Africa and blacks


In South Africa they all it “black empowerment,” and it appears that this policy has been yielding its natural outcome: Death.

If it were only white babies who were dying, it might be seen as a benefit. But apparently black babies are dying too, and some are people are not pleased. According to Yahoo news:

Cape Town (AFP) – South Africa’s policy of race-based affirmative action is “killing babies” and must be scrapped, the country’s Institute of Race Relations said Friday.

The institute, which spoke out against racial discrimination under apartheid, said black empowerment policies had seen unqualified people appointed to positions where their incompetence hit poor and vulnerable communities.

It pointed to the deaths of three babies aged between seven and 13 months in Bloemhof in North West province this week, apparently caused by drinking contaminated tap water. Scores of others were also hospitalised.

“The Bloemhof municipality ‘lost its capacity’ to maintain the sewer plant,” the independent think-tank said in a statement quoting its Chief Executive Frans Cronje that accompanied its paper entitled “Killing Babies”.

“There is no doubt that the officials responsible for these deaths were appointed, at least in part, on grounds of race-based affirmative action and that a direct causal link therefore exists between the policy and the deaths.”

black baby

That racial preferences would lead to such results is obvious. There’s no telling how many people have died or been injured due to affirmative action over the course of the several decades it’s been in place. There’s no way to know how many innocent people sit in prison due to incompetent lawyers, how many wrong medications were prescribed, how many operations were less successful, how many businesses failed – because competence took a back seat to “diversity.”

While it’s encouraging that such concerns are now being aired publicly, I doubt they will lead to meaningful change. Instead, the powers that be will, at best, try to replace the least competent affirmative action hires with slightly less incompetent ones.

A recent article, in American Renaissance, makes me question any future travel plans I might have:

Thousands of potential FAA air traffic control trainees, with College Initiative Training (CTI) degrees or previous military experience, have been told by the federal agency they are no longer eligible for job interviews. Instead, the FAA has decided to accept less qualified applicants, apparently to satisfy concerns that the agency needs a more diverse workforce…

The initial hurdle for all applicants was based solely on a new, online biographical questionnaire that gave test takers instant results.

“It didn’t ask me anything about my college experience, my grades, my scores, (and) my ability for the actual job. It asked me what sports I played in high school. What was my least favorite subject in high school. Nothing related to aviation,” remembered Meryhew.

“I get a big red ‘X’ when I applied saying I’m not qualified, but no reason why,” explained Annie Keinholz. “Biographically ineligible.”…

“I believe that the FAA’s motivation is to gain more diversity in the hiring pool,” said Kuhlmann. “But they won’t say it in that way. They will not say it. Even on the teleconference. They’ll just say, ‘We’ve engineered the biographical questionnaire in a way that we think will promote diversity.’”

How can we fight this? I’d like to suggest a course of action. We need to make sure that every flight in the U.S. has at least one black baby on board. That way, when the inevitable midair crash occurs, we can point to the dead black babies and say: “Affirmative action kills babies!” and we can include photos of those babies for added effect.

 

I spent a few days in Miami recently, and chose to use the bus service from the airport to my hostel. As I got to the bus platform, I saw that my bus was there and ready to go. As I ascending the steps, the black bus driver gruffly told me I needed exact change. Unfortunately, all I had was a $20 bill. I was directed to the ticket-selling machine a few yards away. It took me only a couple of minutes to get my ticket – but the driver left without me.

I sat down to wait for the next bus. It ended up being a half-hour wait. Over the course of that half-hour, numerous buses passed by, and several stopped for passengers. I couldn’t help but notice that every single bus driver was black.

According to Wikipedia, Miami is only 22.7% black. I have been unable to find any online resources that address the apparent discrepancy between Miami’s overall black population and their apparent dominance of the bus system. There don’t seem to be any statistics that break down Miami’s public employees by race or ethnicity. However, if Miami follows the trend in other places, such as Washington DC, then blacks are grossly overrepresented in government jobs, especially transit jobs.

Eventually my bus did arrive, and the black female driver was polite. This is what I saw next to the front seat:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have submitted a request, to the Miami-Dade transit authority, to provide me with racial statistics of their employees. I’ll let y’all know if they respond.

I remember, back in high school, being upset that a quiz question asked what date Christmas falls on. I didn’t know, and this hurt my score. As an adult, I view things differently; scoring a bit lower on a quiz is a small price to pay for the benefit of attending schools that are representative of a functional culture – even if it’s not exactly my own culture.

It would appear that some Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan feel imposed upon because their children received invitations to an Easter egg hunt at school. According to the Christian Post:

Some Muslim parents in Dearborn, Mich., are upset over an “Eggstravaganza” Easter egg hunt invitation their children received from teachers at school because the event is going to be held on the grounds of the Cherry Hill Presbyterian Church.

Attorney Majed Moughni, the father of two public school students, said his son was uncomfortable about receiving the flyer from the Presbyterian church for their event on April 12.

“It really bothered my two kids. My son was like, ‘Dad, I really don’t feel comfortable getting these flyers, telling me to go to church. I thought churches are not supposed to mix with schools,’” Moughni told The Detroit Free Press.

Moughni said he’s uncomfortable with publically paid school teachers passing “out these flyers that are being distributed by a church. I think that’s a serious violation of separation of church and state.”

While separation of church and state is a worthy goal, it shouldn’t render public schools culture-free zones. When we speak of “public institutions” we should not lose sight of the fact that they’re supposed to represent a specific public. If we were to somehow succeed in catering our schools to people in general, without deference to any particular culture, we would be robbing our children of both their heritage and their childhood.

If we were to take the separation of church and state to its extreme, public schools would be dry, depressing, places. There’s a large grey area in our culture that, while not overtly religious in nature, has its roots in what passes for Christianity. Easter egg hunts, Christmas, graduation caps and gowns and St. Patrick’s Day are good examples of this. They’re part of American culture, and I see no harm in allowing schools to recognize them – without shoving them in our faces of course.

To the offended Muslim parents I say, you (or your parents) came to this country of your own free will. You benefit from our functional society and liberal government – which are offshoots of our culture. When you came to this country, you agreed to put up with this culture and, if you don’t like it, you can return to whatever Muslim-dominated country you came from. You’ll probably find that there’s less separation of religion and state in that country than you enjoy here.

Meanwhile, black women in the military are upset that new hairstyle regulation adversely affect them. According to Yahoo News:

New Army regulations meant to help standardize and professionalize soldiers’ appearance are now coming under criticism by some black military women, who say changes in the hair requirement are racially biased.

The Army earlier this week issued new appearance standards, which included bans on most twists, dreadlocks and large cornrows, all styles used predominantly by African-American women with natural hairstyles. More than 11,000 people have signed a White House petition asking President Barack Obama, the commander in chief, to have the military review the regulations to allow for “neat and maintained natural hairstyles.”

Some black military women, who make up about a third of the women in the armed forces, feel they have been singled out with these new regulations.

“I think that it primarily targets black women, and I’m not in agreement with it,” said Patricia Jackson-Kelley of the National Association of Black Military Women. “I don’t see how a woman wearing three braids in her hair, how that affects her ability to perform her duty in the military.”

Yes, there’s actually an organization called the “National Association of Black Military Women.” Their website states their goal as:

“To seek out, record, maintain and tell the historyof every Black Military Women...”

My advice to them would be to brush up on their writing skills, or at least hire a good editor, before putting together a website. I couldn’t help but notice that their president, Kathaleen F. Harris, seems awfully young to be retired. She must have been paid very well while in the military; I’m sure being black, and a woman, didn’t hurt her career.

Yes, being black and female can do wonders for one’s career, especially if it’s in a government job. If griping about hairstyle regulations is what now occupies them, clearly there’s not much in the way of real oppression to burden them. Is there an organization that works specifically for the benefit of white women in the military? Don’t be silly!

Can white Christians also be offended? As a matter of fact they can. Some Idaho parents objected when their school district included, as part of their official curriculum, a book that ridiculed Christianity and includes vulgar language. According to Yahoo news:

The largest school district in Idaho has banned from its curriculum an award-winning book about the struggles of a Native American teenager after complaints by parents that the novel was rife with profanity, racial epithets and anti-Christian rhetoric….

The book is described by publisher Little, Brown as a “heartbreaking, funny and beautifully written” tale about the experiences of a young Native American who leaves his troubled school on an Indian reservation in Washington state to attend an all-white high school in a nearby farming community.

I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that the book also includes anti-white rhetoric – but it’s not politically acceptable to object to the persecution of whites, because unlike Muslims or blacks, whites truly are an oppressed group (unless they happen to be well-connected of course).

Of the three aggrieved groups I cited above, the only one I sympathize with is the white Christians of Idaho. Does this make me a white-supremacist? Hardly. The “plight” of Muslim immigrants, who would rob school children of their culture, does not move me. Neither do I worry much about the military hairesy against black women (though I do feel that black women should be happy with their natural hair). But the cause of parents fighting a school district’s attempt to disparage their traditions, in their own native lands, is a worthy one.

 

The complex history of English manifests itself in various ways. It contains a multitude of loan words both from the English having been conquered, and having been conquerors. The commercial, religious and political history of the English is all evident in our language. Indeed, it can be said that English is a “diverse” language for that reason.

But the massive flood of non-English speakers, into traditionally English-speaking countries, has taken its toll.  Similarly, the increase (and popularity) of “ebonics” and “gangsta culture” has eroded the finer aspects of our language. Words that are not associated with the lower classes are falling by the wayside. For example, the pronoun “whom” has been dying a slow death.

I’ve been in regular contact, recently, with a black man who works for a financial institution. He holds a position that requires him to communicate with the public, yet his mastery over the English language is rudimentary. He says “ax” instead of “ask,” he can’t pronounce “relevant,” and he struggles with many terms that we would expect to be used by those with a high school diploma or better. Whether he gained his position through affirmative action or not, such institutions have a social obligation to make sure that those charged with public communication can actually speak English correctly.

English is not simply a mode of communication; it’s living testimony to our history and cultural heritage. It pains me to witness the finer aspects of this noble language fading away.

One casualty of this onslaught is our irregular plural nouns. Some English-speakers shudder when they hear that Arabic has a multitude of plural forms; they think, “how do people remember all these?” But English also has a multitude of plural forms. Those of us who were raised speaking English often forget this. Here are some examples of irregular forms:

Elf  —————  Elves

Man ————– Men

Foot ————– Feet

Mouse ———– Mice

Child ————- Children

Deer ————— Deer

Amoeba ———- Amoebae

Genus ————- Genera

Cactus ———— Cacti

Datum ———— Data

Index ————- Indices

Crisis ————- Crises

Phenomenon — Phenomena

It’s safe to say that most English-speakers, at least in the U.S., get confused between “phenomenon” and “phenomena.” Those of lower education, lower class, and foreigners tend to become vexed when it comes to such irregular plurals. To make themselves understood, they’ll often default to simply adding an “s” to form a plural. Thus we find the increasing popularity of “indexes” instead of “indices,” “memorandums” instead of “memoranda,” and “syllabuses” instead of “syllabi.”

The death of irregular plurals starts with the most obscure, and proceeds to the more common. I predict that in the future, perhaps within the lifetime of some readers, we’ll hear forms such as “childs,” “mans” and “foots.”

Diversity brings about a state of affairs where everybody is eventually reduced to the lowest common denominator. Forcing together people of different social classes, races and ethnicities can only lead to the dumbing down of language.

Two posts ago I advised my readers to refrain from feeding the propaganda machine by avoiding the movie Pompeii. I made some predictions regarding the black character that appears in the official trailer.

Naturally I was curious to see how accurate my predictions were – but being a man of the highest moral fiber, and of impeccable ethics, I would never stoop to the hypocrisy required to watch the movie myself. Instead, I had one of my slaves watch it.

He informed me that my predictions, regarding the black character, were almost 100% spot on. He was a sympathetic character, he did play a secondary role, he did aid the main (white) characters and he did die a martyr. It’s pretty pathetic when an outsider to the movie industry, such as myself, can so accurately foretell such things. It shows how predictable today’s mainstream movie industry is. It shows how its creativity is compromised by its need to follow predetermined scripts.

My slave also informed me that, as far as he could tell, the movie did not present Jews as a visible minority within Pompeii. If Pompeii was, indeed, home to a minority composed of “people of color,” that minority was likely to have been Jews. The Jewish Virtual Library lists several hints of a Jewish presence in Pompeii. In contrast, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of blacks (at least of the Congoid variety) in Pompeii.

From a historic perspective, it would have made more sense for the producers of Pompeii to depict Jews as their chosen “people of color” rather than a black. As a Jew, I’m insulted that they ignored my own people (who were likely a real minority in Pompeii) in favor of a black African.

Jews should boycott this movie.

Y’all may be shocked, but I enjoy an occasional movie just like the rest of you mortals. Sometimes I like to escape the boring mundaneness of my life and make believe I’m travelling among the stars hundreds of years in the future, or that I’m reliving history in an era we like to imagine was more exciting than our own.

To fulfill these entertainment “needs,” I tap into the practically inexhaustible resources of Youtube, Hulu or similar sites. Generally speaking, I stick to pre-1965 shows. The reason is that I watch these shows in order to escape from reality, not to have the diversity agenda shoved into my face. I understand that each of us has our point of view, and that this includes writers and producers. That’s all fine and well, but just as I wouldn’t appreciate seeing a McDonalds or a Pepsi product strategically placed in a movie about Genghis  Khan, so too do I not appreciate having token blacks shoved in my face in Gladiator, Thor, The Hobbit and others too numerous to count. Before 1965 or so, movie producers could focus almost exclusively on the story. They weren’t bogged down by the dictates of the diversity cult.

With the exception of background characters (such as in The Hobbit), the token black’s role is carefully scripted. The producers don’t want to be too obviously Afro-centric, or they’ll pay the price at the box-office. But they must include at least one prominent black character – and he (it’s usually a man) must be portrayed in a positive light. Typically, we find him sacrificing himself to save the lives of others.

The 2003 movie Core is typical. In Core, Delroy Lindo plays Ed Brazzelton, in the end:

After some calculations, they decide that by splitting their nuclear weapons into the remaining compartments and jettisoning each at specific distances, they can create a “ripple effect“, where the power of each bomb will push against the blast of the next, generating the needed energy wave. However, because Virgil was not designed to jettison undamaged compartments, the plan requires someone to deactivate a safety switch that is in an area exposed to the extreme temperatures. Brazzelton volunteers and deactivates the switch, dying shortly afterwards.

There are exceptions to this rule. For example, in the movie Unbreakable, the villain is black, while the hero is white. It’s worth noting, however, that Unbreakable was “written, produced, and directed by M. Night Shyamalan.” Shyamalan also wrote, produced and directed The Village, which is clearly pro-white. Since Shyamalan himself is not white, but Indian, he can actually get away with producing an occasional pro-white film – though I’m fairly certain even he has taken some heat for it.

What kind of role will this black man have in Pompeii?

pompeii

He will speak of his family back in Africa. He will be a victim of oppression, probably having been captured as a slave or gladiator fighter. He’ll be a sympathetic character, providing wisdom to his white friends. In some way, he’ll probably end up a martyr.

Blacks were not unknown in ancient Rome. It would be perfectly acceptable to include one or two black faces in Pompeii, but against the backdrop of Hollywood’s predictable racial policies, the presence of such prominent characters is as distracting as if they’d had a Starbucks on every corner in Pompeii. It’s product-placement, and a stark reminder of TODAY’S politics. It should not be thrust upon us within the context of this historical drama. I wouldn’t be surprised if some black people feel the same way. They too want to experience the story of Pompeii, not to be reminded of racial quotas and the demands of the black lobby.

With the advance of video technology, it’s now possible to create entire movies without using actual human actors. More importantly, this technology is becoming increasingly available to those of us who are not wealthy and powerful. Hopefully, the ranks of those whose minds are free of the diversity cult will produce some talented animators. If so, we’ll be able to enjoy high-quality movies that are not beholden to the rigid racial rules of Hollywood. We can make our own Pompeii – or digitally remove the diversity from the current Pompeii and share it on our own “white market.” The authorities will fume, but there won’t be much they can do about it.

 

As a respected citizen of the Leftosphere, the Nature Conservancy supports the rights of indigenous peoples. Their website proclaims:

Empowering Indigenous peoples throughout the world.

The natural world is central to the human rights of Indigenous peoples, as well as their economic, spiritual, physical and cultural well- being. Complex challenges including the development of natural resources and climate change are threatening the environments on which their livelihoods and cultures depend.

The Nature Conservancy recognizes the significant contributions of Indigenous peoples to conservation and collaborates with them to foster our shared commitment to environmental stewardship. Our human rights-based approach to conservation incorporates traditional knowledge and cultural values and results in tangible benefits. We work as a partner, making sure that community needs and local priorities are identified and addressed.

Our programs target urgent threats, secure land tenure and access, support Indigenous rights and improved governance, and strengthen livelihoods. Our initiatives support the rights of Indigenous peoples to participate more fully in making the decisions that will shape their futures.

Indeed. We would expect such an organization to show respect toward the indigenous peoples of the past, and we would not expect to see it glorifying those who perpetrated genocide upon them.

How, then, would we reconcile the above statement with the following one?

Buffalo Soldiers in the U.S. Army were some of the first defenders of our national parks, serving as rangers in Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon. They were instrumental in fighting fires, cracking down on poachers and clearing roads. One of the most notable Buffalo Soldiers was Capt. Charles Young, the third African American to graduate from West Point and the first African-American superintendent of a national park. The legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers lives on through Yosemite ranger Shelton Johnson, who created a website to tell their story.

These Buffalo soldiers took part in the dispossession of the indigenous peoples of North America. The fact that they later received government jobs as caretakers at national parks does not negate this fact. While the conflict between settlers and Native Americans was an exceedingly complex one, with atrocities committed on all sides, the Leftosphere invariably sympathizes with the Native Americans. Apparently, an exception is made when the settlers are “people of color” themselves. While one might argue that the Nature Conservancy is only trying to give credit where credit is due, without negating any lurid past these soldiers might have had, I find such hair-splitting to be disingenuous. The South African government did many positive things during the years of apartheid, yet we never find the Leftosphere giving them credit.

Others have pointed out this hypocrisy. For example, a neo-Confederate group made the point back in 2005:

   On January 17th, Carrollton Georgia put on it’s Annual King Day parade. I attended this one with a special guest, as it took on a special meaning by some of the participants invited. I had read where a local amateur historian named Don North and his 6 member “Grierson’s Buffalo Soldiers Cavalry Association of Georgia” was invited to join, most likely at the behest of Carrollton’s only black councilman Gerald Byrd. Mr. Byrd had allowed Mr. North to speak to his youth class at Carrollton Middle School – and I read an article in the Carrollton paper about it…

  Well I am not the most educated person, but I do know that that whole Custer/Cavalry/Western time period meant lots of innocent Indians were being slaughtered, and the Buffalo Soldiers happily did their share of butchery. I sent out a call for help to stand against this kind of glorification, and got probably the most qualified spokesman to accomplish the task. My special guest was none other than that Native American activist, Gary Spottedwolf… who is a Lakota Sioux (I love his “Custer Got Siouxed” poster) and whose ancestors were targets of the Buffalo Soldiers ‘Ethnic Cleansing’…

  He wore his warrior outfit with US Cavalry jacket and 4 scalp swatches. He is one tough dude, as those outfits aren’t very warm, and it was about 30 with a strong wind. He also brought a picture that blew me away, but sent one of North’s boys into denial. It was a picture of a deep trench filled with dead Sioux, and a Buffalo Soldier standing next to them. When the young misled soldier wannabe was shown the picture, he said “naw, that ain’t no Buffalo Soldier”.   North stayed in the distance playing with his historically inaccurate 10th Cavalry flag that didn’t include crossed sabers…

  Initially some were heard to exclaim “he’s coming to be with us!”, but Spottedwolf cut that BS short. Another of the young actors walked up behind Gary and had the nerve to say “That sure is a nice jacket” and without missing a beat he retorted “It should be – I got it off a dead Buffalo Soldier. Spottedwolf then commenced to giving the group, approx 15 mounted riders that included North and 3 other actors (the others represented ???) a lecture about the real Buffalo Soldiers and their campaign of terrorism and genocide. Then a white woman started crying this was a day for unity, which came the reply that there can be no unity as long as his people were on reservations.  I told Unity lady that the Confederate Govt. was the only ‘White man’s Govt. that accepted the Indians. She looked bewildered…

The Buffalo soldiers were not only guilty of slaughtering Native Americans, according to some, they also took part in the senseless slaughter of the buffalo. According to Roy Cook:

The Kiowa have no love for the historic ‘Buffalo Soldiers’. They have not forgotten that because in those ‘Indian War’ times there was war between the Kiowa people and their main source of commissary the buffalo and the white men. The white men built forts in the Kiowa country, and the Negro soldiers (the Tenth Cavalry, made up of Negro troops) shot the buffalo as fast as they could, but the buffalo still kept coming on, coming on, even into the post cemetery at Fort Sill. Soldiers were not enough to hold them back.

If those who massacred innocent people, and mowed down countless buffalo, can be considered “conservation heroes” by taking government jobs at national parks, then the term has very little meaning. I would urge the Nature Conservancy to be more selective in who they consider “heroes.”

 

Mary Elizabeth Williams, of Salon, is upset because of a “sexist” handbook for the Oakland Raiders cheerleaders. Williams writes:

In a section of the book about fraternization, it acknowledges, “There have been a few relationships between the two groups that have resulted in a few happy marriages and lovely children,” but goes on to warn, “HOWEVER, we have also had more situations where, quite frankly, the Raider organization and the Raiderettes narrowly escaped ruined reputations.” It goes on to elaborate: “One such example concerns a player who gave Halloween parties every year and many of the Raiderettes attended. This same player was suspended from the team for drug use but also arrested for date rape. For you on the squad who have attended those parties, just think how narrowly you missed having your photo in all the local papers and/or being assaulted.” And/or. Whatever. But mostly, think upon how you might have sullied the team’s good name by getting in the papers. For being raped. Oh and by the way, the definition of date rape is rape. It’s even in the state penal code! 

But the handbook may be alluding to the late defensive tackle Darrell Russell, who in 2002 was accused, along with two other men, of drugging and raping a woman Russell had been “casually dating.” The case was eventually dropped because it couldn’t be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Here’s the accompanying photo of the cheerleaders:

raiders_cheerleaders-620x412

Needless to say, the team itself is heavily black (not that its white players are necessarily safe to be around either) and the cheerleaders predominantly white. With the mostly white Raiderettes, and the mostly black Raiders – and calls for the former to be wary of the latter, it’s a wonder Williams didn’t call the handbook “racist.”

As this handbook “scandal” has been making the rounds on the internet, I’m reminded of John Derbyshire’s talk that got him fired from the National Review. This author probably knew better than to mention anything about race; that way, if she found herself the subject of criticism, she could plead the lesser charge of sexism and keep her job.

Veteran readers of this blog may remember that I once traveled to Madagascar, and then took a rail-trip through some European countries. That was an exciting, and unforgettable, trip. One of the countries I visited was Germany, and while at the castle grounds in Heidelberg, I scraped up some dirt for a friend back home. His family was from Germany, but he couldn’t travel there, so he asked me to bring back some soil from his ancestral land.

As I sat in the airplane, approaching the U.S. on my return, I pondered the customs slip the attendant had given me. Among the items that needed to be declared was “soil samples.” Should I declare my bag of dirt, and risk losing it, or should I remain silent about it – and risk serious legal troubles should they discover it in my luggage? I chose to declare it.

One of the first things I noticed, about Philadelphia International Airport, is that practically all the employees there are black. Yes, this airport had achieved the ultimate “diversity”: An almost 100% black work force. I can’t say that there’s any connection between this fact, and the attitude I encountered while trying to declare my bag of dirt.

For some bizarre reason, I expected the customs agents to appreciate my honesty. I actually thought they’d show some concern, some degree of responsibility for their task of protecting our nation’s borders. Instead, when my turn came to approach the agent, he seemed annoyed that I was causing him extra work. He directed me to a different line. When I got there, not a soul was waiting for me; perhaps they were all on break. After a while, somebody did show up. When I told him I wanted to declare something, he also seemed slightly annoyed. He directed me to yet another counter a few yards away. When I got there, the man seemed perplexed at my declaration. He didn’t seem to fathom why I even bothered. When I handed him the bag of dirt, he looked at it, turned it over a few times – and then announced, “Yes, it’s dirt. Have a nice day” or something to that effect. Whatever the rational for having to declare “soil samples,” it apparently didn’t apply when those samples were “dirt.”

Maybe things have changed at Philadelphia International Airport – or maybe $27,000 is considered a more serious threat than a bag of dirt. According to Philly.com:

Federal agents at the Philadelphia International Airport Sunday seized nearly $27,000 from a Ghana couple after the duo allegedly failed to report the cash.

Investigators said the couple was after their arrival from Germany referred to a secondary inspection during which the man said he had $6,000. When U.S. Customs and Border Protections officers explained federal currency reporting requirements, the man revised his estimate and wrote he had $16,000, according to authorities.

A baggage examination allegedly turned up multiple envelopes containing $27,431.30 in U.S. currency, British pounds, Swiss francs and Ghana cedi. Officers returned $500 to the couple for “humanitarian purposes,” according to a news release, and seized the remaining $26,931.30.

Personally, I think the 4th amendment should be honored; the government should not be allowed to seize people’s money without charges, and without accountability. On the other hand, why would a “visiting” couple from Ghana have so much money with them? My guess is that they were up to no good; perhaps their “visit” was intended to last until the end of their days on Earth. They don’t seem to be very bright people. Did they really expect customs to wave them through after declaring $6,000?

Many questions remain unanswered in the original article. For example, we don’t know if these people are native Ghanians, or if they’re Europeans who were residing there. Part of me says that just as we shouldn’t assign human rights to animals (the entire concept of “rights” being a human one), so too should we not apply the finer provisions of our humanitarian behaviors to Africans – or any other population that doesn’t share our sensibilities. If you treat a savage like a gentleman, he will simply take advantage of you.
“When in Rome, do as the Romans” – but also: “When barbarians are in Rome, treat them as barbarians.”

A while back, my friend at Diversity Chronicle gave me the book “Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa” by Keith B. Richburg. I’ve just finished reading it.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this book. It’s entertaining, thought-provoking and informative (even though it was published way back in 1998). Mr. Richburg comes across as a deep-thinking man who is willing to discard the orthodoxies of his day in favor of the conclusions of his hard-earned experiences. It’s one of those books that’s hard to put down once you start reading it. I apologize for the length of this review; there are so many quote-worthy passages in the book, it was hard to pass them up.

A recurring theme, which Richburg repeats several times throughout his book, is that had history transpired a bit differently, he might have been born in Africa, or his life might have turned out this way or that way. Of course, had his ancestors not been brought to America as slaves, he would never have existed at all – but his point is well-taken. As much as his ancestors might have suffered as American slaves, they would have been much worse off had they remained in Africa. Reflecting on the countless bodies floating down the Nile, Richburg writes (prelude xv):

You see, I was seeing all of this horror a bit differently because of the color of my skin. I am an American, but a black man, a descendant of slaves brought from Africa. When I see these nameless, faceless, anonymous bodies washing over a waterfall or piled up on the back of trucks, what I see most is that they look like me.

Sometime, maybe four hundred or so years ago, one of my ancestors was taken from his village…

And so it was that I came to be born in Detroit and that thirty five years later, a black man born in white America, I was in Africa, birthplace of my ancestors, standing at the edge of a river not as an African but as an American journalist – a mere spectator – watching the bloated bodies of black Africans cascading over a waterfall. And that’s when I thought abou thow, if things had been different, I might have been one of them – or might have met some similarly anonymous fate in one of the countless ongoing civil wars or tribal clashes on this brutal continent. And I thank God my ancestor survived that voyage.

Keith Richburg is not fond of Africa. Much of his book details its unfathomable brutality, corruption, short-sightedness and hypocrisy. Regarding the latter, despite the bitterness over past colonialism, whites actually get preferential treatment in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa. He writes (pg. 7):

Simply put, my colleagues in the foreign press corps – my white colleagues – rarely complained of the same hassles as I routinely faced. A few boasted to me how they typically would just barge right through, maybe with a few gruff words. White people traveling in East Africa are rarely stopped, rarely questioned, rarely instructed to open their bags. They jump to the front of lines, they scream and shout for seats on overbooked flights, they walk around with a kind of built-in immunity, the immunity of their skin color. If you’re black or Indian, you get stopped. You get the once-over. Your bags get searched. And if you’re black, trying to barge your way past an airport customs officer might very well get you a truncheon to the back of your head.

I’ve read this elsewhere, that whites are afforded certain privileges in Africa. This is understandable, due to the fact that so many whites in Africa are tourists or well-healed expats. People with money are usually given deference. Also, being a visible minority in any country gives one some advantages and disadvantages. This “white privilege” didn’t do much to help victims of the recent terrorist attack at a Nairobi mall.

One thing that struck me about this book was the number of times Richburg pointed out that the people of Africa look “just like him.” I’ve already cited one example above. Another is on page 55, where he writes:

… the dead and dying were all around me, and I was looking into their faces.

And my first thought was: They look just like me.

Elsewhere, he tells of Congolese border agents mistaking him for a native, or of Kenyans and Somalis assuming he’s local – and possible of a rival tribe.

Sub-Saharan Africa is a place of great genetic diversity. If a non-black were to insinuate that all black Africans look alike, we’d immediately be accused of racism and ignorance. Even I, much of the time, can distinguish between a Nigerian and a Somali, between a Ugandan and an Angolan. But Richburg repeatedly implies that they all look the same. It seems to me that context is what matters here. Black Africans do not all look the same, but on the local level, people are not accustomed to scrutinizing a stranger’s appearance to try to figure out where he’s from; they assume he’s a local. For example, when we see a swarthy man with a prominent nose in my area, we assume he’s Mexican. But take the same man, and put a veiled woman next to him – and he’s now an Arab.

Another recurring theme is the fate of idealistic non-Africans who come to help. Inevitably they either become cynical, they leave or they’re killed. Richburg writes (pg. 65,66):

It was, I often mused, one of Somalia’s strangest paradoxes. When no one comes to help, they cry that the world is indifferent to their suffering. And when people do come, what do the Somalis do? They shoot them in the back of the head, drag the naked bodies through the streets, beat them to death with bricks.

Richburg experiences his own form of bitterness, having himself been turned, by Africa, from an idealist into a cynic (pg 89):

Then suddenly my friends are dead, some two dozen American soldiers and marines are dead, billions have been spent and wasted, the world has turned out the lights and closed the door, and I’ve got a guy leveling a machine gun at me because I’m black and he thinks I’m an African.

The extreme brutality, that Richburg witnessed in Rwanda, brought him close to questioning the humanity of the perpetrators of this genocide (pg. 91):

To make the clubs more deadly on impact, the Hutu militiamen drove long nails into the end. That’s what Rwanda has become, I thought. The country has reverted to prehistoric times, to a kind of sick version of Bedrock. And could these be fully evolved humans carrying clubs and machetes and panga knives and smashing in their neighbors’  skulls and chopping off their limbs, and piling up the legs in one pile, and the arms in another, and lumping the bodies all together and sometimes forcing new victims to sit atop the heap while they clubbed them to death too? No, I realized, fully evolved human beings in the twentieth century don’t do things like that. Not for any reason, not tribe, not religion, not territory. These must be cavemen.

Even as an outsider, the author couldn’t help but classify Africans according to tribe, and assigning them collective victimhood or guilt. When he encountered throngs of Hutu refugees, fleeing Rwanda at the end of the anti-Tutsi genocide, he found himself wanting sympathy (pp. 101,102):

I walk amid this human torrent and figure, yes, this truly is, at this moment, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. But I can’t find any sympathy for the refugees here. I look at them and I think, yes, this is what you deserve. That’s because these are not the victims but the killers. These are the Hutu, forced to flee Rwanda as the Tutsi rebels advanced and as the evidence of the Hutu’s atrocities was revealed. They have fled here to this remote corner of Tanzania because they are escaping whatever justice is in store for them at the hands of the Tutsi army rapidly taking over the country.

Regarding tribalism and multiculturalism, Richburg echoes sentiments we often read in blogs such as this one. He writes (pp. 105, 106):

These things, though, are not too popular to discuss outside of Africa, particularly among the Africanists and Western academics for whom the very term “tribe” is anathema. The preferred term is “ethnic group” because it’s considered less racially laden. But Africans themselves talk of their “tribes,” and they warn of the potential for tribal explosion.

It’s long been the argument of the old African strongman that authoritarian rule is needed to prevent just those types of tribal blowups. Multiparty politics, according to this theory, inevitably leads to tribal violence, because pluralism encourages people to seek protective refuge in their familiar tribal units. It’s virtually inevitable that political parties will be organized along ethnic, meaning tribal, lines. And that’s not too different from tribal voting patterns in American big cities, where you can count on the black vote, the Irish vote, the Polish vote, the Italian vote, the Jewish vote. But in America, we don’t reach for our pangas if our tribe loses the election.

When it comes to standards of feminine beauty, Richburg informs us that this is a source of much hand-wringing in Africa. We read (pg. 106):

But there was a debate raging because the local beauty picked by the judges, a twenty-one-year-old business student named Karimi Nkirote M’Mbijjiwe, was not so local at all; she had light skin, high cheekbones, a narrow straight nose, soft hair, and something approaching a perfect 36-24-26 figure. She was, in fact, more Somali looking than Kenyan. And her crowning ignited a storm of controversy about whether there was such a thing as an “African standard of beauty.”…

“When our African women go into the international arena, because the Western standard is vigorously used, it becomes difficult for them to make an impact,” said Stephen Mwangi, a group manager at Eastman Kodak Co., who was one of that year’s judges…

He added, “There is a saying in this part of the world – a really common saying – that if you really want to see beautiful African women, go to Ethiopia.”

I was reminded of what I, myself, had written a while back about Ethiopian women.

It was particularly interesting for me to read that some of the animosity Africans feel toward non-Africans, is rooted in jealousy, that this same dynamic is at work even between African tribes – when one tribe has more refined (read “less-African) features than another tribe. According to Richburg, this was the case with the Tutsi/Hutu conflict (pg. 109):

But on a deeper level, many Hutu did not need to be egged on too strongly to pick up the machete they normally use for chopping firewood and to cross the road and slash to death the Tutsi family living in the hut across the road. Because the Hutu who participated in the killings were slashing at centuries of stereotypes and discrimination. They were slashing at these images of physical beauty they had affixed in their own mind. They were slashing at their own perceived ugliness, as if destroying this thing of beauty, this thing they could never really attain, removing it from the earth forever.

What Richburg is referring to above is a theme that he revisits a few times in his book. The Tutsi have Nilotic origins, while the Hutu are of Bantu origin. This distinction is partly linguistic and partly racial. The Hutu represent the more classic “Congoid” racial stock, with more blunt and short features, while the Tutsi represent a Horn of Africa type, which is more gracile.

Richburg criticizes Africans for blaming the “Great White Western Conspiracy” for keeping them down. Thus (pg. 126) he cites various African theories on how AIDS is a white conspiracy. Elsewhere he points his finger at African strongmen who blame the West for their countries’ backwardness, while it’s actually their own corruption that stunts growth.

Richburg spares little venom in condemning American black leaders. He’s most generous with them (pg 138) when he calls them “prominent luminaries.” But after that, he has nothing kind to say about them. He writes (ibid.):

When Strasser (military dictator of Sierra Leon) entered the meeting hall, sporting his now-trade-mark glasses and his camouflage battle fatigues, the crowd of mostly middle- and upper-class black Americans went wild with cheering, swooning from the women, some hoots, and frenzied applause. Sitting in that hall, you might be forgiven for thinking Strasser was a music celebrity instead of a puny boy-dictator. These black Americans were obviously more impressed with the macho military image Strasser cut than with the fact that he represents all that is wrong with Africa – military thugs who take power and thwart the continent’s  fledgling efforts to move toward democracy. The chanting and hooting was a disgusting display, and to me it highlighted the complete ignorance about Africa among America’s so-called black elite.

… I sat there and listened as speaker after speaker heaped a nauseating outpouring of praise on some of Africa’s most brutal and corrupt strongmen and their repressive regimes. An uninitiated listener might not have noticed the farcical nature of Jesse Jackson’s fulsome tribute to Nigerian strongman Ibrahim Babangida. Jackson called Babangida “one of the great leader-servants of the modern world in our time,” proclaiming, “You do not stand alone as you move with a steady beat toward restoring democracy.”

Richburg, instead of holding his silence, chose to call out some of these “luminaries” on their hypocricy. He recounts (pg. 141):

So I was disgusted and angry in Gabon. And to keep from venting my disgust, I decided to have some fun by asking the various black leaders at the summit about the lack of human rights and democracy in black Africa. I enjoyed watching them wrap themselves in their own contradictions when I pointed out their contrasting views on South Africa versus the rest of the continent. I found the whole affair in Gabon o distasteful, I actually liked watching them squirm.

I asked Doug Wilder, Virginia’s first black governor since Reconstruction, about the problem of democracy in black Africa. “We cannot and should not force them to undergo a metamorphosis in seconds,” he replied. “If they are on track and on the path and giving evidence of trying to adjust, then out job is not to interfere, and to understand that there is a difference from what they are accustomed to.”

Interesting. Now imagine the conversation was about South Africa, and the year is, say, 1980, and imagine a white governor of a southern state saying of the apartheid regime, “We cannot and should not force them to undergo a metamorphosis in seconds… Our job is not to interfere.” I can imagine that white politician would immediately be branded a racist or worst, and probably by no less a personage than Doug Wilder.

One thing I like about Richburg is is honest assessment of what it means to be a “black journalist” in America, as opposed to being a journalist who just happens to be black. He complains that he’s expected to be loyal to the black cause – but that this sometimes conflicts with what a good journalist must do. He writes (pg. 144):

Are you black first, or a journalist first?

What the question really asks is, are you supposed to write accurately, and critically, about what you see and hear? Or are you supposed to be silently supportive of a black agenda, protecting prominent blacks from tough scrutiny and ignoring their foibles, while writing and reporting only favorably about issues of concern to America’s black community?

I get the impression that Richburg is one of a small minority, of black journalists, who asks himself these tough questions. He’s one of the few who resents having to choose sides. One of the few who has endured condemnation from other blacks, and been called “a traitor.” He did take some heat, after this book was published, from those above-mentioned “prominent blacks.” He describes this in the afterward.

One of the more interesting questions Richburg explores is the contrast between Southeast Asian countries and African countries. He asks (pp. 170, 171):

Why has East Asia emerged as the model for economic success, while Africa has seen mostly poverty, hunger, and economies propped up by foreign aid? Why are East Asians now expanding their telecommunications capabilities when in most of Africa it’s still hard to make a phone call next door? Why are East Asians now wrestling with ways to control access to the Internet, while African students still must use cardboard drawings of computer keyboards because they don’t have real computers in their classrooms? Why are East Asian airlines upgrading their long-haul fleets, while bankrupt African carriers let planes rust on weed-strewn runways because they can’t afford fuel and repair costs? Why are the leaders of Southeast Asia negotiating ways to ease trade barriers and create a free-trade zone, while Africans still levy some of the most prohibitive tariffs on earth, even for interregional trade?

There was nothing inevitable about Asia’s success and Africa’s despair. Both regions emerged from colonialism at about the same time and faced many of the same obstacles. In 1957, when Ghana gained its independence from Britain, it was one of the brightest hopes of black Africa, with a higher gross national product than South Korea, which was itself still recovering from a destructive civil war, and before that, from thirty-five years as a Japanese colony. Today South Korea is recognized as one of Asia’s “dragons,” and economic powerhouse expanding into new markets throughout the region and the world. Ghana, meanwhile, has slid backward. Its gross national product today is lower than it was at independence. World Bank economists like to point to Ghana as an example of an African country that is “recovering” under a strict fiscal discipline program; what they don’t tell you is that the economy today is propped up by foreign aid.

It’s an ugly truth, but it needs to be laid out here, because for too long now Africa’s failings have been hidden behind a veil of excuses and apologies. I realize that I’m on explosive ground here, and so I’ll tread carefully. It’s all too easy to stumble into the pitfall of old racial stereotypes – that Africans are lazy, that Asians are simply smarter, that blacks still possess a more savage, primitive side. But I am black, though not an African, and so I am going to push ahead here, mindful of the dangers, knowing full well that some will say I am doing a disservice to my race by pointing out these painful realities. But we have come too far now to pull back; the greater disservice now, I think, would be to leave the rest unsaid.

He goes on to detail the economic backwardness of Africa, and to reiterate that all the disadvantages suffered by Africa were also suffered by Asia. In the end, the closest he comes to an answer is when he confronts Ugandan politician Yoweri Museveni (pg. 177):

Museveni considered my question for a long time. He rambled on for a few minutes about how the East Asian countries had received greater assistance from the United States, in aid and “rental” payments for U.S. military bases on their soil. And finally he came around to the thought that I could tell was really on his mind.

“Discipline,” he said at last. “The discipline of the Asians compared to the Africans.” He paused. “I tend to find more discipline among the Ugandan Asians than among the Africans. I am not yet ready to explain this. People who come from an area with a big population, where people are very many and therefore competing for natural resources, may tend to be more disciplined than people who take life for granted.

“Scarcity of resources instills discipline in a people,” he concluded. “Too much competition for resources also instills discipline in a people.”

This comes awfully close to what race-realists say about cold climates and I.Q. To say that “Asians are more disciplined than Africans” doesn’t really provide an answer. Both are highly diverse groups, including many cultures. To truly get to the bottom of this issue, we would have to ask why Asians are more disciplined than Africans, and Richburg is not willing to go there. The theory about resources, taken by itself, would lead us to conclude that poorer people have more discipline than more wealthy people – but the opposite is actually true. I suspect that Richburg fears taking this question any further; he knows where it leads.

Richburg does ask some of the same questions about the black American underclass, and complains that the answers he hears are mere excuses, that they are “backward-looking, not inward-looking (pg. 179).” He compares Africans’ dependence on foreign aid with black Americans’ dependence on government programs (pg. 180).

For all his honesty and open-mindedness, Richburn does have his limits. He accepts the conventional attitude regarding South Africa, calling it a “black and white case” (pg. 190):

South Africa’s black masses showed they were willing to stand up against injustice, on their own with only rocks against automatic weapons, and the odds there seemed far more insurmountable. In South Africa, there were good guys and bad guys, a clear-cut case of black and white. And for once, the good guys finally did win.

Though he does temper this “black and white” perception with his personal encounters with white South Africans, and he does paint them as human, I still find Richburn’s analysis wanting here.

Though he draws parallels between African behavior and black American behavior, regarding excuse-making and poverty, he doesn’t do a very good job of emphasizing the similarities between black African crime and black American crime – or the fact that practically all areas inhabited by blacks are dangerous. In so many words, he describes how white South Africans tried to keep Africa at bay (pg. 207):

But what was new was that South Africa’s violence was spilling over the walls into South Africa’s white community, particularly in Johannesburg’s prosperous northern suburbs. The fear that blacks lived with every day was now entering the once-insulated world of white privilege.

It doesn’t seem to occur to Richburn that this “fear that blacks lived with every day” was almost exclusively a fear of other blacks. It never seems to occur to him that this, in and of itself, might provide justification for apartheid. He just assumes that white South Africans should have sacrificed their livelihoods, and their lives, for the sake of democracy. When there are two populations living side by side, and one of them is much more violence-prone than the other, it’s only reasonable that the more peaceful population would seek to separate itself. Richburn also neglects to even mention that it was white South Africans who built the country from a wasteland into one of the most prosperous nations on Earth.

Still, Richburn does have some kind words for the beneficiaries of apartheid, after having met a few face to face (pg. 212):

And I’m hating the whites – the psychiatrist, the dentist, all those shopkeepers who treated me gingerly – for not hating me, for not giving me an excuse to hate them.

On the matter of South African racial integration, and diversity in general, I think Richburn somewhat contradicts himself. While he makes no suggestion that white and black South Africans should create their own separate countries, he does imply that rival black tribes should do so (pg. 239):

This attitude must change if Africa is to have any chance of surviving. The Africans might want to take a lesson from the former Soviet Union, which did break up into its component parts, or from Czechoslovakia, which split into separate Czech and Slovak republics. Countries can indeed split up and nationalist claims to self-determination can be recognized without the sky falling in.

Richburn’s view of Zimbabwe comes across as far too rosy. I think this is because the worst of Robert Mugabe’s excesses didn’t come to light until after his book was published. He wrote (pg.214):

One of the dirty little secrets of Zimbabwe’s success as an independent black nation is something that most blacks – Americans or Africans – probably would rather not hear. It has something to do with a piece of advice that Mozambican president Samora Machel gave to Robert Mugabe well before independence. Machel told him simply, “Keep your whites.”

Looking back at the last decade of Zimbabwean history, talk of its “success” seems like a cruel joke.

Limitations and all, “Out of America” was a great leap forward for its time. I highly recommend it.

Next Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 134 other followers