I daresay by now most of you are heartily sick and tired of all the fuss and bother surrounding John Derbyshire's article in Taki's Magazine, 'The Talk: Nonblack Version'. It's aroused a storm of controversy among the lily-livered pantywaists who get upset over anything remotely resembling racism or an associated evil (including the National Review, which promptly fired Mr. Derbyshire). I'm not going to bother going through the article point-by-point. There's been far too much bloviating about it all over the Internet, to the point that I'm quite sick of it. Perhaps the best and most balanced response has been by Patterico; I recommend it to your attention.
However, I would like to say a few words about prejudice in general. This applies to any form of prejudice; racial, religious, cultural, educational, whatever. My basic principle can be stated very simply:
their identification with a particular group, you're insane.
- If you distrust someone because he's a Muslim, because everybody knows Muslims are terrorists;
- If you fear someone because he's a member of a particular race, because everybody knows that 'they' have a propensity towards violent crime;
- If you look down on someone because of the neighborhood in which they live, because everybody knows that the people there are all gangsters . . .
I could go on, but what's the point? The error in every one of those examples is the same. You're judging someone based on membership of a group - not on what sort of individual he or she may be. That makes no sense at all. Let me give you a few examples of how stupid such attitudes are.
- You're a Christian? That means you're a terrorist, because self-proclaimed Christians in the IRA, and the UVF, and The Order, and many other organizations, were terrorists.
- You're a member of the Democratic Party? That means you must be in favor of abortion, because it's part of your party's platform.
- You're a policeman? That means you must be a jackbooted thug, because everybody knows that police oppress citizens.
All those points demonstrate the prejudice and lack of understanding of the person making the judgment. They identify the individual with the group, when it's patently obvious to anyone with half a brain that individuals differ, and aren't necessarily representative of every aspect of the group(s) to which they belong. For example, I'm a Christian, but that doesn't mean I support, condone or endorse terrorism; nor does it mean I support the bigotry, exclusivity and narrow-mindedness of nominally 'Christian' organizations like the Westboro Baptist Church or the so-called 'creativity movement'. I was born, raised and ordained to the ministry in the Catholic Church, but that doesn't mean I'll condone or tolerate the widespread incidence of child sex abuse by other ministers of that denomination (as readers of my articles on that subject will know).
I've been hurt and disappointed many times by the extent to which otherwise rational, seemingly well-educated people allow prejudices such as these to govern their attitudes towards and/or relationships with others. About three years ago I dropped out of active participation in an extremely useful and informative e-mail list, solely because some of its members couldn't stop chuntering on about 'Moo-slimes', Islam in general, and how all followers of Mohammed were terrorists. In doing so they defamed one of their own members. He was (and as far as I know still is) a practicing Muslim (and a senior NCO in the US Marine Corps, too): but clearly this wasn't a factor of importance to them. I protested about this on occasion, even warning at one point that I would have to withdraw if it continued, but it seems no-one was interested. After my experiences of racism and prejudice in South Africa, I can't accept or tolerate such extremism in any shape or form, so I had no moral alternative but to withdraw. I'm still sorry about that, because there are some very fine people on that e-mail list, and I learned much from them - but some principles are too important to compromise.
Please, friends, examine your own consciences. If you've gotten into the habit of judging anyone solely in terms of their membership of any group, be it racial, ethnic, national, tribal or whatever, please reconsider. You're making a grave mistake. By all means, if you know that a particular group is more likely to represent a risk, or threat, or problem, be duly cautious about its members; but accept that not all of them will be like that.
Just wait until someone judges you, not as an individual, but on the basis of the group(s) to which you belong. You'll soon find out that's no fun at all. That's one of the approaches employed by the authorities - classifying citizens in terms of whether or not they're members of, or identify with, or support various groups, or the philosophies and perspectives of those groups. Does it make you feel comfortable to know you're being assessed in that way?
It's late, and I'm tired, and I suspect I haven't done a good job of outlining this subject. I'll re-read this article tomorrow and edit it if necessary; but I think this is sufficiently important to get this out there tonight. Let me know your reactions, please.