Racist with an Explanation: Rightbloggers Defend John Derbyshire
Last week John Derbyshire, a now-former writer for National Review, published elsewhere an article that was plainly racist -- by which we mean, its racism was not veiled or masked in the manner that has become common among rightbloggers, but overt; it asserted that black people were less intelligent than whites and more prone to violence, and thus should be avoided.
You have probably already guessed what comes next. While a few rightbloggers thought this was a bridge too far, and many ignored it (or, like Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds, pretended they couldn't read it), a depressing number found it a refreshing departure from "political correctness," or just plain agreed with Derbyshire's conclusions.
Derbyshire has a long history of racist statements (including "I am a homophobe... and a racist"), so the only surprise about his alleged advice to his children in Taki's Magazine was that he did not try to sugar up its racism with charm or humor. Among his advisements:
"Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally."
"Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods."
"If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving."
"The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites... There is a magnifying effect here, too, caused by affirmative action... therefore--for example, at a government office--you will, on average, be dealt with more competently by a white than by a black."
Some rightbloggers, too, denounced Derbyshire's article; "'Indefensible' is an apt description of Derbyshire's controversial race column," said Breitbart's Big Journalism, "which has been getting pilloried in online circles left and right for the last day and a half."
But skimming the right-blogosphere, we find such voices in the minority. The best that could be said about most of the rightbloggers who swarmed to Derbyshire's defense is that their incoherence shows they aren't used to defending these kinds of sentiments. But give them time.
Let's start, though, with the more straightforward reactions from old-fashioned racist types. "Kudos to John Derbyshire for telling the damned truth!" wrote Charles Patrick Adkins ("a proud White, Patriotic, American") at Thoughts and Rantings. "To the liberals giving him grief about it; I got one thing to say --- SCREW YOU!"
In a follow-up, Adkins revealed that "my Cousin Michael Landon Hill was brutally murdered by Black and Latino cops in southwest Detroit's Delray district in 1994," which he offered as justification for his hatred of blacks, among others: "The truth is, I owe Blacks and Latinos and yes --- Jews --- nothing at all."
"Blacks are more violent than any other racial group, a fact supported by decades of crime statistics as well as recent events," gurgled Sabrepoint. "I don't like this terrible truth and would change it if I could," presumably by exterminating them. "Of course," he added, "many blacks are also good, decent people, but you have to play the odds if you are interested in your physical survival."
Barrel Strength said, "I read [the article] yesterday and thought to myself, 'bang on!'" and applauded Derbyshire's "straightforward - and therefore politically dangerous - observations that the people one is talking about have average IQs one full standard distribution lower, on average, than whites." He also asked, "Is it racist? Define race and racism please. I want to know." He might start here.
Vox Day back-patted Derbyshire; he knew what it was like to be misunderstood. "Now, in the past," Day wrote, "I have been urged by some to abandon what they errantly consider to be my 'support for segregation.' What they fail to understand is that I don't support segregation per se... There is nothing to support, there is only an observation to be made: Humanity is intrinsically and naturally self-segregating. It is desegregation that is unnatural, that requires the imposition of force..."
Thus, if whites do hang out with blacks, it is only the imposition of the state that keeps the races miserably together. "MLK's dream is dead," Day asserted, "and more importantly, it was never more than wishful thinking anyhow. Racial equality is the same failed myth as every other aspect of human equality..."
Curt Doolittle ("I am an independent theorist of Political Economy in the Austrian Libertarian tradition") allowed as how "racism is just plain stupidity." Nonetheless he explained that "African Americans FACTUALLY demonstrate African American distributions of IQ are FACTUALLY almost a full standard deviation lower than that of their white counterparts," and that "whites used to be racist but the wars ended their comfort with self confidence. Blacks are racist at the bottom."
Doolittle also noted that black people are disproportionately represented in crime statistics. He did not consider their disproportionate representation in poverty statistics to be connected -- that sort of thinking, we suppose, would conflict with the Austrian Libertarian tradition -- but suggested that "aberrant behavior among minorities" in the U.S. is "tolerated under the principle of diversity and freedom of self expression."
Let us leave these people to their klaverns. Most of the brethren, as we said, took a less direct approach, arguing that just because they agreed with Derbyshire that blacks were inferior, that didn't make them racists.
"John Derbyshire is not a raaaaacist," said The Camp of the Saints, using the traditional rightblogger shorthand for false accusations of racism. "... Don't buy into the Leftist Narrative being crafted to divert your attention away from the Left's vile behavior in the Trayvon Martin shooting and their attempt to bring down another intrepid soul on the Right."
At Protein Wisdom, Jeff Goldstein didn't see what was so racist about the idea that white people should avoid black people out of fear for their lives.
Derbyshire's article was "honest," said Goldstein, "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."
Goldstein did admit that "as a practical rhetorical matter, I think Derbyshire did himself no favors by singling out blacks" -- presumably if he'd added something about his contempt for homosexuals, people might have taken it better -- and that "his article brought out some unsavory types in the comments -- WHY WON'T DERBYSHIRE TAKE ON THE KIKES?" -- though, Goldstein explained, that had "has less to do with his article and more to do with certain people who are always drawn to such pieces" for reasons no one can understand.
Speaking of people who are drawn to such pieces, Goldstein went on to denounce Eric Holder, Spike Lee, Al Sharpton, people putting "bounties on George Zimmerman," people "who yell 'SCIENCE!' and want to put conservatives in re-education camps," and "the left's control over the social narrative" which has so twisted our discourse that people who hate and fear African-Americans are misperceived as racists. ("I already know I'm not a racist," added Goldstein, though we wonder why he bothered.)
Some tried to paint the corners. Tom Maguire, for example, who has devoted the past few weeks to trying to prove that Trayvon Martin had it coming, said, "a friend of mine (AF) commented that Paul Simon fills Central Park and all is well; Diana Ross draws a crowd and there are near-riots. His thought, roughly - 'gee, go figure.'" The Diana Ross riot was in 1983, and many, many black artists have performed in New York since then without incident. (The Black-Eyed Peas played Central Park last summer and no riot ensued; perhaps Maguire, or "AF," attributes this to the calming presence of Fergie.)
Dan Riehl claimed to have a black friend -- well, to have had one, anyway, in sixth grade, and that this black friend told him, during an interracial squabble at their school, "Dan, you know if this gets bigger and we end up getting pulled in, I have to be with my people, right?"
So this alleged remark proved... well, we're not sure what, but it prompted Riehl to ask, "how much of what Derbyshire wrote is mostly true in a still too significant portion of America's population, black, or white?" as if Derbyshire's hatred of blacks had some lessons for black people besides "John Derbyshire hates you."
Riehl added: "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!" Plus, "the left should be thanking Derbyshire for being honest - for confirming so much of what they themselves always seem to be saying." What a bunch of ingrates!
"Some of [Derbyshire's column] is stupid. A lot of it is insensitive," said Rick Moran at American Thinker. But, he allowed, "some of it is valuable advice." For example: "Only the most rabid racialist would say something negative about Derbyshire's warning to his kids to avoid heavily black neighborhoods..." Maybe Moran should go to Harlem and warn all the white folks living up there to run for their lives.
On the "Rightblogger will tell you what the real outrage is" front, Robert Stacy McCain denounced "the Left's attempt to bully [Slate writer David] Weigel for failing to denounce Derbyshire in strong enough terms." McCain showed no evidence of this alleged bullying of Weigel -- he later explained, "I noticed people on Twitter giving Dave Weigel grief" -- but attacked this imaginary retributive movement as "a sort of Maoist tactic, the demand for conformity and solidarity," and shook his fist at the Maoist hordes: "And now the Left's trying to get Weigel fired from Slate? Be careful what you wish for, lefties. It could be worse."
(In 2010, Weigel was forced to resign from the Washington Post for saying mean things about conservatives on a private mailing list. Maybe McCain brought him up as an inside joke.)
Some went into deeper, stranger varieties of denial; Breitbart acolyte Lee Stranahan, for example, tweeted that "Derb's views on race & IQ strike me as profoundly ANTI-conservative ; a product of Margret Sanger-like progressive psuedoscience run amok." Derbyshire as liberal -- well, you can't say it isn't original.
Meanwhile, some guy in Tulsa whose father was killed by a black man (or, as the suspect put it at Facebook, "shot by a fucking nigger") in a family dispute two years ago allegedly went on a black-killing rampage to celebrate the anniversary.
It's early yet, but we're already getting some rightblogger reactions:
"40 year old Pernell Jefferson is serving six years in prison for killing Jake England's father, Carl. That's it?" sympathized Scared Monkeys. "Jake England will be serving the rest of his life for the murders he is alleged to have done."
"The Tulsa Killer (Jake England's) Father Was Murdered By A Black Man 2 Years Ago~WHERE WAS THE OUTRAGE?" yelled The Mad Jewess. "...this happened under the Obama watch." "Lo and behold, this was an entirely predictable retaliatory strike against the Black Undertow," said Occidental Dissent.
"IF it comes out that this shooting had anything to do with the Trayvon Martin issue, then I blame the entire thing on Obama and his henchmen," muttered American and Proud through a mouthful of chaw. "IF They had ties to the Aryan Nation in any way it's a direct response to the hype of Black Panthers/Media frenzy and the democrat party faithful who have pushed for it... The 'Occupy' people were way too white in the streets. They needed to capture some 'Black' anger and get involvement. What we have here is the catalyst."
If Derbyshire starts up his own magazine, he won't have any trouble knowing where to look for subscribers -- or columnists.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.