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Friday, April 25, 2008

And Now, Headlining, An-n-i-e Coulter!

By Nicholas Stix

I’ve often said that in a previous life, Annie Coulter was a borscht belt comic. I’ve heard it said that a characteristic of Jewish humor is the double punch line—an initial punch line, and then a bigger one on top of it. Well, in her new column, Coulter does a triple punch.

“At one rally, Dohrn famously praised the Manson family for murdering Sharon Tate and others, shouting: ‘Dig it. First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into a victim's stomach! Wild!’

”In a better country, just saying ‘Dig it!’ in public would get you 20 years in the slammer.

”Dohrn has recently tried to clarify her Manson remarks by saying it was some sort of ‘statement’ about violence in society and, furthermore, that she said it while under sniper fire in Bosnia. Also recently, the members of the Manson family have distanced themselves from Ayers and Dohrn.”


With the “20 years" line, I chuckled; with “sniper fire,” I choked with laughter; and when I read “members of the Manson family have distanced themselves,” tears came to my eyes.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lorena Ochoa, AOL, and PC Gone Wild

By Nicholas Stix

People differ as to who the world’s greatest athlete is. Some say it’s David Wright, some pick Carlos Beltran, still others prefer Johan Santana, and some are still carrying a torch for Jose Reyes. But not AOL’s Kevin Blackistone. In “Ochoa Hottest Athlete in Sports,” he says it’s female golfer, Lorena Ochoa, who just won four consecutive tournaments. Though Valentine’s Day was two months ago, Blackistone even wrote a valentine to Ochoa:

“Dear Ms. Ochoa,

“Please accept my congratulations on the continuation of your magnificent run in the LPGA last weekend in Reunion, Fla., at the Ginn Open. Even Tiger Woods hasn’t done what you just did, win a fourth title in four consecutive weekends. And we all marvel at his stranglehold on the PGA. Some among us have even said he’s the most-dominant athlete out there. Well, what does that make you?”

Tiger Woods! Oh, I forgot all about him, what with it being baseball season, and me preparing to have my heart broken all over again, by those overpaid bums in Flushing. Back to the valentine.

“It’s just a shame the nearly unprecedented body of work you’ve put together as a golfer in general and woman sports standout in particular was overshadowed coming out of last weekend by novelty.”

Blackistone is mad because race car driver Danica Patrick finally won a race, the Indy Racing League’s Japan 300. He doesn’t like Patrick because she’s pretty, and she does awful things like wearing slinky skirts when she appears on late night talk shows that accentuate her, um, “personality.” Boo! Hiss! And men race car fans like the way she looks. Double boo/hiss!!

“Indeed, the best thing about Patrick’s victory in the Indy Racing League’s Japan 300 was that it put her in the sports news for the right reasons finally rather than sexist reasons, which she not only perpetuated but exploited….

“As much as Patrick, 26 like you, appeared to be daring to advance the cause of women in sports by challenging the guys on the Indy circuit, she was stalling the women’s movement, if not setting it back.”

This mook isn’t a sportswriter; he doesn’t like sports at all. He’s a feminist! All he cares about is the so-called woman’s movement (i.e., feminism). He’s just trying to pass himself off as a sportswriter, in order to peddle his propaganda.

Ochoa and Patrick aren’t advancing causes, they’re seeking glory, which is as it should be.

Yeah, I know, I’m a political writer, too, but I don’t pose as a sportswriter. (And I can write on sports.)

Now, if Blackistone merely wanted to celebrate Ochoa as the best female golfer, that would be unobjectionable. But that’s not enough for him.

“If you pull of [sic] the Lorena Slam [Blackistone’s coinage], capturing the LPGA Championship and U.S. Women’s Open, you would match what Tiger did at the turn of the millennium by owning all four majors in your game at the same time.

“I read that like Sorenstam, and the one-time girl golf prodigy Michelle Wie, you’ve been invited to play in PGA Tour events but you’ve declined. You are to be applauded for not feeling the need to prove your excellence by playing against men….

“Ms. Ochoa, you are the best at your sport – if not any sport – and by a long shot right now. That’s saying a lot more than winning a single event.”

Lorena Ochoa’s sport is golf; “women’s golf” is not a sport. If Ochoa is “the best at [her] sport,” it means she is better than Tiger Woods. But of course, she isn’t, so she isn’t the best at her sport. She’s the best female golfer right now. And I’m not slighting that. If I sound pedantic, it’s because I have to be, in order to root out Blackistone’s sophistry.

There is no equality in sports (or much else, for that matter), no matter what Kevin Blackistone may fantasize and try through word games to bring about, assuming he doesn’t engage in such silliness just to impress his wife or girlfriend.

That was one aspect of pc in Blackistone’s propaganda op. Another was the question to an AOL poll on the same page. “Which athlete is more dominate [sic] in their sport?” with Lorena Ochoa and Tiger Woods as possible answers. As if they played different sports. Sixty-five percent of respondents chose Woods.

“More dominate”?! Blackistone’s screed was itself an exercise in affirmative action propaganda, and that question was AA in action. It sounds like something a Hispanic who wasn’t fluent in English might say. And whatever the ethnicity of the individual who wrote that question, neither he nor the editor who proofread it has any business working in journalism. Hell, I never made mistakes like that when I wrote in German.

Actually, there was yet a fourth exercise in pc on the page, a poll question, “Which tour is more competitive?” with LPGA and PGA as possible answers. Eighty-three percent of respondents chose PGA.

In a bygone era, George S. Schuyler (1895-1977) referred to stuff equivalent to what AOL posts for its customers to read as “moron fodder.” AOL is a poorly run business, and promotes not only political correctness, but stupidity, and has contributed to the general impoverishment of American culture. Bad business practices, “diversity,” and general stupidity all together? Can such a divergence be mere coincidence?

George S. Schuyler, All-American

By Nicholas Stix
March 15, 2004

Well, here it is the third Black History Month, and I'll bet you haven't heard one thing about George S. Schuyler (1895-1977). What's that, you say, there's only ONE Black History Month? Where have you been?

Nowadays, New Year's Day signals the beginning of Black History Month I (or is it Martin Luther King Month?), and last summer in New York, for several weeks, some Harlem institutions held celebrations that certainly made it sound like we were in BHM. And on March 8, Newsday published a typical BHM puff piece, by Associated Press reporter William Kates, on the call, by descendants of “underground railroad” heroine Harriet Tubman (1822-1913), “the Moses of her people,” for a national holiday in her honor in March.

About 12 years ago, pc director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) said that every month should be Black History Month, and we're well on our way towards realizing that dubious goal. Note, too, that while for years, racist black activists and second-rate comics have complained, “You see that they give us the shortest month!,” the celebration was founded in 1926 by black nationalist scholar-activist Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) as Negro History Week in February, to coincide with the Great Emancipator's birthday. That all that time devoted to celebration and alleged learning has led to racist myths rather than enlightenment, is typical of contemporary racial “progress.”

George S. Schuyler was, simply, the greatest black journalist this country has ever produced. From 1924-1966, he bestrode the negro press like a colossus. Working for Robert Lee Vann's (1879-1940) Pittsburgh Courier weekly newspaper, under his own name, Schuyler penned a column, “Views and Reviews,” of which H.L. Mencken remarked, “I am more and more convinced that he is the most competent editorial writer now in practice in this great free republic.” Schuyler was in turn known as “the Negro's Mencken.” Schuyler wrote the Courier's weekly unsigned, house editorial. He traveled the world, investigating stories, which he wired back to the Courier, such as his world scoop on the return of slavery to Liberia, which had been founded in 1847 by American freedmen. (He was also the first black journalist to write, as a freelancer, for leading white publications, such as the New York Evening Post (now the New York Post), Washington Post, The Nation and Mencken's American Mercury). And under no less than seven pseudonyms, in addition to occasional work under his own name, he wrote the serial pulp fiction that proved to be the Courier's most popular feature (Samuel I. Brooks, Rachel Call, Edgecombe Wright, John Kitchen, William Stockton, Verne Caldwell and D. Johnson).

Schuyler was also the greatest racial satirist this country has ever seen; his classic, 1931 novel, Black No More, has twice been reprinted in the past 15 years.

In the same year that Black No More appeared, Schuyler's novel, Slaves Today: A Story of Liberia, was published, in which he presented, in fictional form, his discovery of the very real Liberian slave trade.

As a journalist, I can't carry Schuyler's jock strap. And yet, on some days, this giant has fewer google entries than even I do! Usually, the only time he gets noticed during one of the Black History Months, is when I write about him. And when Schuyler does get mentioned by what journalist Tony Brown calls, in The Truth According to Tony Brown, the “Black Unaccountable Machine” (B.U.M.), it is to slight him, to insult him, to misrepresent him.

George Schuyler's problem was that he was (gasp) … a conservative!

In 1994, the New York Times hired Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. to do a hit piece on Schuyler in the Book Review, in which Gates, who fancies himself the second coming of W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963), derided Schuyler as a self-hating black, a “fragmented” man.

And so, when the alleged newspaper of record commissioned Phyllis Rose to review Kathryn Talalay's 1995 biography of Schuyler's daughter, Philippa, Composition in Black and White, the reviewer devoted only one sentence to the father, whom she reduced to a crank. But when Philippa Schuyler died in 1967 in a helicopter crash, during a humanitarian mission in Vietnam, she was working as a journalist, following in her father’s footsteps, both professionally and politically. How, then, could Rose deride the father as a crank, while praising the daughter?

In 1998, when Long Island University gave a special George Polk Award to the Pittsburgh Courier (not the black newspaper that currently uses its name), and feted its few living former staffers, LIU, the New York Times, and the Daily News (and Daily News columnist E.R. Shipp) celebrated aged mediocrities, while assiduously refusing to so much as mention the one person responsible for the award: George Schuyler. (The newspapers both refused, as well, to publish my letters mentioning Schuyler.)

And in 1999, the PBS “documentary,” The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords, written by Jill and Stanley Nelson, Lou Potter and Marcia A. Smith, and directed by Stanley Nelson, reduced Schuyler's connection to the Courier to the phrase, “conservative columnist George Schuyler.” Note that Stanley Nelson is an officially accredited “genius,” as per the MacArthur Foundation.

Given that black journalism and black studies are today dominated by privileged incompetents, political hacks, and other “geniuses” who write and teach – in one of Schuyler’s favorite words -- hokum, I suppose it is fitting that they either disparage or ignore George S. Schuyler. After all, they hold the greatest of all black Americans, Booker T. Washington, in contempt, so why should Schuyler fare any better?

George Samuel Schuyler was born in 1895 in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of a chef, and grew up in Syracuse, New York. He served six years in the U.S. Army (1912-1918), eventually attaining the rank of First Lieutenant. However, Schuyler went AWOL when a Greek immigrant shoeshine man in Philadelphia refused to shine his shoes, calling him the “n”-word, even as Schuyler wore the nation’s uniform. “I’m a son-of-a-bitch if I’ll serve this country any longer!”

Later, after Schuyler turned himself in, he was convicted by a military court, and sentenced to five years in prison, but released after serving nine months for being a model prisoner. He never talked or wrote about his time in prison. Until recently, people were ashamed of having spent time in jail, failing to see it as an opportunity to cash in.

Schuyler came to New York City, where he did menial jobs for a few years, while studying on his own. He began associating with socialists, less out of conviction than because they gave him a social circle in which he could discuss ideas. Such circles brought him to the magazine, The Messenger, which was published by A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979) and Chandler Owen (1889-1967), to Randolph and Owen’s intellectual salon, the Friends of Negro Freedom, and from there, in 1924, to the New York office of the Pittsburgh Courier, an office Schuyler would eventually run.

A. Philip Randolph would in 1925 found the nation’s first successful black labor union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, in 1941 get FDR to integrate the defense industry and the federal bureaucracy, and in 1948, succeed in getting Pres. Truman to integrate the armed forces. In 1963, Randolph led the Poor People’s March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. would give his “I Have a Dream” speech. According to Randolph’s biographer, Jervis Anderson, he said “Schuyler was a socialist when I met him. But he never took it seriously. He made fun of everything – including socialism. But he had an attractive writing style.”

Schuyler hobnobbed with blacks of every rank. Jeffrey Leak, the editor of a recent collection of Schuyler’s essays, Rac[e]ing to the Right, cites scholar Arthur P. Davis, who said of Schuyler, “With the possible exception of Langston Hughes, he knew more about the Negro lower and working classes than any other major writer of the twenties and thirties.”

Though Schuyler joined the Socialist Party, and would experiment with some allied ideas, such as cooperatives, he would never be a true believer, and would always be an anti-communist. In the late 1930s he finally broke with socialism altogether. As time went on, and black Americans became less and less hostile towards socialism in general, and leading communists, in particular, as attested to by the acceptance of the circle around the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., anti-communism would become more and more influential in Schuyler’s thinking.

Writing for The Nation magazine in 1926, Schuyler attacked the New Negro Movement’s (which would come to be known as the Harlem Renaissance) claim that there could be such a thing as a “black” aesthetics. In “The Negro-Art Hokum,” Schuyler famously (or notoriously, if you’re an academic or a mainstream journalist) wrote, “the Aframerican is merely a lampblacked Anglo-Saxon.”

Negro art “made in America” is as non-existent as the widely advertised profundity of Cal Coolidge, the “seven years of progress” of [New York] Mayor Hylan, or the reported sophistication of New Yorkers. Negro art there has been, is, and will be among the numerous black nations of Africa; but to suggest the possibility of any such development among the ten million colored people in this republic is self-evident foolishness.


Schuyler was denying that blacks and whites lived in fundamentally different cultures and would produce fundamentally different art. He pointed out that leading black American intellectuals and artists (e.g., scholar-activist W.E.B. DuBois and sculptor Meta Warwick Fuller) were predominantly influenced by European thinkers and artists.

Unfortunately, Schuyler’s hyperbole got the better of him, when he denied the differences between the negro and white cultures of the time. And yet, in denying that there could be a black American “aesthetics,” Schuyler was right.

The magazine’s editors then showed Schuyler’s broadside to Langston Hughes (1902-1967), who had gained early fame as a “poet” for some racial scribblings (his most famous such scribbling, the essay pawned off as a poem, “Theme for English B,” would be published in 1949). Hughes’ response to Schuyler, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” has been forced on students ever since by racially correct professors and teachers, most of whom never even read Schuyler’s essay.

Hughes makes no argument. He simply insists that every black artist be provincial, and browbeats any black who disagrees with him with ad hominem attacks, implicitly charging him with being an Uncle Tom.

So I am ashamed for the black poet who says, “I want to be a poet, not a Negro poet,” as though his own racial world were not as interesting as any other world. I am ashamed, too, for the colored artist who runs from the painting of Negro faces to the painting of sunsets after the manner of the academicians because he fears the strange unwhiteness of his own features.


After telling black artists that they must be slaves to the race, Hughes engages in shameless sophistry, saying “An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he must choose.”

(Hughes’ pompous style may have influenced novelist James Baldwin, who in 1979 wrote a similarly incoherent piece of self-righteous bombast for the New York Times, “If Black English isn’t a Language, Then Tell me, What is?” In Baldwin’s essay, the novelist, who had gained fame as an “integrationist” and civil rights advocate, insisted on racial educational segregation. Just as Hughes, while insisting on black artistic segregation, failed to offer any arguments supporting a uniquely black aesthetics, Baldwin, while insisting that only blacks may teach black students, offered no arguments supporting his title’s implicit claim.)

Writing in the Courier in 1936, Schuyler gave, I think, a more sober appraisal of the issue of race and aesthetics, while again slapping down Hughes:

As the mountain labored and brought forth a mouse, so all of this hullabaloo about the Negro Renaissance in art and literature did stimulate the writing of literature of importance which will live. The amount, however, is very small, but such as it is, it is meritorious because it is literature and not Negro literature. It is judged by literary and not by racial standards, which is as it should be.

In 1929, Schuyler’s pamphlet, Racial Intermarriage in the United States, called for solving America’s race problem through miscegenation, which was then illegal in most states. (Note that Schuyler and his wife, the former Josephine Cogdell, were the nation’s most famous interracial couple. Cogdell, a lily-white, blonde, Texas heiress, and Schuyler believed in eugenics, albeit of a kind diametrically opposed to the regnant white supremacist type promoted by the likes of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. The Schuylers believed that the hybrid created by racial intermarriage would be a stronger type than a “pure” race. And their brilliant daughter, Philippa Duke Schuyler (1931-1967), “Harlem’s Mozart,” was Exhibit A in their defense.)

In 1931, Schuyler, who was America’s first and greatest black science fiction writer, published Black No More, a satire heavily influenced by H.G. Wells. In Black No More, Dr. Junius Crookman invents a machine for turning black folks white. Schuyler mocked blacks’ obsession with wanting to be white, whites’ obsession with blacks, and the way black leaders such as DuBois and Marcus Garvey (1887-1940) exploited the black masses. To appreciate how times have changed since then, in his magazine, The Crisis, W.E.B. DuBois wrote a review praising the book!

The book is extremely significant in Negro American literature, and it will be – indeed it already has been – abundantly misunderstood…. But Mr. Schuyler’s satire is frank, straight forward and universal. It carries not only scathing criticism of Negro leaders, but of the mass of Negroes, and then it passes over and slaps the white people just as hard and unflinchingly straight in the face…. At any rate, read the book. You are bound to enjoy it and to follow with joyous laughter the adventures of Max Disher and Bunny, Dr. Crookman and -- we say it with all reservations -- Dr. Agamemnon Shakespeare Beard.

If only DuBois’ wannabe heir, Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr., had such generosity of spirit, and the ability to poke fun at his own pretensions.

I believe that Black No Moreis the source for the Nation of Islam's “Myth of Yacub,” which insists that the white race was created by an evil black scientist 6,000 years ago.

In the early 1930s, Schuyler denounced the communists who had taken over the movement to free the “Scottsboro Boys.” The Scottsboro Boys were nine black boys and young men who in 1931 had been falsely accused of rape by two white prostitutes, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, and who were initially being sentenced to die by racist, Alabama juries. It was not until 1950, after years of trials and retrials, unjust prison sentences, and in one case, a daring jail break, that all of the Scottsboro Boys had regained their freedom. (The Scottsboro Boys were Haywood Patterson, Clarence Norris, Andy Wright, Roy Wright, Willie Roberson, Charles Weems, Ozie Powell, Olen Montgomery and Eugene Williams.)

In 1933, Schuyler’s expose of conditions in Liberia, including slavery, “Uncle Sam’s Black Step-Child,” was published by H.L. Mencken in the latter’s The American Mercury, based on Schuyler’s 1931 investigation.

The expose, which is republished in Rac[e]ing to the Right, is a cautionary tale on the folly of most aid to “developing countries,” that in 71 years has lost none of its relevance.

In 1936, Schuyler called for a black expeditionary force to free Ethiopia from the grip of the Italian Fascists, who under Mussolini had attacked the country in October, 1935, and successfully invaded and annexed it in May, 1936.

From 1936-38, Schuyler penned the serialized novellas, The Black Internationale and Black Empire, under the pseudonym Samuel I. Brooks. The novels helped double the Courier’s circulation to 250,000. In 1991, the novellas were published in book form for the first time, by Northeastern University Press, under the title, Black Empire.

(The Courier was distributed throughout the South by a network of black Pullman car porters, who would smuggle the paper, which was the scourge of racist white sheriffs, hidden in the floors of railroad cars, and drop off a total of 100,000 issues each week in bundles on the outskirts of every major southern city. The newspaper gained the cooperation of union leader A. Philip Randolph.)

The novels both centered on the work of ruthless, evil genius Dr. Henry Belsidus, successful abortionist to and lover (and sometimes, murderer) of wealthy, white socialites, whom he uses to build his empire of criminal enterprises, legitimate businesses, black Church of Love, and secret, black expeditionary force, which he would use to win back Africa from white colonialists, and eventually to cast whites asunder in a racial Armageddon.

… all great schemes appear mad in the beginning. Christians, Communists, Fascists, and Nazis were at first called scary. Success made them sane…. My ideal and objective is very frankly to cast down the Caucasians and elevate the colored people in their places….

I use their women to aid in their destruction. As long as they succeed in carrying out my mission, I spare them. When they fail, I destroy them….

In Belsidus' Church of Love, his front man, the Rev. Samson Binks sermonizes,

Leave your so-called Christian churches. Force them to close their doors. Christianity is a religion for slaves. You are no longer slaves. You are free men. You are warriors. You are rulers…. You longer bow down to the white man…. You no longer turn the other cheek when smitten. You no longer forgive your enemies.

In the case of the Black Internationale, Schuyler was clearly influenced by the Black Muslims (now known as the Nation of Islam), just as surely as he influenced them in Black No More.

Although Schuyler (almost) always mocked black nationalists such as Marcus Garvey, and referred to his pulp novels in a letter to P.L. Prattis as “hokum,” he easily moved in and out of the nationalist mindset. Recall that at the time, the terms “journalist,” “publicist,” and “propagandist” were often interchangeable, and though the latter term may have fallen into disrepute since World War II, the underlying reality of someone who can enter into the mind of his audience, in order to manipulate it, remains unchanged.

From March, 1993-July, 1939, writing under seven pseudonyms, in addition to his own name, Schuyler published 63 short stories and 19 serialized novellas in the pages of the Pittsburgh Courier. Schuyler’s favorite noms de plume were Samuel I. Brooks and Rachel Call. And so, Schuyler was not only America’s greatest black journalist and science fiction writer, but also -- for what it’s worth -- her greatest black pulp fiction writer.

Schuyler frequently crisscrossed the country, investigating stories, giving public lectures, and promoting the Courier, in black communities large and small. No journalist knew negro America as Schuyler did, a world in which he was a celebrity.

Later in Schuyler’s career, with the rise of the civil rights movement, American Negroes (as they were known in elite – media and political -- discourse and by the upper classes, black and white, until well into the 1970s; during the same period, the word “colored” was perfectly proper and typically used by most blacks and whites) became less tolerant of intellectual diversity; Schuyler had no patience for such lockstep “discipline.” Or rather, America’s negro elite became less tolerant, and passed their intolerance on down the line.

In 1964, when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Schuyler wrote, in “King: No Help to Peace,”

Neither directly nor indirectly has Dr. King made any contribution to world (or even domestic) peace. Methinks the Lenin Prize would have been more appropriate, since it is no mean feat for one so young to acquire 60 communist front citations…. Dr. King's principle contribution to world peace has been to roam the country like some sable Typhoid Mary, infecting the mentally disturbed with perversions of Christian doctrine, and grabbing fat lecture fees from the shallow-pated.

In what was surely the beginning of the end for Schuyler at the Courier, and thus in the Negro press, the Courier refused to publish the editorial; instead, white publisher William Loeb ran it in the conservative Manchester Union-Leader newspaper. Note, however, that just as the negro press rejected Schuyler, the black press itself, in part through its own civil rights agitations, became irrelevant, as blacks began reading white-owned newspapers, and talented and not-so-talented young black journalists began working for white organizations.

After King’s 1968 assassination, Schuyler wrote, “The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., tragically emphasizes again the fact that non-violence always ends violently.”

Schuyler submitted the preceding essay, “Dr. King: Non-Violence Always Ends Violently,” to the North American Newspaper Alliance, which would not publish it. In his last years, Schuyler increasingly had difficulty selling his work, and when he did sell it, it was often to conservative white publications, particularly those published -- American Opinion and the Review of the News -- by the John Birch Society. Hence, did he go from being read almost exclusively by blacks to a virtually lily-white readership. The essay is, however, published – as are most of the essays I’ve quoted in this article, along with a wealth of biographical information – in the 2001 collection, Rac[e]ing to the Right: Selected Essays of George S. Schuyler.

Schuyler felt even less sympathy for Malcolm X (1926-1965), than he did for Martin Luther King Jr. In 1973, in his last published piece, “Malcolm X: Better to Memorialize Benedict Arnold,” Schuyler was his old, acerbic self:

It is not hard to imagine the ultimate fate of a society in which a pixilated criminal like Malcolm X is almost universally praised, and has hospitals, schools, and highways named in his memory!… We might as well call out the schoolchildren to celebrate the birthday of Benedict Arnold. Or to raise a monument to Alger Hiss. We would do well to remember that all societies are destroyed from within — through weakness, immorality, crime, debauchery, and failing mentality.

Schuyler’s career at the Courier ended in 1966, with the purchase of the newspaper by John H. Sengstacke, the biggest owner of negro newspapers, who also owned the Chicago Defender. That year, Schuyler published his autobiography, Black and Conservative.

In recent years, several of George S. Schuyler’s works have been republished or published for the first time in book form: Ethiopian Stories, Black Empire, Black No More, Rac[e]ing to the Right. Hopefully, Black and Conservative will be reprinted, and some of Schuyler’s thousands of newspaper columns and editorials will be published in book form, and/or perhaps posted to an Internet library of Schuyleriana. At least one unpublished Schuyler biography has been written in dissertation form, and a history professor contacted me a year or so ago, asking about a Schuyler essay I’d promised my readers (but had failed to produce), as a possible source for a Schuyler-biography he is writing.

We live in a time in which pygmies are celebrated as giants, and giants are either blacked out of history or their stories revised beyond recognition. But if we are to honestly understand black history, and thus, American history, we must understand the life and work of George S. Schuyler. And so, we must toss out the dogmas we have been taught, and continue to be taught about American history. And we must understand Schuyler - he was that important.

Postscript: Named one of the
Best Essays of 2004
by The Brothers Judd.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Invisible Drivers, Real Crimes

“Hit-and-run” just got a whole new meaning.

Newspaper readers see stories all the time of accidents caused by drunken, Mexican, illegal immigrants who ran away, after crashing their cars. Like many readers, I have often wondered: 1. How can someone who was driving so blind drunk that he just maimed and/or killed people and totaled his own car, be in any shape to run?; and 2. What’s the point? In the past, police would identify the vehicle’s owner, and the drunken killer would be rounded up in no time at all.

Apparently, such incidents also gave pause to some of the finest minds in state government in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia. And they came up with a solution: Those states no longer require applicants for car registration and title to furnish proof of identity, just proof of address.

Those government bureaucrats must have been upset by the stereotyping that non-undocumented workers (i.e., the demographic group formerly known as “Americans”) would engage in, saying things like, “Look at that dumb undocumented worker, running from the scene of an accident. Law’s just gonna chase him down, anyway.” Now, they can say, “Look at that smart undocumented worker, running from the scene of an accident. He just might get away with murder.”

These reflections were prompted by the April 12 article, “Police struggle to find drivers ‘that don't exist,’” by reporter Carol Vaughn, in Virginia’s Dellmarva Daily Times, a Gannett paper.

Vaughn reports on an accident that demolished the front porch of Darryl Hopkins’ house on Fisher Road, outside of Parksley, Virginia, and almost killed Hopkins. Hopkins was sleeping in a recliner in his living room, just a few feet from the front door, whose splintered glass landed in his lap. The car lay outside his door on its side, its lights on, but with no driver to be found. It was registered to a ghost named “Fidel Chavez Escalante,” according to the license left behind in Sr. Escalante’s wallet.

It was the second crash on Hopkins’ property by a ghost driver in the past year.

More progress: Not only did the non-existent driver escape, but the car had Mississippi plates front and back, unlike a previous crash Hopkins recounts that occurred across the road, in which a ghost driver’s car had Mississippi plates on one end, and Tennessee plates on the other. Either the newest crash is an isolated case, or Fisher Road is now getting a higher quality type of criminal.
Vaughn interviewed Virginia State Police First Sgt. J.P. Koushel, who is seeing more “hit-and-run cases involving falsified vehicle registrations.” Koushel said,
“We can't solve these (cases) because in Mississippi, this car is registered to a person who doesn't exist.”
“These cars are untraceable; they all come back to a fictitious person. If you don't have to prove who you are, what's the use of registering and titling a car? If migrant workers can do it, criminals can do it.”
Vaughn reports, “A search of General District court records this week turned up three cases involving a person with the name on the license found in the car with a Parksley address -- one for speeding, one for not having a Virginia driver's license and one for no license. The man was found guilty in all three cases and paid fines ranging from $75 to $100.”

She quotes Hopkins as saying, “It's a zoo back here. This is a major corridor for drugs, alcohol and illegal immigrants.”

This writer was surprised to see Gannett permitting one of its reporters to be so frank about illegal immigration.

(E-mail Carol Vaughn, to thank her for doing such a bang-up job.)

A tip ‘o the hat to faxdc.com’s Minuteman Steve, who sent me Carol Vaughn’s article.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Obama’s Terrorist Connection

By Nicholas Stix

Some of Barack Hussein Obama’s best friends are terrorists.

At The Autonomist, Rocco DiPippo has published the most succinct exposé you’re ever likely to see, about the connection between the “black” man who would be president and “a guy who lives in [Barack Hussein Obama’s] neighborhood.” The “guy who lives in [Obama’s] neighborhood,” and whom Obama erroneously describes as “an English professor” (he’s actually a professor of education), is 1960s terrorist Bill Ayers, one of the leaders of the Communist, bomb-throwing Weathermen.

As the saying goes, “Follow the money.”

Ayers is still married to his terrorist wife, Weathermen leader Bernadine Dohrn; both are close Obama allies. During a 1969 Chicago riot, the group maimed Chicago prosecutor Richard Elrod, and during the early 1970s, it bombed New York City police headquarters, the Capitol building, and the Pentagon. Ayers participated in over 30 bombings, but regrets that he did not commit more terrorist acts. Dorhn celebrated not only the maiming of Elrod, but the gruesome serial murders by Charles Manson and his followers, of actress Sharon Tate and several others. Ayers said, “Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home. Kill your parents.”

Dohrn served a token jail sentence of less than one year; Ayers does not appear to have served any jail time. The only proper punishment for their terrorism would have been execution.

Rather than being punished for their crimes, Ayers and Dorhn were rewarded. Ayers was made a “professor of education and a Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois,” and Dohrn was made a professor of law at Northwestern University and, as if that weren’t bad enough, was given her own politburo, Northwestern’s “Children and Family Justice Center,” where she is the commissar. She also “sits on important committees and boards of the American Bar Association and the American Civil Liberties Union,” and is a popular college commencement speaker.

And who said, “Crime doesn’t pay”?

As reported previously, “In 1999 Ayers joined the Woods Fund of Chicago, where he served as a director alongside Barak Obama until the latter left the Woods board in December 2002. Ayers went on to become Woods' Chairman of the Board. In 2002 the Woods Fund made a grant to Northwestern University Law School's Children and Family Justice Center, where Ayers' wife, Bernardine Dohrn, was employed.”

In the day-to-day world, we would say that Ayers was guilt of a flagrant conflict of interest, but what’s a little conflict of interest among terrorists!

(I don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression: I am not calling Barack Hussein Obama a terrorist; he is a beneficiary of terrorists, and a benefactor of genocidal black supremacists. I don’t want a former law school lecturer who misrepresented himself to be a professor of law to be able to charge me with being unscrupulous in my choice of words.)

Obama says he has “not received some official endorsement from” Ayers, which, given that Ayers threw a fundraiser for Obama at the latter’s home in 2001, is nonsense on stilts. I suppose the lawyer in Obama is looking to fall back on “not during this election.” In Ayers’ case, Obama also tried the denial he used to cover for his relationship to his pastor, the genocidal black supremacist, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, about whom he initially claimed never to have been present, when Wright was spewing his anti-American and anti-white venom. “And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense.”

In any event, this is no mere SPLC-type “tie” or “link”; Ayers, Dohrn, and Obama have been close associates over the years. To find out just how close, read DiPippo: "Woods Fund gave $6000 grant to Reverend Wright's church in Obama's name."

Jewish IQ and the Jewish-Controlled Media

Is the title of a tremendous blog essay by Guy White on Kevin McDonald. McDonald is a psychology professor at Cal State University, Long Beach, who fancies himself a practicioner of “evolutionary psychology,” and an expert on Jews. Hey, isn’t everybody? An expert on Jews, that is, not a practicioner of “evolutionary psychology,” which doesn’t exist, in the foist place. (Why am I writing like Cindy Adams? Beats me.) “Evolutionary psychology” is a euphemism that sociobiologists coined, when sociobiology became unpopular.

When a sociobiologist is on his game, he considers biological expalanations for social behaviors. When his game is off, he constructs scientific-sounding fairy tales to justify his knee-jerk responses.

Circa 1979, I converted from sociology to philosophy, because I realized that most so-called social science is just watered-down politics, metaphysics, and theology. I decided I’d take mine straight. Bad sociobiology has the aforementioned vices, in spades.

(My dream of becoming a millionaire philosopher met with a reality in which editors were more interested in publiushing my doggerel than my philosophical disquisitions on secularization.)

* * *


McDonald’s thesis is that the Jews are a cancer on any society in which they live, which they act as a monolith to destroy from within.

I haven’t dealt with this guy previously, because first of all, when I first read about him in 2000, I think it was, his trilogy, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Jews, but were Afraid to Ask (I made that up), was overpriced. A year or so ago, I saw a listing for a cheaper edition. Second, I considered America to have much bigger problems than anti-Semitism. Black supremacy, for instance. And with time, I saw that reconquista—Hispanic supremacy—loomed as a problem of equal and potentially even greater magnitude than black supremacy. And feminism still hasn’t gone away. Just ask Larry Summers, or the millions of men who must bite their tongue on the job, because of harridans who have the sexual harassment officer on speed dial.

Every now and then, however, McDonald publishes one of his pseudo-scientific articles, and I think, I gotta deal with this guy. However, with White beating me to it, I might have to settle for plagiarizing him.

White’s basic point: Maybe the Jews have been more successful than other groups, because they’re smarter. He adds, for good measure, against McDonald’s charge of Jewish clannishness, that most leading Jews you hear about in this country are anti-Zionists. White gives a great many examples, in support of each of his points.
I would add two points: 1. Regarding Jewish control of the media, one of McDonald’s bete noires: The Jews founded the big three networks and all of the Big Five Hollywood studios. And why did they do that? Because the opportunities were there, and because they were closed out of traditional corporations, due to anti-Semitism. Howard M. Sachar talks about this, in his monumental and immensely readable, A History of the Jews in America. It would do McDonald so much good to read a little history!

2. No group has diluted its numbers more through intermarriage than American Jews.
I have a hunch that McDonald will have a metaphsycial retort to the preceding point.

By Nicholas Stix

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Soros, Europeans: Die Juden sind Unser Unglück! Holocaust II?

On November 9, 1938, and on through the following day and night across Germany and Austria, Nazi storm troopers smashed Jewish shop windows, looted the stores, and beat Jews in their homes and on the streets, murdering at least 91 Jews, arresting 26,000 Jewish men and boys, all of whom were sent to concentration camps, destroying over 7,000 Jewish businesses, and burning down 101 synagogues.

The storm troopers (Stürmer), also known as “brown shirts” for the uniforms they wore, hung posters in Jewish stores with the phrase, coined in 1880 by the famed German historian, Heinrich von Treitschke, “Die Juden sind unser Unglück!” (“The Jews are our misfortune!”), and the warning to German Christians, “Deutsche, kauft nicht bei Juden!” (“Germans, don’t buy from Jews!”) The state-ordered, “spontaneous” pogrom, which the Nazis mockingly called “Reichskristallnacht” (Imperial Night of Glass), and Jews have translated as the “night of broken glass” (“Kristallnacht”) was, for Germany’s 500,000 Jews, the beginning of the end. (With the “Anschluss” (annexation) of Austria on March 12 of that year, Austrians suddenly also became “Germans.”)

On November 5, 2003, billionaire financier George Soros arose at a function to say, in so many words, “Die Juden sind unser Unglück!” He blamed the Jews, Israel, and the policies of Pres. George W. Bush, for the rise in world anti-Semitism in recent years, most dramatically, since 911.

“There is a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe. The policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon administration contribute to that. It’s not specifically anti-Semitism, but it does manifest itself in anti-Semitism as well. I’m critical of those policies.

“If we change that direction, then anti-Semitism also will diminish. I can’t see how one could confront it directly.”

Soros also responded to recent remarks by powerful anti-Semites, such as Mahathir Mohammad, who just stepped down as Malaysia’s prime minister, that the Jews, particularly, Jewish financiers like Soros, rule the world.

Mohammad: “The Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.”

Soros: “I’m also very concerned about my own role because the new anti-Semitism holds that the Jews rule the world. As an unintended consequence of my actions, I also contribute to that image.”

There are, of course, huge differences between Kristallnacht and Sorosnacht. First and foremost, Hungarian-born George Soros, whose family fled the Nazis, is a Jew! During the Nazi era of 1933-1945, it was unheard of for Jews to blame Jews for anti-Semitism. There were Jews who aided the Nazis in the killing of Jews, but that involved the extraordinary case of the “Kapos,” Jews in the death camps who bought themselves a little time, by leading other Jews to the “showers,” where they were gassed to death.

There is, however, precedent for Jews letting other Jews die, through deferring to murderous anti-Semitism. Once Hitler began carrying out his “Final Solution” in early 1943, Rabbi Stephen Wise and other American Jewish leaders found out about the genocide, but out of deference to Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt, refused to publicize it. FDR was in a position to bomb the death camps, or at the very least, the rail lines leading to them, but instead did nothing, costing millions of Jews their lives.

But this is a different time, a time of wealthy Jewish prostitutes, Jewish anti-Semites, and even Jewish Nazis.

And George Soros was not speaking before an audience of genocidal anti-Semites, a la Yassir Arafat, UN Human Rights Commissar Mary Robinson, or the al Qaeda leadership. Rather, he was speaking before the Jewish Funders Network, a group of multimillionaire Jewish philanthropists and their bureaucrats, in Manhattan’s Harvard Club.

Rather than vilify Soros, the prostitutes, er, philanthropists, were polite to a fault. Event organizers Michael Steinhardt and Mark Charendoff said nice things, and even saved Soros from further embarrassing himself. According to Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reporter Uriel Heilman, Steinhardt interrupted Soros’ defense of anti-Semitism. “‘George Soros does not think Jews should be hated any more than they deserve to be,’ Steinhardt said by way of clarification, eliciting chuckles from the audience.”

The interruption gave Soros a chance to catch his breath. He said he had more observations on the subject, but asked first if any journalists were in the room. When he found out journalists were present (surprise, surprise), he held his tongue.

George Soros presents one of the greatest dangers to world Jewry. Unlike genocidal Jewish anti-Semites such as Israel’s “post-Zionists” or Adam Shapiro, the co-founder of the PLO front, the International Solidarity Movement, Soros does not wake up in the morning thinking, “How may I help kill Jews?” For Soros, rather, the Jews are an inconvenience.

One of the ironies of George Soros, is that he is one Jew who really does seek to rule the world. Not the way anti-Semites from central casting like Mahathir Mohammad claim, through rigging currency markets, but rather through non-governmental organizations like his Soros Foundation and Open Society Institute, which are allied with anti-American organizations like the U.N., Red Cross/Red Crescent, and the New York Times, in trying to destroy America. Soros seeks to institute a humanitarian, socialist, world government.
As to why Soros should make nice with genocidal anti-Semites, I believe he is following the rule, “My enemy’s enemy is my friend.” Genocidal Muslims are America’s greatest enemy. Strange bedfellows, and all that.

But, you ask, Isn’t Soros a Jew?! Tell him that.

The prostitutes who heard Soros speak, want his money. They refuse to understand that they would be making a deal with the Devil. Soros would only give money to Jewish philanthropies and organizations, in order to gain control over and subvert them. If there are any real Jewish leaders worthy of the name, they will vilify and marginalize Soros.

Most gentiles are unaware of how pervasive Jewish anti-Semitism is, particularly in America. Of course, Jews’ internecine disagreements are so legendary, that there is a tradition of jokes on the subject: “Two Jews, three opinions.” “If there were only two Jews in a town, they’d need three synagogues. One for each, and a third where they could worship together.”

In America, conflicts that are simply the stuff of human nature and social interaction (conflicting interests, preferences, principles, etc.) are exacerbated by a reality in which Jews, unlike their European ancestors, may enter all professions and own land. The good news is that American Jews are no longer desperately dependent on the Jewish community. The bad news is that the splintering of Jewish communities has meant that wealthy Jews no longer feel bound by any religious obligations to their brethren, and instead feel solidarity with other wealthy folks, Jewish and gentile alike. And while wealthy Jews feel that irrational hatred for those less well off that is typical of so many wealthy people, since it is socially unacceptable to show hatred for poor blacks and Hispanics, and wealthy Jews have business alliances with white gentiles, they focus their class hatred on Jews from the lower tax brackets. Poor, working-class, and lower-middle-class Jews often seem to be the only groups that well-to-do Jews are unafraid to “stand up to.” And so, while during the immigrant generations, wealthy Jews gave overwhelmingly to Jewish philanthropies, and helped some gifted but poor Jews, today, in order to make friends, many wealthy Jews are more likely to help gentiles than Jews.

(An academic expression of the break up of the Jewish community was the alchemy whereby social scientists, many of them Jews, dishonestly redefined Judaism into an “ethnicity.” Ethnicity refers to the nation of one’s forebears, or in the case of an immigrant, one’s nation of birth. Imagine categorizing Christians or members of any other religious group as an ethnic group. My ethnicity, for instance, is Hungarian-Russian-German-Canadian-Irish.)

Some will disagree with my calling such class hatred “anti-Semitism,” but if it were merely class hatred, it would express itself equally towards Jews and gentiles alike. (I realize that some wealthy Jews are openly contemptuous towards poor white Christians, but this contempt is not as widespread as is commonly assumed.) When I told an Evangelical friend about class-based, Jewish anti-Semitism, he argued that perhaps the well-to-do Jews simply looked down on poor and working-class Jews whom they considered inferior types, independent of the latter’s class origin. But since the well-to-do Jews ONLY feel that way about Jews whose parents made less money than their parents did, and are accepting of incredibly obnoxious but well-to-do Jews, there is no factor independent of being Jewish and poor that could explain their behavior. Indeed, while I have encountered well-to-do Jews (socialist and neo-conservative alike) who actively sought to derail me professionally, those who have supported me professionally have, with rare exception, been Christians.

Discussions of class-based Jewish anti-Semitism are suppressed by the mainstream media. One exception I’m aware of is David Mamet’s 1991 movie, Homicide. In Homicide, working-class, Jewish Det. Bobby Gold (Joe Mantegna) investigates the murder of the matriarch of a wealthy Jewish family. The victim’s son, a doctor, pulls strings to get “the Jewish detective” assigned to the case. And yet, the doctor pulls social rank on Gold, as well, demanding of him, “Do you have the pride to do the job?” Gold responds in kind, “I’m not impressed by your money, or who you are.”

And then there is the anti-Semitism of Jews who suffer from WASP-envy.

About 15 years ago, at a holiday dinner combining Jewish and gentile anti-Semites from my family, a Jewish relative remarked at how “civilized” things were. Translation: The dinner table conversation was dull as dishwater. That relative, who is unmistakably Jewish, wanted to pass for a WASP. The stereotypical Jewish family dinner is a series of quips and arguments; lacking the proverbial Jewish wit, and feeling hostility towards those who have it, my relative opted instead to be “civilized.” (Note that being “civilized” included for this relative trashing the First Amendment in favor of campus speech codes and workplace repression.)

Due to circumstances abroad, American Jewish anti-Semitism today has a significance that goes beyond social slights, ethnic envy, and comedies of social manners that will not be produced on Broadway.

Sorosnacht came only days after it was revealed that 59% of those polled in European Union countries declared Israel (read: the Jews) to be the greatest threat to world peace, worse even than gulag-state and rogue nuclear power, North Korea. Die Juden sind unser Unglück!

Some will no doubt be confused. Haven’t millions of Europeans since World War II told of how sad they were about the poor Jews? Didn’t postwar movie Germans from central casting all say, “Wir haben nichts gewusst!” “We didn’t know!” (E.g., in the big-budget, 1964 Hollywood film, The Cardinal, by Otto Preminger, himself a Viennese Jew!)

I even heard that exact line from real Germans, such as an attractive business lady of a certain age, whose shop I was visiting in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps, in 1984. (I didn’t have to tell her I was a Jew; she just knew.)
Most people under a certain age are unaware of the de-Nazification re-education programs our army of occupation imposed on the West German populace after World War II, or that for at least 25 years after the occupation officially ended in 1950, West German school children were forced to endure films shot by the American servicemen who liberated the Nazi death camps in 1945. The films showed the starving, surviving Jews (some of whom died in the days to come) and mountains of skeletons of murdered Jews.

The films caused sensitive souls to vomit. I was repelled by them, seeing them as a bullying way of torturing the children for the sins of the fathers and grandfathers. That was before I encountered Holocaust-deniers.

I believe that the occupation authorities anticipated that a day would come, when German parents would tell their children that the Holocaust was just another lie manufactured by those wily Jews who run the world. It was imperative that young West Germans know, “that it did happen here.”

Likewise, across Europe, in the face of American power, and a tacit understanding that the Europeans could blame everything on the Nazis, Europeans paid lip-service to “the horror.” I grew up on the myth, for example, of the French resistance. A fraud named Jean-Paul Sartre, who had all the physical courage of a church mouse, made a career out of claiming to have been a resistance fighter. Had half as many Frenchmen fought in the resistance as claimed to, the Germans would have endured a worse slaughter in France than they did in Russia.

The French killed the Nazis with kindness. Anyone who doubts me, need only visit Paris. Rotterdam resisted the German Wehrmacht; it was leveled. Paris surrendered without a peep; after the war, it looked as beautiful as it had in the 1920s.

The hatred that Europeans now routinely express towards Jews, the tacit support they give to the murderous Moslems in their midst, could be expressed in the form of a t-shirt: My Grandfather Got to Kill Jews, but All I Got was This Lousy T-Shirt.
Hundreds of millions of Europeans have a sentimental attachment to the notion that they may determine whether the Jews live or die.

In “The European Solution,” Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick argues that Europeans seek the destruction of Israel as part of a package deal, which includes the subordination of the U.S. to Europe. The Europeans, so Glick, see this as a golden opportunity to recapture their lost glory. The Americans would have to sacrifice the Jews, as a gesture of good faith, on the way to instituting a humanitarian, world government. (Sound familiar?) So, we’ll kill the Jews, as part of a filthy, lousy operation to help Europe.

Is the idea delusional? Sure, but it’s the Europeans’ (and Soros’) delusion, not Glick’s. She cites French “policy wonk” Dominique Moissy as having explicitly articulated the delusion, in terms of Israel relinquishing her sovereignty, which is a lace curtain way of saying, “We’ll kill the Jews.”

It doesn’t occur to the power-crazed Europeans, as Steve Sailer recently noted, that Europe’s fall from greatness owes much to the slaughter of its most creative group, the Jews. But then, the Europeans have given up on greatness in the arts and sciences, and care only about naked political power, albeit power derived through bureaucratic jockeying, and sucking up to terrorists.

In the classic, 1964 John LeCarre (aka David John Moore Cornwell) novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, British counterintelligence spy Alec Leamas must “defect” to communist East Germany, where he accuses a Nazi butcher, Mundt, now atop the East German spy service, who is already under suspicion of being a traitor, of being a double agent.

And in fact, he is. But the ruse involves a double switch. Leamas’ charges against Mundt are designed to fall apart at trial, exonerating and thus saving the truly guilty man, and pointing instead to Fiedler, an innocent colleague and rival of Mundt’s, a humane, worldly, charming, bon vivant who actually believes in communism, but lacks the system’s brutality (I know, he’s too good to be true)- and who is a Jew.

(LeCarre notes repeatedly, by the way, how well Nazis did in postwar East Germany, as many others have noted how well they did in postwar West Germany. That was before LeCarre “evolved,” regarding the Jews.)

With the deed done, Leamas confesses to his civilian lover, “We are witnessing the lousy end to a filthy, lousy operation to save Mundt’s skin. To save him from a clever little Jew in his own Department who had begun to suspect the truth. They made us kill him, do you see, kill the Jew. Now you know, and God help us both.”

Leamas’ speech was LeCarre’s metaphor for the Jews always being sacrificed for the sake of some grubby, political expediency.

I say, not this time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Grade Inflation in Higher Ed

Part I: Reality Testing
By Nicholas Stix
May 11, 2001
Toogood Reports

As I write, college instructors around the country are looking at their grade books, and holding the following internal monologue: “Well, her attendance is terrible, she hasn’t done her assignments, and her test average is a ‘D,’ but she’s black, and she could get me fired, so I’ll give her a ‘B.’... He’s white, so I’ll flunk him.... She’s illiterate, but she’s Puerto Rican, so I’ll give her a ‘B.’...

Such internal monologues are typically held by instructors in what I call the Asphalt League of public higher education, especially in the AL’s urban precincts.

Such monologues apparently occur much less often in the minds of instructors at overpriced, private universities (OPUs) like Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton. At such schools, money talks, and parents who are paying over $30,000 per year per child for an “education,” will not tolerate instructors giving their children less than top grades. The good folks teaching at OPUs have resolved their conflicts, by giving high grades to almost everyone — half of all grades at Harvard are “A” or “A-”; some eighty percent of all grades at Stanford are “B” or higher; and at Princeton the figure is over 83 percent.

To get an idea of the significance of such grading, consider that according to a classic bell curve, the traditional criterion used for grading the members of a class, only 15 percent of grades would attain the lofty heights of A- or A, and that for the past thirty years, as scores on standardized tests have gone down, average college grades have shot up.

In February, Harvey Mansfield noted that grade inflation is rampant at Harvard. Mansfield, a distinguished political philosopher who has spent his entire, 39-year career at Harvard, observed that the inflation had begun during the 1970s. He announced that he gives every student two grades: The grade the student actually earned, and the grade Mansfield is officially recording for him, so as not to harm the student in an age of grade inflation.

As controversial as Mansfield’s announcement was, that wasn’t what got him into trouble. It was his explanation: He believes that grade inflation was initially a result of affirmative action, and was limited to black students. Later, he says, instructors compensated for the unfair advantage they were granting affirmative action admits, by inflating the grades of white (and, presumably, Asian) students, too.

Mansfield has admitted that he has no scholarship to back up his contention, just his long experience at Harvard.

Outraged black students complained publicly, and even trespassed in Mansfield’s class, sitting in silence before leaving. Harvard is obviously a world apart from the University of California-Berkeley, where an instructor who made the same statement would have to be identified via dental records. Harvey Mansfield was immediately celebrated by conservative academics and journalists. In National Review Online, for example, Stanley Kurtz devoted his February 20 column to praising Mansfield.

Now, I have no personal beef with Harvey Mansfield. But as he himself has admitted, he has no scholarship to support his claims. So, why would conservative academics — who routinely pillory racial socialists for making statements lacking any scholarly basis — celebrate a man who is guilty of the same offense? And why did Mansfield’s black student antagonists fail to make an issue of his lack of scholarship?

The reason is that things are much worse in academia than even its brand-name critics are aware of. In a debate, opposing scholars come up with conflicting data, and argue about why their respective data fail to match, or give mutually irreconcilable interpretations to generally accepted data. But no one is even providing data for a grade inflation debate.

Mainstream conservatives like Stanley Kurtz praise Harvey Mansfield, because he’s one of them; racial socialists attack him, because he’s one of “the enemy.”

Racial socialists know, in their hearts, that they seek to politically cleanse the university of all who disagree with them. Many mainstream conservatives, on the other hand, delude themselves that they stand for “disinterested scholarship.”

Although Mansfield spoke in February, I scooped him on this story ... by three years. I have a special, albeit invisible role in this non-debate. You see, there IS a body of scholarship on grade inflation: My scholarship. In 1998, I published the longest article on the topic I’m aware of, in the nation’s most respected, conservative academic journal, Academic Questions; a series in the New York Post; another series in the New York Daily News; related articles in Insight, The Weekly Standard, and Chronicles magazines, respectively; and responding to a request from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, I produced a 11,000-word report on reforming the City University of New York system.

And I can assure you that Harvey Mansfield and Stanley Kurtz read my Academic Questions article. Both men are closely associated with the National Association of Scholars, which publishes AQ.

I was on a one-man crusade. I would reform the City University system, where I was then teaching, and my glorious campaign would result in a book deal for the manuscript I was working on.

I believe the social work term for my problem is “reality testing.”

Things didn’t exactly work out as I envisioned them: CUNY’s administrators have since pioneered new advances in the science of academic fraud; my book remains unpublished; and my crates full of thousands of pieces of evidence of academic corruption gather dust, while “scholars” pay rapt attention to a man who admits that he has no evidence to support his claims.

Maybe I’m not the only one who has a problem with reality testing.

Crime Scenes: Grade Inflation in Higher Ed, Part II

By Nicholas Stix
May 29, 2001
Toogood Reports

When people think of criminals, they usually conjure up images of street muggers, carjackers, and stock swindlers. They need to add to that rogues’ gallery, images of college presidents, English Department chairmen, and professors.

For today’s typical university is increasingly a criminal enterprise, which routinely violates the civil rights of students and employees alike, and which annually defrauds the taxpayers out of tens of millions of dollars. Policemen have been prosecuted for violating civilians’ constitutional rights, while doctors and druggists have been prosecuted for Medicaid and health insurance fraud. Why not prosecute alleged educators who have for years violated citizens’ constitutional rights, and together defrauded the taxpayers out of billions of dollars?

Academia routinely violates students and professors’ First Amendment rights; however, I am presently concerned with violations of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause, through the routine inflation of some students’ grades, and deflation of others’ grades, based on the respective students’ race, ethnicity, sex or sexual proclivities. I am likewise concerned with the defrauding of taxpayers by institutions which give passing grades to students who cannot do high-school (or, increasingly, even junior high school) level work, in order to continue to receive those students’ financial aid or loan money. This scam is called “retention.”

During seven years as a college instructor, I encountered no less than ten different methods of grade inflation: affirmative grading, social promotion, the provision of non-academic classes, the ruse of “developmental education,” the dumbing-down or outright elimination of tests, institutionalized test fraud, the administrative overriding of adjunct professors’ grades, the toleration and even encouragement of plagiarism, the “selling” of grades, and through the organized intimidation of professors.

• 1. Affirmative Grading: Grading a student based on his race, ethnicity, or sex — which includes inflating the grades of blacks, Hispanics, and females, as well as deflating the grades of “WHAMS” (white, heterosexual, able-bodied males).

Affirmative Grading has a solidarity variation, whereby minority, female, and homosexual professors giving courses in identity or hate sciences (black studies, lesbian studies, etc.), give all members of the oppressed group in question “A”s simply for showing up for class.

There is a comical angle to racial grade inflation. Whereas a very real conspiracy exists, to INFLATE black students’ grades, all over the country, black college students compare notes on an imaginary conspiracy of white professors which they believe exists TO MAKE THEM FAIL. During the mid-1990s, a student of mine at New Jersey’s Passaic Community College reported having heard about “the conspiracy” from a friend at nearby William Paterson College, where I also taught.

As Alan Kors and Harvey Silverglate write in The Shadow University, many black students first hear about “the conspiracy” from racist black orientation administrators, and from racist black studies professors. The funny thing is, the typical black college student today is so racist, that such hate-mongering is redundant.

• 2. Social Promotion: At one New Jersey school where I taught, Passaic County Community College, full-time instructors had the privilege of asking our chairwoman to simply pass students who had flunked their exit exam.

Social promotion has ramifications up and down the academic food chain, beginning with admission. Since most state universities now admit functional illiterates — some more, some less — and adjunct professors at the remedial and foundational levels cannot simply flunk everyone, professors at every level feel increasing pressure to pass more incompetent students, and students at ever more dramatic levels of incompetence. And today’s black affirmative action admits consider anything less than an “A” proof of racism.

As Irish author Conor Cruise O’Brien recounts in the Spring, 2001 issue of Academic Questions, when the University of California-Berkeley adopted a policy of “open admissions” during the mid-1960s, incompetent black students would be admitted and passed along, until their junior year, when they would be summarily flunked out of school. The school flunked out the black students, because it was concerned that graduating manifestly incompetent students would tarnish the reputation of its degree. Today, however, administrators at allegedly “highly selective” campuses have forgotten their academic mission. And black and Hispanic affirmative action (aka “diversity”) admits, who see admission as a package deal, including passing all their classes, graduation, and receiving a well-paid, lifetime, civil-service job, will not tolerate such “disparate treatment,” and are increasingly being graduated.

• 3. Non-academic classes: Many courses, such as “College Skills,” have no academic content, but exist only to give remedial students enough credits for “non-remedial” or allegedly college-level courses, in order for them to maintain their financial aid eligibility. See also number one above.

• 4. Developmental Ed: These are remedial courses that are disguised as non-remedial courses, in order to maintain students’ financial aid eligibility.

• 5. Dumbing- Down/Eliminating Tests: At New Jersey’s William Paterson College (since promoted to William Paterson UNIVERSITY), my English Department chairwoman simply eliminated the New Jersey Basic Skills Test from the remedial English final exam, which tended to trip up weak students (which was the point!), and expanded the time for the exam essay from 20 to 75 minutes, while, if anything, making grading standards even more lax than before. Meanwhile, last fall, in addition to dumbing down (yet again!) its entry test for non-English speaking immigrant applicants, taking a page from disability advocates’ handbook, the City University of New York (CUNY) system eliminated the test’s time limit.

• 6. Institutionalized Test Fraud: At CUNY’s Puerto Rican separatist, Hostos Community College, I witnessed a tradition of test fraud, whereby the English as a Second Language (ESL) program would distribute to instructors the ESL finals in advance, with orders that we professors distribute the exams to students, and explain them in class. Many of our Hispanic immigrant and Puerto Rican migrant students would either write their final essays in advance, or have them written for hire, bring them to the “exam,” and simply copy them into their “blue books.” Adjunct Professor Richard France witnessed the identical method of pervasive test fraud at CUNY/City College’s Center for Worker Education.

• 7. Overriding Adjunct Professors’ Grades: Increasing numbers of administrators are willing to disregard failing grades given by adjunct professors, no matter how incompetent the student in question. Thus, at CUNY’s Hostos Community College, one female whom I had flunked in English as a Second Language (ESL), simply went to my program director, and got placed into the next-level ESL class, even though she had been one of my weakest (and laziest) students. And at William Paterson College, where I had received stunning teaching evaluations, when I flunked one white male student for gross misconduct (for threatening to beat me up during class), and a black female student for having missed ten classes (my syllabus stated that four absences were the limit), and having failed to complete any of her nine required class essays, my program director, Elizabeth DeGroot, passed both students.

Most adjunct professors would not have flunked those students, because they know what troubles await an adjunct who sets standards and sticks to them. As a white male adjunct colleague at William Paterson College told me, “Compromises can always be made.”

• 8. Grades for Sale: In a thoroughly documented article in the February 18, 1998 New York Times, reporter Randal C. Archibold showed that grade inflation is not limited to public higher education’s Asphalt League. Archibold reported that at two of the nation’s most respected OPUs (overpriced, private universities), Princeton and Stanford, 80 and 83.3 percent, respectively, of all grades were “B”s or “A”s. Archibold noted that parents paying over $30,000 per year per child will not accept less. It is also the case that tenure does not stiffen the spine of full-time instructors, many of whom simply cannot endure being unpopular with students.

Meanwhile, a postmodern method of grade inflation has come about through professors and administrators’ toleration, and implicit encouragement of plagiarism.

Next column: Postmodern Grade Inflation: Plagiarism

Postmodern Grade Inflation: Plagiarism

Grade Inflation in Higher Ed, Part III
By Nicholas Stix
May 30, 2001
Toogood Reports

Plagiarism might not seem like a method of grade inflation, but it has developed into one, as so many professors and administrators have turned a blind eye to pervasive plagiarism, as to implicitly encourage it. Instructors give plagiarists high grades for fraudulent work, while giving honest students — whom they are ultimately punishing for their honesty — lower grades.

This spring, plagiarism became a story for all the wrong reasons when a “scandal” erupted at the University of Virginia. The University of Virginia has an honor code, which all students must sign, and which calls for violators to be expelled, or to lose already awarded degrees. Some sixty students stand in danger of receiving academia’s version of the death penalty.

The University of Virginia case was initially reported in the Richmond Times-Dispatch; the New York Times and other media organizations eventually followed in the Times-Dispatch’s footsteps. Some critics have implied that the case is evidence that honor codes do not work, while implying that schools with no honor code, and where no scandal appears on the media’s map, are oases of academic virtue.

The scandal was uncovered when a student complained to her physics professor, Louis A. Bloomfield, about her grade for the Fall 2000 semester. She claimed that many students who had gotten higher grades did so through handing in plagiarized term papers.

Extraordinarily, Bloomfield actually DID something! Developing a computer program for matching phrases of six words or more between different papers, he found that some sixty of his 1,800 students over the previous five semesters had handed in the SAME paper; overall, 122 students were found to have plagiarized their work.

Ninety-nine out of one hundred professors in Louis Bloomfield’s situation would have passed the buck. And few of those 99 will be fans of Bloomfield’s.

Jere Crook is another professor who did the right thing. Poor sod. In 1997, while teaching at Catholic Fordham University in The Bronx, Crook caught a student engaging in plagiarism, and flunked her. Crook showed his superiors, through examples of the student’s typical work, and the vastly superior work she had suddenly handed in, that she had cheated. His bosses, however, proved downright hostile to standards of truth and morality — and to Jere Crook’s insistence on them. When the student complained, Fordham “flunked” Crook instead. (Since Crook was an adjunct professor, Fordham simply refused to renew his contract.) The student received no punishment.

As Jere Crook told me in 1998, “The dean was very annoyed at me about my protestations. He said, ‘You put me in a very difficult position.’ This was the same dean who had circulated an announcement that he wanted the faculty to be especially vigilant about student cheating.”

I am sorry to report, that in the universities of the Church of St. Peter, too, it is a brave, new world.

When I taught college, I soon learned the need to avoid becoming a “Crook.” In my second semester, I received a batch of brilliant papers on Plato’s Republic from community college students, including one masterpiece that was better argued and more beautifully written than the labor of love I had produced on the same topic for a Ph.D. seminar. Since I knew that confronting the plagiarists would result in my pony-tailed, radical feminist, the-student-is-always-right, male boss stabbing me in the back, I quietly knocked a full letter grade off of the semester grade of the “author” of each perfect paper.

Thereafter, I had students write ALL drafts in class. After correcting and grading their drafts, I sent them home to type corrected versions, which they would hand in along with their classroom drafts. I would then check to see that they had incorporated my corrections. I gave each student a half-grade bonus for completing the corrected version.

Granted, that strategy cost my students precious classroom time, but based on reports from the “postmodern” classroom predominating under many of my colleagues, it was time well spent.

There is a certain poetic justice to plagiarism becoming pervasive on today’s campus. For today’s reigning set of academic dogmas, known variously as “postmodernism” and as “multiculturalism,” deny the virtue of academic honesty. The postmodern dispensation, most closely identified with French “philosopher,” Jacques Derrida, says “There is no author!” as well as denying distinctions between right and wrong, and truth and falsity.

Multiculturalism, on the other hand, denies the existence, or at least the moral value of the individual; is opposed to private property (e.g., authorship); accordingly, promotes “group projects,” in which all get credit for the work of one or of a few; and makes standards of morality and truth dependent on one’s membership in a privileged group. For instance, if one is a member of an officially “oppressed” (aka “underrepresented,” “underserved,” etc.) group, such as blacks, women, Hispanics, homosexuals, or the handicapped, one is under no obligation to follow the rules of the “oppressor” culture.

The plagiarism case of Martin Luther King, which dates back to the 1980s, shows just how depraved academic culture has been for some time.

In the mid-1980s, academics discovered that Martin Luther King had been, since childhood, a compulsive plagiarist, and had only gotten WORSE with age. The most notorious case of King’s plagiarism was his 1955 Boston University doctoral dissertation.

As Theodore Pappas shows in his book, Plagiarism and the Culture War, King stole one-third of his dissertation, word for word, from other writers, primarily his classmate, Jack Stewart Boozer’s, 1952 dissertation on the same topic.

That King didn’t even try to cover his tracks, shows that already in 1955, something was very rotten in white academia. (Would negro professors at an historically black university have looked the other way, in a case of such gross plagiarism? I doubt it.)

Leading academics’ response to King’s plagiarism, was to dissemble, lie, and when all else failed, come up with a pathetic, multicultural rationalization.
From 1987-1990, “historian” Clayborne Carson, director of the King Papers Project, deliberately misled journalists. Boston University President Jon Westling lied, insisting in 1990 that “not a single instance of plagiarism of any sort has been identified.”

When, despite the help of friendly mainstream journalists, the story could no longer be suppressed, Keith Miller, a white composition instructor at Arizona State University, cooked up a theory of “voice merging.” According to Miller, blacks CANNOT commit plagiarism, because the black oral tradition does not recognize intellectual property rights. Miller wasn’t bothered by inconvenient facts, such that King had taken courses on plagiarism and intellectual honesty, and that for a man who was indifferent about intellectual property, King exhibited a downright Prussian thoroughness, when it came to copyrighting the works he had authored, as well as those he had stolen from other men.

While Jacques Derrida & Co. are too irony-deficient to appreciate that, according to their own arguments, they may no longer lay claim to the authorship or ownership of their “own” writings — if you doubt me, just try plagiarizing them — their moral nihilism has taken its toll on academic culture, which is morally on shaky ground in the best of times.

Grade fraud’s most powerful support, however, inheres in a regime of intimidation directed against the adjunct professors who at most Asphalt League campuses comprise the majority of the faculty, a regime that makes fighting fraud a matter of fighting City Hall.

Next column: Fighting City Hall.

Fighting City Hall: Grade Inflation in Higher Ed, Part IV

By Nicholas Stix
June 4, 2001
Toogood Reports

At all college campuses today, but especially at public “Asphalt League” campuses, where the majority of faculty is comprised of adjunct professors, a regime of intimidation is marshaled against adjunct, especially white male adjunct professors, to ensure that they give students the “right” grade.

Increasing numbers of students, especially the growing numbers of those known as “Students from Hell,” are aware that any number of campus authorities and advocates will join forces with them against any professor (or at least, any white, heterosexual, able-bodied male — WHAM — adjunct) that refuses to give them the grade they demand. Affirmative action officers, minority student advisors, officials from Offices of Disabled Students’ Services, vice-presidents for minority student affairs, department heads, and even elected officials stand poised to put uppity WHAM adjuncts in their place.

One Student from Hell I encountered was a thirty-something, white, female student at William Paterson College who showed up for philosophy class only twice in the first five weeks of the semester. The first time she attended, she flirted with me; the second time, in front of my largely Catholic class, she screamed that I was engaging in Catholic-bashing.

The student complained to my chairman, John Peterman, that I was harassing her, but Peterman was that rare academic male, a man. I had no desire to meet with the woman, but Peterman wisely suggested we all meet together, so that the student could not play “He said, he said.” When we three met together, and the female still sought to twist our words, I told her, “My class is not a democracy .... If there is a repeat performance of your disruption, I will show you the door.” Peterman was possessed of a gentle style. And yet, unlike my female academic bosses, who apparently never met a Student from Hell they didn’t like (as long as the student wasn’t theirs), he supported me.

But my student wasn’t done. Making only cameo appearances in class, and doing none of the course’s required reading or essays, she got only two out of a possible 100 points on her mid-term, and a zero on her final, respectively. And yet, when I flunked her, she filed a complaint with the school’s affirmative action officer. I only heard about the complaint the following semester; I was never shown it. To my knowledge, that was one “F” that stuck.

Note that while in the fantasy lives of most tenured instructors, instructors and students implicitly agree that the latter may terrorize adjunct professors to their hearts’ content, as long as they show respect to tenured faculty, fewer and fewer students are sharing in this fantasy. In 1994, while I was teaching at William Paterson College, a cadre of radical lesbian students fabricated charges of homophobia, in order to terrorize the painfully, politically correct, white male head of the Sociology Department, Vincent Parillo.

Parillo’s tenured, department cronies were so morally lost, that their idea of a defense of their friend, was to write a letter to the student paper, The Spectator, arguing that gay students should leave Parillo in peace, because of his wonderful track record of showing “sensitivity” to issues of homophobia, and initiating programs in “diversity.” It was like an upper-middle-class crime victim telling the mugger beating the daylights out of him, “But I support you! You should be out mugging Republicans!”

And the muggers increasingly enjoy the sanction of the political leaders who were elected to protect us from them.

Former City University of New York adjunct Professor Richard France, had the nerve to publish an essay in New York’s Daily News, on July 15, 1999, exposing the institutionalized corruption he saw during his brief attempt to teach at CUNY’s City College Center for Worker Education.

The Center serves “non-traditional” students — people who postponed their college education. When France, who was teaching a film appreciation course, assigned his class of 30 students to write a take-home paper, only 17 bothered doing the work. Half of those who did try to complete the assignment, “bordered on being illiterate.” France also observed plagiarism, hostility to his painstaking corrections, and rampant cheating.

“Cheating, as I would learn, was widespread at the center. So many students came to exams with blue books already filled out with the answers that the center’s administrative director issued a memo instructing the faculty to withhold these books. But he expressed no concern about students being given the questions before their exams.”

France told of his dean’s response to his concerns: “It’s a different kind of teaching.”

France’s whistleblowing did not result in his being given the key to the city. Au contraire. In a letter to the Daily News, New York State Assemblyman Edward Sullivan (D-Manhattan), then chairman of the State Assembly’s Education Committee, ignored all of France’s points, and sought to bury him:

“In his July 15 Op-Ed piece concerning the Center for Worker Education, Richard France showed clearly that he knows grammar and spelling better than he knows his students, whose efforts he looks upon with such disdain. What he apparently doesn’t know is that for a teacher to ridicule a student’s paper in the public press is a betrayal of trust. Go back to school, Mr. France. You’ve still got a lot to learn.”

In his letter, Edward Sullivan also ignored the fact that Richard France, a veteran college educator, was himself a high school dropout who was “inherently sympathetic” to the purpose of a college center for non-traditional students.

So now, when you attack academic corruption, you’re not only taking on a criminal academic establishment, but fighting City Hall, as well!

Next column: Part V: Smoking Guns

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Smoking Guns: Grade Inflation in Higher Ed Part V

By Nicholas Stix
June 26, 2001
Toogood Reports

“But many colleges have night classes so you could have worked and gone to college also pay for your education although some other programs to help pay on some where you don’t pay or some where you don’t pay at all so you were lazy.

The above passage was written in the late 1960s or early 1970s by a remedial student at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) City College campus. It appears in the book, Errors and Expectations, by Mina Shaughnessy.

Far from being a critic of remediation, Mina Shaughnessy, who served as the director of City College’s remediation program, was a boundlessly optimistic promoter of remediation. Since Shaughnessy’s tragic, premature death from kidney cancer in 1978, at the age of 54, CUNY’s ruling atheists have elevated her to sainthood.

The grade inflation debacle, like the remediation debate (which are often the same debate) has been hampered by abstractions. Neither remediation’s critics nor its supporters deal in concrete examples, because as tenured instructors, they are too lazy and arrogant to teach or research the matter, and too cowardly to confront the issue in all its ugliness. And the adjunct professors who have taught remedial classes, speak critically on the matter only at the price of being professionally “whitelisted.”

Like affirmative action, grade inflation and remediation have been reformed. And yet, like the killer android in the movie Terminator II, whenever they appear to have been destroyed, they simply change their respective forms, and come back as strong as ever. Consider the monster that is the 200,000-student-strong, CUNY system.

Circa 1915-1964, City College, CUNY’s original campus, had the toughest admissions and graduation standards of any undergraduate institution in the nation. During that period, the school graduated, among hundreds of titans, eight future Nobel laureates, former mayor Ed Koch, lyricist Ira Gershwin, novelist Bernard Malamud, and the current secretary of state. Thus, an employer or graduate school official reading the transcripts of a “City College boy” (the school then was all-male) knew that a “B” average was a real achievement.

In 1965, however, “City” began admitting black and Puerto Rican students who were allegedly “thisclose” to meeting City’s Olympian standards to its new remedial program, College Discovery. Except that the remedial students were functionally illiterate. In 1969, some of them took over campus buildings and, threatening race riots, demanded that the Board of Higher Education, which ran CUNY (it has since been renamed the CUNY Board of Trustees), eliminate all standards at the school, and admit unqualified black and Puerto Rican students in proportion to their representation in the city’s public schools. The board members collapsed like a house of cards in a breeze. In 1970, City College, and indeed, all of CUNY, adopted a policy of “open admissions,” whereby admission was guaranteed to every graduate of the city’s public schools. The system’s new academic requirement was the “mirror test”: If an applicant could fog up a mirror, he was in.

And so today, excepting certain academic islands in the stream, like the City College engineering program, an “A” average on a City College transcript is meaningless.

And what is true of today’s City College, is largely true of CUNY as a whole.

The academic standards of a school are determined by its admissions standards, because it is the students that make the school. The reigning myth regarding academic quality, holds that attracting “faculty stars” will make for a great school. But “stars” are the worst teachers, and do little teaching. Stars care only about money, publications, and the next endowed chair, teaching be damned.

Students make the school. Admit only potential rocket scientists, and there will be no need for grade inflation. Admit only potential janitors, and curriculum reform becomes an irrelevancy, grading an exercise in the surreal. In his paean to the City College that was, City on a Hill: Testing the American Dream at City College, journalist James Traub notes that in the school’s Golden Age, its faculty was mediocre, but that the overwhelmingly Jewish “student body represented perhaps the purest intellectual elite in the country.” And that student body, today’s racial socialist revisionists notwithstanding, was POORER than the black and Hispanic group that succeeded it. Today, by contrast, Traub offers up as a typical City College student Hernan Morales, a freshman “English major” who has never read a book.

And today, colleges are businesses. Thus, “retention” is everything; as long as a student has financial aid, loan money, or personal income with which to pay tuition, he will be retained. At many schools, it has become virtually impossible to flunk out.

Let’s see what sort of students are increasingly “making” our colleges.

In 1999, former CUNY City College adjunct professor Richard France gave an example from a student’s homework essay on the film, “Thrown from Blood.”

Plays today is so different then in the past, because time as change dramatically.

The paper was on Akira Kurosawa’s film, Throne of Blood. The student informed France “that she was an honors graduate of William Howard Taft High School in the Bronx.”

Note that Richard France was not teaching a remedial course. But then, why would an “honors graduate” need a remedial course? In any event, France was expected to pass all of his students.

In 1995, a student in my “college-level” course in Phonetics at CUNY’s Bronx Community College turned in the following, complete essay:

I am going to college, to learn a profession for my future, My major is computer science.

In this moments is difficult, to someone get a good job.

it is important. you go to school to learn, because you finish major. After that you get a good job, in Important company. they pay you a lot of money, do you could a position in the society and every do you Want. for that I am going to college.


CUNY’s Puerto Rican-separatist, Spanish-language (officiallly "bilingual") Hostos Community College, has a quaint tradition, whereby the English as a Second Language program distributes copies of final exam essay readings and questions to students two weeks before the exam, with professors explaining the questions at length in class. Many students then write their exam essays in advance, or job them out to English speakers. On exam day, students simply copy the pre-written essays into their examination “blue books,” while their proctor sits reading magazines. One proctor I knew, a tenured instructor, liked to read Ms. magazine, while her students cheated.

And even then, as Sue Dicker, then the director of ESL placement told me in 1996, 50 percent was considered a good passing rate for a class of students that had been “prepared.”

To give you an idea of how deep the roots of institutionalized cheating reach at Hostos, during the training in spring, 1996, in which the adjunct professors grading the ESL final exams had to develop a consensus as to what constituted a passing exam essay, we came across an essay whose author had answered the WRONG question. The exam sheet contained two alternative essay questions; the student had given the wrong instructions to the real essay-writer. No matter; the fellow leading the session said that we should give such an essay a passing grade. (Neither he nor anyone else present noted the obvious cheating involved.)

I once had a long conversation in the English Department office with a student (not my own) … in Spanish. The young woman couldn’t speak a word of English. She was in her seventh semester, on the taxpayer’s bill, at Hostos, a two-year school.

The head of ESL at the time, Frances Singh (a white American married to an Indian academic) “explained” to me, without irony, that our students had so many problems with English, “because many of them are illiterate in Spanish.” Singh, like her cronies at Hostos, was not disturbed by the practice of spending tens of millions of dollars yearly — billions yearly, counting all of CUNY — on students who have no business being anywhere near an institution of the higher learning.

In spring, 1997, someone blew the whistle on Hostos’ practice of not giving students CUNY’s dumbed-down, Writing Assessment Test (WAT), a system-wide requirement for graduation from CUNY’s community colleges. Instead, Hostos officials had administered their own, double-dumbed-down exam, the Hostos WAT, and had apparently given students Hostos’ traditional form of “test preparation.” When the truth came out, CUNY officials called off the graduations of some 140 Hostos students. The students immediately sued for their degrees.

(In May, 1997, Hostos Dean Luis Baez, lied to Daily News reporters Rafael A. Olmeda and Dave Saltonstall, insisting that “Some students got a hold of the test, and they were selling it. It happens in every college. At Harvard, the business school had a problem with that.”

Someone in Hostos’ administration also conjured up a memo, apparently for the sole purpose of leaking it to the press: “According to a memo obtained by The News, [Hostos administrators] blamed a “breach in security” for their decision: widespread allegations that some students had cheated by buying advance copies of the exam, known as the Hostos Writing Assessment Test, which gauges students’ ability to write a basic narrative essay. ‘Given that there has been serious evidence of security breaches in the administration of the HWAT . . . [administrators] have agreed to implement’ the new grading system, read the memo to faculty.

“School officials yesterday [May 21, 1997] downplayed the apparent cheating.”)
A group of Hostos students then took the CUNY WAT; 87.5 percent (91 out of 104) of them failed. The students insisted that they had received only “A”s and “B”s for their English class work.

And so, Hostos gave students intensive tutoring all that summer. The following fall, when the tutored students took the WAT — many for the second time — 95 percent (215 out of 226) failed!

The failing students were outraged at the wicked examination, and Hostos President Isaura Santiago resolved that the proficiency exam would no longer determine whether a student passed English. Rather, it would count for only 30 percent of a student’s grade in English. As Ying Chan reported in the May 21, 1997 Daily News, “Students blamed the English writing test for their failure to advance.

“‘You don’t pass that exam whether you know English or not,’ said Luz Brand, 34, a full-time student from the Dominican Republic. ‘That’s the only thing holding me back.

“Brand has failed the test three times; she said she understands English, but doesn’t speak or write it well.

“‘What we’re fighting for is that they don’t just count the one test — count the whole semester,’ she said.

Rather than summarily firing President Santiago for misconduct, in January, 1998, CUNY’s administrators asked her if she would resign in exchange for a $200,000 payoff; Santiago accepted.

Since Hostos has not been tainted by scandal since 1997, in lieu of news of reform, let alone indictments of school officials, I have concluded that the school got its “test preparation” procedures back in order.

But it gets worse. Although according to initial reports, only Hostos was violating CUNY policy by refusing to administer the CUNY WAT, it soon turned out that CUNY’s Bronx Community College, LaGuardia Community College, and with 30,000 students, the largest such campus, Borough of Manhattan Community College, had all been administering, for years, their own double-dumbed-down English exams. Likely thousands of illiterates had thus graduated with fraudulent degrees.

As Richard France revealed in 1999 (see Part IV), such institutionalized cheating has also long been the rule at City College’s Center for Worker Education.

Note that CUNY administrators have never taken any action to stop the institutionalized cheating at Hostos, City, or any other CUNY campus.

And yet, all the cheating in the world evidently can’t save CUNY’s students. The system’s seven community college campuses have a combined two-year graduation rate for the two-year, associate’s degree, of ONE PERCENT. And Hostos’ two-year graduation rate is .4 percent, meaning only FOUR OUT OF A THOUSAND students graduate in two years. However, on the bright side, 25.7 percent of CUNY’s community college students graduate with associate’s degrees ... AFTER SIX YEARS!

In response to years of withering criticism by the city’s tabloids, the Daily News and New York Post (a good deal of which was written pseudonymously by yours truly), that a CUNY degree is worthless, CUNY officials have for years been working on an Academic Certification Examination (ACE) to be given as a system-wide graduation requirement for the bachelor’s degree. In attesting that CUNY graduates have demonstrated academic rigor, the ACE is designed to restore the lost luster of CUNY’s degrees.

In 1996, I trained to be a “rater” on the ACE prototype then in use, which had been given to a few thousand CUNY students for research purposes.

The men who ran the weekend training sessions, a testing specialist from CUNY headquarters, and Marxist English professor George Otte, the chairman of CUNY’s Baruch College English Department, trained us to grade, er rate, the essay sections of the exam without regard to the testees’ literacy. Thus, one could be functionally illiterate, yet pass the essay parts, which comprised much of the exam.

Meanwhile, Hispanic separatist instructors from Hostos Community College have agitated for a Spanish-language ACE. And what about Cantonese, Arabic, Wolof, etc.?

An additional problem with the ACE was that raters were not given an answer key for rating the quantitative sections of the exam. Granted, the questions were on perhaps a sixth grade level, but in the Antiversity, one may take nothing for granted. One section required that one explain the differences between two graphs comparing the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in the average American’s diet in 1910 and 1960, respectively. One question asked for an explanation of the change in the percentage of fat — 12 percent in 1910, and 42 percent in 1960. Many students mistakenly answered that the percentage of fat had risen “30 percent.” Of seven faculty colleagues I queried, only one, an Indian chemistry professor, knew that “30 percent” (as opposed to “250 percent”) was an incorrect answer. The others had all rated the answer, “30 percent,” as correct.

Dumbing-down is evidently a two-way street.

Next column: Part Six: The Garden State