June 07, 2012
By George E. Curry
In last week’s column, I described an article by “National Review (NR)” contributor John Derbyshire in which he said, “There is a talk that nonblack Americans have with their kids, too.” In an article for Taki’s magazine, Derbyshire listed a litany of racist things he had told his children, including that in random interactions with Blacks, “the Black stranger will be less intelligent than the White” and “do not settle in a district or municipality run by Black politicians.”
Derbyshire has since been fired by the NR.
Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), the media watchdog group, noted that conservative Forbes columnist Josh Barro had stated, “I’m pleased that the National Review has fired John Derbyshire as a result of his racist screed in Taki’s Magazine last week. Derbyshire’s remarks were beyond the pale, and this severing of ties is important for the credibility of one of the pillar institutions in conservative publishing.”
FAIR noted, “Apparently Barro believes purging Derbyshire will remove a racist taint from the ‘pillar’ of conservative publishing. That’s funny because NR’s 57-year history has been defined in good part by racism. And while Derbyshire may have been the magazine’s latest house bigot…he is just one in a continuous line of racists writing in the pages of NR.”
That lineup of racists began with William F. Buckley, the magazine’s founder. In an editorial in the magazine, dated August 24, 1957, titled, “Why the South Must Prevail,” Buckley wrote:
“The central question that emerges — and it is not a parliamentary question or a question that is answered by merely consulting a catalog of the rights of American citizens, born equal — is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is yes — the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the median cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists. The question, as far as the White community is concerned is whether the claims of civilization supersede those of universal suffrage.”
In case anyone missed the point, Buckley added:
“National Review believes that the South’s premises are correct. If the majority wills what is socially atavistic, then to thwart the majority may be, though undemocratic, enlightened. It is more important for any community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority.”
Appearing on NPR’s “Fresh Air” on Feb. 28, 2008, Buckley was given an opportunity to repudiate his earlier comments. When his words were read to him, Buckley said, “Well, I think that’s absolutely correct.”
It’s not surprising that Buckley applied that same stand of logic — or illogic — when supporting minority-ruled South Africa.
That racist DNA has continued to appear on the pages of the National Review throughout its history.
As Steve Rendall stated in his FAIR posting: “In 1993, NR published a gushing review (1/18) of ‘Paved With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America’ by Jared Taylor, which argued that Black Americans are more violent and criminal than others.”
Taylor has since become a leading voice of White nationalism as the publisher of American Renaissance magazine. (In the 1990s, Taylor described himself to me as a “White separatist.”) The NR review was written by fellow White nationalist Peter Brimelow, who launched the openly racist and nativist VDare website in 1999.”
Rendall also pointed out,” In a positive review (NR, 9/12/94) of “Race, Evolution, and Behavior,” a 1994 book by Philippe Rushton, reviewer Mark Snyderman eagerly recounted the book’s ‘ambitious’ and ‘fearless’ thesis:’ ‘Orientals are more intelligent, have larger brains for their body size, have smaller genitalia, have less sex drive, are less fecund, work harder and are more readily socialized than Caucasians; and Caucasians on average bear the same relationship to Blacks.’”
John Derbyshire’s racist bile was par for the course at the National Review.
As the FAIR posting by Steve Rendell aptly put it, “It is blatant racism, but it’s hard to see a great deal of difference between what he was fired over — assertions that Black people are less civilized, less intelligent and more prone to violence and criminality than others — and the racist views NR has promoted since its birth 57 years ago. And it’s hard to see why anyone would take NR seriously ‘when they write about racial issues.’”
George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service and editorial director of Heart & Soul magazine. He is a keynote speaker, moderator and media coach. Curry can be reached through his website, www.georgecurry.com You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorge.