book/movie/video reviews and links

My friend at Diversity Chronicle just sent me a copy of Chinese Girl in the Ghetto by Ying Ma. I found it to be riveting – as evidenced by the fact that I finished it in one sitting.

One of the Amazon reviews states that the author highlights racial tension in the Bay Area’s lower-income neighborhoods between blacks and Asians. This might be accurate, if by “tension” we mean a one-sided onslaught of callousness, abuse and hatred by blacks and Hispanics against Asians.

Ma describes ongoing  black-on-Asian abuse in the introduction, where she writes (pg. xii):

Then the year 2010 arrived and brought forth multiple crimes that forced me to look at my book project in a wholly different light.

In April, two black teenagers punched a Chinese immigrant, 59-year-old Tian Sheng Yu, in the mouth in downtown Oakland. He fell on his head, spend the next few days in critical care, and subsequently died. The same two teenagers assaulted the victim’s 27-year-old son before and after they assaulted the father. Between late March and early April of the same year, five black teenagers assailed five older Asian women, including one who was 71 years old, on separate occasions in or near a public housing project on the Lower East Side of New York City. In late March, five black teenagers surrounded a 57-year-old Asian woman at a light rail bus stop in San Francisco; one of them grabbed her and threw her from the platform onto the rails before beating her. In January, black teenagers kicked and beat 83-year-old Huan Chen after he got off the same bus stop. He, too, died from his injuries.

Some of the perpetrators, like those who attacked Mr. Huan Chen, demanded money before they ran off laughing. Most, however, acted for no apparent reason aside from the satisfaction of perpetrating a beating.

After the attacks, an uncomfortable question stared everyone in the face: What role had racism played in motivating the attacks? In response, local officials and local media bent over backwards to deny or discount the issue of race…

Later (pgs.81,82), she describes her first experience with casual black theft, when other students stole her treasured, and sentimental, pen from her. She writes:

In the ghetto, however, I could not count on my classmates to know right from wrong, nor could I count on the adults to ferret out fault and dispense punishment. Standing in a church with less than a month under my belt in this new country, I clutched a stubby No. 2 pencil that I did not want, far away from my friends who would have never subjected me to the same display of shamelessness. Instead of my former classmates’ familiar faces, I now saw panhandlers who refused to take no for an answer, thieves who stole my belongings, and thugs who harassed my grandmother.

Others have already written about the problem of black on Asian crime. What this book brings to the table is, in my opinion, an excellent first-hand account of a young, naive, civilized person’s first encounter with savages. It also presents a thought-provoking comparison between two brutal, and failed, big-government approaches to social problems. I’ll quote another Amazon reviewer, M.J.R.:

But at a deeper level, it is a fascinating anecdotal account of the the unintended results of government planning in two very different societies

Indeed. Ma’s account of the heavy-handed way communist Chinese schools dealt with students (pgs. 35-40) should make American students treasure the freedoms they have, while her account of her aunt’s forced abortion (pg. 101) is a tearjerker. While tales of black racism, against Asians, are abundant, Ma does not delve into their root causes, other than to state (pg. 82):

I hated the three thieves. I hated their poverty, which had inspired them to covet my possession and conspired with them to take it from me. I hated their parents, who had failed to teach them that being poor was no excuse to steal.

But there can be little doubt that Ma is acutely aware of the fact that liberal government policies have taken normal black dysfunctions and magnified them considerably.

Thanks to her life experiences, Ma leans to the right. She supported California’s Proposition 209 (pg. 144) and, thanks to her life-experiences, is an active participant in American conservative thought and politics.

I doubt we’ll ever know if Ma appreciates the importance of HBD (Human Biological Diversity – or the reality of biological racial differences), her book exists at the crossroads of ethnic identity and HBD. Her experiences were similar to mine. She writes (pg. 16, after recounting a long fistfight she had with a racist Hispanic bully):

I firmly held onto my ethnic pride. In elementary school, I reverted to my Chinese name. In junior high school, I got into a fight.

Getting into a physical fight with one of her tormentors was an act of great courage on her part; it goes against the very nature of Asians in America, as Ma describes on several occasions, for example on page 146:

Shortly after I graduated from college, I saw a black woman shriek curses at a Korean man on a bus between New York City and Washington, DC. “You f—ing Chinese person! Didn’t you hear that I asked you to move your ass? You too stupid to understand English or something?” she berated him. Years later, I saw a black girl yell at the top of her lungs on a Manhattan-bound Number 7 train, “Man, I fucking hate Indian people. They smell, too, because I know they don’t wash.” Just as in Oakland, those who witnessed these incidents looked away and pretended nothing had happened. More often than not, I joined them in their silence.

But even if such verbal abuse is met with silence and retreat, it still has an effect on the target population. The effect is often a heightened sense of ethnic identity among the target population. In my case, years of forced busing in California, with its constant threats and intimidation by blacks (along with their grotesquely exaggerated sense of racial pride), helped reinforce my own ethnic identity. Both Ma and myself were acutely aware of our ancient heritages – as we each confronted the black inner-city non-culture of mindless savagery. I was 11 when I was thrust into the jungle. Ma was 10.

Ma comes close to supporting HBD. For example, on page 109, she writes:

The white students at school made up an extremely small minority of the student population, but along with certain Asian students, they were always present in the small number of “gifted” classes the school offered.

At some point, it must surely have occurred to Ma that the stark racial disparities she witnesses might be due not only to upbringing, but also to inherent differences between the races. Not wishing to destroy her career, she would have avoided stating so in her book.

Regarding Hispanics, she writes (pg. 124):

Over time, our street became browner, but not less poor or less dangerous. After a couple of years had passed, the two-story apartment building that the police had visited on my first night in the neighborhood became almost entirely populated by Hispanics residents…

Our new neighbors offered up blaring music every weekend, starting early in the morning and lasting well after dark. They also threw parties that caused hordes of cars to be parked everywhere along our block, on the curb, in front of our house, and sometimes in our driveway. On weekends and late afternoons, the children of the families who lived next door screamed outside, climbing over the fence into our backyard and horsing around on our front porch without permission.

After the Hispanics kids next door destroyed the Ma’s sunflowers, Ying found the courage to enter the offending childrens’ apartment to confront the parents – and, after telling the culprits’ middle-aged mother about their crime, the children were mercilessly spanked and forced to apologize.

Regarding busing, and its effects on white schools, Ma writes about transferring to a school in a whiter part of town. Unfortunately, many NAMs* had the same idea (pgs. 128,129):

Each day, they took public buses up the hill from neighborhoods farther away from the school, far poorer, and more unsafe than mine. Somewhere between where they lived and our high school, the buses stopped and I hopped on. Together, we made our way up to a pristine and beautiful part of town that neither their parents nor mine could afford to live in. On our way up, we caught a view of the bay that divided San Francisco from Oakland. On clear days, we could even see as far as San Francisco. At first I imagined that we were leaving behind the grittiness of Oakland. In reality, we were merely bringing it up to the hills.

Taking the book at face value, I admire Ying Ma. She’s not afraid of confronting her own flaws and sins. At the same time, we might say that she did a great job of “overcoming diversity.” I would hope that just as she was not afraid to expose the biased media and black racism in the past, so too will she speak up for what is right and take an openly pro-white stance. After all, Asians aren’t the only ones who suffer from black and Hispanic racism.

*Non Asian Minority

We read about it almost every month. A celebrity lets his guard down and allows some political incorrectness to escape through his lips. Before you can say “heresy,” he’s grovelling and apologizing. From James Watson to Mark Cuban, the routine grows tiresome. Each time this happens we say to ourselves, “wouldn’t it be refreshing if one of them would actually stick to his guns and refuse to back down?”

But there is a man who stood up to the powers of political correctness – and has suffered the consequences: Frank Borzellieri (pronounced Borza-lerry). In his book Crucified by the Catholic Church, Borzellieri recounts the gross injustices visited upon him by the Catholic Church and the New York Daily News.

I first met Frank Borzellieri at the 2012 Amren conference. He struck me as a man who had suffered much. I gave him a modest donation and got on his mailing list. I don’t make much money myself, so after receiving a couple of donation solicitations by mail, I began to ask myself, “why doesn’t this man just find a new line of work? The Catholic Church has betrayed him, so let him find a new employer.” At the most recent Amren conference, I met him again, and I gave him another small donation. This time I got a copy of his book and, soon thereafter, got to reading it.

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned over and over again in my life, it’s to refrain from being quick to judge others. It’s easy to say, “go out and find another job” if you’re not standing in Borzellieri’s shoes. The man spent years of his life earning degrees that are useful only within the framework of the Catholic Church. The actions of the Archdiocese of New York left him, in midlife, with heavy debt (from his student loans), with no livelihood and with no health insurance; Mr. Borzellieri suffers from several serious health conditions that require expensive treatment.

To summarize this sad series of events I’ll quote from the back cover of the book:

In August 2011, Frank Borzellieri was fired as a school principal by the Archdiocese of New York because of a libelous newspaper article in the New York Daily News. What is most disturbing, as the quote above reveals, is that the very writing that Frank was fired for were writings that the Catholic Church had reviewed and approved years earlier. In Fact, after reviewing Frank’s writings, the Archdiocese promoted him three times! Only after the corrupt Daily News reporter published her dishonest and defamatory article about Frank Borzellieri, did the Archdiocese  cave in to political correctness in the most craven and cowardly manner – firing Frank within 24 hours of the article’s publication. As further proof of the despicable cowardice  of the Archdiocese of New York, the Church then tried to suppress the very fact that they previously knew and approved of Frank’s writings on race and immigration. Now, with the release of this book, they are exposed.

For further reading, click here, here, here and here.

Among the villains, in this ugly saga, are:

Timothy McNiff, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese

Corinne Lestch, the reporter who wrote the libelous, and misleading, article against Borzellieri

Eric Rapaglia, Borzellieri’s boss. He reneged on his repeated assurances that Borzellieri’s job was secure. He also lied about having previously read Borzellieri’s writings and having given them his blessings. Rapaglia tried to withhold Borzellieri’s final paycheck in order to use it as leverage to keep him from speaking out and defending himself.

Cardinal Dolan. This man answers only to the pope, and could have easily prevented the entire shameful event. When Borzellieri sent him an impassioned letter, pleaded his case, Dolan duly ignored him. Borzellieri had confirmed that Dolan received the letter.

The SPLC. Borzellieri does a good job of documenting the true nature of this bogus organization.

Among the heroes are:

Borzellieri’s former students at  St. Barnabas High School in the Bronx. They signed petitions and gave Borzellieri much needed moral support during his darkest hours. All of them are black or Hispanic.

Monsignor Edward Barry of St. Barnabas was the one who promoted Borzellieri twice after reading his books. He provided ongoing support after the firing.

Roy Innis, National Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality. Innis wrote an eloquent letter praising, and defending Borzellieri. Corinne Lestch refused to cite it in her article.

Jared Taylor and American Renaissance have continued to publicize Borzellieri’s plight, giving him a platform to appeal for assistance, and even giving him the podium for this purpose. This sets a fine example of how we must help each other and support, each to the best of his ability, our own people.

As to the quality of the book, I think it’s well written overall. It is a bit repetitive at times, but I attribute this to the dual purpose this book seems to serve: A compendium of evidence and material that Borzellieri might use for his pending lawsuit and a means to educate the public.

In conclusion, I’ll quote from the book’s conclusion:

There is currently a libel defamation lawsuit filed against the Daily News, Corinne Lestch, Ann Marie Zagaglia, and Connie Anestis…

The guilty ones at the Archdiocese cannot dispute the facts in this book. That is why they tried so hard to keep me from telling the story. That is why they will never debate or submit to lie detector tests. I expect them to retaliate against me for writing this book. They may think they have the money and power to do so… I may have no money, no job and no health insurance, but thanks to two ideologically conservative law firms, I do have unlimited legal assistance, to either sue or to defend against being sued. So to the cowards at the Archdiocese, bring it on. I will continue to expose everything you do to me, and if you continue your ungodly attempts to defame me and to prevent me from making a living, you will be next on my lawsuit list.

Have these cowards found some success in silencing Mr. Borzellieri? Perhaps; the book doesn’t seem to be available anywhere online. Amazon carried it until recently. But anybody who donates can request a copy from the author and one will be sent.

Donations can be made to Borzellieri via paypal:

or by mail:

Frank Borzellieri

P.O. Box 780142

Maspeth, New York 11378

Disclaimer: I did not personally witness any of the events described in this article, nor have I seen any firsthand evidence of it. All the above is according to the book “Crucified by the Catholic Church” and should be understood within this context.

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.

It’s always refreshing when I can point to a fellow Jew and feel pride that he’s doing God’s work. Chipping away at the Cathedral is God’s work, even if you don’t believe in God. In a way, it almost makes me happy that there is a Cathedral. I’ll be blunt. Having such an enemy helps give meaning to my life, just as the existence of “racists” gives meaning to the lives of those within the Cathedral. It’s a symbiotic relationship. Each side helps define the identity of the other. In the case of pro-whites, such as myself, we also provide livelihoods for the other side. Just ask the SPLC. They make millions off of us. As for me, I demand my cut of the proceeds. I want a commission!

Jerry Seinfeld was recently asked why his show features only white males. His response? “Who cares?” Watch it here. Many bloggers, such as myself, spend our days chipping away at the Cathedral. It’s a civic duty, it’s fun and it makes us feel good. But we’re like microbes eating away at its facade at a glacial pace. When a celebrity, such as Seinfeld, says “who cares?” it’s more like an earthquake, which shakes its very foundations.

As icing on the cake, take a look at the comments. They’re practically 100% in favor of Seinfeld. I’d say that’s quite encouraging.

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.

I’ve been working on another post, but no matter how I put it, the words keep coming out silly. So I figured I’d let people who get paid to be silly do the talking this time. My friend at Diversitychronicle sent this to me:

I can’t remember which forum it was, but somebody had suggested that the book Empire -The rise and demise of the British World Order and the lessons for global power, by Niall Ferguson, would cure me of my racism. The claim was that this book contains enough evidence to debunk any notions that racial differences might have played a role in the ascent of the West.

As a matter of fact, Empire is not even remotely a science book, but a history book. Ferguson makes no attempt at all to debunk HBD (human biodiversity – the belief in more than superficial racial differences). The closest he comes to it is (pg. 217-220) a mocking description of some of the racial beliefs held in 19th century Europe, including phrenology and some anecdotal accounts of failed attempts to “civilize the savage.” He writes (pg. 217):

Influenced by, but distorting beyond recognition, the work of Darwin, nineteenth-century pseudo-scientists divided humanity into ‘races’ on the basis of external physical features, ranking them according to inherited differences not just in physique but also in character. Anglo-Saxons were self-evidently at the top, Africans at the bottom. The work of George Combe, author of A System of Phrenology (1825), was typical in two respects: the derogatory way in which it portrayed racial differences and the fraudulent way in which it sought to explain them…

The explanation for this backwardness, according to Combe, was the peculiar shape of ‘the skull of the negro': ‘The organs of Veneration, Wonder and Hope… are considerable in size. The greatest deficiencies lie in Conscientiousness, Ideality and Reflection’. Such Ideas were influential. The idea of an ineradicable ‘race instinct’ became a staple of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century writing – as in Cornelia Sorabji’s tale of the educated Indian lady doctor who willingly (and fatally) submits to the ordeal by fire during a pagan rite; or the account by Lady Mary Anne Barker of how her Zulu nanny reverted to savagery when she returned home to her village; or W. Somerset Maugham’s  ‘The Pool’, in which a hapless Aberdonian businessman tries in vain to Westernize his half-Samoan bride.

Ferguson’s diatribe against 19th century racism segues into what looks like an argument that eugenics must be false, since some members of the “master race” were homosexual. He writes (pg. 220 after quoting a description of the perfect Anglo-Saxon):

Men like this certainly did exist. Yet a remarkably high proportion of them made only the most half-hearted, if any, contribution to the reproduction of the race they exemplified – for the simple reason that they were homosexuals.

It’s hard to say what Ferguson’s own attitudes toward homosexuality are (he brings it up several times in his book), but there’s no doubt that such tendencies were considered shameful in Victorian Britain. To counter an opponent’s opinion by attacking his sexuality is among the lowest of tactics employed by the Left. It’s the Victorian equivalent of the Left’s obsession with penis-size today. In this maneuver, leftist will say (in so many words), “your arguments are vacuous because I accuse you of having a small penis.”

Chapter two, called “White Plague,” describes how the “Britannic exodus changed the world. It turned whole continents white.” Though Ferguson admits that most of the decimation of native populations was caused by pathogens, one almost gets the impression that this was planned. Admittedly, European settlers were far more successful as a result. Though Ferguson recounts British misdeeds, which led to ethnic cleansing and sometimes genocide, he doesn’t turn a blind eye to the shortcomings of others. For example, he points out (pg. 68) that the freed slaves of Jamaica (the “Maroons”) ended up becoming slave-owners themselves. Similarly, he writes (pg. 182):

… there can be little doubt that British rule reduced inequality in India. And even if the British did not greatly increase Indian incomes, things might conceivably have been worse under a restored Mughal regime had the Mutiny succeeded.

Later on, (pg. 284) he goes into grisly detail when describing the Japanese atrocities in Nanking. He writes (ibid.):

The Rape of Nanking reveals precisely what the leading alternative to British rule in Asia stood for…

But it was also the collision between an Empire that had some conception of human rights and one that regarded alien races as no better than swine…

By the 1930s many people in Britain had got into the habit of rubbishing the Empire. But the rise of the Japanese empire in Asia during that decade showed that the alternatives to British rule were not necessarily more benign.

If Australia and North America were turned white, it’s probably partly on account of the fact that these continents were very sparsely inhabited to begin with. Prior to European colonization. According to Ferguson (pg.56), there were “probably around 2 million indigenous people in the territory of the modern United States in 1500. By 1700 the number was 750,000.” Disease and war had taken their toll – but two million, for an area as large as the United States, represents a very low population density. According to Ferguson (pg. 88), in 1788 Australia had only about 300,000 Aboriginals. The continent was practically empty, and as they say, “nature abhors a vacuum.”

There’s no sugar-coating it; the arrival of whites in the New World, and in Australia, was disastrous for the indigenous races. But how would Ferguson’s native country have reacted had he described the current wave of Africans and Asians into Britain as the “Black Plague” or the “Brown Plague?” His book would have been banned and he would have faced serious charges of racism. Is ethnic cleansing to be condemned when it is done by whites against non-whites, but praised when it’s whites who are the victims?

At least, after the natives had suffered the worst of colonial deprivations, they had modern medicine, institutions, science, education and more-or-less just government at their disposal – all courtesy of the white man. What sort of legacy will the brown and black men leave for Europe? Fundamentalist Islam and rampant crime come to mind.

Ferguson attributes Britain’s rise to power to a mix of opportunism, scientific advances, economic progress and a cultural enthusiasm to build and maintain an empire.

In a nutshell, the empire had its start with successful buccaneers such as Henry Morgan and Walter Raleigh. Then it received further impetus from Portuguese naval advances and Dutch innovations in banking. Later still, the empire benefited from an American invention: the Maxim gun. The telegraph also became indispensable in holding the empire together. While the initial motives for empire were gold and other raw resources (such as sugar and fish), over time the British considered themselves duty-bound to spread Christianity to the world – along with the other trappings of British civilization.

In at least one respect British colonialists of old turned out to be right, and Ferguson’s accusations unjustified. He writes (pp. 168,169):

Writing in the same vein to the Madras Mail, a correspondent demanded to know: ‘Are our wives to be torn from our homes on false pretenses [to] be tried by men who do not respect women, and do not understand us, and in many cases hate us?… Fancy, I ask you Britishers, her being taken before a half-clad native, to be tried and perhaps convicted…’ Such language laid bare one of the odder complexes of the Victorian Empire: it’s sexual insecurity. It is no coincidence that the plots of the Raj’s best-known novels -Forster’s A Passage to India and Scott’s The Jewel in the Crown – begin with an alleged sexual assault by an Indian man against an English woman, followed by a trial presided over by an Indian judge.

Ferguson seems to believe that such fears were unfounded. But how many horrific stories have we recently read about vicious gang-rapes in India that go unpunished? Let the reader recall that “India,” in those days, also referred to what is now Pakistan and Bangladesh. One wonders if Ferguson is aware of the wholesale grooming, and rape, of British girls by Pakistanis in his own native England. In light of the above, and the fact that British subjects in India were constantly exposed to the culture that produces such crimes, can we blame them for being concerned about the welfare of their women?

For all the sins Ferguson lays at the feet of the British Empire, in the end he questions the premise that the poverty endemic in many former colonies is due to their having been colonized. He writes (pg. 306):

For all these reasons, the notion that British imperialism tended to impoverish colonized countries seems inherently problematic. That is not to say that many former colonies are not exceedingly poor. Today, for example, per capita GDP in Britain is roughly twenty-eight times what it is in Zambia, which means that the average Zambian has to live on something less than two dollars a day. But to blame this on the legacy of colonialism is not very persuasive, when the differential between British and Zambian incomes was so much less at the end of the colonial period. In 1955, British per capita GDP was just seven times greater than Zambian. It has been since independence that the gap between the colonizer and the ex-colony has become a gulf. The same is true of nearly all former colonies in sub-Saharan Africa, with the notable exception of Botswana.

He goes on to speculate that a country’s economic fortunes are determined by a combination of natural resources and its human history (I.E. its culture and infrastructure). Not surprisingly, he does not count genetic endowment among these factors.

Regarding multiculturalism and its alternative, smaller countries, Ferguson has this to say (pg. 309):

No fewer than fifty-eight of today’s states have populations less than 2.5 million; thirty-five have less than 500,000 inhabitants. There are two disadvantages to this political fragmentation. Small countries are often formed as a result of civil war within an earlier multiethnic polity – the most common form of conflict since 1945. That in itself is economically disruptive. In addition, they can be economically inefficient even in peacetime, too small to justify all the paraphernalia of statehood they insist on decking themselves out in: border posts, bureaucracies and the rest…

My response to this is that any economic disruption is by choice; these smaller nations (and their larger neighbors) may opt to allow free trade across borders. They may choose to maintain the paraphernalia of statehood – or not. Whatever works for them, they’ll do. In the end, an equilibrium will be reached.

Notwithstanding my above objections, I would highly recommend Empire. I find myself far more educated about the history of the British Empire on account of this book. The fact that the author had traveled to many of the sites described in Empire adds a personal touch, and renders some of his historical notes more tangible. Overall, Ferguson is very objective in his analysis; he’s quick to condemn atrocities perpetrated by his own ancestors – but just as quick to point out their merits, and the fact that much of world as we know it is the result of their endeavors.

Empire concludes by handing the reigns of world empire to the United States. As Ferguson urges Americans to accept our role as the new global empire, and to act accordingly, he seems oblivious to the rot that is spreading within us. He states (pg. 317):

It has a much bigger economy, many more people, a much larger arsenal. But it is an empire that lacks the drive to export its capital, its people and its culture to those backward regions which need them most urgently and which, if they are neglected, will breed the greatest threats to its security. It is an empire, in short, that dare not speak its name. It is an empire in denial.

Ferguson seems to believe that those “backward regions which need them most urgently” are in Africa, South America or Asia, but these regions are actually in our very own cities. Hence, I would say that Ferguson is the one who is in denial.

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