John Derbyshire's Racist "Talk" He Says He Gives His Children

In the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, there has been some talk about “The Talk” that black parents feel the need to give their kids so that they can survive a racist society.

John Derbyshire, a regular contributor to National Review until now, wrote a piece about the talk that he allegedly has given his kids, in pieces over the years. He denies it is satire but rather calls it “social commentary”:

(9) 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. A much larger cohort of blacks—around half—will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event. They will do this out of racial solidarity, the natural willingness of most human beings to be led, and a vague feeling that whites have it coming.

(10) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:

(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.

(10b)Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.

(10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).

(10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.

(10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.

(10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.

(10g) Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.

(10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.

(10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.

(11) The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites. The least intelligent ten percent of whites have IQs below 81; forty percent of blacks have IQs that low. Only one black in six is more intelligent than the average white; five whites out of six are more intelligent than the average black. These differences show in every testof general cognitive ability that anyone, of any race or nationality, has yet been able to devise. They are reflected in countless everyday situations. “Life is an IQ test.”

(12) There is a magnifying effect here, too, caused by affirmative action. In a pure meritocracy there would be very low proportions of blacks in cognitively demanding jobs. Because of affirmative action, the proportions are higher. In government work, they are very high. Thus, in those encounters with strangers that involve cognitive engagement, ceteris paribus the black stranger will be less intelligent than the white. In such encounters, therefore—for example, at a government office—you will, on average, be dealt with more competently by a white than by a black. If that hostility-based magnifying effect (paragraph 8) is also in play, you will be dealt with more politely, too. “The DMV lady“ is a statistical truth, not a myth.

(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.

(14) Be aware, however, that there is an issue of supply and demand here. Demand comes from organizations and businesses keen to display racial propriety by employing IWSBs, especially in positions at the interface with the general public—corporate sales reps, TV news presenters, press officers for government agencies, etc.—with corresponding depletion in less visible positions. There is also strong private demand from middle- and upper-class whites for personal bonds with IWSBs, for reasons given in the previous paragraph and also (next paragraph) as status markers.

(15) Unfortunately the demand is greater than the supply, so IWSBs are something of a luxury good, like antique furniture or corporate jets: boasted of by upper-class whites and wealthy organizations, coveted by the less prosperous. To be an IWSB in present-day US society is a height of felicity rarely before attained by any group of human beings in history. Try to curb your envy: it will be taken as prejudice (see paragraph 13).

Read the first half here.

It’s rare you see this kind of racism admitted this explicitly by a mainstream writer. It’s quite instructive about what so often lies beneath. A brief scan of the comments shows the racists are out in full force there too.

Your Thoughts?

Alix Jules On Being An African American Humanist
ISIS’s Iconoclasm, The Bible, and The Problem With Taking Literalism Literally
Eddie Murphy Undercover As A White Man
“You’re Tired Of Hearing About Racism?”
About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Nepenthe

    Wow. There really are no words. Does Mr. Derbyshire understand that when he publishes that people can read it? That it’s not just inside his head now?

  • magistramarla

    Wow – That is blatant racism. It gives us a little peek at the thinking of those racists in the GOPT who are having fits because there is a well-educated black man living in the White House.

    I used to live in Texas. One could easily substitute the word “Mexican” every time the word “black” is used and there would be the way many white Texans think.

    It’s sad, very sad that this is still going on so long after civil rights were gained in this country.

  • Eris

    Some people (okay, white people) keep saying that Trayvon’s killing had nothing to do with rate. I read things like these, and I keep thinking, “How many times does some asshole have to say things like this before we admit we’re not some kind of post-racial society?”

  • resident_alien

    This is the guy who thinks women over 20 are pretty much unfuckable,right? And I didn’t think he could get even more disgusting!I can’t eat as much as this makes me wanna puke…

  • DLC

    I wish I could say this kind of attitude came as a surprise.
    I really do. I wish I could say “what, in this day and age, a man is so afraid of people who don’t look like him that he has to run away from them ? ” But the truth is, Derbyshire’s attitude is entirely too common.

  • BrianX

    Dinesh D’Souza and Newt Gingrich opened the floodgates with the whole “anti-colonial” thing. They aren’t even trying anymore.

  • Stewie

    Well now, that’s kind of interesting. So some of the things he says are, I would say, the views of 60+% of the voting population. If we live in a democracy then it’s correct, yes?
    Or do you think democracy is over rated.

    • sumdum

      Just because a lot of people think a certain way does not make them correct. That’s an argument from popularity.

    • Joe stephen

      More than 60% of the population of the world believe the fairy tales that religions sell them. That just tells you that 60% of the world’s population consist of dumbasses who are wrong not right.

    • Zinc Avenger

      Seriously? You think democracy determines truth?

      If there was a democratic and fair vote to repeal gravity, would we all float off?

  • Michael R

    “According to the FBI’s latest National Crime Victimization Survey,” former Republican Rep. Virgil Goode wrote, “blacks were over 50 times more likely to commit a crime against whites than vice versa”.

    Vicious crimes like these recent ones:
    White guy wanders into black neighborhood, gets beaten and stripped by black mob.
    Brutal home invasion of Oklahoma couple ends their 65-year marriage.
    6 charged in beating of NC man in Seneca.
    Gunned down in Florida: The two ‘fun-loving’ British friends enjoying a holiday of a lifetime.

    No amount of liberal fantasizing can make these statistics go away. You can ignore the facts, or deal with them. This is the difference between conservatives and liberals: reality versus fantasy. Derbyshire chooses to live in reality. And so would anyone with an ounce of common sense.

    • Cor (formerly evil)

      Wow, MichaelR; you found FOUR whole cases of black-on-white violent crime! That’s nearly half as many as Stormfront keeps on their website. Trust the totally non-racist “realists” out there to find just the anecdotes needed to construct a sound statistical argument which coincidentally bolsters the white noise of racist privilege. Shame on you. Shame on you first for agreeing with the above passage, which I honestly think is the most overtly racist thing I’ve ever read by a living author, and shame on you second for making such a weak argument.

      It strikes me that the fallacy in your post may not be quite blisteringly obvious to all, so I’ll take a moment:
      Anecdotes do not equal evidence. Conclusions regarding the overall criminality of a population MUST be grounded in repeatable, minimally-biased, adequately controlled studies with a sufficiently large sample base. Anything less rigorous (like your stupid post) is no better than stories about the time your uncle got probed by aliens.
      In the (likely) event that certain crimes are found to be more common among people of certain races, it behooves us to ask why. Lazy, Violent Negro Syndrome should probably be our hypothesis of last resort.
      This is ESPECIALLY true of black-white race relations in the US., which have traditionally revolved around the major premise of uncontrolled black violence lurking sub strata aeternalis.

      Of course, it occurs to me now that your post might be satire, in which case I congratulate you on a successful trolling expedition.

    • Alasdair

      Of course, African-Americans are also vastly more likely than white Americans to be victims of crime, and unlike white Americans they won’t have the police on their side when they are. But I don’t suppose you care about that.

    • Stacy

      Leaving aside the absurd “evidence” you proffer for your claim, your post is a non sequitur.

      African Americans who commit black-on-white crime: in jail.

      Whites who commit white-on-black crime: not in jail.

      That’s the topic under discussion here, Michael R. Do keep up.

    • Stacy

      Sorry, the topic under discussion here is Derbyshire’s diarhettic talk.

      But the Trayvon Martin case is what prompted him to share his racism with the world.

    • Michael R

      Typical liberal dreamers. You’ve got excuses but no solutions. Enjoy your fantasy land. But I bet even you guys prefer the safe company of white neighbourhoods.

  • Markita Lynda—it’s Spring after the Winter that wasn’t

    That affirmative action thing must explain why in the U.S. I observed bright, intelligent, energetic “black” Americans working for “white” bosses who had trouble finding their head with both hands.

  • Dave

    “Racism” doesn’t really begin to cover this; when you read past the generally repellent tone, there’s a toxic cocktail of anger, bitterness, fear, and a totally misplaced jealousy of alleged benefits some ‘other’ people are getting that his [rich, white, privileged] kids aren’t. His head is coming from a place far, far up his ass; a place where an increasing proportion of people who think of themselves as “White Americans” are going, and a place from which there is no way back except through carnage.

  • quantheory

    Brief thoughts:

    - The article ignores Latinos.
    - It acknowledges the existence of multiracial individuals… as a statistical anomaly, among black people, to be noted and then ignored. Hypodescent is taken as a given.
    - On the same topic: there are white people with “black” kids. What would he have them say?
    - Fuck “The Bell Curve”. I’m all for reasoned debate, but honestly, the last thing anyone needed was another excuse to say “I’m racist, but it’s OK because some science I don’t understand said so.” Besides the scientific problems with the book, which can (and have) filled lengthier tomes.
    - Even if his statistical claims were right, there are very strong philosophical arguments to say that the course of action he advocates is immoral.
    - Being this suspicious of others really must be more trouble than it’s worth.
    - The bit about white people fighting over successful minorities not only devalues “unsuccessful” black people below “successful” white ones, but devalues successful black people and white people that try to not br racist. It pretty much tries to explicitly put white racists on top.

  • J. J. Ramsey

    Sigh. Republicans, even in the 21st century, are still the party of the Southern Strategy.

  • Pondering

    Derb’s sin is that he is not a hypocrite. He said what he believed. And this highlighted the hypocrisy of white liberals and progressives – most of whom live exactly according to the rules he describes (stay out of black areas; be wary of large numbers of unfamiliar blacks; have an “acceptable” black friend to show your non-racism and appreciation of “diversity”).

    In reality, most white liberals are just as racist in their behavior as Derb is in his prescriptions.

    • Happiestsadist

      You are aware that your claim would therefore prove that white institutional racism is the overarching problem, yes?

    • Pondering

      My claim would not prove that any particular issue is the overarching problem.

  • Contrarian

    Fuck stupid pointless “omg he’s so racist” in-group signalling bullshit. Are his factual claims correct? If so, why and how do we fix them?

    • Nepenthe

      Not all arguments must be addressed with rational counterarguments. When the man on the street comes up to me and claims that aliens have contaminated the water supply, I don’t reach into my pocket for data from our local water treatment plant, I cough politely and ignore him.

    • Alasdair

      No, they’re not. They’re racist lies, pure and simple. That’s all there is to it.

    • Contrarian

      Nepenthe: If an argument doesn’t require rational counterargument, then ignore it. But I’d say that a set of claims espoused by a high-status conservative and implicitly embraced by a large segment of society is worthy of at least rational consideration.

      Alasdair: Yeah, right. Your claim is prima facie false — do you think that black people have escaped two centuries of ongoing, systematic abuse, segregation, and relegation to lower-class status without any statistical hangover in the categories ? Do you think that a highly religious’ culture, accompanied by the disintegration of the urban black family, and a brutal cycle of poverty perpetuated by institutional racism, has had no effect on the IQ of the last two generations of black children?

      Come now. Just think about how America has treated black people. It would be surprising if the facts underlying Derbyshire’s claims about cognitive ability weren’t true.

  • Ms. Crazy Pants

    In general, there is more violent crime in poor neighborhoods, no matter what the race. There appears to be a lack of focus on what happens when people are pushed to only having a focus of mere survival in their lives. It seems to me that the US just tends to push more blacks and latinos into positions of poverty than they do with whites. That’s easily done through selective hiring. One of the places where I’ve hardly ever seen any racial mix is in factories. In fact, I’ve only ever seen 1 black working in a factory. I’ve been in and worked in some very large factories and there’s just no mix.

    When parents are unable to get employment, they become stressed. That stress gets pass onto the children. When undo amounts of stress are passed onto children, they will act out. Acting out affects their education, and possibly other areas of their lives. Those children grow up and pass that down, and so on. Suddenly, through just being unwilling to employ one set of people, you’ve created a cycle through families that can’t magically break itself. How could anyone ever wonder with the past blatant racism that there are entire neighborhoods of people with high stress levels, low education, and no jobs?

    I don’t know the solution to the problem though. This isn’t easily broken with just one proclamation or 1 grant. This kind of cycle breaking takes many generations, just like it took us generations to get here. The break will take an entire attitude shift on both the part of whites and blacks. People need hope, and right now there just isn’t any hope for impoverished families.

    • Contrarian

      Careful! If you ever have an argument that could possibly conclude that black people have on average lower cognitive abilities than white people, you might be a racist.

    • Nepenthe

      If you attribute any theoretical gap to the biological nature of black people, rather than even giving lip service to centuries of consistent oppression, then yes, you might be a racist.

  • Ms. Crazy Pants

    Contrarian, and Nepenthe:

    What I’m suggesting isn’t just limited to blacks. I grew up in a mostly white area and could easily point you to the white neighborhoods to not walk in at night..or sometimes even during the day. What I’m suggesting is once you have a poor population, and combine that with the general refusal to employ those people, you’re creating a recipe for there to be a subclass of people who can’t pull themselves out of their situation.

    It’s also been shown scientifically that abuse causes a chemical change in the brain no matter what race the person is. An abused white child is going to act up as well and perform poorly in school. With enough abuse you can effectively make someone be unemployable. I’m not suggesting that poor children are automatically abused, but when you have parents who can’t get employed or have the basic necessities, you increase the stress levels in the home, which could lead to abuse or neglect.

    Once the cycle is started, there is a downward spiral.

    Let’s say this was a country of only white people. There would still be bad sections of town, but instead of basing it on skin color, we might find areas of redheads, and everyone is told that redheads are violent and ignorant. That same situation would repeat itself, just with some other factor.

    What people seem to be expecting of poor people is for them to go to extra-ordinary lengths to become successful, whereas the non-poor don’t have to take extra steps. Yes, it’s possible for people to be exceptional and switch what economic class they belong to, but those are few and far between. The poor are the only ones expected to be exceptional, whereas any middle-class person who manages to stay middle class is applauded even though they did absolutely nothing to change their situation. I’m sure the wealthy people see the middle-class as lazy ignorant bums.

    I guess ultimately what I’m trying to say is we effectively have a caste system in the US, but unlike India, we tend to base it on race just because it’s the easiest to identify.

    • Contrarian

      I tentatively agree with everything you wrote here.

      I’d also add that it doesn’t help that we have (or have had) a relatively meritocratic society. To the extent that values that confer success in meritocracy are passed from parent to child, after a very few generations poverty will be self-perpetuating.

      So we not only have an underclass that is discriminated against because they’re poor, from which it’s very difficult to escape already, we might also hypothesize that the culture of the underclass does not include values that would help people escape it.

    • Contrarian

      I should clarify: “… IF we have (or have had) …”

      I think that our society is relatively meritocratic, but I am not at all certain of it.

  • Ace of Sevens

    To be fair, blatant racism isn’t that rare from John Derbyshire, just most mainstream writers.

  • Pechorin

    We’re for free thought here, right? So we’re on the side of truth. Derbyshire’s advice can be questioned, but before doing that we need to assess the facts he’s basing it on.

    He covers two topics: black crime and black intelligence. Let’s take crime first.

    Each year, in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS),
    the Bureau of Justice Statistics asks as many as 134,000 Americans
    what crimes they were victims of, and who the perpetrator was.
    • In 2008, for single-offender crimes, compared to whites, blacks
    were much more likely to commit every violent crime: 2.1 times
    as likely to commit simple assault, 3.1 times as likely to commit
    aggravated assault, 4.0 times as likely to commit rape/sexual
    assault, and 7.6 times as likely to commit robbery (mugging).
    • For multiple-offender (gang) crimes, blacks were even more
    dangerous compared to whites: 2.9 times as likely to commit
    simple assault (in a gang), 6.4 times as likely to commit
    aggravated assault, 7.3 times as likely to commit rape/sexual
    assault, and 36 times as likely to commit robbery.
    • These multiples are actually too low because the NCVS counts
    most Hispanics as white, which increases the “white” crime rate.

    Is black crime caused by poverty? Actually, race differences in crime rates persist after controlling for socioeconomic status (Lauritsen & Sampson, “Minorities, Crime, and Criminal Justice,” 2000). That’s why the single best indicator of violent crime levels in an area is the percentage of the population that is black and Hispanic, with a startling 81% correlation (The Color of Crime, 2005). The next best indicators are lack of education (with only a 37% correlation), poverty (with a 36% correlation), and unemployment (with a 35% correlation).

    Control for all three, and the race-crime correlation only drops to 78%! In the simplest terms: if blacks had the same jobs, incomes, and educations as whites, they would commit violent crime at almost exactly the same rate they do now. It’s easy to blame society for black crime, but it doesn’t fit the facts.

    What about interracial crime? The NCVS (2008) clearly shows that black criminals target whites.
    • Single-offender crimes: blacks committed 83% of the 520,000
    violent inter-racial crimes involving blacks and whites nationwide.
    • The victims of black violent crime are mostly white: black
    criminals chose white victims 54% of the time. White criminals
    chose black victims only 4.6% of the time.
    • Blacks were 32 times as likely to attack whites as whites were to of attack blacks. For robbery, they were 67 times as likely.
    • There were over 19,000 black-on-white rapes/sexual assaults.
    That’s about 53 every day. However, the NCVS found zero cases
    of white-on-black rape or sexual assault.
    • Multiple-offender crimes: blacks committed 142,000 violent
    gang crimes against whites nationwide, including 89,000 assaults
    and 49,000 robberies. That leaves 4,000 gang rapes/sexual
    assaults, which is about 10 every day. The NCVS found zero
    cases of violent white-on-black gang crimes of any kind.
    • Gangs of black criminals chose white victims 55% of the time.
    As with single-offender crimes, blacks prefer to attack whites.

    Do blacks only attack whites because whites are richer? Well, only 21% of all black-on-white crimes were robberies. The rest were assaults and rapes, presumably with no economic motive.

    Next, intelligence. In the USA, the average black IQ is about 85, and the average white IQ is about 100. (East Asians score about 105.) The 15 to 18-point black-white IQ gap is an established scientific fact. Forget “The Bell Curve”. You can read about it in college textbooks like “Human Biological Variation” (2006): “There is little debate over the average 15-point difference [in IQ] between American blacks and whites.”

    Is the IQ gap caused by poverty? It sounds plausible — except someone already tested that theory and proved it wrong. Consider the SAT, which mostly measures IQ. Colleges use it because it predicts academic success well. SAT scores tend to rise with family income, and that’s as far as most people look into it. But at every income level, whites score much higher than blacks on both the math and verbal sections (by about 100 and 110 points). In 2009, white children from the poorest families (earning < $20k a year) outscored by 12 points black children from the richest families ($160k–$200k a year).

    Does IQ matter? You bet. From "Mainstream Science on Intelligence" (1994): "IQ is strongly related, probably more so than any other single
    measurable human trait, to many important educational, occupational, economic, and social outcomes. … Whatever IQ tests measure, it is of great practical and social importance."

    The predictive value of IQ guarantees that the black-white IQ gap
    has profound consequences. At least 1 in 4 blacks (vs. 1 in 20
    whites) has an IQ below 75 (Jensen, 1994). Compared to people
    with average IQs, for people with IQs below 75, the odds are
    • 1.8 times higher to be unemployed 1+ months/year (men),
    • 2.4 times higher to go to prison at some point (men),
    • 5.2 times higher to be chronic welfare recipients (women),
    • 5.4 times higher to have illegitimate children (women),
    • 6.7 times higher to live in poverty as an adult, and
    • 19 times higher to drop out of high school (Gottfredson, 2002).
    The g gap predicts racial disparities in social outcomes, which
    are usually put down to "systemic racism." Since 88% of blacks
    are born below the white average in intelligence (Levin, 1997),
    does it make sense to "correct" black under-representation with
    affirmative action, or are we just discriminating against whites
    in order to advance some black people beyond their abilities?

    Read the rest:

  • az

    “It’s rare you see this kind of racism admitted this explicitly by a mainstream writer. It’s quite instructive about what so often lies beneath. A brief scan of the comments shows the racists are out in full force there too.”

    I largely agree with you. Though, I would add that within right-wing/conservative/randian circles that it’s not unheard of to see this kind of (pseudo-scientific)racism admitted so explicitly. Furthermore, what’s most instructive is when looking at the comments is to see commentators try to cloak their racism in front of rational people. Take a look at the comments section of the national review article where readers were objecting to his firing. Many of them cite: The Color of Crime published by the New Century Foundation a white supremacist group in support of their “non-racist” views among other “scholarly” works. Here’s what you can find with a quick wiki check:

    The Southern Poverty Law Center called it “a kind of Bible” among its supporters but has argued that the reason for the disparity in crime rates shown in the publication is not Black genetics, but rather, the fact that Blacks have a lower socioeconomic status. The SPLC center accuses Taylor of selection bias in his statistics. The SPLC also argues that Whites are targeted for robberies simply because of their higher wealth.[12] However, Taylor counters by arguing that robberies only account for about one quarter of the total crimes committed by Blacks.[9]

    In Hate Crimes, Barbara Perry refers to the book as a classic of the genre of output by white nationalist academic racists.

    Luckily, within the atheist community, such pseudo-scientific racism does not get traction as evidenced by freethought blogs.