Monday, April 09, 2012

John Derbyshire And A Talk About Race

The National review fired long time contributor John Derbyshire during the weekend over a piece he wrote entitled, 'The Talk - Non Black Version'.

Here's what editor Rich Lowrey had to say about the matter:

Anyone who has read Derb in our pages knows he’s a deeply literate, funny, and incisive writer. I direct anyone who doubts his talents to his delightful first novel, “Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream,” or any one of his “Straggler” columns in the books section of NR. Derb is also maddening, outrageous, cranky, and provocative. His latest provocation, in a webzine, lurches from the politically incorrect to the nasty and indefensible. We never would have published it, but the main reason that people noticed it is that it is by a National Review writer. Derb is effectively using our name to get more oxygen for views with which we’d never associate ourselves otherwise. So there has to be a parting of the ways. Derb has long danced around the line on these issues, but this column is so outlandish it constitutes a kind of letter of resignation. It’s a free country, and Derb can write whatever he wants, wherever he wants. Just not in the pages of NR or NRO, or as someone associated with NR any longer.

Now, I personally think that the piece attracted the notoriety it did because of its content rather than because Derbyshire happens to write for the National Review, but certainly they were within their rights to terminate the relationship.

However, I think it's worth examining what John Derbyshire wrote.Some of it frankly is racist, incorrect and/or exaggerated in my view, but not all of it.

Derbyshire's piece envisions a talk non Black parents have with their children about black Americans.

He starts out by saying that '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.'

Not too bad on its face, since even Jesse Jackson has said essentially the same thing.

Derbyshire is also wise enough to write the obvious truth that '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.' So far no argument.

But then he goes on to writing about what he calls 'anti social behavior':

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.

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.

This is where I start wondering if Derbyshire is actually serious or whether he just wrote this to be provocative.

There certainly are black racists out there, and in my own opinion, there are more of them than there are white racists since black racism against whites, Asians and Latinos in America is publicly acceptable these days whereas white racism is not.As to the 'great lengths or inconvenience', the FBI's own crime statistics show that while black on white crime is far more prevalent that white on black crime,black on black crime is far more prevalent than black victimization of whites.

Because most black people know this only too well, on average they're far less accommodating and forgiving of black thuggery no matter whom it's directed at than Leftist white politicians or race pimps like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.It was black passer-bys who fought off black thugs and saved white truck driver Reginald Denny's life when he was pulled from his truck during the 1991 Los Angeles riots and nearly beaten to death. As Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl once wrote, the world is divided into two groups, the decent and the indecent. There is no color line between the two as far as I can see, and when you start out from a default position that that majority of blacks will inherently behave indecently out of hostility, passivity or racial solidarity, you're simply wrong.

Here's some other advice Derbyshire gives to non-blacks about blacks:

(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.

(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.

(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).

(10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.

(10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.


While Derbyshire's not incorrect that a certain amount of black on white crime is racially motivated, like swarm 'flash mob' tactics on convenience stores or the 'knock out game' , I think he's confusing politically correct attitudes promulgated by the dinosaur media with actual 'acceptance' by the majority of people who identify themselves as black. Another factor, quite frankly, is the hip hop culture that glamorizes that kind of behavior. As observers like Bill Cosby and Larry Elder have pointed out, while the majority of rap music is purchased by whites, the culture as a whole does seem to have a particularly destructive effect on young black teens, and the reason why would take up a whole entire article by itself.

But none of the events Derbyshire links to are limited to blacks. Neither is thuggery. If we changed his above sentences to substitute 'rowdy teenage youths' instead of blacks, then he might be a bit closer to being correct. Elementary common sense tells you that when you're anywhere - a bar, a beach, a club, what have you - you stay aware of your surroundings and when the crowd changes in a way you're not comfortable with, you leave. Putting a racial spin on it is, well, racist.

As for spending time in black neighborhoods...allow me to comment as someone who actually has, both AM and PM.

When I was starting out in a very competitive business, it was only a year or so after the 1991 Rodney King riots. I needed clients, so I went where no one else was South Los Angeles' predominantly black neighborhoods. My usual tactic was to dress in slacks, a shirt and tie, pick out a few blocks around say, West 78th Street and Vermont, knock on doors, hand out my business cards and introduce myself.

Once they got over their initial surprise that someone was actually soliciting their business, especially a young man obviously just starting out, everyone I met with only a few exceptions was friendly, pleasant and hospitable. If they weren't interested or had no need of my services, after talking to me for a few minutes and sussing me out, they frequently were willing to call people they knew that did and open the doors for me. I ended up with a slew of long time clients and enough referral business so that I didn't even have to bother to advertise. Only once did anyone come close to getting physically threatening, and he was so obviously impaired that I didn't take it seriously, I just walked away.

Derbyshire goes on to posit that blacks are less intelligent than whites, and cites some statistics to justify it. His analysis is obviously faulty, and here's the reason why.

Given the mixture of the races in America, it's impossible to separate standardized test results solely on race. There's no such thing as a 'black' test score, unless we're going to go Hitler one better and start toting up ancestry to come up with racial classifications. Not only that, but you also have consider that with the advent of affirmative action and racial bean counting, a lot of people with the remotest touch of black or Hispanic ancestry have found it very convenient to identify with those groups regardless of their actual racial makeup.

And again, we also have to make allowances for culture rather than race. Black youths in Barbados take the American SAT and on average score far better than Americans who identify themselves as black do.

Derbyshire ends up by talking about people he refers to as 'Intelligent, well socialized blacks' or to use his acronym, IWSB's:

(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.

As Derbyshire would have it, the number of blacks who fall into the 'decent' category of Victor Frankl I mentioned above are a distinct minority, a 'luxury good'. And those who are have achieved what they've achieved as simple window dressing, to camouflage the inner racist feelings of guilty whites.

In that, Derbyshire is in full agreement with people like Al Sharpton, Cornell West,Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan...because that's exactly their argument. It's possibly the most egregiously racist statement in the entire piece.

First, if I'm a businessman hiring someone, I'm looking for talent, performance and reliability, plain and simple. Now, there was a time when people hired by gender, color and ethnicity, and women, blacks, Jews, Hispanics, Asians and white ethnics faced a considerable bar in gaining employment, especially in jobs that involved public contact. Those days are long past, except, oddly enough, in certain hiring decisions largely controlled by blacks and in the public sector or the entertainment industry.

If you're a private employer and you turn down an otherwise highly qualified and desirable applicant simply because you don't care for his or her skin color, they will likely go to work for your competitor, and you will live to regret it. You see, that's the bottom line in hiring the help : 'who's going to do the job and make me money?' To suggest that someone otherwise inept gets hired simply because they're a 'well socialized black' shows an appalling and mean spirited ignorance of the world and how it really works.

But then, that could unfortunately be said of most of what John Derbyshire wrote in this piece. Such an attitude belittles him, and us.


Independent patriot said...

questions.. Didnt his magazine read what he wrote before they pulished it? Arent they as responsible for his ignorance as media matters is responsible for rosenberg?

Anonymous said...

regarding that part of your post ending in "This is where I start wondering if Derbyshire is actually serious or whether he just wrote this to be provocative."

Have you ever seen any of the video when a sports team makes a big win and the 'fans" all celebrate in the street? You will notice groups of black youths and young men (and even women) roaming through the crowd randomly assaulting white youths. No provocation no reason just black racism looking for white victims. How about those hushed up assaults at state fairs in the past few years. Do you really think this isn't happening on a regular basis? If the hush up the major racist attacks of blacks on whites certainly you will never hear of the many minor attacks.

Another example is the rape statistics. White on black rape is rare. Black rape of white women is a virtual epidemic. Is this a result of racism? I don't know and it's impossible to know because we choose to hide the facts rather then investigate the facts. So given the reality of black on white racism Derbyshire was right on with his advice. Effectively he has said that since the authorities refuse to acknowledge it and/or do anything about it then YOU as an individual must. You must stay away from venues where blacks put their racism into a physical attack on you because you are white. Shhhh, but don't tell anyone...

Anonymous said...

@anon 7:05
You describe my experience, regretfully.
As a medical professional in a predominantly black demographic, the results of violent criminality we observe in our ER are unspeakable. It is non-stop, escalating in frequency and heinousness, including an increase of inhumane acts upon children, even toddlers.
These incidents are never brought to the attention of the public at large. They are our [law enforcement and medicine] dirty secrets. A few shootings are released, but not the black on white assault cases, or nasty, bizarre events.
As a result, responsible citizens continue feeling "white guilt," and finance with their tax payers' money the fallout from the acts of those who feel entitled to all they can get for free, while committing violent, aggressive crimes against each other, their own children, and random whites, often with no consequences. The no snitch meme prevails.
As for the "flash mob" phenomenon? Yes. Any concert, fair, festival becomes a venue for a shooting, gang fight, stabbing, deaths. Spontaneous trashing and looting of downtown merchants occurs for no discernible reason.
Unsafe streets? Another yes. Here, no one but a fool would walk the streets in these neighborhoods. Sitting on the front porch is taking a risk.
Fortunately, I live in a quiet suburb and commute.