Today I read that National Review Online would be parting ways with longtime columnist John Derbyshire, a paleoconservative who is known for a writing style that is insightful but often controversial. I had read only a few of his columns in my five years of being a political junkie, but none that I had read before were as nutty and indefensible as his now infamous article for Taki Magazine. The article is a reaction to the devastating Trayvon Martin case currently going on in Sanford, Florida, and is supposed to be a guide for how white parents should talk to their kids about black people. Instead of elevating our discussion of race and society, Mr. Derbyshire engaged in despicable stereotypes and outright falsehoods that not only look bad on conservatives, but also white Americans.
If you read the article, you will notice how Mr. Derbyshire constantly states that it is dangerous to be around a group of black people, especially if you’re White. I don’t know what the hell Mr. Derbyshire is thinking, but he seems to omit the fact that blacks commit crimes against other black people, not just white people or Asians. When mischievous kids or adults band together, they are likelier to commit crimes together, regardless of their race. The notion that black people who hang out in groups in public only do so to target random white people is not only inaccurate, but is also incredibly dangerous to tell your kids. Why would you want your kids to fear black people instead of having an accepting attitude towards them? How exactly is that going to decrease the supposed hostility that blacks feel towards white people? Also, what if your kid sees a black man or woman getting beaten up? Are you honestly going to tell them not to be a Good Samaritan and call the authorities?
It is morally reprehensible for any adult to tell their kids that they are of a higher intelligence because of their skin color. Parents should convince their children to become more educated and worldly regardless of what race or ethnicity you are. It is disgusting how Mr. Derbyshire differentiates between “dangerous” blacks and “intelligent and well-socialized blacks”, as if there are no unintelligent and socially inept people in the white community. Instead of telling his children to keep an open mind and judge people based on how they act, Mr. Derbyshire would instead tell his children to avoid befriending a black person if they live in a predominantly black neighborhood. Mr. Derbyshire would also apparently not take his kids to an amusement park if the customer base is overwhelmingly black. I could go on and on rebuking his nonsensical drivel, but to do so would only be redundant and by now you’re already aware of how breathtakingly stupid his column is.
National Review absolutely did the right thing by letting Mr. Derbyshire go. Conservatives (and right-leaning centrists like me) must not accept these outdated views on race. It is not only deleterious to the Republican Party; it is also harmful to our reputation of being inclusive and not judging people based on the color of their skin, but of their merit. You can bet this is going to add an 18 gallon tank of fuel to the “conservatives hate blacks” fire. When you’re a columnist, especially one on the right or center-right, you must be careful what you write and print for the sake of our movement. We will not attract people to our party with the kind of idiocy that Derbyshire purports. We will not attract the diversity the Republican Party so desperately needs. Does Mr. Derbyshire have the right to say whatever he wants? Absolutely. But at the same time, publications like National Review have to be discerning about what they print and who they choose to write for them. Thankfully, Rich Lowry put the conservative movement as a whole ahead of any loyalties to Mr. Derbyshire.