A Conversation With Arthur Jensen
One of the great post-war pioneers of intelligence
testing talks to AR
American Renaissance: You are probably
most famous, still, for that Harvard Educational Review article.
Prof. Jensen: That's true, yes. I think
that's probably one of the most over-cited articles in the history of psychology.
Arthur Jensen is Professor
of Educational Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. He
is perhaps the world's best-known scholar in the field of racial differences
in intelligence. Ever since 1969, when his article, "How Much Can We Boost
IQ and Scholastic Achievement?", appeared in the Harvard Educational
Review, he has been at the center of what is probably the most controversial
of all academic fields. Prof. Jensen has been widely reviled, but his patient
research and keen analysis have now won a position of near-unanimity for
his views - at least among specialists.
What follow are
excerpts from a several-hour conversation with Prof. Jensen, in which he
talks about race, intelligence, sex differences, eugenics, and the future
of the United States.
AR: Well, I've always assumed that
article got the incredible amount of attention that it did because this
was really the first time after the Second World War that someone had stated
that there could very well be a genetic factor that accounts for the difference
in black and white achievement.
J: Right, yes. It's the first time
that it had really been stated explicitly in the academic literature since
before World War II.
AR: Why were you the person to first
do that? What prompted you?
J: I became involved in this subject
the year  that I spent at the Center for the Advanced Study in the
Behavioral Sciences, the Palo Alto [CA] think tank. I went there that year
to write a book on the psychology of the culturally disadvantaged. I felt
that I should have one short chapter about the inheritance of mental ability,
if only to dismiss the subject. That was the standard stance at the time.
AR: That was your view at the time?
J: Yes, that was my view at the time.
I knew next to nothing about the subject, except that I had heard Sir Cyril
Burt give the "Walter Van Dyke Bingham Address" at the American Psychological
Association. I'd mainly gone just to see the most famous British psychologist.
I wasn't interested in the subject particularly, but it stuck with me because
it was a brilliant lecture.
There also happened to be a geneticist at the think tank that year,
and I became acquainted with him. He put me on a sort of reading course
in this area so that I could learn more about it, the technical aspect
of it. It was the year after that that I wrote the HER [Harvard
Educational Review] article, in 1968, and it was published in the Spring
And it was there that I met [William] Shockley. We got together periodically
to talk about some of these things.
AR: Dr. Shockley had taken a public
position on these questions before you had?
J: Oh, yes; in two talks. One that
he gave at the Commonwealth Club, here in San Francisco, and one that he
gave at the National Academy of Sciences. This was in 1967. It was the
first time he stuck his neck out on this.
AR: What do you think accounts for
the ferocious opposition to your views - especially then - but which continues
up to today?
J: It continues today, yes. For one
thing, people have been taught from early childhood - and it's especially
true of better-educated people - that all people are essentially the same,
except for very superficial differences due to their social background
and advantages in upbringing and so forth. To suggest anything else offends
this deep conviction. In fact, I was brought up very much that way. My
own parents, especially my mother - my father was more hard-headed and
tough-minded - but my own mother thought it was just outrageous that I
had written that HER article. The view being a very common one today,
still, that blacks would be no different from the rest of us - the rest
of the population - if they simply had the same education and all of that.
Even among a single racial group there's a great sensitivity about individual
differences in the trait of intelligence. This is probably the most highly
valued trait. When people are asked what characteristics they want their
children most to have, the two things they mention first are good health
and good intelligence. If you suggest that people differ in intelligence
for reasons that they themselves are not responsible for, because of the
particular assortment of genes they happen to get, this seems terribly
AR: There's an aspect of this that's
particularly curious, and that's the fact that at the turn of the century
there was a very strong acceptance, it seems, or a very strong movement
towards acceptance of genetic differences by men like Sir Francis Galton
and Karl Pearson. Even in the United States, very reputable people became
advocates of eugenics.
J: I think that World War II was really
the main turning point in this. We'd been headed in that direction [egalitarianism],
but the turning point, I think, was the revulsion against the Nazi Holocaust.
People pointed to that as an example of what would happen if we recognized
Of course it's very inapplicable really, because the group that was
persecuted there was the group that was doing very well in Germany and
around the world. It had a larger percentage of Nobel Prize winners and
members of the National Academy of Sciences and Fellows of Royal Societies
than any other group.
AR: It's my understanding that in fact
there's no record that Hitler even said that Jews were inferior anyway.
J: That's right, yes. They had other
reasons for their views. But this [the Holocaust] was still given as an
example of the result of making racial or ethnic distinctions between groups.
AR: I know that in the past Stephen
Jay Gould, Leon Kamin and a few other people have been widely and popularly
quoted as maintaining a strictly environmental point of view.
J: That's right. Well, certainly Kamin
does; I'm not so sure about Gould. He does on the race difference issue,
no doubt about that, but on individual differences in intelligence he doesn't
seem to be a strict environmentalist. He's too much of a biologist for
that. Kamin is, but whether Kamin believes this privately or not, I can't
be sure. He seems to me to be too intelligent to really believe what he
AR: You think that what he says might
very well simply be what he thinks people should think?
J: I think so. I think that is probably
it. But then, I can't accuse him of that, because that would be accusing
him of dishonesty. I know he's a very learned and bright person, and he's
a sane person basically, which some people in the opposition aren't.
AR: Well, I guess what I'm driving
at is whether or not there really are any people left in the psychometric
community, or in intelligence testing, or serious applied biology, who
do think - and are willing to say publicly - that racial differences in
achievement are strictly a matter of environment?
J: I know almost none myself. I've
looked for such persons. When my book Bias in Mental Testing came
out in 1980, Time magazine ran a full-page story about it. Then
they got so many complaints about that article because it didn't tear down
my position at all. The same writer called me and said that they had gotten
so many complaints that they had promised people they would bring out another
article on the same subject after a certain amount of opinion had accumulated
about my book. They would report this and it would satisfy the opposition.
Then they called me perhaps a month later and asked me if I could suggest
anyone who might disagree with the main conclusions of this book, because
they hadn't been able to find anyone. I said, "Well, have you contacted
Kamin?" And I mentioned a couple of other people. They said, "Yes, we thought
of them first, but what they have to say sounds so weak that it wouldn't
satisfy our readership that we've done a job on this thing. Is there anyone
else you could suggest?"
So I mentioned a couple of very competent psychometricians around the
country. I didn't know quite what their stands were, but I knew they were
competent people who would be capable of criticizing this type of work
and would likely have seen my book by that time. They called them, but
they got nothing that they could use against me, so they never did the
article. Now that would have been news itself, but it didn't make the news.
One person who takes the opposite side on the race issue, not on the
[test] bias issue, but on the race issue particularly, who I think is a
respectable scientist, is James R. Flynn. He's in New Zealand, at the University
of Otago. He's a professor of Political Science. I don't agree with everything
[he says] and I think he weights different items of information very differently
than I would, or many others would. But he does seem to be a sensible and
intelligent person without any very obvious ideological ax to grind.
AR: It sounds as though, in effect,
you have to go all the way to New Zealand to find someone who is not an
obvious ideologue with an obvious ax to grind who will take a reasoned
and intelligent position that is opposed to yours.
J: That's right, yes.
AR: I understand that there are more
or less physiological assessments of intelligence - reaction time correlates
with height and myopia [all of which correlate with intelligence]. It seems
to me, if the general public, or perhaps more importantly, the people who
run the media, are to be made to accept the notion of genetic origins of
individual and perhaps racial differences, then something like direct physiological
assessment might be more convincing to them than IQ tests.
J: Oh, I think so, yes. You see the
black/white difference is mainly a difference in this g factor that
I talk about. The term was invented by [Charles] Spearman way back in 1904.
If one does factor analysis on a whole battery of tests to determine the
degree to which each of the tests measures this general factor that's common
to all cognitive tests - I don't care what the test is; it can be as bizarre
as anything you can imagine - if it measures cognitive ability, if it measures
some kind of mental effort, however slight or however varied, it will measure
this g factor. Those g loadings, as they're called, of the
various tests, will predict quite well the degree to which whites and blacks
differ on that test. Blacks and whites differ hardly at all on some tests,
but they differ a lot on others. The thing that predicts the size of the
black/white difference is the g loading of the test. Really nothing
else, for all practical purposes.
AR: Can you describe in words the ones
that tend to be the most g loaded?
J: Yes. One of the best tests for measuring
g is Raven's Progressive Matrices. I can show you one right here.
[Prof. Jensen describes the test - it involves recognizing patterns and
making a selection that conforms to that pattern.]
Everyone is familiar with these kinds of shapes. There is nothing at
all esoteric about these things as there would be with, say, a vocabulary
test, where the words keep increasing in difficulty because they become
rarer words. It's really a test of true reason. It's really inductive reasoning.
It measures nothing but g plus error. There's nothing verbal, nothing
numerical, nothing spatial, nothing mechanical, nothing musical. I mean
it's just pure g.
AR: How do people who argue that test
results are a function of bias in the test respond to a test like that?
I can't understand how there could be any cultural bias.
J: Well, they will claim there's cultural
bias in doing this kind of activity. If the test were really culturally
biased one thing we would notice would be that the items in this kind of
test should be in a different rank order for different racial-cultural
groups. I mean what's hard for one would be easy for another and vice versa.
But the rank order of item difficulty on this is exactly the same for blacks
AR: In other words, you can't pick
out particular questions that seem to be prejudiced against blacks?
J: That's right. Take the Peabody Picture
Vocabulary Test (PPVT), for example. This is an interesting one, because
again the items in it are also the same for blacks and whites tested in
this country, but if you take the PPVT, which was standardized on Americans,
and give it in England, as I have done, you find that there are certain
items that are way out of rank order of difficulty.
The way the test works, there are four pictures on each page, and you
name one of them and the child simply has to point to it. Well, there's
one item that something like 75 percent of grammar school kids in this
country get right, but Fellows of the Royal Society that I tried it on
in England, flunk. It's a picture of a caboose. You say "caboose", and
they look puzzled. I've tried this on Francis Crick [discoverer of DNA
and winner of the Nobel Prize], and he said, "There is no caboose there."
I said, "Do you know what a caboose is?" He said "Yes, it's a ship's kitchen."
I said, "Sorry, that's not right." He said, "Well, I'm sure it's right."
And he took down the Oxford English Dictionary and showed me that in England
"caboose" means a ship's kitchen. So that's a true cultural difference,
The bottom line turns out to
be that we can't face the prospect that there are real differences between
the various racial and social groups.
There are quite a few items that are of different difficulty in England,
but it's not true in this country. We tested hundreds of black and white
children on the PPVT, and the item difficulties are the same rank order,
except that fewer black children get any single item right.
AR: So those that argue cultural bias
are reduced to arguing that the entire process is
J: The entire process is somehow biased,
yes. That inductive and deductive reasoning is itself a cultural invention
and it is biased against blacks.
AR: That seems a bit of a stretch,
doesn't it? That's almost like saying that intelligence is somehow biased
J: That's right, yes.
AR: It reminds me a little bit of the
Ptolemeic Solar System, in which having assumed that the earth does not
move, then people had to come up with increasingly hair-brained schemes
to explain the apparent motions of the planets.
J: Absolutely, and there's sort of
an infinite regress of this sort of thing. You have to make up one fiction
to explain something, then you need another fiction to explain that fiction,
and it goes on and on. This affects branches of psychology that are nominally
totally disconnected from this issue. Things way out here someplace can't
be dealt with honestly because that fiction is a support for some other
fiction. The bottom line turns out to be that we can't face the prospect
that there are real differences between the various racial and social groups.
It's really quite incredible.
AR: I have always thought that given
this human genome project, that we can't help but stumble on genes, that
in certain combinations, result in intelligence.
J: Right, yes. That is already a subject
of research. Robert Plomin, at the State University of Pennsylvania, is
actually researching this now with modern techniques of molecular genetics.
He's looking for specific genes that influence intelligence. It will be
a difficult project, but this will eventually happen. Of course, when we
do find those genes, I think that'll probably settle the race differences
issue, which can't be settled by any known techniques of quantitative genetics,
mainly because all of those techniques are for studying the heritability
of individual differences in intelligence within racial groups,
and it is highly inheritable within all racial groups that have been studied.
There's no question that the preponderance of the variance in intelligence
- the g, more so than IQ - is attributable to the genetic variance.
But you can't use the same techniques to study racial differences, because
all these techniques are based on a comparison of relatives - twins, identical
twins, fraternal twins, siblings, parents and children. You don't find
pairs of identical twins where one's black and the other's white, so there
are no known ways in quantitative genetics for studying this, short of
one that's technically possible but practically unfeasible - to say nothing
of the ethical objections. It would be something like a true breeding experiment
such as they do in agricultural genetics.
There would have to be random samples of the white and black populations
mated at random. Then the children cross-fostered at random in black and
white homes. You'd have a complete experimental design of children whose
parents are both white, both black, mixed white and black, and children
who were reared in each type of home. Then if that were all thrown into
what is called an analysis of variance, those data could be analyzed and
one could sort out the degree to which the differences on any trait were
attributable to genetic factors and environmental factors.
AR: So you could design an experiment
that would give definitive data?
J: Oh, right. No doubt about it, but
it's an experiment that simply couldn't be done.
AR: Well, to raise another question
about intelligence: it's my understanding, although I've never seen it
written about very much, that although the average male and female IQ is
the same, the variance for men is greater.
J: That's absolutely true, yes. All
of the data show that.
AR: Well that seems to be a thoroughly
suppressed bit of data also.
J: In some circles, yes. Although nearly
everyone working in the field knows of this.
AR: But it seems to me that it's important
in so far as out at the tails of the curve - doesn't that mean that the
number of men with IQs of 160, say, could very well be five or six times
greater than the number of women with IQs of 160?
AR: Which seems to me would explain
the kinds of things egalitarians are so often complaining about.
J: Right, few women mathematicians
and musical composers.
AR: Perhaps that's explained as much
by the difference of IQ in these tails [of the distribution curve] as anything
J: Yes. Julian Stanley is a professor
at Johns Hopkins University who, for 25 years has been conducting a nationwide
talent search for high level mathematicians. He finds these kids when they're
anywhere from ten to fifteen years of age and he gets them into universities.
He finds very few women each year, very few girls. The top fifty are always
males. He goes through at least fifty males before he finds a female who's
next in rank.
These females who are selected into this program - he's only interested
in maybe the top 100 each year that he can find in the whole nation - but
the females are the best in their schools. I mean they're not girls who
didn't like math; they've loved it all their lives. They are the best in
their schools. They are math whizzes, but there are always fifty or so
males ahead of them in math talent.
There are great women pianists
and violinists, but there are no great women composers. There are no great
women mathematicians, and there are no great women chess players. Those
are the three fields in which there is a distinct sex difference.
Now, the same may be true in musical composition talent, because there's
no prejudice against women writing music, as far as I know. Women write
novels and poetry, and there are a lot of women composers. I found a whole
book in the library of biographies of women composers, but you probably
haven't heard of more than a couple of them, and you'd have to name fifty
male composers, at least, before you got to one that was on a par with
the most famous woman composer.
AR: And you feel that that's probably
a reflection of their talent for composing?
J: Yes, I think so. How would you explain
that in terms of some cultural bias? You could explain it in the case of
musical performance, let's say - that the audience or the public doesn't
accept a woman pianist. But there are great women pianists, great women
violinists, but there are no great women composers. There are no great
women mathematicians, and there are no great women chess players. Those
are the three fields in which there is a distinct sex difference - probably
not at the middle - but at the top, and they are the three fields where
there are authentic child prodigies, about the only ones where you find
children who can outperform most adults who've devoted their lives to this
kind of thing.
AR: Well, the sorts of things that
you've been telling me, the sorts of things you've been doing research
about, can you and do you freely teach these things in your classes?
J: I sure do. I soft-pedaled things
20 years ago, and even then, there were great protests. I had students
who would drop the course if these things were brought up even in a very
mild way, in a hypothetical way. Students today wonder what all the shouting
AR: Is that so?
J: Yes, it's rather hard to get students
to believe that there were these protests and so on. They take a lot of
this for granted. Oh, there's been a great change in the students in that
But even in 1969-1970, I never saw a black in any of these
AR: Is that right?
J: Not a one.
AR: They were SDS [Students for a Democratic
J: All SDS and Progressive Labor Party,
mainly. I tried to put them out when they tried to audit my course, because
they were hecklers, and so some of the SDS people would sign up for the
course. Of course, then they'd have to do the assignments and take the
Interestingly enough, they usually were the top students in the course
because they did so much outside reading to try and give me a bad time.
They would go out and read everything Galton wrote! They were bright students.
They just happened to be political radicals.
Years ago, if I gave talks at the APA or the American Educational Research
Association, the least little thing you'd say, people would get up on the
floor and start denouncing you. I haven't run into that for a long time,
except in Canada and Australia. There's about a ten year cultural lag in
those places, I think, on this topic.
AR: I guess nowadays, as compared to
fifteen or twenty years ago, you're not a notorious presence on campus?
People don't say, "There goes Jensen!" You just don't get that anymore?
J: No, no. I used to. I used to have
to be accompanied around campus by two campus policemen. In fact, they
told me not to leave my office and go to the library, or any place, except
to go to the men's room around the corner, but not anywhere else without
calling the campus police. They'd whiz across campus in a car and they'd
be here in just a couple of minutes and walk with me wherever I wanted
to go. One year I had two campus policemen, plain clothes men, in all my
classes. They audited my courses.
In next month's conclusion
of this interview, Prof. Jensen discusses the larger, social implications
of his findings.
The White Man's Burden
An appeal to white racial solidarity, written
when such an appeal was still respectable
Reviewed by Thomas Jackson
Because so much that is written about race is now fantasy or obfuscation,
it is instructive to read books from an era when public expression was
not so rigidly controlled as it is today. It is refreshing to find matter-of-fact
statements of a kind that would now provoke astonishment and outrage. At
the same time, it is sobering to realize that well-respected men saw the
dangers towards which our nation was moving and that their warnings were
The Philosophy of Nationalism
Charles Conant Josey
Originally published in 1923, Cliveden
Press reprint, 227 pp. $18.00. [Available for $18.00, post paid, from the
Cliveden Press, 6861 Elm Street, Suite 4H, McLean, VA 22101.]
Charles Conant Josey was a professor of psychology at Dartmouth College
during the 1920s, and was a moderately prominent scholar. In 1923, he wrote
a book describing what he saw to be the alternative courses that history
might take. In his view, there was one great question on which all else
depended: would the white nations maintain their loyalties to culture,
nation, and race, or abandon those loyalties in the name of universal brotherhood?
The answer to that question would govern the course of history.
That Josey should even ask it showed a remarkable prescience, given
the near-total world dominance the white nations then held. Only Japan
was conceivably a remote threat to their economic, military, and cultural
supremacy. The French and British Empires were at their high water marks.
The white nations conducted the affairs of the world with a confidence
that, from today's perspective, seems unshakable.
Josey saw that it was not unshakable. In fact, what he saw so disturbed
him that he believed that the abdication and subsequent dispossession of
whites was a real possibility. His book is therefore not only a forecast
- surprisingly accurate - of what would happen if whites lost their nerve,
but a valuable record of the early signs of that loss. Aside from some
unconvincing psychological speculation in the early chapters, it is a compelling
account of the choices that faced the European peoples. Originally published
as Race and National Solidarity and long out of print, Josey's book
has been republished, with a new title, by the Cliveden Press.
It is well to be reminded that even in the 1920s there was a strong
movement to tear down parochial loyalties and to replace them with a kind
of world citizenship. Wilsonian idealism and the League of Nations were
a clear break with the loyalties of the past. Josey writes that intellectuals
and churchmen were among the strongest advocates of internationalism and
that one-worldism, described as a logical extension of democracy, was rapidly
becoming an ideal that few dared to criticize.
This ideal was in direct conflict with deep-seated feelings that men
have always had. As Josey put it, "To one's friends one owes more than
to strangers. To one's fellow citizens one is bound by stronger ties of
duty than to foreigners. To members of one's race one is bound by bonds
which do not exist between members of different races. We cannot neglect
these closer bonds, which draw men together in groups, in the attempt to
simplify life by treating every one alike." As he pointed out, group loyalties
are inherent to the nature of man, and to wish to do away with them flies
in the face of history and of common sense.
Value of the Group
Josey was perhaps at his best in describing how important are the very
parochial loyalties that the internationalists wished to destroy. After
all, a sense of the group is possible only because it does not include
everyone. To ask that people be loyal to humanity at large is to dilute
the notion of loyalty so greatly that it loses all meaning.
Josey offered many examples of the strength and inspiration that men
draw from the group: martial valor, school spirit, patriotism, the sense
of peoplehood. He drew parallels with the ancient Greeks and Romans: "They
felt themselves to be a race of superior men, and they acted as superior
men. When, however, the Greeks and the Romans lost their group consciousness,
when their sympathies became so broad that all men were regarded as belonging
to one brotherhood, the glory and grandeur of these peoples suffered a
steady decline." Internationalists prefer to ignore something known to
all football coaches, military men, and even factory managers - that group
cohesion is a precious source of energy and inspiration.
As group cohesion withers and
borders lose their meaning, the individual becomes the only unit that matters.
At the same time, Josey pointed out, group consciousness brings out
that sentiment for which the internationalists professed to feel so deeply:
sympathy for one's fellow man. It is within the bounds of ancient loyalties
that charity and self-sacrifice naturally arise.
Josey noted that national and racial loyalty is sapped by individualism
as much as by internationalism, and that the former may masquerade as the
latter. For a coward who is afraid to fight for his country, what better
excuse than to claim to be a world citizen and a lover of all mankind?
Josey would not be surprised to learn how far both narrow selfishness
and the pose of internationalism have corroded group loyalty. Americans
neglect their children - when they bother to have them at all - while professing
a fashionable belief in the equivalence of nations and races. They vote
less and less often, while printing ballots in more and more languages.
As group cohesion withers and borders lose their meaning, the individual
becomes the only unit that matters. The racial and national group that
can keep alive a great culture is thus dissipated from within and eroded
Who Will Prevail?
Josey saw very clearly that if whites lost their confidence, they would
lose the chance they then had to direct the destiny of the world. But should
whites have prevailed simply because they had the power to prevail? Who
was to say that their ideals were the best and that they deserved to prevail?
Josey rejected the relativism that paralyzes so many whites today: "We
may admit that our idea of the maximum good of the world may not be the
same as the ideas of a tiger, lion, or possibly even of the Chinese or
the negroes. We may even admit that their ideas may be better than ours.
But what is the probability? Are not the chances equally great that ours
are as good as theirs? More than this, our values are the only guides we
Josey urged us to seek wisdom among any people that may have it. However,
to fail to act because our wisdom is not perfect is contemptible:
"Perhaps our values and preferences are not the best values and preferences,
but as long as they are our values and preferences, we must make use of
them in regulating our behavior. To do otherwise could but result in the
most complete moral chaos."
In the long term, Josey saw that one-worldism would lead to the disappearance
of Western culture and of the people who created it. If the white nations,
as they were increasingly being asked to do, shared with the non-white
nations the fruits of their science and hygiene, the already outnumbered
whites would be further outnumbered. If they followed the ideals of the
equivalence of races and the illegitimacy of national borders, they must
receive the burgeoning non-white populations into Europe, North America,
The past 70 years have witnessed exactly what Josey predicted. What
will the next 70 bring? At least in the 1920s, it was possible to warn
against an outcome that looms ever nearer: "
a shift [in populations]
would be disastrous to us, and in all probability to mankind. Certainly
we have no reason to believe that the good of the world will be served
by the submergence of the whites under a wave of color."
One of the tasks Josey set himself was to understand the "moral elation"
of men who urge their people to sacrifice the interests of their group
or race to the interests of others. He saw one-worldism as an irrational
extension of democracy which, in turn, he saw as virtually the equivalent
of dogma. For him, democracy was the religion of the mediocre intellectual;
all ideas could be evaluated quickly and lazily according to whether they
were or were not democratic.
'We no longer think that God
is pleased at human sacrifices. Why should we think he is pleased at the
sacrifice of a race and culture?'
Josey warned repeatedly of the folly of extending to the entire world
the democratic principles we might find appropriate among ourselves. He
likened one-worldism to "the waves of religious enthusiasm which gave rise
to the Crusades, Flagellation, and the Dancing Mania of the Middle Ages."
He then added darkly that "historians may look back upon it as an interesting
episode in the affairs of men. Let us hope they will not have to look back
upon it as a wave of emotional contagion that brought about the destruction
of the white races."
Josey wrote that men have managed to throw off some of the cruel demands
religion has made in the past: "We no longer think that God is pleased
at human sacrifices. Why should we think he is pleased at the sacrifice
of a race and culture?"
If anything is clearer now than it was 70 years ago, it is that the
failure of nerve among the white nations will lead eventually to
dispossession, and that dogmatic internationalism will lead to the sacrifice
of race and culture. Nevertheless, Time magazine cheerfully predicts
minority status for American whites within a few decades, and affirmative
action, welfare, and massive non-white immigration still evoke in some
the "moral elation" that Josey found so difficult to explain.
When he wrote Race and National Solidarity, Josey thought that
whites could perhaps combine their yearning for international brotherhood
with the recognition that unchecked internationalism would weaken their
nations and denature their cultures. He hoped that the white nations might
set aside their quarrels and unite on the basis of race and heritage, but
he feared they would not.
If they do, it will happen first in Europe. The Old World has fewer
illusions about non-white immigration; nativist parties are winning votes
on platforms that could have been written by Charles Josey. The whites
of North America, who live amidst even clearer evidence of internationalist
idealism gone wrong, have yet to heed his message.
O Tempora, O Mores!
The Riots Rumble On
As expected, the Federal government has reacted to the riots in South
Central Los Angeles by pouring money into it. So far, the feds have set
aside $638 million and the total continues to grow. Three hundred million
dollars is in subsidized loans by the Small Business Administration, and
that figure could well reach $500 million. Another $200 million is in outright
grants to local governments to replace public buildings that were burned
The $100 million
or so that residents will see the quickest is for housing, food, and replacement
of property. James Baker is a typical beneficiary. He lost his job as a
shelf stocker when the store he worked in was destroyed. He gets food stamps,
unemployment compensation, and grants with which to pay rent. "This is
a great relief effort," he says; "They have all the agencies you need here
to take care of each aspect of your life." [Richard Stevenson, Riots victims
begin getting $638 million in aid, NYT, June 1, 1992, p. A12.] Let
us hope Mr. Baker does not get so comfortable that he loses his taste for
The riots have introduced the strange logic of American race relations
to insurance companies. Those that refrained from writing policies in South
Central Los Angeles are being blamed for "blatant discrimination and abandonment
of poorer areas," while companies that wrote big policies are boasting
about how much they will be paying out in losses. If anything were proof
of the wisdom of staying on the sidelines in South Central, the most costly
riot this century is surely it.
California's Deputy Commissioner of Insurance, Steven Miller, doesn't
see it that way. He has proposed new regulations to induce companies to
write policies on dodgey properties - and cover their losses by changing
more to everyone else. [Peter Kerr, Did insurers abandon the inner city?,
NYT, May 31, 1992, p. 1, Sec. 3.]
Meanwhile, about a third of the people arrested during the riots are
being released because of insufficient evidence. When police make arrests
by the armload, they cannot remember every face. In Los Angeles, some officers
had the presence of mind to take polaroid pictures of looters, but those
who did not must remember the reason for and circumstances of each arrest.
When that is impossible, the suspect goes free. [Seth Mydans, Police can't
identify them, so looting suspects go free, NYT, June 3, 1992, p.
The 9mm semi-automatic pistol, favored by drug dealers, is a powerful
weapon that can fire as many as 13 rounds without reloading. The six-shot,
.38 caliber revolvers carried by New York City police are not nearly so
potent. Recently, the New York State Senate voted 51 to 3 to even the odds
by equipping the city police with 9mm weapons manufactured by Glock. Who
should oppose this measure but Mayor David Dinkins and Police Commissioner
Lee Brown? They have complained that the weapons are too powerful and too
By curious coincidence, both Mayor Dinkins and Commissioner Brown's
own bodyguards carry the Glock 9mm. State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, who
supported the legislation to upgrade the police side-arm says, "Maybe I'm
missing something, but if the Glock is safe enough to protect police commissioners,
who have never been subject to attack in the past 50 years, why shouldn't
ordinary police officers have the same protection?"
Ray Kerrison of the New York Post (June 3, 1992) boldly points
out that Assemblyman Joseph Lentol is missing something. Both the
mayor and commissioner are black. "They don't want white cops in minority
neighborhoods with high-powered guns," says Mr. Kerrison. [Ray Kerrison,
If mayor & top cop oppose new gun
, NY Post, June 3, 1992, p.
"The Race of None"
Barbara Ehrenreich is a frequent contributor to the New York Times
Magazine and other lefty journals. She has fully absorbed the required
ethnicity lessons of the day, and thinks that her Irish-English-Scottish
ancestry has no meaning or significance. In a recent article, she explained
that when she was younger, ethnic nothingness seemed a terrible legacy
to pass on to her children, but she thought she had found a way around
I had hoped that by marrying a man of Eastern-European Jewish
ancestry I would acquire for my descendants the ethnic genes that my own
forebears so sadly lacked.
It didn't work. She tried to celebrate Passover with her children, but
gave up when they realized she was faking it. She reports that her children
grew up with no racial or ethnic consciousness, but she wasn't sure that
was an entirely good thing until recently:
A few weeks ago I cleared my throat and asked the children,
now mostly grown and fearsomely smart, whether they felt any stirrings
of ethnic or religious identity, which might have been, ahem, insufficiently
nourished at home.
"None," they said, adding firmly "and the world
would be a better place if nobody else did, either." My chest swelled with
pride, as would my mother's, to know that the race of "none" marches on.
Could anyone but a white person have written those lines or thought those
In May, Hispanics from all over the state of Arizona gathered in Phoenix
to protest "discrimination" in the schools. Discrimination used to mean
treating people differently because of race, but now it means treating
them the same. The protesters don't like what they are being taught, since
they say they do not want to be assimilated into the Anglo way of life.
Curiously, they want the "Anglos" to be taught a Hispanic curriculum, too.
"All people need to learn more about what the indigenous peoples on this
continent have to offer," said Tupac Enrique, who drove his point home
by performing a "sacred Aztec ceremony" at the State Capitol. Arizona Governor,
Fife Symington, usually pays no attention to uninvited demonstrators, but
this time he invited the Hispanics into his office so they could speak
to him in person. [Kim Sue Lia Perkes, Hispanics allege bias in schools,
Arizona Republic, May 5, 1992, p. B1.]
The Color of Crime
On any given day, 42 percent of all black men in the District of Columbia
between the ages of 18 and 35 are entangled in some way with the police.
Fifteen percent of the men in that age group are in prison, 21 percent
are on probation or parole, and 6 percent are awaiting trial or are fugitives.
The same figures are not available for white people in DC, but a study
done in 1990 in New York City found that the total equivalent figure for
whites was three percent.
In Washington, 70 percent of black men are arrested at least once by
the time they turn 35, and 85 percent are arrested at some point in their
lives. In the city's Lorton jail, 99 percent of inmates are black and one
percent are white. [Jason DeParle, 42% of young black males go through
capital's courts, NYT, April 18, 1992, p. 1.]
New York City, which its mayor likes to call a "gorgeous mosaic" of
races and ethnicities, is becoming less and less American. One indicator
is what the city decides to celebrate. For example, this was the first
year that there was no Memorial Day parade down Broadway. [Michel Marriott,
Sun and fun yield to a day of reflection, NYT, May 26, 1992, p.
B1.] Now that the city's population is 35 percent foreign-born and 57 percent
non-white, its people no longer see the point in honoring soldiers who
died for the country.
Christopher Columbus has barely survived the ax. Now that he is reviled
as a racist and imperialist, the city no longer pays him any attention.
Diana Dixon, a black woman who works in the mayor's Office of Special Events,
did not even want private citizens celebrating the 500th anniversary of
the discovery of America, and refused to grant a permit for a parade. Only
after strong Italian-American support was mustered by a travel company
owner, Bill Fugazy, did the Dinkins administration relent. [David Seifman,
City discovers a hot potato: Columbus, NY Post, May 27, 1992, p.
14. Honoring Christopher Columbus, NY Post, June 1, 1992.]
Great Blacks in Wax
Great Blacks in Wax is the name of an all-black wax museum in Baltimore.
One hundred or so figures are on display, including Malcolm X, Billie Holiday,
Martin King, Rosa Parks, and Shirley Chisolm. The museum was founded with
public financial help from the city of Baltimore and the State of Maryland,
and is run by Elmer Martin, a professor at Morgan State University. He
says he started the museum after many unsuccessful years of trying to teach
history to black Little League players. "Documents wouldn't do it," he
Great Blacks in Wax actually displays a few whites. John Brown is there,
and Rosa Parks is being taken off a Birmingham bus by a white policeman.
[Dorothy Gaiter, Blacks in Wax: A museum breathes life into history, WSJ,
May 26, 1992, p. 1.]
Such Capital Fellows
Late in May, Congressman Bob Traxler of Michigan was mugged just a few
blocks from the Capitol building in Washington. A black man beat him unconscious
and then rifled his pockets.
congressmen made quite a fuss over the fact that such a thing could happen
to one of their own within the shadow of the great white dome. Nevertheless,
the uproar was notable for certain lacunae. Our legislators did not
whistle up a study on the root causes of crime, nor did they commission
an investigation into employment opportunities for black youth. They were
strangely silent about the "legitimate rage" in the inner cities.
Instead, Congress set to work on a bill that would triple the geographical
area that would be under the jurisdiction of the Capitol Police and added
an amendment that would give the force general police powers. They also
called in the FBI to help find the man who attacked Congressman Traxler.
[When congress gets mugged, NY Post, June 3, 1992.]
Your Tax Dollars at Work
Blacks are turned down for mortgages more often than whites. The reason,
according to prevailing theory, is that racist bankers deny loans to blacks
just because they are black. No one has a convincing explanation for why
bankers would deny themselves profitable business just because the borrower
is black. No one seems to think that insurance salesmen or pharmacists
refuse to do business with blacks, but bankers are apparently different.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has decided to
spend $1 million in taxpayers' money to get to the bottom of this. They
will pay black and white actors to fill out dummy loan applications with
equivalent information and see if the white gets the loan more often than
the black. [Dee Gill, Big banks asked to explain racial disparities in
loans, Houston Chronicle, May 20, 1992, p. 1A.] How HUD will establish
phony credit records and job histories for these people remains to be seen.
Bankers have been telling HUD that lending criteria are colorblind,
but blacks are less creditworthy than whites. HUD is prepared to make bankers
waste a lot of time over bogus loan applications in order to find out for
Ralph Martinelli is the publisher of eight weekly newspapers in New
York's Westchester County. On May 22 he printed a front-page editorial
in three of them, entitled, "Here Was the Land of Milk and Honey." He cited
welfare and immigration statistics to show that illegal immigrants from
Mexico are not the ornament to the nation we are supposed to think them:
They come in this country and have babies who are automatically
they swamp our welfare and social service rolls and
the taxpayers of this country are paying through the nose to keep their
children healthy and educated.
The editorial, which even spoke of "a horde of Spanish-speaking immigrants,"
has elicited the usual fulminations from the usual quarters. So far, Mr.
Martinelli is sticking to his guns. [Rose Marie Arce, Editorial outrages
hispanics, NY Newsday, June 2, 1992.]
The Content of His Character
In Texas, judges are usually elected, but the governor fills unexpected
vacancies by appointment. When a judge of the Texas Court of Appeals retired
recently, Governor Anne Richards appointed a white Houston lawyer, Michael
Charlton, to serve the rest of his term. In accordance with Texas tradition,
Mr. Charlton sought approval for the appointment from his state senator,
Rodney Ellis.. Senator Ellis, who is black, said that he did not want a
white to get the job, and Mr. Charlton promptly withdrew. Senator Ellis
told Gov. Richards she should appoint a black, and sent her a list of 10
names for consideration. [Alan Bernstein, Minority focus nudges white off
appeals court, Houston Chronicle, May 13, 1992.]
The Houston Chronicle found this upsetting. In an editorial,
it criticized Gov. Richards for not having consulted the black state senator
before making her ill-advised appointment. [Doing it right, Houston
Chronicle, May 15, 1992.]
It has become increasingly common for gangs of "youths" to stampede
into a store, overwhelm the sales clerks, grab whatever they want, and
make a quick getaway. A recent such caper in Miami went awry when one of
the getaway cars crashed after police gave chase. The car was immediately
surrounded by an estimated 75 people who looted the car. "There
was merchandise all over the place, clothes and jewelry
the tags still
on," said Tyrone Jones, who watched.
The crowd was hostile to the police, and would not let them approach
the car. This was convenient for two of the robbers, who escaped on foot,
but bad luck for another. He was badly injured and trapped in the car,
but the crowd paid him no attention. He waited in the car, bleeding, until
police could clear the crowd with dogs and cut him free. [Looters learn
that turnabout can be foul play, Houston Chronicle, June 5, 1992.]
New Vices to Conquer
has discovered a new form of discrimination that must be extirpated: accentism.
One of the forbidden categories of discrimination under civil rights laws
is national origin. Therefore, it is illegal for an employer to decline
to hire someone for a public contact postion because of his incomprehensible
This is a form of discrimination that somehow managed to escape detection
until January of this year. A successful accent-discrimination suit in
Los Angeles has set off a number of imitators. For example, in a recent
case brought in Alexandria (VA), a motel refused to promote a Ghana-born
employee to assistant manager because of his accent. His boss found the
man otherwise capable, but asked, "How will our guests relate to this man's
accent?" This was the wrong question to ask. The Equal Empoyment Opportunity
Commission has sued the motel. [Jay Sherman, Bias suit targets worker's
accent, The Fairfax Journal (Fairfax County, VA) May 27, 1992.]
Hispanics are following the case with great interest.
E T T E R S F R O M R E A D E
Sir - I would like to comment on your review in the May issue of Gringo
Justice. As it happens, I know Spanish America (where I was born) and
Mexico particularly well.
In my recent travels to the United States I have studied the population
that Euro-Americans call "Chicano" or Latino. These people are hardly a
reflection of the Hispanic reality. I am astounded when I speak with Chicanos
or listen to Spanish-language broadcasts in the United States. The very
low cultural level of these people and the lamentable poverty of their
language show that the United States has become a receptacle for a class
of people with little European blood, whose social and cultural levels
are very low.
One need only cross the Rio Grande to know the contempt in which the
higher classes e.` Hispanic hold these "Chicanos." You may recall that
in Latin America, social barriers are really racial barriers; the highest
levels of the social hierarchy are the most European.
Nevertheless, the degraded state of Mexican-Americans is not entirely
the consequence of genetics. The loss of national identity after annexation
in 1848 is an important factor. Let me cite you an example. I own recordings
of popular Mexican-American music from the 1920s. The singers are all working
class, but their songs are of a high literary quality and spring from the
collective memory. Today, it would be impossible to find such a high level
of culture among these people.
What has happened? American schooling obliterates Mexican culture without
implanting "Anglo" culture. It is therefore not surprising that Latinos
should adopt the intellectual schema of the liberals, and use the same
means as blacks in order to seek advantages.
Therefore, I would say that Gringo Justice is not so much a reflection
of the Hispanic reality as part of an internal debate within the United
States. The book's whining tone would exasperate any cultivated Hispano-American
who, in his heart of hearts, considers himself superior to the Anglo colonist.
Trystan Mordrel Paris, France
Sir - Your hunt for "test bias" in the May issue reminded me of Arthur
Jensen's 600-page book, Bias in Mental Testing, in which he examines
test bias from every conceivable point of view. Before the book was published,
the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences arranged for upwards of
20 psychologists to do an open peer commentary on the book's thesis. If
any AR readers would like a free copy of this issue of the journal,
they may write to me at the address below. I still have about 25 copies.
On another matter, when can we expect from AR a no-holds-barred
report on the causes and prevention of riots? Let me tell you how things
were long before your time: In 1926 there was a devastating hurricane in
Palm Beach County, Florida. Several hundred people lost their lives. There
was no electricity, no water, no telephone. The chief of police warned
that looters would be shot on sight. One was. No more looting. I know,
for I was there.
R.T. Osborne, Box 5712, Athens, Ga. 30604
Sir - The piece on the Los Angeles riots in the June issue was by far
the best I have seen on the subject. The media have been astonishingly
depraved on this. In fact, after so many years of following American politics,
I feel that I am just now waking up to how corrupt and contemptible the
media-class really is.
I would like to point out to you, however that the one columnist who
called for the National Guard to go into South Central Los Angeles at once
and "shoot to kill"-surely the correct policy-was the black libertarian
economist, Walter Williams.
Ralph Raico, Buffalo, N. Y.
Sir - I wish to congratulate you on a superbly well-written and informative
Some of your readers may wish to know of a book in my private library
called The American Renaissance, 1887-1917. It was published by
the Brooklyn Museum in 1979 to memorialize a glorious exhibit held there
that year, which later traveled to Washington, San Francisco, and Denver.
As the authors point out, the Renaissance had, by the 1890s, become "the
primary animating force of American art, architecture, and culture." The
result was an outpouring of beautiful and profoundly Eurocentric public
works. Anyone with a good library or used bookstore nearby should try to
get his hands on a copy of this reminder of what we have lost.
Robert Beverley, Asheville, N.C.