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O Tempora, O Mores! (January, 1998)

Prop 187 Overturned

A federal judge has ruled that the 1994 California ballot initiative barring government handouts for illegal aliens is unconstitutional. “California is powerless to enact its own legislative scheme to regulate immigration,” wrote Judge Mariana Pfaelzer, and therefore “it is likewise powerless to enact its own legislative scheme to regulate alien access to public benefits.” Illegal immigrants can therefore attend public schools and collect welfare. Gov. Pete Wilson, who campaigned for the initiative and thinks Judge Pfaelzer’s legal reasoning is all wrong, will immediately take the case to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

As soon as Proposition 187 was passed, Judge Pfaelzer ordered its implementation suspended while she scrutinized it for three years. She is a well-known liberal and was expected to rule against the proposition, but dawdled over it for so long that Governor Wilson took the unusual step of filing papers with the U.S. Court of Appeals demanding that she make a decision. (Patrick McDonnell, Prop. 187 Found Unconstitutional by Federal Judge, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 15, 1997.)

It is worth reviewing the racial breakdown of support for Prop. 187 when it was passed in 1994:

Support for Prop.187 by race

Whites were the only racial group that supported withholding government benefits from illegals. Among whites, Jews were the only group that voted against Prop. 187. Only a small percentage of Hispanics living in California are U.S. citizens and they are the most “Americanized.” Of this number, 77 percent were in favor of handouts to illegals. (A Look at the Electorate, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 11, 1994.) It is a safe bet that as Hispanics become the dominant group in southern California they will continue to vote in ways that flout the desires of whites, just as they have done in Houston (see below).

Houston Votes Preferences

An anti-affirmative action voter initiative similar to Proposition 209 in California has failed to pass in Houston, Texas. In a city that is only 38 percent white (and 33 percent Hispanic, 26 percent black, and six percent Asian) 55 percent voted to keep the city’s racial preference programs.

Outgoing white mayor Robert Lanier influenced the decision by pressuring the City Council to reword the initiative. What probably would have won as a measure against “discrimination” was turned into a vote on “affirmative action for women and minorities.” Mr. Lanier also appeared in television ads saying that it was wrong for “guys who look like me” to get all the city’s business.

Liberals are delighted that the nation’s second major referendum on race preferences failed to abolish them. Rice University sociologist Stephen Klineberg says, “I think this shows that Houston has transcended its redneck Southern past and is recognizing its destiny as a multiethnic, international city in a global economy.” In other words, once whites become a minority, they cannot expect to end official discrimination. (Jesse Katz, Houston Thinks Globally in OK of Affirmative Action, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 6, 1997, p. A14.)

What the voters of Houston could not do, a federal judge has partially accomplished. A week after the vote, U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes struck down the Houston transit authority’s affirmative action program, which required that 21 percent of county construction contracts be given to women and non-whites. “The Constitution disallows collective guilt,” he noted in his ruling. (AP, Affirmative action halted for Houston transit authority, November 14, 1997.)

Preferences Dodge a Bullet

In a spectacular admission of the weakness of their position, black “civil rights groups” have raised money to pay off a white affirmative action victim rather than see her case go before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1989, the school board of Piscataway, New Jersey, had to lay off one of two teachers. In the name of diversity, the board fired Sharon Taxman, who is white, and kept Debra Williams, who is black. The case is of particular interest because it is as benign a case of racial preference as one is likely to find. Unlike most affirmative action, which favors clearly less-qualified non-whites at the expense of whites, the school system had determined, according to its own bureaucratic formulae, that the two teachers were equally qualified and of equal seniority. If the two had been of the same race, someone would have flipped a coin. This was the fairest (and rarest) kind of affirmative action.

By raising 70 percent of the $433,000 Sharon Taxman and her lawyers received, the Black Leadership Forum “satisfied” the plaintiff and ended the case, thus keeping it off the Supreme Court docket. Why did they do it? Because losing the case would have immediately destroyed the basis for virtually every racial preference program in the country. Though they do not like to, “civil rights” leaders can afford to lose a few egregious cases in which obviously incompetent blacks get the nod over whites. This, though, was the “perfect” affirmative action case; if Debra Williams cannot get racial preferences only a very small number of blacks who can show actual past discrimination can ever hope to get preferential treatment.

Before Mrs. Taxman’s payoff, even the Clinton Administration urged the Supreme Court not to take the case for fear of the precedent it might set. The court ignored the President. Jesse Jackson, who helped raise the payoff money, said the case had to be disposed of because it was “riddled with problems,” and “would have been distortion of the issue.” (Amy Westfeldt, Black Group Pays to Settle Case, AP, Nov. 21, 1997.)

Washington, Farewell

There are an estimated 450 schools in the United States named after George Washington. In November there were one fewer after a New Orleans school board stripped the first President’s name from an elementary school and renamed it after Charles Richard Drew, a black surgeon known for his work in blood transfusion. This was only the latest name change for New Orleans which, in 1992, decided it would no longer permit schools to bear the names of slave-owners or Confederate officers. Thus have schools named for P.G.T. Beauregard and Robert E. Lee been given the names of black supreme court justice Thurgood Marshall and black astronaut Ronald McNair.

Ninety-one percent of the students in the district are black, and the school board is controlled by a five-to-two black majority. At what used to be George Washington Elementary, 98 percent of the 702 students are black, and the proposed name change met virtually no opposition from faculty, parents, or the community. After all, as Carl Galmon, a long-time New Orleans “civil rights leader” put it, “Why should African-Americans want their kids to pay respect or pay homage to someone who enslaved their ancestors?” He went on to note that “to African-Americans, George Washington has about as much meaning as David Duke.” (Kevin Sack, Blacks Strip Slaveholders’ Names Off Schools, New York Times, Nov. 12, 1997, p. B1.)

Quis Custodiet . . . ?

It is the job of the New York City Commission on Human Rights to ensure that the protected classes stay protected. Alas, it has been charged by the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with committing a simultaneous act of racism and sexism. In 1995, when one of the commission’s five supervisory jobs became available, four people applied: a black woman, a white woman, a woman of undisclosed race, and a white man. The white man got the job, but two of the women are now complaining to the EEOC that he had less seniority and litigation experience than they. And, indeed, New York City official Robert Hammel, who was in a position to influence the commission’s hiring, is reported to have noted that the four other supervisors were all women and that it was important to maintain “diversity” on the staff.

The feds think not. They find “probable cause” that the city commission that is supposed to snuff out rights violations has violated the women’s rights. “Diversity” should never increase the number of white men; only decrease them. (Robert D. McFadden, Rights Panel is Accused in Bias Case, New York Times, Sept. 21, 1997, p. B3.)

Multicultural Muscle

The fruits of diversity are starting to appear in U.S. foreign policy. According to Tufts University professor Tony Smith, ethnic group influence of foreign policy is at “a historic high-water mark.” There are now 15 congressional caucuses devoted to ethnic politicking (there were 6 in 1987) including, besides the usual racial cliques, the “Caucus on Armenian Issues,” and a “Portuguese-American Caucus.”

Recent successes of ethnic lobbying include the U.S. invasion of Haiti (blacks), NAFTA (Mexican-Americans and the Mexican government), and the Helms-Burton Act, which banned business with Cuba (Cuban-Americans). Our new multicultural foreign policy has led to some tragi-comedies, such as Pakistani-Americans deciding a Senate race in South Dakota. Pakis were big donors to Democrat Tim Johnson in 1996 because his opponent and now ex-senator Larry Pressler supported India.

What do diplomats think about this? Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger says, “It used to irritate the hell out of us . . . but it did remind us that this is a democracy and that you must be able to explain your policy to the American people.” Assuming you can figure out who they are. (Paul Glastris, Multicultural Foreign Policy in Washington, U.S. News and World Report, July 21, 1997, p. 32)

Hypocrisy in High Places

The Washington, DC, public schools consume $7,300 per student every year — thousands of dollars above the national average — but are generally recognized as the worst in the country. Congress has dreamed up a plan to give some district students vouchers of $3,200 each so they can attend private schools in the area, and perhaps get a better education.

Some of Congress’ most notorious liberals are leading the fight against the plan, which would bring riffraff into the private schools favored by these same notorious liberals. Twenty members of Congress who have school-aged children live in the district, and not one patronizes public schools. Almost all of them oppose the voucher plan. Even the district’s non-voting, black representative Eleanor Norton sends her children to private school. Opposition to vouchers is led by Edward Kennedy and black Senator Carol Mosley Braun, neither of whom has ever sent a child to public school. William Clinton, whose daughter attended a tony Quaker private school, also opposes the plan. (Niles Lathem, D.C. School War is no Class Act, New York Post, Oct. 5, 1997, p. 25.)

Kill the Messenger

In 1992 the federal government launched a $500 million program called Healthy Start, the most ambitious effort ever undertaken to reduce the infant mortality rates of black children. The program was designed to lather poor blacks with pre-natal and other medical care in the expectation that this would reduce the death rate. The government has now collected data on the effect of the program during 1994 and hired a Princeton, New Jersey, company called Mathematica Policy Research to evaluate its success.

In November, the government abruptly canceled announcement of the results, claiming that that data were incomplete. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the real reason is that Mathematica discovered that the $500 million program had virtually no effect on infant mortality or low birth weight. (Reuters, Report Said Withheld on U.S. Infant Mortality Rates, Nov. 12, 1997.)

This is yet more evidence that race differences in health may have little to do with medical care. The cover story in the May, 1996 AR points out that Mexican-Americans get far worse pre-natal and other treatment than blacks, yet their infant mortality rates are lower than those of whites. Race rather than government intervention appears to account for the differences.

High-Priced Pain

A black judge has upheld a $640,000 award to a mixed-race couple who claimed they were denied a sub-rental at a fashionable New York cooperative because of race. The co-op board of Beekman Hill House Apartments said that it had turned the couple down — a black lawyer and his white wife, also a lawyer — because they seemed “confrontational and litigious.” A jury rejected this reasoning, solely because one co-op board member had written the words “black man” on his notes to the application.

Judge Carter, who was an NAACP lawyer for 20 years before taking the federal bench, upheld a jury award of $230,000 in compensatory damages and $410,000 in punitive damages. He noted that the mixed-race couple was able to find other housing easily, but that they suffered “recurrent pain” whenever they were in the Beekman Hill area. This is thought to be the largest discrimination award ever made against a New York City cooperative board. (Bill Alden, $640,000 Housing Bias Award Upheld, The New York Law Journal, Nov. 7, 1997.)

Out of the Mouths of Babes

A poll by Music Television (MTV) has learned that an increasing number of young people believe in racial separation. Sixty-eight percent agree with the statement that it is “OK if the races are basically separate from one another in our country, as long as everyone has equal opportunities.” In 1991 only 41 percent agreed with this view. A different poll conducted by Time-CNN has discovered that nine out of ten black teenagers report that “racism” is “a small problem” or “not a problem at all” in their lives. (Business Wire, MTV Poll Reveals, Dec. 3, 1997. AP, Poll: Racism Doesn’t Affect Teens, Nov. 16, 1997.)

Denmark Awakes

Pia Kjærsgaard

A brand-new, anti-immigrant political party in Denmark picked up an encouraging 6.8 percent of the vote in local elections in November. “People are tired and a little bit angry about what is happening in Denmark,” says Pia Kjærsgaard, the 50-year-old leader of the Danish People’s Party. “We have a refugee problem and we have to listen to what the people want.” She has also observed that “too many Muslims in a Christian country can be a problem for many things, like religion, traditions and culture.”

The People’s Party is already campaigning for next year’s general elections, but is not the only party to make immigration an issue. Tom Behnke, leader of the Progress Party recommends that Somali asylum-seekers be repatriated “by parachute.”

Danish interest in immigrants has been increased by reports in Extra Bladet, a leading tabloid that exposes foreign criminals and those who scrounge off the country’s generous welfare system. Fortunately, Denmark is taking the problem in hand at an early stage. Only 4.5 percent of the 5.2 million population are foreign nationals, and only 3.3 percent are non-white. (Peter Conradi, Housewife Stirs Danish Melting Pot, Sunday Times (London), Nov. 23, 1997, p. 1.)

Illegal Freeloaders

According to the current bizarre interpretation of the 14th Amendment, children born to illegal aliens automatically become U.S. citizens. Many such children promptly go on welfare, and it is a delicate matter to expel the parents of an indigent infant citizen.

A recent Government Accounting Office (GAO) report finds that in 1995 we gave well over $1 billion in federal handouts to citizen-children of illegals. About $700 million of this went as Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), or about three percent of the AFDC budget for the year. That is up from two percent in 1992. Citizen-children of illegals also take about two percent of the total food stamp budget, or $430 million worth. In California, ten percent of both AFDC and food stamps are given to children of illegals. Households headed by illegals also get rent subsidies through the department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for children who are defective. As of December 1996, at least 3,450 citizen children of illegals were getting SSI at an annual cost of about $17.6 million. Almost all AFDC recipients also get Medicaid, which costs about $1,000 per child. (AP, Kids of Illegal Immigrants get $1 Billion in Welfare Aid, Nov. 22, 1997.)

Cross-Cultural Exchange

The Azores are Portuguese islands in the mid-Atlantic with a population of about 250,000. Over the years, so many Azoreans have emigrated to Canada and the United States that they and their descendants now number more than one million. They have been reluctant to become citizens, and now that Canada and the U.S. have starting deporting alien felons after they serve time, some 250 are involuntarily back home in the Azores.

Many left when they were children and some do not even speak Portuguese. They are shocked by the low standard of living, where some families get by on 50,000 escudos ($276) a month. “My mother and father talked about digging dirt, working with cows . . . but when I came here and saw guys working on farms it was like, wow, where in the heck am I?” says one Azorean who learned his English in the United States.

Ex-North American gun slingers and drug dealers are a wild, alien element in this peasant society. “They learned their trade over there and that’s where they should stay,” says a local. Many continue to ply their trade. Of the 140 inmates in the only prison on the main island of Sao Miguel island, 23 are deportees. There would be more, say Azoreans, were the police not intimidated by the hardened newcomers. Island authorities fear their society could be seriously disrupted if Canada and the United States continue to send felons back to the islands. (Reuters, The Azores Don’t Want Criminal Aliens Deported From the U.S., Nov. 17, 1997.)

No one seems to be concerned about the disruption to Canada or the United States, but immigration sometimes seems to poison those who come as much as it does those who receive.