Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, November 1995
In writing The End of Racism, Dinesh D’Souza took a considerable risk. His facts and arguments are the kind that always prompt cries of “racism,” and a reputation as a racist is difficult to live down. The uproar that has greeted this book has surely confirmed Mr. D’Souza’s fears. In addition to the expected torrent of printed abuse, two reasonably sensible black “conservatives,” Glenn Loury and Robert Woodson, have severed ties with the American Enterprise Institute where Mr. D’Souza is a fellow. Time magazine was so furious about the book that it urged a boycott.
Mr. D’Souza knew he was likely to be treated as a moral inferior; how, then, to deflect liberal wrath? The traditional strategy of the pusillanimous right is to point the finger at people further to the right and say, “No, no, I’m not a bigot; those are the real bigots. I’m merely a bold thinker.” This is what Mr. D’Souza has done, and his primary targets have been me and American Renaissance. It is not my practice to write about myself or recount the fortunes of AR, but this incident requires an exception.
The tenth chapter of Mr. D’Souza’s book is called “Bigotry in Black and White.” The first five pages are an account of the 1994 AR conference in Atlanta, which Mr. D’Souza attended. Mr. D’Souza had been aware of AR since at least February 1994, when he became a subscriber and ordered every back issue. His subscription, renewed this year, is entirely up to date.
In making AR and the conference appear to be a swamp of wickedness, Mr. D’Souza faced a serious problem: all but a few pages of his book are entirely compatible with AR. How does one make a bogeyman out of someone with whom one largely agrees? Shamelessly misrepresent what he says. This is what Mr. D’Souza did. His distorted account of the conference begins just two sentences after he writes that “students should learn ways to seek to distinguish truth from falsehood, beauty from vulgarity, right from wrong.”
Fortunately, a copy of the galleys of The End of Racism fell into my hands before the book was distributed. I was amazed to find, among other misrepresentations, deliberate misquotations from American Renaissance. In an attempt to show just how vile a publication it is, Mr. D’Souza combed through his back issues and selected ten passages with which to shock the reader. Amazingly, he managed to transcribe only three accurately, and he deliberately changed several to make them sound especially provocative. Here is one example: “There are no mantras to numb the brain like: All men are created equal.”
The sentence I actually wrote was: “There are no racialist or even conservative mantras to numb the brain like ‘All men are created equal,’ ‘We are a nation of immigrants,’ or ‘Diversity is our strength.’” This is not so much an attack on the idea of equality — though it is also that — as an attack on the mantra-like thinking of liberals. Since one of the mantras is from the Declaration of Independence, Mr. D’Souza appeared to feel justified in going on to write that AR stands for “rejection of the principles of the American founding.”
Authors with any hope of credibility do not falsify someone’s written text and pass it off as a direct quotation. This trick is too hard to conceal and too obviously dishonest. Yet Mr. D’Souza did this several times. At least the words he selectively chose to print were, for the most part, words I had used. This was not the case in his account of my speech at the AR conference.
Mr. D’Souza wrote in the book’s galleys that I had said immigrants were “malodorous and unsanitary.” Because the speech was recorded it is easy to show that I said nothing of the kind. He wrote that I called Asians “people utterly unlike ourselves,” whereas I did not talk about Asians at all.
Mr. D’Souza’s worst offense was his account of a conversation he had with me during the conference: “Taylor described himself as a lapsed Protestant who has become a kind of Nietzschean. ‘I believe in tribalism, in shared historical memory, and in an assertion of power.’” I did say I was reared in a Protestant Christian family, but the rest is about as close to pure fiction as journalism ever gets.
About the conference in general, Mr. D’Souza expressed the views that it:
- “will suggest to many that the Klan is making a comeback in the 1990s.”
- conveys “the new spirit of white bigotry.”
- promoted an ideology “formulated explicitly on the model of black power.”
- was “organized by activists seeking to articulate a politics of white power.”
He also noted that “there were no confederate battle insignia or swastikas in sight,” implying that there somehow should have been. Needless to say, he did not mention that of the ten speakers, four held doctorate degrees, two were nationally-syndicated columnists, one was a Jesuit priest, and four — including an orthodox rabbi — were Jews.
Just in case the reader still wasn’t convinced that the conference was a nest of vipers, Mr. D’Souza wrote: “Here were people who were by all appearances urbane and educated, yet they did not flinch from terms like ‘chink’ or ‘nigger.’” I never heard anyone speak that way at the conference, nor did any of the half-dozen people I have since asked about it. I think this is just another invention.
Mr. D’Souza’s mind must have slipped into a special gear when he wrote about us. In 556 pages of text, he mentions the names of hundreds of people, many of whom he has met in person. The only people whom he describes physically (always unflatteringly) are speakers at the conference — and only in connection with the conference. For example, there is a serious treatment of Prof. Michael Levin’s justifications for rational discrimination, and in a footnote Mr. D’Souza expresses gratitude to Prof. Levin for having sent him an unpublished book manuscript. But as soon as Prof. Levin shows up at the AR conference, he becomes “a bespectacled academic with a nasal voice.” Likewise, I am “a gaunt Southern man.” Also, although Mr. D’Souza goes to some trouble to define terms like “racism” and “ethnocentrism,” he calls the conference participants “bigots,” a term he does not define and uses in almost no other context.
I wrote to Mr. D’Souza’s editor at the Free Press, Adam Bellow, threatening legal action if these falsifications were not corrected. Lawrence Auster and Samuel Francis, who also spoke at the conference, joined me in protesting distortions of their remarks as well. As it happens, by this time, the first run of bound books was already being delivered. Mr. Bellow referred our letters to the company’s lawyers. The result was that changes were hurriedly made to the text and, as far as we can gather, the entire first press run was destroyed. The book in stores now is largely free of deliberate or merely sloppy misquotations. Some have been “corrected” by use of ellipses. That is to say, sentences that are already out of context have been tortured into small fragments. Mr. D’Souza no longer notes the absence of battle flags or swastikas, but he still claims that the people at the conference were “bigots” and used racial slurs.
The final version shows other signs of — dare we say it? — bigotry. In his book, Mr. D’Souza makes many of the same arguments about the follies of race relations that I do in Paved With Good Intentions and he often uses the same examples to support them. In a book that bristles with thousands of footnotes, as his does, it is at the very least odd that my book not be referenced even once.
In fact, there is an amusing indication that this is deliberate. When Mr. D’Souza cites a magazine article his rule is to include the name of the author in the footnote. In a reference to an article I wrote for National Review, the name of the author does not appear. Mr. D’Souza seems to have been so determined to keep my name out of the footnotes that he broke his own bibliographic rules. Since he had decided to offer me up as a prominent bigot, he could hardly give the impression that he might have learned something from me.
Mr. D’Souza’s contemptible tactics did not even work. He has been pelted with absurd charges of racism, and there is no reason to think the accusations would have been any wilder if he had not savaged the AR conference. One newspaper has actually seen through his ruse. Writing in the Oct. 1 issue of the Washington Post, a book reviewer who is black writes that although Mr. D’Souza claims to be unbiased, he has obviously learned a great deal from his “mentors,” Samuel Jared Taylor and Michael Levin!
The real pity is that Mr. D’Souza’s dishonesty was unnecessary. He has written an impressively researched and bravely argued book. He has shown a firm grasp of many slippery issues. There is no reason why he could not have presented AR and the people who write for it as a reasoned response to the racial madness of our times — a madness he describes more thoroughly and more persuasively than virtually any other writer in America.