Tuesday, April 10, 2012


So over the weekend John Derbyshire, a rather vile racist whom American conservatives thought was erudite and charming partly because he was British, wrote something over-top-viley racist.  I won't link it, just google "Derbyshire Talk" and you'll get it.

Honestly I don't think there's much worthwhile to be gleaned from this whole affair, except that it confirms the fact that the mainstream American right will tolerate the presence of a lot of bigotry* as long as it isn't too overt.  I suppose I could speculate as to why publications like the National Review are so tolerant of racists in their midst -- probably some combination of white populist rabble-rousing and a natural consequence of the right-wing belief that racism in America is restricted to semi-literate crossburners in Mississippi and Nazi fanatics in northern Idaho (so of course that eccentric Englishman can't be a racist).  But that's not my primary reaction to this kind of thing.

Whenever I read something by a white person like Derbyshire who fears 'the blacks' I am filled with a visceral contempt; it reeks of a cowardice I find repulsive.  This reaction doubles when I read much of the commentary defending Derbyshire, which generally centers around a plot against 'European-Americans.'  My reaction to men who think that feminism will emasculate them is similar -- 'what are you afraid of, you big baby?'  As a white man what do I have to fear from minorities?  From women? 

I've never suffered, in my life, from being white or being male, so I cannot help but think that white men who feel that 'the blacks' and 'the feminists' are victimizing them are either looking to feel sorry for themselves or seeking to justify their prejudices.  Probably both.  Or maybe they're afraid of losing their former privilege to rule over their wives as though they were children and to always consider themselves to the superior of black men.  In that case we see someone who is so dependent and so weak on their own that they need unearned privileges to make themselves secure.  To hate or condemn such sentiments is almost taking them too seriously.  They only deserve derision.

*(Derbyshire was employed in the conservative press for years, and he's a milder example than some)

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