In segments of the black community, particularly among the urban poor, being pursued by the police is a badge of honour, a sign that you have stood up to 'the man'. Many black voters in Washington thought the police entrapped Marion Barry because he was getting too 'uppity'. Barry won nearly every vote in poor black areas, and almost none in posh white ones. Barry has always proudly described himself as a 'field nigger', not a 'house nigger' (the distinction is between those slaves who picked cotton and those who made the master's coffee), and poorer blacks generally vote for candidates who are 'blacker than thou', as the old civil rights phrase goes. Even well-to-do blacks voted for Barry as a way of twisting the tail of the white establishment. The soon-to-be mayor had a message for all the white Washingtonians who were mortified by his victory: 'Get used to it.'
But what the opinion polls about O.J. Simpson and the real votes for Barry suggest is that white and black Americans do not live in the same country.
Guess, which writer the above quote comes from? Sam Francis? Pat Buchanan? John Derbyshire? No, no, and no. These politically-incorrect words were written by Time contributing editor, future managing editor of that same publication, and currently Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the second Obama administration Richard Stengel. Back in September 1994, he wrote a small column, "Black Deeds, Black Heroes" for The London Spectator about the recent O. J. Simpson arrest and the racial situation in America. Even back in those days, no mainstream American publication would dare to publish an article like that, as one mainstream editor acknowledged.
That same year, 1994, The London Spectator published two other, even more hard-hitting, politically-incorrect pieces, "Black Mischief" by the WSJ's Amity Shlaes and "Kings of the Deal" by The Telegraph's William Cash. The former talks about the pervasive climate of anti-White crime and hostility in pre-Giuliani New York City, which put the White residents of the Big Apple under a state of siege:
Several recent events, though, have made it clear to Brooklynites that they are now facing a more threatening change. The splashiest example was Colin Ferguson’s murderous ride on the Long Island commuter line, not because he killed six people—all countries have occasional wild gunmen—but because his manic hostility to whites is shared by many of the city’s non-madmen. It is hostility shared by the black teenagers who push white teenagers out of cars when they are trying to board a crowded train. It is shared by the (black) city employee behind the bullet-proof glass at the token booth, who looks at two simultaneous arrivals—one white, one black—and says to the black one with a pointed and gratified smile, You go first.’
One day two years ago, an orthodox Jew had a car accident and—must we spell it out? —unintentionally ran over and killed a black child. The black community rose up and within hours black youths had jumped on and knifed to death a visiting rabbinical student from Australia. The city’s lawyers found the bloody weapon and extracted an identification of his murderer from the dying man. The murderer, a teenager, also confessed on videotape. But a black-dominated jury on Brooklyn Heights Court Street, right over the heads of the lawyer commuters, freed the defendant, and afterwards went out for a celebratory dinner with civil rights lawyers and the freed gangster.
I came to America precisely that same year, 1994, landing in JFK airport on a decrepit Tower Air flight from Moscow on the sunny morning of September 1. Within a few hours, my family and I took another flight to Upstate New York, where I would live for the next 11 years (first in Rochester and then Dutchess County) before returning to NYC.
Oftentimes, other denizens of the Big Burrito, both other Soviet immigrants and native-born Americans, ask me rather incredulously, why my family chose to settle on Bobrich Drive in Rochester rather than Brighton Beach Avenue in Brooklyn. My usual answer is that we had relatives there. True, but only partly. The other reason is precisely what Shlaes and Stengel wrote about. I still remember the horrified stories of childhood friends who fled pre-Giuliani Brooklyn for Upstate NY.
People who were preparing to emigrate to America knew long ago, from relatives precisely what Stengel and Shlaes wrote about. If you had a choice, why settle in a dangerous urban wasteland, where the guy across from you on the subway could be a Colin Ferguson or a Lemrick Nelson. As the Russian-Jewish emigre quip went: We left because we were afraid of pogroms, and got one here in Brooklyn.
Eugene Girin is a New York-based attorney and commentator.