Mar 1 1996

The End of Racism?

Somebody tell Marge Schott

There seems to be a growing attempt by pundits both of the right and center to claim that significant racism no longer exists.

The American Enterprise Institute’s Dinesh D’Souza, of course, makes this claim in his book The End of Racism, in which he asserts that racism “no longer has the power to thwart blacks or any other group in achieving their economic, political, and social aspirations.” (Racism apparently ended sometime after he was editor of the Dartmouth Review, which under his early-’80s tenure published a crude racial parody under the title “Dis Sho Ain’t No Jive, Bro”–see Washington Post, 6/14/82.)

Discussions of affirmative action often talk about “past discrimination” against African-Americans and other minorities, as though bias was just a memory. “It’s unfair to punish members of one group who have played no actual part in discriminating in order to benefit members of other groups who themselves have experienced no such discrimination–even if we’re only trying to right past wrongs,” USA Today columnist Linda Chavez wrote (6/21/95). New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan dismissed affirmative action as an anachronism in a New York Times column (7/23/95): “The circumstances in which it was dreamed up no longer exist.”

Some even argue that the word “racism” is no longer necessary. “If I were something like the Pope of black America and had the moral authority to make such suggestions, I would propose that no African-American use the terms racism or racist,” announced Time columnist Lance Morrow (12/5/94). “The words are a feckless indulgence, corrosive to blacks and whites alike and to relations between them.”

These pundits’ confident declaration that racism is a thing of the past led FAIR to produce the following compilation of news reports, almost all garnered from the past three years. Taken together, they provide strong proof that reports of the death of racism are greatly exaggerated.

In an interview on Primetime Live (2/11/93), Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott repeated her belief that everyone uses the word “nigger.” She argued that racism is an invention of the press. Schott had been suspended from baseball for allegedly declaring that “I’d rather have a trained monkey working for me than a nigger” and remarking, “Hitler was good in the beginning, but he went too far” (Associated Press, 11/30/92).

After Carol Mosely-Braun (D.-Ill.), the only African-American senator, defeated a bill that would have extended a federal patent on a Confederate flag insignia, Pat Buchanan accused her of “putting on an act” by linking the Confederacy to slavery. “The War Between the States was about independence, about self-determination,” Buchanan asserted (New York Post, 7/28/93). “How long is this endless groveling before every cry of ‘racism’ going to continue before the whole country collectively throws up?”

Soon after the Senate vote on the Confederate flag insignia, Sen. Jesse Helms (R.-N.C.) ran into Mosely-Braun in a Capitol elevator. Helms turned to his friend, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah), and said, “Watch me make her cry. I’m going to make her cry. I’m going to sing ‘Dixie’ until she cries.” He then proceeded to sing the song about the good life during slavery to Mosely-Braun (Gannett News Service, 9/2/93; Time, 8/16/93).

On CNN‘s Larry King Live (9/15/95), when a caller praised guest Senator Jesse Helms for “everything you’ve done to help keep down the niggers,” Helms replied, “Thank you, I think.”

Helms’ impeccable racist credentials include calling the University of North Carolina (UNC) the “University of Negroes and Communists.” (Charleston Gazette, 9/15/95)

At the 1993 GATT conference in Geneva, Sen. Ernest Hollings (D.-S.C.) commented on the African delegates attending the conference: “Rather than eating each other, they just come up and get a good square meal in Geneva.” (Washington Post, 2/5/94)

Hollings reportedly referred to blacks as “darkies” in a 1986 interview, and has called supporters of Sen. Alan Cranston “wetbacks,” called the Rainbow Coalition the “Blackbo Coalition,” and called Sen. Howard Metzenbaum “the senator from B’Nai B’rith.”

On Don Imus’ radio show (4/4/95), Senator Alfonse D’Amato (R-N.Y.) mocked O.J. Simpson judge Lance Ito, calling him “Little Judge Ito” and speaking in a mock-Japanese accent that bore no resemblance to the native-born Ito’s speech.

In 1991, D’Amato commented on WABC radio (9/13/91) that New York’s African-American mayor, David Dinkins, should go to Africa “and stay there.” (Newsday, 9/16/91) In 1986, when D’Amato was asked about a low-income housing project in his state, he reportedly commented (New Republic, 3/10/86): “We didn’t do too well with the animal vote, did we? Isn’t it the animals who live in these projects? They’re not our people.”

At a 1993 conference he organized in Atlanta, National Review contributor Jared Taylor proclaimed that “unless we defend our racial interests and put them first, we will disappear.” City College of New York professor Michael Levin, also speaking at the conference, argued that black inferiority is “overwhelmingly likely to be genetic.” Another speaker, Washington Times columnist Samuel Francis, urged whites to “reassert our identity and our solidarity, and we must do so in explicitly racial terms through the articulation of a racial consciousness as whites…. The civilization that we as whites created in Europe and America could not have developed apart from the genetic endowments of the creating people, nor is there any reason to believe that the civilization can be successfully transmitted to a different people.” (Washington Post, 9/24/95)

Taylor, the self-described “racialist” and “white separatist” editor of The American Renaissance, has had articles on race published in the Baltimore Sun (2/4/94) and the Cleveland Plain Dealer (11/30/90). His work has been positively cited by columnist Tony Snow (Chicago Tribune, 5/16/94) and Patrick Buchanan (Houston Chronicle, 3/5/93).

The Black Coaches Association called in 1993 for an investigation of NCAA’s Data Analysis Working Group (DAWG)–which recommended eligibility codes that would greatly restrict black athlete’s access to college–when it was revealed that some members of the DAWG have close ties to Raymond B. Cattell, an advocate of the racist pseudo-science of eugenics (Atlanta Constitution, 12/15/93). Catell and another member of the Working Group, John L. Horn, were members of the editorial board of Mankind Quarterly, a leading journal of the eugenics movement (CounterPunch, 12/15/94).

The New York Times Book Review (10/16/94) ran an article by Times science writer Malcolm W. Browne recommending three books that share an unabashed belief in blacks genetic inferiority: The Bell Curve, by Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein, Philippe Rushton’s Race, Evolution and Behavior, and Seymour Itzkoff’s Decline of Intelligence in America. Browne wrote: “The possibility that the authors may be even partly right makes these three books worth plowing through and mulling over.”

When The New Republic devoted almost an entire issue (10/31/94) to a discussion of The Bell Curve, editor Andrew Sullivan justified the decision by writing: “The notion that there might be resilient ethnic differences in intelligence is not, we believe, an inherently racist belief.”

Martin Peretz, owner and editor-in-chief of the New Republic, exclaimed at a forum on black/Jewish relations (New York Newsday, 3/28/94): “So many people in the black population are afflicted by deficiencies, and I mean cultural deficiencies, which Jews, for example, didn’t…. I guess that in the ghetto a lot of mothers don’t appreciate the importance of schooling.”

Dinesh D’Souza’s The End of Racism claimed that “American slavery…bore no necessary link to racism,” and that segregation was created by Southern whites “to protect blacks.” He notes that “a natural hierarchy of racial abilities would predict and fully account for” the lower economic status of African-Americans. The End of Racism received favorable reviews from the Atlanta Constitution (10/8/95) and Newsweek (9/21/95).

Bob Grant, the most listened-to talkshow host in New York City, continues to promote white supremacy on his daily WABC radio show (Extra!, 1-2/95). A sample of Grant’s rant (WABC, 1/6/92):

We have in our nation, not hundreds of thousands but millions of sub-humanoids–savages, who really would feel more at home careening along the sands of the Kalahari, or the dry deserts of eastern Kenya–people who for whatever reason have not become civilized. Am I the only one who makes that observation? No, certainly not. Perhaps I express it more directly, more candidly, far less euphemistically than politicians would.

According to an agent who worked for him, Drug Enforcement Administration official John A. Wooley shrugged off a case involving distribution of crack in Chicago: “So all you got here is niggers selling dope to niggers? There’s no harm or foul here, why are we wasting our time?” (Chicago Sun-Times, 12/28/95)

Illinois Senate President James Philip said of non-white state workers: “It’s probably a terrible thing to say, but I’ll say it: Some of them do not have the work ethics we have.” He also remarked that those workers “don’t tend to squeal on their fellow minorities.” Refusing to apologize, Philip explained: “If you want to be politically correct, you’ll never tell the truth.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/9/94)

Dallas school board member Dan Peavy was forced to resign his post after a tape surfaced on which he complains (Dallas Morning News, 9/29/95) that the Dallas schools are hard to manage because they contain “ignorant goddamn little niggers and everything else and all these chicken-shit parents.”

Joseph Kover, a town council member from Deer Park, N.Y., defended his description of New York State Comptroller Carl McCall as “a nigger from Harlem”: “It means a black man, period,” Kover insisted (New York Times, 11/16/93). “I don’t think it’s offensive. The right wing of the Republican Party and the right wing of the Democratic Party wouldn’t take exception to that.”

New York City Deputy Mayor John Dyson criticized city Comptroller Alan Hevesi’s attempt to hire a black-owned bank for financial advice. Hevesi, Dyson said, “should know a bid from a watermelon.” (Newsday, 7/14/94) Earlier, Dyson had boasted in an internal City Hall memo (Newsday, 2/18/94) that “two white guys have been running this city of immigrants for over 200 years.”

New York State Senate majority leader Joseph Bruno declared (New York Times, 4/8/95) that “the blacks, the Hispanics” are “the people that got their hands out. They are the ones fighting for welfare.”

New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman told an interviewer with the British newspaper, The Independent (4/9/95): “And as regards the unwed teenage mothers, there is a game called ‘jewels in the crown’ that young black males have, and it’s how many children you can sire outside of wedlock.”

The New York Times‘ Sam Roberts (11/15/93) wrote a column about “the propensity toward violence among black Americans,” which he claimed that “the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson is belatedly exposing.” (Roberts added that “by focusing on genocidal black-on-black crime, to some people Mr. Jackson may seem to be suggesting that white lives are cheaper.”)

New York Observer columnist Ann Roiphe (1/10/94) called for “martial law” in black and Latino neighborhoods: “Bring in the Army and let them clean the place out. Let them shoot dealers and the armed gang members; let anyone found with a gun on his or her person be killed as in a war in which we take no prisoners.” New York Post columnist Scott McConnell (1/14/94) wrote that Roiphe “has managed to find clear words to express what many are surprised to find themselves thinking.”

New York Post columnist Scott McConnell (10/11/95) suggested that a brand of apartheid might be the solution to the U.S.’s race problems: “I do believe that American race relations would not be the worse for acknowledging that blacks and whites have between them the power to develop alternatives to living together. Indeed, it seems to me possible that the very act of considering seriously such alternatives would, in and of itself, bring a rapid halt to some of the more flamboyant rhetorical and behavioral excesses now flourishing in the black community.”

The San Francisco Examiner attempted to “explain” the fighting in Rwanda between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups: “Rwanda is the natural habitat of three species. The first is the Hutus. The second is the Tutsi. The third is the mountain gorillas.” The two human “species,” according to the Examiner, “can tell each other apart because the Hutus are short and the Tutsi are tall. Frequently they kill each other.”

Boston Herald columnist and radio talkshow host Howie Carr (5/30/94) asserted that the best way to react when arrested is to exclaim, “No comprehendo inglais” (sic). According to Carr, if you pretend that you “No Speaka da English”–the column’s title–you will likely be set free. After the Oklahoma City bombing, Carr solicited suggestions on what should be done to those “towelheads” whom he asserted were the main suspects (WHDH, 4/21/95; Boston Herald, 5/5/95).

In December 1994, ABC-owned San Francisco radio station KSFO launched a new “Hot Talk” line-up, featuring J. Paul Emerson, who promptly declared: “I’m sick and tired of these damn immigrants. They should all go back where they came from.” (Extra!, 3-4/95) At one point Emerson (New York Times, 2/14/95) suggested that “everybody in California who’s a taxpayer and an American can be a bounty hunter, can go out and shoot illegal immigrants who come across the border…and drag them down to the police station and collect a reward.”

Peter Brimelow, an immigrant from Great Britain and an editor at Forbes and the National Review, published Alien Nation in 1995, a lurid warning against non-white immigration: “Americans have a legitimate interest in their country’s racial balance,” he asserted. “Indeed, it seems to me that they have a right to insist it be shifted back.” Brimelow shrugged off charges that he is a racist “by pointing to its new definition: anyone who is winning an argument with a liberal.” New York Times book critic Richard Bernstein (4/19/95) praised Alien Nation, calling it “entirely engaging” and “extremely cogent.”

San Diego Business Journal publisher Ted Owen banned photos of various ethnic groups from the paper’s front page and other prominent positions, saying that such pictures were “un-American.” Ethnic groups subjected to the ban included those of Iranian, Iraqi and Vietnamese descent (San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/9/95).

During her successful congressional campaign, Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-Idaho) declared (Hotline, 3/2/95) that “White Anglo Saxon Protestant males are an endangered species.”

Zane P. Laurini, owner and publisher of the Rowlett Times, a Texas daily, asseerted in a column (3/23/95): “There is no creature more beautiful or facing a greater threat than the white race.”

NBC Nightly News executive producer Jeff Gralnick referred to Somali military leader Mohammad Farah Aideed as an “educated jungle bunny,” saying, “The rest of the jungle bunnies are not like this at all. They’re illiterates.” (Washington Post, 10/16/93) Gralnick later claimed he was describing viewers’ perceptions, not his own.

According to writer David Lipsky (Details, 2/96), John Pike, head of late-night programming at the CBS network, told the cast members of a CBS late-night pilot: “Research shows there are three reasons why African-Americans are an important part of the late-night demographic: First, they have no place to go in the morning–no jobs–so they can stay up as late as they like; second, they can’t follow hour-long drama shows–no attention span– so sketches are perfect for them; third, network TV is free.” CBS fired Pike after conducting a review of the incident.

Research Assistance: Jill Steinberg, Carolyn Francis, Sanford Hohauser