Saturday, April 7, 2012

Scary White Men

Kids, if you see this man, run. National Review columnist John Derbyshire (pictured) is one of those scary white men. He is an angry conservative from whom even fellow travellers avert their eyes.

In his latest screed, he shared with readers what he said he shared with his children about dealing with black-folk in America. I won't dignify his words by reprinting them here. Suffice it to say that Derbyshire advised his kids to avoid "concentrations of blacks," for there perdition supposedly lurks. Adding insult to injury, he rhetorically asked why no black person has ever won the Fields Medals, the prestigious award for Mathematics. This was the wind-up to his pitch that "the mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites." Yeah, he actually went there. Clearly, he couldn't help himself. And he's written trash like this before. "I'm a proud racist," he boasted in 2003.

Derbyshire says his piece wasn't satire -- he called it "social commentary." Whatever it was, the piece still splashed across the Rubicon to opprobriousness. Even National Review editor Rich Lowry disowned him, stating that no one at the magazine shares "Derb's appalling view of what parents supposedly should tell their kids about blacks in this instantly notorious piece here." Fine. But why does "The Derb" still have a job?

It's rare to spot a fully-feathered bigot in the wild, but Derbyshire cleverly hides in plain sight. Most racists are not as bold as he. They are cowards who ply their bigotry in mufti to avoid the spotlight brass-buttoned prejudice swiftly brings, Rush Limbaugh notwithstanding. Derbyshire is no less a coward, but he hides behind his braggadocio.

Derbyshire, 66, is a member of what I call the Lost White Generation, a sub-tribe of the Silent Generation born during WWII (1940 to 1945). LWG'ers learned the parental prejudices of Tom Brokaw's "Greatest Generation" well and transplanted them to their own spawn (the Rosemary Babies of Generation X). That is how racism propagates and why it is so insidious. For a pop cultural reference, think Clint Eastwood in Grand Torino. Derbyshire is the scribe equivalent. I have long written off the Derbyshires of the world. Exposed to a perfect storm of cultural brainwashing, apartheid, and bastardized conservatism in their formative years, LWG'ers became ideal receptacles for intolerance. Bigotry is in their bone marrow. No amount of cultural chemotherapy can eradicate it. The sooner they depart from societal relevance, the better.

But all is not lost. Whatever The Derb told his two kids about African Americans, odds are better than even that it didn't take. As children of the 1990s maturing in the Age of Obama (they are now teenagers, 16 and 19), it would not be surprising if they ignored or have since rejected their old man's advice. If we are to break the cycle of bigotry, the task will largely fall to the current generation of kids. On the surface at least, it appears they are doing just that.

POSTSCRIPT: Just after I posted this, the news broke that the National Review fired Derbyshire. I'm glad somebody came to their senses. Sorry Derb -- you lose, asshole.

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