Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

The Talk

April 08th, 2012 by Vader

Comments (24)
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April 08th, 2012 21:38:27
24 comments

Zen
April 9, 2012

I may not make myself any friends if I point out that much of what he says is factually correct. I certainly would not avoid others as meticulously as he does, but those are not idle concerns.

The phrase that comes to mind (taken from a recent T&S post) is “moral narcissism” for those who decry mentioning such problems. It just leaves the problems unacknowledged and festering. That is what I would call real racism.

True charity demands both kindness in thought and action, and also, honesty in speech.

Political correctness does no one any favors.


Adam G.
April 9, 2012

Zen, assume the Derb is mostly right. Having the facts on your side doesn’t excuse him from courtesy, which his column isn’t. Race relations has a soiled history in our country, so even if the facts are unpleasant something a little more deft than a sporadically sourced rant is called for.


Vader
April 9, 2012

What bothers me about it is not the blunt statements that there are problems in the black community, which is manifestly true; but the overall tone that it’s pointless to try to do anything about it.

I do not believe the low IQs reported by Derbyshire, even if true (I have my doubts), have their basis in genetics. Derbyshire is less than clear what he believes on that score.


Adam G.
April 9, 2012

Derbyshire elsewhere has been clear that he believes the persisting average IQ differences between races are largely congenital.


zen
April 9, 2012

I am less concerned with causation than simple correlation. Of course, I am not in one of the groups that correlate with high intelligence, Asians and Ashkenazi Jews. It will be noted that neither of these groups are known for resting on their laurels or taking anything for granted. But I see no a priori reason to reject a possible genetic basis.

Now, the matter of courtesy – trickier than it sounds in my estimation. I don’t think Derbyshire should have been fired for ‘being an offender for a word’ but he should have been smart enough to see it coming as well.

As for history, I recall a horse my family owned when I was a kid. This horse had been beaten by the previous owner and you could not do anything around its head without it panicking. When we acted with heightened sensitivity and caution around its head, it didn’t get better. But once we stopped making a big deal of it, the horse was about to get over it as well.

My point, is that over-sensitivity to all things african-american keeps them stuck in this mode. It is sensitive, but it is not truly kind.

Of course, nothing changes the fact the Discretion is the better part of Valor.


Vader
April 9, 2012

“My point, is that over-sensitivity to all things african-american keeps them stuck in this mode. It is sensitive, but it is not truly kind. ”

Trooth.


S.P. Bailey
April 9, 2012

NRO was right to show him the door. There is a distinction between data and anecdotes that may or may not be accurate, and Derbyshire’s unwarranted (and profoundly uncharitable) conclusions.

The article provided a strange contrast with Easter and God’s universal love expressed in Christ’s victory over death. Clearly, Derbyshire, an atheist with an unhealthy race-obsession, doesn’t start with the knowledge that all people are God’s sons and daughters–that all are Gods in embryo.


MC
April 9, 2012

Compare the way Derbyshire writes about this topic with the way Charles Murray does. I don’t know if Derbyshire should have been fired, but Murray makes all the relevant points clearly enough to be heard widely, without being uncharitable or unnecessarily abrasive.


Bookslinger
April 9, 2012

SPB: I’m not sure what you’re implying about the articles distinction between data and anecdotes. I thought the links in the article were merely case illustrations. The overall assertions have been statistically observed for a long time.

Inner-city minorities (ie, blacks and hispanics) commit about 90% of violent crime in America. That’s from FBI statistics, and it holds true for many years, going back at least to the 1960′s.

(A producer of the TV show “COPS” was caught on tape admitting skewing the number of aired segments dealing with minorities vis-a-vis caucasians, because if the aired segments were kept in proportion to actual cases in terms of the race of the perpetrators, they would be almost all black and hispanic.)

If you control for race, violent crime (of all sorts) among caucasians in the US is lower than violent crime among caucasians in Canada and England. That includes assaults, rapes, robbery and murder; it’s true both in the aggregate and for those individual categories of crimes.

Specifically for rape, you don’t even need to have separate stats by race to compare the US and Canada. Our overall (all races) rate of rape is still lower then Canada’s.

17 or so years ago I got involved in Crime Watch in my neighborhood as I watched the inner-city grow and subsume what had been the suburbs. I was one of the last few white people to get out of my neighborhood. Everyone else was either a drug dealer, a drug user, or too poor, or too old, or too powerless, to move to a better place. I have a few stories to tell. Societal forces were too great for the remaining law-abiding people to deal with. Essentially, the bad guys won the neighborhood.

But one of the things I learned, and this was prior to 1998 when I finally moved out, was that if white middle-class America really knew what goes on in the streets of our cities, there would be a revolution in this country. In other words, I saw things (and relationships among things) that few white middle-class people realize.

I once made that revolution comment to a policeman, in another city, and he totally agreed with it. He was also a bit surprised that a caucasian other than a police officer had had that insight.

In a recent conversation with one of my “intelligent well-socialized black” (to borrow from the article) neighbors, he expressed concern about the trend in our neighborhood because he doesn’t want to live in a neighborhood that is more than 50% black.


S.P. Bailey
April 9, 2012

Books: I’m not denying (or confirming) the accuracy or validity of what Derbyshire cites. The same goes for your claims. My point is that Derbyshire’s sweeping conclusions about causation (e.g., that race and not class or culture or some other non-racial factor explains everything) and his advice on how one ought to navigate race relations are both unwarranted and terribly unChristian.


Zen
April 10, 2012

How is it unwarranted? Derbyshire wrote this after the Los Angeles Times runs an article about Black parents giving the corresponding talk to their children. If we didn’t have to worry about this, all of us would live in the slums because the housing costs are cheaper. But we don’t, do we?

Consider this prophecy, which many consider to be fulfilled by the Civil War, but I am not convinced that completely fulfills it.

 4 And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.
 5 And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.
D&C 87:4-5

The vexation in the Civil War was primarily white on white, thus I *suspect* this will be a future conflict.

Consider this, also written by Derbyshire:
This is from Chapter 21 of The Bell Curve[1], in which Herrnstein and Murray are discussing possible consequences of cognitive stratification. Perhaps the most startling of the possibilities they suggest is that, quote, “Racism will emerge in a new and more virulent form.” Here is the passage that follows.

The tension between what the white elite is supposed to think and what it is actually thinking about race will reach something close to breaking point. This pessimistic prognosis must be contemplated: When the break comes, the result, as so often happens when cognitive dissonance is resolved, will be an overreaction in the other direction. Instead of the candor and realism about race that is so urgently needed, the nation will be faced with racial divisiveness and hostility that is as great as, or greater, than America experienced before the civil rights movement. We realize how outlandish it seems to predict that educated and influential Americans, who have been so puritanical about racial conversation, will openly revert to racism. We would not go so far as to say it is probable. It is, however, more than just possible. If it were to happen, all the scenarios for the custodial state would be more unpleasant — more vicious — than anyone can now imagine.

I should explain that by the phrase “the custodial state,” Herrnstein and Murray mean a sort of Indian-reservation policy in which the elites “fence off” the low-IQ underclass.

That our elites might turn racist does indeed sound outlandish. The reigning doctrine on race throughout the Western world today is the Standard Social Science Model, which I’ll just trim down to “Standard Model” in what follows. According to this doctrine, all observed group differences are the result of social forces. The Standard Model says that there is a conceivable, discoverable, attainable configuration of social forces in which all group differences would vanish; and that we ought to strive to shift our own society towards that configuration. Among our political and cultural elites, the Standard Model is universally accepted.

Looking to the future, there are three possibilities. One of them, Possibility One, is that our elites will continue to adhere to the Standard Model. The other two are implied in the extract I just quoted from Herrnstein and Murray: Possibility Two: We may attain “the candor and realism about race that is so urgently needed.” Possibility Three: Our elites will revert to “open racism.”
End Quote

He suspected the 3rd option was the one most likely to happen. In essence, it is a pendulum that is about to swing back with increased force. And the longer we let things fester, the worse it will be.

I speak up, because I don’t want the conflict and death the hypocracy about race is setting us up for.


Adam G.
April 10, 2012

There is no need to revert to open racism when you can just administer IQ tests and test for conscientiousness and other positively-correlated personality factors. Which would also be nasty, but wouldn’t be racist per se.


Bookslinger
April 10, 2012

SPB: yes, having both accurate and charitable views of causation is important. However, I didn’t see the sweeping conclusions of causation in the linked article that you did. I think you and others infered things that wern’t there, IE, he failed to state “A” so you assumed he believes “B”.

It’s typical in the abortion debate: if someone avoids saying the key phrases of your camp, you assume they are in the other camp. I’ve seen abortion discussions online where someone avoids declaring what camp they are in, just making neutral statements, and the partisans on both sides assume the person is in the other camp.

I think the same holds true in discussions of race. By failing to explicitly disclaim racial factors, one is subject to accusations that one believes in those factors.

Based on my experiences and observatiobs while living in a majority black neighborhood, There is just too much being left unsaid. A portion of the black segment of our society is destroying itself, and taking down others with it. And too many hoodlums and criminals are trying to play the race card to cover over their own crimes. Yes, a black person can still get pulled over by a cop for “driving while black” in the affluent suburbs (Carmel) of Indianapolis. But at the same time, the ones who scream “racist!” the loudest are usually trying to cover up their own misbehavior, or else are putting on a show for fame and fortune, such as Al Sharpton.


S.P. Bailey
April 10, 2012

Zen: I’m not persuaded. Derbyshire has gone far beyond frank discussion of a touchy subject. I don’t have the time or inclination to write an essay, but here’s a few scattered thoughts:

(1) There are multiple possible causes underlying the data cited. For example, the breakdown of the traditional family may explain a lot of these trends. However, Derbyshire is only interested in one cause: race. He doesn’t make an argument for that move. The upshot: Derb is saying “I am a racist. I am obsessed with race.” It would be possible to discuss the data, ask tough questions, make arguments about causes, and so forth. Derb hasn’t done that.

(2) Derb’s use of anecdotes is not persuasive at all. Any idiot can cherry pick an outrageous story. Generalizing from anecdotes is poor logic. Generalizing as Derb did is racism.

(3) Derb’s move from data and anecdotes to practical advice about how one should see and treat individuals is particularly pernicious. His is a world in which all black people start with two strikes against them and they have to somehow prove their humanity. And there is no defending things like ‘don’t play the Good Samaritan to a black person in distress,’ ‘think twice about voting for a black politician,’ ‘fear black people in groups,’ and ‘fear black people in general.’

(4) I am naturally suspicious of statements that there is a need for a frank discussion about other people’s problems. My children, for example, are very good at diagnosing their siblings’ flaws, but not so much their own. Does anyone really believe that Derb’s article has advanced the ball? Is Derb’s article a model for productive discussion?

(5) Finally, I find it truly repugnant when people (for example, racial grievance industry entrepreneurs like Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton) imply that authentic black people must all think and vote in a particular way. The tendency is to cast people as born losers and victims who can’t make their way in the world without program x or y. Derb is making a similar move from the opposite direction, and it is ugly. Conservatives can do much better to appeal to all people as fully equal, responsible, autonomous, self-sufficient men and women.


John Mansfield
April 10, 2012

I’d noticed that Derbyshire had been writing less in NR and more in Taki Mag the past couple of years, which is unfortunate because of Taki Mag’s lewdness. For me, NR parting ways with Derbyshire is a significant diminishing of NR. Many of those Straggler pieces are quite good, and I always looked forward to the monthly round-up complete with math puzzle. Referring particularly to his chemotherapy column, one reader well identified Derbyshire’s appeal as writing that was very personal without being sentimental. Besides Steyn, the other NR writers aren’t ones I want to go back to over and over.


Adam G.
April 10, 2012

The Derb’s lack of religious sensibility comes back to bite him. He more or less directly took on the parable of the Good Samaritan. And lost.


Bookslinger
April 10, 2012

And there is no defending things like ‘don’t play the Good Samaritan to a black person in distress,’ ‘think twice about voting for a black politician,’ ‘fear black people in groups,’ and ‘fear black people in general.’

I’ll defend that, because that is exactly the way IWSBs feel towards blacks who are not immediately identifiable as IWSBs, or are not personally known to them. Or to use Spike Lee’s terms from a couple of his movies, that is exactly how “wannabe’s” feel about “jiggaboos”.

Though Bill Cosby would never use the “j” word, he ostensibly meant the same thing in his controversial speech a few years ago about black “clowns”.

I used to work for an insurance company that bought out another company that sold “debit” life insuance (weekly or monthly premiums) to mainly black customers. They could not hire black route salesmen (who would go door to door to collect the premiums) because the black customers would not trust black salesmen with their money.

Remember that Derby, and the Black parents he is paralleling, are talking “the talk” to children who are not yet sufficiently worldly-wise to assess the strangers who they are deling with. Therefore the rules of thumb are dumbed down in the talk to the simplest levels of -correlation-, not causation.

If either Trayvon Martin OR Zimmerman had followed the dumbed down correlation rules in The Talk, either Trayvon heeding the Black Parent version or Zimmerman heeding the White Parent version, the tragedy would have been avoided.

I am convinced that intlelligent well-socialized blacks (or middle class
blacks, if you will) try to avoid the silly-black-clowns (Cosby’s words), or the j-words (Spike Lee’s word), just as middle-class whites try to avoid meth-cooking hillbillys and the 1% outlaw bikers.

It wasn’t just caucasians who abandoned the neighborhood I lived in 15 years ago. Middle class blacks got out when they could too.

Derby knows full well that the majority of blacks are not criminals, just as black parents giving The Talk to ther kids know that the majority of caucasians are not racists. But for a child or teen who is not yet capable of making on the spot gut-level assessments, the caring parent needs to dumb down the rules to the easiest level of correlation.


Adam G.
April 10, 2012

Sure, if you absolutely prioritize personal safety over charity. The Good Samaritan parable says we shouldn’t.


Bookslinger
April 10, 2012

I dispute the parable as either a legitimate parallel or as a counter to The Talk.

The Good Samaritan was wise enough to realize that the injured traveller was not in a position to be a threat to him. Children and teens who need to be given The Talk are not worldly-wise enough to make such discernments.

The point of the parable is /not/ that one should put their life in jeopardy in order to be charitable.

Moreover, it was the Samaritan, the giver of the kindness who was the discriminated-against figure, not the injured man.

I dispute the implication that Christian
charity requires one to be physically vulnerable to strangers. The Golden Rule and the imperative to be charitable and kind to strangers does not require us to put ourselves in jeopardy to anyone.

(Your car broke down and you want to borrow my cell phone to call a friend for a ride? Uh… tell me their number, I’ll call, and I’ll hold the phone and turn on the speaker-phone button for you. You want a ride? No, I won’t give you a ride, but I’ll call one of your friends to come get you, what’s their number?)

If you can size up a stranger in an instant and know whether you’ll be safe, fine, that’s your decision. I’ve made such assessments. Sometimes I trust a stranger, sometimes I don’t.

But when a person, or group of persons makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, and/or your stomach twists into a knot, and/or your privy-bits withdraw up into your body, that’s your “lizard brain” telling you that something is wrong and that you are in danger. That is not the time to convince yourself that you’re merely over-reacting to the color of someone’s skin or how they are dressed.

Being charitable does not require one to jeapardize their ability to be charitable in the future. Moreover, one is not merely jeopardizing one’s own life. If you or your wife jeopardize your life in the name of charity, you are also jeopardizing the mother or father of your children. You may wish to risk/sacrifice your own life, but I don’t think you have the right to turn your children into orphans in the name of charity.

Another aphorism is that lifting up others doesn’t require you to break your back for them, nor to save a drowning person if they are dragging you down with them.

Be harmless as a dove, but wise as a fox.


John Mansfield
April 11, 2012

Another thing I like about Derb is that he came to public writing later in life. It’s useful to have people who have lived a normal or varied life, not in the public eye for the past 30 years, who can give us their voice in late middle age. Does NR have any writers left tt haven’t been publicly opinionating since they were 25? It looks like Rich Lowry, native of Arlington, Virginia, has been at NR since he was 24.


Adam G.
April 11, 2012

The Good Samaritan was wise enough to realize that the injured traveller was not in a position to be a threat to him.

The robbers who had injured the traveller were still a threat, which is why the the Levite and the priest hurried by.


Zen
April 11, 2012

It seems to me, that both Adam and Bookslinger have good points. We do need to be charitable, and to love all men (regardless of race, etc). However, we also need to be “wise as serpents and as harmless as doves”. God gave us a brain and we are responsible for (and accountable for) using it.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Celestial kingdom vs the Terrestial, is being valiant. Valiant means “showing courage”. However, we can hardly show courage either if we are unaware or have never considered peril. Likewise, we have a God who asks everything, but still insists we not run faster than we have strength.

Where does this leave us? First of all, let’s get that PC nonsense out of the way. Not all men or women are the same. Some are better people than me, and others are frankly worse. Likewise, some cultures and groups of people are likewise, some better, and some worse, and some much, much worse. This includes some cherished minorities, such as blacks, Hispanics, and american Indians. Once again, pay attention to context and environment, because there are wonderful, wonderful people out there, but not all.

Multi-culturalism and diversity are fancy feel good words for division. We should be a melting pot, but we are increasingly becoming a nation divided over a hundred million different things. And when our nation comes under sufficient stress, we may shatter like glass.

My point is, less that we need to be careful, and more that the conditions we are seeing are ripe for war. The Lord is raising up enemies for us, like he did for the Nephites, when they would not repent. This nation will be forceably awakened, even if we (as a nation, not you gentlemen) prefer to sin in peace.


Zen
April 12, 2012

For those of you who are so inclined, there is an interview of Derbyshire on this controversial essay. http://gawker.com/5900452/

Don’t bother with the comments – they are mostly innate and just show that people didn’t actually critically read what he wrote


Adam G.
April 17, 2012

The Derb has partially backed away from the anti-Good Samaritan portion of his comments.

http://voxday.blogspot.com/2012/04/derbyshire.html

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