Scan a few racist websites and you'll find a pervasive fear that white people are persecuted and threatened with extinction. But this is actually just a bit of projection, because it's actually the people who make a living off being racist who are the endangered species. The phrase "national conversation about race" is a dumb cliché, but in the wake of Trayvon Martin's death, it seems like we're actually having one, and we can draw two conclusions from it: a surprising number of people are racist, but being racist will cost you your job.
Tuesday night, National Review editor Rich Lowry announced the firing of the magazine's second overtly racist contributor in a week: Robert Weissberg (pictured above). Weissberg contributed to the magazine's education blog, Phi Beta Cons, but unfortunately for his NR career, he also contributed to a white supremacist conference in Tennessee last month. As described on the white supremacist site American Renaissance, Weissberg gave a speech on "A Politically Viable Alternative to White Nationalism," which entailed creating "Whitopias" using zoning laws to keep out non-whites. One must be aware of the political difficulties, Weissberg warned, because for those in the white movement, "We are considered just above child molesters." That last line is interesting, given the following description of the speech:
Prof. Weissberg went on to argue that liberals are beyond reason when it comes to race, that explaining the facts of IQ or the necessity of racial consciousness for whites “is like trying to explain to an eight-year-old why sex is more fun than chocolate ice cream.”
One struggles to imagine Weissberg's thought process when selecting this particular way of explaining this idea. "'It's like trying to explain to a Prius driver why a Dodge Ram's payload capacity matters!' … No, needs to be more folksy… 'It's like trying to explain to a vegan why a hamburger tastes good!' … No, not exciting enough… Gotta kick it up a notch … Maybe something about sex! … Everyone likes sex… Wait but who doesn't like sex? …Oh, of course! Third-graders."
Lowry explained that NR hadn't known Weissberg "delivered a noxious talk about the future of white nationalism," Lowry wrote Tuesday night. "He will no longer be posting here." But Weissberg's earlier posts gave a pretty solid hint at his worldview. Perhaps Lowry wasn't familiar with Weissberg's work, since the writer was offering the exact same stuff -- with softer language -- as what got John Derbyshire fired Saturday. In an April 4 post titled "Academic Crimethink" on the Phi Beta Cons blog, Weissberg railed against liberal academics who he said rejected statistical realities. Unlike Derbyshire, he never said black people are violent stupid criminals and you shouldn't even be a good Samaritan when a black person is in distress. But the implication was pretty clear when he wrote about liberals' supposed disregard for facts:
“The research is controversial.” Here, reality clearly contradicts what is going to be insisted upon, but rather than admit that one is about to embrace a known falsehood, one may just cast doubts on the veracity of everything as if nothing were settled. A familiar illustration is when liberal academics confront the power of IQ tests to predict accurately everything from income to criminality...
“That is a dangerous stereotype.” ... Try announcing at the faculty colloquium that in every racially mixed nation on the planet, no exceptions, certain ethnic or racial groups have a higher crime rate and lower incomes than others. Don’t expect a fact-based refutation. Instead, the rejoinder will not be that this statement is incorrect; rather, the truth-teller will be told that this is a “dangerous stereotype” and should be unspeakable given the unnecessary hurt it will cause.
It's unfortunate Lowry didn't notice what Weissberg was hinting at, but it's heartening to see the writer get canned for being so explicit about "Whitopias." After Derbyshire lost his contributing editor gig at The National Review, he told Gawker's Maureen O'Connor about a couple of places he was excited to work for: American Renaissance and VDARE.com. VDARE is run by Peter Brimelow (pictured at right), whose 1995 book Alien Nation: Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster compared the waiting room at the Immigration and Naturalization Service to the New York City subway in that they were both "an underworld that is not just teeming but also is almost entirely colored." Brimelow's work has been unwelcome at National Review for years, though Derbyshire occasionally linked to it approvingly. In 2007, David Frum felt compelled to say nice things about Brimelow -- "a man of keen intellect, of real courage, and of surprising emotional sensitivity" -- before saying Brimelow and his bloggers "pollute all the good that they do or could do when they give way to racial contempt and antisemitic paranoia."
Alas, VDARE's future remains uncertain. All links to its articles redirect to a spring fundraising appeal. "I always hate closing VDARE.com during appeals," Brimelow writes. And it’s particularly frustrating now, with the continuing Two-Minute hate of John Derbyshire." With all the attention the site is suddenly getting, you wonder whether the timing of the fundraising drive is truly "frustrating" to Brimelow or just the product of naked opportunism. Brimelow continues that "it’s now more obvious that ever that VDARE.com must survive if voices like Derbyshire’s are to be heard."
Brimelow is not restricted to VDARE to make his voice heard, however. At this year's Conservative Political Action Conference -- one of the biggest annual gatherings of conservatives which nearly all the Republican presidential candidates attended -- Brimelow was featured on a panel titled, "The Failure of Multiculturalism: How the pursuit of diversity is weakening the American Identity." At the time, his appearance at CPAC was a controversy mostly among liberals. Other panelists included Derbyshire and Iowa Rep. Steve King. The Nation's Ben Adler reports that a statement was read from absentee panelist Serge Trifkovic, in which he complained, "It is deemed racist to mention that Europeans and their transatlantic cousins are an endangered species." It's more accurate to say that professional racists are an endangered species. They can no longer hide in plain sight.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.