Today the New York Times announced its selection of 20 new op-ed writers who will contribute to the paper on a monthly basis. Editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal told Capital New York that his staff selected contributors with “a broad range of viewpoints and subjects and backgrounds and geographical locations and every kind of form of diversity that you can think of.” This commitment to a diversity of viewpoints is remarkably strong, as indicated by the paper’s inclusion of science writer Razib Khan.
According to his Times author page, Khan is “a science blogger, a programmer and a doctoral candidate in genomics and genetics at the University of California, Davis.” Omitted from the paper’s biography, as a quick Google search indicates, is Khan’s history with racist, far-right online publications.
Here, for example, are 68 posts Khan wrote for Taki’s Magazine. The site was founded in 2007 by Taki Theodoracopulos, the flamboyantly racist Greek journalist known for trumpeting his disgust for Puerto Ricans, contempt for Africans, and suspicion of Jews. Besides Khan, Taki publishes people like John Derbyshire (who wrote “The Talk: Black Edition,” an essay so racist National Review cut its ties with him) and Vice cofounder Gavin McInnes (who penned an essay titled “I’m Not a Racist, Sexist, or a Homophobe, You Nigger Slut Faggot”).
Khan wrote for Taki from January through September 2009. A decade earlier, in 2000, Khan wrote a letter to VDARE, a white nationalist website named after the first child born to English settlers in America*, in which he discussed another VDARE essay by Steve Sailer, the openly racist science writer, concerning the threat of the United States becoming “more genetically and culturally Mexican.” According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, VDARE was considered a “relatively mainstream anti-immigration page” after it was founded in 1999; within the next four years, however, it began “regularly publish[ing] articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists and anti-Semites,” and continues to do so.
VDARE’s racist ideology did not prevent Khan from earnestly linking to an essay published there in 2009. The author of the VDARE piece argued that the “defense of the West against the onslaught of Islam and Third-World immigration” required acknowledging that the State of Israel was part of the West and, by extension, under the very same threat. Khan’s response, published on Taki’s Magazine, consisted of his suggestion that the “West” seemed to be only Christian, not Judeo-Christian, in nature.
Khan’s writing elsewhere hardly rejects the doctrines on which these outlets are based. He merely treats what white racists taken for granted—that non-whites, and especially blacks, are intellectually inferior—as an open question worth exploring in the name of scientific inquiry. Still, Khan is careful with his actual words; he never says black people are less intelligent. But his willingness to treat black intelligence as a matter of debate has not hampered his career in the slightest. He’s written for Slate, The Daily Telegraph, and The Guardian. Indeed, he’s already placed two op-eds, about the evolution of cats and abortion politics, in The New York Times.
Congratulations to Khan. Even more congratulations, of course, to the Times.