In his conversation with Nicholas Lemann, Dinesh D’Souza cites three people—David Duke, Mark Fuhrman, and Jared Taylor—as evidence that racism is still a problem in America. Everyone has heard of the first two, but who on earth is Jared Taylor?
I am the editor of a newsletter on race relations called American Renaissance . In 1994 I hosted a conference on the theme of “Race and American Civilization,” and Mr. D’Souza was one of many subscribers who attended. In The End of Racism he describes the conference in such lurid terms that at one point in the conversation Mr. Lemann remarks: “There’s a chilling scene in the book where you go to a racist group’s convention and they say all sorts of scary things.” Mr. Lemann did not know, because Mr. D’Souza did not write, that of the eleven speakers at the conference, two were syndicated columnists, four were Ph.D.s, one was a Jesuit priest, and four, including one orthodox rabbi, were Jews.
Why would Mr. D’Souza describe these people as if they were Klansmen? I suspect it is because he feared his book would attract charges of racism, which he wanted to deflect by pointing to others and saying, “They’re the racists; I’m a bold thinker.”
The trouble was that the views expressed at the conference were too similar to his own for him to report them accurately and then denounce them as “racist.” His account is therefore laughably misleading, but it is nothing compared with what he originally intended to publish. Fortunately, the speakers saw the book in galleys. Mr. D’Souza had invented passages from speeches (which were recorded) and had deliberately falsified “quotations” from American Renaissance —all in order to make us sound like “bigots.”
We wrote to his publisher. Although books were already in print, his falsehoods were so egregious that The Free Press took the extraordinary and very costly step of junking a good part of the first print run while Mr. D’Souza hurriedly made corrections.
Mr. D’Souza calls me a racist. In reply I would only point out that early in his journalistic career he earned the nickname Distort D’Newsa.