How Legends are Created
The Counterfeit Glory
George Washington Carver
There was affirmative
long before it had a
by Marian Evans
The discovery and promotion of black “role models”
is now an important industry. It lifts long-dead cowboys, inventors, and
ship captains from obscurity and presents them as significant figures ignored
by racist white society. It accounts for why so many unknown blacks suddenly
appear on postage stamps or in black-history-month displays.
Carver is very much the reverse. He was a legend in his own time, as the
man who brought modern agriculture to the South and who discovered hundreds
of ingenious new uses for the peanut. Along with people like Frederick
Douglass and W.E.B. DuBois, he is a central figure in the history of black
achievement, but his fame is absurdly out of proportion to his meager accomplishments.
How did a good and engaging but unremarkable man win a reputation as a
brilliant scientist long before affirmative action? His story, like that
of Martin Luther King’s plagiarism (see book review, p. 5), says more about
white people than about the man himself.
Traded For a Horse
Carver was born in Missouri during the last years of slavery, probably
in 1864. An important part of the Carver myth is the dramatic story of
his abduction when he was no more than six months old. “Night riders”
made off with him and his mother with the intention of selling them in
the deep South. Their owner, Moses Carver, did everything within his power
to get the mother and child back, but managed to have only the child returned
– in exchange for a horse. Biographers would later call it “the most valuable
horse in American history.”
After emancipation, his owners kept him as a foster child and did their
best to educate him. Through persistence and despite hardships, Carver
earned bachelors and masters degrees in agriculture, and in 1896 was hired
by Booker T. Washington at
the Tuskegee Institute. He spent his entire career at Tuskegee and it was
there that he built his reputation as the great peanut genius.
How did an engaging but unremarkable
man win a reputation as a brilliant scientist?
According to the official story, Carver quickly turned the loss-making
farm at the Tuskegee Experiment Station into a money-maker and set about
instructing Southerners in modern agricultural methods that transformed
the region. His first known involvement with peanuts was in 1903, and his
first serious effort to promote their cultivation was a 1916 bulletin called
to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing It for Human Consumption.
According to the myth, it was Carver who, almost single- handedly, introduced
crop rotation to the monoculture South and it was his substitution of peanuts
for cotton that saved the region from the boll weevil. Then, appalled that
he had promoted peanuts to the point of overproduction and falling prices,
he rushed into the laboratory and invented hundreds of profitable new ways
to use the crop. As we shall see, the truth is quite different.
Carver was, nevertheless, an enthusiastic spokesman for the peanut,
and in 1920, the United Peanut Association of America invited him to address
its convention. This was a calculated public relations measure by the newly-formed
association. There was news value in having a black man address its convention
and in Carver’s entertaining claims for 145 different, practical uses for
The association, which was lobbying Congress for a protective tariff,
then sent Carver to Washington to present the peanut to the House Ways
and Means Committee. Some of the legislators treated him with amused condescension,
but by showing them samples of peanut soap, peanut face cream, peanut paint
and a host of other improbable products, he held their attention for nearly
two hours – far longer than the 10 minutes originally allotted him. This
appearance was widely reported and was an important step towards fame.
Carver became a favorite on the exhibit and lecture circuit, and his
laboratory was opened to admiring visitors from all
around the world. The number of peanut products continued to grow, with
a final tally of something around three hundred. The wizard turned his
attention to other lowly plants and reported over 150 uses for the sweet
potato. He reportedly made synthetic marble from wood shavings and paint
from cow dung. By the 1930s, he was the legendary “Mr. Peanut,” and admiring
articles appeared about him everywhere. An early issue of
published photographs of the great man.
Carver did not record the formulas
for his products so it is impossible to reporduce or evaluate them.
Carver’s death in 1943 prompted countless newspaper eulogies. President
Franklin Roosevelt’s statement on the occasion – “The world of science
has lost one of its most eminent figures . . . .” – was typical of public
pronouncements across the nation. Senator Harry Truman introduced a bill
to make Carver’s birthplace a national monument. It passed without a single
dissenting vote, making Carver only the third American to be so honored,
along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. A new star had joined
the American firmament.
The Real Record
What were Carver’s real achievements? The mainstays of his fame are
easily unstrung. First of all, he was unable to make the Experiment Station
farm profitable. He was interested in laboratory work, not administration,
and had no talent for scheduling and overseeing the black students who
worked the farm. His boss, Booker T. Washington, upbraided him for his
failure to make the farm pay and pointed out that Carver did not even practice
the sensible agricultural methods he preached to others.
Far more important is the question of his influence on peanut production.
National production records show that the crop doubled from 19.5 million
bushels to over 40 million bushels from 1909 to 1916, a rise that the Department
of Agriculture called “one of the striking developments that have taken
place in the agriculture of the South.” However, the increase took place
before the publication of Carver’s first peanut tract, How to Grow .
. . arid 105 Ways . . . and before he seriously promoted the crop.
During the 1920s, when Carver was enthusiastically boosting the peanut,
national production actually fell. In Alabama, the state in which Carver
worked, the 1917 peak was not reached again until the mid-1930s – and with
little help from Macon County where Tuskegee is located. Carver himself
noted sadly in 1933, that few peanuts were grown on the farms nearest to
and most easily influenced by the institute. It is undoubtedly true that
his peanut evangelism persuaded some to grow the crop, but his influence
was by no means decisive.
What of the miraculous products Carver derived from the peanut? In 1974,
the posthumously established Carver Museum at the Tuskegee Institute listed
287 peanut products, but much duplication inflates the figure. Bar candy,
chocolate-coated peanuts, and peanut-chocolate fudge are listed as separate
items, as are face cream, face lotion, and all-purpose cream. No less than
66 of the 287 products are dyes – thirty for cloth, 19 for leather and
17 for wood.
Many of the products were obviously not invented or discovered by Carver
– “salted peanuts” are on the list – and the efficacy of many, including
a “face bleach and tan remover” cannot be guaranteed or even tested.
Astonishingly enough, Carver did not record the formulas for his
products, so it is impossible to reproduce or evaluate them.
Although the popular understanding about Carver is that he launched
whole industries that ran on peanuts, scarcely any of his products were
ever marketed, and his commercial and scientific legacy
amounts to practically nothing. He was granted only one peanut patent –
for a cosmetic containing peanut oil – but this slim achievement was interpreted
as pure generosity. “As each by-product was perfected,” wrote one admirer
in 1932, “he gave it freely to the world, asking only that it be used
for the benefit of mankind.”
Little benefit ensued because he never explained how to make the things
he claimed to have discovered. In 1923, for example, Carver announced “peanut
nitroglycerin” in a article called “What is a Peanut?”, published in
Peanut Journal. He cheerfully reported that “This industry is practically
new but shows great promise of expansion;” in fact, there was no peanut
nitroglycerin industry and never would be. It is impossible to confirm
if there was ever even any peanut nitroglycerin.
Other promising products were announced in articles with titles like
“The Peanut’s Place in Everyday Life,” “Dawning of a New Day for the
Peanut,” and “The Peanut Possesses Unbelievable Possibilities in Sickness
and Health.” These possibilities remained largely as he characterized
Carver’s methods can be attributed, in part, to his gifted laboratory
assistant. He recounted to many audiences how he turned to God in the despair
of learning that farmers, following his advice, had produced a peanut glut:
“ ‘Oh, Mr. Creator,’ I asked, ‘why did you make this universe?’
On at least one occasion, Carver told a church audience that he never needed
to consult books when he did his scientific work; he relied exclusively
on divine revelation.
“And the Creator answered me, ‘You want to know too much for that little
mind of yours,’ He said.
“So I said, ‘Dear Mr. Creator, tell me what man was made for.’
“Again He spoke to me: ‘Little man, you are still asking for more than
you can handle. Cut down the extent of your request and improve the intent.’
“And then I asked my last question. ‘Mr. Creator, why did You make
“ ‘That’s better!’ the Lord said, and He gave me a handful of peanuts
and went with me back to the laboratory and, together, we got down to work.”
An Appealing Old Wizard
Upon close examination, therefore, “the Wizard of Tuskegee” resembles
a different wizard of stage and movie fame. How did he become, as Reader’s
Digest put it in 1965, “a scientist of undisputed genius”?
His appealing personal qualities certainly helped. He was genuinely
uninterested in money, and refused to accept a pay raise during his entire
46 years at Tuskegee. When a group of Florida peanut growers sent him a
check for diagnosing a peanut disease, he returned it, saying, “As the
good Lord charged nothing to grow your peanuts I do not think it fitting
of me to charge anything for curing them.”
He was also a black man segregationists could love. He was unmarried
and celibate, apolitical, and always deferential. He really did “shuffle”
and “shamble” wherever he went, and journalists enjoyed saying so.
A 1937 Reader’s Digest article written at the height of his fame
begins with these words:
“A stooped old Negro, carrying an armful of wild flowers,
shuffled along through the dust of an Alabama road . . . . I had seen hundreds
like him. Totally ignorant, unable to read and write, they shamble along
Southern roads in search of odd jobs. Fantastic as it seemed, this shabbily
clad old man was none other than the distinguished Negro scientist of the
Tuskegee Institute . . . .”
In 1923, the Atlanta Joumal wrote happily of Carver that “He combines
all the picturesque quaintness of the ante-bellum type of darkey [with]
. . . the mind of an amazing scientific genius . . . .”
Even after he became famous, Carver never attempted to cross the color
bar, even declining invitations to eat with whites. After the
death of the equally accommodating Booker T. Washington in 1915, Carver
took his place as the nation’s foremost docile but achieving Negro.
There is also no doubt that Carver himself helped inflate his reputation.
He did not explicitly claim to have invented all the products he spoke
of, but he glossed over the difference between invention and list-making
in a way that can only have been deliberate. When given an opportunity
to correct exaggerated claims on his behalf, he did so in humorously humble
ways that no one took seriously. On taking the podium, he might say, “I
always look forward to introductions about me as good opportunities to
learn a lot about myself that I never knew before.” To an author who had
written of him favorably, he
wrote, “How I wish I could measure up to half of the fine things this
article would have me be.”
He never needed to consult books;
when he did research, he relied solely on Divine revelation.
When asked for details about his inventions, he might reply, “I do
dislike to talk about what little I have been able, though Divine guidance,
to accomplish.” George Imes, who served for many years on the Tuskegee
faculty with Carver, later wrote of his “enigmatic replies” to queries
from scientists. To a writer who asked in 1936 for material on the practical
applications of his discoveries, Carver replied that he simply could not
keep up with them.
Of course, there always were people who knew that the reputation was
a soap bubble, but they kept quiet. In 1937, the Department of Agriculture
replied thus to a request for confirmation of Carver’s achievements:
“Dr. Carver has without doubt done some very interesting things
– things that were new to some of the people with whom he was associated,
but a great many of them, if I am correctly informed, were not new to other
people .... I am unable to determine just what profitable application has
been made of any of his so-called discoveries. I am writing this to you
confidentially... and would not wish to be quoted on the subject.”
In 1962, the National Park Service commissioned a study of Carver’s scientific
achievements in order to best represent them at the George Washington Carver
National Monument. Two professors at the University of Missouri turned
in such an unflattering report that the Park Service’s letter of transmittal
recommended that it not be circulated:
“While Professors Carroll and Muhrer are very careful to emphasize
Carver’s excellent qualities, their realistic appraisal of his ‘scientific
contributions,’ which loom so large in the Carver legend, is information
which must be handled very carefully . . . . Our present thinking is that
the report should not be published, at least in its present form, simply
to avoid any possible misunderstanding.”
By the 1950s, a few realistic appraisals of Carver’s career had appeared
in print, and the 1953 edition of the 1700-page Webster’s Biographical
Dictionary has no entry for him at all. Naturally, he has been rehabilitated
in subsequent editions, and at a time when virtually any black of modest
attainments is fair game as a “role model,” Carver’s chances of resting
in peaceful obscurity are slim to none.
From today’s perspective, one of the most significant aspects of the
Carver legend is that it grew to giant proportions in a segregated America
that had never dreamed of quotas or busing and in which virtually no one
believed blacks to be the intellectual equals of whites. It is instructive
– and sobering – to realize that even then the affirmative action impulse
was at work in the minds of whites.
The single best sounce for material on the Carver legend is “George
Washington Carver. The Making of a Myth,” which appeared in The Journal
of Southern History, November 1976 It contains excellent bibliographic
material and was an important source for this article.
• • • BACK
TO TOP • • •
in Spite of Himself
An astonishing tale of
misbehavior and the cover-up that followed.
Reviewed by Thomas Jackson
Luther King, Jr. Plagiarism
Theodore Pappas (Ed.)
The Rockford Institute, 1994, 107 pp.,
$10.00 (soft cover)
Late in 1987, a graduate student working on the project
to publish the collected papers of Martin Luther King discovered that King
had plagiarized huge parts of his doctoral dissertation. Clayborne Carson,
the director of the project, decided to suppress this fact, thus setting
in motion one of the most sordid tales of academic dishonesty and race-based
special pleading in recent memory.
This book is an invaluable collection of several accounts of what King
did and of the contemptible coverups and justifications that followed.
Not surprisingly, its editor, Theodore Pappas, could not find a commercial
publisher, so the book is unlikely to be in book stores or even in libraries.
Only if enough people buy and read it will its story survive the whitewash.
It is now clear that King began plagiarizing as a young man and continued
to do so throughout his career. At Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester,
Pennsylvania, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1951, his papers
were stuffed with unacknowledged material lifted verbatim from published
sources. The King papers project has dutifully collected this juvenilia,
and Mr. Pappas explains how it strikes the reader today:
“King’s plagiarisms are easy to detect because their style
rises above the level of his pedestrian student prose. In general, if the
sentences are eloquent, witty, insightful, or pithy, or contain allusions,
analogies, metaphors, or similes, it is safe to assume that the section
has been purloined.”
Mr. Pappas notes that in one paper King wrote at Crozer, 20 out of a total
of 24 paragraphs show “rverbatim theft.” King also plagiarized himself,
recycling old term papers as new ones. In their written comments on his
papers, some of King’s professors chided
him for sloppy references, but they seem to have had no idea how extensively
he was stealing material. By the time he was accepted into the PhD program
at Boston University, King was a veteran and habitual plagiarist.
Some of the most devastating parts of Mr. Pappas’ book are nothing more
than side-by-side comparisons of material from King’s PhD thesis and from
the sources he copied without attribution. King was overwhelmingly dependent
on just one source, a dissertation written on the same subject as his own
– the German-born theologian, Paul Tillich – by another Boston University
student named Jack Boozer.
Here is a typical passage from King’s thesis that is lifted, word for
word, from Boozer’s:
“Correlation means correspondence of data in the sense of
a correspondence between religious symbols and that which is symbolized
by them. It is upon the assumption of this correspondence that all utterances
about God’s nature are made. This correspondence is actual in the logos
nature of God and logos nature of man.”
There is word-for-word copying throughout the thesis. Mr. Pappas notes
that the entire 23rd page is lifted straight out of Boozer, and that even
when King was not stealing Boozer’s words without attribution, he was stealing
his ideas: “There is virtually no section of King’s discussion of
Tillich that cannot be found in Boozer’s text.”
Even when King is “quoting” Tillich, complete with footnotes, he may
actually be quoting Boozer. Boozer occasionally typed the wrong page number
in a Tillich footnote, or made an error transcribing
Tillich’s words. King copied the errors along with everything else.
King’s plagiarism is even more breath-taking than it seems. Boozer was
not just any B.U. graduate student. He had written his thesis in 1952,
only three years before King wrote his, and had submitted it to the
same advisor. Since the advisor is now dead, we will never know whether
he failed even to notice the copying or was simply practicing early affirmative
action. The second faculty reader of King’s thesis now excuses himself
by saying he read it early in his career, at a time when he was naive about
Even after he became famous, King continued to plagiarize. His “rLetter
From Birmingham City Jail,” is now known to contain passages he had cribbed
so often that he knew them by heart. Some of the best-known passages from
his “rI Have a Dream” speech are taken from a 1952 address by a black
preacher named Archibald Carey. His Nobel Prize Lecture and his books,
to Love and Stride Toward Freedom, are also extensively plagiarized.
Moreover, it is clear that King did not take from others because he
thought ideas and words were common property. He copyrighted the “rI Have
a Dream” speech, pilferings and all, and vigorously defended it against
unauthorized use. King’s estate continues to enforce the copyright. Only
last year, in a paroxysm of adulation, USA Today printed the full
text of the speech, beginning on the front page. The estate sued.
Shielding the Saint
Like his penchant for adultery, King’s intellectual dishonesty does
not sit well with his reputation as Saint and Great Man. Perhaps it is
because they reveal other failings that his FBI files are still sealed.
King, alone of all Americans, is honored with a national holiday, and it
is awkward for a saint to be caught stealing. The line of defense has been
predictable: He didn’t do it, and if he did, it doesn’t matter.
A three-year cover-up began with Mr. Carson and his staff at the King
papers project. He forbade anyone to use the word “rplagiarism,” and
has since written of the “rsimilarities” and “rtextual appropriations”
that were part of King’s “rsuccessful composition method.” Mrs. Coretta
Scott King also appears to have played a role in the cover-up by refusing
to release King’s handwritten dissertation notes. Mr. Carson deliberately
misled reporters who had heard rumors of plagiarism, and came clean with
the facts only when it became clear that the story would break anyway.
The project leader’s disingenuousness has not affected funding for the
King papers. They have probably swallowed up nearly a million dollars in
tax money as well as support from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations,
IBM, Intel and many other donors. In eight years, the project has published
only one volume of a projected fourteen.
To the profound discredit of the American press, it was a British paper,
the Sunday Telegraph, that first published a story, in December,
1989, about allegations of plagiarism. It was not until nearly a year later,
in November, 1990, that the Wall Street Journal reported the story
to a large American audience. Chronicles had briefly mentioned the
rumors a little earlier, and Mr. Pappas had prepared a thorough exposé
but was beaten into print by the nimbler Journal. It is now established
that the New York Times, Washington Post, Atlanta Journal/Constitution,
and New Republic all had heard about the plagiarism but had
decided not to investigate it.
Once the truth was out, official reactions were just as craven. The
Wall Street Journal wrote a typically lickspittle editorial, arguing
that King’s plagiarisms do not reflect on his character but “tell something
about the rest of us.[!?]”
Boston University formed a committee to look into the matter and concluded
that since King had stolen only 45 percent of the first part and 21 percent
of the second part of his dissertation, it was an “rintelligent contribution
to scholarship” and that “no thought should be given to revocation of
Dr. King’s doctoral degree.” The second reader of the thesis actually
defended the plagiarism by saying that King had accurately conveyed Boozer’s
thinking – something not hard to do, since King copied him verbatim.
Boozer, who lived just long enough to learn of the plagiarism, was perhaps
the greatest groveler of all. As his wife later explained, “He told me
he’d be so honored and so glad if there were anything that Martin Luther
King could have used from his work.”
Keith Miller of Arizona State University has already written a full-length
exculpation of King called Voice of Deliverance: The Language of Martin
Luther King, Jr. Mr. Pappas notes that Prof. Miller has come up with
an astonishing variety of ways to say “plagiarism” without using the
word: voice merging, intertextualization, incorporation, borrowing, consulting,
absorbing, alchemizing, overlapping, quarrying, yoking, adopting, synthesizing,
replaying, echoing, resonance, and reverberation.
Prof. Miller says that non-whites, who have strong oral traditions,
should not be held to stuffy, Western standards of bibliography and that
King could not be expected to understand the demands of an alien white
culture. “rHow could such a compelling leader commit what most people
define as a writer’s worst sin?” he asks; “The contradiction should prompt
us to rethink our definition of plagiarism.” Since Martin Luther King
did it, it must be all right.
Even those who condemn plagiarism claim to have no idea why King should
have done it. Mr. Pappas drops us a hint when he writes, “[W]e know from
his scores on the Graduate Record Exam that King scored in the second lowest
quartile in English and vocabulary, in the lowest ten percent in quantitative
analysis, and in the lowest third on his advanced test in philosophy –
the very subject he would concentrate in at B.U.” People steal ideas when
they are too lazy or unoriginal to come up with their own.
Blacks and Whites
Of course, the story that Mr. Pappas tells says far, far more about
white America than about Martin Luther King. King was a dishonest scholar
and got away with it – a small-time con-man whose degree would be revoked
if Boston University had any integrity.
There is no doubt about what would have happened had King been white.
Mr. Pappas reminds us that Joseph Biden’s bid for the presidency ended
when he was shown to have copied from a speech by Neil Kinnock, the British
Labor Party leader. Boston University itself recently stripped a dean of
his position when it was learned he had cribbed from a Wall Street Journal
article for a commencement address.
There is not a single white person, dead or alive, whose reputation academics
and journalists would go to degrading lengths to preserve, but blacks are
different. It is now well established that Alex Haley, the author of Roots,
did not merely fake his African family tree but stole parts of it from
a novel by a white man. His reputation remains unsullied, his Pulitzer
Prize unrevoked. The black poet Maya Angelou’s “rInauguration Poem” likewise
appears to have been an unattributed adaptation, but her reputation and
academic sinecure are unshaken.
To criticize Maya Angelou or Arthur Haley is merely in bad taste but
to question the sanctity of Martin Luther King is lèse majesté.
In his forward to this book, Jacob Neusner writes that the impulse to
defend a shameless plagiarist “stems from insufficient faith in the authentic
achievements of Martin Luther King . . . .” In other words, anyone who
does not find room in King’s spacious personality for a few personal failings
does not grasp the man’s true greatness. Nonsense.
People toady to King’s memory because he is a symbol of white racial
atonement. To evoke his name is to confess white sinfulness and to ask
forgiveness. Any attitude towards him other than worshipfulness suggests
insufficient yearning for atonement or, to call it by its every-day name,
To go further and actually criticize King is to risk more than the taint
of bigotry; it is to insult the contemporary idea of America itself. King’s
birthday is a holiday because he symbolizes what is thought to be America’s
finest triumph – the triumph over white wickedness. King stands for integration
and racial egalitarianism, from which flow quotas, multi-culturalism and
non-white immigration. Policies that will weaken the country and dispossess
the white majority must have nothing less than a saint as their symbol.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Plagiarism Story is avialable from King
Book, The Rockford Institute, 934 North Main Street, Rockford, IL 61103.
The price is $10.00, postage included.
• • • BACK
TO TOP • • •
O Tempora, O Mores!
Poverty Law Center is Rich and Devious
The Montgomery Advertiser has just published a sweeping, nine-part
exposé of one of the country’s best known anti-racist organizations,
the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama. The paper has concluded that
the center, run by Morris Dees, has wildly exaggerated the threat of the
Ku Klux Klan in order to get money out of liberal whites. It has been spectacularly
1984, the center has brought in about $62 million in contributions. During
this period, it had investment income of $22.1 million, which is more
than it spent on programs.
One of the center’s favorite tactics is to bring civil suits against
Klansmen and racialists in order to bankrupt them. In a series of fund-raising
letters, it implied that it had squeezed $7 million dollars out of a Klan
group for the benefit of the mother of a lynching victim. In fact, the
mother got only $51,800 from the impoverished Klansman, while the center
collected millions of dollars through the appeal.
The Montgomery Advertiser also notes that the center has had
a very bad record with black employees. It has hired very few and many
of these have left, complaining of everything from paternalism to racial
At one time, academics predicted that black dialect would disappear
as blacks learned to speak standard English. The reverse is happening.
Linguists report that underclass blacks are speaking a language that is
steadily diverging from the mainstream. One reason is that many blacks
refuse to speak “white” English and taunt other blacks who do. Some teachers
in black schools have given up trying to correct their students’ grammar,
while others teach English as a second language.
Even ghetto blacks understand standard English because they hear it
on radio and television. However, as black vernacular devolves, it may
soon become completely incomprehensible to whites.
Every year, the NAACP gives Image Awards to blacks who are credits to
their race. This year, it plans to give one to a “gangsta rap artist”
named Tupac Shakur. Mr. Shakur is currently facing two separate criminal
charges, one for rape and the other for wounding an off-duty policeman
in a shootout. The National Political Congress of Black Women, which had
denounced Mr. Shakur’s smutty recordings even before he got in trouble
with the law, asked the NAACP not to give him an award. The NAACP executive
board took a vote and decided to honor Mr. Shakur as planned. “This is
an issue concerning the cultural self-determination of the African-American
community,” explained Executive Director Ben Chavis, presumably with a
Meanwhile, in Miami, Florida, a white county commissioner has proposed
that another rapper, Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew, be given a seat on
the local cultural affairs council. The rest of the commission, including
all its black members, rose up in alarm, cited Mr. Campbell’s degeneracy,
and defeated the plan. Jesse Jackson then criticized the black commissioners
for not promoting a fellow black. “They elect those black commissioners
and then they sell us down the road,” he complained.
Into the Sunset
men out of unknown blacks (see cover story) can be risky – and expensive.
The Postal Service decided to include black cowboy, Bill Pickett, in its
“Legends of the West” postage stamp series, but he is so far from being
a legend that no one knew what he looked like. Engravers mistakenly put
a likeness of his brother Ben on a stamp and ran off 20 million sheets
before anyone noticed. Truck loads of stamps have been recalled and destroyed.
Taxpayers will be billed about $1.1 million for the mistake.
Progress on Anti-White
The federal appeals court has ruled that a white employee of St. Elizabeth’s
Hospital in Washington, DC can sue for racial discrimination. A lower court
had actually ruled that because he was not a member of a protected group
he had to prove systematic discrimination against all whites rather than
simple racial discrimination against himself.
A white doctor has won $480,000 in damages in a discrimination suit
against the Chicago Transit Authority. William McNabola, who specialized
in workers’ compensation claims, was fired from the transit authority in
1986. The Seventh Circuit Court noted in its ruling that the authority
was guilty of many kinds of discrimination. At one point, more than 70
percent of the independent-contract lawyers used by the authority were
black even though only three percent of Chicago’s lawyers are black.
In St. Louis, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has come
to the defense of white police officers. The city adopted an affirmative
action program in 1980 that required bypassing more eligible white men
so as to hire women and non-whites. In one of its exceedingly rare actions
on behalf of whites, the EEOC pronounced the system illegal.
Donald Huddle, a Texas economist, has calculated that in 1992, immigrants
– both legal and illegal – cost American tax payers $42.5 billion in .direct
costs alone. That figure reflects government spending of $62.7 billion
(public schooling, Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, bilingual education,
and the unemployment compensation paid to Americans pushed out of jobs)
minus the $20.2 billion in taxes paid by immigrants. Of course, on top
of this, immigrants got a free ride for all government services that are
not considered handouts: police and fire protection, highway construction,
libraries, parks, military security, etc. Also not included in Prof. Huddle’s
reckoning are crowding, pollution, and environmental compliance costs for
millions of newcomers, as well as the disproportionate crime rates of immigrants.
The cost of cultural and racial displacement is beyond calculation.
Congress prefers to look the other way. In March, the House soundly
defeated a bill that would merely have asked local school districts to
keep count of how many illegal aliens they were educating. Opponents of
the measure said that such a count would be reminiscent of Nazi Germany.
The California city of Milpitas has appointed a non-citizen, Mohan Trikha,
to the city’s planning council. One council member, Barbara Lee, vigorously
opposed the move, and the city considered drafting a regulation requiring
all appointees to be citizens and registered voters. The city backed down
when it realized that this would disqualify many non-whites. The city council
is now all white and most members feel just awful about that. One counciler
explained that he feared a citizenship requirement could be construed as
an obstacle to involvement by non-whites in city government.
Back to Cuba
A black Alabama state representative, Alvin Holmes, is well known for
his single-minded promotion of the interests of blacks. Earlier this year,
when the state legislature was considering a bill that would make it easier
for the state police to help deport foreign criminals, Rep. Holmes took
particular aim at Cubans:
“They all ought to be sent back to Cuba, including the ones that aren’t
in jail .... They don’t do nothing but hurt the blacks. They all ought
to be sent back .... I wish every one of their citizenships would be taken.”
Not to be thought prejudiced, Rep. Holmes went on to recommend that all
people from Norway, Sweden, Ireland, France, Germany and El Salvador be
Besides his duties as a legislator, Rep. Holmes is a professor of history
at Alabama State University.
Heart of Darkness
Southern Zaire has some of the richest copper and cobalt mines in the
world At one time, mineral exports accounted for two thirds of the country’s
foreign exchange. Now, the New York Times tells us, after the collapse
of what passed for a government, and successive waves of ethnic warfare,
the whites who ran the mines have gone back to Europe. What used to be
an industry that employed thousands has collapsed into a tangled wasteland
of rusting machinery. In most places, the only “mining” is done by ragamuffins
who shovel through slag heaps looking for scraps of copper.
The same newspaper-and reporter- also wrote about the recent funeral
for Felix Houphouet-Boigny, who ran the Ivory Coast in extravagant, self-aggrandizing
fashion for 34 years. The story described the country as “rooted spiritually
some where between the brutal competitiveness of Western commerce and the
brilliantly complex and often mystical culture of ancient Africa.”
Truth in Surprising Places
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, a Democrat from Alabama, says he is against
current immigration policies that will reduce whites to a minority. He
called current policy a “horror story.” The usual people are calling
him the usual names.
This Happy, Happy Land
a lady sailor, who claimed not to know she was pregnant, gave birth to
a baby boy on board the destroyer tender Yellowstone. It is thought to
be the first time in U.S. naval history that a sailor has ever had a baby
on board ship.
A black man who shot and wounded a white man in the hope of starting
a race war got a 20-year prison sentence. Last March, Darryl Arnold bought
a 9 mm pistol in a Los Angeles gun store, walked out, and shot the first
white man he saw.
On Jan. 2, 1994, the Sacramento Bee published a guest editorial that
contained this surprising line: “Stripped of its euphemistic clichés,
multiculturalism’s fundamental characteristic is its hostility to the majority
culture of white America.” The author, Lance Izumi, is a JapaneseAmerican.
For the first time in its 131-year history, the IRS will publish tax
forms in a language other than English. 1040A short forms in Spanish will
be distributed in California and South Florida.
During earthquake relief in Los Angeles, the Federal Emergency Management
Agency posted signs all over town, in Spanish and English, telling people
that aid was available to everyone, including illegal immigrants.
Catalina Vasquez Villapando, the first-ever lady Hispanic treasurer
of the United States, has been charged with tax evasion, obstruction of
justice, and conspiracy to falsify documents. She could get 15 years in
prison and $750,000 fine. Her signature still appears on currency being
A veteran teacher in the Montgomery County, Virginia schools has been
put on leave and could be fired for telling a class that when blacks move
into neighborhoods, the crime rate goes up and whites decamp. “I guess
we’ll have to move to Norway,” were some of Albin Wozniak’s impermissible
On the Bandwagon
It was only a matter of time. American Arabs have noticed that there
are real advantages to being an official, protected minority. There are
870,000 Arabs in the United States, and many are determined to persuade
Congress to grant them victim status just like blacks, Hispanics, and everyone
else. Being a victim in America cannot be all bad; in 1992, 27,000 more
Arabs took the risk and immigrated.
One of the largest concentrations of Arabs is in Detroit, and they have
already gotten the Michigan departments of Mental Health and Public Health
to give them money for multicultural and minority programs. Some colleges
also include Arabs in affirmative action programs. If Congress blesses
their efforts, Arabs will be able to claim preferences across the board.
The Los Angeles Sentinel is one of the oldest and largest black
newspapers in the country. Founded in 1933, it has long had its offices
on Central Avenue in South-Central Los Angeles. This used to be the black
part of town, but is now dominated by Hispanics. This year, the paper upped
stakes and moved to the Crenshaw district, to which most blacks have moved
Blacks, just like whites, flee the encroachment of people unlike themselves.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
Walter Wilbon is a Chicago black man who openly admits that he conned
the Social Security system into paying him $465 a month in disability benefits.
However, it is in his off-the-books job – milking Medicaid – that he shows
routine is not hugely lucrative for him – he makes about $100 on a good
day – but in 1991 it cost taxpayers exactly $101,422.62 in Medicaid charges.
His hustle is simple: Get free prescriptions for diseases he does not have
and sell the medicine on the black market. Many Medicaid recipients do
this, but Mr. Wilbon is remarkable for his persistence. City records show
that in 1991, he made 426 doctor’s visits (to 111 different doctors) and
got more than $87,000 worth of free prescriptions. He has studied enough
to know just what symptoms to claim, and when that doesn’t work he browbeats
doctors into writing prescriptions.
On his most successful day, March 14th, he walked home with $1,136.04
worth of medicine and medical equipment. He also steals anything he finds
in doctors’ offices. The difference in his year’s prescription costs –
$87,000 – and his total Medicaid bill – $101,422 – is accounted for by
lab tests and doctors’ fees.
Most of what Mr. Wilbon makes off with he can sell at only a fraction
of the prescription cost. Heavy drinkers pay about 36 cents each for anti-ulcer
pills that cost $1.66 each. The drug soothes upset stomachs. Crack smokers
are willing to pay $2.00 to $3.00 for bronchial inhalers because they open
up the lungs for larger doses of crack smoke. Inhalers cost taxpayers $20
each. Only syringes have a higher street price than prescription price;
Mr. Wilbon can sell the 15 to 25 cent needles for as much as a dollar each.
Eventually, Medicaid will catch up with Mr. Wilbon and force him to
restrict his visits to only one doctor. This is the system’s only way to
control Medicaid thieves, but it is under attack because it “limits the
choice” of recipients.
Mr. Wilbon, who lives in public housing, has six children and 16 grandchildren.
“I don’t like to do real work,” he explains.
The Justice Department has kindly set up a toll-free telephone line
to solicit your views on how the department could be improved. There are
any number of things you can advocate: deportation of illegal aliens, more
border police, the addition of ‘Hispanic’ as a racial classification for
criminals (so that crimes by Mexicans do not inflate the “white” crime
rate), vigorous prosecution of the Crown Heights case (see below), or anything
else that would help. Call early and often: (800) 546-3224.
Attorney General Janet Reno has reluctantly decided to start the process
of bringing federal civil rights charges against a black who was acquitted
of stabbing a Jew to death, while friends chanted “Kill the Jew.” The
killing took place in Brooklyn in 1991 during the Crown Heights riots.
In a verdict that astonished most observers, the accused man was let off
despite overwhelming evidence of guilt.
This federal trial – if there is one – will be much like that of the
officers who beat Rodney King and were acquitted of most charges in a state
trial. The feds leapt instantly into action that time, but it took tremendous
political pressure from New York before Miss Reno would agree to investigate
the Crown Heights case.
In another matter, New York City’s new mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, has
announced that he is doing away with the city’s minority set-aside contracting
program, which he called "indefensible as a constitutional matter."
Money for Non-Whites
The federal Education Department has ruled that universities can discriminate
on the basis of race when distributing scholarships even though the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination of this kind. The department
ruled that discriminatory scholarships can be made to remedy past discrimination,
but no findings of past discrimination need be made. It also ruled that
race-based scholarships can be used to diversify the student body. This
all just so much mumbo jumbo. Schools may discriminate against whites as
much as they like.
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E T T E R S F R O M R E A D E
Sir – The differences Prof. Levin expresses with me in the March issue
are quite small. He interprets the results of the Scarr-Weinberg crossracial
adoption study as indicating that 85 percent of the intelligence difference
between blacks and whites is genetic, whereas I consider that the study
shows that the black-white difference is 100 percent genetic. The main
point on which we agree is that genetic factors are overwhelmingly the
main reason for low black IQ and the associated disadvantages of poor education
and low occupational. achievement, together with high rates of unemployment
Regarding the policy implications of this conclusion, Prof. Levin suggests
that the first objective should be to convince the public that white racism
is not responsible for low black achievement. I think that among serious
social scientists this battle is already largely won. For instance, William
Julius Wilson (The Tnily Disadvantaged, 1987) and Christopher Jencks
(Rethinking Social Policy, 1992), both leading social scientists
on the political left, have accepted that it is no longer possible to blame
the social pathology of the black underclass on white racism. Prof. Jencks
even recognizes that genes play some role, although he is still in need
of education as to their importance. Nevertheless, I certainly agree with
Prof. Levin that there is more work to be done hammering home the point
that white racism cannot explain black underachievement.
My concern is that this could well take some years. Meanwhile, third
world immigrants with low levels of intelligence are entering the United
States at a rate of about one million a year. One of the major objectives
of policy must be to alert the public to the damage this influx will inflict
on the social fabric of America.
Richard Lynn, Coleraine, Northern Ireland
Sir – Congratulations on producing a magazine that deals directly with
the race issue without taking a load of ideological baggage on board at
the same time. All the best with your conference.
Your March issue addresses the subject of black and white IQs and cites
further evidence that black IQs are on average lower than those of whites.
In their heart of hearts, most people, white and black, know this. The
problem lies not with the average black but with the white trend-setters
who have drummed into blacks the idea that they are equal to whites.
Now that the damage has been done, blacks are not going to take kindly
to the truth about IQ. Who can blame them? What can “soften the blow?”
I think one thing that needs to be stressed is that intelligence is not
everything. What about loyalty and love, for example? A street cleaner
with an IQ of 95 is a more worthy member of society than a property shark
with an IQ of 130. Nor is intelligence always something to be proud of;
blacks need not be ashamed that their race was not smart enough to invent
Part of the anger and emotion aroused by the IQ issue can be defused
by putting brains into perspective: They aren’t everything. Blacks do not
suffer from white “racism” but they do suffer from the priority given
to intelligence in Western society as the measure of a man or woman’s true
Michael Walker, The Skorpion, Lutzowstrasse 39, 50674 Koln
am Rhein, Germany
Sir – I am writing in response to Mr. Ostlund’s letter in the March
issue. He calls the [Tom] Metzgers, [George Lincoln] Rockwells, and the
KKK victims of “hysterical tunnel vision” and calls them “despicable.”
I challenge the view that they are hysterical just because their writing
is more vehement than that found in AR. They are trying to do something
about America’s problems. What do AR readers do besides wring their
Robert Briggs, Punta Gorda, Fla.
Sir – I read with interest your March review of The Rage of a Privileged
Class. The author points out that many middle-class, apparently successful
blacks burn with resentment against what they think is an unjust society.
Many are wealthy and have benefited from affirmative action, but still
seethe with racial resentment.
Let me call your attention to another book by a black man, Makes
Me Wanna Holler. The author is a former armed robber who decided to
reform himself and is now a newspaper reporter. He writes that when he
visits the old neighborhoods where he used to be a criminal, he finds that
young blacks are even more violently angry against white America than his
Is there not a lesson in these books? Are these men not telling us that
despite years of legally enforced equal and even preferential treatment,
blacks hate white America more than ever? There was much less resentment
among blacks when they were treated as outright inferiors. The rise of
black hatred only proves the folly of our policies. People will always
resent you for giving them something they do not deserve. They will hate
you if you then apologize because you did not give even more.
William English, Newport News, VA.
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