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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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113 Responses

  1. debbie
    debbie April 7, 2012 at 11:56 am |

    The article is disgusting, but hardly surprising.
    I was living in a lefty/progressive bubble for a long time (the kind where people are still racist, they’re just not nearly so explicit about it), and then I went to law school and heard people expressing these kinds of sentiments. Especially in my criminal law class as we debated our government (Canadian) passing a new crime bill that will impose mandatory minimum sentencing for a number of offences, including drug offences.

  2. elena
    elena April 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm |

    This exists?! Holy shit, my white privilege just slapped me in the face, yet again, and I try my damn hardest to be as aware as possible. This is fucking astonishing that there are actually conversations happening like this.

    Thank you for posting, once again my eyes are opened. I can’t believe that people were actually defending the article in the comments section..

    This is so disgusting.

  3. R Johnston
    R Johnston April 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm |

    This isn’t really any more racist than all the conservative extolling of The Bell Curve over the years. All Derbyshire did was to distill the book down to two pages.

  4. Comradde PhysioProffe
    Comradde PhysioProffe April 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm |

    How long before this motherfucker claims his article was “tongue in cheek”?

  5. Kathryn
    Kathryn April 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm |

    The comments on there made me sick.

  6. DonnaL
    DonnaL April 7, 2012 at 12:41 pm |

    How long before this motherfucker claims his article was “tongue in cheek”?

    Never. He is very well known as a leading so-called “scientific racist,” and this is entirely consistent with his body of work.

  7. Comradde PhysioProffe
    Comradde PhysioProffe April 7, 2012 at 12:46 pm |

    Yeah, after doing some more reading about this guy, it appears that he is all in on his disgusting racism.

  8. Emily O
    Emily O April 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm |

    Even though I know that people with these views exist, reading hateful things like this always manages to surprise me. It’s hard for me to believe that people are still able to say these things openly and clearly. I guess that’s my white privilege in action. I feel so sorry for children who get taught this kind of hate from a young age. I know that we all get taught these things by our culture, but to have it be taught so openly and without shame, like it’s ok and even normal, I can’t even imagine.

    I, like Comradde PhysioProffe, imagine that as soon as the backlash hits him he’s going to call it “tongue in cheek” or try some other method of making it look like everyone who was shocked and offended by his hate was being humorless or too uptight. Already there are people in the comments rushing to his defense. And so the cycle repeats itself.

  9. Stella
    Stella April 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm |

    As DonnaL said, no way is Derbyshire going to claim that this was tongue in cheek. He means it. If necessary he’ll fall back on Science, with a bit of the PC police and liberal media mixed in. Ta-Nehisi Coates just linked to a useful Derbyshire quote:

    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.

  10. Chataya
    Chataya April 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm |

    The link isn’t working for me, but judging from those summaries and excerpts, I’m not sure I want to. My stomach is rolling just at that.

  11. catfood
    catfood April 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm |

    Yeah, I got this talk from my parents, not quite word for word. My dad also helpfully gave me a list of derogatory terms for persons of color, as well as a few stories about how awesome things were back in the days when you could use those terms openly.

    sigh

    People of color, no, you’re not imagining it. [A lot of] white people really do get taught this shit, and some of us still believe it. Sorry.

  12. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 7, 2012 at 2:37 pm |

    What a horribe, vile human being.

  13. siveambrai
    siveambrai April 7, 2012 at 2:37 pm |

    I think you missed one of the best points at the very end (and by best I mean worst) where he flat out says that black people are items to be collected like stamps or pokemon.

  14. catfood
    catfood April 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm |

    On the good side, my (white) kids are growing up in a mixed-ethnic working-class neighborhood. My daughter attended a high school that’s about 80% black. And even though… um… from time to time they’ve witnessed some appallingly stereotypical negative behavior by persons of color, my kids are even more appalled by racism and other forms of bigotry.

    It’s kind of awesome. I really do think white people are slowly catching on, even though it’s too damn slowly.

  15. JSH
    JSH April 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm |

    So, white and black talks, capsule versions:

    Black talk: you should watch out, because the world is full of racism.

    White talk: you should be racist.

  16. Mr. Kristen J.
    Mr. Kristen J. April 7, 2012 at 3:03 pm |

    You don’t have to follow my version of the talk point for point; but if you are white or Asian and have kids, you owe it to them to give them some version of the talk.

    Ah being appropriated incorrectly into someone else’s racist world views. Any version of “the” talk I would have with my hypothetical Asian kids would include this article as an example.

  17. Maggie Gordon
    Maggie Gordon April 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm |

    In response to Debbie:

    The comments at my law school regarding social justice issues continually floor and disgust me. And these are the people who will be working with our law in the future? Unpleasant thoughts… :S I spend an inordinate amount of time explaining why the justice reforms are basically the worst things ever.

    What school do you go to?

  18. DonnaL
    DonnaL April 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm |

    Ah being appropriated incorrectly into someone else’s racist world views. Any version of “the” talk I would have with my hypothetical Asian kids would include this article as an example.

    You have to keep in mind that for so-called “scientific racists,” all of them obsessed with IQ scores, one of the favorite defenses to accusations of being white racists/supremacists is to argue that it’s not true because, supposedly, “we freely admit that Asians and Jews* are more intelligent than white people.”

    * I think I was in college when someone first told me that Jews are the “most dangerous” of the alien races, because so many of them can “pass for white.”

  19. librarygoose
    librarygoose April 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm |

    This asshole needs to read some Gould.

    We had one of these “scientific racists” at my old university. When my professor talked about it, I was floored that they would let anyone like that teach. It was obviously bunk, but that’s just my privilege again, assuming my school would be un-racist enough to shut that shit down.

  20. Tim
    Tim April 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm |

    How long before this motherfucker claims his article was “tongue in cheek”?

    I knew Derbyshire was pretty bad, but I didn’t know he was quite this bad, so I kept looking for some clue, up until the end, that this was some kind of satirical piece gone horribly wrong. I just don’t want to believe that anyone who aspires to respectability would write something like this.

    BTW, it won’t surprise anybody here to know that Andrew Sullivan loves this guy.

  21. debbie
    debbie April 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm |

    @Maggie
    I’m at Osgoode. What about you?

  22. Miku
    Miku April 7, 2012 at 4:59 pm |

    @librarygoose
    Gould’s great, but it sort of sucks how he proved his premise – that scientific research doesn’t exist in a vacuum and that it’s easily tainted by human biases – by getting his critique of Morton’s cranial measurements all wrong. I still think he was right, of course, and he’s contributed greatly to communities disproving any scientific basis for race, but bringing him up usually ends in having to defend his entire body of work and his credibility, and the point almost always gets lost (at least this is what’s always been the case for me).

    On the article, yeah, if you can help it, don’t scroll down to the comments. Unless that is you enjoy having reasons to pull out your hair. I mean the article itself is bad enough, but holy slavery-apologetics, Batman…

  23. Lifting As We Climb
    Lifting As We Climb April 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm |

    I’m surprised only that Derbyshire felt it necessary to codify these rules. They are clearly and incessantly communicated by news coverage, in fiction and educational system.

    I’m frustrated by two things in this piece. The statement that Derbyshire insists he is not prejudiced or a bigot. Not only is this inaccurate as has already been pointed out, but the referenced piece was published in the conservative National Review, which while often well written cannot be said to embrace diversity.

    Second, the original article focuses a good deal on crime, essentially conflating criminality with blackness. This is not really touched upon here.

    Here are my concerns. Everyone, but particularly women, are well advised to avoid high crime areas regardless of their racial composition. There are high crime black areas as well as high crime areas dominated by whites, Latino(a)s, et al.

    As a long-time resident of black middle class areas, I’m tired of some people saying how scared they are of black neighborhoods. I’ve often seen African Americans bending over backwards to make white visitors feel comfortable. (cf. welcome mat for slave traders who exploited tribal divisions and contemporary gentrification) I also dislike the way that some whites feel that they can come to our areas to go wild, buy drugs, etc. leaving their own communities untouched.

    I’m not questioning the author’s good intentions but concerned about the actual reporting.

  24. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen April 7, 2012 at 5:24 pm |

    Why would “National Review” discipline Derbyshire? He’s just saying what the rest of the staff think, regardless of whether they possess the testicular fortitude to admit it. More to the point, someone had to approve this piece before it was permitted to see the light of day — the decision to publish it was beyond Derbyshire’s authority.

  25. armillaria
    armillaria April 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm |

    What the fuck is this website? It markets its trash under the name ‘cultural caviar.’ God.

  26. konkonsn
    konkonsn April 7, 2012 at 5:45 pm |

    @catfood

    And even though… um… from time to time they’ve witnessed some appallingly stereotypical negative behavior by persons of color…

    Don’t you just mean “negative behavior”? Hell, shouldn’t this part just not be there? It’s like saying, “Even though I always see black people robbing others, I’m appalled by the prison industrial complex.” There’s so many things wrong with that.

  27. Mark
    Mark April 7, 2012 at 5:58 pm |

    Well, good news: “Derb” is now eligible for unemployment.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/295514/parting-ways-rich-lowry

  28. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen April 7, 2012 at 6:10 pm |

    Also, perhaps it’s due to my advocacy background, but I find it helpful that lately folks like Derbyshire have dispensed with their dog whistles and now voice their bigotry openly. Remember the old days when we tried convincing people that conservative lip service about “fiscal responsibility” and a “culture of life” was simply a mask for their misogynist hatred of women who have sex? Now the misogynists have become the spokesmen for conservatism, supplying us with a steady diet of choice quotes on how educated, sexually active professional women are destroying America.

    The bibliographer in me is happy that Derbyshire’s so damn honest.

  29. Jadey
    Jadey April 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm |

    You have to keep in mind that for so-called “scientific racists,” all of them obsessed with IQ scores, one of the favorite defenses to accusations of being white racists/supremacists is to argue that it’s not true because, supposedly, “we freely admit that Asians and Jews* are more intelligent than white people.”

    Compensated for by the fact that they are sexually unappealing and unmasculine (unlike those hypersexual black folks!). Isn’t it nice how it works out for white people to be *juuuuuuuust right*? No wonder at all that Goldilocks was, well, Goldilocks.

    *goes to wash eyes and mouth out with soap*

    I used to vacillate about which was worse – the blatant in-your-face racism of douchebags like Derbyshire, or the guileless, tittering, back-stabbing racism I was raised with. Then I realized that it really doesn’t matter – they’re both awful.

  30. tmc
    tmc April 7, 2012 at 6:37 pm |

    @catfood

    And even though… um… from time to time they’ve witnessed some appallingly stereotypical negative behavior by persons of color…

    Don’t you just mean “negative behavior”? Hell, shouldn’t this part just not be there? It’s like saying, “Even though I always see black people robbing others, I’m appalled by the prison industrial complex.” There’s so many things wrong with that.

    Word.

  31. catfood
    catfood April 7, 2012 at 6:39 pm |

    @konkonsn #26:

    You’re right.

    The point I’m trying to make is that my kids are pretty resistant to drawing racism-compatible conclusions when it might be tempting for a white person to do so. Which personally pleases me because daaaaamn I was so taught otherwise.

    So yeah, I’d appreciate it if you’d just pretend I didn’t say the appalling part. Because that did suck.

  32. Mark
    Mark April 7, 2012 at 6:41 pm |

    Here are some more gems from this guy. He wasn’t fired for being a racist. He was fired because finally, one of his racist rants got noticed by the internet at large. This piece may be even more offensive, where he charmingly discusses POC as being… well, I can’t do it justice, read it for yourself.

  33. Anon21
    Anon21 April 7, 2012 at 6:54 pm |

    Well, good news: “Derb” is now eligible for unemployment.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/295514/parting-ways-rich-lowry

    Welp, that settles it. Conservatives are literally allergic to the word “racism,” even when firing someone for being a racist.

  34. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen April 7, 2012 at 7:01 pm |

    What a cop-out from Lowry that is. If Lowry and his staff would “never associate ourselves” with Derbyshire’s views, why the hell would they publish Derbyshire’s columns for so long?

    I used to vacillate about which was worse – the blatant in-your-face racism of douchebags like Derbyshire, or the guileless, tittering, back-stabbing racism I was raised with. Then I realized that it really doesn’t matter – they’re both awful.

    The former matters a hell of a lot more in a court of law, or of public opinion.

  35. QLH
    QLH April 7, 2012 at 7:25 pm |

    I’m frustrated by two things in this piece. The statement that Derbyshire insists he is not prejudiced or a bigot.

    Derbs — who insists he is not prejudiced or a bigot, and who has written before about women passing their sell-by date when they turn 20 — goes through the list of things he tells his kids about black people.

    In the context of the post, I read that line as very clearly communicating what a racist, sexist ass this guy is. It’s not presented (in my reading) as a “well, maybe he’s not racist, he says that he isn’t, who can really say for sure?” comment but more of a “wow, this guy is ignorant and racist and sexist and completely full of shit and mistakenly thinks that he’s not” comment.

  36. Mr. Kristen J.
    Mr. Kristen J. April 7, 2012 at 7:31 pm |

    You have to keep in mind that for so-called “scientific racists,” all of them obsessed with IQ scores, one of the favorite defenses to accusations of being white racists/supremacists is to argue that it’s not true because, supposedly, “we freely admit that Asians and Jews* are more intelligent than white people.”

    Remarkable that despite all of their supposed rationalism they can’t distinguish between people who are, for example, Japanese and/or Thai.

  37. DonnaL
    DonnaL April 7, 2012 at 7:42 pm |

    ^
    I’m sure they don’t really mean *all* Asians, just the ones they see succeeding academically in the USA — like Japanese, Chinese, and Korean people, and the “Aryan” kind of South Asian people.

  38. Jadey
    Jadey April 7, 2012 at 7:44 pm |

    The former matters a hell of a lot more in a court of law, or of public opinion.

    Of course, because they’re easier to define and identify, and therefore more actionable. But that’s a practical distinction – not a moral one.

  39. DonnaL
    DonnaL April 7, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  40. Maggie Gordon
    Maggie Gordon April 7, 2012 at 8:17 pm |

    @ Debbie

    UOttawa, the supposedly social justice law school :)

  41. Felicia
    Felicia April 7, 2012 at 8:29 pm |

    I’m a caucasian, 43-year-old female, born and raised in Atlanta, GA, by a mother who left when I was seven and an abusive father. On top of everything else, the over-privileged kids at the private school that I attended hazed me relentlessly. As an only child, in an isolated and abusive household, I had no idea how to defend myself… I had no one.
    One day, a couple of boys were hitting me, in the hallway. Anita, one of the school’s very few (i.e. “politically-correct handful”) of African-American students stepped in, to get them off of me. I was amazed, that someone had dared to stand up for me.
    She invited me to sit at “the black table”, at lunch, and I gladly accepted. All of this time, the staff had regularly turned their heads to the abuse that I had been encountering, from my peers. But, on this day, the principal made a special point to speak to me, in the lunchroom. “Felicia, why don’t you go and sit with your friends?”, she said (knowing that I didn’t have any friends, amongst the “general population”). “I am sitting with my friends”, I replied, defiantly.
    Anita and I became great friends. She was really the first friend I had ever had, and her example taught me how to be empowered. I invited her to come and spend the night, with me. Her mother and my stepmother conferred, and the date was set.
    Now, I was not raised in “redneck, confederate-flag-wavin” Georgia. My father’s family prided themselves on being Atlanta aristocrats; thus, they would never utter the “n-word” or some other form of blatantly ignorant racist rhetoric… they simply would have no occasion to even interact with a person of color, unless that person were in their employ.
    But, I was a child. The black women that were in my household had loved me, more than had my own mother. To me, they were (and are), “Mother”.
    Anita and I were on the curb, at 3:00 sharp, waiting to be picked up from school. Her bags were packed, and we were playing some game that grade-school girls play, and we were laughing… and my father pulled up. He unrolled the passenger side window and said, “Hello, Anita”, with a perfect smile. “I need to talk with my daughter, for a second”.
    I was confused, but I got in the car. Once inside the confines of its privacy, my father said, “Felicia, Anita can’t come over to spend the night”. “Why”, I bellowed… the tears were starting spill out. “Because she’s black”, he informed me.
    I was shocked. I had not even realized that my family was racist, until I was 12 years old.
    I cannot even articulate the shame that I felt, taking one of the slowest and most painstaking walks of my life, back to that curb, to try to explain to my only friend in the world… to a girl who had had the guts to put it all on the line, for me… that she was not even allowed in my home.
    But, of course, Anita… she already knew. Her skin tone did not afford her the opportunity to be as naive to such things, as I had been.
    You know, she never held it against me? On Monday morning, she greeted me with a hug, as she had every day since we met.
    That’s when I began to really understand.
    Racism is consistently presented as a political issue… and it is. But, to relegate it solely to such intellectual meanderings does not give an adequate nor accurate accounting of its origins.
    Racism is, of course, an economic issue. And, most often overlooked, racism is an emotional issue… it’s about abuser-victim dynamics.
    But, at its core, I believe racism to be a spiritual issue.
    I gratefully became introduced to this blog, this evening, via your comments about Erykah Badu, and some of her words sum it up, best…
    You were made in HIs Image, I’ll call you by Your Name.
    Most intellects (i.e. people who WORSHIP their own intellect and are their own “god”, i.e. most white folks) don’t believe in God…
    BUT THEY FEAR YOU, JUST THE SAME.

  42. Jamie Stacey
    Jamie Stacey April 7, 2012 at 8:35 pm |

    This is something I expect to see on /b/, not a… oh wait it’s a libertarian magazine. Nevermind.

    Who knew biological determinism, pseudo-scientific racism, and social Darwinism were back in style. From presidential candidates bringing up “welfare queen” discourse, to Charles Murray’s latest book, to the present article, is it just me or are we losing ground (to inappropriately appropriate Charles Murray’s term)?

    On a related note, sometimes I get frustrated thinking about how incendiary, insipid, and frighteningly basic questions like “Should we have a society that hates on x minority group?” dominate presidential politics, leaving other more complex issues (e.g. financial sector reform, energy policy, education system reform, etc. etc.) in a secondary or tertiary position.

  43. Mxe354
    Mxe354 April 7, 2012 at 8:45 pm |

    (13) In that pool of forty million, there are nonetheless many intelligent and well-socialized blacks. (I’ll use IWSB as an ad hoc abbreviation.) You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with IWSBs. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.

    Yes, because all that matters is that you DON’T GET YOUR PRECIOUS CAREER DESTROYED JUST BECAUSE OF BEING A PREJUDICED DIPSHIT!

    Seriously, what’s wrong with him?

  44. Dominique
    Dominique April 7, 2012 at 9:55 pm |

    The link isn`t working for me, either. Dare we hope the site has taken it down? Of course it shouldn`t have been published anywhere in the first place.

    I can`t resist talking about the Bell Curve nonsense: the entire population has gained several I.Q. points over the past few decades, to the point where they`ve had to move the average past 100. Now, if tests are so objective and universal, where could that have possibly come from?

    Moreoever, I think it was Leon J. Kamen (Science and Politics of I.Q.) who clearly demonstrated that a 20-point variance in I.Q. could easily be accounted for by infant environment in the first few years of life, which are crucial to brain development. This has nothing to do with genetics.

  45. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 7, 2012 at 10:25 pm |

    I do like 10f, personally. I hope every one of his defenders took that advice to heart; it ought to cut down the asshole population in my Congressional district.

    Jamie Stacey: Yes, unfortunately, we are losing ground. It’s getting to the point where I’m trying to figure out which commandment to break so I have a surefire ticket to hell.

  46. Caperton
    Caperton April 7, 2012 at 10:43 pm | *

    I had to share The Roomie’s reaction to #13: “So they’re not a token black friend; they’re a talisman black friend.”

  47. auditorydamage
    auditorydamage April 8, 2012 at 12:10 am |

    Well, that was brain-searingly horrible. Does that arsehole actually have children he’s told that garbage to?

    Debbie: Osgoode? What you make of our fair city’s racist, homophobic mayor with emotional control problems and atrocious judgement?

  48. im
    im April 8, 2012 at 6:35 am |

    GRAAAAAAARRRRRRRR!!!!!!! HULK SMASH PUNY RACiST!!!!!!!

    Seriously? Does he think most White americans actually teach their kids that? I am outraged at this slander, and I weep for my race because that might be true!

    I have accumulated enough unfortunate paranoid fear around black strangers WITHOUT being indoctrinated into racism by my parents.

  49. ellid
    ellid April 8, 2012 at 7:20 am |

    Auditorydamage – yes, Derbyshire has kids. I believe they’re by his Asian wife.

    *the irony, it burns us preciouss!!!!!*

  50. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated April 8, 2012 at 8:10 am |

    This is a yuppie dweeb who thinks women have a sell-by date a scant two years from majority, and who thinks that black strivers are to be displayed like Rolex watches. Or like a uniformed doorman…He’s a genuine slaveholder, 147 years past his sell-by date, and his boss just now noticed the smell of decomposition in the composing room.
    He’s had to offshore his marital duties because the orgasm pay is sub-minimal. It’s safe to say: Derb is a loser, all the way.

  51. debbie
    debbie April 8, 2012 at 9:19 am |

    @auditorydamage It’s a sad day when I have fond memories of Mel Lastman, who wrote letters to the Spice Girls, and still managed to be less embarrassing than Ford. And as a daily public transit user and supporter of organized labour, I find everything about him to be infuriating.

    Ok, back on topic –

    I’m surprised only that Derbyshire felt it necessary to codify these rules. They are clearly and incessantly communicated by news coverage, in fiction and educational system.

    THIS. As shocking as it may be (to some – I’m sure that this is par for the course for people who experience this stuff daily), these are the messages that are prevalent in the mainstream media, and reinforced by institutions like the education system.

  52. Emma
    Emma April 8, 2012 at 11:53 am |

    Wow! Just wow! I don’t think I have ever seen anything this blatantly racist written down…he proofed that and pressed post. Horrified. URGH!

  53. Miriam
    Miriam April 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm |

    Holy sh-t. I thought this was satire up until the very end. O.o

  54. Caperton
    Caperton April 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm | *

    I, too, am kind of stuck on the fact that Rich Lowry was able to roundly condemn Derbyshire’s piece–to the point of actually firing him–and describe it as “nasty and indefensible” and “outlandish,” without pulling out the “r” word. Exactly what about it was unacceptable, Lowry? Was his grammar bad? Did he plagiarize from someone else? Do you think that using words like “felicity” made him sound pretentious? What made it indefensible to you? Was it a word starting with “r”? Or just a word starting with “people are mad and associating with him makes us look bad”?

  55. Sandy
    Sandy April 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm |

    I, too, am kind of stuck on the fact that Rich Lowry was able to roundly condemn Derbyshire’s piece–to the point of actually firing him–and describe it as “nasty and indefensible” and “outlandish,” without pulling out the “r” word. Exactly what about it was unacceptable, Lowry?

    Thirded, it’s mind-blowing. But it fits in a way? Because so much racism is coded or conveyed indirectly, why would he get specific about it now? He probably doesn’t even want to admit racism is a thing.

    (With the caveat that I haven’t read his statement yet. Going to do that now.)

  56. Rita
    Rita April 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm |

    Most intellects (i.e. people who WORSHIP their own intellect and are their own “god”, i.e. most white folks) don’t believe in God…
    BUT THEY FEAR YOU, JUST THE SAME.

    Um… what?

    So most white people are atheists? (Demonstrably false.)
    Or most intellectuals are white? (Racist and false.)
    Or intellectuals are inherently racist? (Anti-intellectual and false.)
    Or racism flows directly from atheism? (Atheists definitely have their problems, but they’re not literally the root of all evil, y’know, so also false.)

  57. timberwraith
    timberwraith April 8, 2012 at 5:17 pm |

    Sadly, Derbyshire’s article only surprised me because he had the guts to be honest about his hateful ideas in public. I can easily imagine any of my siblings having taught this to their own children (all now adults). Not surprisingly, I no longer talk to my siblings because they are so unrepentantly awful.

    Having been raised in the family I was, I know that there are significant portions of the country that still believe in horrifically racist things. Since US culture has shifted to a mode of racism that uses coded language and subconsciously internalized ideas, the publicly open, traditional forms of racism have been driven underground. I suspect that those with more traditional forms of racism are very angry that they can’t say publicly what so many white people believe unconsciously.

  58. Angel H.
    Angel H. April 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm |

    Meh.

    Derbyshire isn’t the first and unfortunately, he won’t be the last.

  59. Emily
    Emily April 8, 2012 at 7:19 pm |

    Felicia, thank you for sharing!
    Stories like yours are always heartbreaking to me. Unfortunately they are not uncommon.
    The comments on the site with the article are what disturb me the most. At first I thought people were just sarcastically replying to Derbyshire’s messed up points. There’s no way so many people could be so hateful, right? I wish that were the case.
    I wanted to pick one of the points Derbyshire made that was particularly bad and make a comment about it. Most of them were equally racist, dehumanizing, and horrible so it was hard to pick just one.
    “Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress”
    I settled on this one because I think it shows the cruelty of this article.
    If someone has darker skin than white, a white person should not help them. Doesn’t matter if it’s a frail old man who fell down crossing the street. Doesn’t matter if it’s a little girl who lost her parents. They are their skin tone and therefore should not be helped. After all, they might have a gun or something!
    If you see someone in need and it’s in your power to help them, why wouldn’t you? A person is a person and it boggles my mind that anyone can honestly believe otherwise–let alone try to persuade others to follow their way of thinking!

  60. Shigekuni
    Shigekuni April 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm |

    The coded language thing is so true. When I visited my relatives in Russia as a teenager, and I was introduced as “that boy who likes them Jews” and was offered advice on how to deal with that avaricious race, I was so shocked that people thought that way, but in the years that followed, I found out that people around me share similar ideas, but express them in different ways. >.< Still, the shock of seeing someone in my cultural context being so unapologetically frank about their racism like Derby, God. What the fuck? And the comments thread under the article boggles my poor little mind.

  61. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig April 9, 2012 at 1:31 am |

    Felicia: I am an athiest. I am also white. About the closest I come to being racist is a dislike of rap.* Please don’t assume that athiests are racist; in fact, the KKK was very closely associated with many Protestant churches. I suspect, from observation, that churchgoing whites are actually more racist then athiest whites.

  62. Matt
    Matt April 9, 2012 at 6:00 am |

    That is some impressive cognitive dissonance right there.

    But, I think timberwraiths point is important.
    Sadly, Derbyshire’s article only surprised me because he had the guts to be honest about his hateful ideas in public. I can easily imagine any of my siblings having taught this to their own children (all now adults). Not surprisingly, I no longer talk to my siblings because they are so unrepentantly awful

    People being honest about their beliefs, articulating them, and being willing to talk about them is a good thing, and in general, I think that firing them for that is a counterproductive way of responding.

    My own Mum would be the first person to tell you that, as a teenager, she was incredibly racist. This was because my grandfather, a thoroughly reprehensible human being, also happened to be a vocal racist, and those were the views that she was exposed to.

    At no point was she a terrible human being, she was just wrong, and most of us are wrong about a lot of things. At college, she actually met people from a wide variety of backgrounds, and her views moderated accordingly.

    The appropriate response to these people is reason; if they talk we should talk back.

    We shouldn’t tell them that they are wrong; we should point out why they are wrong or, better yet, show them.

    The alternative is racism that will continue to bubble under the surface, hidden from the “oppressive political correctness”, and pass on to the next generation.

    The appropriate response from National Review, is a detailed and considered response to Derbyshire’s arguments, and why the National Review disagrees with them. Of course, that would mean admitting that racism is wrong.

    I have difficulty seeing why Derbyshire is worse than the millions of people who share those same views in private, he does, at least, have courage in his convictions.

  63. Angel H.
    Angel H. April 9, 2012 at 8:45 am |

    The appropriate response to these people is reason; if they talk we should talk back.

    We shouldn’t tell them that they are wrong; we should point out why they are wrong or, better yet, show them.

    Appropriate for whom, though?

    I, for one, don’t want to waste my time talking to someone who sees me as unworthy of dignity and respect. As a less-than. And as a consumer, there’s no way in hell I should put up with it.

    I have difficulty seeing why Derbyshire is worse than the millions of people who share those same views in private, he does, at least, have courage in his convictions.

    Since when is being racist courageous?

  64. Beemer’s Rants: White People: STFU. « A Bookish Beemer

    [...] keep seeing white people express shock at John Derbyshire’s blatantly racist “article.” Like, they know that there are a [...]

  65. Athenia
    Athenia April 9, 2012 at 9:03 am |

    This article doesn’t surprise me in the least. This is what happens when a privileged racist dude feels his privileged is being threatened.

    What I find ironic/hilarious/sad is that his dude feels *so threatened* by the whole concept of black parents having to give their kid a *talk* about racism, that he just *has* to outline a talk too.

    It never ceases to amaze me how very privileged people want to claim that they are the persecuted ones.

  66. Matt
    Matt April 9, 2012 at 9:27 am |

    I, for one, don’t want to waste my time talking to someone who sees me as unworthy of dignity and respect. As a less-than. And as a consumer, there’s no way in hell I should put up with it.

    But just because someone’s racism isn’t overt doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful.

    Surely it’s better that people enter the conversation, and making explicit arguments that can be responded to, than keeping their views to themselves, and then just, not hiring black people, or using their influence to oppose equal rights.

    And as a consumer, there’s no way in hell I should put up with it.

    I would absolutely agree that, as a consumer you have a right (possibly even a responsibility) not to to support this crap, and an employer is entirely justified in firing an employee on the basis of that consumer response.

    That I don’t think is necessarily that is the ideal in the wider conversation about racism, doesn’t change that.

    Since when is being racist courageous?”

    It isn’t. Voicing an unpopular opinion, because you happen to believe that it’s true, often is.

    Granted it often also speaks of a marked lack of introspection and failure in critical reasoning abilities, but it’s certainly not unprecedented for the majority opinion on a subject to be wrong.

    Conversation about this stuff needs to happen in the open, not in echo chambers.

    Look, if nothing else, even if we ignore his opinions about black people , the guys comments in that article with regard to the likes of cultivating friendships for the purpose of winning arguments mark him as both a massive jerk and an idiot.

    However, most people who are racist, or for that matter, sexist, or homophobic, or whatever are not 2 dimensional mindless zombie of evilness.

    We won’t change those opinions without responding to them with arguments, and if we don’t do that, they will continue to poison society until the sun goes out.

  67. Caperton
    Caperton April 9, 2012 at 9:49 am | *

    The appropriate response to these people is reason; if they talk we should talk back.

    We shouldn’t tell them that they are wrong; we should point out why they are wrong or, better yet, show them.

    And how, exactly, are we supposed to show them? March out a couple of Good Black People and say, “Look! Not all black people are bad! See? Here’s one who doesn’t even own a gun!” And then Derb will say, “Ohhh. Wow! Now I feel bad for stereotyping black people as violent, barbaric, and amoral. Man, do I have some egg on my face.”

    Evidence that their racism is unfounded and deplorable is everywhere. It’s called “the world.” The Derbs out there don’t need to be shown; they see it every day, and then their prejudice filters it to further prop up their racism. It’s right there in Derbyshire “IWSBs”: Yes, there are some okay black people, but they’re the exception that proves the rule. You should make pretend-friends with them, because they’re few and far between and they’re going like hotcakes. You can’t Logic people like that out of their racism, because logic isn’t what made them racist in the first place.

  68. EG
    EG April 9, 2012 at 9:57 am |

    Since when is being racist courageous?

    Seconded. Racism is not an unpopular opinion: it is a very popular opinion. There is nothing courageous about expressing it; there is no history of white people being ostracized or shunned or murdered or in any way disadvantaged for being racist assholes. What, precisely, is he risking by openly expressing his racism that doing so is “courageous”?

    Further, I have no interest in abstract virtues like having the courage of his convictions. His convictions are reprehensible. Standing by them staunchly is not admirable; it is disgusting. He is not risking anything, and if he were, what he would be risking that for is not worth piss.

    I do not think it’s better that he express himself openly. When racists feel the need to keep their racist bullshit under wraps it means that they on some level aware believe that the larger society doesn’t approve of their racism and that expressing it will make them look bad. And you know what? Good. They should feel like that. They should fear being found out. They should fear social opprobrium. That is precisely what the people Derby represents should feel.

  69. EG
    EG April 9, 2012 at 10:02 am |

    And I’ll see your mother’s experience with my own. About ten years ago, I was still mired in a radfem transphobia, less the hostility and more the “oh you are misguided and just don’t understand that gender is a construction” kind. And I was ashamed and reluctant to express such opinions because a) feminists I knew and respected in real life scorned and excoriated such opinions, as they should have, b) I did not like the company I was keeping with such opinions and the real-life effects and implications of them, and c) I didn’t feel that such opinions gave me the right to be rude to anybody. Because I held such opinions but, importantly, kept my mouth shut about them, I was given the opportunity to meet and become good friends with a trans woman when I moved to another city, and spending time with her and hearing about her experiences made me realize how wrong my previous opinions were, how harmful they were, and how horrible it was to prioritize some theory of sex and gender above another person’s needs and happiness. If I had had “the courage of my convictions,” I would never have had that opportunity, I would have hurt a very kind and fascinating woman, and I wouldn’t have learned better. It was far better for me to keep my mouth shut out of shame and discomfort.

  70. Matt
    Matt April 9, 2012 at 10:05 am |

    You can’t Logic people like that out of their racism, because logic isn’t what made them racist in the first place.

    I never said that it would be easy, but sure we can.

    We have managed to logic our way from a society that was near unanimous in agreement that black people are less than human, to one in which the most powerful man in the world is black.

    That there is a still a heck of long way still to go, is why we need to be talking about this stuff, rather than ignoring it.

    And the danger is, this ain’t a one way process, if we get too complacent, and we forget that we need to teach people why they shouldn’t be racist, rather than just punishing them when they something idiotic, then we will start to look like the “mindless liberal sheeple oppressers” that they think we are.

  71. Angel H.
    Angel H. April 9, 2012 at 10:27 am |

    But just because someone’s racism isn’t overt doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful.

    Really? I had no idea.

    Surely it’s better that people enter the conversation, and making explicit arguments that can be responded to, than keeping their views to themselves, and then just, not hiring black people, or using their influence to oppose equal rights.

    Let me repeat: I, for one, don’t want to waste my time talking to someone who sees me as unworthy of dignity and respect. As a less-than. I can’t have a conversation with someone – to use an old saying – [hu]man to [hu]man when that person doesn’t even see me as such.

    Also, let’s get one thing clear: “Overt” racism and “covert”, “discreet”, or “undercover” racism is all the same thing. One is no more better or worse than the other; they just show themselves in different ways all of them harmful and dangerous.

    Yes, dangerous. What Derbyshire said is dangerous because it does nothing but reinforce the kind of attitudes that devalues the lives of people like Trayvon Martin, Reika Boyd, and Zurana Horton. And there’s nothing courageous about that.

  72. Matt
    Matt April 9, 2012 at 10:29 am |

    And I was ashamed and reluctant to express such opinions because a) feminists I knew and respected in real life scorned and excoriated such opinions, as they should have, b) I did not like the company I was keeping with such opinions and the real-life effects and implications of them, and c) I didn’t feel that such opinions gave me the right to be rude to anybody.

    But by that logic people like Abraham Lincoln, would have kept their mouths shut about the whole inequality thing in the first place.

    I think it’s great that you were able to keep an open mind, and change your mind based n your experience, that says good things about you. But perhaps if you had articulated your opinion earlier, your friends would have talked you around much earlier, unless you honestly believe that they would have ostracised you for stating your honestly held opinion, without even talking to you about it, which honestly wouldn’t say great things about them as friends.

    That we should just keep our mouths shut if we don’t believe in the majority opinion is not IMO, a healthy message.

    do not think it’s better that he express himself openly. When racists feel the need to keep their racist bullshit under wraps it means that they on some level aware believe that the larger society doesn’t approve of their racism and that expressing it will make them look bad.

    Well frankly, if he believed that making that statement was entirely risk free because society agrees with him (and I agree, it’s a possibility), then that in itself should be a huge red flag for the rest of us.

  73. EG
    EG April 9, 2012 at 10:32 am |

    We have managed to logic our way from a society that was near unanimous in agreement that black people are less than human, to one in which the most powerful man in the world is black.

    No, not “near unanimous,” unless by “society” you mean “white people.”

    Further, what makes you think that logical argumentation won the day, if we can consider that day won? There was some logical argument, sure, but there was also a shitload of emotion and direct action against an unjust system, as well as the canny manipulation of a media that couldn’t care less when southern blacks were lynched but were happy to make national news when white kids from the north were killed.

  74. EG
    EG April 9, 2012 at 10:36 am |

    But perhaps if you had articulated your opinion earlier, your friends would have talked you around much earlier…

    They tried, when I spoke to them in private. It didn’t work.

    That we should just keep our mouths shut if we don’t believe in the majority opinion is not IMO, a healthy message.

    Who said anything about majority? I said we should keep our mouths shut if we believe in harmful and reprehensible opinions. If you genuinely believe that trans-acceptance and antiracism are the majority opinions, you are deluding yourself.

    Well frankly, if he believed that making that statement was entirely risk free because society agrees with him (and I agree, it’s a possibility), then that in itself should be a huge red flag for the rest of us.

    1) I don’t give a shit what he believes about his statement. Plenty of people believe that they’re persecuted; that doesn’t mean they are correct or that I have any patience or respect for that belief.

    2) What red flag for us? Letting us know that we live in a dangerously racist country? Yeah, I know that, thanks.

  75. Matt
    Matt April 9, 2012 at 10:40 am |

    Also, let’s get one thing clear: “Overt” racism and “covert”, “discreet”, or “undercover” racism is all the same thing. One is no more better or worse than the other; they just show themselves in different ways all of them harmful and dangerous.

    Yes, they are dangerous, but we can not oppose these things without arguing against them, because those views are held by people, and those people generally hold them for some reason, even if it isn’t a good reason.

    If we characterise our ideological opponents as evil mindless subhumans who hold their views just because, and who are incapable of anything more than that, then we are falling into exactly the same traps as they did.

  76. Angel H.
    Angel H. April 9, 2012 at 10:42 am |

    Comment in moderation because I said a bad word.

    Little help, mods?

  77. EG
    EG April 9, 2012 at 10:57 am |

    If we characterise our ideological opponents as evil mindless subhumans who hold their views just because

    Who said anything about mindless or subhuman? There is nothing subhuman about racism. It is very human indeed. I don’t need to consider somebody subhuman or mindless to understand that he is my enemy, and to decide to treat him as such. As for evil, I’m OK with deciding that people who advocate such harmful racism are evil.

  78. Matt
    Matt April 9, 2012 at 11:03 am |

    I said we should keep our mouths shut if we believe in harmful and reprehensible opinions.

    In general, the people that hold harmful and reprehensible opinions don’t think that they are holding harmful and reprehensible opinons. People don’t just decide to be the bad guy for the heck of it.

    If you genuinely believe that trans-acceptance and antiracism are the majority opinions, you are deluding yourself.

    No they aren’t, that’s pretty much my point. If we don’t agree with the consensus, then we shouldn’t go along with it.

    No, not “near unanimous,” unless by “society” you mean “white people.”

    Racism isn’t exactly confined to white people, but yeah that was a badly constructed sentence.

    Further, what makes you think that logical argumentation won the day, if we can consider that day won?

    You don’t think that the arguments were logical? or you don’t think that using emotive, effective, communication techniques counts as arguing?

    Do you honestly think that the world would be a less racist place today if all of the people who have argued vocally for equality had kept their mouths shut?

    Don’t get me wrong, that, depending on his motives, I could maybe respect the courage he appears to have in his convictions, doesn’t mean that I can find anything else apparent in his argument to agree with.

    I just prefer that if he is going to spew vile crap, he does it where everyone else can hear it and respond to it.

  79. Angel H.
    Angel H. April 9, 2012 at 11:08 am |

    Sorry, mods. Please delete other comment in moderation.

    Seconded. Racism is not an unpopular opinion: it is a very popular opinion.

    EXACTLY! I don’t need someone to come up to me and tell me that zie’s racist. I already know that because duh! racism; I don’t need a declaration. That’s like if I stood outside on a sunny day and someone tells me that the sun has risen.

    @ Matt:

    We have managed to logic our way from a society that was near unanimous in agreement that black people are less than human, to one in which the most powerful man in the world is black.
    Stop. Stop. Just…don’t go there. Stop it now. It’s too early in the week for that bullshit. Just stop it now.

    And the danger is, this ain’t a one way process, if we get too complacent, and we forget that we need to teach people why they shouldn’t be racist, rather than just punishing them when they something idiotic, then we will start to look like the “mindless liberal sheeple oppressers” that they think we are.

    No, you know what you’ll start to look like?

    N*****-lovers. Guess what I’ll be?

    You keep saying “we need to teach” and “we need to show them”, but ultimately, who do you think the burden of this will fall upon?

    People don’t just decide to be the bad guy for the heck of it.

    Some do. They’re called trolls. ;-)

  80. Matt
    Matt April 9, 2012 at 11:14 am |

    Who said anything about mindless or subhuman? There is nothing subhuman about racism. It is very human indeed. I don’t need to consider somebody subhuman or mindless to understand that he is my enemy, and to decide to treat him as such. As for evil, I’m OK with deciding that people who advocate such harmful racism are evil.

    Fair enough, let’s just take evil. Do you really believe that the majority of people who hold racist opinions do so just because they are “evil”? or do you think that it’s possible that they have honestly held opinions that happen to be wrong?

  81. EG
    EG April 9, 2012 at 11:17 am |

    In general, the people that hold harmful and reprehensible opinions don’t think that they are holding harmful and reprehensible opinons.

    No shit. So what? I don’t have a problem with deciding that they’re wrong and should keep their mouths shut.

    No they aren’t, that’s pretty much my point. If we don’t agree with the consensus, then we shouldn’t go along with it.

    That’s not what Derby is doing. He’s going along with the consensus, and he’s neither courageous nor admirable.

    You don’t think that the arguments were logical? or you don’t think that using emotive, effective, communication techniques counts as arguing?

    I don’t think that it was their logic that made them effective in changing people’s minds.

  82. Jadey
    Jadey April 9, 2012 at 11:17 am |

    Hey, is it just me, or is a white guy lecturing a black woman on the best way for her to deal with racism?

    Must be another day of the week! *eyeroll*

    (If I’m wrong about that, full retraction and full apologies.)

  83. Jadey
    Jadey April 9, 2012 at 11:18 am |

    Sorry, and I’m specifically referring to Matt’s comments to Angel, not to EG. No call to be vague.

  84. EG
    EG April 9, 2012 at 11:20 am |

    Do you really believe that the majority of people who hold racist opinions do so just because they are “evil”? or do you think that it’s possible that they have honestly held opinions that happen to be wrong?

    I don’t care about their reasons. Honestly holding certain incorrect opinions, advocating them, and/or acting on them makes you evil, as far as I’m concerned. That’s what evil is.

  85. EG
    EG April 9, 2012 at 11:22 am |

    Hey, is it just me, or is a white guy lecturing a black woman on the best way for her to deal with racism?

    Well, you know, if Angel had her way, people might’ve been mean to his mother. Black mothers, therefore, need to suck it up so whit mommies’ feelings don’t get hurt.

  86. Caperton
    Caperton April 9, 2012 at 11:29 am | *

    Matt, you might be too far off to recognize this, but you’re wandering closer and closer to “the reason we have racism today is that people just haven’t been attacking it right up til now, and if everyone will just work harder, they’ll succeed where they failed before.” Before you get to that point, you will be cut off. Please check your privilege and listen to the people who have a lot more life experience in this area.

  87. Matt
    Matt April 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm |

    Matt, you might be too far off to recognize this, but you’re wandering closer and closer to “the reason we have racism today is that people just haven’t been attacking it right up til now, and if everyone will just work harder, they’ll succeed where they failed before.” Before you get to that point, you will be cut off. Please check your privilege and listen to the people who have a lot more life experience in this area.

    I have no desire to upset people, and I apologise if I have been giving that impression, because that’s very not much not the point that I intended to make. But yeah, I think that the appropriate way to respond to racism involves dialogue, that a lot of the progress that has been made against racism, has involved dialogue, and I’d stand by that.

    If you want me to, I’ll bow out, I’ve made the arguments that I intended to make, and I don’t want but I do take objection to this.

    Hey, is it just me, or is a white guy lecturing a black woman on the best way for her to deal with racism?

    I think that the suggestion that my gender or race has a single fucking thing to do with my ability to discuss this perverse.

    By all means argue against my lack of life experience, to the extent that it might be apparent because, honestly, if I’m wrong in my opinions then I would hope that some one will convince me of that, and then I will be less wrong.

    But I will never not be white, or male, and so if that’s the criteria, I can apparently never have a voice.

    For the record, I make no representation about what anyone should do individually in the face of racism, I’m sure that they understand their own life better than mine.

  88. Andie
    Andie April 9, 2012 at 1:02 pm |

    I think that the suggestion that my gender or race has a single fucking thing to do with my ability to discuss this perverse.

    Perverse, but a fact of life. Your race AND your gender DO affect how you discuss these issues. As a white male, you don’t experience racism the way a black person would. That is called privilege. Doesn’t mean you can’t talk about racism but it means checking your privilege when dealing with people who have actually experienced racism. Giving the benefit of the doubt that perhaps, just perhaps, their lived experiences and actual feelings (eg. Angel not wanting to give up her time to ‘teach’ people who don’t even see her as worthy to speak to) might trump your theories.

  89. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil April 9, 2012 at 1:11 pm |

    I think that the suggestion that my gender or race has a single fucking thing to do with my ability to discuss this perverse.

    By all means argue against my lack of life experience, to the extent that it might be apparent because, honestly, if I’m wrong in my opinions then I would hope that some one will convince me of that, and then I will be less wrong.

    But I will never not be white, or male, and so if that’s the criteria, I can apparently never have a voice.

    The fact that you are white and male does impact how you approach this conversation. This is why I, as a white person, do not participate much in discussions about race: my views and experiences are not important compared to those of people who face racism. I can try to understand the oppression and discrimination that people of color face, but I will never have that lived experience.

    Also, the fact that you are white and male pretty much guarantees that you will have a voice in just about any forum you choose. Perhaps just not here on this topic.

  90. Angel H.
    Angel H. April 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm |

    I think that the suggestion that my gender or race has a single fucking thing to do with my ability to discuss this perverse.

    Are you kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me?

    It has everything to do with it because you will never and have never experienced racism.

    Yet here you are saying that I should be a Good Little Negro (or in Derbyshire’s words, an IWSB) and teach them – people who don’t even value my life – about racism?

    Fuck them.

    I don’t care if they’re well-meaning but uninformed. Fuck them.

    I don’t care if the only contact they’ve had with a Black person is through a television screen. Fuck them.

    I don’t even care if a traumatic experience has “triggered” their racism. Fuck them.

    I refuse to associate with people who refuse to see my humanity. I also refuse to be accosted by such people and their ridiculous views. I refuse to have my dignity denied.

  91. Jadey
    Jadey April 9, 2012 at 1:32 pm |

    I think that the suggestion that my gender or race has a single fucking thing to do with my ability to discuss this perverse.

    I am definitely going to take advice on how to combat racism from someone who will not acknowledge and is possibly not even cognizant of how he benefits from racial privilege. Yes, that is a thing I will do.

    By all means argue against my lack of life experience, to the extent that it might be apparent because, honestly, if I’m wrong in my opinions then I would hope that some one will convince me of that, and then I will be less wrong.

    Right, yes, so what you’re saying is that it’s imperative that you be convinced *on your own terms* and that you are not under any sort of obligation to try to be critical of your own perspective? Regardless of your acknowledge lack of life experience in this area? Very good ally work there – just as Angel pointed out above, you are making more work for the people working hardest already.

    You will never know how wrong you are until you sincerely accept the possibility of being wrong, rather than paying lip service to it while only cherishing the arguments that you already agree with. Try doing your own leg-work.

    But I will never not be white, or male, and so if that’s the criteria, I can apparently never have a voice.

    I love how y’all always jump right to “HELP, I’M BEING OPPRESSED”. As if *you* are being silenced, everywhere, for all time. You are doing the equivalent of shouting through the bullhorn of your privilege (yes! gasp! you have privilege!), and when someone tells you to tone it down a little for the people being forced to whisper, suddenly YOU ARE VOICELESS.

    For the record, I make no representation about what anyone should do individually in the face of racism, I’m sure that they understand their own life better than mine.

    Then why do your words say otherwise? Because you just spent quite a bit of time telling Angel H that you understand racism better than she does. She already pointed that out:

    You keep saying “we need to teach” and “we need to show them”, but ultimately, who do you think the burden of this will fall upon?

    “We” nothing – look after the racism in your own house before you start telling the rest of us what “we” need to do.

  92. Matt
    Matt April 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm |

    Yet here you are saying that I should be a Good Little Negro (or in Derbyshire’s words, an IWSB) and teach them – people who don’t even value my life – about racism?

    I refuse to associate with people who refuse to see my humanity. I also refuse to be accosted by such people and their ridiculous views. I refuse to have my dignity denied.

    No, I don’t. I’m not saying you personally should do anything. I honestly can’t blame you for not wanting to.

    If people refuse to accept you as a human being, I think you, as an indivdual, are perfectly entitled to tell them to go fuck themselves and have nothing to do with them.

    That doesn’t change my own belief that not all racist people are irredeemable monsters, and that talking about this shit isn’t important.


    Perverse, but a fact of life. Your race AND your gender DO affect how you discuss these issues. As a white male, you don’t experience racism the way a black person would.

    This is true, it dosen’t mean that I have nothing to add to the debate.

    But, if every white person in the world was wrong about every single thing in their belief about race, then involving them in the debate, would still be a good thing, because at the end of it some of them would likely be less wrong.

  93. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles April 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm |

    I just have to say, what I truly love about these discussions is that the people who demand to be taught, or demand that oppressed people do the teaching, never seem to realize that THIS VERY FORUM is a teaching tool. Every blog post written about racism, every article written by a black person talking about their lived experience is a lesson waiting to be learned. There are countless people all over the world that are willingly speaking and if the people that are supposedly so eager to be taught would just listen, they might actually learn something.

  94. Girl from Ontario
    Girl from Ontario April 9, 2012 at 2:18 pm |

    What has really struck me about Matt’s responses is that he seems to think that people who hold racist views are just misguided, sheltered teenagers that need a good teacher to broaden their worldview. Derbyshire is neither a teenager nor sheltered. He is a grown ass man who has had plenty of opportunities to educate himself on how not to be a racist prick. Hell, there have probably been people over the course of his life who have attempted to show him the humanity and full personhood of black people.

    He CHOOSES to be racist, and he chooses to teach his racism to his children. Trying to “teach” him won’t work, because he doesn’t want to be taught. Why that is, I have no idea, and engaging in discussion on whether we think he’s “evil” or “inhuman” is useless, and frankly seems like an attempt to call us out as big meanies who should be nicer to the poor misguided white man. It’s not a black person’s responsibility, or anyone else’s responsibility, to charm or teach or reason Derbyshire out of his racism. It’s his responsibility. If he chooses to be racist, it’s not black people’s fault that they didn’t try hard enough to show the white man how deserving of equal treatment they are. It’s his fault. End of story.

    Also, everything that Angel and EG said. You guys rule.

  95. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil April 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm |

    This is true, it dosen’t mean that I have nothing to add to the debate.

    But, if every white person in the world was wrong about every single thing in their belief about race, then involving them in the debate, would still be a good thing, because at the end of it some of them would likely be less wrong.

    The point. You are missing it. When you’re dealing with an axis of oppression that you are not personally affected by, being a good ally means listening and not by demanding that people educate or engage you.

  96. Girl from Ontario
    Girl from Ontario April 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm |

    1,000,000 times what outrageandsprinkles just said. There are plenty of POC and even white people who are doing anti-racist work and are writing and blogging from an anti-racist perspective, and they always make their writings and materials readily available to the public. They are working very hard to provide people with the opportunities to change their racist worldview. But, as the old saying goes, can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. If a person chooses not to take the many opportunities that are out there to educate themselves, that’s their responsibility, and they are the only ones to blame.

  97. Caperton
    Caperton April 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm | *

    Direct to Matt: You are demanding that POC here educate and engage other people. You’re demanding that they educate and engage you, to help you understand why your voice as a white man doesn’t hold as much weight in this discussion as it might in other discussions. I’m going to cut you off long enough for you to do some Googling and for this thread to move back to a discussion of Derbyshire’s racism rather than Matt’s privilege.

  98. Partial Human
    Partial Human April 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm |

    Matt’s “racism isn’t confined to white people” was a dog-whistle so loud that I can hear barking all around me.

    Not contemporary with mansplaining to women, he’s telling victims of brutal oppression that “racists have feelings too” and thinks that being nice to the bigots will loosen the scales from their eyes.

    He really should join the UN. His problem solving skill and innate man-knowledge could bring about world peace. Perhaps he can arrange a pyjama party for Hutus and Tutsi, or a barbecue and pool party for Indians and Pakistanis. There they’ll see that the differences don’t matter, and they’ll all agree to be BFFs!

  99. Partial Human
    Partial Human April 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm |

    Whoops autocorrect changed “not content” to “not contemporary”, and screwed with my formatting.

    NotSoSmartphone.

  100. Jadey
    Jadey April 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm |

    I’m going to cut you off long enough for you to do some Googling and for this thread to move back to a discussion of Derbyshire’s racism rather than Matt’s privilege.

    Honestly, I believe the Matts of the world are at least as much of a problem (if not more) as the John Derbyshires. The latter are easier to pick out in a crowd and easier to rally against, though there’s no doubt that what he espouses is fucked up and dangerous. But the Matts will go on thinking that they are being helpful while tearing things down from the inside, and I honestly think that a lot of them (no longer referring to our Matt here exclusively, of course) believe a lot of the same stuff that Derbyshire preached, but they think of pretty ways to hide it even from themselves. I still don’t think Derbyshire did any of us much a favour by being so obvious because it’s just more pollution in an already polluted world, but this is what I meant above by there not being much of a difference at the end of the day between the people who are in your face and the people who are behind your back.

    Renee posted this earlier: It’s Easy to Call John Derbyshire a Racist

    I mean, yeah, it’s good he’s fired, but it feels more like regression to the mean than movement of the centre. Someone too overt got smacked down, but the rest of us whose bigotry is quieter just got validated for not being “that bad”.

  101. Caperton
    Caperton April 9, 2012 at 5:36 pm | *

    Honestly, I believe the Matts of the world are at least as much of a problem (if not more) as the John Derbyshires.

    This is true, and I don’t intend for my previous post to indicate that discussion of that fact is off the table.

  102. Lena
    Lena April 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm |

    And a good # of people still attempt to argue that racism does not exist or it is a “thing of the past” — come on now, let us be completely honest with ourselves. Terrible indeed.

  103. BBBShrewHarpy
    BBBShrewHarpy April 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm |

    More dangerous than the derbs and the matts, in my opinion, are the less obvious racists who might prefer to be carelessly open about their racism but know it is not so socially acceptable in some circles. It bubbles under the surface, but I’ve been unlucky enough to be privy to the hidden thoughts of these people, simply because my sarcasm has been taken earnestly as hatred for PoC, and combined with my white privilege has been mistaken for complicity.

    How to react?

    If I am indignant, strident, profane, if I punch them in the nose, it is easy for the haters to dismiss me as “one of those”. Not that I care, but the impact is small. I have learned to be cold and unemotional, polite but insistent, drawing it out of them while disagreeing with each of their “The fact is” assertions.

    “He don’t much like white people.”
    That hasn’t been my experience of him as a neighbor.
    “The fact is they all hate us”
    That hasn’t been my experience. Why do you think it might be yours?
    “The fact is, they have it good here now, with their lazy asses on welfare, but they still hate us.”
    I’m not so sure things are so good for any people who are struggling economically, but why do you think that might engender hatred for you personally?
    etc…

    It all feels rather insipid, but it ends up in a very uncomfortable place for the racist, which is as it should be, Southern manners notwithstanding, and probably the best I can do.

  104. timberwraith
    timberwraith April 9, 2012 at 10:04 pm |

    ****TRIGGER WARNING FOR HATEFUL ATTITUDES****

    Ah, trying to reason with bigoted people.

    I tried this with my blood relations many times over many years while addressing a whole range of prejudices. I had little impact. These are the responses that I got:
    1) You are naive and do not understand how the world really works.
    2) You have not had the experiences I have had with “those people.”
    3) You have been brainwashed by liberals.
    4) You are making excuses for a group of people who behave badly.
    5) They are genetically inferior and you are denying the reality of their true nature.
    6) You have the privilege of not having to interact with these people. If you did have to interact with them, you’d realize how wrong you are.
    7) You are too young to understand.
    8) You don’t care about the ways “those people” have hurt me.
    9) College has brainwashed you.
    10) Your parents didn’t raise you correctly.
    11) You are too kind hearted to understand the harsh realities of the world.

    I reached the conclusion that their prejudices were too important to their understanding of the world and their understanding of their place in it. They saw me as foolishly denying reality. To them, certain groups of people are just “bad”. When anyone who is not in their demographic makes them uncomfortable in any way or engages in a behavior that they see as questionable, they consciously log that behavior into a running mental database of “terrible things that bad group of people does”. At the same time, they completely ignore the negative actions of their own group. They had been doing this for decades before I started to challenge them.

    How do you argue effectively with that kind of mindset? They literally saw me as having moral, emotional, and cognitive deficiencies because I regularly denied the “reality” of their prejudiced views.

    After twenty years of beating my head against their stupidity, my final remedy was to tell them to go fuck themselves and cut off relations. At least I’m no longer exposed to their toxicity. I’m not sure loosing me as a family member will motivate them in any way, but as a trans person who has faced her own share of prejudice, it’s a relief that I no longer have to be triggered by the broad-spectrum hatefulness of those assholes.

    Logic and reason only work on those who are already reaching to a place of challenging their own prejudices. If that kernel of awareness isn’t present, you are wasting your time. There are many people in the world who live in fear of anyone who is different, who live in fear of losing their privilege, and/or thrive on embracing a hateful sense of superiority over others. These people are largely unreachable. Ostracism, shame, and legal action can be used to isolate their influence, but beyond that, I’m not sure what a person can do.

  105. j.
    j. April 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

    Hey, Felicia, perhaps you’d like to take your opinions on racism and atheism over to Black Skeptics. I’m sure they’d love to hear from a white person who associates the two.

  106. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT April 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm |

    Hmm. There’s the old line about not being able to reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.

    Fear of The Other has this powerful defense against reason.

    I just spent Easter with some family and one of the guests (who looked to be in her early 20s, so this is not an example of a product of a bygone era) was muttering about some other relative or friend (I missed the beginning of the tale) who “apparently still wanted to become a terrorist.” My ears picked up at this point.

    Pretty quickly it comes out that this other person is dating a Muslim. Muslim = Terrorist. Therefore, dating a Muslim = wants to be a terrorist. Then there was a lively discussion about whether or not someone could (not should, COULD) convert from one religion to another. She, raised Catholic, vehementy asserted that one *cannot* do such a thing. She also rejected being called a racist because Islam isn’t a race (racist was technically incorrect, it’s true. Bigot fits perfectly, though).

    Every other person in the room told her she was an idiot. She didn’t learn a thing. She eventually just stopped talking. Would she have learned something if someone had patiently explained the difference between ~1.5 billion Muslims in the world and the tiny subset that are jihadis? I’d like to think so, but I rather doubt it.

    I hope that person eventually learns something. I hope she has an experience or whatever is required. But I won’t count on it.

  107. EG
    EG April 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm |

    If she’s Catholic, you could always agree with her, and then point out that by the same logic, the actions of the IRA indicate that she must be a terrorist also.

  108. matlun
    matlun April 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm |

    Logic and reason only work on those who are already reaching to a place of challenging their own prejudices. If that kernel of awareness isn’t present, you are wasting your time.

    I partly disagree with this. I agree that for some people you will never succeed with logical reason – confirmation bias can be a powerful thing, and some people are just too invested in their preconceived positions to ever change their minds.

    But I do not think the critical issue is whether they are “challenging their own prejudices”. I think it is a more subtle issue as to whether they are keeping an open enough mind to be open to any evidence or reason challenging their position. (If they are already “challenging their own prejudice” then you do not even have to argue with them – they are changing their own minds).

    Still, once you have confirmed that their position is incorrigible, I guess this difference is pretty much academic.

  109. timberwraith
    timberwraith April 10, 2012 at 6:08 pm |

    Rob, Islamophobia is so intertwined with racism as to be practically inseparable. Witness the assaults that have taken place upon victims who “looked Middle-Eastern” by Islamophobes and yet, they weren’t even Muslim. If an Islamophobic person sees a brown skinned person who looks to be of “Mediterranean origin”, the hateful assumptions will follow. If they know someone is from a Middle Eastern country, the assumptions will follow as well.

  110. matlun
    matlun April 10, 2012 at 6:31 pm |

    Rob, Islamophobia is so intertwined with racism as to be practically inseparable.

    On the one hand, it is very often just bigotry against recent immigrants with a different culture. While not technically speaking racism, the practical effects can be very similar indeed.

    On the other hand, I would not call it racism but just categorize it under the more general concept of bigotry. We do have different words to describe different types of xenophobia, and I do not think anything is gained by confusing the different categories. (It is not as if religious bigotry is anything new in human history)

  111. Radiant Sophia
    Radiant Sophia April 10, 2012 at 7:03 pm |

    I was raised in a racist household. I assumed I had seen the extent of… This sickens me. As he teaches his children these things, one can’t help but wonder if they will be afforded the opportunity to unlearn these “facts”, or if they are doomed to perpetuate racism.

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