Why Black People Need ‘The Talk’ and John Derbyshire and His Non-Black Children Don’t

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When’s the last time you saw two Black officers and a white boy in handcuffs? Don’t worry, i’ll wait.

Today, I came across two articles worth sharing. The first one, was written by a racist white man. (The Talk: Nonblack Version by John Derbyshire). The second one, was written by a non-racist white man. (The Talk: By a White, for Nonwhites by Josh Bowman). I found each article to be interesting and enlightening into the psyche that is, “white America.” Although Black America shares a country with white folks, the country is still very much divided. There are places that we will never let our white counterparts enter, and then there are places that our white counterparts will never invite us to enter.

Highlight from Derbyshire’s article:

10. Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:
10a. Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
10b. Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.
10c. If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).
10d. Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.
10e. If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible. 10f. Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.
10g. Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.
10h. Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.
10i. If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.

Highlight from Bowman’s article:
10. Thus, as you can see by my airtight argument here, just be careful around whites and use common sense:
10a. Avoid concentrations of whites not known to you personally. If they are known to you through MTV (i.e. the band “The Fray”) or if you recognize them from a dream that you had, they are probably ok.
10b. Stay out of heavily white neighborhoods, unless you are really into sipping lattes and listening to Michael Buble while wearing yoga pants.
10c. If planning a trip to a museum or a park or whatever at some random time or something who cares (I’m just phoning this one in, to be honest), find out whether there will be a lot of whites around. Seriously. I am suggesting that you pick up the phone, call the city, and find out if a lot of white people will be at the park. Do it. See what happens.
10d. Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of whites. Avoid St. Patrick’s Day like the plague. That’s just good advice in general.
10e. If you are hanging out at some event, like Caribana, and suddenly you see a ton of white people show up, get the hell out of there. They will just ruin the whole vibe. Same goes for your favorite Chinese food restaurant.
10f. Don’t live anywhere run by white politicians. In other words, move to Jacksonville, Florida. Or…not America. 10g. Before voting for a white politician, scrutinize their character more than you would…oh, who am I kidding, doesn’t everyone just vote randomly?
10h. Don’t help anybody ever. They will axe murder you!
10i. If accosted by a strange white in the street, smile, but keep moving. They are either trying to sell you religion or get you to become a monthly donor to Greenpeace. Either way, that’s at least 15 minutes of your life you will never get back.

I’ve always kept a pretty diverse group of friends. What I find most interesting is the line where other races draw in the sand called, “I’m not sure you’re invited to this…” It’s that line that we are all very much made aware of no matter how much we try to neglect it’s existence. It’s a house party, a wedding, a cookout, or even an after-work function. You might spend almost all your time around someone outside of your race, but there comes a time when they will tell you, “Wait, not sure if this is your scene.” Fair exchange is no robbery, there are several places and events to which I will never invite my white counterparts. It makes you wonder what goes on during those events in which we separate.

An unrelated, but totally related story:

I was talking to a friend about how you can tell the type of friends you have and how their actions around you are typically who they are. We like to believe that our relationships with our friends are so very special. Truth be told, this is a rare occurrence. Chances are, the way your friends are with you, is the way they are with everybody. What does this mean? This means that if your friends will sit and talk about your other friends like a dog, when you’re not around, they talk about you like that too.

Why is this related?

If you’re wondering what white people do when there are no Black people around, it’s the same thing that Black people do when there are no white people around. The first article was written in response to, “The Talk” that most Black parents have with their kids about white people. The author, albeit a racist asshole, was simply doing what we all do as Black people. We warn our loved ones, mainly family members, about the dangers of other races. I always found this to be quite contradictory for Black people but after reading this article today, I reached an epiphany. John Derbyshire wrote an article to show what “The Talk” would sound like if white parents delivered it to their kids. He wanted to warn them about the dangers of Black people. However, there is a fundamental difference when Black parents warn their kids about white people.

There’s been a longstanding history of Black folks having bad experiences with white people. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to sign off on a warning from white parents to their children. Simply put, they don’t have to worry about having bad experiences with black people in the same manner as we do. White parents must come to grips that privilege prevents their children from ever experiencing the racism that Black children will experience in this country. White parents must know that when their children interact with people outside of their race, they will almost never have an adverse experience. However, since the arrival of Black people in America, when we interact with people outside of our race, there’s resounding history that says this may be an adverse experience. For that reason and that reason alone is why Black parents have “The Talk.” For that reason and that reason alone is why John Derbyshire’s “Talk” with his children is completely inappropriate.

I congratulate John Derbyshire for reminding us, especially during an election year, how some white people in America view Black people. However, I commend Josh Bowman for writing a satirical piece in response. For some reason, I’ll probably send around the second and hope the first dies in hell.

- Dr. J

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  • The Analyst

    Yeah, I read the first article a while back. Thought that shit was stupid. Black people as a whole can't really do anything to white people. White people can go their entire lives without ever interacting with a nigga for the sole reason that their privilege allows that to be their reality. Black people however, cannot live in America and not have to run into white folk. Great post and points made.

  • http://youreratchet.blogspot.com Young Heaux

    Good post and I agree with the Analyst. There's no research or actual statistical or historical reference for a "talk" like the first article. It's just founded in stereotypes and ignorance. White people for the most part will never find themselves in events or places where they are not the majority, whereas we almost always do. That's why having a talk to black children is actually genuine.

    I will say though that my parents never really had a "talk" with me about white folks. Probably because they were Africans so they didn't know white people like that, but yeah, nothing like that really. We talk about white people now but never any particular warning signs.

  • http://www.mynewhitmanwrites.com/ Myne Whitman

    racism is real and the split between white and black america cannot be underestimated. Some of the points the first article noted are real, and are so because of history, like you said, the adverse experiences of black america over time. The crux of the difference between his talk for me and that of a black parent, is that white people can only be wary of individual black bad apples. Black people have to be not only wary of individual white black apples, but also the majority white institution that includes the corporate world, the law, and the justice system.

    • sethinthebox

      Not sure if you meant to do this, but you used "black" instead of "bad" when referring to white apples. Just sayin'…

  • Big Tony

    Kid got shot while being perused for a crime he and a friend *did* commit. Officer had honest reason to think he was armed. Oh well, tough break. Don’t want to get blasted by the cops? Don’t steal.

    By the way, I’d say exactly the same if it was a white kid that was killed by a black cop. It’s a matter of principle. If you get wasted while committing a crime, then I have no sympathy for you, behave like a civilized person instead of like a uninhibited greedy animal.

    • mobile Dr. J

      Who stole what?

  • Hugh Jazz, BP

    Finally read the Derbyshire article after hearing about it from several people. While it is a bunch of racist claptrap, it is not as bad as I thought. He basically said, "I'm white, I'm spooked about black people because of things I've seen on the news, and I believe they are inferior. Here are some stats using the least intelligent, more criminal and financially disadvantaged members of the race, that I'll use to apply to blacks as a whole."

    In short, he just informed the rest of his Republican cohorts that they were outright lying with the post-racial America crap. Racism is alive, well and thriving.

    • John_R the White Guy

      "Here are some stats using the least intelligent, more criminal and financially disadvantaged members of the race, that I'll use to apply to blacks as a whole."

      Let's rephrase that to come from a black perspective:

      "Here are some stats using the least intelligent, more criminal and financially disadvantaged members of the race, that I'll use to apply to whites as a whole."

      We aren't all trailer trash KKK rednecks, broseph.

      I own a service company and hire a majority of brown skinned persons.

      When I line out their duties for the day, I always wonder how much of the resentment I see in their eyes is a result of conditioning by their parents and other brown people.

      • Uncle Hugh, BP

        John_R the White Guy: "We aren't all trailer trash KKK rednecks, broseph."

        Understood, and that wasn't what I meant. I'm referring to the subset, not the set; the particular group of people who are racist. Most people, white and black, aren't racist, and I was not referring to the people who are not racist.

        • John_R the White Guy

          Fair enough.

  • Anne

    I don't have any events in my life to which I would not invite my black friends, co-workers, son or ex-husband and his family, but to which I would invite non-blacks. That just makes no sense to me. I do have some friends I wouldn't mix together–but that is based on educational level and sophistication (blue collar white friends with professional friends of all races in combination with adventurous food choices).

    I understand that black kids, especially boys, have to be extra careful around police of all races–but I have had negative experiences with cops who seem to think ALL non-cops are criminals, so I have told my children "the rules" about cops. Never invite them into your house. Never volunteer information to them. Never seem to challenge their authority. Never put your hands where they can't see them. It's worse for black men, but sound advice for ALL of us.