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John Derbyshire’s The Talk: Nonblack Version

Racial Politics

The Talk: Nonblack Version

by John Derbyshire

April 05, 2012


“Sean O’Reilly was 16 when his mother gave him the talk that most black parents give their teenage sons,” Denisa R. Superville of the Hackensack (NJ) Record tells us. Meanwhile, down in Atlanta: “Her sons were 12 and 8 when Marlyn Tillman realized it was time for her to have the talk,” Gracie Bonds Staples writes in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Leonard Greene talks about the talk in the New York Post. Someone bylined as KJ Dell’Antonia talks about the talk in The New York Times. Darryl Owens talks about the talk in the Orlando Sentinel.

Yes, talk about the talk is all over.

There is a talk that nonblack Americans have with their kids, too. My own kids, now 19 and 16, have had it in bits and pieces as subtopics have arisen. If I were to assemble it into a single talk, it would look something like the following.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

(1) Among your fellow citizens are forty million who identify as black, and whom I shall refer to as black. The cumbersome (and MLK-noncompliant) term “African-American” seems to be in decline, thank goodness. “Colored” and “Negro” are archaisms. What you must call “the ‘N’ word” is used freely among blacks but is taboo to nonblacks.

“There is a talk that nonblack Americans have with their kids, too.”

(2) American blacks are descended from West African populations, with some white and aboriginal-American admixture. The overall average of non-African admixture is 20-25 percent. The admixture distribution is nonlinear, though: “It seems that around 10 percent of the African American population is more than half European in ancestry.” (Same link.)

(3) Your own ancestry is mixed north-European and northeast-Asian, but blacks will take you to be white.

(4) The default principle in everyday personal encounters is, that as a fellow citizen, with the same rights and obligations as yourself, any individual black is entitled to the same courtesies you would extend to a nonblack citizen. That is basic good manners and good citizenship. In some unusual circumstances, however—e.g., paragraph (10h) below—this default principle should be overridden by considerations of personal safety.

(5) As with any population of such a size, there is great variation among blacks in every human trait (except, obviously, the trait of identifying oneself as black). They come fat, thin, tall, short, dumb, smart, introverted, extroverted, honest, crooked, athletic, sedentary, fastidious, sloppy, amiable, and obnoxious. There are black geniuses and black morons. There are black saints and black psychopaths. In a population of forty million, you will find almost any human type. Only at the far, far extremes of certain traits are there absences. There are, for example, no black Fields Medal winners. While this is civilizationally consequential, it will not likely ever be important to you personally. Most people live and die without ever meeting (or wishing to meet) a Fields Medal winner.

(6) As you go through life, however, you will experience an ever larger number of encounters with black Americans. Assuming your encounters are random—for example, not restricted only to black convicted murderers or to black investment bankers—the Law of Large Numbers will inevitably kick in. You will observe that the means—the averages—of many traits are very different for black and white Americans, as has been confirmed by methodical inquiries in the human sciences.

(7) Of most importance to your personal safety are the very different means for antisocial behavior, which you will see reflected in, for instance, school disciplinary measures, political corruption, and criminal convictions.

(8) These differences are magnified by the hostility many blacks feel toward whites. Thus, while black-on-black behavior is more antisocial in the average than is white-on-white behavior, average black-on-white behavior is a degree more antisocial yet.

(9) A small cohort of blacks—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us. A much larger cohort of blacks—around half—will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event. They will do this out of racial solidarity, the natural willingness of most human beings to be led, and a vague feeling that whites have it coming.

(10) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:

(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.

(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.

(10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).

(10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.

(10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.

(10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.

(10g) Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.

(10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.

(10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.

(11) The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites. The least intelligent ten percent of whites have IQs below 81; forty percent of blacks have IQs that low. Only one black in six is more intelligent than the average white; five whites out of six are more intelligent than the average black. These differences show in every test of general cognitive ability that anyone, of any race or nationality, has yet been able to devise. They are reflected in countless everyday situations. “Life is an IQ test.”

(12) There is a magnifying effect here, too, caused by affirmative action. In a pure meritocracy there would be very low proportions of blacks in cognitively demanding jobs. Because of affirmative action, the proportions are higher. In government work, they are very high. Thus, in those encounters with strangers that involve cognitive engagement, ceteris paribus the black stranger will be less intelligent than the white. In such encounters, therefore—for example, at a government office—you will, on average, be dealt with more competently by a white than by a black. If that hostility-based magnifying effect (paragraph 8) is also in play, you will be dealt with more politely, too. “The DMV lady“ is a statistical truth, not a myth.

(13) In that pool of forty million, there are nonetheless many intelligent and well-socialized blacks. (I’ll use IWSB as an ad hoc abbreviation.) You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with IWSBs. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.

(14) Be aware, however, that there is an issue of supply and demand here. Demand comes from organizations and businesses keen to display racial propriety by employing IWSBs, especially in positions at the interface with the general public—corporate sales reps, TV news presenters, press officers for government agencies, etc.—with corresponding depletion in less visible positions. There is also strong private demand from middle- and upper-class whites for personal bonds with IWSBs, for reasons given in the previous paragraph and also (next paragraph) as status markers.

(15) Unfortunately the demand is greater than the supply, so IWSBs are something of a luxury good, like antique furniture or corporate jets: boasted of by upper-class whites and wealthy organizations, coveted by the less prosperous. To be an IWSB in present-day US society is a height of felicity rarely before attained by any group of human beings in history. Try to curb your envy: it will be taken as prejudice (see paragraph 13).

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

You don’t have to follow my version of the talk point for point; but if you are white or Asian and have kids, you owe it to them to give them some version of the talk. It will save them a lot of time and trouble spent figuring things out for themselves. It may save their lives.

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. 07 April 2012 @ 22:55 22:55

    Since you double dog dare me….

    The column by Derbyshire is quite reasonable and well thought out. I had the feeling that John knew he would be banished by the cowards at NRO. RSM may have hoped Jonah Goldberg would lead a coup against Lowry at NR I know there is no chance of that. Goldberg is emblematic of Buckley’s old age leftist shift. Buckely became a dottard in the early 90s, whose conservatism was long past. NR is worthy only of contempt.

    Goldberg probably agrees with firing Derbyshire, and Goldberg himself is one of the problems at NR and is a man of questionable intelligence. The paleos disassembled him about 10 years ago, and all Goldberg could do is offer them a can of gasoline after they had so easily tied him to a rhetorical post.

    • anonymous permalink
      23 June 2014 @ 01:49 01:49

      It is years late, but–

      I am reluctant to speak ill of the dead. However–I am not sure I grasp why Buckley is so idolized by American “conservatives.” His first act upon accepting editorship of National Review was to abase himself before political correctness and attempt to create a self-contradiction: a “respectable, moderate, intellectual conservatism” that was purged of all the “nuts” (the Birchers, persons insufficiently enthusiastic about “civil rights,” and so on), internalizing and making a sacred thing of Robespierre’s old slogan, “Pas d’ennemis à gauche, pas d’amis à droit,” and for God’s sake don’t rock the boat.

      I blame him for turning the Republican Party into what it has been since the 1950s: a timid, disorganized, cowardly, fractious opposition party that barely opposes anything. For all that he proclaimed himself to be “standing athwart History, shouting ‘HALT,'” the Republicans had no such courage and have yet to make such a stand. Like crabs in a basket they drag down and destroy anyone and anything that seems to be trying to try to do more than just be a permanent minor opposition party that grumbles and drags its feet a bit and then goes along. Nelson Rockefeller was the kind of “statesmanlike” Republican (R.I.N.O.) politician he championed, and the model for the party for the balance of the century and the beginning of the new one. Like Henry Kissinger, they are one and all convinced that they cannot win, that conservatism cannot win, that the GOP cannot win, that America is destined to be defeated, and are trying to negotiate the best second-place finish that they can, with people who have never negotiated in good faith. Reagan proved Kissinger, Rockefeller, and Buckley wrong about the outcomes.

      Buckley was a talented writer, and an erudite, articulate speaker. By all accounts he was quite charming in person. But to hold him up as some kind of conservative icon is perverse.

  2. Adobe_Walls permalink
    07 April 2012 @ 23:07 23:07

    Excellent work on Mr Derbyshire’s part everyone should have “the talk” with their kids before the schools do.

  3. Veritas permalink
    07 April 2012 @ 23:22 23:22

    I’m surprised the RINOs at National Review didn’t refer Derbyshire to the Black Panthers.

    The article is just too full of truths to be accepted by our elites.

  4. 24 July 2014 @ 00:29 00:29

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  6. Harold permalink
    09 December 2019 @ 15:58 15:58

    Great insights and truths! Thank you for this version of “the talk.”

  7. esp0661 permalink
    19 November 2022 @ 09:38 09:38

    This was an excellent and reasonable synopsis of reality. The social engineering of Leftist Democrats has poisoned our culture. Democrat politicians caused this mess by their social programs. In the late 1800’s over 85% of blacks were married. Frederick Douglas knew the way for blacks to be successful would be to attain a good education and to work really hard. Democrat politicians took TNT to that mindset and moved blacks from southern plantations to the government plantation. By keeping blacks poor, poorly educated, addicted to drugs through decriminalization, on welfare blacks will mindlessly keep voting for them every election. It’s their master plan.


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