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|Vol 2, No. 7||July 1991|
What is Racism?
Everyone talks about "racism" but no one ever defines it. AR's assistant editor has given it a try.
By Thomas Jackson
There is surely no nation in the world that holds "racism" in greater horror than does the United States. Compared to other kinds of offenses, it is thought to be somehow more reprehensible. The press and public have become so used to tales of murder, rape, robbery, and arson, that any but the most spectacular crimes are shrugged off as part of the inevitable texture of American life. "Racism" is never shrugged off.
For example, when a white Georgetown Law School student reports that black students are less well qualified than white students, it sets off a booming, national controversy about "racism." If the student had merely murdered someone he would have attracted far less attention and criticism.
Racism is, indeed, the national obsession. Universities are on full alert for it, newspapers and politicians denounce it, churches preach against it, America is said to be racked with it, but just what is racism?
Dictionaries are not much help in understanding what is meant by the word. They usually define it as the belief that one's own ethnic stock is superior to others, or as the belief that culture and behavior are rooted in race. When Americans speak of racism they mean a great deal more than this.
Nevertheless, the dictionary definition of racism is a clue to understanding what Americans do mean. A peculiarly American meaning derives from the current dogma that all ethnic stocks are equal. Despite clear evidence to the contrary, all races have been declared to be equally talented and hard-working, and anyone who questions the dogma is thought to be not merely wrong but evil.
The dogma has logical consequences that are profoundly important. If blacks, for example, are equal to whites in every way, what accounts for their poverty, criminality, and dissipation? Since any theory of racial differences has been outlawed, the only possible explanation for black failure is white racism. And since blacks are markedly poor, crime-prone, and dissipated, America must be racked with a pervasive and horrible racism. Nothing else could be keeping them--the undisputed equals of whites--in such an abject state.
All public discourse on race today is locked into this rigid logic. Any explanation for black failure that does not depend on white wickedness threatens to veer off into the forbidden territory of racial differences. Thus, even if today's whites can find in their hearts no desire to oppress blacks, yesterday's whites must have oppressed them. If whites do not consciously oppress blacks, they must oppress them unconsciously. If no obviously racist individuals can be identified, then institutions must be racist. Or, since blacks are failing so terribly in America, there simply must be millions of white people we do not know about, who are working day and night to keep blacks in misery. The dogma of racial equality leaves no room for an explanation of black failure that is not, in some fashion, an indictment of white people.
The logical consequences of this
are clear. Since we are required to believe that the only explanation
for non-white failure is white racism, every time a non-white is poor,
commits a crime, goes on welfare, or takes drugs, white society stands
accused of yet another act of racism. All failure or misbehavior
by non-whites is standing proof that white society is riddled with hatred
and bigotry. For precisely so long as non-whites fail to succeed
in life at exactly the same level as whites, whites will be, by definition,
thwarting and oppressing them.
This obligatory pattern of thinking leads to strange conclusions. First of all, racism is a sin that is thought to be committed almost exclusively by white people. Indeed, a black congressman from Chicago, Gus Savage, and Coleman Young, the black mayor of Detroit, have argued that only white people can be racist. Likewise, in 1987, the affirmative action officer of the State Insurance Fund of New York issued a company pamphlet in which she explained that all whites are racist and that only whites can be racist. How else could the plight of blacks be explained without flirting with the possibility of racial inequality?
Although some blacks and liberal whites concede that non-whites can, perhaps, be racist, they invariably add that non-whites have been forced into it as self-defense because of centuries of white oppression. What appears to be non-white racism is so understandable and forgivable that it hardly deserves the name. Thus, whether or not an act is called racism depends on the race of the racist. What would surely be called racism when done by whites is thought to be normal when done by anyone else. The reverse is also true.
Examples of this sort of double standard are so common, it is almost tedious to list them: When a white man kills a black man and uses the word "nigger" while doing so, there is an enormous media uproar and the nation beats its collective breast; when members of the black Yahweh cult carry out ritual murders of random whites, the media are silent (see AR of March, 1991). College campuses forbid pejorative statements about non-whites as "racist," but ignore scurrilous attacks on whites.
At election time, if 60 percent of the white voters vote for a white candidate, and 95 percent of the black voters vote for the black opponent, it is whites who are accused of racial bias. There are 107 "historically black" colleges, whose fundamental blackness must be preserved in the name of diversity, but all historically white colleges must be forcibly integrated in the name of . . . the same thing. To resist would be racist.
"Black pride" is said to be a wonderful and worthy thing, but anything that could be construed as an expression of white pride is a form of hatred. It is perfectly natural for third-world immigrants to expect school instruction and driver's tests in their own languages, whereas for native Americans to ask them to learn English is racist.
Blatant anti-white prejudice, in the form of affirmative action, is now the law of the land. Anything remotely like affirmative action, if practiced in favor of whites, would be attacked as despicable favoritism.
All across the country, black, Hispanic, and Asian clubs and caucuses are thought to be fine expressions of ethnic solidarity, but any club or association expressly for whites is by definition racist. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) campaigns openly for black advantage but is a respected "civil rights" organization. The National Association for the Advancement of White People (NAAWP) campaigns merely for equal treatment of all races, but is said to be viciously racist.
At a few college campuses, students opposed to affirmative action have set up student unions for whites, analogous to those for blacks, Hispanics, etc., and have been roundly condemned as racists. Recently, when the white students at Lowell High School in San Francisco found themselves to be a minority, they asked for a racially exclusive club like the ones that non-whites have. They were turned down in horror. Indeed, in America today, any club not specifically formed to be a white enclave but whose members simply happen all to be white is branded as racist.
Today, one of the favorite slogans that define the asymmetric quality of American racism is "celebration of diversity." It has begun to dawn on a few people that "diversity" is always achieved at the expense of whites (and sometimes men), and never the other way around. No one proposes that Howard University be made more diverse by admitting whites, Hispanics, or Asians. No one ever suggests that National Hispanic University in San Jose (CA) would benefit from the diversity of having non-Hispanics on campus. No one suggests that the Black Congressional Caucus or the executive ranks of the NAACP or the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund suffer from a lack of diversity. Somehow, it is perfectly legitimate for them to celebrate homogeneity. And yet any all-white group--a company, a town, a school, a club, a neighborhood--is thought to suffer from a crippling lack of diversity that must be remedied as quickly as possible. Only when whites have been reduced to a minority has "diversity" been achieved.
Let us put it bluntly: To "celebrate" or "embrace" diversity, as we are so often asked to do, is no different from deploring an excess of whites. In fact, the entire nation is thought to suffer from an excess of whites. Our current immigration policies are structured so that approximately 90 percent of our annual 800,000 legal immigrants are non-white. The several million illegal immigrants that enter the country every year are virtually all non-white. It would be racist not to be grateful for this laudable contribution to "diversity."
It is, of course, only white nations that are called upon to practice this kind of "diversity." It is almost comical to imagine a nation of any other race countenancing blatant dispossession of this kind.
What if the United States were pouring its poorest, least educated citizens across the border into Mexico? Could anyone be fooled into thinking that Mexico was being "culturally enriched?" What if the state of Chihuahua were losing its majority population to poor whites who demanded that schools be taught in English, who insisted on celebrating the Fourth of July, who demanded the right to vote even if they weren't citizens, who clamored for "affirmative action" in jobs and schooling?
Would Mexico--or any other non-white nation--tolerate this kind of cultural and demographic depredation? Of course not. Yet white Americans are supposed to look upon the flood of Hispanics and Asians entering their country as a priceless cultural gift. They are supposed to "celebrate" their own loss of influence, their own dwindling numbers, their own dispossession, for to do otherwise would be hopelessly racist.
There is another curious asymmetry about American racism. When non-whites advance their own racial purposes, no one ever accuses them of "hating" any other group. Blacks can join "civil rights" groups and Hispanics can be activists without fear of being branded as bigots and hate mongers. They can agitate openly for racial preferences that can come only at the expense of whites. They can demand preferential treatment of all kinds without anyone ever suggesting that they are "anti-white."
Whites, on the other hand, need only express their opposition to affirmative action to be called haters. They need only object to racial policies that are clearly prejudicial to themselves to be called racists. Should they actually go so far as to say that they prefer the company of their own kind, that they wish to be left alone to enjoy the fruits of their European heritage, they are irredeemably wicked and hateful.
Here, then is the final, baffling inconsistency about American race relations. All non-whites are allowed to prefer the company of their own kind, to think of themselves as groups with interests distinct from those of the whole, and to work openly for group advantage. None of this is thought to be racist. At the same time, whites must also champion the racial interests of non-whites. They must sacrifice their own future on the altar of "diversity" and cooperate in their own dispossession. They are to encourage, even to subsidize, the displacement of a European people and culture by alien peoples and cultures. To put it in the simplest possible terms, white people are cheerfully to slaughter their own society, to commit racial and cultural suicide. To refuse to do so would be racism.
Of course, the entire non-white enterprise in the United States is perfectly natural and healthy. Nothing could be more natural than to love one's people and to hope that it should flourish. Filipinos and El Salvadorans are doubtless astonished to discover that simply by setting foot in the United States they are entitled to affirmative-action preferences over native-born whites, but can they be blamed for accepting them? Is it surprising that they should want their languages, their cultures, their brothers and sisters to take possession and put their mark indelibly on the land? If the once-great people of a once-great nation is bent upon self-destruction and is prepared to hand over land and power to whomever shows up and asks for it, why should Mexicans and Cambodians complain?
No, it is the white enterprise in the United States that is unnatural, unhealthy, and without historical precedent. Whites have let themselves be convinced that it is racist merely to object to dispossession, much less to work for their own interests. Never in the history of the world has a dominant people thrown open the gates to strangers, and poured out its wealth to aliens. Never before has a people been fooled into thinking that there was virtue or nobility in surrendering its heritage, and giving away to others its place in history.
Of all the races in America, only whites have been tricked into thinking that a preference for one's own kind is racism. Only whites are ever told that a love for their own people is somehow "hatred" of others. All healthy people prefer the company of their own kind, and it has nothing to do with hatred. All men love their families more than they love their neighbors, but this does not mean they hate their neighbors. Whites who love their racial family need bear no ill will towards non-whites. They wish only to be left alone to participate in the unfolding of their racial and cultural destinies.
What whites in America are being asked to do is therefore utterly unnatural. They are being asked to devote themselves to the interests of other races and to ignore the interests of their own. This is like asking a man to forsake his own children and love the children of his neighbors, since to do otherwise would be "racist."
What, then, is "racism?" It is considerably more than any dictionary is likely to say. It is any opposition by whites to official policies of racial preference for non-whites. It is any preference by whites for their own people and culture. It is any resistance by whites to the idea of becoming a minority people. It is any unwillingness to be pushed aside. It is, in short, any of the normal aspirations of peoplehood that have defined nations since the beginning of history--but only so long as the aspirations are those of whites.
• • • BACK TO TOP • • •
Those Awkward Asians
There have been plenty of obstacles set up in their path. In 1913, the state of California banned farm ownership by non-citizens, in a move to keep Asians off the land. The law was upheld in the Supreme Court and ten other western states passed similar laws. Although Africans have been allowed to become naturalized citizens since 1870, Asians were barred from naturalization until 1943. A decade after the end of the Civil War, Chinese coolies were still being bought and sold practically like slaves in Caribbean "man markets."
Many western cities passed taxes that applied only to Asians. Everyone has heard about how Japanese on the west coast were stripped of their property and interned during the Second World War. If any group wanted to dine out on how badly it has been treated, Asians could. Instead, they kept quiet and worked hard. By 1965, Chinese and Japanese already had higher family incomes than native-born whites.
Some more recent Asian immigrants have been just as successful. Although most southern Asians, like Cambodians and Filipinos, have not made much of themselves, Koreans, Chinese, and Vietnamese have often outperformed whites. In some cases they are no longer counted as "minorities" for affirmative action hand-outs.
The results of standardized tests
are something else that the dogma of equality must pass over in silence.
The inevitable excuse for miserable black test scores is "cultural bias."
The tests are designed by and for whites, it is said, so blacks can't be
expected to do well on them.
"Civil Rights" and Hypocrisy in Washington
Another "civil rights" bill is in the works. It is worth knowing what the issues are.
Congress is gearing up to pass another "civil rights" bill similar to the one that President Bush vetoed last year. The great controversy over this bill, like the one that surrounded its predecessor, is whether it would make the workplace more fair or whether it would result in de facto racial quotas.
Most of what is said about this bill is pure assertion; those who support it say it will prevent discrimination while those who oppose it say it will force employers to hire by racial quota. The issues, as the commentators never fail to point out, are technical, but they are worth looking into.
First of all, this bill is not about intentional racial discrimination. Any employer who refuses to hire anyone simply because of race has been in violation of the law ever since 1965. The current bill is an attempt to make it impossible to discriminate unintentionally. Although unintentional discrimination is an elusive concept, Congress takes it seriously.
Disparate ImpactAt the heart of the issue is what is called "disparate impact." This is the current euphemism for the fact that on virtually any employment test, blacks and Hispanics fare worse than whites and Asians. Thus, whenever a company gives prospective employees an aptitude test and certain races score worse on it than others, they are the victims of "disparate impact."
Since all races are said to be equally capable, any test that gives different results by race is "culturally biased." "Disparate impact" can be the result only of unfair testing and must be eliminated. Qualifications of any kind--not just tests--can also have a disparate or unfair impact. If an employer requires that candidates for certain jobs have a college degree, this is unfair to people of races that are less likely to go to college. It doesn't matter if an employer's sole intention is to get the best qualified workforce; if the result of standards is that fewer non-whites get jobs, the standards are racist.
The Court RulesIn 1971, in the case of Griggs v. Duke Power Company, the Supreme Court ruled that any test or qualification that had a disparate impact had to be shown to be strictly relevant to the job. Since all meaningful tests and qualifications have a disparate impact, only those tests that could be proven to have a rigorously specific relationship to the job could be used. In practice, this meant that general aptitude tests and broad job requirements like a high school diploma had to be thrown out.
If an employer used a test, he had to show that it was an extremely narrow, specific test for a particular job. Employers had to devise individual tests for each job, and even then, they might have to prove in court that every question was directly relevant to the job. Since it is cumbersome and expensive to devise suit-proof tests for every job, many employers simply gave up job testing.
There was one exception to the ban on general aptitude tests. They could be used if the scores were adjusted by race, in a process called race norming. The General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB), for example, is a test for job fitness that has been used since 1947. It has a disparate impact on minorities and is not rigorously job specific, so it fell afoul of the new rules. Nevertheless, it had always been a reliable way to evaluate candidates, and it would have been a shame to junk it.
In 1981, the U.S. Department of Labor "saved" the GATB by inventing race norming. If a black, a Hispanic, a white, and an Asian each took the test and got the same raw score of 300, for example, the black would be ranked in the 87th percentile, the Hispanic in the 74th, with the white and the Asian together in the basement in the 47th percentile. According to the Department of Labor, the test could then be used to give the job to the black, since "inherent" test bias had been corrected by race norming. Millions of job applicants who took tests of this kind had their scores adjusted for "fairness," and virtually none was told about it.
No one could think of an equally subtle and elegant way to adjust the effect of other kinds of job standards. Therefore, since any company that demanded more than the rock-bottom, minimum qualifications would automatically be excluding large numbers of non-whites, standards had to be reduced to near zero. A typical example of this was a change in the way police and firemen are hired. In the past, many departments would not consider military veterans who had anything other than an honorable discharge. Since more non-whites than whites get dishonorable discharges, this was found to be a standard that had "disparate impact." Police and fire departments could no longer consider a candidate's service record.
Guilty Until Proven InnocentOf course, it was not enough to throw out nearly all job tests, and to cut job qualifications to the bone. The Supreme Court subsequently found that statistics alone could prove "discrimination." If a company's workforce did not mirror the racial make-up of the surrounding community, the company was automatically suspected of discrimination. In a complete reversal of the doctrine of innocent-until-proven-guilty, if a company had a workforce that was excessively white, it was guilty until proven innocent. This made it very easy for non-whites to bring suit, and a company had to prove in court that it had not been discriminating. Many employers simply gave up trying to get the best workforce, and quietly started hiring by racial quota.
Such was the state of the American workforce during the 1970s and 1980s. It was hardly a coincidence that a nation in which it was against the law simply to give a job to the best candidate was quickly losing its competitive edge.
In mid-1989, a newly-conservative Supreme Court decided that the doctrine of disparate impact had been taken too far. It made a series of important rulings: (1) Job tests could be more general, and not narrowly limited to specific jobs, even if the tests had a disparate impact. (2) Statistics alone could not be used to convict an employer of discrimination; a plaintiff had to show intent to discriminate. (3) An employer was innocent of discrimination until proven guilty. The effect of these rulings was to set companies free from obligatory quotas.
What would appear to most Americans to be a return to common sense was met with outrage by liberals and non-whites. Last year, Sen. Ted Kennedy launched a "civil rights" bill to overturn the Supreme Court's decisions and force companies to resume race-conscious hiring. Since most congressmen would vote for a declaration of war against Canada if it were in a bill that had the word "civil rights" in its title, the Kennedy bill passed both houses overwhelmingly but was vetoed by President Bush. An override attempt in the Senate failed by only one vote.
Sen. Kennedy vowed to introduce similar legislation in the 1991 Congress, and he has been as good as his word. An almost identical bill is now working its way to a vote. In the mean time, race norming has gotten some unwelcome publicity, and even a few of our congressmen think it is a foul thing. In the House Judiciary Committee, which is working up the bill, a Republican member proposed an amendment that would outlaw race norming. It was defeated, 21 to 13, along straight party lines. Democrats approve of monkeying with test scores so as to remove "inherent" racial bias.
Congressional HypocrisyLest anyone make the mistake of assuming that our elected representatives are sincerely concerned about "civil rights," it is worth noting that Congress has always exempted itself from such laws. The work of our noble legislators is too important to be hampered by the inconveniences that follow from the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the myriad of occupational health and safety laws that Congress sees fit to pass for the rest of us.
As Senator Warren Rudman of New Hampshire has pointed out, laws that hold an employer guilty-until-proven-innocent might encourage "frivolous lawsuits." "It is absolutely essential," he says, "that, as to our legislative employees, we have an absolute right without outside review by anyone of what we do." Sen. Rudman is horrified at the thought of Congress being made to wear the same civil rights straight jacket he is fitting out for the country.
It is difficult to imagine that there is anyone who actually understands the current bill who does not think that it will lead to racial quotas. Nevertheless, even for liberals and non-whites, it is awkward openly to favor quotas. Those who insist that the law does not require quotas point proudly to a clause specifically saying that companies are not required to hire by quota--proof, they say, that this is not a quota bill. This is a little like telling the power company that it must lay cables underground, but that it is not required to dig holes.
The Supreme Court and the President are gingerly trying to pick apart some of the more egregious aspects of the racial preferences industry. The nation at large is overwhelmingly against quotas. We shall soon see if Congress succeeds in making them mandatory again.
• • • BACK TO TOP • • •
California has a number of welfare programs that channel tax dollars into the hands of the poor, but Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) is by far the largest. This is the program for which all indigent mothers are automatically eligible.
During the 1970s, the number of women on welfare moved in tandem with the unemployment rate. When jobs were scarce, more women went on welfare, and in boom times they got jobs. That ceased to be true in the 1980s. The unemployment rate dropped from nearly 10 percent in 1982 to just over 5 percent in 1990. During that same period, the number of Californians (including children) on welfare shot up from 1.4 million to 2.1 million. Now nearly one in ten of all California women of child-bearing age are on welfare. Nearly one in five of all California children are on welfare, which means that welfare mothers have twice as many children, on average, as women who pay their own way.
Nation-wide, the average IQ of a welfare mother is 86, and there is no reason to believe that the number is any different in California. Indeed, when the state began to wonder if some of these women couldn't be put to work, it discovered that more than 60 percent couldn't read, write, or do arithmetic well enough to hold a job.
As it turns out, California treats welfare mothers considerably better than it treats people who work for a living. A family of three on welfare gets a maximum of $694 a month plus $277 in food stamps, none of which is taxed. Someone who works 40 hours a week at the minimum wage makes a taxable $735 a month. Since people on welfare also get free medical care, rent subsidies, and other benefits, the California legislature figures that the average welfare mother has the equivalent of a $12-an-hour job--not bad for someone who can't read and who has an IQ of 86.
In effect, if you are a woman who is too ignorant to hold even a minimum-wage job, the state of California will pay you nearly three times the minimum wage to stay home and make babies. What seems like an attractive prospect to an American seems like paradise to someone from Mexico, where the average wage is one sixth the American minimum wage. How much does this cost? California's latest budget allocates $5.6 billion for AFDC.
A generous dole, which rises automatically with the cost of living, helps explain why the California welfare population grew 49 percent during the 1980s, or more than double the 24 percent rate of growth for the state's total population. California's changing demographics also explain the growth rate. Blacks are six times more likely than whites to be on welfare, and Hispanics are 3.6 times more likely. As the proportion of whites declines and the proportions of blacks and Hispanics rise, welfare cases increase.
It is, of course, folly to tax the
intelligent, productive members of society in order to subsidize the unintelligent
and unproductive. It is yet greater folly when the unproductive are
having children at twice the rate of the productive. Looked at in
very loose racial terms, welfare can be seen as a tax on responsible whites
and Asians, who
O Tempora, O Mores!
Preferences for IndiansWhile blacks and Hispanics are the most common beneficiaries of racial preferences in big cities, Indians may be the big winners out West. The University of Minnesota has been advertising its Outstanding Minority Scholarships, which are open to any non-white senior in the top half of his high school class. The ads note that, "Last year all but one of the American Indian students who applied received the scholarship." At the University of Minnesota at Morris, anyone with at least one-fourth Indian ancestry gets free tuition, regardless of financial need.
Good News From the SecretaryPresident Bush's new Secretary of Education, Lamar Alexander, has taken a shot at one of affirmative action's most outrageous excesses. For some years now, the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, an important academic accrediting body, has quietly been threatening to withhold accreditation from universities that don't meet the association's standards for "diversity" and affirmative action. The association's little game became widely known only last spring, when it delayed accreditation of New York's Baruch College because non-whites weren't graduating at the same rate as whites. There were no doubts about the academic standards of the school, only about its enthusiasm for racial preferences.
As one of his first official acts, Secretary Alexander announced that he was going to review the Middle States association's own accreditation. He announced his opposition to ill-defined "diversity" standards, which he called a threat to academic freedom. Even Middle States' insurance company decided that "diversity" was too hot a potato to handle. It recently decided that it would refuse to cover any dispute that arises over the "diversity" standard.
Sweet Reason at HarvardBrigit Kerrigan is a senior at Harvard. She finally got tired of Harvard's emphasis on the ethnic celebrations of non-whites, and decided to celebrate an ethnic group that is currently in disfavor: Southern whites. She did this by hanging a big Confederate battle flag from her dormitory window.
This provoked the usual cries of "racism," but Miss Kerrigan faced down pressure both from students and from administrators to take the flag down. Surprisingly, the university decided to honor the First Amendment, and refused to compel her to take it down. As a protest, a black Harvard student painted a swastika on a bed sheet and hung it from her window, claiming that the two symbols were equivalent. Jewish groups and the Harvard Black Students Alliance eventually persuaded her to take down the swastika, but Miss Kerrigan still flies the battle flag.
"If they talk about 'diversity,' they're gonna get it," she says; "If they talk about tolerance, they'd better be ready to have it." Nothing astonishes a liberal autocrat more than a taste of his own medicine.
Enterprise Zones--Another ShakedownOf the many unsung forms of official racial preference, one of the best concealed is the practice of setting up what are known as "enterprise zones." These are established in slums that governments are trying to revive. The usual method is to induce companies to move in by granting irresistible tax waivers. So far, 38 states have set up, or at least authorized, enterprise zones. These programs are not cheap. By the end of 1988, enterprise zones had cost the state of New Jersey alone more than $50 million. The national price tag has run to hundreds of millions of dollars. Though the racial aspect is publicly soft-peddled, the areas that benefit from this kind of taxpayer largesse are almost invariably black.
Automakers Woo MinoritiesYet another little-known form of affirmative action are the efforts by auto makers to help non-whites become car dealers. Each of the big three offers minorities intensive, one- or two-year programs that include classroom training and sessions with established dealers. Once minorities have finished the program, the automaker finances up to 85 percent of the cost of the dealership. Whites have to find their own financing for the business, which can run from $400,000 to $2 million.
Ford and General Motors go even farther, and put the initial investment of a new minority dealer into an escrow account for the first six to twelve months. This is the most dangerous period for a new business, and if it goes broke the investment can be returned to the dealer. Whites who start a dealership lose their investment if the business fails.
The automakers also pay for consultants to advise black dealers on how to advertise, cut costs, and get more profit out of service departments. Partly as a result of preferential efforts like this, the number of big-three auto dealerships owned by minorities rose from 243 to 629 in the decade to 1991.
Voodoo MedicineSeveral New York City hospitals have started putting voodoo experts, exorcists, and faith healers on the public pay roll as part of their accommodation with a racially changing clientele. The practice is increasingly common in neighborhoods with large numbers of Haitian immigrants. Dr. Luis Marcos, senior vice president for mental health at the city's Health and Hospitals Corporation, explains: "We see exorcism as a culturally relevant way of treating some cases of mental illness." Dr. Marcos adds that for people who come from non-scientific cultures, voodoo can "allay their fear of established medicine as we know it."
More Scholarships for MinoritiesThe last four years have been very good for non-whites applying for scholarships. Most Americans still think that scholarships go to promising students who happen to be poor. More and more often, they simply go to students who happen not to be white. According to a recent survey by the College Board, from 1988 to 1991, the number of American colleges that hand out money to minorities regardless of financial need rose from 15 percent to 24 percent. This means that nearly one in four colleges give money to minorities, not because they are poor but simply because they aren't white. There is such a scramble to "diversify" campuses that some colleges offer money to any non-white who meets minimum admission standards and is willing to attend.
More Jobs for MinoritiesThe country is slogging its way through its first recession in ten years, but the demand for black college graduates has never been higher. This spring, 225 different companies are vying with each other to hire the 125 engineering graduates at black Howard University. Nearly half of the companies will go away disappointed. Yet more companies have been turned away without even a chance to interview Howard students.
Samuel Hall, the director of placement at Howard, offers advice to recruiters who would like a chance to interview his engineers. He says that priority will go to companies that agree to work with the faculty and that make a commitment to support Howard with money and with other services.
More Promotions for MinoritiesThese days, it isn't enough to have blacks and Hispanics in the workforce. They must be in positions of authority. The trouble with promoting minorities, though, is that too many have been pushed into high positions they can't handle. When whites meet a non-white executive they are likely to wonder whether he got the job because of race rather than ability.
This problem has spawned a new kind of consultant. Terry Simmons of New Hope (PA) claims to have found the trick to promoting minorities without giving the impression of racial favoritism. He promises clients like Scott Paper, Westinghouse, and Capital Cities/ABC that he can engineer a certain number of unsuspicious promotions over a two-year period. Clients are so eager for Mr. Simmons' help that they are each prepared to pay him more than $60,000 a year.
Letter From Washington: Rites of SpringWashington (DC) has celebrated its annual spring festival of youth, this year with a Latin theme. Half a thousand teen-agers, mostly El Salvadoran, spent several days rioting, fire-bombing, looting, and torching municipal vehicles in a neighborhood that was called Mount Pleasant by its long-ago middle-class white inhabitants.
The event was hardly over when the greater Latino community of 30,000 or so erupted with demands for "social justice," denouncing the city's black political establishment for its alleged anti-Hispanic racism. In a city other than Washington, the minority tactic of torch and terrorize might have worked, but Washington is 70 percent black. The city fathers reacted rudely to the very extortion tactics that blacks have used on whites for decades.
Black politicos called the Central American stone-throwers "outrageous" and "irresponsible." A black DC councilman, H.R. Crawford, even suggested that the "undocumenteds" be deported. Blacks proceeded to raise anti-Hispanic grievances of their own, such as the fact that Latinos often vote Republican and seem to disappear disloyally into the white suburbs after one generation.
Washington, like Miami, has become
a laboratory for the new, multi-racial America in which white people hardly
play a role. Blacks and Hispanics are finding that the third-world
paradise that was supposed to follow the unthroning of the white man isn't
quite as it was advertised. Blacks, at any rate, are not likely to
fall so easily for the shakedown tactics that they themselves have perfected.
Shakespeare Takes the RapA reader has a sent us a page from a teacher supply catalog, which includes a rap version cassette tape of Romeo and Juliet. "Bring excitement and modern day fun to this classic literary work!" gushes the catalog; "Use this tape BEFORE you study the play so your students will recognize names, places and the basic plot. Use it AFTER as a treat, like dessert, for reinforcement."
A sample from the bard gone multi-cultural:
"Soon Romeo splits, but he can't forget
How he feels when he's close to Ju-li-et;
And later that night, who does he see
But Juliet on her bal-con-y."
You can order the tape, toll-free, at (800) 543-4180, for just $15.00.
English Takes a RapU.S. English is an organization that tries to promote English as the official language of the United States. Last spring, it set up a booth and distributed literature at the convention of the California state Democratic Party. At one point, Carmen Perez, vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee for Hispanic Affairs, addressed the general session and declared:
"There's a booth out there that shouldn't be there. No. I should say it will not be there! It has to go! It is racist!"
After Miss Perez' harangue a mob surrounded the U.S. English booth. They rammed the exhibit table into the organization's representative, threw the literature on the floor and stomped on it. Some were shouting such things as "You are a white Caucasian from Europe. You are the intruder. Spanish should be the official language." Security guards 20 feet away did nothing. Rather than eject the mob, Democratic Party officials ordered U.S. English to dismantle its booth and leave immediately. The group has filed a lawsuit seeking $15 million in damages for violation of its right to free speech.
Norplant Wins an Important AllyGovernor Pete Wilson of California has taken a healthy interest Norplant, the female contraceptive that can be injected under the skin, and is effective for up to five years. As he points out, it is perfect for disorganized people who can't remember to take a pill or use a contraption. It has dawned on the governor that the zooming cost of social programs could be reined in sharply if the lower orders didn't have so many babies. He is even flirting with the idea of mandatory Norplant treatments for drug addicts of child-bearing age.
A firm program of obligatory Norplant is the only way that the state--or the nation--will ever get hold of many of its problems. Governor Wilson is taking loads of criticism from the usual liberal yahoos, but so far he has refused to stop pushing the new contraceptive.
Affirmative Action ApolloThe Apollo Theater in Harlem is thought to be a major black cultural landmark. Unfortunately, it is located in what is now a cultural wasteland, and was brought back from complete ruin only with a cut-rate loan from the state of New York in 1984. The state lent a group of black investors $4.1 million at a below-market rate of 8 percent, with a grace period on principal repayments of six years and a give-away grace period on interest payments of three years. Later, when the Apollo renovation project ran into problems, the interest rate was cut to four percent. William Stern, who first negotiated the loan for the state says, "The original deal was extraordinarily generous. The restructuring of the original deal was beyond generous. It's basically a grant. It's a kind of welfare."
Now, the investor group is back again, cap in hand, wanting another bailout. Black leaders are calling Mr. Stern's comments "racist." Audits show that the investors failed to keep proper records, hired consultants without contracts, and lost track of payments to contractors. New York State tax payers are being asked to pick up the tab for years of loose management and cost overruns. They probably will. Governor Mario Cuomo has directed state officials "to make sure this cultural institution survives and thrives." The next step may be to turn the Apollo into a non-profit organization that could receive tax-deductible contributions.
Happy School DaysThomas Jefferson High School, in Brooklyn, is one of New York City's most dangerous. Although no one has kept exact records, at least 70 students have been shot or stabbed in the past four years, and more than half of them have died. Teachers finally decided to set aside a permanent "Grieving Room," where students can gather to mourn the death of school mates.
• • • BACK TO TOP • • •
Sir - I was pleased to see mention in your June issue of the decision to install metal detectors at the Sunrise Multiplex Cinemas in Valley Stream (NY). Valley stream is just inside Nassau County on Long Island, very close to the border with Queens. It has a population of 35,000 that is overwhelmingly white, and many recent arrivals are escapees from the morass that New York City has become.
The Sunrise, which is just a few blocks from the Queens border, was originally patronized by local whites. It was a pleasant, spacious movie complex with 14 different screens. Over the past few years, it has become the virtually exclusive preserve of blacks who come from Brooklyn and Queens, claiming- no doubt correctly- that the theaters in their neighborhoods are not nearly so agreeable. Whites no longer go to the Sunrise.
The new clientele has completely changed the character of the complex. In the last three years 135 cars have been reported stolen from the parking lot, and assaults have become common. Lawlessness reached a peak last Christmas, when two groups of blacks opened fire on each other during a screening of Godfather Part III. Four people were hit in the crossfire and one was killed. Everyone arrested in connection with the shooting was black, and lived across the border in Queens.
In March, the Sunrise redesigned the lobby around a new security system. Patrons must now pass through metal detectors, and there are 36 television monitors that survey theaters, lobby, and parking lot. The new "security" measures have been widely reported but white patronage has not picked up. Valley Stream residents are hardly reassured to think that were it not for metal detectors, the gentleman in the next seat might be carrying a gun. Even without guns, blacks are boisterous theater-goers, who react very belligerently to requests that they keep quiet.
The Sunrise is a perfect example
of what your June issue described as taking place in cities all over America.
What were once pleasant places inhabited and patronized by whites are being
ruined by demographic change.
Sir - Your June cover story about the decay of America's cities was all too accurate. As a hospital worker, I can attest to another sad change that results when non-whites move into the city and whites move out.
All hospitals treat a certain number of patients who have no insurance and who cannot pay their bills. They pay for this by slapping a surcharge on the bills of people who can pay. In suburban hospitals, the surcharge may be as low as four percent, while in city hospitals the additional charge for indigent patients can be as high as 60 percent.
Some hospitals clearly list the markup as a "charity surcharge," while others simply pad all the other items on the bill. If it were not for the fact that most non-charity patients simply turn the bills over to insurance companies, there would be a great deal of screaming about the obligatory charity tax that Americans are obliged to pay every time they go to the hospital.
Insurance companies are hardly happy
about charity taxes, but they simply raise their rates to cover them. In
my state, Blue Cross and Blue Shield estimates that 30 cents out of every
dollar it pays out is spent on mandatory charity. My guess is that most
of it is spent on city dwellers. People who use Blue Cross would probably
be correct to assume that 30 percent of their premiums go for charity-a
"donation" that is not tax deductible.
Sir - Your June article, "The Late Great American Public School," points out how quickly American cities chew up school superintendents who try to beat a high school education into generations of welfare-bred ghetto dwellers. Part of the trouble is that schools must now make up for debauched or even completely absent parents.
Officials at Bronx Regional High School, for example, recently found that ten percent of their students were living on the street-their parents dead, in jail, derelict, or simply unaccounted for. The school recently got $1 million dollars from the state and the city to build a dormitory for students who had no place to go, and local papers have been cooing over the idea of "boarding school" for the underclass. Some have even started talking about "Exeter in the Bronx."
Fine. Let's all raise a glass to "Exeter in the Bronx." However, there is something that everyone seems to have lost sight of. There is a reason why public schools are day schools. It costs a lot money to house and feed children, and the taxpayer has always expected parents to handle that. Will Bronx Regional start a trend? Will ghetto children all start going to tax-supported boarding schools?
It has become virtually un-American
to expect people to look after their own children. Anyone who actually
does so is by definition thought to be in a position to look after everyone
else's. As usual, the poor, bloody middleclass pays the bill for spongers