Why is an influential atheist author giving a platform to scientific racism? In my latest for American Humanist Association, I show why Charles Murray, infamous for being a co-author on the widely debunked book “The Bell Curve,” finds a new audience in the age of Trump. Below is an excerpt:
In a familiar trope, Murray uses the example of Barack Obama to deflect racism. He sets up a scenario where Obama walks into an interview:
“You need a really smart guy and Barack Obama walks into the interview. Okay he’s Black. If you then make inferences about how smart he is based on his membership in an ethnic group you are going to be making a huge mistake.”
Later, Murray evokes Obama to argue that “affirmative action” has made it near impossible for employers to hire someone like the 44th President of the United States.
“What social policy is doing in an employer’s mind when it is a Black candidate walking into that office, is all sorts of things that are raising the cost of hiring that person for that employer. Raising the cost in terms of vulnerability to discrimination lawsuits.”
And yet Murray says his writing was motivated by a need to speak out against affirmative action.
“A lot of that is, how would I feel if I were a Black kid my age going into college and everybody thought I was an affirmative action kid? I would hate that. I would really hate it.”
Murray will never know, because White men’s achievements are not restricted by structural racism.
Murray displays what Professor Eduardo Bonilla-Silva calls “racism without racists.” White men like Murray are overly preoccupied with the belief that affirmative action is leading society to ruin, when in fact the biggest beneficiaries of this legislation have been White middle-class women—not racial minorities.
Read more on The Humanist.
[Image: drawing of a man drawing the bell curve on a blackboard. The title of the article is above the image, Ring a Bell? Charles Murray and the Resurgence of Scientific Racism.]