[See note for explanation of title.*]
[See also: Can Baltimore Fill Its Urban Barrios With Aliens To Save Its Bond Ratings? By Donald A. Collins]
Just this May, nine decades after my father’s birth, conservative black economist Thomas Sowell, having observed black flash mobs and the like, wrote of a “censored race war,” as Creators Syndicate's headline on his column put it, that blacks are conducting against whites. Flash mobs. The knock-down game. Polar bear hunting. Walter Williams writes likewise: two columns of late flatly stated that blacks are attacking whites and getting away with it because blacks are held to a lower standard of behavior.
But the reality of the race war hit home with a particularly repellent video, courtesy of World Star Hip Hop, featuring a mob of blacks brutalizing and humiliating a tourist, white of course, in front of Baltimore’s Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse on St Patrick’s Day.
State Delegate Patrick McDonough, who represents Baltimore and Harford counties, having witnessed that and a black mob melee in the city the same day, complained publicly about the mobs, calling for the mayor to declare the Inner Harbor a “no travel zone.” He issued a press release titled “Black Youth Mobs Terrorize Baltimore.”
Naturally, the leftist Baltimore Sun (which my father hated) said McDonough was wrong.
Political correctness is when there's excess sensitivity to race, gender, ethnicity, etc. Race is simply irrelevant in this instance. That those involved in the St. Patrick's Day incidents at the Inner Harbor were black is no more pertinent than their height, weight or eye color. Why is it so important to the delegate?
Had the St. Patrick’s Day incident involved roaming groups of white youths, would it have been more acceptable? Less scary? Would Mr. McDonough have issued a news release headlined “White Youth Mobs Terrorize Baltimore on Holidays”? His views are, as Mr. Mitchell described them, a throwback to the 1950s and 1960s. That's when “breaking the block” — the prospect of an African-American or other minority moving into one's neighborhood — was enough to send whites fleeing to the suburbs in a middle-class diaspora that continues to haunt the city.[Baltimore and bigotry, May 17, 2012]
The stunning arrogance of this lie leaves one speechless. The Sun editorialist knows what the problem is. So do the city’s cops. White mobs don’t terrorize the city. Blacks mobs do.
Just a week after the Sun published its ridiculous editorial, another black mob raided a 7-Eleven. Or maybe the newspaper’s priggish scribes forgot about the blacks who viciously attacked a transvestite at a Baltimore McDonald’s last April.
Perhaps when a black mob thrashes its reporters, as happened to the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va. earlier this year, the newspaper’s editorial management will wake up. Then again, probably not.
My parents and their neighbors, mostly dead now, would have applauded McDonough. Because they knew. They knew 40 years ago what was coming, as they watched the town they up in grew up disintegrate and fellow whites join them in flight to the safer suburbs and better schools. My father, an agnostic, insisted on Catholic schools. Why he insisted goes without saying.
We lived in the equivalent of Mayfield without the sidewalks, my parents having moved from the outskirts of the city, four children in tow. The radicalism of the 1960s didn’t happen on my street. It was 1955 through the 1960s. Divorces were unheard of; the mothers were at home. New neighbors knocked and introduced themselves thusly: “May I borrow a cup of sugar?”
Summer days were spent at the pool; sultry nights meant the wonderful sights and smells of Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street, the acrid, cheap cigar smoke from an old black fellow in a newsboy cap two seats down, studying his program and waiting for the Orioles, in gleaming white, orange and black, to emerge from their third-base dugout.
Winter Sundays found us watching, frozen stiff, the Colts battle gridiron foes.
The city was safe … to a degree.
My mother explained what the no-go zones in the city were. North Avenue. Eutaw Street. The wrong side of Cold Spring Lane. The University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins hospitals at night.
The kids at grade-school knew, too. The venerable old Hippodrome Theater has undergone a renaissance of sorts, but I remember my mother’s warning when I was little: “That’s all n******s.” She was alarmed when a friend and I went there with his big brother to see Fists of Fury. We were the only whites. I was nervous, perhaps even terrified, until I was in the car and headed out of the urban jungle.
When Baltimore erupted in violence on April 6, 1968, two days after James Earl Ray shot Martin Luther King, my parents wondered whether my older sister, who worked in the city, would come home alive. Her employer was in the middle of the war zone. Even today, whites dare not go near that employer’s headquarters at night.
I attended parochial school in the city. The neighborhood was marginally safe then, although the school was almost all white, with just two or three black kids. The school eventually turned all black. The surrounding neighborhood, by the time I had grown, was a danger zone after dark.
The nuns fed their callow white charges the equality business, and one good sister peddled the myth that evil Southern plantation owners used their slaves as human logs in fires. Preposterous, yes. But it makes an impression when one is too young to call B.S. on a grown-up, particularly one veiled in a habit.
The neighborhood that parish is in, like many in urban America, borders a wealthy white neighborhood. It is now a no-go zone at night.
How bad was Baltimore even 35 years ago? When my mother went to visit the graves of her father and mother, buried in the city in the 1950s and the 1970s respectively, she took me along. A 16-year-old kid could have not done much against a mob of blacks, but she must have figured that a man in the car, age regardless, would deter a proto-flash mob attack.
Today, a white needs a Bradley Fighting Vehicle to even consider going to that part of town.
A few years later, my steady girlfriend asked me to give a coworker, a very sweet black girl, a ride home. She lived off of North Ave. I was nervous, but my (leftist, white) girlfriend was oblivious. She had grown up in a mixed neighborhood outside Washington, D.C. and thought all blacks were like her middle class, law-abiding black neighbors, most likely state or federal employees. The very thought of “profiling” North Avenue and refusing a ride to her black friend would have been anathema. And racist.
Fearing that label, I agreed to give this nice young woman a ride. The neighborhood was a sea of identical housing that radiated peril. I was relieved when we crossed back into city’s safe zone.
But white cops back then were unafraid of the Sharpton treatment. One evening, on a stroll with a gal at the Inner Harbor, just as construction had commenced for the shops and restaurants, I encountered what could have been a precursor to the events like those on St. Patrick’s Day, 2012.
McCormick Spice Co.’s headquarters was still across the street; the air was redolent of pepper and its other powdered wares. The only thing at the Inner Harbor proper then was the water, a brick promenade and the U.S.S. Constellation and U.S.S. Torsk, the “Galloping Ghost of the Japanese Coast.” It was nearly deserted.
A group of blacks had the volume on their ghetto blaster so loud they drew the attention of a white cop. “Not everyone here wants to listen to your selection of music,” the cop said, unafraid. The blacks turned down the volume and sullenly departed.
Forty or 50 years before that, the cops were even tougher. My neighbor’s grandfather was a city cop who used a transit bus to run criminals into the station. When he sat a thug down, his widow remembered, the tough Kraut-American cracked him across the head with his nightstick: “That’s just for thinking about it.”
Today, the cop at the Inner Harbor might well be brought up on charges. Or killed.
Blacks also feared the Italians. A friend of mine told me about the time he was walking in a black neighborhood on the border of Little Italy. A little black boy on a stoop told him he probably shouldn’t be in the neighborhood, pointing to a gang of blacks following my pal.
The chase began. But they stopped dead in their tracks when he crossed into the no-go zone for blacks. They knew what awaited them in the enclave of gleaming marble stoops and statues of the Virgin Mary keeping a watchful eye through front windows in the row houses.
My mother’s old neighborhood on the outskirts of the city is still white, but my father’s changed color long ago. One day 25 or 30 years ago, we had been downtown, and he decided to reminisce about his childhood and detoured to the street he grew up on, a few blocks north of and parallel to the dangerous North Ave. As we drove down the street, the blacks on the porches stared us down. My father was trying to find his boyhood home, oblivious to the menacing glare from the houses. I fearfully awaited an attack.
Despite what my parents saw coming and their opinions of blacks generally (“n*****s”) , they never mistreated individual blacks. The trash men were black. Every Christmas both received a bottle of Jack Daniels. So did the postman. The meter reader was black, but my mother, home alone during the day, was unafraid to let him in the house to read the meter in the basement. Indeed, if she had planned to be gone in the morning when she knew he was coming, she instructed me, 13 or 14 years old at the time, in no uncertain terms to let him in.
Our maid was a wonderful black woman who worked her fingers to the bone to see her children educated through college. My mother loved her and worked alongside her. Had anyone used “n*******” to describe our black maid, my mother would have been mortified, much like Scarlett O’Hara, when the Yankee women berated loyal Uncle Peter on the street in Reconstruction Atlanta. And she likely would let such a person have it.
Then again, he once mentioned the admonitions from my sisters and their husbands when he and my mother would unleash the n-word around their small children. My mother blurted it out, then laughed, to watch their temperatures rise.
“You know,” he told me, “your sisters are liberal on this race question and get angry at your mother and me. But the neighborhood they grew up in wasn’t destroyed.” Having seen the street where he spent his childhood, I understood.
My parents would have agreed with John Derbyshire: they believed blacks are different. They are dangerous in groups, and regardless of outliers, of lower intelligence. The vilification of Nobelist William Shockley for stating the obvious outraged my father.
He believed a businessman has right to hire and fire whoever he wants for any reason, which isn’t to say he would have fired a black because he was black. Neither of my parents would have wanted a black doctor (nor did they much care for doctors who could not speak English), but they would have said that anyone who goes to medical school ought to meet the same standards, color regardless.
Neither would they have told a black kid with a 4.0 and a top-grade MCAT he could not attend.
Which raises their experience with state-sanctioned reverse discrimination.
By chance, my mother learned from a friend of my brother’s that the two boys might not make it to their medical school of choice because it had embarked on an Affirmative Action program to admit blacks, regardless of their ability. My mother didn’t believe it. I don’t know how many nights my father, home from a tough day at the office, was on the phone with powerful men, struggling to enlist them in the fight for his son and against injustice.
The outgoing dean of the medical school fought the policy. He lost. The Leftist incoming dean didn’t much care to hear my father’s opinion that such a policy is unfair. “Sometimes sacrifices have to made,” he lectured.
“You sacrifice your son, not mine,” my father replied.
Unable to prevail with an appeal to decency against the zeitgeist, my father wrote a letter outlining what the university was doing to white applicants. The outgoing dean signed a note at the bottom that said the recitation of facts was correct, whereupon my father made 500 copies. He warned the new dean and the university’s elders that he would send it to every major media outlet in the country if they did not admit my brother to medical school.
One evening he received a phone call from one of the university’s board members. “Sometimes, Mr. Gant,” he said cryptically, “things aren’t as dark as them seem.” A few days later, my brother received his acceptance letter to medical school.
Had the school not surrendered, he would have been the first Bakke.
A few years later, my brother took one of his colleagues to see his medical alma mater. I went along for the ride. It was a hot summer day. We went into the one of the classrooms, where, surprisingly, a teacher was giving lecture. It was a remedial biology lesson. Every student was black.
Almost every neighbor on our idyllic street, particularly the men, thought like my parents. Their opinion of blacks as a group was as uniform as their own ethnicity was disparate. There were Krauts, Micks, Polacks, Wops, Limeys and Olive Pickers.They were good Christians. But they preferred their own kind.
One neighboring family unabashedly offered its opinions through ominous clouds of cigarette smoke. The n-word punctuated the air in their house with metronomic frequency. Their relatives, some of them from a tough white neighborhood near the city — “where the rats wear socks,” my mother said — were just as uninhibited in their ritual racial imprecations. The oldest member of the family, my best pal’s grandfather and a Kent partisan until he went the way of all flesh, made Archie Bunker look like Norman Lear. And he could have cared less what anyone thought.
When asked, my father made clear that he would never sell his home to blacks: “I won’t do that to my neighbors.”
The Spaghetti-Benders sold out first. How long that first black family stayed in the neighborhood, I don’t know. After father died, my mother kept the house until she died, and after she followed him out of this vale of tears, the realtor sold the house to blacks. It’s the law.
My sister, who handled the estate, was chagrined. Having corrected my parents more than once for using the n-word around her children, she felt bad for the neighbors. Why? She knows—now.
No need to wonder what my folks and their friends would say about the beatings at the courthouse and McDonald’s, or the 7-Eleven smash and grab. They’d say McDonough is right.
My father, a big fan of Walter Williams, would agree with Sowell that blacks are waging a race war against whites. Given the percentage of American blacks versus American whites, Sowell observed, prudence had better prevail. “If there is anything worse than a one-sided race war, it is a two-sided race war, especially when one of the races outnumbers the other several times over.”
Putting it more potently, a commenter at The Huffington Post answered an article from a “reformed” Black Panther who “was 15 years old when [he] walked into a Black Panther office and asked for a gun so I could kill a white man”:
Blacks advocating a race war to cure their perceived injustices are about as smart as people from my ethnicity who do the same, and by the way, we tried it already, we lost. I’m Native American.
Do the math. What percentage of the population is black? How many of the population are skilled and trained with guns? Holding the gun sideways gangsta style, you'll be cut down in seconds. If blacks declared a race war on whites, it would be over very quickly, and white people would win.
Further, such hateful talk only does one thing — sympathetic white people turn against you and learn to fear you.
* The title evokes the line "Avenge the patriotic gore. That flecked the streets of Baltimore", from the Baltimore state song Maryland, My Maryland. The line is a reference to the Baltimore Riot of 1861, in which twelve pro-Confederacy civilians were killed by Federal troops. See Abolishing America (contd.): State Songs Under P.C. Attack..., by Sam Francis, March, 2001.
Eugene Gant [email him] no longer lives in Baltimore