Black Conservatives as rare as the most rare of creatures

Black Conservatives: as rare as the most rare of creatures

Any May not really exist.

Black Conservatives Take Lead Role In Tea Party Movement

Though the tea party movement has attracted criticism for its supposed lack of diversity, minority activists who are involved say the movement has little to do with race, and that it is attracting a more diverse crowd every day (hat tip: Yahoo! Black Conservatives usergroup). Lloyd Marcus’ [pictured] conservatism started when he was 9. His family had just moved out of the “ghetto” to a brand-new high rise in Baltimore — within months, he said, the “dream come true” turned into a nightmare, as the building of welfare-collecting black residents became a den of crime. His father moved the family out as soon as he got a job with the city fire department, but “my cousins never escaped,” Mr. Marcus said. He cried as he told the story.

Mr. Marcus, a black conservative who is now involved in the growing tea party movement, attributes the problems of his childhood neighborhood, his extended family and the black community in general to a “cradle-to-grave government dependency” that in the case of his cousins enabled an idle life of crime and drug abuse. To him, President Obama’s policies perpetuate that dependency. That’s why, he says, it baffles him and other black conservatives when the tea party movement is dismissed as somehow anti-black, as a rowdy bunch of ignorant, white protesters who have it in for the nation’s first black president. “This is the nicest angry mob I’ve ever seen,” Mr. Marcus, who is a musician in Florida, said.

William Owens, a black author and publisher who with his wife traveled on the Tea Party Express tours with Mr. Marcus and has spoken at just about every stop along the way, also came out strongly against Barack Obama in 2008. He published the book, Obama: Why Black America Should Have Doubts, before the election, in an attempt to address what he called a “misguided passion” toward the former U.S. senator in black America. When the tea party movement started last year, he said he found a way to build on what he was already doing, outside the Republican Party system which he calls out of touch. He first spoke at a rally in Las Vegas on tax day last April. “It was just a natural fit,” Mr. Owens said.

Mr. Owens said the rallies are still “mostly white,” but that more blacks are getting involved. He took particular umbrage at Chris Matthews’ comment contending that the rallies were monochromatic, blasting out a press release that criticized the MSNBC host for “pushing conservative black Americans to the back of the media bus.” Mr. Owens now publishes a journal documenting the tea party cross-country tours. The Multi-Cultural Conservative Coalition is also sponsoring the next leg of the Tea Party Express.

Despite the enthusiastic involvement of black conservatives in the tea party rallies and trips, President Obama still enjoys seemingly unshakable support from the majority of black Americans. A recent poll from Gallup put his approval rating among blacks at 91 percent. Among whites, that number was 42 percent. Tea party groups also might not be doing themselves any favors when some of their supporters are photographed holding somewhat shocking signs at rallies — such as one last year that said, “The White House has a lyin’ African.” But such demonstrators may be the exception.

Lollar started speaking at tea party events last winter and said his biggest motivation is opposition to the stimulus package — both the $787 billion package that passed last February and the sequel that some Democrats are trying to push this year.Charles Lollar, a Maryland-based tea party supporter who is black, said there’s no validity to the racism charges. “I’ve seen black faces in the crowd. I’ve seen Latino faces in the crowd….It’s not a movement of color. It’s not a movement of party. It’s a movement of principle. It’s a movement of America,” he said. Mr. Lollar has since parlayed his activism into a high-stakes campaign. The Charles County businessman is hoping win the GOP nomination to challenge House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), in the congressional midterm this November. However, Mr. Lollar, whose previous post was as chairman of the Charles County Republican Central Committee, has an uphill battle to unseat the nation’s second most powerful House Democrat.

The Reverend Ken Hutcherson

Locust: very few exist, but pushed to chose a side, they will choose their own kind.  Don’t get me wrong, its great that they value some of what we white nationalist value, but can they convince the rest of their kind in the next couple years?  Its a little late in the game. Sorry, I don’t trust you blacks to make that “change” when lives and our white civilization is on the line, see you soon on the battlefield where skin will be your uniform.

Rising Right

Rising Right – UK


Rising right Across Europe

Barack Obama—After Two Rough Years, An Even Bigger Wake-Up Call Is Coming

By Steve Sailer

President Barack Obama was marketed to America as the magic cure for its racial divisions. But in my book America’s Half-Blood Prince Barack Obama’s “Story Of Race And Inheritance”, based on a close study of Obama’s own much-purchased, little-read autobiography Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, I argued that Obama was in fact fundamentally motivated by race and that some people, probably his credulous white supporters, were in for a big surprise.

This is exactly what has happened. Obama has proved racially divisive both for implicit and explicit reasons. Eighteen months into his Presidency, the races are farther apart in their views of him than when he came to office.

Here are Obama’s Gallup Poll approval ratings every week since his Inauguration:

Black support for the black President remains almost rock solid, standing at 89 percent through the week ending July 11, 2010—slightly higher than in his first week in office.

But Obama’s approval rating among whites is now only 38 percent—51 points below the black level. The white approval rating has fallen 25 points since January 2009.

It’s important to note that the white approval rating was as high as 60 percent as late as the week of May 10, 2009. The subsequent sharp fall-off is usually blamed on the economy.

But an alternative explanation is that white disenchantment with Obama appears to have set in during the warm weather months of 2009—about the time of Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court (May 26, 2009); the Supreme Court’s rebuke of Sotomayor’s ruling in the Ricci case (June 29, 2009); and the ludicrous damage-controlling “Beer Summit” featuring Professor Henry Louis Gates and an Obama-dissed Cambridge, MA police officer, James Crowley (July 22-30, 2009).

Since the end of summer 2009, Obama’s staffers, such as the cynical Chicagoan Rahm Emanuel, have worked diligently to keep their boss from alarming whites with obvious racial gaffes—as when he responded frankly to the Henry Louis Gates question at one of his rare press conferences. Obama’s rating among whites has continued to trickle downward, but at a less catastrophic rate.

On the other hand, his staff’s perceived need to prevent “Obama from being Obama” has likely contributed to Obama’s current guarded, depressive affect.

For a man proclaimed an inspirational political genius in 2008, he strikes many people in 2010 as a downer, a bit of a buzzkill.

And Obama’s allies continue to provoke racial squabbles. For example, the NAACP is trying to “concern troll” [=undermine] the Tea Party movement into dropping all that stuff about endless deficits and conduct purges of purported racists in its ranks. And the public is just waking up to the fact that Congresswoman Maxine Waters has larded the new financial reform bill with racial quotas.

Hispanics’ feelings toward Obama lie in between those of blacks and whites, as is so common in American racial patterns. The President’s Hispanic ratings have fallen roughly in parallel with white opinion, with the big drop starting a little later in 2009. This also follows a long tradition: Hispanic voters generally follow changes in white opinion, just more erratically, and stay significantly to the left of whites for perfectly understandable reasons of self-interest: they are much more enthusiastic about racial / ethnic preferences and tax-and-spend policies from which they hope to benefit at white expense.

Over the last decade, the Main Stream Media has carried countless credulous articles about the Hispanic vote. Most are based on self-serving talking points fed to journalists by so-called Hispanic leaders.

But there is a dirty little secret in all this: Hispanic voters seldom pay much attention to whatever the press proclaims to be their burning issues, such as Sotomayor or Arizona’s SB1070.

For example, Hispanic warmth toward Obama hit its peak (85 percent) a few weeks before he nominated Sonia Sotomayor on May 26, 2009. By August, he was down in the 60s with Hispanics.

One high school teacher told me that, throughout June 2009, he repeatedly brought up the Puerto Rican judge’s name to inspire his mostly Mexican-American classes. One youth responded that he’d heard she was Cuban. But the rest never had any idea (even an incorrect one) about who she was or why anybody would think they’d care about her.

Similarly, in the weeks before Obama went to war against the citizens of Arizona in late April 2010 over SB1070, his Hispanic approval rating had been in the 60s. Now, it’s at 55.

The fact is that Hispanics, on average, don’t pay all that much attention to the news. They tend to be younger, less literate, less interested in America, and less interested in public affairs in general.

The decline of the Los Angeles Times would be a sad reminder of this—it has long tried to compete with the New York Times for the title of the Most Serious Newspaper in the country, but its circulation area has become increasingly Hispanic—if the paper hadn’t been such an enthusiastic backer of the cause of its own destruction.

The conventional wisdom that says that the GOP must submit to the rising tide of Latinos. I have repeatedly argued that this is simply overblown. Despite their numbers, Hispanics are not the most formidable challenge any political party has ever confronted. They don’t have terribly charismatic leaders, they don’t have a determined and focused rank and file, and they don’t have much of a claim on the conscience of America. Their main political advantage so far has been that they’ve bored whites and blacks into inattention regarding illegal immigration.

In contrast to Hispanics, however, black opinion tends to swing (to the extent that this rather monolithic bloc swings at all) in the opposite direction to white opinion. For example, Ronald Reagan increased his share of the white vote from 56 percent in 1980 to 64 percent in 1984. But his share of the black vote dropped from 11 percent to 9 percent.

This tendency for Hispanics to follow broad white political trends (while remaining consistently to the left of whites) has shown up throughout the history of exit polling. Journalists always label Hispanics a crucial “swing vote”. But in fact they are more of a “flow vote” that fluctuates with the overall tide.

For example, the GOP candidates for the House did their best among Hispanics in Newt Gingrich’s big year of 1994, gaining 39 percent of the vote—which was also the same year they did their best among whites.

There may be an even dirtier secret reason for this behavior: Hispanics don’t particularly like blacks. In fact, nobody likes blacks as much as whites do. Everybody else around the world has certain prejudices against blacks—and they don’t feel terribly guilty about having them, either. Hispanics, for example, come from cultures in which people of 100 percent African descent are at the bottom of the social ladder, and everybody else tries to be perceived as whiter, or marry somebody whiter. Even a race warrior like President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela traded in his dark-skinned first wife for an Eastern European-looking blonde.

So the “Rainbow Coalition” may not be as formidable as its advocates imagine.

Nevertheless, the Obama Administration’s first two years make it even more unmistakable than ever that American politics are Balkanizing racially.

As I wrote in in 2002:

“… I am uncomfortable with the idea of the two major parties splitting into racial blocs.

“But there’s a simple solution. If you don’t want whites to act like a minority group—e.g. racially-conscious, bloc-voting, biased, prickly, led by racial racketeers constantly proclaiming their group’s victimization—then the government should stop making whites a minority through mass immigration.”

Needless to say, the Bush Administration ignored my advice and pursued the opposite policy. And probably that is still the GOP Establishment’s instinct, given the rumors that it intends to respond to the surging immigration issue, not by supporting a moratorium, but by urging a guest worker program.

What does the rest of Obama’s term hold for his party—and America?

Recently, the pragmatic domestic policy influence on Obama of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, a ferocious competitor dedicated to winning victories today, seems to be waning. It’s not that Emanuel wouldn’t mind putting millions of illegal immigrants on the path to voting Democratic, it’s just that he can’t see how to get away with it over the next few years.

Yet, the lawsuit against Arizona filed by Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder, a descendant of the mulatto elite of Barbados, represents the ascendancy of the Elect-a-New-People-to-Rule-the-Future side of Obama’s otherwise cautious personality.

A Time article of July 14 by Jay Newton-Small Will Obama’s Immigration Focus Hurt Democrats? reports:

“Back in 2007, when Rahm Emanuel was in charge of electing Democrats to the House, he famously marveled at how immigration reform had overtaken Social Security as ‘the third rail of American politics.’ … Instead, western Democrats—egged on by rather large swaths of their moderate white base—are growing increasingly nervous at the Administration’s twin push on immigration …”

The article quotes a “senior Democratic aide” as saying “The White House’s infatuation with immigration reform is a lose-lose proposal for Democrats this election year.”

I wonder if that “senior Democratic aide’s” initials are R.E.? Will we be seeing President Obama announcing that his Chief of Staff has decided to move on to spend more time with his family?

In part, the Obama-Holder strategy of attacking Arizona and pushing amnesty is based on old-fashioned Karl Rovian delusions about the Hispanic vote. Greg Sargent noted in the Washington Post:

“Obama’s immigration speech was partly driven by serious White House concern about the impact of softening Latino support for the president in major swing states like Nevada, Colorado and Florida.”

In other words, Obama realizes no more than George W. Bush did that he’s being lied to by self-interested Hispanic politicians and consultants about the size and motivations of the Hispanic vote. They are all prisoners ofthe dominant interpretation of reality.” The repeated failures of its predictions simply mean that its nostrums have not been tried hard enough yet.

Obama has lived almost his entire life in a bubble of entitlement and theory divorced from reality. My prediction: he will get an even bigger wake-up call than we’ve seen to date.

[Steve Sailer (email him) is movie critic for The American Conservative. His website features his daily blog. His new book, AMERICA’S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA’S “STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE”, is available here.]

Sniper Shootout in Oakland

Sniper Shootout in Oakland : Police Negotiations Fail, Civil Unrest Begins California

Unrest in Oakland After BART Shooting Verdict

This is only a small taste of what is to come.

Liberal Racism

Liberal Racism

By Robin of Berkeley

The Berkeley/Oakland area was on high alert last week…but not because of a natural disaster, like an earthquake.

A jury was deciding the fate of a white police officer charged with killing a black male at a BART station. People all around town began preparing for riots, certain that if the verdict was “not guilty,” the streets would erupt with violence.
The police officer was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, a lesser charge than many hoped for, but still a prison sentence of years. The first night after the verdict, 83 people were arrested, which, as riots go, is pretty tame. Looters, however, made out like bandits.
In a sense, a bullet was dodged, but there has already been a huge cost. All week, employers were developing strategies for if there were mayhem. Public events were canceled.
What no one is doing is this: stating emphatically that riots are inexcusable, no matter what the verdict.
In fact, the opposite is occurring. The brainwashed masses are making excuses.
This is not the first time that riots have occurred relative to this incident. Mobs have already broken windows, looted stores, beat people up, and destroyed cars. The attitude then, as well as now, is that “we” have a right to riot.
Why? Why do certain groups have a right to riot? And why do others make excuses when livelihoods are ruined, millions of dollars are wasted, and innocents are hurt?
My opinion? Liberal racism.
A colleague said this to me the other day. “That police officer should be found guilty. But if he’s not, they have every a right to riot.”
She was simply expressing the typical liberal view. But let’s pick this apart.
If thousands of Jews or Chinese or white males looted stores and burned cars, would the public be so tolerant? I don’t think so. Are we really talking tolerance here, or something else entirely — a colonialist, superior attitude?
Put bluntly, when liberals say that “they” have a right to riot, what’s the implication here? Is it that blacks are primitive, out-of-control Neanderthals? Those Jews, Chinese, and white males are expected to have self-control. No such expectations exist for designated victim groups like blacks and Latinos.
By treating blacks as a special class, liberals marginalize and infantilize. Liberals also set the bar insultingly low.
Obama and his handlers knew that white liberal guilt could be exploited to their advantage. They realized that Obama would be insulated from scrutiny.
But it’s not just guilt; it’s also a white feeling of superiority. Because you have to see yourself as on top to offer special treatment to those on bottom.
Obama has been the Teflon President because of the color of his skin. Liberals are giving him a free ride.
We see it every day when criticism of Obama evokes cries of racism. But who are the real racists here?
Are the racists those conservatives who hold everyone accountable to the same standards? Who believe that people should be judged by their character and their behavior, not their race, creed, or color?
Or are the racists those white liberals who treat Obama like some delicate flower? While liberals still eviscerate George W. Bush, any judgment of Obama is off limits.
It’s not just whites who are enabling Obama by acting like his protectors. Blacks voted en masse for Obama. Sadly, what has he offered them?
From the start, it was obvious that Obama, though half-black, had never done anything for the black community. In Chicago, his actions hurt blacks.
Obama was a huge supporter of Tony Rezko, a notorious slumlord, now a felon. When Obama served in the state senate, black residents picketed Rezko’s offices to protest their rat-infested, unheated apartments.
And what has Obama done to help blacks since he’s been president? One of Obama’s first actions as president was eliminating the DC school voucher program that offered poor black kids the chance for a better life.
Obama and the Democrats have created record debt and crushed the economy. A depressed economy hits minority groups especially hard.
And then there is Obama’s push for amnesty for illegals. How is giving jobs to millions of illegals going to help blacks, who have unconscionably high unemployment rates?
But there is one perk Obama has afforded the black underclass — the right to behave brutally. Obama’s Justice Department dropped charges for those New Black Panthers who allegedly threatened and harassed people at election sites.
This encouragement to act out is deeply cynical and manipulative. It’s designed to control racial minorities and promote social unrest.
Although Obama has only agitated, not uplifted, Americans, most liberals regard him as their icon. To them, Obama is the Great Black Hope.
Liberals handle Obama with kid gloves. In the meantime, they turn a blind eye to his dangerous policies, like flirting with radical Islam. Liberals make excuses for the plummeting economy, blaming their usual bogeyman: conservatives.
They refuse to see Obama without the rose-colored glasses. Why? Because when it comes to Obama, liberals see a black man deserving of special treatment.
Will the real racist please stand up?
A frequent American Thinker contributor, Robin is a licensed psychotherapist and a recovering liberal in Berkeley. You can e-mail her via Due to time constraints, she regrets that she may not respond to your e-mail.

59 Comments on “Liberal Racism

Storm of an Epoch

Storm of an Epoch

By Tad Wintermeyer

I have navigated over and around many storms over my years as a professional pilot. I have seen from the air squall lines, gust fronts, dry lines, rotor clouds, tornadoes, and hurricanes. None, however, frightened me as much as does the coming geopolitical storm. Nothing gives perspective on a storm better than altitude. The same is true in politics.
With sufficient reserves and altitude, it is possible to circumnavigate any storm. Few things are more beautiful or exhilarating than to glide past an exploding cumulonimbus storm cell at a safe distance. The crisp white scalloped edges belie the deadly power within. The cauliflowered heads rocket upward at a stratospheric pace. These aerial landmines are harmless at a distance. However, more than one craft has ventured too close, cut the corner too tight, shot a gap too narrow, and paid the ultimate price.
Above the dingy haze of politics, it is possible to see things as they really are. The United States is bankrupt — economically, politically, socially, morally, and spiritually. For too long, those in power have navigated this nation ever closer to disaster. Our nation is surrounded by landmines of our own making. The financial bailouts, corporate takeovers, energy takeover, and the health care takeover, are prime examples of the willful eunuchification of American exceptionalism. America as it once was is over. The utopian sucker hole of legislated equality promised a reality not possible on this plane of existence. So long as there are good and evil, there can be no utopia. So long as there is freedom to choose between the two, there is hope.
Those in Washington have maneuvered these United States into an extremely tenuous position. The squall line is dead ahead, and there is no room to turn around. The preceding shock waves that led the market’s decline and current unemployment levels are only harbingers of the coming tempest. America as we know it is out of altitude and out of gas. The inevitable is upon us. Where do those of us who subscribe to American exceptionalism turn to?
I choose to take hope in the coming storm. The gust-front has yet to hit. There is still a little more time to prepare. The current political wind is but a precursor of the impending fury — a gentle breeze. The dark power lords have conjured a fiction of the highest magnitude. Their cumulonimbus rhetoric has reached stratospheric levels. They thunderously hammer away on a meaningless political anvil: beating sense to shreds, reason to rancor. In blinding fashion, the left attacks the right and the right the left. Pols crack and pundits shake in a hail of fire and ice.

Neither suffix, delta nor rho, will matter in the coming storm. Each bows only to its gilded platform, upon which stands its utopian idol: power. Inherent in their worship is the belief that each one’s set of ideas can make man into their own image — that man is perfectible — that man is god and God is man. For many politicians, government is their religion, their compass — their navigation chart. This theology blinds politicians to the needs of those they represent. Political pursuit of power justifies the course they plot. Politicians consistently confuse their best interest with those of their constituents. Special interests cloud the collective vision from the hidden dangers ahead. Political expediency parlays meaningful change for quick votes. This is a religion of the most sinister form.

Belief in the theology of government, large or small, leads to a myopic vision of reality. The theology of government creates a sliding scale of reality. Good is what the government says is good, and evil likewise. History becomes what the government says it should be. Reality is what it won’t let us see. Viewing the world through the cataract of government dims reason and enslaves all within its purview. The theology of government is a lens that clouds perception and deadens the senses. Dependence on government for that which we are capable of achieving ourselves destroys the freedom to choose. Individualism is lost in a sea of monochromatic mediocrity.
Inherent in the freedom to choose is the belief that good and evil are immutable. I see it every day in my law practice. Be it rape, murder, robbery, or assault, all had a choice whether or not to commit the criminal act. None accidentally committed the crime. Government can’t make them choose to obey the law — only punish them for transgressing it. The maintenance of a lawful, law-abiding society must depend on the belief in right and wrong. Once that line is blurred, it is too late; the storm is already upon us.
I welcome this storm. The cleansing power of a storm is undeniable. Afterward, the air is fresh, the land verdant — the sky crystalline. The deadwood has fallen and the weak have succumbed. The flood will shed, and the river will wash the detritus from the sand. I know where I have placed my faith. I know that I cannot stop the wind. Nor catch the storm. But I can take refuge on the high ground, in the cleft of the Rock. I am ready for this storm, this end. Archangel, let loose the wind.
Tad Wintermeyer is a practicing attorney and airline transport rated professional pilot.

29 Comments on “Storm of an Epoch

Strength through homogeneity! The Rise Of European Nationalism in the West.

Strength through homogeneity!

The phrase “diversity is our strength,” touted ceaselessly by the extreme left, is a standing insult against white people. Do you think this independence day celebration in Estonia would be improved with more “diversity?”

A recent study published in the science pages of the New York Times says that civic engagement decreases as the racial/ethnic diversity of a neighborhood increases. The study was conducted by Robert Putnam, PhD, author of the book Bowling Alone. This well known and respected scholar was so shocked by his own results that he kept them a secret for years before publishing them. Click Here.


Keeping the beauty of fatherland.
Fighting against the enemy:
Pay attention, pay attention,
Pay attention, pay attention!
If you believe in yourself,
In opinions of the wise,
In shoulders of the strong,
In mightiness of the elders,
In nimbleness of young men,
In sisters, brothers,
Above all in yourself,
Then you get better life……

The downside of diversity

A Harvard political scientist finds that diversity hurts civic life. What happens when a liberal scholar unearths an inconvenient truth?

(Illustration/ Keith Negley)

IT HAS BECOME increasingly popular to speak of racial and ethnic diversity as a civic strength. From multicultural festivals to pronouncements from political leaders, the message is the same: our differences make us stronger.

But a massive new study, based on detailed interviews of nearly 30,000 people across America, has concluded just the opposite. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam — famous for “Bowling Alone,” his 2000 book on declining civic engagement — has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings.

“The extent of the effect is shocking,” says Scott Page, a University of Michigan political scientist.

The study comes at a time when the future of the American melting pot is the focus of intense political debate, from immigration to race-based admissions to schools, and it poses challenges to advocates on all sides of the issues. The study is already being cited by some conservatives as proof of the harm large-scale immigration causes to the nation’s social fabric. But with demographic trends already pushing the nation inexorably toward greater diversity, the real question may yet lie ahead: how to handle the unsettling social changes that Putnam’s research predicts.

“We can’t ignore the findings,” says Ali Noorani, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. “The big question we have to ask ourselves is, what do we do about it; what are the next steps?”

The study is part of a fascinating new portrait of diversity emerging from recent scholarship. Diversity, it shows, makes us uncomfortable — but discomfort, it turns out, isn’t always a bad thing. Unease with differences helps explain why teams of engineers from different cultures may be ideally suited to solve a vexing problem. Culture clashes can produce a dynamic give-and-take, generating a solution that may have eluded a group of people with more similar backgrounds and approaches. At the same time, though, Putnam’s work adds to a growing body of research indicating that more diverse populations seem to extend themselves less on behalf of collective needs and goals.

His findings on the downsides of diversity have also posed a challenge for Putnam, a liberal academic whose own values put him squarely in the pro-diversity camp. Suddenly finding himself the bearer of bad news, Putnam has struggled with how to present his work. He gathered the initial raw data in 2000 and issued a press release the following year outlining the results. He then spent several years testing other possible explanations.

When he finally published a detailed scholarly analysis in June in the journal Scandinavian Political Studies, he faced criticism for straying from data into advocacy. His paper argues strongly that the negative effects of diversity can be remedied, and says history suggests that ethnic diversity may eventually fade as a sharp line of social demarcation.

“Having aligned himself with the central planners intent on sustaining such social engineering, Putnam concludes the facts with a stern pep talk,” wrote conservative commentator Ilana Mercer, in a recent Orange County Register op-ed titled “Greater diversity equals more misery.”

Putnam has long staked out ground as both a researcher and a civic player, someone willing to describe social problems and then have a hand in addressing them. He says social science should be “simultaneously rigorous and relevant,” meeting high research standards while also “speaking to concerns of our fellow citizens.” But on a topic as charged as ethnicity and race, Putnam worries that many people hear only what they want to.

“It would be unfortunate if a politically correct progressivism were to deny the reality of the challenge to social solidarity posed by diversity,” he writes in the new report. “It would be equally unfortunate if an ahistorical and ethnocentric conservatism were to deny that addressing that challenge is both feasible and desirable.”

. . .

Putnam is the nation’s premier guru of civic engagement. After studying civic life in Italy in the 1970s and 1980s, Putnam turned his attention to the US, publishing an influential journal article on civic engagement in 1995 that he expanded five years later into the best-selling “Bowling Alone.” The book sounded a national wake-up call on what Putnam called a sharp drop in civic connections among Americans. It won him audiences with presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and made him one of the country’s best known social scientists.

Putnam claims the US has experienced a pronounced decline in “social capital,” a term he helped popularize. Social capital refers to the social networks — whether friendships or religious congregations or neighborhood associations — that he says are key indicators of civic well-being. When social capital is high, says Putnam, communities are better places to live. Neighborhoods are safer; people are healthier; and more citizens vote.

The results of his new study come from a survey Putnam directed among residents in 41 US communities, including Boston. Residents were sorted into the four principal categories used by the US Census: black, white, Hispanic, and Asian. They were asked how much they trusted their neighbors and those of each racial category, and questioned about a long list of civic attitudes and practices, including their views on local government, their involvement in community projects, and their friendships. What emerged in more diverse communities was a bleak picture of civic desolation, affecting everything from political engagement to the state of social ties.

Putnam knew he had provocative findings on his hands. He worried about coming under some of the same liberal attacks that greeted Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s landmark 1965 report on the social costs associated with the breakdown of the black family. There is always the risk of being pilloried as the bearer of “an inconvenient truth,” says Putnam.

After releasing the initial results in 2001, Putnam says he spent time “kicking the tires really hard” to be sure the study had it right. Putnam realized, for instance, that more diverse communities tended to be larger, have greater income ranges, higher crime rates, and more mobility among their residents — all factors that could depress social capital independent of any impact ethnic diversity might have.

“People would say, ‘I bet you forgot about X,'” Putnam says of the string of suggestions from colleagues. “There were 20 or 30 X’s.”

But even after statistically taking them all into account, the connection remained strong: Higher diversity meant lower social capital. In his findings, Putnam writes that those in more diverse communities tend to “distrust their neighbors, regardless of the color of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television.”

“People living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’ — that is, to pull in like a turtle,” Putnam writes.

In documenting that hunkering down, Putnam challenged the two dominant schools of thought on ethnic and racial diversity, the “contact” theory and the “conflict” theory. Under the contact theory, more time spent with those of other backgrounds leads to greater understanding and harmony between groups. Under the conflict theory, that proximity produces tension and discord.

Putnam’s findings reject both theories. In more diverse communities, he says, there were neither great bonds formed across group lines nor heightened ethnic tensions, but a general civic malaise. And in perhaps the most surprising result of all, levels of trust were not only lower between groups in more diverse settings, but even among members of the same group.

“Diversity, at least in the short run,” he writes, “seems to bring out the turtle in all of us.”

The overall findings may be jarring during a time when it’s become commonplace to sing the praises of diverse communities, but researchers in the field say they shouldn’t be.

“It’s an important addition to a growing body of evidence on the challenges created by diversity,” says Harvard economist Edward Glaeser.

In a recent study, Glaeser and colleague Alberto Alesina demonstrated that roughly half the difference in social welfare spending between the US and Europe — Europe spends far more — can be attributed to the greater ethnic diversity of the US population. Glaeser says lower national social welfare spending in the US is a “macro” version of the decreased civic engagement Putnam found in more diverse communities within the country.

Economists Matthew Kahn of UCLA and Dora Costa of MIT reviewed 15 recent studies in a 2003 paper, all of which linked diversity with lower levels of social capital. Greater ethnic diversity was linked, for example, to lower school funding, census response rates, and trust in others. Kahn and Costa’s own research documented higher desertion rates in the Civil War among Union Army soldiers serving in companies whose soldiers varied more by age, occupation, and birthplace.

Birds of different feathers may sometimes flock together, but they are also less likely to look out for one another. “Everyone is a little self-conscious that this is not politically correct stuff,” says Kahn.

. . .

So how to explain New York, London, Rio de Janiero, Los Angeles — the great melting-pot cities that drive the world’s creative and financial economies?

The image of civic lassitude dragging down more diverse communities is at odds with the vigor often associated with urban centers, where ethnic diversity is greatest. It turns out there is a flip side to the discomfort diversity can cause. If ethnic diversity, at least in the short run, is a liability for social connectedness, a parallel line of emerging research suggests it can be a big asset when it comes to driving productivity and innovation. In high-skill workplace settings, says Scott Page, the University of Michigan political scientist, the different ways of thinking among people from different cultures can be a boon.

“Because they see the world and think about the world differently than you, that’s challenging,” says Page, author of “The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies.” “But by hanging out with people different than you, you’re likely to get more insights. Diverse teams tend to be more productive.”

In other words, those in more diverse communities may do more bowling alone, but the creative tensions unleashed by those differences in the workplace may vault those same places to the cutting edge of the economy and of creative culture.

Page calls it the “diversity paradox.” He thinks the contrasting positive and negative effects of diversity can coexist in communities, but “there’s got to be a limit.” If civic engagement falls off too far, he says, it’s easy to imagine the positive effects of diversity beginning to wane as well. “That’s what’s unsettling about his findings,” Page says of Putnam’s new work.

Meanwhile, by drawing a portrait of civic engagement in which more homogeneous communities seem much healthier, some of Putnam’s worst fears about how his results could be used have been realized. A stream of conservative commentary has begun — from places like the Manhattan Institute and “The American Conservative” — highlighting the harm the study suggests will come from large-scale immigration. But Putnam says he’s also received hundreds of complimentary emails laced with bigoted language. “It certainly is not pleasant when David Duke’s website hails me as the guy who found out racism is good,” he says.

In the final quarter of his paper, Putnam puts the diversity challenge in a broader context by describing how social identity can change over time. Experience shows that social divisions can eventually give way to “more encompassing identities” that create a “new, more capacious sense of ‘we,'” he writes.

Growing up in the 1950s in a small Midwestern town, Putnam knew the religion of virtually every member of his high school graduating class because, he says, such information was crucial to the question of “who was a possible mate or date.” The importance of marrying within one’s faith, he says, has largely faded since then, at least among many mainline Protestants, Catholics, and Jews.

While acknowledging that racial and ethnic divisions may prove more stubborn, Putnam argues that such examples bode well for the long-term prospects for social capital in a multiethnic America.

In his paper, Putnam cites the work done by Page and others, and uses it to help frame his conclusion that increasing diversity in America is not only inevitable, but ultimately valuable and enriching. As for smoothing over the divisions that hinder civic engagement, Putnam argues that Americans can help that process along through targeted efforts. He suggests expanding support for English-language instruction and investing in community centers and other places that allow for “meaningful interaction across ethnic lines.”

Some critics have found his prescriptions underwhelming. And in offering ideas for mitigating his findings, Putnam has drawn scorn for stepping out of the role of dispassionate researcher. “You’re just supposed to tell your peers what you found,” says John Leo, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank. “I don’t expect academics to fret about these matters.”

But fretting about the state of American civic health is exactly what Putnam has spent more than a decade doing. While continuing to research questions involving social capital, he has directed the Saguaro Seminar, a project he started at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government that promotes efforts throughout the country to increase civic connections in communities.

“Social scientists are both scientists and citizens,” says Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College, who sees nothing wrong in Putnam’s efforts to affect some of the phenomena he studies.

Wolfe says what is unusual is that Putnam has published findings as a social scientist that are not the ones he would have wished for as a civic leader. There are plenty of social scientists, says Wolfe, who never produce research results at odds with their own worldview.

“The problem too often,” says Wolfe, “is people are never uncomfortable about their findings.”

Michael Jonas is acting editor of CommonWealth magazine, published by MassINC, a nonpartisan public-policy think tank in Boston.