Derbyshire Redux

I recently expressed my opinion about the shameful treatment of John Derbyshire by National Review, his former employer, which dropped him as a writer because of a piece he wrote in another online magazine. One of his statements which seemed to be the most objectionable to NRO was “(9) 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.

(10) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:

(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.

(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.

Two weeks ago, an incident in Virginia validated a couple of Derbyshire’s bits of advice to his kids (the premise of the piece).

There’s outrage in Norfolk, Va., today after a white couple was attacked by dozens of black teenagers, and the local newspaper did not report on the incident for two weeks, despite the victims being reporters for the paper.

Even today, the Virginian-Pilot did not cover the crime as news, but rather as an opinion piece by columnist Michelle Washington.

“Wave after wave of young men surged forward to take turns punching and kicking their victim,” Washington wrote, describing the onslaught that began when Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami stopped at a traffic light while driving home from a show on a Saturday night. A crowd of at least 100 black young people was on the sidewalk at the time.”

Tonight, Bill O’Reilly played tape made at the scene. There were several young black men interviewed who had not participated in the attack. What they said was “If you go into a neighborhood you don’t know (and are white), you had better be careful.”

Apparently the young man driving the car got out of the car after a rock was thrown at it. He said, “That was a big mistake.” He and the young woman in the car were attacked by about 20 to 40 men from the crowd on the sidewalk. One of the young black men interviewed on O’Reilly’s program mentioned the Trayvon Martin case. Their injuries were not life threatening but kept them from work for a week.

How does this differ from what Derbyshire warned about ?

Another issue is the delay in reporting the attack by the local paper.

It happened four blocks from where they work, here at the Virginian-Pilot.”

The Virginia Pilot did not mention the attack on its own employees for two weeks. Why ?

Could this be related ?

That is the Pilot’s publisher and he was just confirmed as Obama’s new Deputy HUD Secretary.

The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved the appointment of Maurice Jones, publisher of The Virginian-Pilot, to be deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

No, it couldn’t be related.

39 thoughts on “Derbyshire Redux”

  1. Blacks are victims of racism. The racists are those who think blacks should not be held to the same standards as others,because they can’t meet these standards. These “Liberals” can then feel superior to to those of us who do not condescend to blacks. Many Blacks, and other minorities go along with this opportunistically- after all who doesn’t like a handout? But it may better be passed up, for ones self-respect.

  2. ‘What they said was “If you go into a neighborhood you don’t know (and are white), you had better be careful.”’

    Ya know if you go into a white neighborhood and you are black the same rule applies.

    Racism is nasty stuff.

  3. “Ya know if you go into a white neighborhood and you are black the same rule applies. ”

    show me the vanilla mobs dude?

  4. New Router nails it. Although it’s just destructive, period.

    I wonder if certain people realize that “being black” as defined by actions such as this is no older than the 80s.

    Also if they realize that intellectuals are beginning to turn, and the 20th century teaches intellectuals are merciless.

  5. “Ya know if you go into a white neighborhood and you are black the same rule applies.”

    Spoken (written) like a (clueless) white who lives in a white neighborhood far from the issue. My sister does not walk her dog after dark in her Chicago neighborhood because a couple were held up last weekend at 104th and Hamilton, two blocks from her house. She still lives in Chicago because her husband is a retired policeman. That neighborhood (Beverly) was once one of the most prestigious in the city limits. The same can be said of the neighborhood of my childhood (South Shore). There was a murder at 79th and Jeffrey where I used to catch the bus to high school.

    I don’t know of an area where blacks are at risk because of their color in the US.

  6. “I don’t know of an area where blacks are at risk because of their color in the US.”

    Any place Hispanic gangs predominate.

  7. In addition to this case, there is the incident in Mobile, Ala. where a beating victim is still hospitalized in serious condition. Nothing in the news about that horror either…or the Wisconsin Fair, or any number of other assaults.

  8. @Will – the Wisconsin State Fair thing was insane and got a decent amount of press here behind the cheddar curtain (still not enough), but not in too many other places.

  9. “show me the vanilla mobs dude?”

    While not agreeing with PG, note that white mobs are called “cops,” and aren’t mobs.

    “I don’t know of an area where blacks are at risk because of their color in the US.”

    Anywhere there are mixes of “Hispanics” and blacks in the same or adjacent neighborhoods. Google “ethnic cleansing south los angeles” for an example.

    “Remember the British tourists murdered in a black area of Miami some years ago?”

    Yes. Google “German tourist murdered miami,” “British tourist murdered miami,” etc. and I think you’ll find the killers come in all colors. And sensational tourist murders have occurred in Miami for over 25 years.

  10. @ErisGuy – I was thinking of the 2 that just got off the plane, took their rental car though Liberty City – the black area of Miami – and were murdered. There was a similar case with German tourists.

  11. “While not agreeing with PG, note that white mobs are called “cops,” and aren’t mobs.” – Yeah, sometimes, unfortunately, that’s true. And sometimes the cops really do help and get no thanks for it. It depends on the neighborhood and the police department. I don’t have such a rosy picture of the all cops after living in a variety of cities over the years.

    “Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.”

    All the time? In every situation? So when I interviewed at Meharry Medical College–a historically African American medical college–I should have run out of the room at the reception? Or, how about some of the hospitals where I’ve worked where many employees are black–and veterans?What about traveling around an upper middle class professional or wealthy Atlanta AA neighborhood? Or, how about my dorm room at Grinnell College back in the day, when I walked in and the stunningly beautiful African American daughter of an African American judge from Chicago was in my room (my assigned roommate) and her friends were with her? I guess I should have run screaming out of that room because it was filled with black people that I didn’t know.

    And how would this stellar piece of advice have helped me when I lived in Albuquerque? Or, when I lived in predominantly white college towns where, late at night, walking home from the library, you’d make sure not to pass through areas with a lot of drunken frat parties filled with groups of white men, because girls sometimes got into trouble that way?

    Because when you go from the statistics to the individual, you have to take individual situations into account, even if some statistical situations are more dangerous.

    He does not seem like a nice man to me in his writings. He once wrote an article about how the students at Virginia Tech were cowards for not rushing the gunman.

    I have to dissent, in the strongest possible terms, from John Derbyshire’s shocking posts on Virginia Tech. The notion that a human being or group of human beings holding no weapon whatever should somehow “fight back” against someone calmly executing other people right in front of their eyes is ludicrous beyond belief, irrational beyond bounds, and tasteless beyond the limits of reason.

    “Why didn’t anyone rush the guy?” Derb asks. Gee, I don’t know. Because he was executing people? Because if you rush a guy with a gun, he shoots you in the head the way he executed the teachers in each classroom?….Judge not, lest ye be judged

    Guess that last part was prophetic.

    I am sorry Derbyshire is unwell, I wish him well–I wish no one any harm–but there are people writing about the difficult subjects of black-on-black and black-on-white crime (and the poor reporting of black-on-white crime) and they do a much better job. And they live in the affected communities. Here is one such person:

    I have been reading her columns on-and-off for about a year now. I wish people like her got more attention, but our system prefers to highlight the Derbyshires and the Sharptons. A pity.

    – Madhu

  12. “These “Liberals” can then feel superior to to those of us who do not condescend to blacks. Many Blacks, and other minorities go along with this opportunistically- after all who doesn’t like a handout?”

    Way to hold out for an entire zero sentences with that “some of us don’t condescend” premise before folding.
    Sweat pouring off you from the effort I bet.

  13. I had a memorable experience 40 years ago, in Chicago (so my post is somewhat keeping in subject) –

    I used to love to drive back to my school in VA from CA – picking a different route each time. I really saw the country. And I had a “hot” car – a 1967 Camaro with a 327 & 4 speed.

    Well, I am in Chicago, late afternoon , and the car is starting to act up.


    I cannot keep the engine running without revving it to at least 3,000 RPM.

    Since I am a somewhat automotive literate “car guy” I wasn’t panicking but as most of you – in a strange city with rapidly debilitating car problems, I am wondering “what am I going to do? </b?" (as an aside some 30 years later, ferrying an old Mercedes Benz across NM and having similar trouble in Las Cruces, I decided to park the car, have a beer and steak, and contemplate things)

    Anyway, back to Chicago.

    I sense the car problems were ignition related – there was a staccato like pulsing of the engine power – on and off – a fuel problem will be more g r a d u l a l ….anyway…

    About 4:00 PM I pull into City Chevrolet (are they still in downtown Chicago?). The service writer looks – and listens to my dying engine and says …

    " You have vacuum leaks all over this engine. We’re going to need it for a couple of days .”

    Well, I could smell a rat even when I was backed into a corner. (think of the people who end up going along with this because they think they have no other choice)

    Anyway, I say, “ – Look – I think this is ignition related – can’t you put it on a scope and analyze it?

    To which he sez, “ You don’t like my diagnosis you can just take your car and leave

    Which I did, sputtering out the garage. (probably to his surprise)

    So here it is nearly evening, the car is dying, and I have no motel set up or idea what to do.

    I find myself on Martin Luther King Drive (are you guys sensing something?) – and see an old shack of a garage, with a solitary old black man as the mechanic/owner.

    He looks at my problem and within 5-10 minutes – locates the cause.

    It was the ignition points. (an archaic component these days – no longer used). But GM, in their wisdom, made – and patented, points that could be adjusted outside the distributor while the engine was running. Made adjusting the gap (and dwell) a whole lot easier. When they were working.

    Except this mechanism in the points was broken allowing for a very tiny gap – causing the engine to nearly die without revving it to insane levels.

    A new set of $5 points, he insisted on just charging me $20 and I was so grateful bought him in addition his favorite beer (Mickey). I remember it to this day.

    Point of this story?

    Well, far more important than intelligence means testing is how you treat your fellow people in the world.

    There’s always exceptions to everything.

    A bunch of white people were going to screw me royally and a black man was honest to me.

    Carl – anyone – is City Chevrolet still in Chicago? They hopefully went out of business ;-)

  14. Perhaps onparkstreet, with the example of the drunken frat party, has the best advice – avoid all mobs, period. The word “mob” has a bad connotation for a reason.

    Of course, a mob of a different demographic profile than yours is all the more dangerous. We are still a tribal species, after all, and combining a mob’s potential for rapidly escalating irrational behavior with the appearance of the “other” is a recipe for mayhem.

  15. I would like to remind Madhu of the rest of Derb’s piece.

    To wit:

    (4) The default principle in everyday personal encounters is, that as a fellow citizen, with the same rights and obligations as yourself, any individual black is entitled to the same courtesies you would extend to a nonblack citizen. That is basic good manners and good citizenship. In some unusual circumstances, however—e.g., paragraph (10h) below—this default principle should be overridden by considerations of personal safety.

    (5) 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. Only at the far, far extremes of certain traits are there absences. There are, for example, no black Fields Medal winners. While this is civilizationally consequential, it will not likely ever be important to you personally. Most people live and die without ever meeting (or wishing to meet) a Fields Medal winner.

    He is discussing the statistical chances of encountering hostility. He is not talking about individuals. I was raised by a wonderful black nursemaid. who remained with our family and then my sister until she died in her 90s. However, I learned about anti-Semitism from her. She hated Jews.

    I would submit that the circumstances at Meharry Medical college, and so on, were not exactly the same as a Saturday evening in Norfolk.

    The “ethnic cleansing” of south central LA is an interesting phenomenon. That area, also called Watts, was an odd ghetto. It is made up of thousands of single story frame homes about 900 to 1200 square feet of the type that almost all southern Californians lived in during and shortly after the war. As white residents became more prosperous and as job opportunities opened up. they moved north to Burbank or other read less dependent on public transportation.

    As the whites moved out, blacks moved in. These are still pretty neighborhoods with yards and palm trees. 1965 Watts riots pretty much hollowed out that neighborhood as all the small retail stores and businesses left and never came back. The Rodney King riots were a bit north although several of the incidents, such as the beating of truck driver Reginald Denny, were in the area.

    Now, the blacks have moved out, some by prosperity and others may have left for other parts of the country, and they have been replaced by Hispanic immigrants, many illegal. I agree that Hispanic gangs are no improvement,

    When I went to college at USC, located on the north edge of Watts, in the 1950s, we did not see the hostility Derbyshire speaks of. I walked those streets at night without fear and even crashed a few late night parties where I was a rare white face. My favorite hangout when I was a senior in high school was a place on South Chicago Avenue called “Ella Mae Reed’s Hideaway.” We used to go in here every Friday night and play bumper pool with the guys in there, all black. There was rivalry but no hostility that I could see. I got to be very good at bumper pool and my buddy and I rarely lost. There would be a lineup of guys to plays us for beers (which were a quarter) and they would put their quarters on the side of the table indicating they had next turn. The winner held the table. There were Friday nights when I left about 1AM walking a bit unsteadily, never having bought a beer.

    The whole psychology has changed. There is real anger that will be expressed at any slight incident. That wasn’t the case then. We had real friends at Ella Mae’s. We took a couple of them to Indiana Dunes Park with us after out high school graduation.

    I teach a lot of black students in medical school. What worries me is the enthusiasm of middle and upper middle class blacks for the racism of Reverend Wright, who built his new house in a white suburb where he won’t have to worry about crime while he incents race hatred. Derbyshire was right and I worry about that.

  16. I would also remind Bill Brandt that the man he encountered owned a small business. That makes a huge difference and is marker that should not be ignored in choosing associations.

  17. I agree with Michael on the small-business marker. A lot of people don’t get this. People who run their own businesses or are otherwise self-employed tend to have different attitudes about business, personal responsibility and risk than do people who work in large institutions. Of course there are exceptions but this isn’t a bad generalization. Sarah Palin has a small-business background and I believe that this fact is a large part of her appeal to many people. Media people, who nowadays tend to be overschooled yuppies working for large institutions, reliably fail to understand these issues or to show empathy for small-business people. Many pols are just as bad if not worse. Remember that Hillary Clinton defended her socialized-medicine scheme by declaring that she couldn’t be bothered to show any consideration for every undercapitalized small business, as she put it. Maybe small-business people should start calling themselves kulaks.

  18. BTW, I’m guessing that there aren’t going to be widespread riots in response to whatever happens with Zimmerman. Riots would benefit people such as Sharpton but I think would hurt Obama politically. Also, all those guns that Americans have been buying for the past twenty years haven’t disappeared.

    Obama wants to keep talking about race and stirring intergroup tensions because doing so distracts from his lousy record, but I can’t imagine he wants civil disorder for which he might be blamed. So I predict a long, hot summer full of hysterical predictions of rioting that reach fever pitch whenever Romney starts gaining in the polls.

  19. MK – that is a very important point. With small business your customers are your livelihood – and when working for large institutions one is disassociated from the ultimate source of their paychecks.

    I was surprised at your observation of the hostility of the middle and upper middle class blacks that are your students. One would think that they have the least reason to have any anger over their circumstances. I attended law school for a year at night – because of affirmative action.

    One would think if anyone has a right to be resentful it is those otherwise qualified who were displaced letting people in who were less qualified.

    Don’t know if that is still a prevailing situation.

    I had a strange experience in Nairobi years ago. I was bumped from the airline that was taking the rest of my tour group and stayed in Nairobi a few extra days.

    Well, I am wandering around the city (it isn’t that big) and at a bus stop had a strange realization.

    I was the only white face surrounded by a sea of 100s of black faces.

    And I didn’t feel threatened in the least.

    Sounds like an ill – and ugly – wind is forming here.

  20. Bill, I was clumsy if I implied my students are angry. I have previously (somewhere) discussed the difference between native born American blacks and immigrants from Africa or the West Indies who I think are free of the poison Jeremiah Wright peddles. I had a black student from LA who tried living at home while in medical school. He became very depressed and finally flunked out. I don’t know if he had a pre-existing problem with depression. That year I had several other black students in my group, a couple from Africa, and they tried to help him but failed. I had another black student that year or the year after who had played varsity water polo in college in San Diego. He had no issues at all and did fine. I think the water polo was an indicator.

    Yet another student was the child of Black Panther parents in Oakland. He had terrible problems talking to adult whites, which students have to do to take a medical history. A woman private patient ordered him out of her room in the University Hospital. I thought at first he might be schizophrenic but it turned out that he did not know what to say to white people, He had never met any. I finally gave him a script to use to do an interview. He used it and improved.

    What concerns me is the fact that Wright’s congregation included so many middle and upper class blacks. Even Oprah Winfrey was a member although she quit. What do they have to be angry about ? I remember reading that the peasants did not carry out the French Revolution. It was the middle class and a surprising share of the nobility who started the Revolution. The truly oppressed are not the rebels. It is the upward mobility folks who resent those still above them.

  21. MK –

    I think the best thing I ever experienced for better race harmony was being drafted in the Army. I was the 2nd to last draft group to be inducted – Sep of 72. There was one more group in Dec.

    By then, the military was transitioning to all volunteer, and the Army’s motto at the time was “Today’s Army Wants To Join You”, which, given my own entry circumstances, I thought hilarious.

    But in my basic training platoon at Ft Ord (Monterey) was a Hollywood screenwriter’s ideal composite: A White kid from Beverly Hills who was “mixed up” (aren’t we all), several Indians, er, Native Americans, straight from the reservation, black kids both from the ghetto and middle class families – lower middle class whites, middle class whites – No Kowalskis, though.

    All had to learn to get along.

    There was one black guy who had the stereotypical choice from a judge “The Army or Jail”.

    Him, you learned to avoid.

    It is an interesting observation about the guy from the Black Panther parents. That to me (as it was was probably to you) bizarre. But it showed what societal insularity can do to a person.

    And I too have noticed a huge difference between blacks born here and blacks from Africa and the Caribbean – the latter come here with no chip on their shoulders, and their rise in society proves it.

    And you are right about the poison being spread by the Jacksons, Sharptons and Wrights. I think for many ( including Ophrah and Obama) membership in Wright’s church was a political prerequisite – a membership that many now are finding more hindrance than help.

  22. Hi Michael,

    Very good post. I’ve followed the Derbyshire dust-up at a distance, but read the essay and understood his point of view. One of the other commenters above mentioned an interview Derbyshire did with (Gizmodo?) a website (it is the Orange Crush ref’d comment and was a little difficult to find). Derbyshire says he’s an empiricist, and and makes no apologies.

    The Jacksons, Sharptons, and Wrights are race hustlers—their jobs depend on racial strife and would all be unemployed without their vile behaviors in the name of “race.” In a sane world, which values virtue and civility, they would possess zero credibility. They are as bad as the Bull Connors of the 60’s, except they are tolerated—even celebrated by the progressive (so-called) left, as it is in their collective interests to keep a permanent victim class. Politically correct language is partially attributable to their continual stoking of tensions.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  23. The common theme here — the cultural rot of American blacks, compared to often high-achieving blacks from the Caribbean and Africa — is their tutelage under the Scotch-Irish. A worse introduction to the western world could hardly be imagined.

  24. Bill,

    Depending on what year this happened, you were probably a lot less safe in Nairobi than you though. Not because of any racial-animosity aspect, but because any kind of western appearance is a sign of $$$$, and especially in recent years crime has been growing.

    I didn’t feel any particular risk when I was there either (annually during the first half of the ’80s when we were resident in southern Sudan) but I did get my pocket picked on the bus once–biggest loss was not the few shillings gone but the disappearance of my US driver’s license.

  25. Well, friendly white tribals :)),

    I suspect that Oprah and many others in that terrible church are doing a version of what some of you are doing here….

    Because Rev. Wright speaks about racism and people feel that it is a serious problem, his backers overlook his more hateful rhetoric for the “good of the cause.”

    Because Mr. Derbyshire speaks an occasional truth about the messed up identity and racial politics in our broader society, he gets a pass for the terrible and hateful things he has written.

    Like how black politicians should be scrutizined harder than white politicians. He doesn’t do any throat clearing or soft-soaping around that one:

    10g) Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.

    Imagine if he wrote: Before voting for a Mormon, Jewish, Catholic, Evangelical Hispanic policitician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a (insert favored group here)? You’d be appalled, right? Or, maybe not.

    Maybe that’s important for me to know.

    What Oprah does is a similar version of the defense of Derbyshire. It’s all good as long as you are on “my side.”

    (10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving

    I am a homophobe, though a mild and tolerant one, and a racist, though an even more mild and tolerant one, and those things are going to be illegal pretty soon, the way we are going.

    All Derbyshire quotes. You guys have picked a real winner to champion the cause. I’m sure no one else writes about the media’s irresponsible, dangerous, and generally awful reporting on racial matters and, so, we have no choice but to champion someone who mixes in good commentary with inexecusable verbal bomb-throwing.

    @Tdaxp: Good to see you around here :) I was going to check in on your site to see if you had continued the conversation, but I admit, I’m busy with a lot of projects at the moment and have pretty much no time for blogging. So, with that, later folks….

    Awww, J Scott….

    – Madhu

  26. I messed up the blockquotes above. The following should be in blockquotes because they are Mr. Derbyshire’s quotes. His family must be so proud:

    (10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving

    I am a homophobe, though a mild and tolerant one, and a racist, though an even more mild and tolerant one, and those things are going to be illegal pretty soon, the way we are going.

    I linked the sources in the comments at MK’s previous post on this topic.

    Later friends,


  27. Crap, I messed it up again and will now be accused once again of being too emotional and of leaving too many comments on a post. But I do that all the time….

    4. Don’t act as a Good Samaritan to Blacks? What is defensible about this? Seriously, Michael, what is it that others see in this piece that I don’t? Others have made the same policy points he has without reverting to that sort of nonsense. Even from the logic of his piece, it doesn’t make sense because he says, well, you have to take specific factors into account, and then he proceeds to ignore his own advice. Again, it’s weird.

    – Madhu

  28. Hi Madhu,

    I like it that you leave many comments. Reminds me of the line from Frost’s Death of a Hired Man:

    “…I know just how he feels
    To think of the right thing to say too late.”

    You said: “I suspect that Oprah and many others in that terrible church are doing a version of what some of you are doing here….”

    Pretty sure that’s not the case—as least not as far as I’m concerned. I don’t hate Jackson/Sharpton/Wright, but I hate what they do, for they insight violence to line their pockets. I hate the sanctimonious hypocrisy that allows a guys like Sharpton to be taken seriously—he happens to be black, but regardless his color, he is dangerous. White guys like Sharpton—David Duke comes to mind, and thankfully was laughed off the national stage after he managed to get a forum. A lot of folks don’t know Sharpton is a showman first and listen to him—and act. There have been a few folks killed and several beaten since the Martin case–where Jackson/Sharpton interjected themselves and their racist rhetoric.

    No, I don’t see criticism of these people as a moral equivalent, and they should not get a pass because of their race. If these folks would follow the philosophy of MLK and embrace the opportunities allowed by our great Republic, instead of finding a victim under ever rock, and treating every offense as evidence of a conspiracy to “keep them down,” we might eventually get past this divisive topic.

    Derbyshire said in the interview mentioned above that his children heard him out in “the talk,” but didn’t pay much attention, so with any luck, the next couple of generations can get past this argument and move closer to MLK’s vision, and towards a “more perfect union.” I hope so, but not holding my breath.

  29. As to facing a gunman, let’s not forget the sage advice of Jimmy Hoffa:

    “Close on the gun but run from the knife.”

    It takes raw courage to close on a gun but it makes a lot of sense – you can’t outrun a bullet.

    As to NRO’s firing of Derbyshire, they showed themselves an enemy of mathmatics, a terrible and fatal thought crime in my book. He offered a considered treatment of empirical fact, duly cavoted with the limitations of statistics for specific individuals.

    Lowry is an intellectual coward. He didn’t close on the gun and the world is the worst for it.

  30. Madhu, I think Derb’s comment about not being a “good Samaritan” is the least defensible of the piece but the circumstances would dictate my action. There were a number of robberies of good samaritans who stopped at apparently disabled cars in Los Angeles a few years ago. I doubt many would stop now.

    I wonder how the two Chinese electrical engineering grad students at USC who were shot two weeks ago would respond.

  31. Michael,

    The only think indefensible about Derb’s “good Samaritan” think was restricting it to blacks. The “pose as a stranded motorist” type setup is a well-known way for muggers to get close to their victims; a reasonable situational awareness is well-advised (a la The Gift of Fear) for any encounter with strangers in an isolated spot. Doesn’t mean you never help anyone, but that you both use your rational mind and listen to your spidey-sense when you do.

  32. Kirk, that is very close to the way Bill Cosby’s son was killed. It was the reverse, he stopped with car double and a white Russian immigrant stopped and killed him.

    I had an interesting experience today that bears on this discussion. I was going through my bank records and discovered the bank had screwed up my accounts. An account I had requested closed two months ago, is still there and accumulating overdraft fees. Anyway, I went to the bank to straighten it out.

    The young man who helped me (A “personal banker” in bankese), was a young black man, very well spoken and polite. There is a legend about blacks feeling uncomfortable in Orange County, which is very white and Hispanic. Anyway, he had a Muslim first name and I asked him about his parents. They are from Ghana and came here in the 1970s. He has three brothers, one of whom is applying to medical school from a small college in northern California. His name is Mohammed. I gave the young man a copy of my book, signed for Mohammed, and think this is another example of my theory about immigrants. I wouldn’t be surprised if his brother gets into medical school and does well, not even knowing him.

    The book I gave him is a history of medicine for medical students which seems to still be popular on Amazon and students have told me that it helps when it comes time for interviews. Back when it first came out, my daughter’s roommate at UCLA, who was a theater arts grad taking premed classes, borrowed it to read and refused to give it back. I gave my daughter another copy. On Amazon, a new hardcover copy sells for over $300.

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