a student-run publication that seeks to provide space for voices that are not being heard on our campus. we are grounded by politics that are radical, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-classist, anti-homophobic, anti-ableist, and anti-transphobic (against all forms of oppression) and that reject the structural neo-liberal paradigm that characterizes middlebury college and its official publications
By Maya DA
Today, I experienced my first moment of genuine disappointment as an alumna of
Middlebury College (I graduated two weeks ago). All day it followed me; the deeply
uncomfortable awareness that the school from which I graduated continues to be
complicit in the oppressive fuckery we see, and often denounce, in the rest of our
Charles Murray should never have been invited to speak at Middlebury. And I am angry
that anyone with any institutional power would green-light this event. Charles Murray is
a racist who allows the oldest, and most toxic, forms of bigotry to influence his academic
conclusions, and whose research has, in turn, been used to justify bigoted and incredibly
He misuses data on IQ test disparities to argue that race, class, and gender determine
intelligence—or rather, that social and economic inequities are natural consequences of
innate differences in intelligence. He suggests, for instance, that white men hold most of
the wealth and power in our society, because they are intellectually, and genetically,
superior to people of color, to women, and to poor people.
He dismisses environmental factors (i.e. education, poverty, discrimination, test bias,
language, cultural difference) that influence things like IQ scores, or SAT scores, and he
over relies on these test results as indicators of people’s full intelligence and
capabilities. However, IQ tests are culturally-specific and limited in the scope and type
of cognitive abilities they measure.
Moreover, and most concerning, he draws dangerous moral conclusions about
intelligence: that it has something to do with one’s civility, with one’s value, and with
one’s humanity. This is exceptionally ableist, and has also often been the ideological basis of colonization, imperialism, mass incarceration, school segregation, and genocide.
Murray’s work has had a powerful and destructive legacy in this country. This is the
research folks draw on to end welfare programs, to reduce public school funding, to end
affirmative action, and to strengthen the police state. This is the kind of research that
hurts people, that kills people. No, this is not hyperbole; does poverty not kill? Do
militarized police not kill?
When students at Middlebury invite such a man to visit, and when they present the
event like it’s an opportunity for healthy debate, they affirm the legitimacy of his racism.
And most painful in all of this, they ask their peers to prove their own humanity. The
students in Middlebury’s branch of the American Enterprise Institute, by bringing
Charles Murray, say to students and community members who are of color, who come
from poor families, who are disabled, who are women, who are genderless, who are
queer: “Come and convince us that you matter. This is what college, what learning, is all
Remember that a majority of students at Middlebury and schools like
Middlebury—indeed, Charles Murray himself—have never, and will never, be asked to
convince anyone that they are human. Remember that explicit and unapologetic white
supremacy is trending again (no, it never went out of style, just started dressing down).
Remember that a right to free speech has nothing to do with holding a microphone
beneath someone’s mouth. Remember that a right to free speech has nothing to do with
honorariums. Remember that “free speech!” is a flimsy argument for validating white
Remember that the voices we amplify, reverberate.
These are the moments when Middlebury as an institution gets to decide what and who
it values. Fuck y’all for choosing wrong.