Trayvon Martin

Goodbye, John Derbyshire

02106c7f42aae2b7418b05930fc1f692John Derbyshire's career is over.

The polemecist, novelist, and National Review writer -- who long ago made the admission that he was a "homophobe, though a mild and tolerant one, and a racist, though an even more mild and tolerant one" -- last week published a not-at-all mild or tolerant article in the online journal Taki's Magazine entitled "The Talk: Nonblack Version." The article is a response to the dozen or so other articles published since the killing of Trayvon Martin in which black American parents discuss "the talk" they must have with their children about dealing with white authority figures. (The talk goes something like this: Do as you're told servilely, even if you think you're being treated unfairly, or else you might wind up in trouble far greater than your alleged misdeeds would warrant.)

Writes Derbyshire:

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.

Among your fellow citizens are forty million who identify as black, and whom I shall refer to as black ...

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 ...

... and because of this variance, Derbyshire explains, it is important for his children to treat each individual black person with the same courtesy and kindness accorded to strangers of any hue.


As you go through life ... 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 murders 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. ...

Of most importance to your personal safety are the very different means for antisocial behavior ...

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.

Which is why Derbyshire wishes his children to avoid "concentrations of blacks not known to you personally," black neighborhoods, beaches and amusement parks frequented by blacks, concerts and other events frequented by blacks, and depart public events at which large numbers of black people show up. Which is really five ways of saying the same thing, which Derbyshire nevertheless thought necessary to separate into bullet points. Perhaps he ran out of things to say.

But no! Derbyshire continues:

Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.

Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.

Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.

If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.

Most of the rest of Derbyshire's screed deals with the alleged relative stupidity of black people. Nevertheless, Derbyshire admits the existence of "intelligent and well-socialized blacks," which he abbreviates as "IWSBs," and about whom he writes:

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.

... 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).

The reactions from Derbyshire's fellow conservatives and National Review collegues were swift and brutal. (Even though a perusal of their own published opinions suggests that they agree with most or all of Derbyshire's points, if not with his method of expressing them.) Jonah Goldberg, author of Liberal Fascism, called Derbyshire's article "fundamentally indefensible and offensive." National Review editor Rick Lowry decried Derbyshire's "appalling view." Asked if he wanted to associate with such "racist trash" as Derbyshire, National Review writer Ramesh Ponnuru tweeted "I know I don't." And in the article containing these very condemnations, Matt K. Lewis, of the right-wing, Daily Caller wrote:

I believe in free speech — especially unpopular speech. But that doesn’t mean National Review has to subsidize it. And it certainly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t condemn it.

Some people aren’t worth the fighting for. Some things are indefensible. This is one of those cases.

The National Review announced Derbyshire's firing in a post on Saturday night, and it seems unlikely anyone other than Taki's Magazine will ever publish his polemics again. It's a shame, in a way, that we'll never know what kind of conversation he might have had with his children about gay people. Though we may obtain hints here, and here, and here.

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  1. I don't know anything about this Derbyshire individual and I don't particularly care that he is fired. He's presumably straight. I haven't been defending him. If you read my posts carefully, I have only stated that I am afraid of blacks and latinos because they are homophobic. I have never had the need to go into a coloured neighborhood, but I know they are dangerous for whites - by the admission of the people who live there, at least in the Bayview/hunters point. They state proudly that they will not let a white who enters their neighborhood to leave alive. That comes from their mouths. That is their statement. Is anybody actually saying there is no such danger? I am not saying whites aren't on average very bigoted. I am saying there is a real danger for whites who wander into their neighborhoods and that they are homophobic. The best defense I have seen about their homophobia here is that they vote 58% not 70% to take away my civil rights. That is just saying the majority was smaller than I thought. Nobody here has claimed the majority of blacks aren't homophobic - instead they white bash. I don't get how whites being bad makes blacks good. How does that work? I have not said they are racially inferior and the above article implies but does not repeat his arguments that blacks are racially inferior. I don't believe they are racially inferior. I believe they are culturally inferior in that their culture is extremely homophobic/religious.

    Posted by: H8Str8s | Apr 8, 2012 9:33:31 PM

  2. I don't think anyone is really implying a race or segment is inferior to another. Being able to point out certain traitss of one group makes you able to pinpoint certain situations and size them up.

    If you want to call me racist you should also include sexist, homophobic, heterophobic, antisemitic and any other term you can come up with. Yes, gay men are bitchy, women are whiny, Jews are cheap, men are dumb, yadda, yadda, yadda. Doesn't mean we all don't make the world go around any faster than another.

    Posted by: Michael | Apr 8, 2012 9:44:26 PM

  3. The Trayvon Martin case has COMPLETELY been blown out of proportion and it's really horrible to see how we have a double standard in this country. Reverse racism is just as present today and the way this story has been handled perfectly shows that.

    Posted by: Sasaf Cakes | Apr 8, 2012 9:47:07 PM

  4. Trayvon was painted by the media as some sweet, angelic biy with all the manipulative childhood photos CNN, and MSNBC kept showcasing from 12 years ago. How much more calculating could the media be? It was terrible, and proof positive that today society is out to get 'the white man' and constantly clear the name of others.

    Posted by: Truth | Apr 8, 2012 9:48:54 PM

  5. It's amazing to me that in this case, people (the black community and liberal white guilt, caucasians) decided what happened in this story, convicted a man, then made Trayven into a defenseless victim.

    Yet in every story involving an accused black individual ALL you hear from the black community is "innoncent until proven guilty! don't judge this black man convicted of the crime. He hasn't been charged yet"

    Double standard much?

    Posted by: PleasurechestTim | Apr 8, 2012 9:51:40 PM

  6. I'm as liberal as it gets but guess what? behind every stereotype hints a bit of truth and within black culture there is a higher level of inappropriate behavior. Every single area in the country that is predominantely black has a higher crime rate and is not pleasent to live. that's not by coincidence and reporting the crime rates of those areas is not a racist tactic, it's facts.

    Instead of black people blaming every one else for the behavior of some within their community, maybe they out to go inward and see facts for what they really are instead of playing the blame game. Truth hurts, and sometimes you have to confront to truth to better your experience. If everyone observes it, that doesn't make all of them eveil, it just makes them observant of reality, and you delusional to it.

    Posted by: Football-Frvr | Apr 8, 2012 9:59:38 PM

  7. He's right.

    Posted by: EatGine | Apr 8, 2012 10:00:56 PM

  8. for those who can't tell, the last number of blatantly-pathetic and racist posts were by the same pathetic troll.

    if i'm wrong, then they can provide the URL's to their own pages, to prove that they're "white liberals" (Hint: they're. it's the same white conservative closeted homosexual who's always trolling this site)

    so, no.
    and just because you've changed your name to various other handles to post the same racist tripe doesn't change a damn thing, you coward.

    a teen was being followed by an adult. an adult who was older, taller and over 100lbs heavier. and was armed with a gun. the police told the man to stay inside. he ignored that. he pursued trayvon. trayvon ran. zimmerman still pursued.

    "stand your ground"? does that not apply to the unarmed teenager who was being followed by an unknown older bigger man? does Trayvon not get to "stand his ground" against a grown man who stalks and then approaches him?

    "innocent until proven guilty"??? have you not heard Zimmerman on the tapes? HE decided Trayvon was guilty. ZImmerman decided that Trayvon was a criminal, and every intelligent person knows why.

    Zimmerman convicted Trayvon. "They always get away..." he says on the tape. "f-ing c**n" he calls him. And then he murdered him.
    And you changing your screen name like a coward so you can post your racist nonsense doesn't change the facts.

    that your racist self has to post anonymously only proves me right. you're a bigoted little coward with capers for testes. thanks for sharing.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 8, 2012 10:10:03 PM

  9. @littlekiwi
    Respiridone is good for paranoia. I suggest you talk to a doctor about trying it as soon as you can, because you've got a problem.

    Posted by: H8Str8s | Apr 8, 2012 10:21:17 PM

  10. decades after the fact, it was revealed that the whole SYBIL story was a complete hoax. perhaps you didn't get the memo.
    having a billion fake personalities doesn't make you interesting, nor sane.

    do your best sylvia plath and kiss the back of an oven.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 8, 2012 10:25:37 PM

  11. @littlekiwi
    You are not going to believe this any more than I believe you have done any of the "good works" you claim. You protest too much to be for real. I have only used this one handle. This would be a dumb handle if I were insincere. Don't trolls try to appear normal? what is normal about H8STR8S? Not much of a troll diguise, is it? Are you so delusional you can't believe there is more than one person who disagrees with you or that that person can be gay? You aren't for real are you? You are the troll. You never have any argument, you can only call names and question masculinity. You are funny. And sad.

    Posted by: H8Str8s | Apr 8, 2012 10:36:33 PM

  12. Absolutely, positively am NOT defending Derb; his posting is sick. But are you being truthful when you write that his NR colleagues, in their WRITTEN opinions, agree with "most, if not all" of derbyshire's comments. Pray tell. Exactly what did YOUR persual of the Nr and Nro archives produce in the way of confirming evidence for this broad and damning claims? Names please, or were you just making this up?

    Posted by: Lanatice | Apr 9, 2012 2:02:55 AM

  13. @ DONNY writes: "Am I a racist if I say black people litter constantly? Since I see them doing it on a near daily basis . . . ?"

    No, Donny, you are not a racist, you are isolated, as a finite being on the far opposing end of the spectrum of omnipresence, living, according to you, in a predominately Black neighborhood.

    I have lived in all white neighborhoods that were littered with five broke cars, in various stages of decay, untrimmed bushes, grass as tall as weeds, toys, clothes, and trash liberally littering not just the front lawn but circumventing the house.

    What many people fail to realize when they see people living under these conditions is that they are seeing despondency, not a cultural sign post.

    And what people never do is ask themselves what brings a people to a level of despondency that they cease to see the benefit of maintaining their homes, their neighborhoods, and their own persons?

    And because the circumstances that bring people to a place of profound despondency has gone on so very long, long before you and I were born, the behavior, which is only a sign of despondency, appears as culturally innate.

    So maybe many of you by pointing out the anti-social and negative behavior of Blacks in your neighborhoods are not being racist, but as you say are only reporting what you have seen . . . but again cannot be deemed culturally relevant when you consider how small your little corner of the world is.

    And while not, as I said necessarily racist, to report what you have seen, does, nevertheless, teeter on racism when you attach too much relevance to so limited an exposure to a much larger group of people.

    Essentially that is what racism is: characterizing or defining an entire group of people by a handful of people from that group.

    Many of you have said that you know that not all Blacks litter, or engage in anti-social and violent behavior, yet it is those characteristics that you CHOOSE to focus your attention . . . so again, puts you in danger of racist attitudes.

    The media, as some of you have said, may have attempted to manipulate its readership/viewership by showing older pictures, to gain our sympathies.

    Perhaps they did it because they knew that many people looking at a picture of a young Black male, tall, and healthy, would, despite the facts that we DO know concerning the confrontation between Zimmerman and Trayvon, conclude that Trayvon must have done something.

    Which is, of course, what many of you have done anyway.

    Trayvon was a typical teen, who gets into a little trouble as he tries to figure out his place in the world, and people want to make out some justification for his death on that basis . . . certainly not something that people would do when it comes white teens.

    Let us not forget poor little Brandon McInerney who was forced to execute a Black teen for having a crush on him . . . and got a mere slap on the hand.

    Trayvon Martin could have been a hardened criminal, which he was not, with a rap sheet longer than my arm, which he did not, and that would not change the fact that he only went to the 7-11 to buy skittles for his little brother, and an iced tea for himself, and he is dead because an over zealous, wanna-be-cop, disobeyed a police dispatcher and followed him anyway.

    We only have George Zimmerman's side of the story of what happened after he disobeyed the police dispatcher . . . but the fact that there is a law that makes it possible for someone to murder someone, and simply claim self-defense, that he was only standing his ground, is ludicrous . . . horrifying, actually.

    Perhaps, not so horrifying to many of you who think it is just a Black teen, who is not as innocent as the media made him out to be, but certainly horrifying to anyone who loses someone they cherish in so senseless a manner.

    At the very least, Zimmerman is guilty of manslaughter. Even if everything happened exactly as he said, it would not have happened had he obeyed the police. To ignore that one central fact, to not care that a young man is dead as a result is racist . .. because these are not the conclusions that would be drawn had Trayvon been Brandon . . . and especially if George Zimmerman was Tyrone.

    An over zealous Tyrone would have been arrested. How do we know that that would be the case? We know, just like you know that Blacks litter in your neighborhoods . . . because we have seen that is how cops behave toward Blacks.

    Posted by: Ricco | Apr 9, 2012 4:41:39 AM

  14. @H8STR8TS . . . I am not about to argue the finer theological points of freewill with a man who claims not to believe in freewill, whose choices, according to him, "are a direct result of his genetic make-up and life experiences . . . " the latter part being more about "nurture vs. nature" than the theology of free, who ". . . worships knowledge, and not the great sky genie."

    While I can quite appreciate your reluctance to worship a Genie, God, or whatever moniker you choose to ascribe to the being we are here discussing, I do not understand why you (or anyone) would worship knowledge seeing that of all that is known and not known by man, you can retain but a very-very small portion of that knowledge, which, unless you, yourself conducted the research and observed the results cannot have come honestly by that even the little that you know all on your own, but accepted what you say you know purely by faith in others who actually did the research, and observed the resulting data . .

    But never mind all that.

    My question to you is if you can no more, as you say, make another choice, or choices, than the ones you've made than you could levitate, how then can you expect Little Kiwi to be other than who he is?

    It is apparent in your arguments with Little Kiwi that you feel he could make other choices.

    So not only am I questioning the veracity of your position on the theology of free will, but I pose to you the tenuous dependence on what you think you know as it is sure to conflict with what Little Kiwi and others think they know.

    I have learned at least this much from your postings (which, whether or not I agree, found to be courteous, and somewhat restrained, howbeit a bit frustrated) that whatever your theological leanings concerning freewill, you do believe we are free enough to make some choices . . .

    Posted by: Ricco | Apr 9, 2012 6:54:56 AM

  15. Manotaur: I am a lifelong liberal democrat and recognize that you centrists/independents often decide election outcomes. So be it. However, I encourage you to listen to the rational voices on the left before casting your vote in November. Please ignore the hysterical rants of extremists like "Littlekiwi", he is a foreigner who thinks he understands America. Which he clearly does not.

    Posted by: jack | Apr 9, 2012 9:59:06 AM

  16. The truth hurts...

    Posted by: BobBob | Apr 9, 2012 10:42:16 AM

  17. RICCO, i just fell a little bit more in love with you.
    thank you for that.

    it' amazing that we sit here reading these comments, and all i can think of is that line from A Time to Kill: "now picture that she's white"

    it's amazing that to people still living in this country, you can't find sympathy or compassion for someone if they're not the same colour as you.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 9, 2012 11:57:42 AM

  18. @ricco
    I understand your confusion about freewill. The illusion of freewill is very convincing. I make choices just as littlekiwi does. I just am not free to make any choice. The choice I make is predetermined. I am giving and getting life experiences all the time. I can't help argueing, because I have no freewill, and littlkiwi can't help insulting people and being holier-than-thou with his mocked up supposed 'pro equality work' which nobody has ever seen or heard of.

    Posted by: H8Str8s | Apr 9, 2012 1:41:12 PM

  19. I'd just like to mention briefly that everyone getting up in arms about what percentage of black people voted against marriage equality in California seem to repeatedly overlook the fact that less than 7% of the population in that state is black. That's not a scale-tipping number by any stretch of the imagination.

    Posted by: antisaint | Apr 9, 2012 7:06:20 PM

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