A British writer has been sacked by a leading American magazine after writing an article, inspired by reactions to Trayvon Martin’s killing, that appeared to urge white children to avoid black people.
John Derbyshire was dismissed by The National Review amid sharp criticism of a piece published by Taki’s, an internet magazine published by the veteran conservative journalist Taki Theodoracopulos.
In “The Talk: Nonblack Version”, Derbyshire lampooned a “talk” that black writers in America have described giving to their teenage sons to warn them that they will be treated with suspicion.
Several writers referenced it after police in Sanford, Florida, failed to arrest the killer of Trayvon, an unarmed 17-year-old walking through a gated community. The incident prompted an outburst of fury and soul-searching across the US.
Derbyshire wrote that parents of white and Asian children should teach them not to “attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks”, who he said were generally less intelligent and more dangerous.
“A small cohort of blacks – in my experience, around five per cent – is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us,” Derbyshire wrote.
He recommended befriending “intelligent and well-socialised blacks (IWSBs)” to deflect claims of prejudice, but warned: “The demand is greater than the supply, so IWSBs are something of a luxury good, like antique furniture or corporate jets”.
His main employer, a conservative fortnightly founded by the author William Buckley in 1955, came under intense pressure from across the American media to distance itself from his views.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic magazine, who is black, said: “Let’s not over-think this: John Derbyshire is a racist”.
He pointed to a 2003 interview in which Derbyshire described himself as a “homophobe, though a mild and tolerant one, and a racist, though an even more mild and tolerant one”.
Derbyshire, 66, was raised in Northampton, Northants, and graduated from University College London. He moved to New York with his Chinese wife Rosie, now known as Lynette, in 1986.
In a statement, Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, said that Derbyshire’s piece had lurched “from the politically incorrect to the nasty and indefensible” and forced “a parting of the ways”.
“Derb has long danced around the line on these issues, but this column is so outlandish it constitutes a kind of letter of resignation,” Lowry said.
Derbyshire did not respond to a request from The Daily Telegraph for comment.