At the U.S. Attorney General’s request, and in celebration of Black Alternative History Month, the Carlyle Club is pleased to kick off a forthright conversation about the most uncomfortable aspects of race we could think of.
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Holder urged Americans of all races to use Black History Month as a time to have a forthright national conversation between blacks and whites to discuss aspects of race which are ignored because they are uncomfortable.
“It’s a question of being honest with ourselves and racial issues that divide us,” Holder told reporters in a hastily arranged news conference. “It’s not easy to talk about it. We have to have the guts to be honest with each other, accept criticism, accept new proposals.”
Well, the Carlyle Club is just crazy enough to call his bluff: Radish will be celebrating Black History Month with a forthright conversation about the most uncomfortable aspects of race we can think of! Won’t you join us?
What is Black History Month, anyway? Known as “Negro History Week” until three missing weeks of black history were re-discovered in 1976, this special time of year “is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history.”
Now, I’m not going to dispute the merits of devoting one month out of the year to celebrating one of the least accomplished major population groups, particularly when that population is not exactly suffering from a deficit of self-esteem. However, anyone who describes the role of black people in the history of the United States, or any other white-majority country, as “central,” is simply not doing history properly, and it is our responsibility, as students of proper history, to hack away at the weeds of Whig history wherever they may sprout — and they sprout in abundance in the month of February.
Tonight, my new friends, we recognize the central role of human biological diversity in US history, and have ourselves a real conversation about uncomfortable aspects of race: things as they are, not as we would like them to be.
Say it with me now: “That’s racist!”
Civil rights advocate Thomas Nast’s 1874 cartoon Colored Rule in a Reconstructed (?) State depicts the South Carolina legislature (image)
An outrage! ‘Racial disparity: All active ethics probes focus on black lawmakers’ (2009):
The House ethics committee is currently investigating seven African-American lawmakers — more than 15 percent of the total in the House. And an eighth black member, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), would be under investigation if the Justice Department hadn’t asked the committee to stand down.
(That would be Eric Holder’s Justice Department.)
Not a single white lawmaker is currently the subject of a full-scale ethics committee probe.
“Is there concern whether someone is trying to set up [Congressional Black Caucus] members? Yeah, there is,” a black House Democrat said. “It looks as if there is somebody out there who understands what the rules [are] and sends names to the ethics committee with the goal of going after the [CBC].”
“It is kind of crazy,” said an aide to one senior black Democrat. “How can it be that the ethics committee only investigates African-Americans? It doesn’t make sense.”
How indeed can it be that only black lawmakers — and so many black lawmakers — are under investigation for unethical conduct? Well, the lawmakers in question include:
- Charles Rangel, convicted in 2010 of “improperly fundraising for a community center in his name, failing to disclose more than a half million dollars in assets,” and “failing to disclose financial arrangements for a villa” in the Dominican
- Laura Richardson, convicted in 2012 of “improperly pressuring her official staff to campaign for her, destroying evidence and tampering with witness testimony”
- Maxine Waters, who (besides being generally insane) “intervened with regulators to protect and reward,” with a $12 million federal bailout, a bank her husband owned stock in — a bank that lied about helping the poor get houses and jobs, while “executives rewarded themselves with fancy cars and high salaries”
Seven corrupt black lawmakers under investigation (image)
Jesse Jackson Jr. may have escaped investigation in 2009, but in 2013 he was sentenced to 30 months in prison “after he pleaded guilty to misuse of $750,000 in campaign funds, money that went to personal expenses like vacations, fur coats and movie memorabilia.” Indeed, “Jackson admitted to spending his donors’ money on more than 3,000 personal items, including $60,857 at restaurants, nightclubs and lounges; $43,350 for a gold Rolex watch; and around $5,300 for mounted elk heads.”
Elsewhere in the former Rep. Jackson’s home state of Illinois (2013):
It’s a dubious distinction for the new class of Illinois lawmakers being sworn in Wednesday in Springfield.
It’s the first time in years that three sitting lawmakers simultaneously face criminal charges.
Representatives Derrick Smith and LaShawn Ford and state Sen. Donne Trotter, all Chicago Democrats, face varying charges.
Smith is under federal indictment in a bribery case.
Ford is accused of bank fraud.
Trotter is charged with trying to bring a gun onto a plane.
And all of them happen to be black — but on the other hand, Governor Blagojevich wasn’t, and he still managed to be corrupt as hell. Maybe it’s just a coincidence!
Meanwhile, Birmingham, Alabama, ground zero for civil rights, is out of control (2013):
Today, African-Americans in Birmingham benefit from a numerical majority in the population, corresponding majorities in government jobs, and political control of the city. But civil rights won’t address what ails the city now.
Birmingham is recognized as one of the most violent and poorly-run cities in the nation. The city runs a massive deficit, and is county seat of Jefferson County, which recently cut a deal with a European bank as part of the largest government bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Blacks in Birmingham have now obtained equal rights, special protection for those rights, preferential enforcement of those rights, a demographic majority, and a near monopoly on government employment. Moreover, that panoply of rights and benefits is funded by the nation’s highest sales tax. The results should be a progressive success story. Instead, Jefferson County’s bankruptcy stems in part from an epic and at times grimly amusing corruption scandal that resulted in the conviction of at least 22 people. Those convicted officials include the former mayor of Birmingham, Larry Langford.
Racial parity in Birmingham government jobs was reached — in part — by means of racial preferences and hiring quotas in some departments. The Birmingham fire department’s racial quota system was one example. One black firefighter was asked what he thought about white firefighters who were disadvantaged by affirmative action. He responded:
So whites are saying, ‘Yeah, they did ’em wrong, there’s no doubt about that, but we don’t want to do anything to help correct it. It wasn’t our fault. I wasn’t here.’ Well, okay, if it wasn’t your fault, and if you weren’t the recipient of what your forefathers did, or whatever, then, why… when we [blacks] take a test, [do] you [whites] always come out number one?
Some, in the birthplace of the civil rights movement, evidently see equal test scores as an entitlement. A similar mentality might lie at the root of Birmingham’s problems, including an ongoing discrimination lawsuit against the city.
In 2010, a white senior accountant for the City of Birmingham — Virginia Spidle, a 24-year employee — was fired for supposed racism. Her firing came shortly after she raised questions about the city’s disastrous financial accounting. The county personnel board cleared her of the racism charge, and reinstated her employment. However, a week after returning to her job, her management fired her again for alleged incompetence.
The lawsuit seems to be one symptom of a larger problem. How did this sorry state of affairs come about? How can citizens and politicians fix Birmingham, and cities like it across the country? It doesn’t appear that a civil rights agenda can answer these questions going forward. Nor can any amount of government-given “opportunities,” resources, or any other euphemism for state involvement. Birmingham is simply past the point where legal, structural, or policy changes will ameliorate cultural pathology.
Even the local school boards are falling apart (2012):
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: Now, to Birmingham, Alabama, where the state has effectively taken over the local school board. It’s not because of academic issues, but because the board is widely seen as too inept to function.
As Dan Carsen of member station WBHM reports, the intervention has triggered cries of racism in a city with a long history of racial tension.
DAN CARSEN, BYLINE: Do an Internet search on Birmingham school board and dysfunction, and you’ll find more reading material than you know what to do with. Board members have assaulted each other, police have gotten involved, and now armed security guards are fixtures at meetings — not just to protect board members from the public, but from each other. There are allegations of secret gatherings. And even in public meetings, the infighting is intense.
CARSEN: Several Birmingham school board members, including Brian Giattina, welcome the state assistance.
BRIAN GIATTINA: Dr. Bice, we need help. We cannot function freely.
This is by no means an unusual development in black school governance:
- ‘In Largest Schools Takeover, State Will Run Philadelphia’s’
- ‘East St. Louis Schools Taken Over by State of Illinois’
- ‘Strapped Milwaukee schools want state takeover’
- ‘Kansas City, Mo Schools: State Takeover Or Start Over?’
- ‘Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ramsey calls for state takeover of Memphis City Schools’
- ‘Adler Proposes State Takeover Of Camden Schools’
- ‘The Takeover Of Camden, N.J., Is Over’
- ‘Baltimore City Schools Takeover Signals The Need For More Choice In Education’
- ‘Sources: Charges to be filed in Seattle schools scandal’
Or consider Atlanta, one of the most spectacular cases (2011):
Award-winning gains by Atlanta students were based on widespread cheating by 178 named teachers and principals, said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday. His office released a report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that names 178 teachers and principals — 82 of whom confessed — in what’s likely the biggest cheating scandal in US history.
This appears to be the largest of dozens of major cheating scandals, unearthed across the country. […]
One of the most troubling aspects of the Atlanta cheating scandal, says the report, is that the district repeatedly refused to properly investigate or take responsibility for the cheating. Moreover, the central office told some principals not to cooperate with investigators. In one case, an administrator instructed employees to tell investigators to “go to hell.” When teachers tried to alert authorities, they were labeled “disgruntled.” One principal opened an ethics investigation against a whistle-blower.
Conveniently, award-winning Superintendent Beverly Hall, who happens to be black, stepped down just days before the scandal broke.
In her farewell address to teachers in June, Hall for the first time acknowledged wrongdoing in the district, but blamed other administrators.
But that wasn’t nearly the end of Atlanta’s school board troubles (2013):
DeKalb County contributed to what the New York Times called “the biggest standardized test cheating scandal in the country’s history” in 2011.
Now, the county is faced with losing its regional accreditation. Losing regional accreditation is, by any objective measure, a devastating indictment of a school board, with severe consequences for students and families within the district.
Recently, at the helm of the DeKalb school system stood Crawford Lewis. The former superintendent has been indicted on racketeering charges.
Along with several of his associates, Lewis is accused by the DeKalb DA of fraud, theft by a government employee, bribery and a web of racketeering. The charges arose out of Lewis’ practice of steering lucrative government contracts toward favored companies.
According to the indictment, Lewis also used government funds to pay for a hotel room, which he used as the venue for an affair. Lewis had this affair with a person who held the position of “Executive Director of the Office of School Improvement.”
One of the numerous complaints about the DeKalb school board was that it voted to pay for Lewis’ legal defense. There had been a $100,000 cap on the costs allowed for legal defense, but the school board waived it for Lewis’ benefit.
At the very top, the head of DeKalb’s government is the position of CEO. The current CEO, Burrell Ellis, is being investigated for a list of concerns, including alleged bid rigging. Police searched Ellis’s home and office recently, and local news outlets report that while no charges have been filed, search warrants are reportedly aimed toward potential extortion, bribery, theft, conspiracy, and wire fraud in connection with private vendors who contract with the county.
Instead of being treated as a story about rampant, inexcusable corruption, the school board fiasco has morphed into a civil rights issue. Atlanta’s NBC affiliate reports that the Georgia NAACP “accused Republican Governor Nathan Deal of being part of an alleged conspiracy to get rid of black office holders and deprive black voters of their rights.”
The state legislature is trying to prevent public funds from being used in the legal defense of the ousted board members. Because the ousted board members see their positions as a civil rights entitlement, the attorney’s fees required for their defense will quickly rise, unless legislation puts an end to the entitlement.
One of the suspended board members, Eugene Walker, responded to the judge’s ruling with a familiar appeal: “Minorities should not feel secure if contrived allegations from anonymous sources with hidden agendas can go to private agencies and to have their civil rights stolen away.”
DeKalb has changed from majority white to majority black over the last several decades. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution gingerly put it: “The county’s transition from majority white to majority minority was politically rocky.”
Atlanta’s suburbs are attempting to flee the rising tide of vibrant diversity:
As a result of the unsavory politics in urban Atlanta, northern suburban communities acted to distance themselves. Beginning in 2005, many communities began the process of incorporating into cities.
Thus far, Milton, Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, Dunwoody, Chattahoochee Hills and Johns Creek have done so.
These cities, after breaking away politically from urban Atlanta, have become so successful that a libertarian think tank, the Reason Foundation, has featured Sandy Springs as a model of effective government. The Economist has also applauded the northern Atlanta cities for solving the problem of unfunded government pension liability and avoiding the bankruptcy that looms over some urban areas. The new cities may soon be able to create their own school districts, which would free them even further from the issues besetting Atlanta.
While incorporation has been popular with residents of the new cities, not all of Atlanta is as satisfied. The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus filed a lawsuit in 2011 to dissolve the new cities, claiming they were a “super-white majority” and diluting the voting power of minorities.
A key leader in the black community and a driving force in support of the lawsuit, who wishes to remain anonymous, bemoaned the “disturbing tendency of black electorates to not elect the smartest and brightest, or even the cleverest.”
Atlanta also hasn’t paid an $8 million water bill (2008).
All right, so how in the world can it be that ethics probes seem to target black lawmakers? The unspeakably obvious answer is that black people are more likely than white people to abuse their power. In short: black people are prone to corruption.
My God! Racism! Blatant racism! Yes, I know: the mind recoils in horror. Feel free to insert the words “on average,” if that helps. It is, after all, a generalization — but let’s not pretend it’s not an accurate one. We’ve been accumulating evidence for centuries…
Bridge Administrators of Madison County
From James Wilford Garner’s Reconstruction in Mississippi (1901):
Perhaps the most important local officials under the reconstruction constitution were the boards of supervisors and the justices of the peace. […] In the Southern type of local government, the county board is a legislative and administrative body of great responsibility.
It was alleged, with more or less truth, that in many counties these officials were incompetent. In some instances the board was composed entirely of illiterate negroes. Although their duties necessitated calculation and computation, there were instances in which no member could do the smallest operation of arithmetic, and their highest mark of erudition was the ability of the president to sign his name to a record, the contents of which he could not read.
In Issaquena County, in 1874, every member of the board was alleged to be an illiterate negro. Several were charged with official dishonesty, and two were forced to resign. The members of the legislature, the sheriff, clerks, justices of the peace, and constables, were all colored. In fact, there were only two white officers in the county.
In Madison County, every member of the board was colored, and the maximum of learning among them was the ability of one to sign his name mechanically. There was not a justice of the peace in the county who could write his name. In the performance of their duties, they imposed but few fines, and shortly before the meeting of the grand jury, they usually got some friendly white neighbor to write up their dockets for presentation at the proper time. They were, of course, almost wholly ignorant of the law, and often unable to read the processes which they issued against persons and property in the name of the law.
It was a standing complaint of the whites that it was impossible to prevent the thefts of seed cotton and live stock, on account of the leniency of the colored magistrates. […] Their ignorance of the law sometimes worked hardships on suitors, and caused the attorneys not a little embarrassment.
From Hilary Abner Herbert’s The Abolition Crusade and Its Consequences (1912):
The new rulers [during Reconstruction] not only increased taxes and misappropriated the revenues of counties, cities, and States; they bartered away the credit of State after State.
There were hundreds of negro policemen, constables, justices of the peace, and legislators who could not write their names. Justice was in many localities a farce. Ex-slaves became judges, representatives in Congress, and United States senators. […] In communities where negro majorities were overwhelming there were usually two factions, and when political campaigns were on agents for these clans often scoured the fields clear of laborers to recruit their marching bands. In cities these bands made night hideous with shouts and the noise of fifes and drums. The negro would tolerate no defection from his ranks to the whites, and negro women were more intolerant than the men. It sometimes happened that a bloody clash between the races was imminent when white men sought to protect a negro who had dared to speak in favor of the Democratic and Conservative party. In truth, the civilization of the South was being changed from white to negroid.
Edwin L. Godkin […] is thought by some competent judges to have been the ablest editor this country has ever had. After the last of the negro governments set up in the South had passed away, looking back over the whole bad business, Mr. Godkin, in a letter to his friend Charles Eliot Norton, written from Sweet Springs, West Virginia, September 3, 1877, said: “I do not see in short how the negro is ever to be worked into a system of government for which you and I could have much respect.”
Every State government set up under the plan of Congress had wrought ruin, and the ruin was always more complete where the negroes were most numerous, as in South Carolina and Louisiana.
From John William Burgess’ Reconstruction and the Constitution (1902):
During the year 1872 […] there came to the knowledge of Congress and of the people of the North the frightful and scandalous corruption of the “State” governments in the South. […] The record of these doings in South Carolina was something as follows. The House of Representatives, the majority of the members of which were negroes, and the presiding officer of which was the notorious F. J. Moses, spent ninety-five thousand dollars to refurnish its assembly hall, where the aristocrats of South Carolina had never spent over five thousand. Clocks costing six hundred dollars each, sofas two hundred dollars each, chairs at sixty dollars each, desks at a hundred and twenty-five dollars each, mirrors at six hundred dollars each, cuspidors at eight dollars each — such were the items of the bill. In the four years from 1868 to 1872, two hundred thousand dollars were expended for furniture for the legislative chambers alone.
Then came the bills of supplies, sundries and incidentals, amounting in one session to three hundred and fifty thousand dollars, one hundred and twenty-five thousand of it for a free restaurant, lunch counter and bar, at which the members and their friends fared most royally, eating, drinking and smoking, and paying not a penny therefor directly, nor indirectly, since many, if not most, of the members of that legislature paid no stiver of the taxes. Then came the printing bills, averaging more than one hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year where ten thousand dollars would have been more than enough to pay every legitimate expense of that kind.
It was the most soul-sickening spectacle that Americans had ever been called upon to behold. Every principal of the old American polity was here reversed. In place of government by the most intelligent and virtuous part of the people for the benefit of the governed, here was government by the most ignorant and vicious part of the population for the benefit, the vulgar, materialistic, brutal benefit of the governing set.
Jo Anne Mondowney and Juliet Machie
Today, of course, black governance is completely different: the chairs cost a thousand dollars, not sixty, and you don’t have to be a legislator to buy them with public money (Detroit News, April 2011).
Detroit Public Library officials say finances have grown so bad they could close most neighborhood branches, but in a few weeks plan to unveil a revamped wing of a main library that even administrators say spares few expenses.
The South Wing is stocked with 20 yellow and orange European lounge chairs that cost $1,092 apiece, artistic pendant light fixtures and two alcohol-burning fireplaces. The project morphed from a $300,000 furniture update to a $2.3 million overhaul.
It’s not the only spending to come under question as the system considers closing up to 18 of 23 branches and laying off as many as 191 of 333 workers. A Detroit News review showed that, since 2008, the library has paid at least $160,000 to food vendors, including $1,760 at an ice-cream shop, and spent $1 million on 6 percent raises to union workers.
Executive Director Jo Anne Mondowney agreed the South Wing renovation was costly and that too much has been spent on food. But she said she’s only been on the job for about 19 months and isn’t responsible for much of the spending.
Construction was approved by the library board the same month she started the job, but commission minutes show that the $624,000 contract for furniture and shelving was approved under her watch in May 2010.
Oh, and the trash cans cost $1,100 each (Detroit News, April 2011).
Mondowney suffered the following less-than-horrible fate (Library Journal, May 2012):
A committee of the Detroit Public Library Commission voted Tuesday to put Executive Director Jo Anne Mondowney on paid administrative leave until her contract expires Aug. 24, three years to the day since she joined the system, according to The Detroit News. The commission had already voted in January not to renew her contract when it expires.
Except not (Deadline Detroit, August 2012):
The Detroit Public Library board changed its mind again this week, reinstating its ousted executive director and moving to extend her contract for a year, according to Christine MacDonald of the Detroit News.
In May, three members of the library board placed Jo Anne Mondowney on paid administrative leave. Members said she mismanaged the system, which has closed two branches and cut 81 jobs through layoffs, retirements and other departures last year.
But on Thursday, the other four members of the seven-member board voted to offer her another year in the $156,000 position, arguing she’s done a good job.
The following year, Mondowney was named a “Woman of Excellence” by the Detroit Public Library Commission.
And who actually started this massive overhaul? Let’s see (Detroit News, May 2011):
The Detroit Public Library Commission is moving to oust a top executive who helped lead its troubled $2.3 million South Wing expansion.
Members voted Tuesday to enter into talks to buy out Deputy Director Juliet Machie’s contract because an investigation found irregularities related to the expansion’s contracts, according to a source with knowledge of the decision.
Machie’s contract specifies she can’t be fired unless she is paid a year’s salary.
Machie, who makes $145,000 a year, helped lead the South Wing expansion project between 2007 and much of 2009.
And apparently earned a temporary promotion for it (Dallas Observer, November 2011):
In ’09, she briefly served as Detroit’s interim director. But that top job ultimately went to former Flint Public Library director Jo Anne Mondowney in August of that year. Machie also appears to have been passed over for the top job in Jacksonville in 2004 before landing in Austin in September 2005 as the assistant director in charge of public services. Her bio noted that she was also a doctoral candidate at Texas Woman’s University in Denton at the time.
But she didn’t last long down in Austin: According to the longtime director of libraries in Austin, Brenda Branch, Machie left shortly after arriving “for personal reasons.”
So back to Detroit she went, where her contract was re-upped for three years in ’09.
But then Machie sued the Commission for not making her promotion permanent (Detroit News, December 2012):
The scandal-plagued Detroit Public Library took another hit Monday when its deputy director sued on allegations she lost out on her bid for the top job because she is from Nigeria.
The suit follows a string of controversies about spending and cronyism at the library and comes about two weeks after the FBI raided its Main Branch.
Oh, right: the FBI raided the main branch of the Detroit public library system (Detroit Free Press, November 2012).
The federal government’s ongoing probes into public corruption landed today on the doorsteps of the city’s main library branch, where FBI agents raided the historic landmark over allegations of contract fraud.
“There may be an individual who awarded contracts for personal gain. And if that is the case, it is a total violation of the public trust,” Jonathan Kinloch, president of the Detroit Library Commission, told the Free Press.
According to Kinloch, the contracts involve two technology firms that were hired for at least $2 million to update the library’s computer systems. A library official allegedly had ties to at least one of the contractors, and benefited personally from the million-dollar deals, he said.
Kinloch also noted today’s raid, conducted before the library opened at noon, had nothing to do with the $1,000-a-piece trash cans that were purchased for a library wing renovation project in 2010.
Wait, the Detroit Public Library opens at noon? On a Tuesday?
Anyway, the Commission promptly suspended Chief Administrative Officer Timothy Cromer — with pay, of course (ABC, November 2012). Meanwhile, Mondowney is still kicking around — doing quite well, actually:
There was an emotional outburst from one Detroiter who attended the portion of Wednesday’s commission meeting that was open to the public. She blasted some board members that she thought wanted to raise Mondowney’s salary from $150,000 to $156,000 and extend her contract.
Mondowney’s contract extension was not approved, but a spokesman for the library tells 7 Action News that there was some confusion and that Mondowney already earns $156,000 a year.
Isn’t that nice.
Ultimately, Cromer “was charged with taking more than $1.4 million in bribes and kickbacks from contractors of the library” (FBI). He had been earning $145,323 a year (MLive). Guess what Cromer looks like. Go on, guess.
We shouldn’t pick on Cromer, though: everyone at the Detroit Public Library is corrupt (Detroit News, May 2011).
Administrators say they take pride in the “family atmosphere” at the Detroit Public Library, but questions of nepotism, cronyism and mismanagement are dogging the cash-strapped system.
Three top library executives have had family members on the payroll, including until recently the human resources director’s two children. The system gave a library commissioner’s nonprofit agency $15,000 to sponsor neighborhood events. And another commissioner’s daughter was given a $150,000 event planning contract in 2009.
Employee unions question that contract because she didn’t have a college degree and was hired by the woman her father would support two months later for the vacant executive director’s job.
Hiring relatives is so common at the library that about one in six staffers have relatives among the 376 employees, according to an internal review obtained by The Detroit News.
As for that commissioner’s daughter, “several credits shy of her bachelor’s degree:”
Erin Thomas started with the library in 2007 as an entry-level clerk earning about $9 an hour. But after unions complained that Thomas was working outside of her classification, Deputy Director Juliet Machie offered Thomas a contract position in March 2009 earning up to $150,000 over two years to plan events.
Of course she did.
But we’re not done with Detroit yet (though Detroit itself is basically finished). There’s still Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit’s “hip-hop mayor,” who basically ran City Hall as a criminal enterprise for six years.
Kilpatrick is pictured above “smirking, laughing and goofing around” during his first trial, in 2008 (Detroit Free Press); he was subsequently convicted of perjury, obstruction of justice, misconduct in office, and assaulting a police officer. To be a little more precise: Kilpatrick “burst through the door,” “hurled expletives” at Investigator JoAnn Kinney and Detective Brian White, “shoved White into her,” and “made a racial remark to her about White, who is white” (Free Press); “made racially charged comments” (USA Today).
Kilpatrick also “illegally used the nonprofit Kilpatrick Civic Fund like a piggy bank to pay for crisis consultants, a Cadillac, trips — even summer camp for his kids” (Free Press); “threatened witnesses with violence, pocketed a $10,000 kickback in a restaurant bathroom and withheld city funds from firms that wouldn’t pay to play” (Detroit News); “charged at least $210,000 for travel, meals, an $85 bottle of champagne and other items on his city-issued credit card” (AP), including Super Bowl hotel rooms for $11,644; allowed city pension boards to be looted of tens of millions of dollars in exchange for, e.g., “trips on private chartered jets, massages, golf outings and $50,000 to his civic fund” (Free Press); and “argued that he could afford only $6 a month” toward the million-dollar restitution he owed the city, “even though he had moved his family into a luxurious home near Dallas” (New York Times). In 2013, he was convicted of 24 charges, including racketeering, extortion, bribery, mail fraud, and tax fraud, and sentenced to 28 years in prison: a fitting end to the Hip-Hop Mayor.
Kilpatrick’s father was also convicted of tax fraud, and sentenced to 15 months, though the jury could not come to a decision on his racketeering charge. During the mayor’s first trial, the elder Kilpatrick (along with Eric Holder’s pal, Black Panther “community activist” Malik “Kill Every Goddamn Zionist” Shabazz) had claimed, hilariously, that he was feeling “the anguish of thousands of black fathers for years who watched their sons being railroaded into jail.”
Walter Russell Mead is perplexed (American Interest, 2012):
I honestly don’t know why there is so little national outrage about this despicable crew and the terrible damage they have done. The ultimate victims of the crime are Detroit’s poor and the middle class and lower middle class, mostly African-American municipal workers who may face serious financial losses in old age.
(Black victims matter more.)
These judgments are always subjective, but it seems to me that there is not nearly enough national publicity about and outrage over the crimes of Kwame Kilpatrick. If a white or Asian Republican pol had looted fire and police pension funds, blighted the lives of a generation of minority kids and helped do more damage to a great American city than Hurricane Katrina, I don’t think this would be primarily a local news story. I would expect that the scandal would grip the nation, and there would be wall to wall national media coverage.
As there should be.
As it is, an eerie silence envelopes the subject. Outside the Michigan area, only the most dedicated news hounds and political junkies follow this story.
Yes, difficult indeed to believe the official press (or “mainstream media”), in a country where all the races are officially (if not anthropologically) equal, would ignore such a story. (Note that Mead wrote “if a white or Asian politician had,” not “when a white or Asian politician has.” There is a reason for this.)
The D.C. Metro
A must-read story out of the nation’s capital: ‘Metro derailed by culture of complacence, incompetence, lack of diversity’ (Washington Times, 2012). “Diversity,” in this case, is code for white people:
Ninety-seven percent of the bus and train operators at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority are black, with only six white women out of more than 3,000 drivers.
The homogeneity, interviews with dozens of current and former Metro workers indicated, is a proxy to a clubby culture of favoritism in which merit has little to do with promotions, and accountability, such as noting safety violations, is a career death knell. In typical examples, court and Metro records show, a black man who spent eight years in prison for dealing PCP was promoted to a high-level management position soon after his release, and whites in the same positions as blacks with far less seniority are inexplicably paid less.
With Metro’s budget chronically strained and reports of mismanagement coming more regularly than trains, interviews and internal records depict a likely root: an environment in which hardworking employees are actively excluded and those who rise are those willing to do the bare minimum — never causing a stir by flagging rampant safety violations, reporting malfeasance or proposing improvements.
“When the accident happened in 2009, I called a supervisor and said, ‘Is this the one we all dreaded?’ The way workers do their jobs, we all knew it was a matter of time. … The inept get promoted, and the capable get buried. Smart people were put in the corner, ostracized and given nothing to do,” said Christine Townsend, who sued Metro for discrimination and won.
It is a culture in which a white male engineer near completion of a Ph.D. was passed over for a management position in favor of a black man who was barely literate, multiple staffers said.
In some instances the board was composed entirely of illiterate negroes.
“The odds of such a disparity occurring by chance are statistically infinitesimal,” Ronald A. Schmidt, a lawyer representing 12 white women exploring a class-action lawsuit, wrote in a 2003 letter. “There appears to be an entrenched network of African-American employees at WMATA that is able to steer jobs, promotion, training and other career enhancing benefit to persons of their own racial or ethnic group.”
White and Hispanic employees who allege discrimination have found a deaf ear at Metro’s civil rights office, whose 17 employees are black. Until at least 1999, that office tracked complaints via a handwritten ledger on a series of taped-together sheets of paper, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times. The system “made determining statistics impossible,” said a civil rights employee from the time.
In recent months, such antiquated record keeping has allowed employees to steal thousands of dollars that electronic systems easily could have detected — and in more than one case, a culture of complicity has kept prosecutors from trying those who were caught because they feared no clean witness or proper records could be found.
The group making more money includes senior supervisors such as Orlando Terrell King, who has been charged with reckless endangerment and fraudulently attempting to obtain a driver’s license, according to Maryland state records. Mr. King, who is paid $62,536, was promoted by Metro to oversee those who drive trains carrying thousands of passengers daily.
Also rising rapidly to senior supervisor was Robbie O. McGee, who spent eight years in federal prison for felony distribution of PCP while on probation for another crime. He received five pay increases at Metro in two years.
“There’s a problem with the first-line supervisors and possibly above actually enforcing basic discipline. When a supervisor walks into a kiosk on Sunday when the game’s on and asks where’s the TV and brings a plate of food in, there’s a disconnect,” a former union representative said.
The personnel record of the white male senior supervisor, Robert Fish, meanwhile, indicates strict standards and scrutiny, including suspensions and severe reprimands for minor infractions such as possession of a covered cup of coffee.
Ms. Townsend had a college degree and a decade of experience as a schoolteacher when she was passed over for a training job in favor of a man who had taken some community college courses and, it turned out, could barely write a sentence.
She sued Metro and won, but retired from the rail department in 2005 after another personnel decision that seemed to have nothing to do with merit. By that time, she had earned a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. But when a position as head of training arose, it went to someone whose most relevant experience was as secretary at a community college, she said.
It is not just that mediocrity is overlooked. Dozens of employees whom Metro rules forbid from speaking to the media said: Diligence is discouraged, because anywhere one looked was something that needed to be fixed — and change, especially when it involved work, was anathema to senior Metro line workers.
For example, Ms. Townsend said, by 2004, many trains were operating without radios in defiance of federal rules. Other drivers confirmed that was common knowledge. So she authored a study and included a recommendation that Metro start substituting cellphones.
“I was read the riot act: ‘You had no right to compile these statistics,’ even though it was my job. They didn’t want people showing problems,” she said.
Days after a Red Line accident killed nine in July 2009, Brenda Whorton drew the line.
“I told them I wasn’t going to pencil-whip for them,” she said, referring to a technique so common in Metro culture that there is a term for it. “It means fudging it: like marking down that a motor’s according to specs when it’s not.” It is common for midnight-shift workers to “lock the doors and go to sleep, because they’ve got other jobs,” and equally common for supervisors to turn a blind eye, she said, leading to pencil-whipping of the inspections they’re supposed to be doing — and delays for morning riders.
“Anyone who blew the whistle or caused any trouble, when pick time came — every six months you pick shifts — you’d be moved. They spend more time trying to manipulate this stuff than they do doing their job.”
Here was government by the most ignorant and vicious part of the population for the benefit, the vulgar, materialistic, brutal benefit of the governing set.
Dozens said white workers, especially women, were openly subject to racist and sexist remarks without repercussion — behavior that drove many targets to seek transfers or leave the agency. All said they have been inexplicably passed over hundreds of times for promotions to positions such as station manager while others with less seniority passed them by.
“I was the only white woman in car maintenance out of 338, and they made my life miserable,” Ms. Whorton said, adding that colleagues once electrified a track circuit on which she was working and laughed. “Nothing happened to them.”
Union leaders sometimes invoke racial language, including Mrs. Jeter, who heads the $20 million union with her husband, Roland Jeter, second in command. Graphics on the union’s website have depicted her in her role as union president alongside photos of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
A flier circulated as Mrs. Jeter was running for election claimed she worried that “too many whites might end up in charge. She also told me she was sick and tired of hearing about the Latino Caucus.”
When a worker says he or she has been treated unfairly by Metro, the union membership holds a vote to decide whether to defend the worker, typically obtaining reductions in punishment from management for or voting to take to arbitration more than 40 complaints monthly.
Court records show that a white woman, Denise Brooks, was fired after her wallet was stolen from an area accessible only to employees. She reported the theft, then asked to modify the report to better reflect the contents of her wallet after checking bank records. A supervisor said the update amounted to lying and fired her, a move that ultimately was overturned.
When Mrs. Brooks brought problems about the way she was being treated to the union, records show, the membership voted twice to deny her grievances.
Court records show many of those who get into trouble at Metro for fighting, drugs and the like and have disciplinary actions reversed at the union’s behest, meanwhile, already have documented track records of similar behavior. A newsletter boasts, for example, that the union won reinstatement with back pay for a train operator if she completed a drug class. But a search of her name in criminal records indicates that far from this being an isolated incident, the woman has a well-documented drug and theft problem.
“That was a court problem, not a Metro problem,” Mrs. Jeter said, adding that it wasn’t the union’s job to address professionalism — that is done by performance reviews that reward the best workers with raises. “Professionalism is rewarded when you get your paycheck.”
Well, at least some of them are trying to make themselves more smarterer (Washington Times, 2012):
One accountant at Metro took Federal Income Tax 1, a course at the University of Maryland University College described as “an introduction to federal taxation.” Another took Intermediate Accounting 1. Several other Metro workers in financially sensitive positions — who help oversee million-dollar contracts — used the transit authority’s tuition reimbursement program to enroll in introductory courses on contracts or business.
Although their duties necessitated calculation and computation, there were instances in which no member could do the smallest operation of arithmetic…
One office administrator enrolled in “Intro to Sociallity,” as she spelled it, at Strayer University because it “helps to understand paperwork.”
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has spent millions of dollars on college courses for its employees in recent years, with use of its generous tuition reimbursement program growing from $380,000 in 2007 to almost half a million dollars in fiscal 2010, records show.
The remedial accounting courses were taken by accountants at Metro after the agency hired as an accountant a woman who had disclosed several financial fraud convictions on her job application and who prosecutors said got her introduction to finance by keeping track of money for one of the District’s largest heroin gangs.
Many courses paid for by Metro had no relationship to professions, such as courses on video games and black history, one of the more commonly taken courses.
Among the multiple people who had Metro foot the bill for classes on parenting was Robbie O. McGee, a repeat felon who was promoted rapidly to a high-level management position shortly after being released from 12 years in federal prison for dealing PCP.
Workers in a wide variety of positions also took courses that indicated minimal grasp of basic skills. A Metro project management analyst took Fundamentals of Writing and Grammar at the University of Maryland University College. A mechanic took Speech 1000 at Prince George’s Community College, while others took basic English.
… and their highest mark of erudition was the ability of the president to sign his name to a record, the contents of which he could not read.
Limited literacy was on display even on the forms, sometimes filled out by midlevel managers. A manager of bus service operations, for example, took “Element of Supervision” at Prince George’s Community College and filed for reimbursement because “this course have eqqptd me in forming my duties as a manager, and have helped better prepared me for the position of Superintendent.” He was seeking a promotion from a $78,000 job to an $89,000 job, payroll records suggest.
And you should think twice before turning to the Metro police for help (Washington Times, 2012):
It was just after midnight, and Isaiah N. Nichols was prowling Rhode Island Avenue in Northeast Washington looking for sex. Twenty dollars, answered a woman who was “trying to make some money.”
“That’s what’s up. I’ll meet you over there,” Mr. Nichols said.
The woman turned out to be an undercover police officer conducting a sting, and Mr. Nichols was arrested. He agreed to enroll in a “john school” class and was ordered to stay away from the Northeast strip.
But Mr. Nichols, too, was a police officer, and is still on the beat for the Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD).
While police in Maryland, Virginia and the District work to keep the region safe, also among the mix is the Metro transit system’s lesser-known 600-member force, which uniquely has law enforcement authority across all three jurisdictions. But records suggest that the agency has conducted little enforcement of the transit system’s everyday rules and that the department also counts among its ranks people who have been arrested for violent and predatory crimes.
Officer Sivi Jones, for example, has a long history of arrests in connection with violent crimes, including felony threatening to injure a person, domestic assault and simple assault, according to court records and colleagues.
“These guys are not the cream of the cop in law enforcement. They are less educated and don’t know how to assess a situation in a logical manner,” said James Bitner, a defense lawyer and former prosecutor who has represented clients who he said have been beaten and wrongly charged by Metro police. “You’re not getting a straight-A student. You’re getting a C and D student.”
There were hundreds of negro policemen, constables, justices of the peace, and legislators who could not write their names. Justice was in many localities a farce.
In some cases, that has led to corruption.
Officer John V. Haile pleaded guilty to theft from a federally funded agency this month after stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Metro. The transit police officer was supposed to ensure compliance with the law as another Metro employee recovered revenue from fare machines, but instead, Haile, with the other employee, hid $500 bags of coins in bushes and bought lottery tickets with the money. Metro said it did not know exactly how much money went missing.
Mr. Nichols and Ms. Jones are just two of a number of MTPD officers who court records suggest have been arrested in connection with drug, theft and violent crimes.
When Mr. Nichols was arrested on charges of trespassing for returning to a Greenbelt Safeway from which he had been banned because of a prior incident, for example, prosecutors agreed to spare the expense of a trial and conviction if he performed 24 hours of community service. His participation in john school after the prostitution arrest garnered a similar result.
Another officer recently fired his service weapon accidentally inside Metro’s headquarters downtown, officers said.
Still, in some cases, little accountability from management was evident, according to records. Mr. Nichols received a three-day suspension for the prostitution incident, according to MTPD records.
Tough but fair!
One of many violent mobs — all black, of course — that took over parts of Philadelphia in 2010 (Inquirer). No big deal.
Speaking of “aspects of race which are ignored because they are uncomfortable,” idiocy abounds on the subject of race differences in criminality. To choose just one example, the reliably idiotic Touré Neblett (Time, 2012):
Even though more whites commit crimes than blacks, the word [“crime”] is more associated with blacks who have historically been stereotyped as wild, violent, animalistic and immoral.
Well, there are almost five times as many white people in the US as there are black people, so it is hardly a point in Mr. Neblett’s favor if there are more white than black criminals total. But really, this is beneath us: the mindless squawking of a man whose job description is have dark skin; make up reasons why that’s an inconvenience.
More to the point, writers have historically been free to report hard truths about race without fear of attack from progressive thugs for the thoughtcrime of “racism.” If nearly all of them have historically characterized blacks as being generally “wild, violent, animalistic and immoral,” we should probably pay close attention.
In 2007, the police chief of St. Paul, Minnesota discovered that 70 percent of aggravated assault suspects were black (Minnesota Public Radio). The city itself is only about 16 percent black: quite the disparity! Police Chief Harrington (elected to the state senate in 2010), who is himself black, was “shocked” by the finding, and characterized his city’s crime statistics as “out of whack.” But is shock really an appropriate response? It wouldn’t be for Edward B. Reuter, president of the American Sociological Society (The American Race Problem, 1927):
On the first day of January, 1910, the total prison population of the United States was 136,472. […] In every section of the country the percentage of Negroes among prisoners and juvenile delinquents was much higher than their percentage in the general population. For the country as a whole the Negroes constituted 10.7 per cent of the total population, while they constituted 30.6 per cent of the prison population. In the South they made up 29.8 per cent of the population and 70.1 per cent of the prisoners; in the North they were 1.8 per cent of the population and 13.1 per cent of the prisoners; in the West 0.7 per cent of the population and 5.9 per cent of the prisoners.
Nor would the data on race and crime in present-day Minnesota shock Winfield H. Collins, author of The Truth About Lynching and the Negro in the South (1918):
The Negro is such a problem in our society mainly, no doubt, because he represents the chief criminal elements, — how criminal, let statistics, by way of comparison, declare:
In the Northern and Western States in 1910, one white person was in a penal institution for every 982 of the white population, and one Negro for every 123 of the Negro population; while in the South, the ratio was one to every 2013 for the white, and one Negro to every 308 of the Negro population. Thus in the North Negroes had eight times their proportion in prison, and in the South and six and one-half times.
Police Chief Harrington was reportedly “pleased when a prominent activist” (black, of course) took the following “political risk:” he “pleaded for witnesses to come forward in the wake of the June shooting in Minneapolis that killed 14-year-old Charez Jones” (MPR). Wait, “political risk?”
“I was delighted, quite frankly, to see Spike Moss come out and call for the community to step up,” he says. “I think that’s what this takes. We need community leaders to come out and be willing to take unpopular positions.”
Harrington says there must be some kind of violence threshold that will cause the black community to rise up as one and demand that black-on-black violence be stopped. Unfortunately, he says, it doesn’t appear that threshold has been reached yet.
Asking witnesses to come forward is an “unpopular position?” Let’s see what Winfield Collins has to say:
A great deal of the friction between the two races in the South is caused by the resistance of Negro criminals to officers of the law. Not only so, but relatives, friends and other Negroes as well often attempt to shield the Negro criminal in order that he may escape detection and arrest. This is not exceptional but rather of frequent occurrence.
In other words: “Stop Snitchin’” avant la lettre.
Makes you wonder: what else can history teach us about black crime?
An article in the Baltimore Sun of 30 March 1910 (Truth About Lynching):
Roanoke, Va., March 29. — Drunken Negroes took charge of an excursion train between this city and Winston-Salem last night and as a consequence Sidney Wood of Winston-Salem is dead at Martinsville, and two-score other Negroes are more or less wounded. Knives, razors, and pistols played prominent parts in the melee. . . . The train was stopped several times by Negroes pulling the bell cord, and the train was cut in two several times, leaving a number of coaches behind with a second section following. . . . The three coaches which were cut off were filled with white people. . . . When the train reached Bassetts, in Henry County, every Negro in two coaches was apparently in a fight. The screams of the terror-stricken women added to the excitement.
A letter to the same paper of 18 August 1913:
I prefer rubbing elbows with them (Negro guano factory laborers) to riding with the so-called respectable Negroes on the Preston Street and other cross-town lines. On the Preston street line in particular conditions have become so unbearable that the writer, who formerly used this line to reach his place of business, has been obliged to adopt a more circuitous route, which takes fully twice as long.
On this line respectable white people and white women especially, are subjected to every species of affront and insult, which they cannot resent without risk of being drawn into a dispute, in which no decent person cares to be involved. The Negroes realize this and it emboldens them still further.
A black woman living in Chicago reminisces (The Negro in Chicago, 1922):
I was on a State Street car when two southern Negro women got on, talking loud, and throwing themselves around loose and careless like. I was sitting on one of the end seats, just big enough for three, and one of the women says to the other, “Here’s a seat, here’s a seat.” “You move over,” she said to me. There was fire in their eyes, and I don’t like fighting, so I made up my mind that if they started anything I’d get up and give them my seat. Most people would have understood how you felt if you did that, but I am not sure they would have understood. I said to one of them, “There really isn’t room on this seat.” She gave me a shove, so I said, “But I’ll get up and give you my seat.” You wouldn’t believe what happened then. The conductor came in and said, “You just keep your seat.” And a white man, who was sitting in one of the cross-seats, turned around and said, “I’ll see that she does.”
And a white barber recalls:
I remember one time about three years ago, I was coming home on the Forty-seventh Street car and two Negroes were standing on the back. It was pretty crowded. A man swung his wife on board, and two more white men jumped on too. He got her through into the car, and one of the Negroes said to her: “I’m going to get that husband of yours.” I went up and stood in back of the white man and told him I’d stand by him, if anything happened. There were lots of whites on the car but about half Negroes, I guess. I think the Negroes have too much freedom. They don’t know how to act. Some of those Negroes on the street car are real uncivilized.
This sort of dreadful “racism” must be what Neblett had in mind when he wrote that black people “have historically been stereotyped as wild, violent, animalistic and immoral.” Fortunately, enlightened 21st century white people know better, which is why they ride the train or bus without fear of “affront and insult” from “emboldened Negroes.”
One of the MAX train assailants, her mother, and her victim
From Portland: ‘4 arrested in MAX beating caught on video’ (KGW, January 2012).
Portland police have arrested three teen [black] girls, along with the mother of two of them, on accusations involving the beating of a 14-year-old girl on a MAX train. The attack was posted briefly on YouTube.
Shot by a bystander, the video of the Dec. 26 attack showed three girls slapping and punching a Centennial school district student, who was on her way home from a shopping trip. YouTube later removed the video, citing a policy that forbids hate speech.
“I’m sitting there and they were all being rowdy to begin with,” the victim said. She tried to avoid eye contact, listening to music with her earbuds, eventually removing them to try and have a conversation with the teens yelling at her. She continued to try and avoid a confrontation.
The victim claimed one of the teens said, “white girl has an attitude, don’t disrespect my sister, don’t roll your eyes.”
No one else in the video of the crowded MAX train appears to try and help.
Respectable white people and white women especially, are subjected to every species of affront and insult, which they cannot resent without risk of being drawn into a dispute, in which no decent person cares to be involved.
On the very same night as those arrests, two more black women were arrested for attacking several people on a Portland bus (KGW). Finally: ‘Man asks teens on MAX to quiet down, gets assaulted’ (April 2012) — yes, these all happened in early 2012 in Portland, which is six percent black.
A 57-year-old man who asked a group of teenagers to quiet down on a MAX train was assaulted on Friday. Police were called to the Northeast 60th Avenue MAX platform around 5 p.m. on a report that multiple people were assaulting a man.
When officers arrived, they learned the man had asked a large group of around 15 to 20 black male teenagers to keep it down. That apparently didn’t sit well with the teenagers and some of them allegedly attacked the man.
Green Line fight
I have never been more disgusted or shocked by what I witnessed Saturday night at the Anacostia Metro. I went to pick up a family member at the Metro, and just as she was telling me about the fights (Yes, plural!) that happened on the Green Line train [between L’Enfant and Anacostia], we witnessed a group of 6 to 8 young black teenagers kick, stomp, punch and push a lone teenage girl.
I had to lay on my car horn for over a minute before the assault stopped. I called 911, and less than a minute later another fight broke out. Another woman was being assaulted.
On the way home, my cousin told me about her terrifying ride. She told me about young men punching the trains at L’Enfant, yelling at people, and pushing women. At no time did she see any officers step in.
Do bear in mind who’s in charge of the D.C. Metro.
When she got on the train toward Anacostia, a group of teenagers proceeded to verbally and physically assault a group of young women. One of the boys threw a bottle and another threw the contents of a bottle in one of the woman’s face. The assaults got so out of hand that some people landed on a woman and her baby.
The attacking group had the doors to the train blocked so people couldn’t get off the train. My cousin told me she was so scared that she hid behind some seats and pulled out the box cutter she used for work.
I am outraged. I can’t believe a series of assaults would occur between L’Enfant and Anacostia and there would not be a single Metro or D.C. police officer on the scene! This is not the first time I have experienced unruly teens on the Green Line, and it’s not the first time I have heard of assaults at the Anacostia station.
The interested reader should consult Colin Flaherty’s ‘Black Mobs Take Over Washington Metro’ (2012).
This mob violence on the Metro has been going on for some time, but not everyone thinks it’s a problem — and if it is a problem, it certainly has nothing whatsoever to do with race (Washington Post, 2010):
Post managers, from the top down, regularly remind the newsroom that coverage must have a “for and about Washington” focus. So when a large brawl broke out in the Metro system on a recent Friday night, it seemed a perfect chance to show local readers that The Post is their indispensable source for news.
The fracas occurred near midnight on Aug. 6, and authorities said it involved as many as 70 people. It started at the Gallery Place Station and continued to the L’Enfant Plaza Station. There were arrests, and several people landed in the hospital. On deadline, The Post gathered enough information for a news brief in Saturday’s paper, and a short story was quickly posted online.
Throughout Saturday, it was among the most-viewed stories on the Web site, signaling intense reader interest. But as the day wore on, some readers grew frustrated that there was nothing more.
“What, when, where, who and why?” District reader Robert W. Porter e-mailed me mid-afternoon Saturday. “For the life of me, I can’t find an answer to any of the above questions. I expect better from The Washington Post.”
When a story for Sunday’s paper finally did appear, it offered little new. Promoted on the front page and tucked at the bottom of Sunday’s Metro section, it didn’t answer key questions: What caused the fighting? Were the people who were injured participants or bystanders? Was Metro beefing up security?
Why such thin coverage? Much of the explanation is that The Post responded with too little, too late.
Pierre [the weekend editor for local news] also worried about hyping a story that involved race. Although The Post’s coverage on and after Sunday did not specify the racial makeup of those involved, many readers assumed they were black and offered racially insensitive online comments. “So ghetto,” read one. Another urged ending “all welfare benefits for parents whose little animals cause this type of mayhem.”
“Assumed,” did they? I wonder why they would make such an assumption. Obviously it could not possibly have anything to do with the actual behavior of actual black people. These crazy racist white people must have just made it up in their crazy racist white brains. That is why they chose to be so terribly “insensitive” about the huge mobs of people of unspecified race who are, for some reason, permitted to beat up random people on public transportation in the capital (among other cities) of the richest, most powerful country on Earth.
When The Post finally produced a more substantive story for Monday’s paper, Pierre believes it was given too much prominence, even though it included eyewitness descriptions of multiple fights and bedlam as people tried to escape the pandemonium. The Post “overplayed it,” said Pierre. “It was a fight on the Metro. Kids get into fights.”
Do they. Do they really.
The Post should always be sensitive to overplaying stories, especially if race is involved. But the problem here was that readers last weekend couldn’t get news they desperately wanted about what police said was a massive brawl on the public transit system used daily by hundreds of thousands of people.
Interestingly, the newspaper is not consistently “sensitive to overplaying stories” where “race is involved” (Washington Post, 2012):
For every black man in America, from the millionaire in the corner office to the mechanic in the local garage, the Trayvon Martin tragedy is personal. It could have been me or one of my sons. It could have been any of us.
How many George Zimmermans are out there cruising the streets? How many guys with chips on their shoulders and itchy fingers on the triggers of loaded handguns? How many self-imagined guardians of the peace who say the words “black male” with a sneer?
We don’t yet know every detail of the encounter between Martin and Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., that ended with an unarmed 17-year-old high school student being shot dead. But we know enough to conclude that this is an old, familiar story.
Well, that’s not “hyping” anything.
What a waste: James Cooper, James Kouzaris; Shawn Tyson
From W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Philadelphia Negro (1899):
Detectives Bond and O’Leary and Special Policeman Duffy […] arrested last night Sylvester Archer, […] William Whittington, alias “Piggy,” […] and William Carter, […] all colored and about twenty-one years of age, on the charge of assault upon and robbery of Mrs. Harrington Fitzgerald, wife of the editor of the Evening Item. The assault occurred on Monday at noon. As Mrs. Fitzgerald was passing Thirteenth and Spruce streets, a purse which she carried in her hand […] was snatched from her by one of three colored men. They took advantage of the crowd to strike her after the robbery had been perpetrated and escaped before her outcry was heard.
Samuel Buckner, a young colored man, was convicted of robbing George C. Goddard of a gold watch and chain and a pocketbook containing $3. He was sentenced to ten years in the Eastern Penitentiary. Mr. Goddard, with his head swathed in bandages, was called to the stand. He said that a few minutes past midnight of November 28 he was returning to his home […] after a visit. He placed his hand in his pocket, drew out his key and was about to mount the steps when a dark form appeared from Dean street, a small, poorly-lighted thoroughfare, […] and at the same instant he was struck a violent blow full in the face with a brick.
Compare present-day Sarasota, Florida (Telegraph, 2012):
University friends James Cooper, 25, and James Kouzaris, 25, had been enjoying a care-free vacation in the popular holiday resort of Sarasota when a drunken mistake brought them into the path of 16-year-old Shawn Tyson.
Spotting them stumbling through the notorious estate known as The Courts, Tyson attempted to rob the pair, then shot them each through the heart when they claimed to have no money.
Shawn Tyson […] had been released from prison in error the day before, after spraying a car carrying a group of teenage girls with gunfire.
When it comes to race relations, that which doesn’t stay the same… gets much, much worse.
So-called “flash mobs” in New York City
From Collins’ The Truth About Lynching, an article in the Baltimore Weekly Herald of July 1909:
Negroes who live in and around Bridgeville attempted to take the town last night. […] About 10 o’clock at night the Negroes began firing among themselves, and Bridgeville being without police protection, was at the mercy of their revolvers, which were being fired in rapid succession. The town seemed to be alive with brawling blacks, and several fights were started in different parts of the town. At the railroad station a large crowd collected and fired shots in every direction. At a colored church another crowd got together, firing desperately among themselves. The citizens being utterly helpless stayed in their houses behind locked doors.
More than a century later, in New York City (CBS, 2013; links in original):
Violent, thieving [black] mobs have been making headlines across the country for the past few years, and now they have hit New York City. […] Judson Bennett, 78, recently ran into a violent group of [black] teens — often described with the once-benign term “flash mob” — as he made his daily trip to buy a newspaper at his favorite news team. “I’m approaching the newsstand, and then suddenly there is a tremendous force behind me,” Bennett said. Bennett ended up with a broken arm.
In New York and across the country, the mobs of [black] kids — 20, 30, 40 or more — appear out of nowhere and suddenly charge a newsstand or convenience store. They ransack, steal and wreak havoc with no consideration for customers, such as Bennett, who get in their way.
Raj Shmara owns a newsstand at Broadway at 55th Street. Shmara said his newsstand has been targeted seven different times by mobs of [black] teens. During an attack just last week, the kids threw a bottle at an employee who had to be hospitalized.
From Collins’ The Truth About Lynching: a letter to the Baltimore Sun, from August 10, 1915.
As has been the case yearly for a dozen years there was a fatal shooting affray at the Negro [Christian] camp meeting at Friendship last night. Howard Hollis, a Negro of Clayton, Del., was shot in both legs during the fight. […] It is not known who shot Hollis as bullets were flying thick and fast during the melee.
Now consider Detroit of last year (CBS, 2012):
The grandmother of slain baby Delric Miller revealed during an interview. […] She suspects the 9-month-old was killed over a skirmish about seating at a baby shower. Miller was killed when someone [I wonder who] fired an estimated 40 rounds from an AK-47 into his family’s home in Detroit last weekend.
And Memphis (UPI, 2012):
A family Easter egg hunt ended in chaos after a [black] mom accused of over-coaching her kids attacked someone with a hammer.
And Los Angeles (ABC, 2012; pictured above):
A nasty [black] brawl broke out at preschool graduation in California reportedly over a single cap and gown, leaving at least one parent injured and the young graduates wailing.
In the grainy video, a crowd of women can be seen shoving each other, throwing punches and shouting.
Don’t forget Chicago (CBS, 2012):
In what appears to be a retaliatory gang attack, two people were shot — one fatally — outside a church funeral on the South Side on Monday.
“Can you imagine 1,200 [black] people in a church and everybody’s running? It was awful. We had babies crying,” witness Deborah Echols Moore told CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker.
Thomas Carlyle (Radish 1.1) has a lot to teach us victims of a 20th century education.
This section is necessary because 21st century Americans use statistics as a substitute for thought, and they will use a lack of statistics as an excuse not to think about unpalatable realities.
Those who doubt the anecdotes above represent a trend, I refer to American Renaissance, World Net Daily, the Council of Conservative Citizens, Stuff Black People Don’t Like, Unamusement Park, and Occidental Dissent. Those who doubt these few thousand anecdotes represent a trend, I refer to the great Thomas Carlyle who in Chartism (1839) explains why statistics teach us little about society and how to govern it:
A witty statesman said, you might prove anything by figures. […] Tables are like cobwebs, like the sieve of the Danaides; beautifully reticulated, orderly to look upon, but which will hold no conclusion. Tables are abstractions, and the object a most concrete one, so difficult to read the essence of. There are innumerable circumstances; and one circumstance left out may be the vital one on which all turned. Statistics is a science which ought to be honourable, the basis of many most important sciences; but it is not to be carried on by steam, this science, any more than others are; a wise head is requisite for carrying it on. Conclusive facts are inseparable from inconclusive except by a head that already understands and knows. Vain to send the purblind and blind to the shore of a Pactolus never so golden: these find only gravel; the seer and finder alone picks up gold grains there. And now the purblind offering you, with asseveration and protrusive importunity, his basket of gravel as gold, what steps are to be taken with him? — Statistics, one may hope, will improve gradually, and become good for something. Meanwhile, it is to be feared the crabbed satirist was partly right, as things go: ‘A judicious man,’ says he, ‘looks at Statistics, not to get knowledge, but to save himself from having ignorance foisted on him.’
In other words, we should practice statistics in self-defense. In particular, a judicious man must look at statistics on race and crime to save himself from the massive piles of ignorance by which he is surrounded. “Today,” cries the progressive drone, “people of color continue to be disproportionately incarcerated, policed, and sentenced to death at significantly higher rates than their white counterparts.” Even people who really ought to know better will assure you that “the assertion that Black [sic] disproportionality in incarceration is due solely to differential crime commission rates is inaccurate.” As Carlyle put it:
With what serene conclusiveness a member of some Useful-Knowledge Society stops your mouth with a figure of arithmetic! To him it seems he has there extracted the elixir of the matter, on which now nothing more can be said. It is needful that you look into his said extracted elixir; and ascertain, alas, too probably, not without a sigh, that it is wash and vapidity, good only for the gutters.
So let’s look into this elixir of disproportionality. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program, between 2004 and 2008, black people, at 13 percent of the US population, made up 33 percent of rape arrests, 56 percent of robbery (mugging) arrests, and 34 percent of aggravated assault arrests. Disproportionalities abound — but as Carlyle warned, “alas, is it not as if some zealous scientific son of Adam had proved the deepening of the Ocean, by survey, accurate or cursory, of two mud-plashes on the coast of the Isle of Dogs?” For the National Crime Victimization Survey tells us that over the same period of time, black people made up a minimum of 35 percent of rape offenders, 60 percent of robbery offenders, and 30 percent of aggravated assault offenders. Behold:
This corrects the obviously erroneous calculation, the wash and vapidity, which led the esteemed Task Force on Race and the Criminal Justice System to declare that “the assertion that Black disproportionality in incarceration is due solely to differential crime commission rates is inaccurate.” In fact, it is quite accurate (Unamusement Park): black people are so frequently arrested because they are so frequently guilty. There: a parsimonious theory, backed up by your precious statistics. We have saved ourselves from having ignorance foisted on us.
There are many more surveys of two mud-plashes on the coast of the Isle of Dogs, not to mention Useful-Knowledge Societies to cram them down our throats. Thankfully the New Century Foundation has dealt with all of them in The Color of Crime (2005). Among its major findings: that “police and the justice system are not biased against minorities,” that “blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery,” that “the single best indicator of violent crime levels in an area is the percentage of the population that is black and Hispanic,” and that “blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery.”
There: more than enough statistics for one issue, I believe!
Belgium, by day and by night
Thank you for reading Radish. We hope you enjoyed it. Rest assured, our celebratory forthright conversation about uncomfortable aspects of race will continue.
We close with a rare moment of sanity from Conservatism, Inc.: the less-hopeless-than-average Ann Coulter attempting to have a forthright conversation about gun violence in America, as interpreted by the experienced point-and-sputter progressive drones at the dreary Huffington Post (2013):
Ann Coulter made a jawdropping claim about gun crime and minorities on Monday’s “Hannity.”
The conservative commentator said that she just got back from England, and addressed comparisons of the country’s low rate of gun crime relative to the United States.
“If you compare white populations, we have the same murder rate as Belgium,” Coulter said. “So perhaps it’s not a gun problem, it is a demographic problem, which liberals are the ones pushing, pushing, pushing.”
Yes, why indeed…
Until next time, my forthright friends.
Want to learn more about the topics covered in this issue of Radish? We recommend the following resources. (We do not, however, necessarily endorse all opinions expressed in them: some are not nearly extreme enough.)
“Nation of Cowards?” Replies to Eric Holder
Those Who Can See
This excellent website is where we found most of our primary sources:
- ‘The conundrum of Afro governance’
- ‘Mulatto History Month’
- ‘Sweet Little Lies’
- ‘African-American Crime, Today and Yesterday’
- ‘Emancipation Provocation’
- ‘“In a Word We Suffer on Each Side”’
- ‘Ethnic Co-Existence, Yesterday’
- ‘African History in the U.S. — References’
- ‘Tables and Graphs’
- ‘Hunting the Yeti: Institutional Racism in the 21st Century’
- ‘Provisioning… or Mating?’
- ‘The real meaning of diversity’
- ‘A theory of the ruling underclass’
- ‘Race: a modest proposal’
- ‘Evidence in current history’
- ‘South Africa: a message to Jenny’
More Great Moments in Black Governance
- Occidental Dissent special report: ‘Macon County: The Rise of Black Run America’
- American Renaissance archive: ‘Blacks in Charge’
- ‘Abandoned Gary — A Lost Metropolis of Indiana Industry’ (Indiana)
- ‘Nation’s Capital Wrestles With Budgetary Crisis’
- ‘Attorney hired by Harrisburg City Council vows to fight state takeover’
- ‘Flint emergency manager Michael Brown shares budget challenges with City Council’