03 Jun 2014

Derbyshire on Reparations

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Like myself, John Derbyshire zoned out before managing to make it all the way through Ta-Nehisi Coates’ endless whiny anecdotes of alleged past injustices intended to make a case for yet more racial navel-gazing leading to black reparations.

Coates’ piece is very long: 15,768 words. That’s longer than the Book of Proverbs. I read at about 300 words a minute, so I’d have to commit almost an hour of my life to reading the wretched thing.

For another, it’s about a topic I have no interest in: American blackness.

I bear no ill will towards American blacks and would not deprive them of a jot nor tittle of their constitutional protections. I treat the blacks I encounter with proper courtesy and respect, and have publicly urged the nonblack youth of America to do the same.

It’s just that I’m not interested in blacks in the generality, and find their endless complaining tiresome. I don’t have to listen to it—you can’t make me—so I prefer not to. …

So far as I can tell from scanning his columns, all he writes about is blackness. Does even he find it that interesting? Obviously, yes.

There’s a narrowness, a poverty of imagination there. I count myself fairly limited in my interests—I know nothing about sport, or art, or TV, or celebrities—but in the past three months I’ve found something to say about consciousness, biohistory, literature, General Relativity, opera, science, Ireland, China, humanitarianism, eugenics, child-raising, Liverpool, Asian-Americans, psychology, poetry, Puerto Rico, global warming, genomics, robotics, and Intelligent Design. Meanwhile Coates has been droning on about blackety-blackety-blackness.

So my deduction is that Ta-Nehisi Coates is just another Affirmative-Action mediocrity grumbling ceaselessly about Whitey.

(I always assume that any black person in a well-paid position is an Affirmative Action hire. I shall cease assuming this, at least so far as new hires are concerned, when Griggs v. Duke Power is overturned and the stupid and odious doctrine of “disparate impact” is declared by the Supreme Court to be impermissible in legal arguments.)

Way I look at it, if God had meant me to squander my precious hours reading 15,000-word articles written by Affirmative Action mediocrities on topics of zero interest to me, He wouldn’t have given me the Ctrl-F key.

So no, I haven’t read all through the thing. Okay?

Derbyshire correctly identifies what Mr. Coates is really after.

What they really want is for everyone else to find blackness as infinitely fascinating as they themselves find it. This is clearer in the interview Coates gave to Bill Moyers, which comes with a full transcript. From which:

    I think, one of the things is that we talk about race a lot, we do. So I think it’s wrong to say we don’t have conversations. No, we actually talk about it quite a bit. I don’t think we talk about it in depth as much as we should. And I think part of the problem is when you start talking about it in depth, when you start getting to a level where you say, listen, everything we are, everything we have is built on past sins.

[Facing the Truth: The Case for Reparations, Moyers And Company, May 21, 2014]


    “I know you’re all going to roll your eyes if I say we need to have a conversation about race, but you know what? We really do need to have a conversation about race! In depth! We don’t talk about race enough!”

The dream of the Eric Holders and Ta-Nehisi Coateses is for us all to talk about race 24-7—although of course only in a vocabulary approved by them: acknowledging collective white guilt and sympathizing with the sufferings of blacks.

Personally, I’d rather pay the reparations, if I thought it would shut them up. It wouldn’t, of course.

5 Feedbacks on "Derbyshire on Reparations"


The Holders and Coateses don’t want a conversation. The word conversation implies I talk and you listen, then you talk and I listen, etc.

What they want is not to talk with everyone else, they want to talk TO everyone.


I’d be willing to consider paying them something if they would agree to the status quo ante 1619.

T. Shaw

I’ll pay for one one-way ticket to Africa.


I would be in favor of taxing money from any living slave holders and giving it to any living slaves.

Honors 11: “The Case for Reparations” and Synthesis with other sources | Ms. Mullins' English Classroom Website

[…] in the margins as we discussed in another color. This was submitted to the inbox. Here’s an ‘interesting’ response to Coates’ piece. Afterwards, I distributed Fences. You are reading Act I for Thursday. I […]


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