Opinion » Bill Cope

The Misfits

Small tokens of their own disrespect


"Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks. ... Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians."

--From John Derbyshire's essay "The Talk: Non-Black Version."

Does anyone out there know Clarence Thomas personally? Maybe Michael Steele? Herman Cain? How about Armstrong Williams or J.C. Watts? See, I'm trying to reach all or any of those prominent African-Americans who have cuddled up to the right. In light of recent developments, I have a question for them that seems pertinent, and of the few black people I know personally, not a one of them is a rightie.

So if you happen to know any of the gentlemen I've listed, or any conservative blacks I've left out, please pass my question on, will you? Here it is: Clarence (Michael, Herman, et al), when you're lying in that strange bed with those people who 50 years ago opposed (or would have opposed, had they been operative at the time) any change in the status of your civil rights ... who to this day display a seething resentment of having to let you into their clubs, organizations and even their consciousness ... who, when they aren't openly attributing your achievements to affirmative action or political correctness, are thinking it ... who stretch the Second Amendment to grotesque lengths in what is an implicit insistence that your brothers and fathers and sons are too dangerous to be around unless we are carrying something capable of killing them ... who always seem to be one sneer away from growling out the "n" word ... how do you sleep?

I mean, are you comfortable with yourself, spooning with that crowd? Or do you keep one eye open because you can't be sure what's coming next? I need an answer because it is increasingly beyond my understanding how you can continue to associate yourselves with a community that so obviously detests the reality that people of your ancestry are even here in America.

At least, it's obvious to me. I'm willing to consider the possibility that you have some sort of self-preserving blind spot that stops you from seeing the vitriol, the venom, the vindictiveness, the spittle flying from tea baggers' lips when they accost black congressmen, the utter lack of respect and courtesy they give our president and his family, the way they so eagerly line up in support of the accused murderer of a black kid. I'm also willing to consider the possibility you are so dedicated to conservative values that you're willing to let a little racism pass.

But what if one of those conservative values to which you're so enamored happens to be that black people are of less value than white people? That at the heart of conservative ideology lies a conviction that this nation and its advantages were never meant to be shared with people like you? That your very presence here is a mistake?

Consider John Derbyshire. Surely, as agents for the conservative cause, you must know about Derbyshire. He wrote columns for that bible of conservative opinion, the National Review, for years before he put something online two weeks ago that was so disturbingly bigoted that the NR fired him over it. The essay was printed in another conservative clustercluck, Taki's Magazine, and it outlined a talk Derbyshire claims to have had with his children, alerting them to the perils of being in the company of blacks.

I consider what he wrote a specialized form of pornography, intended to get hard-core racists hot, bothered and off--and I was pleased to hear Derbyshire is out of a job. Cohorts of his at the NR were quick to disassociate themselves from him once the filth of his attitudes became widely known.

Yet where were they before the filth of his attitudes became widely known? After all, he had been writing for the NR for more than a decade, and there was no shortage of filth in his previous work.

From June 2008: "[President Barack] Obama's negritude will help him with a lot of politically vague types ... who have been oriented the Obama way by decades of watching Numinous Negro types saving the world (in movies and on television)."

And with that, Derbyshire implies that those of us who voted for Obama did so because we've seen too much of Morgan Freeman and Will Smith.

Or this, from August 2011: "Following the black riots of the 1960s, non-blacks have seen these concessions (civil rights) as an implicit contract or treaty--as non-black America saying to black America: 'We'll give you this stuff if you promise not to break our windows.'"

With the National Review reeking with that sort of scorn and contempt, is it any wonder the right threw its combined weight behind the argument that a 17-year-old boy carrying candy and a soft drink was a deadly threat to a hulking sociopath with a gun?

Isn't it even possible they defend George Zimmerman because somewhere in their tribal brains, they agree with the president's statement about Trayvon Martin--that the boy did indeed look like he could have been Obama's son--and that alone made what Zimmerman did OK?

So Clarence (Michael, Herman, et al), if I have any advice for you, it would be this: Whenever you're heading out to one of those Republican fundraisers they trot you out for, or maybe somewhere to kiss the ring of one of the conservative leaders you admire so much, make sure you call ahead to let them know it'll be you who gets out of the car. And for God's sake, don't get lost in their neighborhood.