John Derbyshire: Black History Month—Must We Slide Into Babbling Infantilism?

Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, available exclusively on

See, earlier, by John Derbyshire: Are We At Peak Anti-White?’s Note: What we find offensive is when popular newscasters toss out the importance of the Emancipation Proclamation in history as if it was some sort of emergence of scientific truth. In reality it was a prayer from the Union’s side. But last night, Brad Douglass of WBBJ TV announced that the Emancipation Proclamation “freed millions of slaves”, which was a small white lie.

While it is arguably ranked as very important document in the history of the United States; it is also one of the most misunderstood and certainly overstated.

For one, the Emancipation Proclamation only applied to the states in rebellion. President Lincoln justified the Emancipation Proclamation as a war measure intended to cripple the Confederacy. Being careful to respect the limits of his authority, Lincoln applied the Emancipation Proclamation only to the Southern states in rebellion. Of course the Confederacy was under no obligation to support such an act. None the less there is a point that is not commonly mention in history that Lincoln didn’t even acknowledge to himself until 1862. The war was not about the dissolving of the Union. It was something much more important. He put it best at Gettysburg when he said that it was “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” A union not dedicated to that proposition was no union at all; thus, he seemed to realize, for years he had placed the cart ahead of the horse. For the United States as a union of states to have any moral force at all, it first had to stand for the proposition of equality before the law.

So its importance was not the proclamation itself but the change in the Union’s purpose of unification. So while the Proclamation had little effect on the war itself and no effect on the state of slavery in the south, it did provide a reasoning for seeking the wars end.

February is, of course, Black History Month. So far, just one week in, the reminders are piling up. I have logged the following outrages that have black Americans cowering in fear in their tarpaper shacks.

  • Ralph Northam, the white Democratic Governor of Virginia, appeared in his 1984 medical school yearbook either in blackface, or in a Klan robe-and-hood, or neither, depending on who you believe. His picture in the 1981 yearbook of the Virginia Military Institute shows him having nickname “Coonman.” Governor Northam has been swinging wildly between denial and apology, with apology (I think) predominating.
  • The movie actor Liam Neeson, who I remember as a fine brooding Ethan Frome, explained to an interviewer how he’d worked up the anger for a film role he’s just recently performed. He’d recalled his feelings from an incident forty years ago, when a lady close to him was raped by a black man. The enraged young Neeson had gone out, presumably in London, looking for a random black man with the intent to kill him. Fortunately he calmed down before committing any violence. [Liam Neeson interview: Rape, race and how I learnt revenge doesn’t work,  The Independent, February 5, 2019] He’s spent the last few days apologizing and protesting that he’s not racist.
  • January 28th in New York Times op-edDaniel Pollack-Pelzner [Tweet him] who teaches English at liberal-arts Linfield College in Oregon told us that Mary Poppins is problematic—I’m sure that’s the right word, “problematic”—because in the classic movie version Mary deliberately blackens her face with soot. (Because she’s followed a chimney sweep up a chimney, but hey…) And in the original Mary Poppins books by Pamela Travers, 1930s to 1950s, characters use language about black people that we’d consider offensive in 2019, although nobody would have thought so in 1940 or 1950.

My first question, contemplating this nonsense: Are there  enough grown-ups in the Democratic Party to fend off the party’s radicals?

Strike that! My second question: are there enough grown-ups in the United States to avert our apparently remorseless slide down into babbling infantilism?

And look at the implicit anti-whiteness on display in these stories. The merest, most trivial slight is taken to be outrageously offensive to the fragile sensibilities of blacks, even if from decades ago, while viciously anti-white comments go unremarked—will, in fact, get you a job on the New York Times editorial board, as it did for Sarah Jeong. (See Vox Explains Why You Can’t be Racist Against Whites,by Steve Sailer.)

I’ve been a fan of Political Science Professor Eric Kaufmannsince reading his book The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America a dozen years ago. (See his debate with Kevin MacDonald.) Now here is Professor Kaufmann this week, writing in National ReviewHow ‘Asymmetrical Multiculturalism’ Generates Populist Blowback.[February 6, 2019]

And, yes, Kaufmann can fairly be categorized as Alt-Lite. He stays well clear of live rails—doesn’t touch race realism for example.

But he has an interesting mind, and a nice turn of phrase: “Asymmetrical Multiculturalism,” for example.


At multiculturalism’s heart … lies a contradiction: White majorities are compelled to be cosmopolitan, urged to supersede their ascribed identity. Minorities are enjoined to do the reverse.

You nailed it, Prof! Sanctified minorities get a month of their own. Cherishing their precious, nursed-and-petted “identities,” they shriek and swoon at the most trivial imagined slight, and everyone rushes to soothe their wounded feelings.

The place of white people in this drama: grovel, apologize, grovel, apologize, and plead pitifully: “I’m not racist!”

The astonishing thing to me is that so many whites have put up with this silly nonsense for so long.



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