National Review editor Rich Lowry announced yesterday that writer John Derbyshire has been fired. Derbyshire, who came under fire this week for an amazingly racist article in a web magazine, has lost his position at NR for advising people, among other things, that “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).”
The article, a reversal of the “talk” about the dangers of being a black male which black parents have thought about having with their sons since the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, contains a list of ways in which white people should strive to avoid black people and what to do in the event that they do have to interact with those dangerous people. Other tips included “If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible,” and “Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.” (I do not want to link to the article here, so I’ll borrow a trick from shortformblog and link to this one instead.)
NR editor Rich Lowry, who has recently drawn criticism himself for writing a column that claimed the attention paid to the Trayvon Martin case is entirely political and misplaced, admitted in his announcement of Derbyshire’s firing that “Derb has long danced around the line on these issues, but this column is so outlandish it constitutes a kind of letter of resignation.” However, he also noted that “anyone who has read Derb in our pages knows he’s a deeply literate, funny, and incisive writer.”
That Derbyshire is a racist is not a new revelation; as Ta-Nehisi Coates pointed out, he flat out admitted to being racist and homophobic in 2003. That the National Review waited until he actually wrote an article like this to fire him is enough to raise questions about what their standards on this topic really are.