UPDATED: Colleagues Condemn National Review Writer For “Appalling” Race-Talk “Screed”
Commentators across the ideological spectrum are denouncing National Review writer John Derbyshire for an essay he wrote recommending that parents tell their children to be wary of black people. This includes Derbyshire's colleagues at National Review, one of whom has called for Derbyshire to be fired.
Derbyshire's essay was published April 5 on the website Taki's Magazine. The New York Observer soon took note of the fact that Derbyshire's recommendations include warnings to "[a]void concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally" and to "[s]tay out of heavily black neighborhoods." The recommendations also include these assertions about black people's intelligence:
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 test of 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.”
Liberal sites like Gawker and Think Progress published posts criticizing Derbyshire, and The Atlantic Wire compiled an extensive list of Derbyshire's previous racially inflammatory writings. (Last year, Derbyshire said that he was “on the same page” as Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian who allegedly killed 69 people in a rampage inspired by Islamophobia and other bigotry.)
Writers for the conservative Washington Free Beacon expressed disapproval as well.
Derbyshire's essay has also drawn fire from other National Review writers. For instance, senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru tweeted that he doesn't want to be associated with “someone who publishes” what Derbyshire wrote:
Editor-at-large Jonah Goldberg wrote that he found Derbyshire's piece “fundamentally indefensible and offensive” and that he wished Derbyshire hadn't written it:
Josh Barro, who has contributed writing to National Review, published a piece at Forbes.com titled “Why National Review Must Fire John Derbyshire.” Barro described what Derbyshire wrote as “specifically urging white people to engage” in “profiling, among various other racist nonsense.”
Finally, editor Rich Lowry weighed in on National Review's blog The Corner. In a one-sentence post titled “Derb's Screed,” Lowry wrote:
Needless to say, no one at National Review shares Derb's appalling view of what parents supposedly should tell their kids about blacks in this instantly notorious piece here.
It's unclear whether that means that Derbyshire will face further sanctions, or whether universal disgust will have to suffice.
UPDATE: On April 7, Lowry announced that National Review is parting ways with Derbyshire:
Anyone who has read Derb in our pages knows he's a deeply literate, funny, and incisive writer. 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. His latest provocation, in a webzine, lurches from the politically incorrect to the nasty and indefensible. 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.