Charles Murray Doesn’t Belong Here

Salma Abdelrahman, Ziyad J. Mcclean, and Nicholas P. Whittaker, The Crimson, September 5, 2017

Charles Murray

Charles Murray (Credit Image: © Javier Rojas/Prensa Internacional/ZUMAPRESS.com)

On September 6, Harvard alumnus Charles A. Murray ’65 will, upon invitation by the Harvard College Open Campus Initiativeappear on campus for a talk on his most recent book. Dr. Murray is a well-known sociologist who has written various books on sociology, education, and IQ. We, the Undergraduate Council’s Black Caucus, believe Murray’s blatantly white supremacist theories on race, gender, class, and IQ are fundamentally dangerous.

For the Open Campus Initiative to invite Murray to campus and give him an unchecked platform from which he can participate in and legitimize a tradition of dehumanization of marginalized people—the same tradition that is responsible for the tragedy of Charlottesville (and America’s entire history of racial trauma)—is fundamentally at odds with who we should be as a College. We believe that this event is misguided, and urge Open Campus Initiative to cancel it.

A common thread in Murray’s theories about social welfare, intelligence, and innate ability is an assertion of the natural intellectual and moral inferiority of certain disadvantaged groups of people—notably, as the Southern Poverty Law Center writes, “the Black and Latino communities, women, and the poor”—and the superiority of the white male upper class. This, according to the SPLC, earns him the label of white nationalist. We agree.

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At this political moment, when the very humanity of people of color in this country is being questioned and white supremacy is at the forefront of American political discourse, students ought to stand with their vulnerable peers of color and other marginalized persons on this campus. Instead, OCI has invited someone whose ideology fundamentally threatens their lives and freedoms.

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We are calling on OCI to cancel this event. In the very likely circumstance that the event continues regardless, we will be hosting our own event during Murray’s talk, which will consist of a panel of experts on sociology and race theory who will provide an in-depth explanation of where Murray goes wrong. We urge students to be proactive inquirers, and to challenge the ideology that Murray represents by joining us.

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At this moment in our history, we need to decide once and for all what values we as a community hold dear, and what side of history we fall on. In inviting Charles Murray to campus, OCI has asserted that white supremacy is a valid ideology, and that it belongs in our community.

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Charles Murray does not belong here.

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