National Review editor Rich Lowry said on Saturday that the magazine had fired columnist John Derbyshire for writing an allegedly racist article, which appeared on the libertarian site Taki’s Magazine.
Derbyshire’s post, first published on Thursday, is entitled “The Talk: Nonblack Version.” In it, Derbyshire tells readers that blacks are generally dangerous, relatively unintelligent and untrustworthy. He also suggests that non-blacks avoid helping blacks in need.
The post begins with Derbyshire referring to numerous Internet articles about “the talk” that black parents have had with their children in the wake of the shooting of black teenager Trayvon Martin. Many black adults, Derbyshire implies, have used the shooting as a way to educate their children about racism.
For example, one post linked by Derbyshire, authored by KJ Dell’Antonia and posted on the New York Times, referred extensively to the Martin shooting and stated that “overt and subconscious racism affects us all.”
“You know that “talk” — the one that has nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with what it means to be a black teenager in a country with a history of regarding young black men as a threat,” Dell’Antonia wrote. “The talk about standing up straight, dressing the part, keeping your hands in sight at all times and never, ever letting your anger get the best of you.”
Derbyshire— who self-identified as a “tolerant” racist in a 2003 interview — then offers a similar “talk” directed at non-blacks, in an apparent attempt to argue that there was justification for certain racist beliefs that writers like Dell’Antonia had ignored.
“A small cohort of blacks—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us,” Derbyshire writes in the article. “Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.”
The article goes on to tell readers to “stay out of heavily black neighborhoods,” and advises non-blacks to never act as a “Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway. … If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.”
Additionally, the article states that the average intelligence of blacks is lower than that of whites, and laments the effects of affirmative action.
“Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians,” Derbyshire warns in the post.
Derbyshire notes in the article that, while he had not given the “talk” to his two teenage children, they “have had it in bits and pieces as subtopics have arisen.”
Reaction on the Internet was swift, and fellow National Review contributors wondered aloud why Derbyshire had not been fired immediately. Many critics accused Derbyshire of racism.
Josh Barro, a writer for the National Review, posted on Forbes that Derbyshire’s piece was “unbelievably racist” and demanded that the National Journal terminate Derbyshire.
On Saturday, the National Review’s editor, Rich Lowry, announced that he had done just that.
“Anyone who has read Derb in our pages knows he’s a deeply literate, funny, and incisive writer,” Lowry said on the National Review Online. “I direct anyone who doubts his talents to his delightful first novel, “Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream,” or any one of his “Straggler” columns in the books section of NR. Derb is also maddening, outrageous, cranky, and provocative,” Lowry wrote.
“[Derbyshire's] latest provocation, in a webzine, lurches from the politically incorrect to the nasty and indefensible,” Lowry continued. “We never would have published it, but the main reason that people noticed it is that it is by a National Review writer. Derb is effectively using our name to get more oxygen for views with which we’d never associate ourselves otherwise. So there has to be a parting of the ways. Derb has long danced around the line on these issues, but this column is so outlandish it constitutes a kind of letter of resignation. It’s a free country, and Derb can write whatever he wants, wherever he wants. Just not in the pages of NR or NRO, or as someone associated with NR any longer.”
Derbyshire remains a contributor at Taki’s Magazine, the webzine that describes itself as “smart, cheeky, and culturally relevant.”