Can We At Least All Agree that John Derbyshire is Racist?
OK, I know that for supporters of the Right here that it’s a sign of either my intellectual dishonesty or my being an intellectual lightweight that I can hear even echoes of racism in hoodie-gate, the “food stamp president,” Newt’s telling white South Carolinians that what blacks need is to learn the value of a good day’s work, much of the illegal immigration rhetoric, concerns about birth certificates, whatever a “Kenyan anti-colonial worldview” is, and Niggerhead.
That being said, can we at least agree that this letter to his children by John Derbyshire is just a teensy bit racist?
(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.
(10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.
(10g) Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.
(10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway…
Only one black in six is more intelligent than the average white; five whites out of six are more intelligent than the average black.
By all means, read the whole column – which attempts to be more of an anti-affirmative action/anti-anti-racist screed than anything else, but fails fairly miserably under the weight of its cringeworthy prejudicial thinking. (It’s occasional “But mind you, some blacks are honest, and even smart!” attempts at being “color-blind” actually make it worse.)
But my titular question is an honest one – can we all agree — right, left and libertarian — that this is racist?
I have long maintained that conservatives are not inherently more racist than liberals. I have simply known far too many quality conservatives (and far too many icky liberals) in my lifetime to believe such a thing. I do think, however, that conservatives do an unbelievably bad job of policing their own when it comes to racism (or sexism). I think this is because, fair or not, racism (and sexism) is the political turf staked out by liberals, and for too many conservatives it is more important to have a united front in discrediting whatever liberals say than it is to say “Good Lord, what a horrible thing to say” about one of their own.
It seems so clear to me that if the right as a whole is going to shed the reputation it absolutely has (and by and large does not deserve) on these fronts, it needs to be willing to stand up and be counted when lines are crossed, or at the very least to not defend them. (And I would argue doing so is in their best political interests as well. Look at what refusing to condemn Limbaugh’s recent remarks about Sandra Fluke, obediently falling in line with items such as Virginia’s new invasive ultrasound law, or the refusal to agree that birth control might inherently be a women’s health issue has cost the party in poll numbers for 51% of the country.)
Besides, I am pretty sure that if Joe Biden had written the above the right would pretty much universally agree that what Derbyshire wrote was repugnant.
My hope is that this will not start a right vs. left pissing match, but that rather we can as a group at least establish a baseline where we all agree, “Oh, yeah, that was totally racist. No Question.”
So… are we in agreement?