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June 28, 2007

Racist

This John Derbyshire post has to be read to be believed. Reading about a school shooting, Derbyshire comments, "[This is] one of those stories that, if read by a visiting Martian, would deliver only half the necessary information."

The missing half of the story? The school is largely black.

You know, I never read a single story on Columbine or the UVA shootings and thought to myself, "that's pretty informative, but I'm entirely adrift until I learn the ethnic breakdown of the school." Derbyshire, evidently, does. "Reading stories like this," he says, "I have got into the habit of checking the GreatSchools database for student ethnicity breakdown."

There's no snark at the end of this post. No jokes to lighten it. The dude is a racist, and The National Review be ashamed of his presence.

June 28, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Is he then arguing for greater integration of the schools by taunting Brown v. Board of Ed, or just pointing out that he's happy that it failed so 'undesireables' are walled off.

Posted by: Mike | Jun 28, 2007 12:19:10 PM

Derbyshire reminds me of a crankly old grandpa, so I don't feel he's particularly threatening, racism and all. The odd thing is that he has a chinese wife, so he's not a white supremacist in the traditional sense.

Posted by: Korha | Jun 28, 2007 12:37:16 PM

Korha,
there has always been a strain of racism that is distinct from the skinhead "hate the n****" variety. Asians have always been on both sides of the superiority divide. Japanese were "honorary aryans" when they were allies of the Nazis, and honorary whites in South Africa. Anyways, Derbyshire's racism is not your grandfather's cranky racism its a specifically *british* colonial racism where railing against the wogs over whiskey and sodas brought by your submissive wife (of whatever race) goes way, way, way back.

aimai

Posted by: aimai | Jun 28, 2007 12:43:52 PM

Sure thing, Korha---there couldn't be any racial politics underlying his marriage to an Asian woman (or perhaps he calls her his "Oriental flower").

But exactly what Ezra said. NR ought to be embarrassed by this. Thing is, Derbyshire sometimes strikes me as amusing or refreshingly honest for the Cornerites. And yet there's this episode, which is the sort of thing that occasionally inspires me to conclude that this whole red state/blue state culture war is only going to end in a giant machete fight....

Posted by: Jack Roy | Jun 28, 2007 12:44:38 PM

What makes you think that the National Review is capable of shame? They've been fucking telling you that they aren't at least 60-80 times a day with nearly every single posting on The Corner, right?

Posted by: norbizness | Jun 28, 2007 12:54:29 PM

If NR were to be embarassed by crap like this, where would idiots like KLo, Jonah Lucianne, Ponnuru, etc. find a platform to write their idiotic ramblings?

Posted by: gregor | Jun 28, 2007 12:59:12 PM

Derbyshire has always been a racist. Before he came it NR, that's what he was known for, "scientific racist" agitprop. One can only conclude that that's why they hired him. In any event, he's far from being outside the tradition of NR on the subject.

Is anyone surprised that the racist current in the mainstream US right still is robust?

Posted by: K | Jun 28, 2007 1:05:23 PM

Is he then arguing for greater integration of the schools by taunting Brown v. Board of Ed, or just pointing out that he's happy that it failed so 'undesireables' are walled off.

Posted by: Mike

Ahhh, your second guess kinda makes sense. I was all set to write that his post is just plain incoherent — the school in question is practically segregated, according to the chart he found, so it seemed like he thought Brown is what created segregation instead of ending it or nothing less than 100.00 percent segregation would do or something bizarre like that.

Posted by: Cyrus | Jun 28, 2007 1:08:05 PM

Derbyshire has stated: "I am a homophobe, though a mild and tolerant one, and a racist, though an even more mild and tolerant one."

Nothing new.

Posted by: sangfroid826 | Jun 28, 2007 1:15:55 PM

His racism aside (and it's undeniable), the piece is also nonsensical. How does the presence (and, undoubtedly from his point of view, failure to create good citizens) of a predominantly-black school *discredit* school integration? If Brown v. Board had never happened there'd be plenty more all- or predominantly-black schools *just like the one he's scorning.* How then would things be better from his perspective?

As I've been typing this I see Mike and Cyrus have probably solved it: He's not mocking Brown, he's reveling in its failure.

Posted by: Ryan | Jun 28, 2007 1:16:05 PM

I like to think of National Review Racism (TM) as second-stage racism. It's not always the blatant "Blacks are inferior to whites." That's first-stage racism, and it's pretty universally condemned in the Western world (except in the Andrew-Sullivan-heralded "Bell Curve"). National Review Racism (TM) is "Blacks generally cause the problems in society, and those who are 'politically correct' ignore this at their peril."

Second-stage racism is generally A-OK in right-wing and all-white circles. I've heard it mentioned at country clubs, on talk radio, etc. Not only that, second-stage racism is far more damaging, because it presupposes, "Well, white people aren't causing the 'problem,' so what can white people do about it?"

So back to Derbyshire, he apparently is in the "habit" of checking out the racial make-up of school violence for ... what reason exactly? Because he wants to see if he should care. And he doesn't. So he says, "Boy, that school-integration thing worked out great, didn't it?" (a.k.a. "Nuthin' I can do about it!")

Posted by: Media Glutton | Jun 28, 2007 1:22:33 PM

Anyways, Derbyshire's racism is not your grandfather's cranky racism its a specifically *british* colonial racism where railing against the wogs over whiskey and sodas brought by your submissive wife (of whatever race) goes way, way, way back.

Indeed. His memsahib is Chinese. And yes, he's reminiscent of the stereotypical retired brigadier who writes into the Telegraph from Eastbourne to complain about how it was much better when we ruled those fuzzy-wuzzies.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc | Jun 28, 2007 1:31:21 PM

"UVA shootings"

Ezra, if you're going to live on the east coast, next to the Commonwealth of Virginia, you've got to learn some basic facts. Virginia Tech is not UVa. And its UVa, not UVA.

Posted by: ostap | Jun 28, 2007 1:38:10 PM

Derbyshire's explanation:

Ramesh: You are of course right. I was only making the point, clumsily perhaps, that ruling against de jure segregation, while good and necessary, left us with a depressing amount of de facto segregation. And that we are far less keen to talk about (because we really have no clue what to do about) the de facto, than the de jure.

(And the other point that major newspapers have the utmost difficulty reporting racial conflicts—which is plainly what the larger Manhattan Beach brouhaha is—as racial conflicts. The Post article doesn't mention race. You have to go digging. Which is what I did. Why not just tell us what's going on?)

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 28, 2007 1:42:08 PM

I've read the Derb's post and his supposed explanation and I am still confused as to what point he was trying to make except for the obvious "black people are dangerous" rightwing fear mongering. As far as I can tell from the Post story both the victim and the shooter were black unless there has been a significant increase in white membersip of the Bloods and Crips.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano | Jun 28, 2007 2:02:09 PM

Did the Derb bother to check the racial makeup of say Columbine High School? Probably not.

NR has a long and embarrassing history or racism and apologetics for same. Look at some of their editorials in the early 60s.

Derbyshire has a self-admittedly tribal view of the world that is incredibly anachronistic to most of us. He reminds me of an English friend of mine who used to say (jokingly) that "wog begins at Calais."

Posted by: Klein's Tiny Left Nut | Jun 28, 2007 2:17:53 PM

His points: integration has largely failed to happen despite Brown, and the press routinely shies away from pointing out racial aspects of stories such as the conflict over security at the beach.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 28, 2007 2:21:06 PM

Good post, but the VA shootings were at Virgina Tech, not UVA.

Posted by: beckya57 | Jun 28, 2007 2:40:23 PM

His racism aside (and it's undeniable), the piece is also nonsensical.

It's further nonsensical because THE INCIDENT DIDN'T OCCUR AT SCHOOL.

Posted by: James F. Elliott | Jun 28, 2007 2:40:44 PM

He is probably right that one of the effects of re-thinking Americans' use of language in the 1980s and 1990s (what was quickly and condescendingly dubbed the "political correctness" movement) was to stop mentioning race as much as in the past. An assumption was made that race was not an important factor in most instances and that bringing it up tended to reinforce unjustifiable prejudices. It's a frustrating tendency if you believe race is indeed an important factor in the event being reported, or even if you want to have the ability to _consider_ whether it was important. The problem, though, is that the reporting of race is usually biased (in a statistical, not ideological, sense)--black criminals/suspects/perpetrators are identified by race, but white ones aren't. The reader is bound to conclude that blacks are crooks. The informal norm became "don't report race."

Derbyshire's decision to highlight race in this particular instance is a return to the biased reporting of the past under the guise of "telling the whole story."

Posted by: Bob | Jun 28, 2007 2:47:59 PM

Some are assuming that the part of the story Derbyshire thought called for checking out the race connection was the shooting, but his explanation implies that it was the conflict over beach security.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 28, 2007 2:57:05 PM

As James Eliot points out, the shooting wasn't a "school shooting" at all. The sole connection was a mention that one of the teens involved went to a particular school. Based on nothing more than this, Derbyshire felt compelled to hunt out the racial makeup of the school.

The victim (it says in the earlier, print, edition) was a student at Samuel J. Tilden HS. Reading stories like this, I have got into the habit of checking the GreatSchools database for student ethnicity breakdown. Here's the answer for Samuel J. Tilden HS. Boy, that school-integration thing worked out great, didn't it? Thank goodness for Brown v. Board of Ed.!

That is the final paragraph. Now exactly how this amounts to "...half the necessary information.", which was his initial premise, is difficult to see. Particuarly since he no where suggests that the issue is "beach security(community hostility)" as opposed to say gang violence, subway security or the decline of public education.

In short, he didn't reference any of the issues that he belatedly claims were actually at the heart of his first post. If his explanation is to be believed, "clumsy" is the mildest adjective that applies. Rank incompetence would seem more appropriate.

Perhaps Derbyshire should concentrate on making certain that all the "necessary information" is in his own posts.

Posted by: W.B. Reeves | Jun 28, 2007 4:38:59 PM

And didya catch Derb's "poetry" in The Corner today, which suggests the bombing of Washington D.C.? It's since been taken down. Trying to find it cached. Anybody else see it?

Posted by: nikkos | Jun 28, 2007 4:56:52 PM

Not to take this too OT, but I work at UVA, and I see both UVA and UVa used. In any case, it's not VT. They're our football rivals, and practically half the town is paralyzed by traffic the day of the big game each year.

Posted by: Karla | Jun 28, 2007 4:59:04 PM

Some are assuming that the part of the story Derbyshire thought called for checking out the race connection was the shooting, but his explanation implies that it was the conflict over beach security.

Then what exactly is the purpose of his reference to Brown v. Board of Ed?

Posted by: Col Bat Guano | Jun 28, 2007 5:03:59 PM

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