[Many whites] place so much importance on demonstrating that black people don’t make them nervous that black people make them nervous.But he then goes on to tell us that this is a jolly good thing:
Going from Jim Crow to white people who refuse to utter the words “Is the person black?”—often categorically, but frequently in deference to a nearby person of color [sic]—in 50 years is a remarkable accomplishment for the civil-rights movement, both as a social force and as a driver of government policy.As I said, the piece drew some mocking responses. The Countenance blog was particularly scathing:
So, a knave who . . . praises as “a remarkable accomplishment for the civil rights movement” the fact that we have gone “from Jim Crow to white people refusing to utter the words” is all of a sudden upset when white people self-censor and engage in informal affirmative action.AmRen posted an edited version of VerBruggen’s piece which generated a long comment thread. Several commenters stated the obvious thing: that the “remarkable accomplishment for the civil rights movement” that VerBruggen [Twitter] rhapsodizes over consists in having instilled justified fear in nonblacks—the fear that they will lose their jobs if they venture outside the narrow bounds of approved discourse by so much as a millimeter.By that criterion, the greatest social “accomplishments” of the 20th century were those of Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, Kim Il Sung, and Pol Pot.Chuck at glpiggy.net noted the piece but eschewed mockery, only adding an anecdote of his own.
I was in 4th grade—9 or 10 years old. I was asked to explain latitude, as in the east-west running lines on a map or globe. I tiptoed around the best explanation I’d heard up to that point which was that latitude rhymes with fatitude and the latitude lines at the equator on a map look like the waist line of a fat person. But I avoided saying ‘fat’ because there were some chubby kids in my class. So I stammered around and made up some other explanation.It’s a nice anecdote, but not really relevant. Pointing out a fat person’s fatness might hurt his feelings, a thing polite people are naturally reluctant to do.I have childhood memories—no doubt we all do—of being scolded by parents for staring at people who were hunchbacked, birthmarked, one-armed, or physically abnormal in some other way. “It’s not polite. He can’t help it . . .”I can’t see how this relates to blackness, though. A hunched back, a birthmark, or a missing arm are all pitiable conditions. So, at a slight stretch, is obesity. What’s pitiable about being black?I’m assuming that Robert VerBruggen has left National Review, where we used to meet around the editorial table on alternate Mondays. (He hasn’t posted there since June, and his byline says he’s “editor of RealClearPolicy.”) I have retained no very strong memory of him, but that’s no reflection on his character. He was a rather quiet and unassuming person, and my memory isn’t very good.I do vaguely recall thinking that VerBruggen was sound on Second Amendment issues, but unsound—from the point of view of a traditionalist conservative—on others. A couple of data points:
I came home from work on the Long Island Railroad one day in December, 1993. My train was right behind the one in which Colin Ferguson went berserk and shot 25 people. We were held up for a long time, and there were no cell phones. My poor wife was at home, watching news of the shooting on TV. For all she knew, I might have been among the dead. Kind neighbors came round to keep her company. Telling me about it afterwards, she remarked: “They kept saying the same thing: ‘It must be a black guy. If it was a white guy, they would have told us . . .’”I don’t think so many people would say nowadays what my neighbors said in 1993. The indoctrination is now more nearly complete. We love Big Brother.Robert VerBruggen sure does.
The campaign to stigmatize anti-black racism—the most corrosive force in this country’s history—has been remarkably successful. In fact, while we love to talk about this or that as “the last acceptable prejudice,” it would be more accurate to say that racism and sexism are the only prejudices that are thoroughly unacceptable.The definitions of “racism” and “sexism” VerBruggen has in mind there are presumably the ones in current use, the first as defined by Ed West in the book I noted here:
Today the term racism has come to mean almost any recognition of race . . . and of difference (or average differences) between groups.The phrase “anti-black racism” therefore means any verbal attention to negative group characteristics of blacks.Suppose for example I say the following thing:
Among European whites, the portion that is dumb, feckless, anti-social, and inclined to violence—call them the DFASIVs—is 10-15 percent. This is small enough that the rest can “carry” the DFASIVs, given a modest collective investment in social welfare, law enforcement, and feelgood make-work.
Among blacks, the DFASIV portion is much larger, 40-50 percent. The good news there is that most blacks—50-60 percent—can function perfectly well as useful, law-abiding citizens of a stable nation. The bad news is that the DFASIV portion is too big for the majority to “carry.” That’s why all-black polities are failures.I guess I just committed an act of “anti-black racism,” even though my negativity is aimed at only a minority of blacks (along with a minority of whites). I guess my utterance needs to be “stigmatized.”But what if the thing I just said is true, as I believe to be the case? If there actually are average differences between inbred human groups of different deep ancestry, then what has been stigmatized by that “campaign” VerBruggen applauds are true facts about the world.And of course there are such differences. It would be biologically astounding if there weren’t. Those differences are the origin of species. Thus a truth has been stigmatized and a lie permitted to prevail; and Robert VerBruggen is fine with that.There you see the poisonous, suffocating effects of all that volcano ash. Noticing things is basic to intelligent thought. If you school yourself not to notice things, you become stupid.Worse yet: If you school yourself to pretend not to notice things, while some lower region of your brain none the less does notice them, and acts on its noticing, then you are not merely stupid, you are a stupid hypocrite.For a look at one aspect of the stupid hypocrisy into which the Western world has sunk, I commend to your attention the brilliant historical survey of residential segregation at Those Who Can See, posted a few days ago.These are the depths we have sunk to, even the intelligent among us. Moral preening and wishful thinking are celebrated; true and obvious facts are stigmatized. Out of petty fears we enstupidate ourselves; for social applause and careerist opportunities, we become liars and hypocrites; and Robert VerBruggen is fine with it all.“Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.”John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. His most recent book, published by VDARE.com com is FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle).His writings are archived at JohnDerbyshire.com.Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire`s writings at VDARE.com can do so here.