Just before the weekend, John Derbyshire published an essay that can only be called racist. His advice boils down to making snap judgments, based on fear and faulty assumptions, and avoiding black people in general. It’s awful. It got him fired from National Review.
In the last few days, it has become understandably controversial. Many parodies are going up. I just finished my own version. It’s not a parody. If anything, I hope it’s a clarion call for clear thought and open hearts. I believe the two go together. It’s a draft, but I think it’s useful.
Derbyshire’s essay was about what white parents supposedly tell their children about blacks. Mine is meant to be ready-made for people of any race in America to use with all other races. Derbyshire said that his essay is what he tells his kids. This is what I tell mine.
(1) You’ve noticed by now that there are a lot of colors of people out there. You’ve probably also noticed that many people place a lot of value in those colors, both their own and everybody else’s. What you need to know is that people have a right to claim pride in their heritage, including you. You don’t have to do anything special to acknowledge the feelings of others, but you do have a social obligation to be polite. If someone else has intense feelings about their race, don’t disregard it. If they have no feelings for their race or others’, don’t disregard that, either. If someone has strong feelings about another race, though, their opinion probably isn’t worth listening to.
(2) Don’t be obnoxious and make your own feelings an issue for those around you to deal with, though. It’s rude.