Nate Silver as Journalistic Innovator
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Ta-Nehisi Coates on National Review: It's The Racism, Stupid

Ta-Nehisi Coates:

It's The Racism, Stupid: National Review's Victor Davis Hanson takes on the president's comments with predictable results. Here Hansen counters The Talk which African-Americans parents give their children about the police, with his own version of The Talk….

For every lecture of the sort that Holder is forced to give his son, millions of non-African-Americans are offering their own versions of ensuring safety to their progeny…. My father was a lifelong Democrat. He had helped to establish a local junior college aimed at providing vocational education for at-risk minorities…. In middle age, he and my mother once were parking their car on a visit to San Francisco when they were suddenly surrounded by several African-American teens. When confronted with their demands, he offered to give the thieves all his cash if they would leave him and my mother alone. Thankfully they took his cash and left.

I think that experience--and others--is why he once advised me, "When you go to San Francisco, be careful if a group of black youths approaches you"… the tendency of males of one particular age and race to commit an inordinate amount of violent crime.

It was after some first-hand episodes with young African-American males that I offered a similar lecture to my own son. The advice was born out of experience….

Let us be direct--in any other context we would automatically recognize this "talk" as stupid advice. If I were to tell you that I only employ Asian-Americans to do my taxes because "Asian-Americans do better on the math SAT," you would simply question my sensitivity, but my mental faculties. That is because you would understand that in making an individual decision, employing a ancestral class of millions is not very intelligent. Moreover, were I to tell you I wanted my son to marry a Jewish woman because "Jews are really successful," you would understand that statement for the stupidity which it is.

It would not be acceptable for me to make such suggestions (to say nothing of policy) in an enlightened society--not simply because they are "impolite" but because they betray a rote, incurious and addled intellect…. Those of who have spent much of our lives living in relatively high crime neighborhoods… have a great many strategies which we employ to try to protect ourselves and our children…. Parents who regularly have to cope with violent crime understand the advantages of good, solid intelligence. They know that saying '"stay away from black kids" is the equivalent of looking at 9/11, shrugging ones shoulders and saying, "It was them Muslims."…

These two strands--stupidity and racism--are inseparable. The pairing seem to find a home at National Review with some regularity. It's been a little over a year since the magazine cut ties with self-described racist John Derbyshire for basically writing the same thing that Victor Davis Hanson writes here…. A few days later the magazine cut ties with Robert Weissberg for offering pro tips to white nationalists. I'm not quite sure why they bothered with the kabuki. You are what your record says you are and at some point one must conclude that these are not one-offs, that the magazine which once blamed the Birmingham bombing on "a crazed Negro," is dealing with something more systemic, something bone-deep.