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O Tempora, O Mores! (May, 1998)

Pledging Allegiance — to Which Flag?

A March 21st change to the Mexican constitution grants dual nationality to Mexicans. Previously, any Mexican who became a naturalized citizen of a foreign country was stripped of all rights as a Mexican. The change is retroactive, which means that virtually all Mexican-Americans — even those born in the United States — can regain their nationality, if they apply within five years. The new provisions grant dual nationality but not dual citizenship, the only difference being that dual nationals may not vote in Mexican elections or hold high political office. However, there are strong pressures to remove this distinction, and Mexican-Americans may be voting in Mexican elections by 2000. This could turn the American Southeast into an important electoral battle ground for Mexican politicians.

There are two aspects of the new law that Mexican-Americans care about particularly. One is that they will be able to own property and make investments in Mexico without the restrictions placed on foreigners. Many will now buy retirement homes in Mexico and spend their American social security there. Dual nationality also removes the final reservations many Mexicans may have had about naturalization.

As Leticia Quezada, a Los Angeles school board member explains, “I never stopped feeling Mexican. I have become a United States citizen because this is where I live, where I have made my professional life. I have made a commitment, but it’s sort of an intellectual commitment, whereas emotionally I’m Mexican. I want to be Mexican. I feel very close to the country of my birth.” The INS expects a surge in applications for U.S. citizenship now that Mexicans can retain their ancestral nationality and most of its privileges.

Elsewhere, the Dominican Republic plans to let Dominicans living in America vote in its elections in 2000. Fernando Mateo, a businessman from the Bronx who has lived 35 of his 40 years in the U.S. says, “what I want to focus on is making my country [Dominican Republic] the best country in the world.” The recently elected president of South Korea, Kim Dae-jung has promised to extend dual citizenship to Koreans living in America.

According to a 1967 Supreme Court ruling, naturalized U.S. citizens who swear an oath renouncing allegiance to other countries are not legally bound by it. The oath is retained only for its “symbolic value.” (Jonathan Tilove, Rise of the ‘Ampersand American’, San Francisco Examiner, Feb. 15, 1998, p. A-17. James F. Smith, Mexico’s Dual Nationality Opens Doors, L. A. Times, March 20, 1998.)

Different Values

David Abernathy III is a black Georgia state senator who represents a black district in Atlanta. He was recently arrested for possession of marijuana. State representative Bill Clark, who is white, recently wrote a guest editorial for the Augusta Chronicle, explaining why he will not try to impeach Mr. Abernathy:

It seems to me that representatives are sent to Atlanta to represent the values of the people who sent them. Sen. Abernathy does this. His people in downtown Atlanta, however, have different values from ours. If given a chance, they would legalize marijuana tomorrow. They see marijuana laws as ‘white man’s laws.’ I can vote to try to force north Georgia morals on Sen. Abernathy, but we may start something we can’t stop. White middle class Americans will soon become a minority. I don’t want Sen. Abernathy trying to force Atlanta morals on us.

Get rid of Sen. Abernathy and, unless there is a change in their value system, they will send another just like him.

(Rep. Bill Clark, Different Values: a Question of Principle, Augusta Chronicle, Feb. 11, 1998, p. 5A.)

Ethnic Cleansing

Hawaiian Gardens is a mostly Hispanic neighborhood in Los Angeles County that seems to be driving out its black residents. Black children complain they are picked on in school and that Mexican gangs attack them. After three recent racially-based murders and a spate of assaults, blacks are leaving. Melinda Harris left the neighborhood after her son was thrown through a window by Mexican gang members and nearly killed. She says, “If there is one thing I could tell black people still living there, it’s ‘Get out as soon as you can.’”

Measures to stop violence and “celebrate diversity” have failed. A multicultural fair drew only four blacks, and a series of interracial dialogues never materialized because not enough people were interested. Many Hispanic officials are not willing to admit there is a racial problem while some Mexicans are proud to be running blacks out.

A 21-year-old gang member says, “Three [murders] ain’t that much. Believe me there should be a lot more dead ones.” Another Mexican claims, “Niggers come here thinking they’re gonna take over, but there ain’t no blacks here and there never will be.” Others claim they are only acting in self-defense, “Blacks don’t give a f***. They see a Mexican with new shoes, they go after him and try to steal them from him.” (Ron Russell and Victor Mejia, City of Fear, New Times (Los Angeles), Feb. 12-18, 1998, p.13.)

Seeing the Light

Syndicated columnist Charley Reese seems to have woken up to a few basic facts. In a recent column he notes that “[diversity] is a breeder of perpetual conflict. There’s no nation on earth with a diverse, multicultural population that is politically stable, democratic and prosperous.”

He also goes on to say that:

America is already experiencing an undeclared race war . . . The world is a graveyard of once powerful and prosperous nations and empires. Unequal distribution of wealth, of resources, of opportunity, is, always has been, and always will be a fact of life.

European-derived people seem to have lost the will to survive. Biologist Garrett Hardin has said, ‘The politicization of universalism by Western elites and their legal and social institutions . . . has deluded many European-derived people into believing that it is immoral to survive as a distinct group. As a result they can find no reason to resist the Third World flood inundating the West.’

I believe we are now at the point where the ruling class will have to be replaced or we will proceed into the gloomy and dismal future where their false beliefs and bad actions are taking us.

(Charley Reese, The Ruling Class Can Ruin Us All, King Features Syndicate, Dec. 15, 1997.)

Black Justice

Frederica Massiah-Jackson is a black judge in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia. In January, President Clinton proposed her as a judge for the federal Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Judge Massiah-Jackson has been known to scream profanity at lawyers arguing cases before her, and she has twice denied that abdominal gunshot wounds constitute “serious injury.” Once she urged defendants to “take a good look at the faces” of undercover police officers who were testifying against them and “to be careful out there.” Judge Massiah-Jackson denied saying this until transcripts were produced. Judge Massiah-Jackson once broke into tears after a jury found a man guilty of raping a 10-year old girl saying, “It’s not that I think the rape didn’t occur, but five years is a lot of time.” She has imposed only one harsh sentence during her tenure of more than ten years, explaining that it was because the defendant was a “Caucasian.” Opposition to Judge Massiah-Jackson eventually became so strong that in March she withdrew from consideration. (Mona Charen, Here’s President Clinton’s Idea of a Fine Judge, Augusta Chronicle, March 16, 1998, p. 4A.)

Wicked Words

Publishers of the Merriam-Webster dictionary have received more than 2,000 letters and calls from people complaining about its definition of the word “nigger.” In accordance with its usual practice, it starts with the oldest definition, “a black person.” In its usage note it goes on to say that the word is “perhaps the most offensive and inflammatory racial slur in English” and is “expressive of racial hatred and bigotry,” but some middle-class blacks don’t want the word in the dictionary at all. In the face of a threatened boycott of its products, the 150-year-old publisher has appointed a committee to review how it defines offensive words. (Trudy Tynan, AP, Censorship or Sensitivity? March 17, 1998.)

Chickens Home to Roost

A Miami federal judge has ruled that the city discriminated against 105 non-black police officers in 1992 when it promoted unqualified blacks. Judge James Kehoe ordered the city to promote the officers and to give them $2 million in back pay. Gary Eugene, a Haitian officer, was promoted despite finishing 107th out of 114 on the promotion exam. The city claimed the promotions were necessary to ease racial tensions in the city. (AP, Judge: Miami to Give Cops Back Pay, March 18, 1998.)

A federal jury in Ohio has awarded $122,000 to a journalism teacher who claimed he was denied a job because he is white. When he applied for a position at Bowling Green State University in 1994 he was passed over in favor of a black woman with less teaching and publishing experience. John Hartman noted that the woman hired before him was then paid out of something called the Minority Enhancement Fund, which was set up to increase the number of non-white professors. (Jeffrey Selingo, Jury Backs Professor Who Says He Was Denied a Job Because He Is White, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 9, 1998.)

This Man is Nuts

Reginald Denny is the truck driver who was nearly killed by black rioters during the 1992 Rodney King post-verdict riots in Los Angeles. He later embraced the mother of one of his assailants and excused their behavior because of the hard times they had faced. He now thinks racism was to blame for his beating — but racism on the part of the police, not the rioters. He and three other whites who were attacked have filed a $40 million suit against the city of Los Angeles, claiming that police did not quell the riots because they did not care what was going on in the non-white parts of town. Police “racism” therefore left them at the mercy of angry blacks. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is considering the case. (Minerva Canto, AP, Judge: Riot Beatings Not Racial, March 2, 1998.)

Slave Trade

President William Clinton has been running around Africa apologizing for slavery, but Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni says he needn’t bother. “African chiefs were the ones waging war on each other and capturing their own people and selling them,” he said. “If anyone should apologize it should be the African chiefs.” As for the view that the American President should make some kind of public atonement for slavery, Mr. Museveni says, “I don’t have time for that diversion or rubbish.” He notes that some Africans who were sent off to the New World were lucky because they would otherwise have been killed in tribal wars. (Nicholas Kotch, Reuters, No Need for Clinton Apology, March 26, 1998. AP, Museveni: Slavery Was Also the Fault of Africans, April 1, 1998.)

Of course, if Mr. Clinton had really wanted to denounce slavery he didn’t have far to look. Ever since Sudan became independent in 1956, there has been intermittent rebellion by the Christian-animist blacks in the south against the Muslim Arabs in the north who run the country. The fighting has been more or less continuous for the past 14 years, and an estimated 1.5 million people have died from war, famine, and disease. The Muslim government in Khartoum considers counter-insurgency a jihad, or holy war, and lets its fighters treat the black rebels entirely as they please. Government militias therefore take their pay in loot and slaves, robbing older blacks, killing young men, and taking women and children as slaves. The human booty goes north, where an estimated 10,000 blacks are held as slaves. They are chattel and can be killed, mutilated, bartered, or sold. A Swiss charity called Christian Solidarity International buys and frees slaves in Sudan, but some critics say its efforts only drive up the price and create greater incentives for raiders. (Karin Davies, AP, Slave Trade Fed by Sudan’s Civil War, Feb. 8, 1998.)

The Elusive Truth

Conservatives have often argued that opinion polls understate conservative views because people are afraid to voice dissent from prevailing liberalism. The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press recently tried to see if this is true. They compared the results of a standard telephone survey with those of a more “rigorous” one, in which the people who refused to participate by telephone were contacted in person. The researchers claim that for the most part the opinions reported were the same — with one exception. “The Pew experiment suggests that accurately measuring racial antagonisms may be a problem in all survey research,” the report said.

The study found, for example, that in the “rigorous” survey, 64 percent of the whites said that if blacks can’t get ahead it is their own fault, with 26 percent blaming racial discrimination. In the more informal survey, the split was 56-31. Of course, neither approach takes into consideration the possibility that the results would move even further on racial questions if respondents could be anonymous. (AP, Study: Polls Include Conservatives, March 27, 1998.)

Good-bye Father Flanagan

Thanks to Hispanic immigration, the American Catholic church is being transformed. The change is most apparent in Los Angeles, where an estimated 70 percent of Catholics are Hispanic and 60 percent speak Spanish at home. Proficiency in Spanish is a requirement for graduation from seminaries in Los Angeles and Orange counties, and in Los Angeles, Spanish masses are better attended than masses in English.

In parishes where Hispanics are starting to take over from older whites, “there are basically two churches that share the same building but are not a community,” notes John Coleman, a religious sociologist at Loyola Marymount University. Many whites move away from such parishes, and contributions drop. Some priests do not like the Aztec practices Hispanics incorporate into their worship or their habit of caressing and speaking to religious statues.

The transformation has political ramifications. Bishops in California were very active in opposing ballot initiatives to discourage immigration and abolish affirmative action, and the church is an increasingly strong voice for expanded welfare programs. But churchmen are only playing to their new constituencies the way politicians do. As one priest explains, “If you want a growing church, work with the immigrants. The Spanish-speaking masses are full, full, full, and the Anglo ones are dying.” (Anne-Marie O’Connor, Los Angeles Times, Church’s New Wave of Change, March 25, 1998.)

Calling a Spade a Spade

The following letter, which we reprint verbatim and in toto, appeared in the Jan-March edition of BBC Focus On Africa:

I have been in this world for almost 35 years. During my lifetime, we have become used to describing African countries as ‘developing.’ But I don’t think that in all my years I’ve seen any development on this continent that is worth writing about. If anything, we are seeing the destruction of what was achieved during the early years of our independence. The only countries in the world that deserve to be called “developing” are those in the Far East, which have made giant strides. In Africa, the only country undergoing meaningful development is South Africa. Elsewhere, the infrastructure is falling apart. Anybody who has been away from Nairobi for the last 20 years would think they were in hell if they were to return today. Why deceive ourselves that we are developing when we are degenerating? Let’s call a spade a spade. (Kenya Gatunda, Underdevelopment, BBC Focus on Africa Magazine, Jan-March 1998, p. 62.)

Trooping the Colors

The 900-strong Household Cavalry are the Queen of England’s personal guard. They ride magnificent horses and wear plumed helmets and red tunics, but they are all white. Even the Prince of Wales has noticed and complained. In 1996, the Commission for Racial Equality officially concluded that the unit was guilty of “institutional racism.” In 1990, the Household Cavalry got its first black recruit, but he quit after what was reported to be insufferable racial abuse. The only incident noted in the press was that a fellow trooper once tossed a banana at him during a drill.

Since the Commission for Racial Equality reached its devastating conclusion, the unit’s officers have advertised in foreign-language newspapers, scoured inner-city employment centers, and even sent the men to play sports against black teams. They have even considered hiring an American black to help guard the queen. Still no black faces. “We have invested massive resources . . . (but) they are not coming through as quickly as we would like,” says Col. Simon Falkner who commands the horsemen.

The Household Cavalry is part of the 3,500-man Household Division, which has only 24 black or Asian men in service or in training. In march, the division commander, Gen. Evelyn Webb-Carter ordered his officers, who come mostly from the upper-class, to recruit 200 black or Asian soldiers within 2-1/2 years. (Maureen Johnson, Queens Guards Recruit Minorities, AP, March 26, 1998.)