Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: College club’s invitation seeks to legitimize racism

Here we go again. It is hard to understand what college Republicans were thinking when they decided to once again invite Charles Murray to speak at Middlebury College. One can only assume this is meant to be a deliberate provocation to students (and others) of color at the college — a not-so-subtle signal that dog-whistle white supremacy is alive and well in Vermont.
Murray’s brand of pseudoscience “proving” the superiority of Europeans has been thoroughly discredited. There is no value in debating — let alone hosting — his dishonest ideas unless your intention is to re-legitimize them. This event is part of a larger effort by white nationalists to use the principle of free speech as a crowbar to reinsert racist ideologies into mainstream thought in the United States. As we can all see, it appears to be working.
What to do about it? While I fully support the rights of students and others to exercise their free speech in opposing this event, I urge them to keep in mind that Murray is coming here for the free press it affords him. Making a giant fuss may only be to his advantage.
With that in mind, I don’t know what the best response is. Maybe Martin Luther King Jr. had it right when he said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Lastly, I would like to remind everyone in this community that the founding principle of free speech means you cannot be persecuted for your ideas. It does not guarantee you a microphone and a stage … and a prominent place under the letterhead of an elite institution of learning.
Dan Brett
Whiting

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