I will admit that I cannot recall if I ever wrote one thing Derbyshire wrote. I likely did, but, that is beside the point. The bottom line is this, he wrote a column that touched on racial lines, and, as a Conservative,that can be extremely dangerous. Liberal columnists can get away with overtly racist words, Conservatives? Not even close. One of the biggest double standards, maybe the biggest, is what the Left and Right are allowed to say, or write about race. Derbyshire wrote some “controversial things” and now, National Review has booted him,which is their perfect right. My aim in this post is not to condemn The National Review, or Derbyshire. My aim is to determine if, had Derbyshire written for this blog,would I have canned him for his piece. So,let us review the words that got Derbyshire 86ed.
I will comment as I see a need to
“Sean O’Reilly was 16 when his mother gave him the talk that most black parents give their teenage sons,” Denisa R. Superville of the Hackensack (NJ) Record tells us. Meanwhile, down in Atlanta: “Her sons were 12 and 8 when Marlyn Tillman realized it was time for her to have the talk,” Gracie Bonds Staples writes in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Yes, talk about the talk is all over.
There is a talk that nonblack Americans have with their kids, too. My own kids, now 19 and 16, have had it in bits and pieces as subtopics have arisen. If I were to assemble it into a single talk, it would look something like the following.
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(1) Among your fellow citizens are forty million who identify as black, and whom I shall refer to as black. The cumbersome (and MLK-noncompliant) term “African-American” seems to be in decline, thank goodness. “Colored” and “Negro” are archaisms. What you must call “the ‘N’ word” is used freely among blacks but is taboo to nonblacks.
“There is a talk that nonblack Americans have with their kids, too.”
(2) American blacks are descended from West African populations, with some white and aboriginal-American admixture. The overall average of non-African admixture is 20-25 percent. The admixture distribution is nonlinear, though: “It seems that around 10 percent of the African American population is more than half European in ancestry.” (Same link.)
(3) Your own ancestry is mixed north-European and northeast-Asian, but blacks will take you to be white.
(4) The default principle in everyday personal encounters is, that as a fellow citizen, with the same rights and obligations as yourself, any individual black is entitled to the same courtesies you would extend to a nonblack citizen. That is basic good manners and good citizenship. In some unusual circumstances, however—e.g., paragraph (10h) below—this default principle should be overridden by considerations of personal safety.
(5) As with any population of such a size, there is great variation among blacks in every human trait (except, obviously, the trait of identifying oneself as black). They come fat, thin, tall, short, dumb, smart, introverted, extroverted, honest, crooked, athletic, sedentary, fastidious, sloppy, amiable, and obnoxious. There are black geniuses and black morons. There are black saints and black psychopaths. In a population of forty million, you will find almost any human type. Only at the far, far extremes of certain traits are there absences. There are, for example, no black Fields Medal winners. While this is civilizationally consequential, it will not likely ever be important to you personally. Most people live and die without ever meeting (or wishing to meet) a Fields Medal winner.
(6) As you go through life, however, you will experience an ever larger number of encounters with black Americans. Assuming your encounters are random—for example, not restricted only to black convicted murderers or to black investment bankers—the Law of Large Numbers will inevitably kick in. You will observe that the means—the averages—of many traits are very different for black and white Americans, as has been confirmed by methodical inquiries in the human sciences.
(7) Of most importance to your personal safety are the very different means for antisocial behavior, which you will see reflected in, for instance, school disciplinary measures, political corruption, and criminal convictions.
(8) These differences are magnified by the hostility many blacks feel toward whites. Thus, while black-on-black behavior is more antisocial in the average than is white-on-white behavior, average black-on-white behavior is a degree more antisocial yet.
(9) A small cohort of blacks—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us. A much larger cohort of blacks—around half—will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event. They will do this out of racial solidarity, the natural willingness of most human beings to be led, and a vague feeling that whites have it coming.
(10) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:
(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.
This seems pretty racist at first glance, but, trust me most people, note I did not say most White people, but most people, regardless of race would avoid Inner-City neighborhoods. I am not sure what Derbyshire means by “heavily Black neighborhoods. but, I will assume he is referring to the inner city, where crime rates are generally very high.
(10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).
Does this seem racist to me, yes, I must be honest, it does
(10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.
Again, this sounds racist. Is he advising his kids to avoid rap concerts? That would be pretty good advice, but that, to me anyway, has more to do with the gang/thug element, and there are plenty of non-Blacks that fit that decsription
(10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.
Again, I would have to read Derbyshire’s mind to be certain of his meaning, but, I would advise his kids the same way. I managed a restaurant in downtown Dallas for several years. And, once a year, the Hoop-It-Up event was held around this restaurant. Every year, toward the end of the day, as the games were ending, large groups of kids, almost all Black would descent on the area. The Dallas Police were there, in force, and talking to some of the officers, not all White by the way, I learned that there was reason to be concerned about gang violence.
(10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.
This one is, to me, just stupid. I might advise his kids not to live in heavily Democratic districts, but that has zip to do with race.
(10g) Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.
Horse shit! Scrutinize EVERY politician, regardless of race. Maybe Derbyshire forgets that there are far more White Liberal politicians than Black Liberal politicians.
(10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.
(10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.
I would advise this tactic, no matter who was accosting me.
(11) The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites. The least intelligent ten percent of whites have IQs below 81; forty percent of blacks have IQs that low. Only one black in six is more intelligent than the average white; five whites out of six are more intelligent than the average black. These differences show in every test of general cognitive ability that anyone, of any race or nationality, has yet been able to devise. They are reflected in countless everyday situations. “Life is an IQ test.”
Yes, that is racist, no doubt. Now, I would say that the Left has targeted Blacks, and other minorities for decades. The Left has, to great effect, convinced Blacks that EVERYTHING revolves around their skin color, especially anything negative. The Left has done this to indoctrinate Black Americans. Their desire is to embitter Blacks, and convince them that they are perpetually victimized by racism, and that the only by voting Democrat can they ever move forward.
This indoctrination has, I believe, made Black Americans far too focused on their skin color. In my experience, White people are far less concerned about their pigmentation than are Blacks. I blame decades of Liberal propaganda for that.
(12) There is a magnifying effect here, too, caused by affirmative action. In a pure meritocracy there would be very low proportions of blacks in cognitively demanding jobs. Because of affirmative action, the proportions are higher. In government work, they are very high. Thus, in those encounters with strangers that involve cognitive engagement, ceteris paribus the black stranger will be less intelligent than the white. In such encounters, therefore—for example, at a government office—you will, on average, be dealt with more competently by a white than by a black. If that hostility-based magnifying effect (paragraph 8) is also in play, you will be dealt with more politely, too. “The DMV lady“ is a statistical truth, not a myth.
Once again, give me a break! at this point, I would say that if Derbyshire wrote for me, he would be toast.
(13) In that pool of forty million, there are nonetheless many intelligent and well-socialized blacks. (I’ll use IWSB as an ad hoc abbreviation.) You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with IWSBs. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.
(14) Be aware, however, that there is an issue of supply and demand here. Demand comes from organizations and businesses keen to display racial propriety by employing IWSBs, especially in positions at the interface with the general public—corporate sales reps, TV news presenters, press officers for government agencies, etc.—with corresponding depletion in less visible positions. There is also strong private demand from middle- and upper-class whites for personal bonds with IWSBs, for reasons given in the previous paragraph and also (next paragraph) as status markers.
(15) Unfortunately the demand is greater than the supply, so IWSBs are something of a luxury good, like antique furniture or corporate jets: boasted of by upper-class whites and wealthy organizations, coveted by the less prosperous. To be an IWSB in present-day US society is a height of felicity rarely before attained by any group of human beings in history. Try to curb your envy: it will be taken as prejudice (see paragraph 13).
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You don’t have to follow my version of the talk point for point; but if you are white or Asian and have kids, you owe it to them to give them some version of the talk. It will save them a lot of time and trouble spent figuring things out for themselves. It may save their lives.
As I said, the part about Blacks being “less-intelligent” is something I find offensive, and needless. Although, I will note that if this column had been written by a Black Liberal, and the column had been directed towards Whites, the “outrage” would have been non-existent. As I wrote earlier, the double standard on race in America is absurd. Liberals are ALLOWED to be openly racist, Hell, they are applauded for it many times.
That is my take, here is what others are saying
Stacy McCain notes the narcissism of many on the Left and their exploitation of race.
In a society where traditional institutions of moral authority are decadent or discredited, individuals engage in self-righteous political gestures to demonstrate (to themselves, if to no one else) their own superior virtue. Liberal policies appeal to such impulses, e.g., Dick Durbin: “I may be a corrupt swine, but I drive a hybrid!” or Alec Baldwin: “I may be a vicious bully, but I’m all about a woman’s right to choose!”
Controversies that involve race, even indirectly, have often been hijacked by this sort of liberal crusader mentality, as in the infamousDuke University lacrosse team “rape” scandal, where certainty of the guilt of the accused was a kind of moral litmus test. People who had nothing to do with Duke University, people who had never been within a hundred miles of Raleigh, N.C., nevertheless presumed to know that the lacrosse players were guilty and excoriated anyone who did not join them in denouncing the perpetrators of this alleged atrocity.
What you learn, if you observe this tendency long enough, is that the people who delight in pointing the accusatory finger — racist! sexist! homophobe! — are generally engaged in an exhibition of moral narcissism, trying to fill the “hole in their soul” with self-righteousness by gestures intended to prove their own superior virtue. Not only are theynot racist (or not sexist, etc.), but they are anti-racist (or anti-whatever) and are courageously donning their shining armor and mounting their horses to lead a crusade against the Evil Menace.
Heroism on the cheap, as it were.
Stacy also has a nice round up as well
Donald Douglas wonders why Derbyshire put this piece out
Bob Belvedere defends Derbyshire as a good and decent man
Jeff Goldstein notes the racial fear mongering angle and defends Derbyshire as well. He also makes a couple of excellent points about the Left’s oft-spoken desire top have a “dialogue on race”
First, let me say this: Derb’s article is “controversial” in the same way Juan Williams’ noting that he gets a bit frightened on a plane when he sees Arabs in the row in front of him tugging at their vests was controversial. Meaning, it was honest — and as such, it was not sufficiently filtered for a media climate where political correctness still provides the parameters for what is and isn’t acceptable.
Eric Holder famously noted that we’re afraid to talk about race in this country. Derbyshire proved he, at least, isn’t. And his comrades are crawling over themselves to gain distance.
And the reason is, Holder, the left, the “pragmatic” right — they don’t really want to talk about such things. They only want to talk about the need to talk about such things, while simultaneously demonizing any real attempts to do so. An easier way to bank some cheap grace you won’t find in a PC-soaked society.
Some of what Derbyshire said in his article I didn’t agree with; some of what he argued I take no position on, because I’d need to see the evidence cited expanded on a bit and given a more rigorous test; and as a practical rhetorical matter, I think Derbyshire did himself no favors by singling out blacks. But what is indisputable is that the article is set up as a talk he’d have with his kids about race, and the opinions he’s formed — and that he’d pass on to his children — are his, while the reasons he’s developed them he sourced w/ links. That is, he tried (within the constraints of the format) to show his work.
Dan Riehl notes the Left’s misguided attack on Derbyshire
the left is always screaming racism, often even when it hasn’t been proven to exist – as in the recent case of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. Even the media falsely screamed it. So, along comes Derbyshire and, I don’t know, confesses it, on his part? And all the left can do is scream, get him! Silence him! He must be fired!! What does that solve? It’s as if the left wants it to appear as though America doesn’t still struggle with racial issues … except when seizing upon an incident, or issue they think they can exploit for political gain. Frankly, they’re even trying to do that here,
Sad that the Left whines about a need to talk about race, when in fact they only want to have THEIR slanted view heard. As for me, maybe I am just different, but skin color means little to me, of the five closest friends I have had in my adult life one is Korean, one Fillipino, and one is Black. I never saw them as a “color” or an “ethnicity”. I saw them as people, nothing more. I truly believe most of us, of all races are the same way.