O Tempora, O Mores!
A Story You Didn't Hear
Auburn Calloway joined the Navy through an affirmative action program.
He became a pilot, but had problems with the job, and left to work for
Flying Tigers. He was dismissed for poor performance not long before the
company was acquired by Federal Express. The new owners rehired the black
pilot. However, his work and his attitude were still so bad that Federal
Express scheduled a termination hearing for April 8, 1994.
Mr. Calloway decided to strike first. On the 7th of April, he was to
fly as co-pilot on a DC-10 out of the Memphis airport where Federal Express
has its headquarters. The captain was a small white man, and the second
officer was a white woman. Once the plane was airborne, Mr. Calloway planned
to murder the two whites, turn back to Memphis, and crash the plane into
Federal Express headquarters. There are often hundreds of aircraft on the
Fed-Ex tarmac, many of them being fueled. Thousands of employees work in
and around the headquarters building. If a fully-fueled DC-10 had hit the
area it could have been a massacre of spectacular proportions.
What didn't happen.
Fortunately, the staffing for the flight was changed, and three white
men were assigned as crew. Mr. Calloway was no longer needed on the flight,
but he was not to be denied his holocaust. He requested permission to fly
with the crew as a passenger, and this was granted. He boarded the plane
with a guitar case.
As the DC-10 climbed through 18,000 feet, Mr. Calloway opened the case
and took out two sledge hammers, two claw hammers, a spear gun, and a combat
knife. He attacked and injured all three crewmen before they could react.
The co-pilot then put the plane into a dive, which pinned Mr. Calloway
to the ceiling of the cockpit. He turned on the auto-pilot, and the three
battled Mr. Calloway as the plane headed back towards Memphis. Mr. Calloway
is a large man and holds a black belt in karate. He was not fully subdued
until a ground crew boarded the plane, and even then he tried to kill a
As a result of the struggle, the co-pilot is paralyzed on his right
side and cannot work. The pilot's left ear was cut off. The second officer's
wounds have healed, but his head is misshapen. At least they are alive,
as are untold numbers of Federal Express employees who would have died
if Mr. Calloway had carried out his plan. [Roy Wayne, Federal Express –
an epic survival tale, The national Educator, Nov., 1994, p. 1.]
We would be curious if any readers have heard this astonishing story,
which comes to us via a newsletter called The National Educator
(Box 333, Fullerton, CA 92632).
What's in a Word?
Raymond Tittman is a white American whose ancestors lived for several
generations in Tanzania. He applied to Georgetown University Law School
as an African-American, and was accepted. When he arrived on campus, Georgetown
refused to enroll Mr. Tittman, claiming he had lied. African-American,
they explained, means black. [What am I?, Counterpoint, Nov. 1994, p. 23.]
The National Endowment for the Humanities has announced a grant of $340,000
to the American Library Association so that it can mount a traveling exhibition
called "A More Perfect Union – Japanese Internment During World War II."
[Commint, no date] Even worse than the exhibition's incongruous name is
what it symbolizes. The nation has already apologized to the Japanese;
it has even paid survivors $20,000 each; but the sins of the white man
must not be forgotten.
The National Park Service is also helping to keep the memory alive.
In 1993 it opened Manzanar National Monument, at the site of one of the
detention camps in central California. [Frank Clifford, Ethnic Imbalance
threatens to erode U.S. National parks, SJ Merc, News, 11/28/94, p. 1A.]
Gone With Apartheid
The demise of white rule has brought some rarely publicized changes
to the moral tone of South Africa. The white regime was so closely associated
with the Dutch Reformed Church that the latter was often called the National
Party at prayer. Christianity underlay the government's strict bans on
pornography, prostitution, and homosexuality.
The new, black regime has cast all this aside. Streetwalkers now openly
ply their trade, "swingers" clubs have opened, hard pornography is on sale,
and homosexuality is sympathetically portrayed on national television.
South Africa could become the first nation on earth to legalize homosexual
marriage. [Bill Keller, Apartheid's Gone, and anything goes, NYT, 12/28/94,
The country is also on a name-changing binge. The names of Jan Smuts
and Hendrik Verwoerd have disappeared from streets, airports, schools,
and buildings. World-famous Kruger National Park is likely to be renamed,
and the names of whites were recently removed from 12 dams and waterworks.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation and South African Airways are
reducing their use of Afrikaans. [This Week in South Africa, Nov. 29-Dec.5,
1994, p. 2.]
Purity Amid the Pines
The Scots insist on racial purity – at least for pine trees. The Scots
pine is a stately conifer that flourishes all over Europe. Everywhere
they look alike, but analysis of organic chemicals in the sap has revealed
slight genetic differences between the strains that grow in Scotland and
those in Lapland or Norway. There are even small differences between pines
that grow in different regions of Scotland.
Scottish law now requires that all different subspecies be kept separate.
Anyone who wants to grow a Scots pine must plant not just a native one,
but the correct regional variety. [Morally pineless, Economist, 10/22/94,
p. 101.] Separation for preservation.
Judge for Yourself
A federal appeals court judge in San Francisco has struck down an Arizona
law that required state employees to speak and write only English when
doing government business. In his decision the judge wrote, "the diverse
and multicultural character of our society is widely recognized as . .
. among our greatest strengths." [English-only law fails court test, SJ
Merc News, 12/8/94, p. 14A.]
Young Murderer Goes Free
In the Nov. 1994 issue we wrote about a 10-year-old Chicago black boy
who broke into the home of an 84-year-old white woman, beat her, tied her
up, and slit her throat. He claims he did this because she used to call
him "nigger." The boy, whose name cannot be released because of his tender
years, has since been convicted of first degree murder, put on probation,
and released to the custody of his grandmother. People in the Lithuanian
neighborhood in which the victim lived are furious.
Although a new law that took effect in January of this year would have
provided for the boy to be put in a locked juvenile home, his sentencing
took place in December. The judge had only the option of sending him to
a mental institution, but experts found the lad entirely sane. [Courtenay
Edelhart & Susan Kuczka, His hands tied, judge lets 11-year-old killer
go free, Chi Trib, Dec. 9, 1994, p. 1.]
Into the Dark Ages
Wole Soyinka is a Nigerian novelist who has won the Nobel prize. He
has publicly criticized the Nigerian military government, so the soldiers
decided to arrest him. Mr. Soyinka was tipped off just in time and fled
to France. "It's very strange for those of us who thought Nigeria was the
great black hope of Africa," he observed sadly at a press conference; "Nigeria
is going backwards, retreating into the Dark Ages." [AP, Nobel prize winner
flees, Post and Courier, 11/22/94, p. 18A.]
D is for Dinkins
David Dinkins, former Mayor of New York City, teaches a graduate course
in public policy at Columbia University. Students do not consider him a
success. "He reads his lectures as if they were political speeches – and
they are," says one student. "It's two hours of Reagan-bashing," says another.
A typical class involves a 20-minute lecture by Mr. Dinkins – usually
a defense of his actions as mayor – followed by a talk by a former aide.
Rosco Brown, a former assistant, started his talk by saying that the Republican
"Contract for America," should be called the "Contract to Get Rid of Black
People." [Gersh Kuntzman, Prof. Dinkins gets an 'F' from Columbia students,
NY Post, 11/29/94, p. 18.]
Rosa Parks is the black woman who refused to sit in the colored section
of a Birmingham bus in 1955. This
led to a boycott of the bus system and eventual integration.
George Wallace, former governor of Alabama and one-time foe of integration
recently sent Mrs. Parks an 8-by-10 glossy photograph of himself. On it
he had written: "To Rosa Parks. You are a great lady." [Jim Schaefer, It's
the thought that counts, Detroit Free press, 12/23/94, p. 2B.]
Connecticut has many small school districts, so it has been easy for
whites to flee the cities and attend good public schools. The result has
been that in Hartford, for example, 93 percent of the public school students
are nonwhite (and three fourths are poor). Segregation of this kind cannot
be permitted, so the state has been trying to establish voluntary integration
plans before a judge orders integration across school district lines. The
voluntary plans are likely to fail because so few school boards support
them. Who are the staunchest defenders of the status quo? Schools with
nonwhite majorities, the very ones that integration is supposed to help.
[George Judson, Few Volunteer to Desegregate, NYT, 11/26/94, p. 1.]
Competent to Stand Trial
Colin Ferguson, the black man who is accused of killing six people on
a Long Island Rail Road train late in 1993, has been found mentally competent
to stand trial. He has also decided to represent himself, despite being
warned by the judge that this was "a very foolish thing to do." This will
put Mr. Ferguson in the curious position of cross-examining some of the
very people he wounded in the attack.
Ronald Kuby and William Kunstler, who had been defending Mr. Ferguson,
had crafting a "black rage" defense, justifying the killings as a reaction
to white racism. They are now off the case. They have maintained from the
start that Mr. Ferguson was not competent to stand trial, and perhaps they
are right. After he was allowed to represent himself, Mr. Ferguson said,
"I believe I can prove my innocence and I feel I can be acquitted." [John
McQuiston, Suspect in L.I.R.R. killings ruled competent for trial, NYT,
12/10/94, p. 29.]
EEOC Bogs Down
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was established by
the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to curtail the right of employers to hire
whomever they please. Since the number of people in protected classes is
huge and growing – it includes women, homosexuals, the physically and mentally
disabled, and old people as well as nonwhites – the staff cannot keep up
with the complaints. The commission hears nearly 100,000 cases every year
and has a blacklog of about 200,000. Even the staff concedes that most
of the cases are frivolous. About 60 percent are rejected for lack of evidence,
and 25 percent are closed because the worker withdraws the complaint, does
not cooperate, or disappears.
It is always a struggle to find someone to run the EEOC. The person
must be nonwhite, of course, acceptable to minority pressure groups, and
at least minimally competent. A 41-year-old black lawyer named Gilbert
Casellas got the job last November, after am arduous search. He would like
a 25 percent increase in the commissions $233 million budget, but a Republican-controlled
Congress may not go along. [Peter Kilborn, Backlog of Cases is Overwhelming
Jobs-bias agency, NYT, 11/26/94, p. A1.] A sensible Congress would abolish
King Dream Lives On
Martin Luther King's youngest son, Dexter, has been chosen to succeed
his mother, Coretta, as head of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent
Social Change. The job was kept within the family despite misgivings by
board members, after Mrs. King insisted on the 33-year-old Dexter. Another
King child, 39-year-old Yolanda, oversees the cultural programs for the
$5 million-a-year King Center. [Ronald Smothers, Living and shaping legacy
of civil rights leader, NYT, 11/24/94.]
The King family has recently been at odds with the National Park Service,
which runs the five-block-long Martin Luther King National Historic Site
(which surrounds, but is different from, the King Center). The Park Service
recently bought land on which to build an $11 million visitors center that
would be the gateway to the Historic Site. The King Center would like to
build a high-tech, multi-media museum at the same location. Even the fastidiously
liberal Atlanta Constitution has editorialized against the museum,
calling it "a sort of I Have a Dreamland to make a profit off of a Disney-esque
trip through the civil rights movement."
It all boils down to who controls the official expressions of adoration.
Says Dexter King: "We feel strongly that the heritage of the civil rights
movement is too important to be controlled by a government agency which
has only superficial familiarity with the internal dynamics of our freedom
struggle." The Park Service chief of the Historic Site says that "[the
King] dream and legacy belong to the whole world."
Whoever gets to superintend the legacy, taxpayers will foot a large
part of the bill. Trustees of the Ebeneezer Baptist church, where Dr. King
preached, are in the final stages of negotiating a deal to lease the building
to the Park Service so it can be turned into a full-time shrine. In exchange,
the Park Service will give the trustees land nearby for a new church. [Ronald
Smothers, King Family Feels Pushed Aside by park service, NYT, 12/23/94,
No Affirmative Action Here
Vergie Muhammad is the principal of a junior high school in Crown Heights,
Brooklyn. She was recently asked by reporters about a theft from her school.
The press reported her reply:
ain't no missing books and no books has been lost . . . . I always be above
board, brother. The one thing I do is make sure I don't bother these folks',
you know, goods and nothin' like that. And when everything go wrong, I
report it. I'm not responsible for everything, but I am responsible for
reporting anything that I know. And I haven't heard nothin' 'bout no goin'
out no back door." [Ed Koch, Some post-thanksgiving advice and reflections,
NY Post, 11/26/1994.]
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