'A Recipe for Losing Touch With One's Own Editorial Faculties'

More
In the spirit of intellectual honesty, I really enjoyed this piece from Noah Millman:
Granting that nobody has an obligation to be politically correct in their behavior, and granting (for the sake of argument) all of Derbyshire's premises, what he's still saying is that the risks are so great that it's better simply to wall oneself off from African-Americans to the greatest degree possible. But he hasn't actually measured the risks in absolute terms, only in relative terms: would this action reduce risk; if yes, then follow it. I wonder: does he take a similar attitude toward other risks? Toward, to take a few examples, eating raw food, bicycling without a helmet, traveling alone to a foreign country, or writing whatever one wishes for a publication like Taki's Magazine? 

I live in Brooklyn. I love living in Brooklyn. Do I live in a majority-black neighborhood? No. But there's a large, majority black neighborhood right across the park from me. We share the park. Derbyshire's advice to me and to my son is, effectively: don't go to the park. Or, alternatively, don't live in Brooklyn. But why? Does Derbyshire know what the crime statistics are like in my part of Brooklyn these days? Is he really that fearful? The "race realists" like to say that they are the ones who are curious about the world, and the "politically correct" types are the ones who prefer to ignore ugly reality. 

But the advice Derbyshire gives to his children encourages them not to be too curious about the world around them, for fear of getting hurt. And, as a general rule, that's terrible advice for kids - and not the advice that Derbyshire has followed in his own life.
This is obviously responding to Derbyshire's piece. I actually thought the worse portion of the piece was the instruction to cultivate black friends so that you point to them whenever someone accuses you of being racist. Whatever the racial problems in that advice, it's just a shitty thing to tell another human being to do. It's especially shitty as a response to the death of someone's child. Then I remember that the hallmark of racism is the lack of regard for another's humanity.

Anyway Millman's piece is probably the best I've seen on the subject. I get the sense that a lot of us didn't even want to be bothered with debunking. It's only right that this take place at the American Conservative. Also, the comments on the piece are serious and impressive. I don't know if they are moderating or what. But there's some good stuff in there.

H/T Andrew.
Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Sad Desk Lunch: Is This How You Want to Die?

How to avoid working through lunch, and diseases related to social isolation.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

From This Author

Just In