So – the blog kerfuffle du jour is John Derbyshire and the internet essay that he wrote for another obscure blog-magazine, the topic of which has raised such a general ruckus among the right-thinking side of the blogosphere, that it got him dumped over Easter weekend from the National Review and has the Breitbart conglomerate all in a twitter, and many of the rest of us on the libertarian/conservative/free-thinking side of the spectrum seeming to be thinking thoughts pretty much split three ways; cringing and thinking ‘oh, s**t’ or ‘about damn time’ and ‘ ‘OK then – if representatives of the capital ‘B’ Black community can witter all over the print media and the intertubules about their worries about their children running afoul of the 21st century version of the KKK – can those of us from the race of pallor worry frankly and openly about getting lost in certain neighborhoods, the odds on survival when taking the wrong exit off particular interstates in big urban areas, or the wisdom of going to certain sports venues without being armed to the teeth?’
To judge from news dispatches by the legacy media, our worries on that score are inconsequential. However, bald experience (not that you’d ever see it reported in the national media and in the local only with an effort akin to pulling out wisdom teeth with a pair of pliers) suggests that such ventures are indeed a pretty dicey proposition, when ventured by a person of pallor. Even if the reported crime stats tend to indicate that black, white and whatever tend to depredate among their own race … but I didn’t intend to get sidelined into a discussion of who kills whom, and the delineation of ‘bad hoods’ from the POV of a casual interloper. I’m also not here to defend Mr. Derbyshire in every particular. He appears to be well-inclined and equipped to defend himself. I’m a firm believer in the old saw about maybe not agreeing with what you say, but defending to the death your right to say it … which rather obviously isn’t a principle that the New Republic feels particularly burdened with. But why has conventional wisdom somehow become unspeakable? Oh, yeah – because it’s been agreed (by whom, I am not sure) that venting such worries is raaaaacist with five a’s, and even noting the existence of such realities and worries on the part of those who actually have to live with the reality of it is extra-special-raaaaacist.
But here’s the main thing; I am sick and tired and tired and sick of the kind of discussions and questions raised by his article being dismissed and considered unsayable, considered something beyond the pale of discussion, polite or otherwise. I’m tired of seeing the limits of the debate controlled and constrained like the borders of North Korea. Myself, I sure as heck would like to know if there is a genetic component in making Kenyans champion long-distance runners and why there are so few white NBA players. Is there a physical advantage, or is it merely a socio-cultural one, occasioned as various ethnic components of our great experiment were passing up through the various avenues available to them? Once it was that the Irish were the cops, and Italians were prize-fighters… I am fairly certain there’s likely to be a cultural component, but why is even asking the question with regard to African Americans a horrendously unspeakable taboo? Why is honest curiosity about these and many other matters the Question Which May Not Be Asked?
I can also for darned sure see that incidents of white on black crime get wall to wall coverage when it comes to the news-making machinery, while news about black on white criminal incident is hastily bundled out of sight like someone cleaning up cat-crap in the middle of an expensive carpet. Why, it’s almost like the mandarins of our culture and legacy news media are conspiring to hide matters from the general public, rendering them a kind of thoughtcrime – and that is at least as dangerous to the credibility of the news-making machinery as it is for a person of pallor to go walking into a bad neighborhood. It’s not so much what Derbyshire said – and some of it I thought was over the top – but it’s that he said it at all, and that’s what I thought was great; ignoring the set agenda, under which certain matters racial are not to be voiced. Yea these many years ago Attorney General Holder (whom I hope to see perp-walked for allowing Fast and Furious to go ahead) accused Americans of being cowards when it came to talking frankly about race. Well – now we’re talking frankly. One should be careful of asking for things; you just might get them.
(Cross-posted at www.ncobrief.com. Name of publication involved corrected after initial posting)
16 thoughts on “Derb and All”
…which rather obviously isn’t a principle that the New Republic feels particularly burdened with.
I assume you mean National Review (Online). And yes, their run from this does not speak well for the intellectual integrity.
We’ve never wanted to know what makes us uncomfortable – we are caught in the suspense of the doomed hero who persistently tries to find an explanation than the tragic truth – we understand. But truth will out – it is, ignored or not it exists. But the great thing about the scientific method, about rational thinking is it recognizes the power of what is – that is modernist. And the post modernist who argues that the power tells us the truth evades, but nature, fact, truth – well, it is and can’t be denied. It isn’t who says it, it is.
Sgt. Mom, you might be interested in Pinker’s article – “In Defense of Dangerous Ideas.” (What’s Your Dangerous Idea. A couple of years ago I thought that might be useful in freshman comp but the class was generally a disaster – lit gives us distance. This was too raw – and they spent too much time psyching me out. I didn’t do a good job; fortunately, they were too confused to complain to anyone. But it is interesting – while, perhaps, showing us some places people like Pinker don’t really want to go themselves.
Without facing facts, we aren’t going anywhere. (I was ineffectual in commenting on Kennedy’s post.)
Facing such facts might have an effect on the culture in the ghetto; one might think it would make Sharpton a pariah. Today, black voices complained of the percentage of blacks arrested, in jail. But that wasn’t countered by the uncomfortable truth: the number of blacks killed, robbed, raped. Yes, there is more black on white crime – the statistics have told us that for years. The emphasis in the news implies the opposite. That irritates whites; it leaves blacks in cocoons of self-righteousness. Does evasion help? Whites are still less likely to be victims of blacks than are blacks. The sympathy of those politicians, like, say, Maxine Waters, isn’t felt sympathy, it is sentimental, kitsch. Disproportionate, immature. It is not a sympathy or even affection for “her people” – it is an attitude that condemns them to fear.
Really, NR’s action in firing Derbyshire (and those who take exception to the political incorrectness of the essay) are essentially adhering to the liberal viewpoint. The viewpoint is that a subset of Americans are, like children who have committed a crime, not be held fully accountable for their actions, and we can’t talk about the behavior but it must be sealed away (in our minds, if we are worldly). This liberal view is condescending and harmful to people of color as a whole. The liberal might say, “don’t hold a culture, a people or person, strictly accountable to the best rules of behavior that we hold others to; After all, they can’t be expected to follow those rules because……..” (let the reader fill it in). It is demeaning and amounts to a patronizing excuse for a group that is tantamount to saying that black folks are unable and inferior.
Oh, look, NR, emperor has no clothes!
“those of us from the race of pallor worry frankly and openly about getting lost in certain neighborhoods, the odds on survival when taking the wrong exit off particular interstates in big urban areas, or the wisdom of going to certain sports venues without being armed to the teeth”
The problem, Sgt Mom, is that such bad inner city neighborhoods can be predominantly black neighborhoods – or Hispanic, or Asian or, yes, bad predomiantly white neighborhoods. We should brand as racist anyone who says the fear of entering such neighborhoods arises from the race of its inhabitants. The fact that black, inner city neighborhoods are rife with violent crime does not mean that all black neighborhoods are places to be feared, or that the black race has some collective problem.
And just as I refuse to be held accountable for the statements and actions of any white person other than myself, regardless of the media’s efforts to make me feel guilty, we should avoid the same – asserting that any black person – or every black person – is somehow responsible for the crimes of inner city blacks. Messrs. Sharpton, Jackson, Wright, et al may speak for some blacks, maybe many blacks, maybe even most blacks, but they certainly do not speak for all blacks.
Ginny, my daughter who is the apple of my eye, refused to read Pinker’s The Blank Slate when we were on a trip and I had just finished it. She was then just finishing an anthropology degree and was obviously a Stephen Jay Gould adherent. I thought it was significant that she refused to read it. I love her and am very proud of her but do not trust her political instincts. She is now a grad student in History and speaks multiple languages, including Arabic. She is married to a nice guy although I am sure both voted for Obama and will do so again. I think it is not insignificant that I still pay her cellphone bill although she is 31. What do you do ?
Frankly, I’m mostly indifferent to the genetic components of this or that is. Other people can obsess over it to their heart’s content. It’s a free country. I’m more interested in releasing people from various traps so that they can better fulfill their individual potential, no matter what level that is. And if we’re a few % short on jewish boxing talent, so be it.
People who have had a hard time, by individual experience, not skin tone, get a break with me. It’s part of who I am.
“Why is honest curiosity about these and many other matters the Question Which May Not Be Asked?”
Because honest curiosity leads to questions, which results in discovering facts and reasoning about them. This is a threat to smug, arrogant Democrats and other Leftists who instinctively (and subconsciously) realize that their “Absolute Moral Authority” would completely collapse under any sort of challenge from reality.
I’m waiting for the little Pollyanna Richy @ National Review to tell us why he doesn’t live in the ghetto or what he does when his family is traveling in the heart of darkness aka metro USA.
“She is married to a nice guy … I still pay her cellphone bill although she is 31. ”
Michael, did you hear about how Gould fudged his evidenced?
Lewis, J., E., DeGusta, D. Meyer, M.R., Monge, J.M., Mann, A.E. and Holloway, R.L. (2011). “The Mismeasure of Science: Stephen Jay Gould versus Samuel George Morton on Skulls and Bias.” Public Library of Science Biology 9 (6): e1001071.
“such bad inner city neighborhoods can be predominantly black neighborhoods – or Hispanic, or Asian or, yes, bad predominantly white neighborhoods.”
Thomas Sowell and Walter E. Williams have written about the reasonableness of some historical prejudices. Consider, for instance, “no Irish need apply”: At one time, they write, Irish immigrants were in fact disorderly and violent. Walter E. Williams notes accounts of gangs of Irish assaulting Sunday picnickers for the sheer recreation of it. This is not true today, but it was true at one time. Similarly, the average IQ scores of various immigrant groups have increased substantially over time, erasing large early differences, which suggests that environmental effects can be huge.
“Walter E. Williams notes accounts of gangs of Irish assaulting Sunday picnickers for the sheer recreation of it. This is not true today, but it was true at one time.”
When I was a teenager in Chicago, the street cars on Halsted street would close up the steps and make a run for it through the Irish neighborhoods around 35th street (Daley’s area) on weekends after dark. They would go 20 blocks without stopping. That was to keep riotous drunken Irish from trashing the street car. I saw it myself and was told the reason by the motorman.
Thanks for the Gould link,Tdaxp. It seems that anyone foolish enough to believe Marxism will have serious intellectual honesty problems. The Marxism leaked out in his columns,which were always interesting, but left me wondering about his judgement. The wonderful thing is that the net retains everything so that impostors may be revealed to anyone interested in the truth.
“When I was a teenager in Chicago, the street cars on Halsted street would close up the steps and make a run for it through the Irish neighborhoods around 35th street”
My goodness, I had no idea that it was like that so recently! (That’s one of the things I like about the Chicago Boyz blog: not only are the postings interesting and informative, so are the comments.)
“Michael, did you hear about how Gould fudged his evidenced?”
Another black mark against him: Gould, along with another leftist colleague, incited their students to harass one of the authors of The Bell Curve, to invade and disrupt his classes and so on. Gould talked publicly about civility and tolerance, but in real life he was a typical Marxist.
In retrospect he seems to have been a fine snail researcher and an excellent media personality. Not much else.
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