Murray in Denver

Fri, 11 Nov 1994 09:55:22 -0600

Since a number of people on the list have inquired about Charles Murray's
visit to Denver on Wednesday (Nov. 9), I decided to make a few brief
remarks which I thought might be of interest.

He came and went quickly, needless to say, book sales soared as the
cover of the Bell Curve was shown on all the local tv stations.

>From a few friends I know who did attend the $15 a ticket affair, the
thrust of Murray'
s remarks hardly touched the IQ-Race furor his book has unleashed. Instead
he zeroed in on what appears to be real twin-targets: government social
programs and an attack on public education. This tendency to use the
IQ-Race controversy to undermine what is left of social programs and
public education seems to be the way he plays the publicity. His public
statements on race, unlike Mr. Rushton's, are more careful. An interesting
tactical approach. The main line of his thinking - as reflected in the
local press coverage - was, again, to attack ALL poor people, regardless
of race and to set in motion a kind of eugenic-logic of unfitness.

I attended the rally in opposition to Murray's talk. There were from
150-200 at its height (a figure, again, essentially verified by press
reports). It was organized by the students and faculty of Metro State
with the students' Political Science Association and Women's Center
playing a key role along with the Black Students Alliance and MECHA.
Metro's Soc-Anthro-Social Work Dept faculty and staff was well represented
and included one of the key speakers. Although here and there, the
rhetoric was abit thick, on the whole, it was a decent, humane, and,
completely racially integrated affair of a kind that I think of as being
more and more uncommon these days. One could say that ironically, that
Murray's presence had stimulated the beginnings of a new wave of racial
cooperation and cross-cultural sensitivity on the campus (perhaps I
am being idealistic here, time will tell).

A few final thoughts...

1. A professor from the University of Denver Graduate School of International
Studies, Dr. Alan Gilbert, spoke. I mention him because as a historian of
science, he appears to be one of the most knowledgeable people I know on
Murray-Herrnstein and co. He has written a good deal on this subject and
interestingly enough studied at Harvard during the 1970s when Herrnstein
was in his `IQ' prime. In terms of national expertise, he is worth
contacting, for those of you who want to follow up or have questions on
the subject.

2. I have collected the press clippings from Muuray's Denver stay (Denver
Post, Rocky Mountain News, the student press). Some of you might find them
of interest and I would be willing to send them out. Simply drop me a
message of your interest. They are mildly interesting.

3. There is a good possibility that Murray's visit, is not the last, but
the first of a series of public events on IQ and Race. There is great
interest among the students and the faculty for some serious, thoughtful
follow up. Great opportunity for anthros to strut their stuff and be a
part of the public dialogue.

4. An afterthought...Murray does not appear to big on debating his
viewpoint. I was thinking of what an excellent opportunity this issue
raises to open the most public, far-reaching type of intellectual debate
possible... Again, it offers Anthropology a special opportunity to become
involved in the public discussion in the way that an old master like
Boas was so effective at...

5. Finally, I would publicly like to acknowledge the many personal messages
of support for Wednesday's demonstration that came from members of this
list. I shared some of them with the students and faculty at the school.


Rob Prince/Metro State College/Denver