beyond the green: collective of middlebury voices

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

Who Matters at Middlebury? Or, F*ck Charles Murray

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

harmful policy.


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.




This entry was posted on February 27, 2017 by in Uncategorized.
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