April 7, 2012

Derb Cut Loose on a Saturday

Justin Katz

So, National Review has let John Derbyshire go:

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.

Longtime readers of the National Review corner of the commentary world will note the genre in which Derb is writing. He's long relished the reaction that being politically incorrect to the verge of retrograde elicits. Whatever his private views might be, one suspects that his biases are insignificant in the shadow of his enjoyment of mischief.

What gives this recent episode such an air of sad error is that the piece, while clearly indefensible, reads like tone-deaf parody. Derbyshire recently acknowledged a dire reason that he's been off his game, lately:

The fact is, I have been under the influence of bendamustine. (Trade name Treanda; though that always looks to me like something I'd see on the name tag of a check-out girl at the local discount store. "That'll be $14.95." "Here you go." "Thank you, Sir. Have a nice day." "You too, Treanda.")

The nature of the influence is that my IQ seems to have dropped about 20 points, and my life processes have slowed to a crawl. Was there really a time when I simultaneously plotted and wrote books, conducted major home repairs, kept up a busy journalistic schedule, paid attention to my wife and kids, and took frequent breaks for travel? It seems incredible. This last few weeks, by the time I've roused myself from bed, got through necessary ablutions, checked my e-mail, and eaten a boiled egg, it's 10:30 p.m. and time to go back to bed.

Bendamustine, as Derb provides a link to explain, is a heavy-duty drug for treating cancer.

I don't see that National Review had any option but to disassociate itself from such an essay and its author. About the best one can hope — and it's far short of a defense to say it — is that Derbyshire's judgment has been so impaired that he didn't realize that he'd marched so far beyond the line as to enter a whole different realm from the merely controversial. Even had the piece found no greater audience than whatever the obscure Web site that published it can claim, Derbyshire's primary literary home would likely have found itself coming to the same conclusion.

It's a shame, though... first, that no editor protected John Derbyshire from himself and, second, that politics had to be politics, with the calls for his head seeming completely unmitigated by any acknowledgment of his circumstances.

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Like it, or not, National Review is now part of the MSM.

Because I spent a lot of my life in very urban America, perhaps I know more white people who have been mugged, stabbed, or otherwise molested by blacks than is the average (upwards of a dozen). This may effect my thinking.

I can recall that when I was heading off for a Southern college, my Southern father decided it was time for "the talk". I thought I had spent enough time in the South to understand the rules, such as what you could talk to the barber about. "The talk" did not include any hostility, it focused primarily on the idea that inappropriate interaction would result in "embarrassment" for the black person. My Southern family members were not vociferous racists and would not countenance impolite treatment of blacks, they simply "knew the rules". They would have scoffed at the idea of a black doctor. Black on white crime was much rarer, whites who went into black neighborhoods after dark were "interfering". My mother, who was raised in Providence, knew that "nice Irish girls" didn't go into Italian neighborhoods.

When my daughter was 16-17, I decided it was time for "the talk", piecemeal. I hit on many of the points expressed by Mr. Derbyshire. What surprised me is that she already knew. She had gone to an urban school and could give concrete examples. She had developed a modus vivendi.

Much of what Mr. Derbyshire has to say would pass without objection if couched in milder terms.

I am unconcerned about the black family down the street, I avoid groups of young black males. I do not expect polite treatment at a government "counter" regardless of the color of the employee, everything is "above their pay grade".

Posted by: Warrington Faust at April 7, 2012 11:53 PM

I don't read National Review so am unfamiliar with Mr. Derbyshire's writings.

The piece under discussion is titled:

"The talk.Non black version". Apparently it is a response to an article about what black parents tell their children? If so,where is that article so that we may compare?

Mr.Derbyshires' essay comes across as extremely bitter satire. I don't know if he meant it that way. It's hard to imagine that someone would be so condemnatory of an entire race of human beings.

I've lived in a neighborhood that was racially mixed and did experience some situations that were harmful to me and my family which seemed to be based on race. However the experience also taught me that one cannot judge all by the actions of some. I think that is where Mr.Derbyshire falls down,if he means what he has said in the article literally,not as satire.

Posted by: helen at April 8, 2012 8:21 AM


The article can be found here: takimag.com/article/the_talk_nonblack_version_john_derbyshire#axzz1rPjl4eY4

I had trouble connecting.

If you are not familiar with it, "the Talk" is all the rage these days. I heard the author being interviewed on NPR the other day. He believes that all young black men are instructed by their parents on interaction with the white world. He asserts this is universal and is known as "The Talk".

Posted by: Warrington Faust at April 8, 2012 9:03 AM

Every day of my life I wake up and treat everyone as individuals and according to their merits, but none of that matters now because John Derbyshire just gave the race-obsessed progressive mudslingers enough ammunition to tar us with for the next decade.

Posted by: Dan at April 8, 2012 4:58 PM


I don't think you read Mr. Derbyshire's article right through. He recommends cordiality, friendliness and courtesy to individuals. He fears the "crowd mentality". I understand this. Just a few years ago, I attended an anniversary party for a black "middle class" couple in Maryland, where I was one of the few white attendees. I was certainly bumped, pushed and jostled far beyond the "statistically normal" in a crowd. Mostly by college age attendees. Their faces did not express provocation, I would say disdain.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at April 8, 2012 6:03 PM

Telling the truth about black racism and violence is Original Sin to the progressives.
Even The Skunk gets away with idolizing the "Reverend" Farrakhan, an open and unabashed black supremacist who thinks the white race is a mutant freakish creation of a Frankenstein-like mad scientist.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at April 8, 2012 6:24 PM

I had never heard of Derbyshire until now-his comments were indisputably racist and stupid.
That said,when is MSNBC going to get rid of Al Sharpton who has been vomiting racist garbage for over 30 years?
Never-because MSNBC is comprised of self-hating leftists who think they're above it all.
Anybody ever watch Chris Hayes?He acts like he just snorted a bag of crank.he literally bounces up and down.
How about Ed schultz-I bet he's a riot after a few drinks.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 9, 2012 11:59 AM

Tommy Cranston posted:
"Telling the truth about black racism"

How about this in the Trayvon Martin/Zimmerman case. ABC's compression of the police videotape to obscure Zimmerman's head wound and CNN's absurdly imaginative translation of the Zimmerman word "cold" into the nearly archaic "coons." NBC transcribed the 911 call and conveniently left out the question "Is he black, white or hispanic?" and simply has Zimmerman offering "He is black".

The Martin/Zimmerman case is a tragedy, but why inflame the public?

Now we have the two white men charged with randomly shooting black people in Tulsa. We will hear little of the fact that the father of one of the white men was murdered by a black in the course of a burglary. I do not offer this as an excuse for random killings, but it does aid in making it cognizable. If I am quoted on NBC I am sure the preceeding sentence will be cut, and only the first sentence will survive.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at April 9, 2012 12:00 PM


Why aren't these people in jail?

Is this not incitement to riot?

Posted by: Warrington Faust at April 9, 2012 9:11 PM

I don't understand the motivation,but Eric Holder is apparently driven by resentment and hatred directed at White people-why should he give a damn?
Funny thing is-he went to Stuyvesant HS and Columbia U,not exactly the abck of the educational bus.he also got an appointment as Deputy AG from the "cracker"Bill Clinton.Sometimes I think he actually wants a race war.
That scenario is a nightmare to me with a multiracial family.
Playing with racial animosity for political gain is a vile sin in my opinion,no matter who does it.
BTW someone apparently "stole"holder's identity and got his voter registration just to prove a point.It was on Drudge,so I'm not sure it's 100% accurate.
Maybe having to cover for the drunken scumbag Janet Reno every day accounts for his attitude.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 9, 2012 11:18 PM

Joe,my family has members who are racially White and Native American, whose religious beliefs are spread through Christian,Jewish,Taoist,Agnostic and also a couple whose gender identity is Gay.

You made a profound statement when you said that "playing with racial animosity for political gain is a vile sin."

When I think of all the people whose friendship I've enjoyed,who I've respected who were not the same race as me,it's hard to think about what was said in this article without pain.

Race doesn't have a whole lot of meaning to me. It seems crazy to me to divide people along those lines,although I'm aware that animosity exists. So I try to gauge situations according to the immediate circumstances.

If one has ever loved,respected,had a friend of a different race,how could one be silent upon reading the article?

Posted by: helen at April 10, 2012 5:43 AM

Warrington,thank you. I did read the articles about the "Talk" from the site you posted.

I agree to a large extent with black people who fear being unjustly accused because of their race.

A difficulty I have experienced in discussions about these matters with black friends is I think sometimes they might be overreacting to situations that happen to people of all races. Yet to bring that forward in a discussion would trivialize their real concerns and perception of such situations. It's hard sometimes to discern that line between reality and individual perception.

I believe there is a bias against black people that exists to this day for no other reason than their race. I don't believe all of the complaints are fabricated. So it is hard to sort out whether a situation such as getting stopped by the police was based on race or whether it is standard procedure in certain situations. This is not meant to imply that the police are biased,but that a general bias exists.

This doesn't delve into the crime statistics and whether black people are scrutinized more because of crime statistics based on race and I think an honest discussion should include that aspect.

Posted by: helen at April 10, 2012 7:59 AM

Helen, you make good points. But I think you overlook the main thrust of Mr. Derbyshire's article. He does not deny that it is possible to be friendly with individuals of another race, it is the "crowd mentality" that causes him discomfort. I tend to agree. How many black leaders have expressed discomfort with the speech of the black panthers I linked above?

I know a black woman whose mother turned off the TV when the race baiters of the 60's were on. To this day, she feels that "racial identity" does not permit her to criticize Al Sharpton in public.

I have been in small groups where I was the only white person. Comments about "whitey" were common and no one objected to the lack of "racial sensitivity". I think there are but few white groups that would permit racist remarks in front of a single black person.

They harbor an underlying default to "racism". If they have difficulty pulling a building permit, they cannot accept that this is the same treatment a white person would receive. In their experience, government has always been a "provider". They are accustomed to the "minority set aside" in construction projects.

Years ago, I was asked by a friend to incorporate the Boston Martin Luther King Day Committee. When I met the other board members I was insulted and my "motivations" challenged. I didn't need this, I quit. His embarrassment over this brought an end to our friendship, but he didn't leave the committee.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at April 10, 2012 9:03 AM

Maybe this might help-I spent some time in the Netherlands in the late 90's/early 2000's.
There are quite a few Black people there-mainly Surinamese or Curacoan(All Dutch citizens)or Africans.
I never thought large groups of young Black people there were threatening in any way.
I DID find large groups of White soccer hooligans,many following the "skinhead"appearance to be extremely threatening.
Gang type activity by anyone puts you on guard,race being a non-issue.
I saw some really nasty sh*t perpetrated by the hooligans.Mindless violence.
Anyway,race is no determinant of behavior.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 10, 2012 1:21 PM

Posted by joe bernstein:
"I DID find large groups of White soccer hooligans,many following the "skinhead"appearance to be extremely threatening.

Remember when "skinheads" were a national concern here and police were pulling them over on "suspicion". Now half the police have shaved heads.

Joe, you are of course correct, race is not determinative of "gang behavior". So, in this country, it may very well be cultural. But, as Mr. Derbyshire points out, look at the FBI, or DOJ, crime statistics. About 2% of the population (black males between 18 & 25) commits about 52% of the violent crime. Not so many years ago, I don't think that was the case. Unfortunately, I don't have any statistics for the 1950's or 60's. Race based "hate crimes" by blacks on whites are aproximately equal to the number of white on black "hate crimes". Since blacks are 10% of the population,they must be very active, or very motivated, to commit as many hate crimes as 60% of the population. There must be somethings we can do, but pretending it isn't so is not a solution. I don't regard myself as a racist, I am simply not blind.

The niece of a friend on mine was murdered by a black in Charlotte, about three months ago. Most likely a "crime of passion", but he kept her body in his bedroom for a month. Bizarre.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at April 10, 2012 7:28 PM

"About 2% of the population (black males between 18 & 25) commits about 52% of the violent crime."

see if you can dig up a source for that one. I would love to use it if you can find it. That number sounds to high even for me.
As I've said here before I have had 2 distant cousins murdered in robberies by blacks 35 years apart.
One was in 1974 and the scumbag got the death penalty although scumbag Bevalaqua and the progressives on the Supreme Court overturned the RI death penalty a few years later.
No one ever had a protest march for my cousins.
No one threatened riots or "NO JUSTICE NO PEACE".
No black or self-hating white progressive turd ever apologized or offered "reparations".
Whites killing blacks, even in self-defense is a man bites dog story that the leftist media salivates over.
Blacks brutally and senselessly slaughtering whites is a dog bites man story that gets reported one day and never again.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at April 10, 2012 7:48 PM

Posted by Tommy Cranston
"About 2% of the population (black males between 18 & 25) commits about 52% of the violent crime."

"see if you can dig up a source for that one."

Here is murder by race in 2009 (FBI statistics), about 51% by blacks. There is a large number of "unknown", I think it reasonable that these be assigned in the same percentages as "known". Don't forget, 2% of the population is about 7 million people, not a small number (I think the population is about 350 million).
Murder:(classified by arrestee, not victim)
Total 15,760

White 5,286
Black 5,890
Other 245
Unknown 4,339


"No one ever had a protest march for my cousins."
There was a protest march in Charlotte for the woman i mentioned. As she was married to her killer, it was not race based marches. Largely "women's groups". The KKK had a field day with her "getting what she deserved".

As with adoptions, the failure rate of interracial marriages is very high, but not talked about. Sorry, I don't think I can dig up figures for that. BTW the "divorce rate" of 50% is playing with numbers. It does not mean that 50% of marriages will end in divorce. It means that 50% as many people get divorced every year as get married. Far more than 50% of marriages survive.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at April 10, 2012 11:22 PM

In my prior post I said "classified by arrestee", that was a mistake. An arrested person can, of course, be released or found not guilty. I should have said "classified by offender", that is how it is compiled, and that is the term used by the FBI.

If you look at the spreadsheet, it is interesting to notice that the number of offenders drops off sharply after age 30. This is true of violent crimes in general, the police know this. Next will be "age profiling".

Posted by: Warrington Faust at April 10, 2012 11:42 PM

Warrington,I understand,it would be great if black leaders would take a stand against the hateful ideas of the extremists. I understand being one of the few white people in a group and nobody stands up. Sometimes I've felt forgotten.

I also understand how it is to be a minority white person because I attended the University of Guam and had classes in which I was a racial minority.

However,I have to tell you that my experience has been that not everybody has the default mode to racism. That's why I say don't judge all by actions of some.

I would like to see Black leaders stand up and tell people live by the Golden Rule. Stand up if you see injustice,regardless of race.
That would unify,that is I believe how God means us to be and that is how in my heart I would like things to be.

I would like things to be more equal. People who incite to kill people of another race should face consequences for that.

Posted by: helen at April 13, 2012 5:26 AM

Okay,I'm going out on a limb here. I don't even know if this is too far down for anybody to see it,but I think it's worth saying.

Does anybody think that racial conflict in our country is largely caused by leftist propaganda and agitation? I do.

Posted by: helen at April 13, 2012 5:50 AM

Posted by helen
"Does anybody think that racial conflict in our country is largely caused by leftist propaganda and agitation? I do."

Helen, here is what I think. There is no doubt that blacks were brought to this country against their will and held in slavery. Think of that as a "fire". It has been 150 years since that ended, the fire should have been reduced to ashes. Unfortunately the race baiters fan the fire. I cannot deny that "Jim Crow" laws extended the effects of slavery to a period within living memory.

It may be that there will always be "differences", that does not mean that "peaceful co-existence" is not possible. Comparison with Jews may be a poor analogy, but they have doubtlessly suffered a greater degree of persecution through thousands of years. In large part, they have put their heads down, gone to work, and succeeded very well.

Here is an anecdote which colors my thinking. Years ago, when Al Sharpton was making a name for himself with the Twanya Brawley case, I was doing business with a software developer in upstate New York. His wife, a Puerto Rican, was a physician. She was called in to examine Ms. Brawley, Ms. Brawley claimed gang rape by 6 white policemen. The doctor could not find any evidence of rape, and so testified. Immediately after her testimony, their house "caught on fire" and burned to the ground. Do you believe in coincidence?

Posted by: Warrington Faust at April 13, 2012 8:30 AM
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