For the record, my ‘problem’ with John Derbyshire has nothing to do with this…

(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.

– from “The Talk: Nonblack Version”, John Derbyshire, Taki’s Magazine, April 5, 2012

Dear John Derbyshire,

First of all, your writing has educated and entertained me for approximately ten years now, so I want to thank you for that. I guess I’m something of a Derbyshire fan going back a bit, as I own one of NRO’s shirts with your image on it and your quote “Let America’s enemies crow today: Tomorrow they will tremble, and weep.” I love that shirt. Of course, I also love your books Prime Obsession (which was surprisingly accessible for a guy like me who hadn’t done a lot of number theory) and Unknown Quantity (which I found difficult since I had never progressed beyond calculus — someday I will tackle differential equations!) Now that you’ve been unceremoniously fired by NRO, I plan to get your latest book We Are Doomed, which should be a tough read for me since I’m generally an optimist! But your prose is always sharp and you rarely disappoint, especially in your longer pieces (I love the book reviews you do for Claremont, for example). So it is a terrible injustice that you were fired — why can’t folks simply disagree with one another and be civil about it these days?

For example, as for your specific advice above, I have to admit I don’t agree with most of it (especially without qualifications). My own experience suggests that you are too dismissive of class and you ignore other factors at work when large groups get together, for example, demographics. I myself have taken my daughters when they were very young to the famous almost all black parade (a few white politicians march) in Chicago known as the Bud Billiken parade and while I was one of the few white observers of the event I never felt threatened or worried for my safety due to the nature of the event — it is designed for families and security is tight (big Chicago Police presence is evident throughout the parade route). Likewise, with your advice in points (a) – (e) I think you ignore too much context (I know that is part of the use of stereotypes) and you’d miss out on some great experiences (like the Bud Billiken parade) here in Chicago if you weren’t willing to venture into all black neighborhoods. I was also fortunate once to be invited to this church to hear one of my co-workers sing on the choir one Sunday — again I was probably the only white person there in an audience of over 5,000. Even though I only knew one person up on stage, obviously due to the context of the church service I felt totally safe and at ease. I guess I’m suggesting there is a trade off in using that advice. The trade off might be worth it for you and I can understand the desire to protect your kids (part of the reason I moved into a Chicago neighborhood that has a relatively low percentage of blacks and Hispanics is because therefore crime is low and the public school is top notch), but I also think as your kids get older they might want to experience life in a middle-class black neighborhood or at least not be afraid to travel into black neighborhoods to experience some big city cultural treasures (keeping in mind that they need to be cautious and aware of their surroundings).

As for letter (f), this is not much use unless you couple this fact with the idea that the “district or city” is also majority black — there have been competent black leaders of majority white districts/cities (especially if they governed conservatively!) As for letter (g), the link is priceless. Letter (h) is problematic from my viewpoint, mainly because the link you provide is not really a classic “Good Samaritan” situation but a classic “white knight” situation which even cops have trouble sorting out. I agree that it is better to let the professionals deal with crazy domestic disputes but I also think that our Christian duty demands of us to help those in need (the trick sometimes is figuring out who is in need — on a highway at 2:00 AM in the morning if a big guy, white or black, was flagging me down for help I would call 911 but that’s about it). Finally, letter (i) is just strange — without context I don’t know what to make of it. In general, I don’t give to panhandlers in the city as I tend to believe most are scam artists of one sort or another (I give to charities that work with the poor instead). However, if someone approached me for directions of any race, I’m always happy to help guide them through my fair city. So it really depends on the situation.

No, my ‘problem’, if you want to call it that, has been your turn away from the Christian faith and your mild anti-Catholic feelings. But since both are deeply personal and as you say, really quite mild, it is hard to get worked up about the subtle anti-Christian bias in your writing (most of which is found over at “Secular Right” anyway, which I just don’t bother with since I like all the writers there and every time I go to the website it is a frustrating experience to read so much talent wasted on such a ridiculous project). So I wish you all the best and will be supporting you in all your future endeavors. I’ll also have more to say about the hysterical reactions you’ve been getting from some on the right.

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About Fake Herzog

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