Noah Berlatsky is a very weird dude. In January, I wrote here about how he is a white anti-white liberal fanatic who condemns other white people for being racist, because they have different educational priorities for their kids than he does — or that he pretends to have, given that he conceded in the column that he and his wife send their kid to a private school, though a progressive one.
Well, he’s back, writing on the NBC News website about how horrible white people today are re-instituting segregation via the schools they choose for their kids. He said that I’m a fellow traveler of Nazis:
When I wrote an article earlier this year arguing that white parents need to do more to promote desegregation, my social media mentions filled up with outraged protests, many of them openly anti-Semitic. Rod Dreher at the American Conservative said that by pointing out that white parents are complicit in segregation, I had contributed to the “demonization of “whiteness.” He also suggested that if my son went to a majority minority school he would likely be bullied by black students. Dreher’s concerns were echoed on the Nazi podcast “The Daily Shoah,” which also argued that when I advocate for desegregation, I am actually working to destroy white parents and white children.
My son currently goes to a majority minority public high school in Chicago. Contrary to Rod Dreher’s racist fantasies, being at a school where most people aren’t white hasn’t put him in danger. Instead, he’s had opportunities I never had in my all-white high school in northeastern Pennsylvania. He can practice his Spanish by speaking with bilingual classmates. He works with extremely talented young black and Latinx Shakespearean actors. He knows people who don’t look like him. That’s valuable.
Berlatsky is a loonie. When I wrote about his column, he went on social media accusing me of trying to dox him — even though he actually wrote in one of his previous pieces that he lives in Hyde Park. He’s also writing deceptively in this new column. For one, his January column was not about promoting desegregation; it was about using that cause (which is certainly defensible) as a way to legitimate anti-white racism. As I pointed out in my January piece, Berlatsky said in his first piece that his kid attended a private school. Here’s what I wrote in January about the public schools around Berlatsky:
Berlatsky doesn’t conclude by saying that he and his wife plan to withdraw their woke Columbus-hating child from private school to put him into the local public school. Wonder why?
According to the most up-to-date information I could find online, the Berlatsky family lives in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. (Five years ago, Berlatsky wrote an Atlantic piece about race and crime in Chicago, and said he lives in Hyde Park; from what I could discern online, he still does.) Hyde Park is a gentrified liberal enclave in the predominantly black South Side of Chicago. It’s 47 percent white and 30 percent black. I looked up all the public schools in Berlatsky’s zip code. The two highest rated schools, going by the city’s own measures, are Kenwood High School and Shoesmith, an elementary school. Kenwood’s student body is 84 percent black, and 57 percent low-income, with a 25 percent “chronic truancy” rating. Shoesmith’s student demographics are 91 percent black, 74 percent low income, and 15 percent with chronic truancy.
If Noah Berlatsky wanted his white child to experience the absence of whiteness in education, the opportunity is there, and it’s free. And yet, he still sends his child to private school. Why do you suppose that is? The answer is no doubt that he, like most parents, wants to provide his kid with the best education he can afford. What is hard to understand is why Berlatsky would consent to disfiguring his child with the hideous disease of whiteness.
I’m joking. I am sure that Berlatsky doesn’t believe this racist progressive claptrap for a second. What he does is more important than what he writes. He sent his white kid to private school, not to one of the overwhelmingly black public schools in his neighborhood. I don’t know how old his kid is, but he writes cagily in the NBC News piece that “maybe” he and his wife should have sent their son to a public school. Unless the boy is halfway through his senior year in the private school, it is still possible to pull him out to spare the kid another academic year imbibing the poison of whiteness. If Berlatsky won’t do this, then what right does he have to sit in judgment of other white parents?
It sounds like Berlatsky fils now goes to a public school. It sounds like now Berlatsky has decided to be less of a hypocrite, so yay for him, but it’s funny how he has memory-holed the fact that as recently as last fall, his kid was attending a private school. I wonder which public school young Berlatsky attends. Is it Kenwood, his neighborhood school? Or is it a magnet school somewhere? If I knew, I wouldn’t publicize it here, because I wouldn’t want his kid to be open to any kind of attacks from outside. But if that school is a magnet school, one that takes the best and brightest of all races, and not all the neighborhood kids of Hyde Park, then pardon me if I’m not impressed with Berlatsky’s newfound virtues.
When I lived in Dallas years ago, a Hispanic man complained to me about the hypocrisy of white liberals in my neighborhood of Dallas, who sent their kids to a local public high school, but only because their children were segregated inside the school from the commoners, within a gifted school-within-the-school. The liberals, in this Hispanic man’s view, wanted to feel good about sending their kids to a public high school, but did not actually want their children dragged down academically by having to share classroom space with the existing public (which, in that school, was mostly Hispanic).
Here’s what really chaps me about this new piece of Berlatsky hysteria. In it, Berlatsky accuses me of having “racist fantasies” that his white child will be put in physical danger at the all-black school. Oh? Where did I write that? Exactly nowhere, that’s the answer.
Here’s what I actually wrote:
It would be a lot more thought-provoking if Berlatsky confronted his own biases, and wrote a piece about why he and his wife sent their kid to a private school, and not to the heavily black public schools in their neighborhood. Is that because of academics alone? Or is it more the case that life would be hard for a white Jewish kid in a public school where non-blacks are 16 percent or fewer of the student body, and the majority of kids are poor and black?
Here’s why I care about this stuff. I wrote this in that January piece, about Berlatsky’s earlier column:
Berlatsky’s piece is minor stuff in the grand scheme of things, but that fact that this demonization of “whiteness” constitutes ordinary discourse on the American left, in educated circles, is alarming. Berlatsky’s essay says that white children carry within them a moral taint by virtue of their race — and that even white parents who raise their children to reject racism scarcely succeed at purifying their kids’ minds. Again, I ask you: where does this kind of thinking take us?
If somebody wrote a column saying that black children are so morally deformed by their blackness that even parents who raise them to reject blackness stand only a small chance of redeeming their children, we would know exactly what we were looking at. Same with children of any other race. Whether they know it or not, Berlatsky, and NBC News, are planting the seed of a wicked idea: that white children are carriers of an evil that in most cases, cannot be eradicated (even teaching white kids to serve non-whites is racist!), and that actively damages non-white people.
Progressives are turning America into a Yankee Doodle Yugoslavia.
The title of my piece was “Educating For A Yankee-Doodle Yugoslavia” because it talked about how progressives like Berlatsky are inciting racial hatred. I take for granted that it is true that some anti-Semites sent hate mail to Berlatsky after reading my criticism. I despise that bigots attacked Berlatsky, but look, like every writer at a national level, I get a racist, bigoted hate mail all the time. I don’t blame liberals and others who fairly criticize my work. Berlatsky is just trying to score progressive virtue points by pretending to be a martyr.
I have just sent the following e-mail to the editors of NBC’s Think site, where Berlatsky’s essays appear:
To the Think editors:
I’m writing about Noah Berlatsky’s column on your site of 3/11 in which he denounces me as a fellow traveler of neo-Nazis. It’s a scurrilous charge, but however stupid, it’s within the bounds of legitimate commentary.
But lying is not. Here is something Berlatsky writes in his 3/11 column:
“Contrary to Rod Dreher’s racist fantasies, being at a school where most people aren’t white hasn’t put him in danger.”
I ask you to review my American Conservative piece, written in response to his January NBC Think piece. Here is the link to my comment:
Nowhere do I indulge in “racist fantasies” about Berlatsky’s kid being assaulted at a public school. Nowhere. I wrote in my comment that I did not understand why Berlatsky denounced (in his January NBC Think piece) white people for sending their children to non-diverse schools when he and his wife have that opportunity in his Chicago neighborhood, but instead chose a private school (as he said in his piece). I wrote in response:
“It would be a lot more thought-provoking if Berlatsky confronted his own biases, and wrote a piece about why he and his wife sent their kid to a private school, and not to the heavily black public schools in their neighborhood. Is that because of academics alone? Or is it more the case that life would be hard for a white Jewish kid in a public school where non-blacks are 16 percent or fewer of the student body, and the majority of kids are poor and black?”
Nowhere do I speak of “danger.” As I pointed out in the piece, it’s understandable why the Berlatskys wouldn’t send their kid to the local public schools, given those schools’ documented (by the state) problems with truancy, etc. Berlatsky is lying about what I wrote, and doing so in a way designed to make me seem like a racist.
I ask you for a correction on the article.
I’ll let you know if I get it. It’s important to notice, though, how casually open anti-white racism like Berlatsky’s gets published in national forums. He can say whatever he wants about my opinions, but I’m not going to let him get away with an outright lie. Will NBC News? Do they even fact-check these columns before they allow writers to hurl these kind of inciteful lies?