Illusions are Maintained
Washington Post shamelessly distorts scientific findings.
by Michael Rienzi
September 2, 2003, the Washington Post published a front page
article by Rick Weiss called Genes Sway Over IQ May
Vary With Class, which argued that environmental factorsnot
genetic deficitsexplain IQ differences among poor minorities.
Citing a recent study, Mr. Weiss claimed that the impact
of genes on IQ varied depending on a childs socioeconomic
status, and that the influence of genes on IQ was
significantly lower in conditions of poverty, where environmental
deficits overwhelm genetic potential. Here, in the face
of increasingly irrefutable evidence of the power of genes, was
a conclusion liberals could love: Heredity may account for intelligence
differences in middle-class whites but it is environment that
mainly determines intelligence for poor blacks.
Basing his article on a not-as-yet-published
study by Eric Turkheimer of the University of Virginia and several
colleagues, Mr. Weiss drew the inevitable conclusion: The
results suggest that early childhood assistance programs such
as Head Start can help the poor and are worthy of public support.
(The timing was perfect. Congress had just been debating an overhaul
of Head Start that would turn it over to the states, some of which
were likely to scale it back.)
The article compared Prof. Turkheimers
work to a trivial experiment done by the famed anti-biological
race concept scientist Richard Lewontin, who showed that
genetically identical seeds grow differently in different soils.
Poor minorities, explained Mr. Weiss, perform badly on intelligence
tests not because of their genes but because they are raised
in an environment lacking in resources and poisoned by racist
attitudes. The article quoted Marcus Feldman of Stanford
University, who said the study should draw us somewhat away
from genetics and back into the importance of the social sciences.
Mr. Weiss also quoted Robert Plomin
of Kings College, London, who praised the new study even
though his own work does not find that intelligence is any more
affected by environment among the poor than among the rich. Prof.
Plomin wondered whether the groups he studied were not as
poor as Prof. Turkheimers, or if they might have benefited
from Britains superior social safety net, implying
that the billions America has spent on blacks have not been enough.
Mr. Weisss article was, in
other words, the perfect account of what appeared to be the perfect
study with which to confound those who doubt that environmental
intervention can raise the intelligence of blacks and poor people.
If genes make a big difference to middle-class white children,
but it is the environment that matters most for poor blacks, then
all the uplift programs of the 1960s can be justified after all.
Needless to say, it was all far
too perfect. The Weiss article is a startling distortion of the
Turkheimer study that only exposes how desperate the Washington
Post has become in the face of mountains of evidence that
the liberal-egalitarian project has failed and has no hope of
Poor blacks have
low IQs because they are raised in an environment
lacking in resources and poisoned by racist attitudes.
The actual research paper (Socioeconomic
Status Modifies Heritability of IQ in Young Children, Psychological
Science, Vol. 14, issue 6, pp. 623-628.) finally appeared
in November, two months after the Weiss article. It does report
data that are, in some respects, surprising, but in contrast to
the Posts breathlessness, Prof. Turkheimer is quite
restrained. His paper hardly mentions race, and certainly does
not dismiss genetic explanations for the results. The differences
between it and the Post account are so striking, it is
clear Mr. Weiss must have assumed his readers would never see
the original Turkheimer paper, and would therefore believe whatever
he wrote about it.
What does the paper say? Prof. Turkheimer
conducted a twin study, which is the classic way to determine
heritability. Such studies are important in discovering the effects
of genes because identical twins are genetic copies of each other,
whereas fraternal twins are no more similar (50 percent) than
ordinary siblings. However, the environments shared by twins,
both before and after birth, are as similar as those any two different
individuals can ever experience. If the environments are thought
to be identical, the greater similarity between identical as opposed
to fraternal twins should show just how much a trait is affected
The Turkheimer data were from the
National Collaborative Perinatal Project (1959-1974), which recruited
expectant mothers from 12 urban hospitals across the country,
followed their babies from birth, and tested their IQs at age
seven. Forty-three percent of the twins were white, 54 percent
black, and three percent were other. Twenty-five percent
of the families were below the poverty line ($4,500 in 1973 for
a family of four), and the median annual income for the group
was between $6,000 and $7,000, or the equivalent of around $22,000
a year in 1997 dollars. This was clearly not a typical sample
The Turkheimer paper set out to
determine whether the effects of genes and environment on IQ differ
according to socioeconomic status, specifically, whether the IQs
of poor children are more heavily influenced by environment than
the IQs of rich children. The authors took the standard approach
of breaking down the influences on IQ into three components. The
first was genetic heritability. This was estimated by comparing
the variation of IQ between monozygotic (MZ) identical
twins, and dizygotic (DZ) fraternal twins. The greater
the heritabilitythe influence of geneson a trait,
the greater the tendency for MZ twins to be more similar to each
other than are DZ twins.
Obvious examples of highly heritable
traits are hair- and eye-color, in which MZ twins are usually
indistinguishable, whereas DZ twins differ from each other as
much as ordinary siblings. An equally extreme example of something
unaffected by genes is language. Children brought up in the same
home speak the same language. MZ twins are no more similar to
each other than are DZ twins, so this trait is not
Probably very similar
Needless to say, the effects of
genes and environment on intelligence and personality are not
as clear-cut as on eye-color or language. Twin studies, including
those of twins separated at birth and reared in different homes
(and therefore different environments), have produced a range
of estimated heritabilities for different characteristics. Intelligence,
with a heritability of 60-80 percent, is a trait almost always
found to be largely independent of environment. This is why the
Turkheimer results are significant if, indeed, the effects of
environment really are greater for poor families. Other personality
traits, such as attitude toward the death penalty (51 percent
heritable), divorce (40 percent), socialism (26 percent), and
pajama parties (0.8 percent) appear to be the result of increasingly
large environmental effects with a diminishing genetic heritability.
The second influence on IQ Prof.
Turkheimer studied was shared environment, that is,
environmental factors common to a family and shared equally by
the children. Shared environment includes such things as family
wealth and social standing, quality of housing, neighborhood,
presence of two parents, whether a parent suffers from depression,
is unemployed, in jail, etc. The National Collaborative Perinatal
Project determined the quality of shared environment
by measuring the socioeconomic status (SES) of the mothers according
to standard scales.
The third influence on intelligence
was calculated from the variance in IQ that remained after genes
and shared environment were taken into consideration. This remainder
is often attributed to measurement error but also to what is called
unshared environment. This refers to those parts of
a childs surroundings that are different from those of his
siblings, even though they grow up in the same family. Many of
the different experiences children have are random events, but
others reflect different preferences that cause children to seek
out different experiences. These preferences often have a substantial
The Turkheimer study calculated
the amount of IQ variation due to the three components, as well
as their interaction with socioeconomic status (SES). The authors
found that as SES increases, genes become the dominant influence
on intelligence, whereas at low SES, shared environment is the
In practical terms, this means that
at the higher end of the socioeconomic scale, there was a clear
difference between MZ and DZ twins: MZ twins were considerably
more similar to each other in IQ (less variance) than were DZ
twins. At the low end of the SES scale, MZ twins were not much
more similar to each other in IQ than DZ twins, which suggests
a strong environmental rather than genetic effect.
Mary Kate and Ashley:
famous DZ twins.
Prof. Turkheimer and his colleagues
looked at the data in a number of sophisticated ways, but the
simplest was to separate the twins into one group that was above
the median SES level and another group below it. They found that,
indeed, in the low-SES group, MZ twins were only slightly more
similar to each other in intelligence than were DZ twins (correlations
of .68 and .63 respectively) whereas in the high-SES group, the
DZ twins were considerably more similar to each other than were
MZ twins (correlations of .87 and .51).
This is the long and the short of
the Turkheimer findings. They are interesting, but do not come
anywhere near justifying Mr. Weisss conclusions. First,
Prof. Turkheimer and his colleagues say nothing about how race
affects any of these outcomes, presumably because the effect of
SES they found on IQ was the same for blacks and whites. Thus,
there is no justification for saying anything about minorities
at all, much less asserting that their environments are poisoned
by racist attitudes. This is not just liberal Post spin;
it is pure misrepresentation designed to buttress the liberal
view that whites are responsible for the poor performances of
Nor do the findings necessarily
mean the IQs of poor children can be raised by environmental intervention,
as Prof. Turkheimer and his colleagues understand perfectly. Like
all serious scholars and unlike most journalists, Prof. Turkheimer
knows that poor children do not grow up in bad environments because
of pure bad luck. Their parents largely make their environments
for them, and if parents have low IQs they pass on a genetic tendency
towards low intelligence while, at the same time, they build bad
environments that are likely to drag it down further. As Prof.
It would be naïve . .
. to interpret SES strictly as an environmental variable. Most
variables traditionally thought of as markers of environmental
quality also reflect genetic variability . . . . Children reared
in low-SES households, therefore, may differ from more affluent
children both environmentally and genetically. . . and the models
we employed in this study do not allow us to determine which aspect
of SES is responsible for the interactions we observed.
The paper goes on to point out that
there is an inherent flaw in trying to determine what effect SES
has on the intelligence of children when SES itself can
be a result of the genetic makeup of the parents. SES is not acting
independently but reflects, at least in part, the very genes the
children are inheriting. As the authors explain in somewhat convoluted
language, this skews their results:
SES and IQ are correlated,
and that correlation is potentially mediated both genetically
and environmentally. Therefore the models [we built to understand
the data] are attempting to detect an interaction between genotype
and environment in the presence of a correlation between genotype
and environment, raising the concern that the presence of the
correlation might introduce bias in the estimation of the interaction.
The authors do not pretend fully
to understand what they have found. As they have the good grace
to concede: [M]aybe outcome simply becomes less predictable
in poor environments. Not only is this an honest admission
of the limits of their theoretical model, it completely undercuts
Mr. Weisss happy prediction that childhood assistance
programs such as Head Start can help the poor and are worthy of
public support. It is hard to imagine more flagrant disregard
for reservations expressly included in a scientific paper.
The authors do
not pretend fully to understand what they have found.
As they have the good grace to concede: [M]aybe
outcome simply becomes less predictable in poor environments.
Prof. Turkheimer and his colleagues
do not mention this, but there is another possible explanation
for their data. The twins in the low-SES group will have had IQs
considerably below normal. It may be that genes that code for
intelligence have a cumulative effect, in that there is a threshold
level of high-IQ genes that must be reached before intelligence
is seen to be consistently heritable. In other words, at the low
end of the IQ range, individuals have few of the genes that code
for high intelligence, and so may fail to achieve the necessary
minimum required for IQ to be predominantly determined genetically.
Thus, it is conceivable that children with very low intelligence
may be influenced to a greater extent by environmental factors
because they lack the genetic structure necessary to allow for
the higher levels of intelligence that are clearly heritable.
What are some of the possible implications
of the Turkheimer paper? The Post would have us believe
it is saying some environments are so bad they lower a childs
IQ no matter how good his genetic endowment. In extreme cases,
this is obviously true. If Isaac Newton had spent his entire life
in a closet he would have lived as an idiot despite his genetic
endowments. Mr. Weiss seems to be ready to conclude that poor
(black?) environments are so bad they uncouple genes from intelligence
in much the same way.
It is true that blacks often degrade
their environments in ways that tend to depress the intellectual
capacities of their children. An urban ghetto is a terrible place
to rear a child. What Mr. Weiss and so many others like him fail
to understand is that the ghetto does not arise independently
of the genes of the people who live in it.
One in five of the poor mothers
in Prof. Turkheimers study were younger than 21, and one
third did not have husbands. Both these factors, at least to some
degree, reflect personal choices and are difficult to blame on
white racism. Despite liberal assumptions, having
an illegitimate child is far more a cause of poverty than
a consequence of it. Many of the poor women in this study
were poor, at least in part, because of choices they made. These
choices, and the cognitive and behavioral characteristics underlying
these choices, are at least partially genetically determined.
Another aspect of the Turkheimer
study that suggests grounds for caution is the age at which IQ
was tested. The IQs of young children are notoriously unstable,
and appear to be quite susceptible to temporary environmental
influence. A very young child has little control over his environment,
and is almost entirely dependent on what his parents provide.
As children get older, they change their environments to suit
their preferences and abilities. A more genetically intelligent
person will change his environment in ways that stimulate his
mind, thus improving cognitive development, while a dull person
will do the opposite.
This is the basis for the observation
that the heritability of intelligence increases with age. A dull
childs abilities may be temporarily boosted by ambitious
parents who push him in certain directions, while a bright child
may be held back by dull parents who offer a dull environment.
Once children are able to make their own environments, their intellectual
levels will more closely reflect their own genetic propensities
rather than those of the adults who controlled their early environments.
As we age, the effects of childhood environment fade, and our
cognitive abilities reflect our genetic endowmentsintelligence
becomes more heritable. Genetic differences present from birth
are the constant driving force in this gene-environment interaction.
Just as children eventually create
environments that suit their genetic predispositions, early environment
can reinforce genes both for better and for worse. As Prof. Michael
Levin explained in the March 1994 issue of AR, One of the
ways [high IQ] genes produce high IQs is by producing high-quality
environments, which in turn stimulate the development of children
raised in them. At the same time, it is undoubtedly true
that abysmal black environments depress black IQs (at least for
children), and that those environments are products of a particular
genetic structure. Why, after all, is the environment almost always
bad wherever there are large concentrations of blacks? Do bad
environments just happen to follow blacks around, or do blacks
As Prof. Turkheimer and his colleagues
understand, poverty and low SES hardly explain everything
about differences in achievement. As was reported in the November
issue of AR, whites from families with incomes of less than $10,000
a year (this is less than half the median of $22,000 a year in
1997 dollars for the subjects in the Turkheimer paper) had average
SAT scores 123 points higher than the black average, and no fewer
than 46 points higher than blacks from families with incomes in
the $80,000-$100,000 range! If, for poor children, environment
overwhelms genes, why do poor whites outscore rich blacks? SAT
scores are not the same as IQ scores, but they track them very
closely. In fact, because they reflect the results of training
and instruction, they should be biased in favor of wealthy
blacks who can offer their children more enriched environments
than those of white children from families that make less than
$10,000 a year.
Piltdown Man: next
big science story?
If, as Mr. Weiss so rashly claimed
in his Post article, environmental intervention can work
wonders for the poor even if it has little effect on the rich,
why have Head Start programs produced such poor results? J.S.
Fuerst of Loyola University examined 684 black students who attended
special programs of such intensity they were called Head
Start to the fourth power. The test scores of these children
improved while they were immersed in these expensive programs,
but 10 years later their scores were indistinguishable from those
of other children from similar backgrounds. People like Mr. Weiss,
who claim the Turkheimer study confirms the value of Head Start
are ignoring a vast literature to the contrary.
The famed Minnesota Transracial
Adoption Studyinitially considered a triumph for IQ
egalitarianswas discussed in detail in the March 1994 issue
of AR. Here, too, early success faded, as children grew up and
reached their own levels of intellectual ability. Sandra Scarr
and Richard Weinberg tested the IQs of black and mixed-race children
adopted into upper-middle-class families. At age six, these children
had substantially higher IQ scores than equivalent children reared
by their own parents in poor black homes. However, when the children
were retested years later at an average age of seventeen, this
IQ gain had vanished.
The fact that a strong environmental
influence that was observed in the same age range examined by
Turkheimer (six to seven years old) can completely disappear in
a decade does not bode well for the long-term stability of Prof.
Turkheimers findings. It is likely that as his pairs of
twins increase in age, the correlations between the MZ and DZ
IQ scores will move steadily in directions that indicate heritability
of intelligence for children of all SES levels.
Another finding supporting the view
that the black-white IQ gap has a genetic origin is the consistent
phenomenon of regression to the mean. There is a powerful tendency
for extreme or outlier values in any normally-distributed
variable to regress to the average value of that variable.
For example, when very tall people marry, they do not generally
have children who are even taller, but ones who, though tall,
are not as tall as their parents. Likewise, people with very high
or low IQs do not continue to produce children with progressively
higher or lower IQs. Their children likewise regress
in the direction of the average.
New look for the Post?
At the same time, anyone with a
very high (or low) IQ is likely to have parents or siblings with
IQs closer to the average. For example, any given person with
an IQ of 140 may turn out to have a sibling with an even
higher IQ, but usually the family members of such a person have
IQs closer to the group mean. When very intelligent whites and
blacks are matched for the same high IQs and other variables are
controlled, the family members of the blacks have lower IQs than
family members of the whites. This suggests the black family members
are regressing towards a lower group mean (generally found to
be 85) than the white family members, who are regressing towards
a mean of 100. It is difficult to understand how racism,
poverty, etc., can explain why the brothers and sisters of a high-IQ
black should have lower IQs than those of an equally high-IQ white
of similar background.
There is a test that might lay to
rest the question of race and IQ. Current studies that compare
white and black IQ scores are always open to the theoretical objection
that American society is so harshly anti-black that genetic equality
with whites is smothered by the effects of racism.
This objection could be overcome by testing a sample only of black
Americans who all, presumably, face the same oppressive environment.
Because almost all American blacks are racially mixed to some
degree, it would be possible to determine whether IQ rises as
the proportion of white genes increases.
It is now easy to determine the
precise ancestral mix of anyone, by using autosomal DNA testing.
The Ancestry by DNA test offered by DNA Print Genomics, Inc. (http://www.dnaprint.
com) gives an accurate reading of the percentage of ancestry that
is white, Asian, American Indian or black. By focusing on actual
racial-genetic ancestry rather than on perceived or self-identified
race, the test could measure objective racial correlations with
intelligence rather than bog down in debates about socially
Similar methods have already shown
there is a clear link between sub-Saharan African ancestry and
obesity. Why not for IQ? Does IQ in the broadly-defined black
population drop as genetic African ancestry increases? Since black
Americans of varying racial proportions are all, socially speaking,
equally black and equally subject to racism,
such a connection would be strong evidence of a genetic cause
for the racial gap in IQ.
Whites also have varying ancestries.
Genetic studies have found that some whites have enough
African (and American Indian) genes to overlap with the lower
end of the African-American scale. If it were discovered
that within a socially-defined white American population
IQ varied with African ancestry, that, too, would be strong evidence
for a genetic link between race and IQ. One could expand this
approach to a country like Brazil, where a large fraction of the
white upper class has significant African ancestry.
Does IQ vary among whites according to percentage of African genes?
Perhaps there is a threshold for
African admixture below which the effect is not seen, in which
case results would be clearer among blacks than whites. Or, there
may be a nearly constant decrease in intelligence as black ancestry
increases from zero to 100 percent. And there is always the theoretical
possibility that African ancestry has no effect on IQ at all.
To return, finally, to the Turkheimer
study, it does offer interesting results. IQ correlations generally
thought to indicate heritability of intelligence were far less
pronounced for poor children than for rich children. These findings
may or may not be replicated. If they are replicated, what do
they mean? Prof. Turkheimer does not claim they justify Head Start
or anything else, and suggests only that intelligence may develop
in poor children in ways we do not fully understand.
Mr. Weisss damage, however,
is likely to go unrepaired. The Turkheimer paper has not produced
the flood of delighted media coverage that would have followed
if its contents really justified the Washington Posts
giddy conclusions. Still, thanks to the Post, defenders
of Head Start and proponents of the view that whites are to blame
for black failure will point with pride and confidence to a study
they will never read and would not understand if they did read
it. It is constant andone is tempted to say deliberatemisrepresentation
of this kind that makes it impossible to discuss race honestly
in this country, much less establish sensible policies.
Michael Rienzi is the pen-name
of a biologist working in the Northeast.
• BACK TO TOP • •
of diversity leads to championship.
by Wayne Lutton
by most analysts to finish third or fourth in the National
League Eastern Division, the Florida Marlins became the Cinderella
team of Major League Baseball, going from last place in May
to defeat the $180-million payroll New York Yankees in the
World Series. Jack McKeon engineered this amazing turnaround
at 72 years of age, the third oldest manager in major league
history, trailing only Hall of Famers Connie Mack (87) and
Casey Stengel (75). Mr. McKeon went on to be selected National
League Manager of the Year, and to top it off, in late November,
his neighbors in Alamance County, North Carolina, named him
Grand Marshal of the local Christmas parade. For those who
were paying attention, there was an interesting lesson here
Off to a poor start under manager
Jeff Torborg, the Marlins were 16-22 and buried in last place
when the team fired Mr. Torborg and pitching coach Brad Arnsberg
on May 10. Owner Jeffrey Loria then hired Jack McKeon, who
had been puttering around his farm near Elon, North Carolina,
since being fired as Cincinnati Reds manager after the 2000
Mr. McKeon didnt know
he was being interviewed for the managers job when owner
Jeffrey Loria invited him to lunch. Mr. McKeon thought Mr.
Loria just wanted to compare notes with an experienced old
timer, but two days later, Mr. Loria called and asked him
to manage the team for the rest of the year. The Marlins didnt
expect to win their division, much less go to the World Series.
They just hoped to play respectably and build toward next
season. Under Mr. McKeon, the Marlins posted the best record
in baseball during the final four months of the season, and
edged out the Chicago Cubs to become National League champs.
Down 2-1 in the World Series, they won three in a row to beat
the New York Yankees in their home stadium.
In hiring Mr. McKeon, who is
white, without interviewing any other candidates, the Marlins
violated Baseball Commissar Bud Seligs minority-hiring
guidelines. In 1999, Mr. Selig sent a letter to
teams, requiring them to notify him of certain job vacancies,
including manager. Teams are supposed to provide a list of
non-white candidates, and the Commissioners Office reviews
them before anyone new may be hired.
The Marlins were fined a substantial
amount by Major League Baseball for failing to follow Mr.
Seligs minority-hiring diktat. MLB senior vice president
Rich Levin refused to disclose the size of the fine, but ESPN
and other sports news services speculate that it ranged anywhere
from $100,000 to $2 million.
After the World Series, all
complaints stopped about the Marlins decision to hire
an old white guy instead of some black, Hispanic, or Asian,
and Commissar Selig has been noticeably silent about the fine.
When asked about it by ESPN, he said he would not discuss
the subject, disingenuously telling reporters, I never
comment on club matters. Mr. McKeon quipped, Ill
say one thing, the AARP ought to make Jeff Loria their Man
of the Year for hiring a guy like me. From short-term
fix to Manager of the Year, Mr. McKeon, who celebrated his
73rd birthday on November 23, will be back for at least one
more season in 2004.
Wayne Lutton, at one time
an aspiring knuckleball pitcher, sports a Ph.D. in military
history and is editor of The Social Contract (www.TheSocialContract.com).
• • • BACK TO TOP • •
Men Meet Indians
and the clash of civilizations.
reviewed by Thomas Jackson
David A. Price
Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and
the Heart of a New Nation
Alfred A. Knopf,
300 pp., $25.95.
veryone has heard of Jamestown,
Captain John Smith, and Pocahontas, but most Americans know
few details about the clash of races and civilizations that
marked the arrival of the English in Virginia in 1607. Love
and Hate in Jamestown is a fascinating, readable account
of the early days of the colony that treats the cultural
collision with none of the anti-white hysteria now common
in historical writing. Author David Price clearly admires
Captain John Smith, and though many of the other Englishmen
he writes about were greedy, naïve, or lazy, they came
seeking better lives, not conquest or domination. In todays
terms, Jamestown was a port of entry for illegal immigrants.
What followed was an early exercise in diversity that brought
tragedy for the English and oblivion for the Indians. It
has lessons for us today.
The Virginia Company of London
had no romantic or swashbuckling pretensions. It was a money-making
venture with three aims: to find gold, discover a passage
to the Pacific, anda distant thirdbring Christianity
to the natives. The 105 colonists who arrived in 1607 were
so sure of finding gold they entered into what now seem
very reckless contracts: In exchange for a one-way ticket
to America and a share in the profits, they bound themselves
to a set period of service in Virginiait appears to
have been seven yearsduring which they received no
pay, had to obey orders, and could not leave. There were
no women in this first group.
Unlike the Spaniards, who
had a reputation for massacre, they were determined to treat
the Indians lovingly. They would bring civilization and
Christianity so that, as one of the companys backers
wrote of the natives he had never met, Their children
when they come to be saved, will blesse the day when first
their fathers saw your faces. About half the colonists
were gentlemen, with no experience or expectation
of manual labor, but all were in for a shock. As Mr. Price
writes, they arrived with pure hearts and empty heads,
expecting to find riches, welcoming natives, and an easy
life on the other shore. Most were dead before the
year was out.
The passage to the New World
should have been a sign of trouble to come. It took from
January 5 to March 23 to get to the West Indies, and another
month to sail the 1,500 miles north to Virginia. Along with
39 sailors, the men were crammed into three small ships,
of which the largest was only 15 feet across at its widest
point. There were sharp disagreements on board, the nature
of which have not been recorded, and the leaders of the
expedition kept John Smith prisoner for most of the voyage.
During a stop at a Caribbean island they even built a gibbet
for him, but with his usual knack for survival (see sidebar,
page 11), he talked his way out of the noose.
of the flagship, Susan Constant.
On April 26, the ships reached
Virginia, and the colonists quickly met Indians. The initial
contacts are well recorded, as are the English attitudes
to what they referred to as the naturals. Both
are instructive, and are hardly consistent with the now-standard
image of rapacious colonization. Mr. Price emphasizes that
the colonists had entirely benevolent intentions. The
English, he wrote did not believe that white
people like themselves were innately superior and the natives
innately inferior . . . . [since] savagery was only the
starting point for a peoples progression toward modernity.
He explains further: The English did not exclude themselves
from the progression: in the days of the Roman conquest,
as the English now saw it, the Britons themselves were savages.
The civilizing influence of the Roman conquerors, and later
of the Christian gospel, had lifted the English up from
savagery. Supporters of the colony expected it to bestow
the same benefits on the natives . . . .
Mr. Price adds that the English
thought of the Indians essentially as white people, unlike
Moors or black Africans, whom they considered fundamentally
different from themselves. At first, they were convinced
Indians were born white, but that constant painting discolored
their bodies. The English were careful to settle only on
uninhabited land, and looked forward to trade and cooperation.
It was clearly the Indians who, not unnaturally, saw the
colonists as invaders and were determined to dislike them.
There was trouble the first
day ashore. As the English were returning to the beach,
a band of five Indians ambushed them with bow and arrow,
wounding two. The English chased them off with musket fire
but hit no one. Smith, who observed the engagement while
still a prisoner on board ship, noted that the Indians
weapons were more accurate than muskets, and that their
rate of fire was faster.
The next day, the English
met no natives but they found oysters cooking over a fire,
which Indians had obviously left behind in a hurry as the
strangers approached. The colonists helped themselves, and
found the oysters very large and delicate in taste.
Several days later, they met Indians, and succeeded in making
gestures of peace. The Indians led them to their village,
fed them, and performed a dance, which involved, in the
words of one visitor shouting, howling, and stamping
against the ground, with many antic tricks and faces, making
noise like so many wolves or devils.
The English spent about two
weeks looking for a place to settle. They met various tribessome
friendly, some notbut there was no bloodshed. On May
14, they chose the present site of Jamestown, and the leaders
finally released Smith from confinement, since all hands
were needed to help build the settlement. The colony president,
Edward-Maria Wingfield, decreed that since the English came
in peace there would be no fortifications and no training
in the use of weapons. During the first few days, Indians
made friendly visits, fascinated by metal weapons, tools,
and the trinkets the colonists brought to trade.
thought of the Indians essentially as white
people, unlike Moors or black Africans, whom
they considered fundamentally different from
On the fourth day, a chief
named Wowinchopunck arrived with about 100 armed men. The
English nervously readied their weapons, and there was a
standoff. An Indian picked up an English hatchet and refused
to put it down. There was a scuffle, and the chief went
suddenly away with all his company in great anger.
Shortly afterwards, 23 men
including Smith set out to do the companys work of
looking for gold and a passage to the Pacific. On this trip
they learned of the extent of what was called the Powhatan
empire. The great chief controlled the entire eastern part
of what is now Virginia, and though local tribes had some
autonomy, he had firm control.
The exploring party found
no gold and no route to the East, and had another disappointment
when they returned on May 26. Just the day before, hundreds
of natives had attacked the settlement, killing an English
boy and wounding a dozen men, one of whom later died. The
colonists managed to panic the attackers with canon firewithout
which they might well have been massacredand killed
at least one Indian. These were the first deaths on both
sides. Jamestown was not even two weeks old.
Wingfield decided the settlement
would have to be fortified after all, and the men built
the triangular palisade with gun emplacements at the corners
now familiar to school children. From that point on, there
were sporadic attacks, but no deaths for another week. On
May 31, a man who had been outside the palisade came running
back inside with six arrows stuck in him, and died a week
Not all contact with Indians
was violent. The English learned that it was the Paspahegh
tribe, their nearest neighbors, that most disliked them.
Although the English thought they had settled on unclaimed
land, the Paspahegh considered it theirs. Indians who lived
farther away were more friendly and willing to trade. This
was the reverse of what the English had hoped forit
was the Indians with whom they had most contact who liked
On June 22, the sailors, who
were not subject to Virginia Company rules, set sail for
England. They had been the most productive workers, and
for reasons that are not entirely clear, work on the settlement
all but stopped. The gentlemen refused to work,
but so did many others. Everyone seems to have thought the
ships were going to come back full of food. As Smith wrote
in disgust, the colonists were in such despaire as
they would rather starve and rot with idleness, then be
perswaded to do anything for their owne reliefe without
constraint. Freeloading was a big problem. Everyone
shared the common food supply, so there was little reward
for individual effort.
to have been a very near thing whether Smith
would be carved up and burnt in pieces, too.
The summer brought several
nasty surprises. Jamestown was marshy, and what had been
good drinking water in April turned brackish in June. Mosquitoes
brought malaria. The stores from England began to run out,
but anyone who went hunting risked being killed by Indians.
Men began to die from disease and malnutrition. At times
only five men were strong enough to stand guard or drag
the dead out of the fort. Nearly half the colonists died,
and the rest expected to be massacred. To their surprise,
Indians came to trade food for beads and hatchets. Chief
Powhatan appears not to have realized how weak the English
were, and how easily he could have exterminated them. At
this low point, the colony elected John Smith as its leader.
He tightened up discipline, and established the rule that
those who did not work would not eat.
That winter, after the men
had recovered somewhat from sickness, Smith set out again
to hunt for gold and the Pacific. It was on this trip that
he had his famous encounter with Pocahontas. At one point
he split his party in two, leaving seven men on a boat with
strict orders not to venture onto land where they could
be ambushed. However, Chickahominy warriors set out women
on the shore, and had them gesture pleasingly to the English.
They went ashore, only to be attacked, and all but one,
George Cassen, scrambled back to the boat. This, as Mr.
Price tells it, is what happened to Cassen:
The natives prepared
a large fire behind the bound and naked body. Then a man
grasped his hands and used mussel shells to cut off joint
after joint, making his way through cassens fingers,
tossing the pieces into the flames. That accomplished, the
man used shells and reeds to detach the skin from Cassens
face and the rest of his head. Cassens belly was next,
as the man sliced it open, pulled out his bowels, and cast
those onto the fire. Finally the natives burned Cassen at
the stake through to the bones.
While this was going on, Indians
attacked Smiths group, killed his companions, and
captured Smith. The men brought him to one of Powhatans
younger brothers, Opechancanough, who would play a significant
role in later years. It appears to have been a very near
thing whether Smith would be carved up and burnt in pieces,
too, but he claimed to be a chief, and it was not the custom
to torture chiefs. Opechancanough decided to take him back
to Powhatan for a final verdict, but marched his captive
from village to village for several weeks before taking
him before the chief of chiefs.
Powhatan: a contemporary
Smith began to understand
that Opechancanough wanted to attack Jamestown, so he lied
stoutly about its defenses. He also persuaded his captors
to let him send a message back to Jamestown, claiming that
if his men thought he was harmed they would come and wreak
terrible vengeance (Smith had an unusual gift for bluffing;
the colonists were in no state to mount a punitive expedition).
He wrote on a page from his notebook that the colonists
were to terrify the Indian messengers with a demonstration
of cannon fire, and to send back certain gifts. The messengers
came back suitably terrified, and astonished that the colonists
had given them exactly what Smith said they would. They
had no writing, and thought Smith had made the piece of
Smith spent Christmas as a
prisoner, and did not meet Powhatan until the new year.
He estimated the great chief to be in his sixties or seventies,
and was greatly impressed by his bearing and aura of command.
Powhatan wanted to know what the colonists intentions
were, and Smith lied again, saying they had come ashore
only after losing a battle on the seas with enemies, and
would go back to England soon. He bragged again about how
vengeful the English were, implying that Powhatan had better
treat him well or reap the consequences.
It didnt work. Powhatan
ordered his men to force Smiths head down on a large
rock and dash out his brains. It was then that Pocahontas,
age 11 or 12 and the favorite of Powhatans many children,
scampered out of the crowd, put her head over Smiths
and begged for his life. Smith believed it was nothing more
than a gesture of kindness from the child, who had a lively
curiosity and wanted to know more about this strange visitor
rather than see him executed. Powhatan agreed to spare his
life if Smith would promise to send two cannon and a grindstone.
Smith could hardly decline.
On his return to Jamestown
on January 2, 1608, Smith found the colony in a bad way.
There had been more Indian attacks, and only about 40 of
the original 105 settlers were still alive. Several had
taken over the remaining ship, and were about to sail back
to England. Company rules forbade defection, and Smith trained
cannon on the ship to prevent escape.
He also had to deal with the
12 men Powhatan had sent back with him to haul home the
grindstone and cannons. Smith, who had a sense of humor,
offered the men two culvereins, which weighed about 3,000
pounds each. The Indians could not even lift them, much
less drag them through the woods, and left without them.
Such were the contacts with
the Indians during the first half year of the Jamestown
colony. The English meant no provocation, but their very
presence was a provocation. From time to time Indians found
it useful to trade with the colony, or to enlist its help
in quarrels with enemies, but their abiding attitude was
hostility. Many men back in Englandand many who came
later to Virginiacontinued to believe harmonious relations
were possible with the naturals, but Smith soon
understood uneasy toleration was the best the English could
Still, there were gestures
of amity. The English left a boy in Powhatans village
to learn Indian ways and master the language. The Indians
left a boy with the English, who was later taken to England
for exhibition by the Virginia Company as one of its many
money-raising schemes. Pocahontas took to visiting Jamestown,
where she played with the English boys, and got better acquainted
Throughout this period, the
English were still convinced they would find gold. They
sent boatloads of fools gold back to England, and
the company sent miners to Virginia. Once again, Mr. Price
tells us, Smith was among the first to shake off illusion.
He laughed at the gilded dirt the English kept
bringing in, reasoning that if there were gold nearby, the
natives would have found it just as the South Americans
had before the Spanish arrived.
A model of the
During the spring of 1608,
as the colony marked its first year of existence, there
were no all-out attacks by Indians, but Powhatan proposed
to trade turkeys for swords. Smith, who had no intention
of arming a potential enemy, said no. Powhatan started sending
small parties of men to try to steal things, and at one
point the English caught and locked up a dozen thieves.
Smith sent a message to Powhatan, saying that if the spades,
shovels, swords, and tools the Indians had stolen were not
returned, he would hang the prisoners. The Indians then
caught two colonists and proposed an exchange.
Smith, his numbers reinforced
by a new installment of colonists, went on a punitive expedition,
in which he killed no one, but burned villages and destroyed
canoes. Powhatan returned the two colonists. Smith learned
from his Indian prisoners that Powhatan planned to hold
a feast for the English, kill them while they were off guard,
and take all their weapons and tools. Smith released the
prisoners, but his bluster and resolution seem to have cowed
them. For a time there was uneasy peace.
Mr. Price recognizes the wisdom
of Smiths firm approach to the Indians. These were
not gentle children of nature yearning for Christianity.
The alternative to intimidation was not love and friendship,
he writes, it was open warwhich the English,
in 1608, would have lost to the last man.
Smith sent frank letters back
to the company, explaining that Virginia was a failure as
a get-rich-quick scheme, that sending over titled layabouts
to look for gold was folly. It was a rich country, he explained,
but one suited for farmers and fishermen rather than gold
miners. His messages began to sink in and the company began
to send more suitable colonists.
Powhatan seems to have vacillated
between trying to starve out the English and seeing what
he could get out of them by trade. By the winter of 1608,
the colonists were nearly out of food. Powhatan offered
grain in return for an English-style house, guns, swords,
copper and beads. Smith was desperate for supplies, and
accepted the offer except for the weapons. Then followed
what may have been the first act of European race treachery
on North American soil.
Smith sent more than a dozen
tradesmen to build Powhatans house, including two
German glass-makers for the windows. The Germans, who had
never been to Powhatans village, were impressed by
the large stores of food, and decided to go over to the
Indians. They told Powhatan about Jamestowns defenses,
and offered to go back to the colony and steal weapons.
what may have been the first act of European
race treachery on North American soil.
Meanwhile, when Smith showed
up for the food, Pocahontas once again saved his life by
warning him about a plan to kill him and his men when they
had set their weapons aside to eat. They kept their weapons
at the ready while they ate, as the strapping, fierce-looking
men who had brought the meal looked on in obvious frustration.
Smith returned to Jamestown with enough food to tide the
colony over the winter.
During their trips to Jamestown
to steal weapons, the Germans persuaded six or seven Englishmen
to gather weapons and help arm the Indians. Early in 1609,
Smith learned about the treachery. With uncharacteristic
forbearance, he offered to pardon the Germans if they came
back, and they accepted. After a month in Jamestown, however,
they went back to Powhatan and offered to turn their coats
again. They told him about plans for a new shipment of several
hundred new colonists, and offered to collect information
on the grandee who was coming to replace Smith. Powhatan
is reported to have said, You that would have betrayed
Captaine Smith to mee, will certainely betray me to this
great lord . . . . He then had his men beat out their
brains with clubs.
Smith continued to explore,
getting as far as Delaware, and the future site of Washington,
DC. However, by 1609 he had made so many enemies among the
gentlemen that the company cashiered him and brought him
back to England. He never returned to Virginia. By this
time there were about 500 people in Jamestown, but the newcomers
were still, as Mr. Price explains, looking forward
to lives of idle leisure supported by supplies from London,
food from the natives, and gold from the ground. This
was because the Virginia Company strictly controlled all
news about the colony, even censoring private letters, so
as not to discourage potential investors and colonists with
tales of torture and starvation. The deluded colonists were
still not growing enough food to feed themselves.
After Powhatan had met the
incompetents who replaced Smith, he began attacking the
colony again with surprise raids. His men massacred a party
of English who went looking for food, and left their bodies
for the others to find, with bread stuffed in their mouths.
A ship that went out to trade
with Powhatan came back empty, and with only 16 of the 50
men who had set out on the trip. The commander had not taken
the usual precautions with the Indians, and got the usual
treatment of slow dismemberment and burning. And so
for want of circumspection [he] miserably perished,
recorded one of his contemporaries.
During the winter of 1609-1610,
which came to be known as the starving time,
Powhatan nearly succeeded in wiping out the colony. By March,
1610, 400 out of the 500 Smith had left behind were dead
of starvation or Indian attacks. Another 36 stole a boat
and did a flit back to England. The English were so hungry
they ate their dead comrades, and one man even killed and
ate his pregnant wife. Once after an Indian attack, the
English buried a dead Indian, but several days later, regretting
their improvidence, dug him up and ate him.
The colony came within a hairs
breadth of abandonment, and Mr. Price tells the dramatic
story of how the English were saved. He goes on to tell
of Pocahontass kidnapping, her conversion to Christianity,
and her 1614 marriage to John Rolfe, which brought peace
with the Indians. Mr. Price also mentions the arrival in
1619 of the first Africans, noting that the English did
not have any illusions that they were potentially white:
Notions of black racial inferiority seem to have been
firmly in place in the colony from the start.
During this time of peace
with the Indians, the authorities threw themselves again
into the idea of loving and Christianizing the naturals.
They set aside 10,000 acres of land on the site of Pocahontass
conversion, to be used as a Christian college for Indians.
A leader named George Thorpe was particularly solicitous
of Indians. Unlike in the old days, they came and went freely
in the colony and in the satellite colonies that sprang
up along the river banks. When Indians complained that dogs
were frightening them, Thorpe had the dogs publicly hanged.
Thorpe even had an English-style house built for Opechancanough,
brother of Powhatan who captured Smith, and who became the
new chief after Powhatans death in 1618.
Opechancanough did not, however,
have a favorite daughter married to an Englishman. He resented
the steady growth of the colony, and hatched a plot to be
rid of it. On March 22, 1622, Indians arrived among the
English, unarmed as usual, taking their places at breakfast
tables and workplaces. However, when the colonists were
least suspecting it, they rose up and killed as many as
they could with anything they could get their hands on.
Fortunately for the colony, the main population at Jamestown
got warning early that day. The men kept their arms by their
sides, and the Indians did nothing. Elsewhere, they achieved
complete surprise, slaughtering and mutilating men, women,
and children. To Thorpe, their celebrated benefactor, they
did so many barbarous despights and foule scornes
after to his dead corpse, as are unbefitting to be heard
by any civill eare, according to a contemporary chronicler.
Of an estimated 1,200 colonists, the Indians managed to
kill about 400.
This was a great setback for
the colony, but the English spent a year making war on the
Indians, and in March 1623, Opechancanough sued for terms.
The English pretended to agree, and brought a great cask
of wine to the peace celebration. After much friendly speechifying,
the Indians drank the winepoisoned by the Englishand
about 200 died. Later that year the English signed a real
peace treaty with Opechancanough, and the two peoples gradually
returned to their old ways of peaceful intercourse.
Amazingly, in 1644, Opechancanough
masterminded an identical sneak attack, and this time managed
to kill between 400 and 500 people. The impact was not as
great, since the colony had grown bigger still, but this
time the English did not stop until they had killed a great
many Indians, including Opechancanough. In 1646, the Virginia
General Assembly noted that the natives were so routed
and dispersed that they are no longer a nation, and we now
suffer only from robbery by a few starved outlaws.
It is clear from Mr. Prices
account that the English approached the Indians with about
as much goodwill as it is possible for one alien people
to approach another. To have established the conditions
that made it possible for the Indians to mingle so freely
with the colonists they could manage the massacre of 1622
shows a high level of trust, which the Indians brutally
betrayed. For the English to have then so lowered their
guard that the same Indian chief could slaughter another
500 colonists 21 years later in exactly the same way, again
shows how much the English were prepared to trust their
neighbors. Had the Indians taken the same benevolent view
of the English, it is possible to imagine peaceful trade,
missionary work, and perhaps even large-scale miscegenation
and eventual absorption. The colonists, for their part,
seem to have brought to Virginia no preconceptions that
would have prevented such a result.
For the Indians, however,
the English brought no possible outcomebe it conversion,
assimilation, or absorptionthat meant anything but
their destruction as a people. In delaying their all-out
assault on the colony until there were too many English
to exterminate, they ensured their own physical rather than
merely cultural or genetic destruction. Even if they had
succeeded in wiping out Jamestown during the starving
time, the Englishor someone elsewould
have come eventually. By the 17th century, Europeans were
too ambitious to leave an entire continent in the hands
of stone-age savages.
It is instructive to note
that nearly 400 years later, the whites who have now taken
possession of the continent have lost none of the illusions
of the Jamestown colonists. As whites, in their turn, suffer
invasion by aliens they persist in believing that with enough
love and generosity, the children of todays illegal
immigrants will blesse the day when first their fathers
saw their faces. This, of course, was the illusion
that led to the massacres of 1622 and 1644. It is only whites
who believe in and try to practice multiracialism and peaceful
The future probably holds
nothing so dramatic for todays whites as the Jamestown
massacres, but if they do nothing, what is in store for
them is the gradual dispossession that awaited the Indians
had they not brought about physical destruction through
futile acts of violence. Yet again, whites seem prepared
to pay the price for believing that others are no different
Adventures of Captain John
Smiths biography is a tale of heroism and narrow
escapes that reads like a James Bond novel minus the
girls. He was born in 1580 to a simple farmer, just
one step above grinding poverty. He became a soldier
as a route to better things, and as a teenager fought
with the Dutch in the war of independence from Spain.
Afterwards, he withdrew to the English countryside
for a year and immersed himself in the theoretical
and practical arts of war.
In 1601, he joined the
Austrian forces in Hungary that were fighting the
occupying armies of the Ottoman Empire. He was captured
in 1602 and sold into slavery, where he was fitted
with an iron ring around his neck and toiled on a
Turkish farm. One day, his master rode up on a horse
as he worked in the fields. He killed the man, stole
his clothes and horse, and rode to freedom.
It was perhaps his experience
as a soldier fighting in foreign battlefields that
gave him his tactical shrewdness when dealing with
the Indians. He studied them carefully in the hope
of understanding them exactly as they were, and not
as imagined symbols of either nobility or depravity.
Indeed, he left the best ethnographic records of the
He badly wanted to go
back to Virginia to run the colony, but had offended
too many gentlemen ever to win reappointment.
Still, his adventures were by no means over. He explored
Massachusetts 10 years before the Mayflower sailed.
He battled pirates, was betrayed by his men, was captured
by the French, nearly died in wild escapes, and still
found time to write the then-standard accounts of
the New World.
Although in the popular
imagination he is romantically linked with Pocahontas,
she was only a child during his two years in Virginia.
Smith never married, and left no children when he
died in 1631.
• • •
BACK TO TOP • •
O Tempora, O Mores!
A new Dartmouth College study claims
to show that racism makes you stupid. A team led by
Prof. Jennifer Richeson recruited 30 white college students and
had them take an Implicit Association Test (IAT) supposedly to
measure racial bias. The students sat before a screen with two
buttons. If a positive word, such as beauty
or a name like Nancy with no ethnic connotations appeared on the
screen, they were supposed to push the left button. For anything
else, they were to push the right button. After the first session,
a number of black names like Tyrone or Kaneesha appeared on the
screen. The greater the difference in the reaction to the black
names, the greater the prejudice was assumed to be.
Racist or non-racist
After the IAT, students spoke briefly
with a black member of the research team, and then took an intelligence
test known as the Stroop test. According to the study, the most
biased students did worst on the Stroop test. As a further step,
the scientists connected the students to a magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI) machine, which can measure activity levels in different
areas of the brain. They then showed photographs of black and
white men. The more biased a student was according to the IAT
score, the more activity the scientists found in the executive
control part of the brain, which reportedly indicates a
conscious effort to control inappropriate thinking.
Prof. Richeson says prejudiced people
try so hard not to do or say anything inappropriate when they
encounter people of another race that the struggle temporarily
overworks the executive control center. Its almost
like working a muscle, she says. If you work it out
too much then you cant lift any more weight. She says
people are getting caught in this trap where they are trying
not to do the wrong thing, rather than trying to act naturally.
Some experts are already saying
that Dr. Richesons technique may some day be used to screen
people, such as police recruits, for racial bias. Others are hailing
the study as the most successful attempt yet to use neuroscience
to explain racism. Stanford psychology professor John Gabrieli
is already happily concluding that just having prejudice
makes you stupider. Whether or not the test is really measuring
what it claims to measure, it would be interesting to see results
with black test subjects. [Gareth Cook, Bias Taxes Brain, Research
Finds, Boston Globe, Nov. 17, 2003. David Adam, Inside the Mind
of a Racist: Scans May Reveal Brains Hidden Centres of Prejudice,
Guardian (London), Nov. 17, 2003.]
Darrell Shaw, who is white, is a
ten-year veteran of the Portland, Oregon, police force. On Nov.
18, he got into what may be serious trouble when he answered a
call at a hip-hop club with a stuffed, toy gorilla tied to the
grille of his police cruiser. I think everyone was kind
of shocked, says Clyde Fulkerson, manager of Ringlers Pub.
Its either a real ignorant, insensitive policeman
or an insensitive, racist policeman. Patrons were furious,
and some used cell phone cameras to record the outrage.
Why did Officer Shaw have a toy
gorilla tied to his car? At 1:21 a.m. on the day in question,
he was despatched to a strip club, where there was a report of
a disorderly drunk. He found Robert Fowlkes, race unspecified
but well known to police, cuffed him, and put him in the back
of his patrol car. Mr. Fowlkes has a habit of carrying around
a stuffed, toy gorilla that he bought for 25 cents at a thrift
shop, and he had it with him that night. Officer Shaw says it
was soaking wet and stank of vomit or urine, and he didnt
want it in his car. He knew Mr. Fowlkes would be upset if he threw
it away, so he tied it to the front of his car to let it air out.
At 2:34 a.m. Officer Shaw got a call about a fight at the hip-hop
club, and this is why he arrived among the black patrons with
the apparently unforgivable decoration on his cruiser.
Police Chief Derrick Foxworth has
heard Officer Shaws explanation but says there will be a
full investigation anyway. Weve opened a case and
will attempt to make contacts with witnesses, adds Richard
Rosenthal, who is in charge of disciplinary hearings. [Maxine
Bernstein, Officer Apologizes for Having Stuffed Gorilla on Car,
Oregonian (Portland), Nov. 25, 2003.]
Rio Grande de Sul, Brazils
southernmost state, is its most European, populated largely by
the descendants of German, Polish, and Italian immigrants who
arrived early in the 20th century. They tend to be tall, blonde,
and blue- or green-eyed, and supply almost all of Brazils
models. The worlds number-one model, Gisèle Bündchen,
is from Rio Grande de Sul, and the man who discovered her, Dilson
Stein, hopes to find more like her. The mixture [of ethnicities]
means you get these marvelous-looking women, he says. [Alex
Bellos, Tan, Tall, Lithe, and LovelyGirls from Brazil Rule
Catwalks, The Observer, (London) Nov. 3, 2003.]
Gubba is Vindicated
In early 2000, the board of the
Boree Aboriginal Corporation (BAC), in New South Wales, Australia,
decided to purge its supervisory staff of gubbas,
Aborigine slang for whites. Among them was Sharon Carr, whom the
board fired in June 2000, after nearly two years employment. The
BAC also refused to pay her 100 hours of overtime, even though
Aborigines normally received overtime pay.
Miss Carr fought the firing in court
on the grounds that it violated the Australian Race Discrimination
Act, and won. The BAC must now pay her $25,000 for lost wages,
legal fees, and damages. The judge in the case said that Miss
Carr also deserved a written apology for the hurt, upset,
and humiliation she had experienced. People dont
like not to be given a job because theyre black, or not
given a go because they are black, said Miss Carr. If
they dont like to be judged in a certain way, they shouldnt
do the same thing to others. [Leonie Lemont, Sacked Woman
Gets Payout over Discrimination, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia),
Oct. 17, 2003.]
Eric J. Moore, a black Milwaukee
police officer, has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission accusing his black supervisors of denying
him promotions because he associates with whites. I have
been repeatedly denied a promotion despite my being qualified
and having more tenure than the selectees, he says. Upper
management has made known their biases against me because of my
race and association with non-blacks.
Mr. Moore has collected many statements
to substantiate his complaint. He says police chief and mayoral
candidate Arthur L. Jones called him a shuffling-okey-dokey-for-the-white-man
type of brother. Mr. Moores former supervisor Leslie
Barber reportedly said that he would not be promoted because he
runs around here talking to those damn white people.
Finally, Mr. Moore says another former supervisor gave this advice:
Dont be a court jester like Eric Moore and be entertainment
for these white folks. Eric be running around here and shucking
and jiving, skinning and grinning in these white folks faces
and he should realize . . . they dont really like his ass.
[Black Officer: Befriending Whites Cost Promotion, WorldNet Daily.com,
Nov. 13, 2003.]
On Oct. 7, graffiti appeared at
Wellesley High School in Wellesley, Massachusetts, saying, On
October 15 or 17 the school will burn and there will be no blacks
in our schools. This prompted a police investigation and
much public hand-wringing. A week later, police had found the
culprit: a 16-year-old black boy who had been bused into the predominantly
white suburban school district for 11 years. Wellesley responded
by showering the troublemaker with compassion and sensitivity.
Deborah Ward, who is responsible for the schools desegregation
program, says, Its like having a sibling whos
in trouble. Were all one. Most of the kids will rally round
that person. Boston Globe columnist Eileen McNamara
suggests that the solution to any racial problems at the school
is to increase the number of black students. [Anand Vaishnav and
Suzanne Sataline, Wellesley School Links Graffiti to Metco Teen,
Boston Globe, Oct. 15, 2003. Eileen McNamara, Ugly Scrawl Hits
Home, Boston Globe, Oct. 15, 2003.]
There was a more vigorous response
to a racial hoax at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Student Jaime Saide claimed to have found anti-Hispanic slurs
written near his dormitory room, and said a man had put a knife
to his throat and insulted Hispanics. He used this story to great
effect at an anti-discrimination rally. A few days later, police
arrested him for fabricating the story, and charged him with felony
disorderly conduct, which can carry a three-year prison term.
Mr. Saide said he made up the story to motivate minority
students and staff to the problems of racism. [Lisa Black,
Police Say Hate Crimes Faked, Chicago Tribune, Nov. 19, 2003.]
Last Junes Supreme Court Grutter
and Gratz decisions on racial preferences in higher
education (see AR, August 2003) were so unclear that colleges
are having trouble figuring what is still permitted, and many
legal battles lie ahead for colleges determined to discriminate
against whites. This is a war, and we are in the middle
of it, says Tom Parker, Dean of Admissions at Amherst College.
One area of dispute is minority outreach programs,
under which promising non-whites get all-expenses-paid visits
to campus. Many colleges are taking no chances, and are extending
outreach to whites. Administrators at Amherst fear this will lead
to a resegregation of campuses. It also remains to
be seen whether race-exclusive clubs, student organizations, and
housing are still legal.
Another burden on colleges is that
they must gear their preferences towards getting a critical
mass of non-whites, and can no longer justify them with
vague claims that they are making up for past discrimination.
The language of preferences has gotten tricky. The term affirmative
action, according to legal consultant Arthur L. Coleman,
is no longer to be used in statements of college policy because
it has become a red flag. Underrepresented minority
is also no longer acceptable. [U]nderrepresentation is not
a concept that jibes very well with critical mass, says
Angelo N. Ancheta, legal director of Harvard Universitys
Civil Rights Project. The meaning and import of the term critical
mass remain a subject of intense study for many college
administrators, who say more research is needed on the concept.
As many predicted, the main effect
of the rulings may only be to encourage colleges to conceal what
they are doing, not stop doing it. The Gratz decision forbade
a point system of racial preferences, yet Mr. Ancheta has told
college officials, Be wary of using a point system. If you
advertise your point system, you are vulnerable to challenge.
He seems, in effect, to be telling colleges to lie. [Peter Schmidt,
Affirmative Action Remains a Minefield, Mostly Unmapped, Chronicle
of Higher Education, Oct. 24, 2003. Michael Dobbs, At Colleges,
an Affirmative Reaction, Washington Post, Nov. 13, 2003.]
This is exactly the sort of thing
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia cannot stand. He recently
lashed out against the Court when it refused to hear a case against
the city of Denver, which had been accused of discriminating against
white-owned businesses. It was clear to Justice Scalia that the
legally necessary evidence of past discrimination against non-white
businesses had not been produced. Without that evidence, he pointed
out, the only function of the preferences is to channel
a fixed percentage of city contracting dollars to firms identified
by race. [Anne Gearan, Scalia Lashes out at Supreme Court
Judges, AP, Nov. 17, 2003.]
Time for Christmas
A new Christian rock opera is touring
the nation. Called !Hero, it is about a dreadlock-wearing
black Jesus, born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who fights terrorists
in New York. The musical is the brainchild of Eddie DeGarmo, described
as a Christian music veteran who heads EMI Records
Music Publishing Group. Mr. DeGarmo describes !Hero as
a very aggressive story about a mysterious figure
known as Hero, who performs miracles, teaches, gains followers,
and ends up on center stage. Besides the musical, there
are !Hero CDs, comic books, and novels. [Jim Remsen, A
Modern Savior Wears Dreadlocks, Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 2,
2003, p. C4.]
In the November issue, we reported
that the residents of Cayce, South Carolina, were upset that their
town had been chosen to get 120 Somali Bantu refugees without
their knowledge or consent. Local officials, worried that the
Somalis would drain city and school resources, persuaded Rev.
Richard Robinson, the local coordinator of resettlement for the
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, to cut the number in
half. They thought 60 was still too many, but had no say in the
The US State Department has since
decided not to resettle any Somalis in Cayce, citing insufficient
local community support. This is good news for Cayce, but
just pushes the problem somewhere else; all 120 Somalis are now
headed for nearby Columbia. Rev. Robinson calls the decision by
the State Department devastating. He has enlisted
the support of more than 30 religious groups and other organizations
to put pressure on Columbia and make sure it doesnt turn
away the Bantu.
Mayor Avery Wilkerson of Cayce says
the city would have accepted two or three families, but no more.
When it was forced down on us, it caused a negative reaction,
he explains. It became a fairness issue. [Monique
Angle, Cayce Will Not Get Bantus; Lack of Local Support Cited,
The State (Columbia, S.C.), Oct. 8, 2003.]
Meanwhile, 181 other Bantu are headed
for Pittsburgh, thanks to Catholic Charities of the Diocese of
Pittsburgh. Executive director Sister Patricia Cairns says the
people of Cayce are misguided. The Bantu may be illiterate and
may never have seen indoor plumbing but they enrich our
community, she explains. [Chris Osher, 181 Refugees Pittsburgh
Bound, Tribune-Review (Pittsburgh), Nov. 24, 2003.]
em All In
The US admitted 85,525 refugees
in fiscal year 1999, 73,147 in 2000, and 69,304 in 2001. Improved
screening following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks reduced the
numbers, but did not halt the flow: 27,142 came in 2002 and 28,
421 in 2003. Under pressure from refugee advocacy groups, the
Bush Administration has promised to increase the number to 70,000
during fiscal year 2004, which began October first.
Some congressmen want even moreat
least 90,000but view the presidents goal as a good
start. Realistically, its not likely that we can get
them to move immediately to a higher number, says Rep. Christopher
Shays (R-NJ). But minimally, we want to make sure all 70,000
slots are used, and then get a bigger number next year.
About 25,000 refugees will come
from Africa, including several thousand from Somalia. Last summer,
the Somalis rioted in their camp in Kenya, forcing US refugee
workers to flee. The State Department has since spent $500,000
to fortify the camp, adding fences and guard towers, but still
plans to bring the Somalis here. The department is also negotiating
with China to bring in an unspecified number of North Korean refugees.
[Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, U.S. Officials Aim to Admit More Refugees
in 2004, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 3, 2004, p. A8.]
The United States Postal Service
(USPS) publishes a magazine for employees and philatelists called
Mailers Companion, and the July issue highlighted diversity.
For the fourth year in a row, the magazine bragged, the USPS scored
high on Fortune magazines list of the 50 Best Companies
for Minorities, coming in 11th, far ahead of rivals UPS (26th)
and FedEx (41st). No fewer than 36.6 percent of USPS employees
are non-white21.2 percent black, 7.5 percent Hispanic, 7
percent Asian and 0.6 percent Indian. Non-whites are 20.5 percent
of the top executives, and 31.3 percent of management as a whole.
Thirty-seven percent of all new hires are non-white. [Devoted
to Diversity, Mailers Companion (USPS), July 2003.]
When one computer controls the operations
of another the two machines are called master and
slave. Los Angeles County has now decided such language
is offensive, and has asked computer companies to call their machines
primary and secondary. A black employee
in the Probation Department took offense at the traditional nomenclature.
Dennis Tafoya, director of affirmative action for the county,
concluded that the employee had not suffered outright discrimination
because of this language, but decided the terms are antiquated
and offensive, and has asked vendors to change their ways.
If it means culture change, then we have to begin someplace,
he explains. [Troy Anderson, County Deletes Master-Slave
PC Term, Daily News (Los Angeles), Nov. 25, 2003.]
No doubt male and female connectors
will soon have to be renamed convex and concave.
The Southern Chinese have bizarre
taste in food (see AR, August 2003), and patronize animal markets
that sell rats, dogs, goats, cats, snakes, and assorted birds.
There is even a delicacy called three-screams rat,
in which rats are eaten live. The rat is said to scream once when
it is grabbed by chopsticks, the second time when it is dipped
in vinegar, and the third time when it is bitten.
Wild animals are believed to be
the source of SARS: many of the first SARS patients worked in
the wild animal markets, and a virus similar to SARS has been
discovered in the civet cat, an expensive delicacy. The Chinese
government has tried to regulate the markets in order to exterminate
the virus, but has not succeeded. [David Lynch, Wild Animal Markets
May Be Breeding SARS, USA Today, Oct. 28, 2003.]
Just old enough to
of the Year
When Jacksonville, Florida, police
arrested Dakeysha Telita Lee, 22, on aggravated assault and petty
theft charges on September 10, she neglected to tell them her
two-year-old daughter was home alone. The little girl lived on
catsup, mustard, and uncooked pasta for more than two weeks before
her father, who is separated from the mother, found her on September
28. She was sitting in front of the television, wearing only a
towel, and was covered in filth and dried catsup. She is recovering
from malnutrition in a Jacksonville hospital.
Ogden Lee said he had been trying
to contact his estranged wife for some time, but did not know
she was in jail. Mrs. Lee now faces an additional charge of felony
child abuse, and remains in jail on $20,000 bond. [Girl, 2, Alone
at Home While Mother in Jail, USA Today, Oct. 1, 2003.]
As many as 5,000 women world-wide
are murdered each year by relatives who believe the women have
disgraced the familys honor, usually because of a sexual
indiscretion. Some women are even killed because of the shame
they brought on the family by being raped. Most honor killings
take place in Muslim or other Third-World countries, but the practice
is coming to the West, along with immigration. In Britain, police
say there were 12 honor killings in 2002. Abdalla Yones, for example,
a Kurdish refugee who came to Britain 10 years ago, stabbed his
daughter 11 times and slit her throat because she had become too
Westernized and had taken up with a Lebanese Christian.
A culturally sensitive court gave Mr. Yones just16 years for the
murder. [Lyric Wallwork Winik, Honor Killings Reach
England, Parade Magazine, Nov. 9, 2003.]
The first grade class at Madison
School in Skokie, Illinois, was looking forward to the annual
Thanksgiving party last November. Half had made Indian headdresses
out of construction paper, and half made Pilgrim hats or bonnets.
A parent said the Indian costumes were racially insensitive, but
principal Pete Davis initially brushed the complaint aside. Later,
however, he contacted two Indian organizations in Chicago, and
they advised us very strongly not to wear headdresses.
So, instead of the dress-up party, Mr. Davis invited Leonard Malatare
of the American Indian Center to talk to the first-graders and
give them a traditional blessing. Mr. Malatare says headdresses
in first grade are the top of the slippery slope. Theyll
grow up with that image in their head, he says. Ive
had people come up and ask me if I was born in a teepee.
[No Pilgrims or Indians at Skokie First Grade Class, AP, Nov.
When whites discovered diamonds
on land occupied by the Nama tribe near Alexander Bay, South Africa,
in 1925, they took the land under the legal concept of terra
nullius (empty land), which holds that uncivilized peoples
do not have property rights. The Nama, who are similar to South
African bushmen, were nomadic goat herders. The South African
government opened a state-run diamond mine, and earlier this year,
miners found a 111-carat diamond that fetched $3 million.
When the ANC took over in 1994,
it passed the Land Restitution Act, under which indigenous people
who lost land because of racial discrimination could
file to reclaim it or receive financial compensation instead.
The Nama went to court, but the ANC government, which now owns
the diamond mine, opposed their claimciting the doctrine
of terra nullius. ANC lawyers argued that the 2,200 Nama,
who live in tin shacks without running water or electricity, are
still so backward they have no ownership rights, and that returning
their land would open the floodgates to countless
other frivolous claims.
I use this word carefully,
says Gert de Wet, leader of the Nama, but I am accusing
the ANC government of being racist. In my view . . . the [brown-skinned]
Nama people are not black enough to be treated fairly. [Tim
Butcher, Tribe Accuses ANC of Diamond Apartheid, Telegraph
(London), Sept. 13, 2003.]
On Oct. 14, South Africas
constitutional court ruled in favor of the Nama, awarding them
the land at Alexander Bay, the diamond mine, and compensation
for all diamonds mined since 1925. The compensation alone amounts
to an estimated $1.5 billionmore than $680,000 per Nama.
[Tim Butcher, Tribesmen Win £900m Suit Over Diamonds, Telegraph
(London), Oct. 15, 2003.]
The FBI says the matricula consular
card issued by Mexico to its citizens in the US is unreliable
ID and can be easily forged. The General Services Administration
does not accept the cards for access to federal buildings and,
as we reported in October, Mexican banks do not consider them
proof of identity. Many American banks, however, accept the matricula
with the blessing of the US Treasury Department. On Sept. 18,
the department said it would not withdraw its recognition of the
Banks are happy. Steven Bartlett,
president of the Financial Services Roundtable, says, This
is a win for the matricula, a win for the economy and a
win for our close ally Mexico. His organization represents
the 100 largest financial service companies.
Some utilities, libraries, hospitals
and even several state and municipal governmentsincluding
police departmentsaccept the matricula consular.
Montgomery County, Maryland, in suburban Washington, DC, decided
in mid-September to let Mexican immigrants use the card to get
county handouts. [Treasury Allows Mexican IDs for Bank Accounts,
AP, Sept. 19, 2003.]
Home to Roost
The Hispanic population of Nashville,
Tennessee, officially stood at 35,000 in the 2000 Census, and
at an estimated 47,000 in 2002. Yuri Cunza, director of Nashvilles
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, says the real figure is closer to
100,000. He says one problem Hispanics face is that many dont
have health insurance and are intimidated by a medical
system that requires prescriptions for many drugs. He is happy
the Catholic charity, Saint Thomas Health Services, will spend
$4 million to double the size of its street clinic, which serves
an overwhelmingly Hispanic clientele. St. Thomas is a private
hospital, but we can be sure that taxpayers contributed a substantial
part of the $4 million. [M.B. Owens, New $4 Million Clinic Planned,
The City Paper (Nashville), Nov. 4, 2003.]
Mexico gets closer
all the time.
Hispanics are as baffled by zoning
as they are by prescriptions. County ordinances and health codes
prohibit residents of Davidson County (Nashville) from keeping
farm animals on their property. The ever-increasing numbers of
Third-World immigrants moving into Davidson County are bringing
their livestock with them anyway. County authorities now get many
complaints about chickens wandering the roads and goats being
slaughtered in back yards. Roosters can be even worse for insomniacs
than barking dogs, and one woman complained her neighbors
chickens had turned her front porch into a roost. [Diversity Brings
Roaming Chickens, The City Paper (Nashville), Oct. 23, 2003, p.
A new study has found that the population
of Nashville began declining in the late 1990s, as rich and even
middle- and working-class residents began moving out. Poor people
are replacing them, and the city fathers fret about declining
taxes. David Penn, who did the study for Middle Tennessee State
University, doesnt understand why people are suddenly leaving
Nashville, after years of growth. Weve heard a variety
of explanations, he says, but the truth is I havent
seen a decent study as to why people are moving out. [Nashville
Population Declining, The City Paper (Nashville), Oct. 23, 2003.]
Perhaps Mr. Penn might ask some
of the people who have left what they think of neighborhoods that
are fillingup with people who slaughter goats and keep chickens.
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| L E T T E R S
F R O M R E A D E R S
Sir—Ian Jobling’s "Competitive
Altruism" in the Oct. and Nov. issues reminded me of a remark
by Oscar Wilde: "One can always be kind to people about whom
one cares nothing." The New Class has almost no involvement
with the people it pretends to cherish. In order to believe its
own propaganda, the New Class must recognize no differences between
races or beliefs. Each is as good as the other. Saying all things
are equal is liberal, tolerant and compassionate, but it is also
nihilistic. When all creeds and manners are as good as any other,
none has any value.
Dan Althoff, Atlantic Beach, Fla.
Sir—The "Competitive Altruism"
described by Dr. Jobling is, I believe, related to four factors
that have had disastrous consequences for whites. The first is
the singularly white, especially Anglo-Saxon, proclivity toward
fairness and inclusiveness. We welcomed the Germans, Irish, and
Italians to our shores, and then became convinced blacks and Third-World
immigrants deserve "equality," too. Our society refuses
to acknowledge the failure of this round of "inclusiveness,"
just as it refuses to acknowledge the biological reality of race,
which is the reason for that failure.
This refusal is largely the result
of the second factor: the association of the study of racial differences
with Nazi atrocities. The propaganda trick of "Nazifying"
anyone who mentions race and politics in the same breath has quashed
Third, since the 1960s, our society
has been haunted by self-contempt. The Vietnam demonstrators—unlike
protesters of the past—did not drape themselves in the American
flag. Instead, they burned it, and glorified Ho Chi Minh. One
can only imagine what would have happened to the few Americans
who opposed World War II if they had burned Old Glory while shouting
praise for Hirohito. But in the new climate, contempt for all
things American became the height of intellectual sophistication.
Of course, the protesters are no longer anti-Establishment—they
are the Establishment that teaches us to despise white
America, and "celebrate diversity."
Public outcry has been inhibited
by the fourth factor: the climate of conformity and intolerance
that has taken over intellectual life. The former flag-burners
never believed in democracy. They believed in a combination of
self-righteousness and political power that opposes intellectual
freedom. Of these four, the third is the most dangerous. We can
overcome lies and censorship, but only if we still have the will
Jonathan E. Ardleigh, Libertyville,
Sir—Thank you for the excellent
article about immigration to Scandinavia. It was a pleasure to
read such a comprehensive account, and I am sure there is nothing
else like it available in English.
I would never have suspected there
were such marked national differences in how Nordics view non-whites,
and I could not help but be struck by the fact that the most successful
immigration control advocates have so completely distanced themselves
from Nazism. The Danish foes of immigration, we learn, actively
support Israel, which makes it hard to accuse them of Nazism.
This is not just clever strategy;
it is ideologically consistent. Those who fight for their own
self-determination should support it for others. Israel is the
only non-Third-World country whose ethnic exclusiveness goes unchallenged
in the West. This should be our model, not an object of contempt.
I have always been amused by racially conscious whites who suddenly
develop tender feelings for Palestinians, but who certainly never
shed a tear for the American Indians.
If Jews—or anyone else—claim racial
or ethnic rights for themselves they deny to us they are obstacles
to our survival. However, the state of Israel is, in many respects,
precisely the kind of self-consciously ethno-national state we
and our European kinsmen are fighting for.
Susan Brand, Pittsburgh, Penn.
Sir—So the Danish press is on the
side of the angels when it comes to Muslim immigration? How in
Heaven’s name did that happen? Surely that is the key to Denmark’s
healthy state of mind. I have never doubted that there is plenty
of residual good sense left in American whites that would flourish
and flower if the media drifted only a few degrees towards sanity.
Perhaps Mr. Widmark could give us his thoughts on why the Danish
media are so different from those in Sweden—and in fact from those
in every other white country in the world!
Jim Kelty, Truro, Mass.
Sir—I greatly enjoyed Scott Trask’s
review of Paul Theroux’s account of his travels through Africa.
I was reminded of a radio interview Mr. Theroux once gave to a
silly liberal named Terry Gross who has a program on National
Public Radio called "Fresh Air." Miss Gross bubbled
about how traveling all around the world, as Mr. Theroux did,
must give him a sense of the oneness of all mankind, of how similar
we all are. No, said Mr. Theroux, his experiences only impressed
upon him how different people are from each other. I nearly kissed
Of course, the pity is that Mr.
Theroux could travel through the United States and probably find
himself in places just as alien as Khartoum and Kampala. And,
somehow I doubt Terry Gross is going to interview him on the subject
of Dark Star Safari.
George Carter, Athens, Ga.
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