Reflection on the Charles Murray Protest
SCOR represents graduate students of color at one of the top research institutions in the country‒an institution that is also predominantly White. Students of color in PWIs (primarily white institutions) often have a double burden, because as students we are constantly challenged to excel in our studies and produce scholarship, but we must do this while also handling racist acts of hate happening around us.
This double burden was especially evident in the last few weeks when Charles Murray, author of the controversial 1994 book, The Bell Curve, was invited to campus by two University of Michigan organizations: The College Republicans and the American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI) Michigan Executive Council. Murray’s book perpetuates pseudoscience and biological racism based on unsupported information. His work has been debunked and disproven by scholars over and over again.
In response, a coalition of over a dozen diverse graduate organizations collectively wrote to the College Republicans to request that they revoke the invitation. We cited incidents of violence that occurred on campus after the invitation was made public and the speaker’s divisive ideology. The College Republicans acknowledged our collective concerns, but refused to pull the invitation. As a result, we decided to protest. Why? Because Murray is a white supremacist, a fake scholar, and he does not belong on our campus. We knew that many others within the Michigan community felt similarly, so we invited members from our organizations and networks to join us in protest. Our coalition was huge, our strategy was simple, and we effectively shut down the conversation. We chose to express our dissent within legal bounds and will continue to stand against those who propagate racism on our campus.
After the event, Murray claimed that students today are too easily triggered. On the contrary, we believe that more students today are intolerant of alternative facts, racism, and bigotry. Like the activists that came before us, we will not be quiet bystanders while people like Murray build careers on racism. What he and the sponsoring organizations realized that day is that not only were their views the minority, but also that multiracial student resistance is here to stay.
SCOR would like to send a huge thank you to all the courageous students, faculty and staff that came out to demonstrate. Your efforts were successful and you all did an amazing job to stop the spread of racist ideas. As always, we are Wolverines and we stand together.
Students of Color of Rackham
Executive Board 2017-2018