A racist at National Review? Do tell


Conservative Forbes columnist Josh Barro is happy that John Derbyshire was fired for writing a racist column:

I’m pleased to see that National Review has fired John Derbyshire as a result of his racist screed in Taki’s Magazine last week. Derbyshire’s remarks were beyond the pale, and this severing of ties is important for the credibility of one of the pillar institutions in conservative publishing.

Barro, a contributor to National Review (NR) and National Review Online (NRO),  was one of the first conservatives to call for Derbyshire’s ouster, arguing that keeping company with a racist like Derbyshire presented a “problem for [editor Rich] Lowry and other conservatives who want to be taken seriously by broad audiences when they write about racial issues.” Apparently Barro believes purging Derbyshire will remove a racist taint from the “pillar” of conservative publishing.

That’s funny, because NR‘s 57-year history has been defined in good part by racism. And while Derbyshire may have been the magazine’s latest house bigot (Elspeth Reeve has a nice summary of Derbyshire’s recent racism at AtlanticWire, 4/6/12), he is just one in a continuous line of racists writing in the pages of NR.

From its founding NR held up the flag of racial segregation and white supremacy, championing racist regimes in the American South (8/24/57) and South Africa (4/23/60; 6/30/64).

In a 1957 editorial, “Why the South Must Prevail” (8/24/57), NR founder William F. Buckley cited the “cultural superiority of white over Negro” in explaining why whites were “entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas where [they do] not predominate numerically.” Appearing on NPR‘s Fresh Air in 1989 (rebroadcast 2/28/08), he stood by the passage. “Well, I think that’s absolutely correct,” Buckley told host Terry Gross when she read it back to him.

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