zones, Chicago Sun-Times, July 18, 2010.]
All About Race
Last year, when the DeKalb County, Georgia, school district (75 percent black, 10 percent white) needed a contractor to do its legal work, it got offers from law firms that were willing to handle all the district’s business. Instead, it hired one firm to do most of its legal work, but hired a second firm — at a cost of nearly $1 million extra — to do personnel work. Why did it pay extra for two firms? The second, Alexander & Associates, is owned by a black woman. As black board member Eugene Walker explained, “I am a very, very race-conscious person. I will never ever try to lead you to believe that I am race-neutral. I see color. I appreciate color. I celebrate color and I love color.” Most whites on the board (they are a minority of four out of nine) did not go along with this, and at least one black member didn’t like it either: “I will not be bullied into voting by race,” said Pamela Speaks. Still, the board voted 5-4 (four out of five blacks voted in favor; three out of four whites against) to make sure it was hiring enough “diverse” lawyers — even though there were plenty of non-whites working for the first firm. [Megan Matteucci, DeKalb Schools: Diversity Trumps Costs, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 21, 2010.]
Robert Wallace is an 82-year-old resident of Wheat Ridge, Colorado. One day in February he glanced out his window just in time to see two men trying to make off with his flatbed trailer, which they had attached to a pickup. He grabbed a gun, rushed outside and ordered them to stop, but the men sped away, nearly running him over. Mr. Roberts fired two shots at the men, then went inside and called police. A few minutes later, 32-year-old Damacio Torres dropped 28-year-old Alvaro Cardona off at local emergency room with a gunshot wound to the face. Mr. Torres didn’t stick around, but the police nabbed him later. Both are illegal aliens with long rap sheets.
Local prosecutors aren’t interested in punishing Mr. Cardona and Mr. Torres. Instead, they’ve charged Mr. Wallace with 12 felonies, including four counts of attempted first degree murder. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in jail for defending his property. He is now out on bond awaiting a September court hearing. [Julie Hayden, Thieves Could Go Free While Victim Faces Jail Time, KDVR-TV (Denver), July 7, 2010.]
‘Not the White Man’s Bitch’
Ieshuh Griffin is a black woman running as an independent candidate for a seat in the Wisconsin legislature representing downtown Milwaukee. State law allows independent candidates five words on the ballot to describe themselves, provided they are not “pejorative, profane, discriminatory or obscene.” Miss Griffin wants to use “Not the White Man’s Bitch,” but an employee with the state election oversight agency said no. Miss Griffith appealed the decision to the Government Accountability Board, which heard her case in July. The board is made up of six retired judges — all of them white — and it takes four votes to overturn a ruling. Miss Griffith told the five judges present at the hearing that the issue was about “freedom of expression,” saying of the description, “It’s not racial. It’s not a slur.” She said that “white man” doesn’t refer to an individual, but rather to the government as a whole. And by “bitch” she means a female dog that will roll over on command. “I’m not making a derogatory statement to a group of people or an ethnic group,” she added. “I’m saying what I am not. Everyone I spoke with, elderly and young, understand my point of view.”
Three of the five agreed with her. Board member Thomas Cane, a retired state appeals court judge, said he didn’t find the wording “particularly offensive.” Thomas Barland, who served 33 years as a circuit court judge, agreed: “It wasn’t pornographic, it wasn’t obscene and I didn’t interpret it as racial.” Board chairman Gordon Myse asked, “Isn’t she saying, ‘I’m not under the white man’s direction? I’m independent of that.’ Isn’t that what she’s saying?” before casting the third vote in favor of Miss Griffin’s appeal. During the public hearing, a white woman in attendance told the judges she found the statement offensive, noting that if a white candidate had used the phrase “not the black man’s bitch,” it would have been rejected without question. Miss Griffith says she now plans to take the matter to federal court. [Scott Bauer, Wisconsin Candidate Can’t Use Controversial Description, AP, July 21, 2010.]
Researchers at Stanford have found that people are less likely to buy an iPod nano over the Internet if they think they are buying it from a black. The researchers posted two kinds of adds: one with a photo of a white hand holding the iPod and one with a black hand holding it. The black-hand ads got 13 percent fewer responses and 17 percent fewer offers than the white-hand ads. Buyers also offered black sellers less money for their iPods. The bias against blacks was greatest in the Northeast and Midwest and less in the South. The researchers claimed there was no difference in response rates in the West. Blacks were at a particular disadvantage in high-crime areas. When buyers agreed to buy from a seller they thought was black they were 44 percent less likely to agree to have the iPod shipped rather than pick it up in person, and 56 percent more likely to say they objected to paying by PayPal. The researchers never met any of the buyers, so they never learned what race they were. [Louis Bergeron, Online Shoppers More Likely to Buy From White Sellers Than Black, PhysOrg.com, July 20, 2010.]
As we mentioned in the June issue, several cities, especially in California, announced they would boycott Arizona because of its new immigration law. Time is proving them silly, as cities carve out exemptions and scale back boycotts. In Los Angeles, for example, it turns out that the company that operates the city’s lucrative traffic enforcement cameras is based in Scottsdale. Cash-strapped LA pocketed $6 million last year because of the cameras, and doesn’t want to give up the swag. In explaining this exemption from the boycott he so fervently supported, Los Angeles Councilman Richard Alarcon said it was “never intended to impede public safety.”
When San Jose discovered contracts it didn’t care to cancel, it decided to limit its boycott to a ban on official travel. Sacramento made an exemption for the Arizona-based company that supplies its police with Tasers. City officials said the higher cost of buying elsewhere made canceling “impractical.” Other cities have discovered that reviewing every contract for ties to Arizona is costly and tedious. Berkeley was one of the first cities to announce a boycott, and while it hasn’t entered into any new contracts with Arizona companies, it hasn’t canceled any existing ones. A city employee says a review is underway. “They’ll go through all of them,” she says. “It’s going to take a lot of time.” [Cities Discovering an Arizona Boycott May Do More Harm than Good, Fox News, June 28, 2010.]
Diffing the SAT
|She had a big advantage: she’s white.|
Yet another study claims to find racial bias in the SAT. Maria Santelices of the Catholic University of Chile and Mark Wilson of UC Berkeley report in the Harvard Educational Review that they have detected “differential item functioning” (DIF) in the exam. There is said to be DIF when blacks and whites, supposedly “matched by proficiency” and other factors, are not equally likely to get the right answer. Like another study from 2003, this one found that on some of the easier verbal questions, DIF favored white students, while on some of the most difficult verbal questions, DIF favored blacks. The authors claim that the disparity in the easier questions is probably “reflected in the cultural expressions that are used commonly in the dominant (white) society,” and that white students absorbed them effortlessly because they grew up around white people. They say more difficult words are learned, not just absorbed.
Robert Schaeffer, of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, a long-time critic of the SAT, calls the report “a bombshell,” and says the study “presents a profound challenge to institutions which still rely heavily on the SAT to determine undergraduate admissions or scholarship awards.”
The College Board, which owns the SAT, disputes the findings. Spokesman Kathleen Steinberg says every question is screened to weed out bias. “We believe that our test is fair,” she says. “It is rigorously researched, probably the most rigorously researched standardized test in the world.” As for the perpetual racial gap of about 100 points on the reading section of the test, Miss Steinberg takes a strictly orthodox view: “It’s a reflection of educational inequity.” [Scott Jaschik, New Evidence of Racial Bias on SAT, Inside Higher Ed, June 21, 2010.]
Birds of a Feather
It is now well established that of the social networking Internet sites, Facebook has attracted whites and Asians while MySpace is mostly black and Hispanic. The most obvious explanation for this would be that the Internet simply reflects life, and that people prefer the company of others like themselves.
Danah Boyd, who writes about this, does not deny the possibility of self-segregation, but proposes other reasons for the separation. One is that MySpace let record companies push their wares on the site, and they touted hip hop and ghetto music that helped drive out whites. Users report that MySpace is much more music-oriented than Facebook.
Something else that drove away whites and Asians was spam. Hackers broke into accounts and used them to spread links to viruses and other unwanted messages. Miss Boyd writes that many departing users left behind derelict accounts that are now “covered in spam, a form of digital graffiti.” “Spammers took over like street gangs,” she adds, contributing to the feeling that MySpace had become a “digital ghetto.” Perhaps blacks and Hispanics were less bothered by this than whites and Asians. [Christopher Mims, Did Whites Flee the ‘Digital Ghetto’ of MySpace? Technology Review, July 14, 2010.]
Probably the reality is that as soon as either site developed even a hint of ethnic identity it was only a matter of time before self-segregation ensued — probably most of it unconscious.
Out of Africa
Kalunga Kanyela, is a refugee from the Congo. He is now under arrest in the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on charges of molesting three female relatives, ages six to 15. His defense? He didn’t know it was wrong. He explained that it is “allowed in Africa.” [Tiffany Gibson, Refugee Accused of Sexually Assaulting 3 Young Relatives, Las Vegas Sun, June 25, 2010.]
Bleum, Inc, is a Chinese information technology company founded by an American, Eric Rongley. Bleum, which employs 1,000 people, uses IQ tests to weed out 99 percent of job applicants. “It is much harder to get into Bleum than it is to Harvard,” says Mr. Rongley, adding that high-IQ workers are more productive. “The point is not that they are typing faster, but they are finding a faster solution to the technical problem,” he says.
Bleum hires both Chinese and American computer science grads for its Shanghai headquarters, but has different standards for each group. A Chinaman must have an IQ of at least 140 to be considered, while Americans can skate in with just 125. A spokesman for the company says this is because the pool of American talent is smaller. Bleum needs Americans to support the company’s growing number of North American clients.
For several years, the super-secret US National Security Agency has sponsored a software coding competition put on by TopCoder Inc., a Glastonbury, Connecticut-based software development company. More than 4,200 coders took part in last year’s competition. Of the 70 finalists, 20 were from China, 10 from Russia and just two from the US. The winner was Chinese. [Patrick Thibodeau, Chinese Outsourcer Seeks US Workers With IQ of 125 and Up, Computer World, July 7, 2010.]
US “civil rights” and employment law effectively forbids the use of IQ tests by American employers. Many try to skirt this ban by using so-called aptitude tests, but these expose them to lawsuits when rejected applicants complain about “disparate impact.”
French “youths” are touchy. In the fall of 2005, France was nearly paralyzed when young blacks and Muslims burned thousands of cars, injured scores of policemen, and caused millions of dollars worth of property damage. The violence began after two Muslim teenagers fleeing from police electrocuted themselves when they hid in a power substation.
In July this year, during a shootout in the southeastern city of Grenoble, police killed 27-year-old Karim Boudouda, whom they suspected of robbing a casino at gunpoint. A memorial service for Boudouda the next day turned into a riot as young Muslims started torching cars. When police arrived, they found “A group of people … waiting for us with stones and baseball bats in their hands,” said Brigitte Jullien, head of public security. “Shots were fired against us.” Ominously, police say the shots were from automatic weapons, although no officers were hurt. The rioters burned about 60 cars, but police made only two arrests. [Albertina Torsoli, Rioters Shoot at Police, Set Cars on Fire in the French Town of Grenoble, Bloomberg News, July 17, 2010.]
Canuck Common Sense
Sara Landriault is a Canadian woman who wanted to go back to work after rearing her children. She used the Internet to find a job with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for which she was qualified, but was shocked to find a notation saying that only “aboriginals” and “visible minorities” (Canada-speak for non-whites) could apply. “It was insane,” she says. “I’m white, so I can’t do it?”
CIC spokeswoman Melanie Carkner has an explanation: “We are under-represented by aboriginal employees in our work force. At this point in time, the department does meet requirements for visible minorities; however, given the department’s mandate, we make a concerted effort to hire individuals in this group.” [Brian Lilley, Woman Denied Government Job Because of Race, July 24, 2010.]
This sort of thing is legal under Canadian law, and Miss Carkner will be happy to know that there are more women, “aboriginals” and “visible minorities” working for the government than ever before. As of March 2009, women were 54.7 percent of the federal workforce, “aboriginals” 4.5 per cent, and non-whites 9.8 percent.
Canada’s ruling Conservative Party wants to end blatant anti-white bias, and has ordered a review of “affirmative action.” Stockwell Day, president of the Treasury Board (which is in charge of Canada’s civil service) and former leader of the conservative Canadian Alliance party, says, “While we support diversity in the public service, we want to ensure that no Canadian is barred from opportunities in the public service based on race or ethnicity.” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney agrees: “We must ensure that all Canadians have an equal opportunity to work for their government based on merit, regardless of race or ethnicity.”
The Canadian left is outraged. Pat Martin, a member of parliament with the leftwing New Democrat party, calls the move a “full-frontal attack on affirmative action,” adding, “It is paranoia on their part, though, because we are nowhere near achieving equity in the face of the public-service workforce. I don’t think they can make a case that white, middle-class people are being denied access to public service jobs, or that there’s any preference shown.” [Steve Rennie, Ottawa Orders Affirmative-action Overhaul, Canada Press, July 22, 2010.]
In France, top students hoping to join the French elite sweat out highly-competitive admissions exams to get into the nation’s top universities — the 222 grandes écoles. Many are very small, and they account for only about 5 percent of all French students. Graduating from one of these schools virtually guarantees lifetime employment in the upper echelons. “In France, families celebrate acceptance at a grande école more than graduation itself,” says Richard Descoings, head of the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, known as Sciences Po. “Once you pass the exam at 18 or 19, for the rest of your life, you belong.”
Critics claim the exclusivity of the grandes écoles is bad for France, because it allows the rich, white elite to perpetuate itself, while marginalizing blacks and Muslims. The French government is therefore setting up a pilot program to help non-whites pass the entrance exams, or concours. Unlike the United States, France does not keep statistics on race or ethnicity, and remains opposed to quotas. Instead it uses income as a proxy for race, believing that most poor people in France are non-white. The goal is to increase the percentage of “scholarship students” to 30 percent, up from about 10 percent today. Sciences Po, for example, admitted 126 scholarship students in last year’s class of 1,300, and two thirds of them had at least one non-French parent.
Some people think taking income into consideration is not enough. Minister of Education Valérie Pécresse, for example, believes the concours rely too much on French history and culture. “We’re thinking about the socially discriminatory character, or not, of these tests,” she says. “I want the same concours for everyone, but I don’t exclude that the tests of the concours evolve, with the objective of a great social opening and a better measure of young people’s intelligence.”
Defenders of the current system say the new approach will lower standards and undermine the French ideal of a pure meritocracy. Xavier Michel is head of the famous École Polytechnique, one of the top engineering schools in the world. Polytechnique, which admits 500 students a year, considers for admission only those who have passed its grueling entrance exam — and then rejects 90 percent of them. “The fundamental principle for us is that students have the capability to do the work here, which is very difficult,” he explains. “We don’t want to bring students into school who risk failing.”
Awa Dramé, daughter of African immigrants, is happy to participate in the pilot program for non-whites. “I don’t mind being a guinea pig, so long as the experiment works,” she says. “Reaching this level was unthinkable before, and I can see myself going higher. I’m full of dreams.” [Steven Erlanger, Top French Schools, Asked to Diversify, Fear for Standards, New York Times, June 30, 2010.]
Jean Gregoire Sagbo, a native of the African country of Benin, moved to the Soviet Union in 1982 to study communist economics. He stayed, married a Russian woman and had children, and moved to the small town of Novozavidovo, 65 miles north of Moscow, to be closer to his in-laws. Novozavidovo is a dying, former industrial city of 10,000, with pollution, unemployment, and drug and drunkenness problems. To Mr. Sagbo, it’s home, and he wants to make it better. Over the years, he has spent his own money to clean up the entrance to his apartment building, plant flowers, and fix the street. A decade ago he began organizing volunteers to pick up garbage. This summer he ran for a seat on the 10-member city council, on a platform of cleaning up a polluted lake and delivering heat and hot water to homes — and won. This makes him the first black elected official in Russia. His fellow residents say they don’t see him as African. “His skin is black but he is Russian inside,” says Mayor Vyacheslav Arakelov. “The way he cares about this place, only a Russian can care.” “We consider him one of us,” says Irina Danilenko, 31. They also say he is the first candidate to win election without buying votes.
Mr. Sagbo isn’t the first black to run for office in Russia; Joaquin Crima, of Guinea-Bissau, was a candidate to be head of a southern Russian district last year but lost badly. At the time, the Russian media dubbed Mr. Crima “Russia’s Obama” and now they’ve hung the label on Mr. Sagbo. He rejects it. “My name is not Obama.” he says. “It’s sensationalism. He is black and I am black, but it’s a totally different situation.”
No one knows how many blacks live in Russia, but estimates put the number at 40,000. [Kristina Narizhnaya, A Russian Milestone: 1st Black Elected to Office, AP, July 26, 2010.]
LETTERS FROM READERS
Sir — I read with great interest Mr. Henderson’s August cover story (“Are You Surprised or Angry”) about the differences in the ways whites and Asians read faces. His article reminded me of a 2003 paper (P. Kochunov, P. Fox et. al., “Localized Morphological Brain Differences Between English-speaking Caucasians and Chinese-speaking Asians,” Developmental Neuroscience, May 2003) that compared English-speaking whites and Chinese-speaking Chinese, and found differences in how the brain processes speech: “The left middle frontal gyrus (MFG), including Brodmann area (BA), is strongly activated in native Chinese speakers during a variety of linguistic tasks, but is not activated or is weakly activated in native English speakers performing the same tasks.” The authors noted the same differences when Chinese and whites did “auditory tasks.”
The paper concluded that the brain is plastic and develops differently depending on the language learned. This may be true. However, I have waited in vain for a similar study of full-blooded Chinese born in the West who speak only English. How do their brains work? Can it be that the research has been done but that the results have not been widely reported because brains of Chinese work differently no matter what language they are speaking? The findings Mr. Henderson reports suggest that this could be so.
Charles A. Anderson, Davis, Calif.
Sir — Jared Taylor’s August review of the “anti-racist” smear of Raymond Cattell by Professor William Tucker (see “Kicking the Dead”) was a badly needed exposé. It is ironic that the author of this dishonest book thinks that academics practicing bad science should be drummed out of public life. Shouldn’t he be the first to go?
Sir — In her letter in the August issue, Sarah Wentworth singles out Quanah Parker as “an example of contact between whites and natives that turned out reasonably well.” I am confused as to what part of Quanah Parker’s life is any indication of this or why Parker is one of Miss Wentworth’s “favorite characters from American history.” Perhaps we are to be inspired by the kidnapping and systematic rape of a nine-year-old girl by non-whites forcing her into a life of miscegenation. I am curious as to Miss Wentworth’s use of quotes surrounding the word “rescued” as well. Are we to believe that being returned to her white family was, in fact, not her salvation, and that she would have been better off living as a perpetual victim of her tormentors? Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the Stockholm Syndrome would recognize Cynthia Parker’s reluctance to return to white civilization as the inevitable result of brainwashing and torture inflicted on a poor, defenseless, girl and woman over the course of 24 years. Her consequent suicide provides further evidence of this.
As to her son Quanah being both a “successful rancher” and one of the “richest American Indians of his time,” I would suggest that perhaps the fact that he was living on a reservation and receiving handouts from a guilt-ridden government might have contributed to his success. And certainly the friendship of notables such as Teddy Roosevelt did nothing to harm his business venture. Certainly one can envision a few well-placed palms being greased in this scenario. In addition, I do not see Parker’s polygamy as something to be admired. One can at least hope that all five of his wives were of Indian descent. Furthermore, I am reluctant to view a church that used peyote in its services to be of much benefit to Western civilization. Perhaps I am missing all the finer points of being a half-breed opportunist. I invite Miss Wentworth to illuminate Parker’s other admirable qualities of which I might be unaware.
Irene Santrock, Kittanning, Penn.
Sir — The “Flynn Effect” — constantly rising scores on tests of reasoning ability — discussed by “Hippocrates” in the August issue of AR is indeed baffling. I have been reading and thinking about it for two decades and have not been able to find anything that approximates a plausible explanation. However, I do think that it is certain that the population of the Western world is not more intelligent now than it was in the past two centuries. This conclusion is supported by a great deal of evidence. I will mention three examples, from different periods, all of which can be easily corroborated. First, in the 1930s and 1940s, motion pictures were the quintessential popular entertainment. Yet, the plots of motion pictures of that time were more intricate than the plots of later motion pictures, and cinematic characters spoke in more complex sentences and used a wider range of vocabulary. Second, I have listened to many political debates in the past 50 years. In not one did the participants assume the level of intelligence in their audience that Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas assumed in their audience in their debates in Illinois in 1858. (Of course, one of the reasons is that most politicians today are dumber than Lincoln and Douglas were, but that supplements my point.) Third, the Founding Fathers of the United States — Franklin, Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, etc. — were all born when the white population of the United States was, at most, 2.5 million. Yet, no country has since produced in one generation an array of political leaders that approaches their intellectual level.
Prof. (Retired) Steven Farron, Johannesburg, South Africa