John Derbyshire is out at National Review. I don’t have a lot of opinion about that, any more than I had a lot of opinion about the piece that sparked it. The premise was flawed, because most of us don’t have “the talk“; the talk happens incrementally, and for better or worse, most of us have the race thing figured out by puberty (and the “us” there is race-inclusive). The timing was colossally bad for such an article. And any collective conclusions on race, no matter how exhaustively hotlinked, are by definition racist. If I were to write, “Ashkenazi Jews are more intelligent than the rest of us,” that would be a racist statement, because the individual Jew in front of me could be a complete moron.
But that word “racist” is the issue. The boy has cried “wolf!” once too often. (Wait, can I use “boy” in a discussion about race?). It’s the new “Witch!” When people can seriously suggest that Mary J. Blige singing about fried chicken for Burger King supports a racial stereotype, the concept is bankrupt…. because of course all black people like their fried chicken cut into strips and served in a tortilla with three cheeses and lettuce, just as they eat cut and seeded watermelon from sherbet glasses, and a wealthy and accomplished black artist had to take Burger King’s money and turn race traitor because she’s oppressed.
Does anybody really truly give a shit about what one blogger has to say, except insofar as it can be used to score points against National Review (where, it should be noted, it did not appear)? Well, National Review does, because it’s their brand, and Derb is associated; that’s understandable. But if nobody cared, and nobody complained, what then? And if people really gave a shit, wouldn’t they try to refute Derbyshire’s links, to discredit the idea, instead of deciding that the author had, in the memorable words of one commenter, “intellectual lice”?
Let’s talk about some real racism. A guy in his 20s shoots a teenager. That’s a tragedy, not only for the now-dead teen, but for the shooter, who must second-guess his own actions, run the legal gauntlet, and know he is responsible for taking a human life. Then let’s add the element of race. Now the tragedy for the shooter is multiplied, because he lives in fear of mob violence. But that’s only the beginning, the stone in the pond creating its ripples. Neo-Nazis and New Black Panthers (but I repeat myself) walk the streets of Sanford Florida (or at least pretend to). An old man in Toledo is beaten by teens avenging Trayvon (or so it’s at first claimed) . Black people in Tulsa are shot for no apparent reason, possibly by a white man. A video surfaces of a white man being beaten and robbed by a black mob.
To my white friends pushing the “Racist!” meme to score a few cheap political points: most of you live in mixed race or even white-minority areas. How fucking stupid is it to foment a race war in which you are highly likely to be a casualty?