Letter to the Editor: Middlebury College must apologize for Murray invite

This letter is regarding the visit of Mr. Charles Murray to the Middlebury College campus a few weeks ago. First of all, I do want to say that Mr. Murray and Ms. Stanger are both human beings. No human being deserves to be shoved violently. 
My objection to Mr. Murray is not to him as a human being, but, his ideas. His ideas have been used for centuries as an excuse to commit violence upon many peoples. From the enslaving of African people and bringing them to this country to their mistreatment after slavery was made illegal. From the killing of Jews, gays, gypsies, to the killing of the physically and mentally challenged people by the Nazis. From the killing of and lying to Native Americans to their forced sterilization in Vermont in the 1930s to the continued dishonoring of their rights as sovereign nations today.
His ideas are the main intellectual basis for all of this violence in the past and in the present. As the KKK is now on the rise in the southern U.S., it is likely that his very talk at Middlebury incited at least one violent act against someone with brown skin.
Perhaps Mr. Murray does not consider himself a racist. However, it is clear that his ideas and research are. If he cannot understand this, it is clear that, despite his lofty qualifications, he needs more education about what life is like for those who are not white, male and Christian and how his ideas impact their lives.  So, the big question I want to ask is why. Why did Middlebury College invite Mr. Murray to speak?
It is self-evident to anyone who has ever had any connection to someone of African heritage that they are just as intelligent as anyone else. The idea that there is some genetic difference between those with brown skin and those with lighter skin is false and has been false ever since it was invented 400 years ago as an excuse for slavery.
I welcome conversations with those who I agree with and disagree with. However, we cannot have civil discourse on controversial topics unless all of those involved respect each other’s intelligence. It is clear that Mr. Murray does not respect the intelligence of those of African heritage as his research is bent on showing they are not as smart as the rest of us. If we want civil discourse, we cannot include Mr. Murray unless he changes his point of view.
The reaction to Mr. Murray and his ideas is not an unfortunate sign of increased divisions in our country. Until this recent presidential election, most Americans would assume that his crazy racist ideas were only the opinion of a small minority and it is best not to pay too much attention to them. However, now that we have a president who espouses some of these ideas and a presidential advisor who strongly believes and promotes Nazi propaganda, the stakes are much higher.
We all assumed that the job of the federal government would be to protect us from people like Mr. Murray and Steve Bannon. Now that these people are in the White House, we can no longer rely on this assumption. We must defend ourselves. That is what the students’ non-violent disobedience at the speech did. They did it for themselves, they did it for all of us who are not White, Christian or male. As someone who is Jewish, their actions made me feel safer in Vermont and I thank them. 
My last point is a demand. Middlebury College owes a sincere apology to all of those whose people have been killed, hurt and mistreated because of Mr. Murray’s ideas. If Middlebury College does not issue a sincere apology for the invitation of Mr. Murray, I will make sure that my children do not consider Middlebury when they think of colleges.
I will also reach out to everyone I know to encourage them to take the same actions. There is no middle ground on this issue. Without a sincere apology I must reach the conclusion that Middlebury is aligned with those who agree with slavery, those who thought Hitler didn’t go far enough, those who think that gay people should be converted or killed and those who think that women should do what men tell them to do. I look forward to your response.
Ben Gordesky

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