This is the blog of Eddie G. Griffin, former Black Panther and Child's Rights advocate, Christian, and author of "Breaking Men's Minds"
Eddie Griffin Speaks at JFK Museum
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Grants Available from Morningside Children’s Partnership
Eddie Griffin, publicist, MCP Council
Dear Morningside Community, Friends, and
We have an exciting opportunity to
announce! Morningside Children’s Partnership will be offering awards of up to
$3,000 to area organizations, churches, and educators. These grant awards will
be given to applicants whose innovative projects positively impact the children
and families of the Morningside Community.
For full details and eligibility
requirements, please see the full application. It is available on the MCP
website www.mcpfw.org and also at some local
We will be providing two information
sessions for any interested applicants who may have additional questions.
read in the newspaper
where the Darden family is suing the City and the Fort Worth Police Department
over the death of Jermaine. I also saw the horrific footage of the police
raid that led to his death.
you know, I spoke on behalf of the Darden family before the city council, and
you were gracious enough to meet with me and Angela Tyson, the sister of
Jermaine. She expressed to you her family’s grievance and hardships of his
death. And, you also know that she and I met with Chief Jeff Halstead.
speaking, I do not know if there was anything that could have been done to
prevent this lawsuit. But I do wish to remind you also, as a matter of record,
of my extensive correspondence with the former chief about the use of force and
excessive tasering. My correspondence led to the Chief going to TASER
International, and convincing the company to modify its taser design, because
we found in the tasering death of Michael Jacobs Jr that the continuous
discharge of 50,000 volts of electricity to the body will indeed kill a person,
contrary to the company’s previous non-lethal claim.
City should have learned from the $2 million settlement with the Jacobs family
that tasers can become excessive force, if it exceeds the 5-second safety
shutoff that was built in. And, there are only rare exceptions where an officer
is allowed to redeploy beyond that limit.
reading the police report and seeing the body camera videos, it is evident that
the officer fired his taser into Darden body on two occasions, which meant that
he overrode the shutoff. Coupled with that fact, this just so happened to be
the very same officer who had turned his body camera off before the raid, while
the other four officers kept recording their involvement.
shutoff and body cameras were created, designed and intended to be safeguards
against excessive force, whether intentional or accidental. To exceed those
constraints is the very definition of “excessive”.
also noted that the cause of death in Jermaine Darden’s case was attributed to
cardiac arrest and “application of restraint” by the Tarrant County Medical
Examiner, instead of electrocution from tasing. Historically, medical examiners
avoid attributing the cause of death to tasers, because TASER International has
sued every ME who has, and the company has won every case.
when I look at the video again, I cannot determine if death was caused by taser
of chokehold, the same technique that killed Eric Garner in New York. We see that
Darden was obese and asthmatic, and we hear people in the house screaming that
the man could not breathe. Again, like Eric Garner’s I CAN’T BREATHE plead.
the most unnerving thing about the body cam tapes was that this was not a drug
house, but the home of a poor family, with no lavish amount of money, no drugs,
and no alcohol strewn about in front of small children. The man that the
officers sought, Jermaine Darden, was sickly and disabled, and on a ventilator,
when the officers battered through the door in SWAT gear. It was physically
impossible for Darden to comply to roll over on his stomach. That would be like
asking a man to suffocate himself. The human body would not allow it, but the
officer’s knee in the back forced him into this fatal position.
course, it is too late to fix the unfixable and rectify mistakes. And I am sure
Jeff Halstead will attest to those mistakes, especially the negligence of
having a comprehensive policy to govern the use of policy body cameras.
let me remind you that the Obama administration chose Fort
Worth as a test site for community policing, based upon the Fort Worth
Police Officers Association endorsement of the use of body cameras. At issue is
how much disclosure constitutes sufficient transparency. The FWPOA wants less,
the public wants more. This federal grant may provide a forum whereby we can
reach an agreeable medium. But, in the meantime, we have what we have, and the
tapes do not lie. Therefore, it is incumbent upon you and other council members
to redress this terrible grievance done upon the Darden family.
P. S. The response from the Fort Worth city councilwoman came as expected.
Thank you Eddie. As you are aware, with litigation underway, I have no remarks to offer, but do acknowledge receipt of your email... Gyna M. Bivens, City Council Member, District 5
rhetorical question was raised by a Ferguson official, insinuating that the
presidency of Barack Obama would be short-lived. Though the 2012 election would
prove otherwise, that a black man can hold down the job of President for more
than four years, it makes me wonder why anyone would say such a thing to begin with.
The answer might be found in a stereotypical forgone conclusion.
men are incapable of holding down a steady job. Everybody should know that, right?
Maybe this hypothetical situation can explain.
If the boss were an alumnus of Oklahoma University’s Sigma
Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and he had the discretionary power to hire, fire,
and promote, because the Right to Work
laws allows him to do business without being unimpeded by the federal overreach
of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, a black man would have no guarantee of
a job. The At-Will doctrine means
that he can be terminated at any time, for any reason or no reason at all. And
everybody knows, from recent news reports, that the above fraternity on OU’s
campus disfavors blacks, right?
if a black man were tardy for work because he was targeted by the Ferguson police,
stopped repeatedly, removed from his car, searched, and cited, wouldn’t his work
record suffer? Of course, even the detaining officer would know that.
suppose every time he gets a paycheck, he has to pay blood money to the municipal
courts in Ferguson,
Missouri for traffic fines and fees. If the citations pile up unpaid, he would
be arrested and probably lose his job, another fact not lost on court
officials. Now suppose again that the judge is also an alumnus of Oklahoma
Alpha Epsilon fraternity, with the same racial sentiments shared on
videotape. What chance does a black man have in holding down a steady job for
more than four years?
Although we may not find this exact scenario in any given situation, the
general features of its elements can be found in today’s headlines. Putting
forth this hypothesis makes it sound like an overt conspiracy against black
people. And everybody knows that is not true, right?
that is how subtle racism works, and also why someone could snidely remark with
confidence: “What black man
holds a steady job for four years?” Overall, it does not look like racism, just
a simple case of racial bigotry, smattered here and there, but nothing
conspiratorial. The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity students just
look like the average Joe college kid saying and doing some stupid things, like
college kids do. But the frightening reality is that Old Joe will grow up to
become tomorrow’s captain of industry, a judge sitting on the bench, or a
police officer patrolling the streets. And, according to this fraternity’s current
attributes, these kids will become like those already in power, insofar as “the apple does not fall too far from the
Why are the parents of these
college kids not outraged? Why aren’t they condemning their
children as hoodlums and thugs? And who is going to say these wayward kids are
the product of poor parenting and a troubled childhood? It’s not their fault, like father, like son.
it is not simply a matter of double standard. College kids don’t make this
stuff up out of the sky blue. It is a tradition handed down, from generation to
generation, and taken as a given. They are taught this way, that black men are lazy and cannot hold down a steady job. The
empirical proof of their inferiority is their high unemployment numbers. They
are taught that the employment rate is an unbiased operation of the job market,
rather than a factor of who does the hiring, firing, and promoting. No, to see
it this way would be to recognize their privileged status, as opposed to their
They do not see justice meted out in partial ways. The
revelling that they and their peers engage in, as part of their rite of
passage, for which they receive only a slap on the wrist, is turned upside down
when the same behaviour is observed by African-American youth of the same age.
Racism is more than simply racial bigotry using the
N-word. It is about power and privilege. The singing and chanting of the videotaped
OU students is merely an outward expression of jubilation celebrating the reign
of white supremacy, as evidence by the use of the racist slur. This is nothing
new, and neither am I overly appalled at it, because I have seen it before, and
every day of my life since.
EXPRERIENCE: In 1966, some Zeta
Tau Alpha sororitypledgees on the campus of Arlington State
College painted themselves up in blackface and celebrated the tradition of Old
South Week. The men dressed up in their gray Confederate regalia, hung
nooses around the necks of their blackface school pals, and paraded them around
campus on leashes. It was an innocuous mockery of the Emancipation and an affront
to black students on campus.
the fourth year of desegregation, we took on Johnny Reb and his Confederate
tradition, in a battle to Drive
Old Dixie Down. The first referendum to abolish the Rebel theme failed in May 1965 by an overwhelming majority vote
of the student body.
two months earlier, Jimmie Lee Jackson
was killed in Selma, Alabama for leading a voter registration drive. Other than
the University of Alabama where
Governor George Wallace had vowed “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and
segregation forever”, Arlington State was the only other
campus where the Confederate flag flew at the top of the staff.
first march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, spurred by the martyrdom of
Jimmie Lee, culminated on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965. The
second march, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., began on March 9, but was
prevented from completion by a federal injunction. The third march reached the
Alabama State Capitol on March 25. But the victory was short lived because the same
day, civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo was murdered on the back roads of Alabama.
And later, on August 20, 1965, Jonathan Daniel was martyred in Hayneville,
August 11, 1965, the Watts riot broke out in Los Angeles, California, after a
racially profiled traffic stop. The Watts riot was dubbed Alabama on Avalon, probably because Police Chief William Parker described
the protesters as being like “monkeys in a zoo.”
October 1965, a group of 8 or 9
black students staged a demonstration around the flagpole on ASC campus,
supported by 15-20 white students and one college professor. Political Science
professor Dr. Alan Saxe boldly
removed the Confederate battle flag from its pole. In so doing, white students
became infuriated and want to turn to violence. There were
counter-demonstrations in the small town of Arlington, Texas.
After a series of student referendums, on September 1,
1965, Arlington State College became a part of the University of Texas System and
by 1967 the school’s name changed to the University of Texas at Arlington. In 1968,
almost three years after the first protest, alas, the Student Congress decided
to remove the Confederate flag from the student center.
CONCLUSION: The 50th anniversary of the Selma
march and the recent events of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University
of Oklahoma bring us full circle back to where we began, without so much as even
touching the underlying issue of racism. Yet, we see it alive in brief glimpses
of clean-cut college kids singing and chanting racial slurs on a bus. We see it
in recent emails of Ferguson officials and discriminatory law enforcement against
minorities in cities across the country, and disparities in employment.
Then someone has the gall to say “race has nothing to do
with it”, while someone else has the audacity to ask “What black man holds a steady job for four years?”
But anger waxes old. And even if it were possible to get
incensed again after 50 years non-stop, the same people in denial would accuse a black man like me of being a racist,
although I am in control of nothing but my being.
admit that I am confused as to what is child abuse, and at what point does
disciplining a child becomes abusive. This is the public debate now surrounding
the case of Minnesota NFL running back Adrian Peterson.
did corporal punishment become a crime? Is this an ex-post facto law applied to Peterson? It used to be that a parent
could “warm them buns”, “tan that hide”, or even “take the hide off” a
disobedient child, without fear of going to jail. So, who changed the rules of
engagement about chastening a child for misbehaving?
we are going to rewrite the laws, according to contemporary ideals, I guess an
old school mother could be charged with “making a terroristic threat” for
simply saying “I brought you into the world and I will take you out.” As horrible
as it may sound, there was usually no love lost between mother and child.
is only be a matter of what the state choses to make of it. In the case of
Adrian Peterson, they have chosen to move the goal post. What was once lawful
and scriptural seems to have now become a crime. Sorry, I didn’t get the memo.
grew up in the bible belt of Texas, where black parents tried to raise their
children according to the scriptures (Proverbs 22:6).
It was not uncommon for a parent to discipline a child with a switch for acting
up in church. Proverbs
23:13 says: Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beat him with the
rod, he shall not die. Another translation says: Don't withhold discipline from a
child -if you beat him with a stick, he won't die!
this relates to the use of the switch when chastising a child. As someone said,
“To not do so is a disservice to the child.” The bible talks about letting a child
go undisciplined and uncorrected in Hebrews 12:8.
seems that child abuse is arbitrarily based upon a perception or misperception
of a parent injuring or killing a child. From a child’s vantage point, of
course a whipping seems like mama or daddy is going to kill us. Yet the
scriptures insist that “he won’t die”? The abuse comes in whenever a parent
whips a child out of angry emotions and without compassion. But as my mother
used to say before a whipping, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts
you.” I never understood how that could be so until I become a parent myself.
parents believed that a whipping would instill the fear of God in us. But more
dreaded than the fear of the Almighty was fear of papa and to hear mother say, “just
wait till your daddy gets home”. That was sure terror, because it meant the
punishment would be certain. And we children had the awful chore of finding a
suitable switch to furnish papa.
fathers have limits also, according to the scriptures. He is commanded by God
not to provoke their children to wrath (Ephesians 6:4).
This means that though he can use corporal punishment for discipline, he is not
to go overboard such as to instill within the child hate, anger, and rage.
Sadly, many parents do not know where to draw that line.
begins with discipline at home. However, though our desire as parents may be
the same in bringing up our children the right way, our methods of discipline
are not the same. There is no textbook solution to child rearing. As my mother pointed
out to her Child Psychology professor, she was more an expert on the subject
than the author of the book, having given birth to six children herself. Each
child was different, she insisted. Therefore, each child was treated
of the things she learned was to “never try to discipline a child while you are
angry.” And one more, I might note from my own observation: “A drunken father
should never handle the switch.” These things lead to child abuse.
needs of a child in one family may differ from the needs of a child from
another background. One parent may not have to worry about disciplining a
3-year old for picking up beer cans and draining the content, because empty
beer cans may not be so prevalent in their neighborhood. But for inner city
children, there are a multitude of additional risks, such as teen drinking,
drug experimentation, early teen pregnancy, and juvenile crimes. Teaching our
children in the inner city neighborhoods to avoid these risks require a much sterner
and steady hand, and should not be weakened by shifting mores.
the greater risks our children must face, we opt not to pamper our children as
some do. The bible says that children who go without discipline are not true
children of God (Hebrews
12:8). Like 14-year old Ethan Couch who got drunk, got behind the wheel of
his parents’ car, and went out and killed 4 innocent people in a car wreck, he could
plead not guilty because he suffered from “Affluenza”.
children with undiagnosed ADHD and autism may be arbitrarily judged competent
and punished in school, this little rich kid was pampered all his life. Having
never been punished, he did not understand and appreciate the serious
consequences for his actions. So, psychology creates this figment disorder
called “affluenza” and the courts gave him a slap on the risk.
the other hand, I was equally appalled and dismayed at a video of a 7-year old
black kid who stole his grandmother’s car and went joyriding with another
7-year old. Barely being able to see over the steering wheel, he wound up
crashing several cars and destroying property. Afterwards, the child boasted that
doing “bad things” was “fun”. His grandmother agonized over what she could do.
She would whip his butt, she declared, but “she was afraid of going to jail.”
Isn’t this what is happening to all our black parents and grandparents? Because
they use whipping as a means of correction, they are portrayed as violent and
one of the commentators recommended the solution to the 7-year old boy’s
problem was to put him in juvenile detention. Instead of allowing the parents
their traditional means of correcting bad behavior, they would take the power
out of the hands of the parents, and use the power of the state to criminalize him,
and mar him for the rest of the his life. So the grandmother is left helpless
for fear of the law. If and when a black child goes wild, these will be the very
same people who ask, “Where are the parents?” Don’t they realize that they have
rendered the parents useless and ineffective by their pious judgments and
Adrian Peterson, I use a switch on my grandchildren, as I used on my son and
daughter some 25 years ago. In fact, I carried one in the car at all time and also
at church. A gentle tap on the legs reminds them to turn around in church and behave
themselves. It is not going to kill them, though they may cry like their little
worlds are coming to an end.
course, no child likes to be chastened (Hebrews 12:11).
Who does? But a child must know that a whipping stings like a bee. The gentle
tap on the leg is only a reminder that it could be worse. The end of the
teaching is to instill good behavior and right decision making.
parents of privileged means seem to think such teachings comes by osmosis. Some
might think that taking a little flesh taken off the hide of a four-year old is
too harsh. Instead, they would second guess the judgment of the parent (as if they
were wiser), and advocate non-corporal means of punishment, such as losing
their privileges for a week. This is what happened to the 7-year old who stole
his grandmother’s car: No video games for a week.
have seen this difference in punitive treatment growing up in the 1950s, when a
black child could get hide tanned at home, by a neighbor, or at school for
wrongdoing. The coach at school used a paddle, and the principal used a strap. Therewith,
we learned respect for adults and authority. It was instilled in us like a nail
hammered in wood, because we knew the consequence would be painful corporal
worked in segregated black schools. But corporal punishment was taken away, and
eventually the coach’s paddled was outlawed. In its place came in-house
suspensions, expulsions, and criminalization for behavioral offenses. But secretly,
we still use the old school method of punishment in the African-American
community, because pampering a child only spoils them.
learned something from my aunt, when she was a housekeeper for a very wealthy
family and nanny for their children. She cleaned house, cooked, cared for the
kids, and took them to the segregated movie houses or downtown. She was
permitted to carry a gun for their protection, but she was never allowed to
spank either child.
saw the same pattern when integration of the schools came along in the 1970s.
As long as the teachers, principals, and coaches routinely whipped black children
as a means of punishment, it was okay. But after integration there was a
clamoring among privileged families to not hit their children. Not only did
this take away school officials’ and teachers’ authority and their most effective
means of control, it undermined their better judgment.
people now ask why there is so much chaos in the classrooms. Why is there so
much bullying? Why don’t parents do more to control their children?
truth is the system has taken the controls out of the parents’ hand. And, those
controls are being even more eroded by taking the power of discipline out of
the hands of fathers like Adrian Peterson. From the whelps I have seen on the
legs of his four-year old son, there are only whelps and broken skin, but no broken
bones, black eyes, or fractured skull.
a loving grandfather, I have left worse marks on the back of a two-year old
granddaughter, who decided to run away from home with her three-year old
brother, each wearing their backpacks. The two of them made it a mile down a
busy highway before a kind motorist spotted them and brought them home.
was called in to do the unpleasant task of disciplining them. At first, I went
lighter on the 2-year old than the 3-year old. But my granddaughter defiantly
went back into street, not once, but twice, showing her intention to disobey.
She had no sense of danger, which most kids don’t. Cars were swerving around
her to keep from hitting her.
timeout, taking her dolls for punishment, and all that was out of the question.
I had to insure that this incident was not repeated. So, I whipped her with a
switch on her naked back and it made her mama cry. Nevertheless, there is a
line a child must not cross, at all cost.
a grandparent, I can better understand why, during slavery time, black fathers
would sometimes intervene on behalf of a disobedient slave son who were about
to be lashed by the slave master. The father would plead to whip some sense
into the boy himself, rather than let the slave master whip him. Though black people
derided this practice which was carried on for centuries, we now realize the
father was looking out for the life and wellbeing of the child. His whipping
would not kill the child. There was no such empathy on the part of the slave
so it is today. A black father would rather chastise his child, his way,
himself, rather than allow a wayward child to fall into the hands of the
police, so that the state can punish him for the rest of his life.
Ferguson, Missouri Protest Sparks
got an SOS text message from Ferguson from a Facebook friend, who was one of
the principals in organizing the protests surrounding the killing of teenager Michael
the time of contact, teargas was raining down on the community. His wife had almost
been arrested. They barely made it home safely out of the chaos, home to their
what he saw, it sounded like SyFy:
“We have seen that. They were prepared with riot gear assault rifles
and wooden bullets and teargas from the very beginning tanks on rail cars moved
into St Louis days ago also there have been several military vehicles as well
as helicopters and drones there are parts of the city that we can't go to at
night… They almost have arrested my wife on Sunday for helping a teenager who
was being descended upon by circle of pigs.
We decided not to go to Ferguson tonight. But we live 15 min away.
Yes sir, curfew. Martial law… My wife told the sisters to leave the children at
home. Ferguson is entirely locked down now… they start shooting massive amounts
of teargas at night… We need to work
on getting international exposure and support so that we will not be isolated…
Something strange is going on they are trying to provoke us… this feels like some sort of weird
I was texting, they went into the fourth straight night of rebellion.
first thing the paramilitary police
did, when they went into Ferguson, MO, was exercise martial law. They started grabbing any and everybody,
grabbing their phones and laptops. The local cable TV went on 2-day blackout.
It was hard to get their story out, and they were getting no feedback from the
outside world. News journalists were attacked by tear gas, threatened, and
arrested, in violation of Freedom of the
journalists can Petition for Suppression of First Amendment Right, Freedom of
asked my personal advice and these were my recommendations:
Continue the fight
Engage and Draw out the forces against you
Stay out of firing range
Keep the children off the streets of the war zone.
the protest raged, the residents of Ferguson were blacked out from the outside
world, like Jena, LA. The continuation of the fight would ensure the story of
Mike Brown’s shooting would come to light. Through non-violent peaceful
protest, hands up, don’t shoot demonstrations, they were fired upon by tear
gas, which is a chemical weapon banned by the United Nation. Therefore, the
City of Ferguson is guilty of using unlawful chemical warfare like the apartheid
regime in South Africa (circa 1960s), against the African-American citizens,
for the purpose of suppressing descent.
shooting of the teenager Mike Brown call to mind all the other young black men
who have been killed across the United States since Barack Obama became
President. Thank God, the Justice Department is now looking into the pattern of
police shootings and arrests, and the disparities in the use of force. We, as
an African-American community, have historical standing with the United Nations.
[Read WE CHARGE GENOCIDE] This is the charge against the City of Ferguson in
the eyes of the world.
involves more than the shooting of Mike Brown, but the shooting down of young
black men, at discretion, or tasing them to death. The systematic elimination
of black men weakens the family structure and the entire African-American
a former PTA President, school system volunteer, and often critic of our
schools, I have spent the past 20 years working to improve our children’s
education. But, as I observed from the beginning, there have always been too
many cooks in the kitchen giving advice on the subject. As a consequence, we
were slow to embrace technology in the classroom; and once technological
advances helped us bridge the digital divide, we were slow to embrace online
education and using internet tools to help close the achievement gap. Also, we
have been hindered by low graduation rates due, in part, to a lack of classroom
management which led to the ill-fated creation of Zero Tolerance policies that has since evolved into the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
one of the principal architects behind the failed zero tolerance policies, a
former covert CIA agent who uses early nineteenth century eugenic pseudoscience, is being cited for his ideas on how to
improve the education system in Texas. The most dangerous part about his ideas
is scapegoating the parents of students for their lack of involvement in the
school system and scapegoating the students for the breakdown in classroom
discipline. Blaming the parents and the students is a popular idea among the
more conservative members of our society, and even among some of us. This is
why author and consultant Charles A.
Murray is being cited in gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott’s Pre-K Education plan.
Abbott’s plan looks and sounds good, it is only because it borrows from a smorgasbord
of ideas we have already thoroughly explored, particularly in our Malcolm
Baldridge Continuous Improvement
model. And, I have always been a believer in starting where we are, and not throwing
the baby out with the bathwater, lock, stock, and barrel, and starting over to reinvent
the wheel by siphoning off valuable resources for public education and putting them
into experimental charter school programs which, to date, have had dubious
mixed results. This new Pre-K Education
plan proposes to use Best Practices
in the classroom, which we have already been investigating, and it undermines
the structure of the public education system in favor of privatizing the system.
premise of these ideas, and the starting point of Charles Murray’s ideologies, begins
with this quote: “Family background has the most decisive
effect on student achievement, contributing to a large performance gap between
children from economically disadvantaged families and those from middle class
homes,” which is cited by Abbott from Murray's book Real Education.
Such a statement seems so simple and self-evident enough
that Mr. Abbott needed no Murray citation. But taking a closer look, we see
more of Mr. Murray’s eugenics idea than Mr. Abbott’s education plan.
Notice, it dichotomizes the “economically
disadvantaged families” from “middle class homes” and it
alludes to the popular stigma about the “family background” of the lesser being
the cause of the academic performance gap. Many people believe this. Therefore,
in order to address the ineffectiveness of the public school system, they
suggest that we should look at the dynamics within the dysfunctional poor
families and their background.
It is also interesting that Murray contrast the
disadvantaged families” with “middle class homes”, with the latter being the ideal “home”, and
the other not really constituting what might be called a home. We, on the other
hand, never automatized family as an isolated unit in society, but always promoted
the concept “It takes a village to raise a child”. However, it is apparent that
not all people concur with the village concept. Murray’s ideas, from his
previously published works, promote the notion that genetics is the cause of
low academic achievement. And that is what separates us.
this makes us very suspicious of what Murray means by “family background”, and
what aspects of family background does he infers leads to low achievement in
academics, and why he states in Real Education argues that “students with lower IQ's are not as
as smarter children and should be siphoned off to vocational programs instead
of sent to college”, and that “only 10 to 20 percent of young adults are
capable of doing college-level work.” Is he ignoring the empirical fact that a
good education can turn low-performing students into high achievers?
Murray, low-IQ is immutable because it is based on genetic factors, such as
brain size. However, these ideas of eugenic factors being attributable to the
cause of poverty and low-IQ and immoral parental lifestyles are not new. Thomas
Malthus, in his book Principle of
Population (1798), uses the same
pseudoscience in his argument against the Poor Laws of England, predicated upon
the Social Darwinian concept of “survival of the fittest”. He argued that the
poor people of England were genetically inferior to the rich. In later
revisions, he expanded this argument to include the darker races being inferior
to the lighter races, based upon a genetic hierarchy. Moreover, Malthus argued
that helping the poor through welfare would move valuable resources out the
economy, which would reduce money available to pay wages, and given to the
unworthy and unfit, which in turn, would provide incentives for laziness, immorality, increase in
the birth of illegitimate children, and discourage people from saving for old
age or illness.
Needless to say, these are popular notions in our society
today, especially in the stigmatization of poor minority families.
Notice the similarities between the Social Darwinians and
the Malthusian theories of the early nineteenth century, and the central thesis
of Charles Murray’s 1984 book Losing Ground:
American Social Policy, 1950–1980. In it, he
proposes all government welfare programs
should be abolished, supposedly because welfare
hurts the very people it was intended to help by “rewarding bad behavior” such
as “illegitimate babies.” He also called for ending
food stamp programs.
Murray's most famous and
controversial book, “The Bell Curve” (1994), co-authored with Richard Herrnstein, promoted racial eugenics theories claiming that
whites and Asians are genetically
superior in intelligence to blacks and Latinos.
Poverty Law center writes: “In Murray’s world, wealth and social power naturally
accrue towards a ‘cognitive elite’
made up of high-IQ individuals (who are overwhelmingly white, male, and from
well-to-do families), while those on the lower end of the eponymous bell curve form an ‘underclass’ whose misfortunes
stem from their low intelligence.
“No woman has
been a significant original thinker in any of the world's great philosophical
traditions… Women have produced a smaller number of important visual artists,
and none that is clearly in the first rank. No female composer is even close to
the first rank. Social restrictions undoubtedly damped down women’s
contributions in all of the arts, but the pattern of accomplishment that did
break through is strikingly consistent with what we know about the respective
strengths of male and female cognitive repertoires.”
The term Cognitive repertoires signify another
way of saying the genetic God-given brain size and capacity to learn.
According to some
research of Charles Murray’s own background, his career peaked in the Vietnam
War years (1965-71) in Thailand, first as a Peace Corps worker, and then, from
1968 onward, in a Pentagon-contracted counterinsurgency program run by the
American Institutes for Research (AIR), which operated under the cover of academic
anthropology research. In 1970, the New
York Review of Books exposed the AIR program in Thailand where
Murray worked in covert military
counter-insurgency program ran by the Department of Defense's research and
development agency ARPA, in cooperation with the CIA.
A 1970 Ramparts magazine investigation into counter-insurgency operations described it as a “behavior control” program through crop
destruction against a rebellious minority hill tribe, the Meo, during the
period that Murray participated in the counter-insurgency program in rural
And now, this man, Charles Murray,
with these ideas and pattern of practices, is being touted as an expert is
education. We should be offended and kicking ourselves for not doing better and
allowing these misguided notions to take parlance in our discussion on
It seems as though we have lost sight
on what is first and foremost: Education should teach our children HOW TO
THINK, to become problem-solvers, as oppose to those who believe education is about
teaching children WHAT TO THINK. With the ability to think, children of today
are empowered with the capabilities of solving tomorrow’s real world problems.
Knowing only what to think leads them down blind channels over which they have
no control or input, to a destination unknown.
The Charles Murray model
of Education is not about educating, but rather about controlling the system of
Education. Some people buy into the idea that regaining control of the
classroom is our most important objective. We think otherwise.