So John Derbyshire has been fired by National Review. I was on vacation for most of the controversy, looking at giant trees in Sequoia National Park while I was supposed to be opining on yet another racial controversy. It’s tempting to leave it at that, and yet I feel I have a thought or two to offer.
Rather than simply putting my hands on my hips and clucking my tongue, I’d like to offer some of my own personal experiences, some of which are retreads of stories I have told before — but all of which will hopefully explain why I found Derbyshire’s generalizations far too sweeping, to put it mildly.
This post is going to assume that you are familiar with the Derbyshire piece that stirred all this controversy. And if you’re going to start actively offering opinions in the comments, I suggest that you read the actual piece, and not simply the caricatures offered by Derbyshire’s critics.
That way, you’ll understand why I think the actual piece itself is so off target and unsettling.
Let me start with a piece I wrote in 2007 that I think sums up much of what I think of the life that takes place in what sheltered white people think of as “the ghetto”: