Eddie Griffin Speaks at JFK Museum

Eddie Griffin Speaks at JFK Museum

Friday, March 27, 2015

Jermaine Darden Taser Death Lawsuit to Court


RE: Darden Family Lawsuit

 

Dear Councilwoman Gyna Bivens,

 

I 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.

 

As 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.

 

Frankly 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.

 

The 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.

 

After 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.

 

The 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”.

 

I 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.

 

But 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.

 

But 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.

 

Of 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.

 

But 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.

 

Sincerely,

Eddie Griffin
 
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
 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What black man holds a steady job for four years?


 

This 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.

 

Black men are incapable of holding down a steady job. Everybody should know that, right? Maybe this hypothetical situation can explain.

 

HYPOTHESIS: 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?

 

Now 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.

 

And 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 University’s Sigma 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?

 

ANALSYS: 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?

 

But 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 tree”.

 

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.

 

No, 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 merits.

 

They do not see justice meted out in partial ways. The same drunken 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 sorority pledgees 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.

 

In 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.

 

Only 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.

 

The 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, Alabama.

 

On 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.”

 

In 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.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

In Defense of Adrian Peterson

by Eddie Griffin



I 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.

 

When 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?

 

If 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.

 

It 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.

 

I 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!

 

Clearly, 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.

 

It 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.

 

Our 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.

 

But 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.

 

Self-discipline 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 differently.

 

One 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.

 

The 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.

 

Knowing 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”.

 

While 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.

 

On 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 unloving.

 

Sadly, 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 condemnations?

 

Like 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.

 

Of 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.

 

Some 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.

 

I 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 punishment.

 

It 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.

 

I 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.

 

I 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.

 

Therefore, 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?

 

The 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.

 

As 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.

 

Grandpa 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.

 

Scolding, 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.

 

As 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 master.

 

And 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.
 
 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri Protest Sparks National Movement


From Eddie Griffin-

 

Ferguson, Missouri Protest Sparks National Movement

 

I 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 Brown Jr.

 

At 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 four children.

 

Describing 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 government project.

 

 

As I was texting, they went into the fourth straight night of rebellion.

 

The 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 Press.

 

[The journalists can Petition for Suppression of First Amendment Right, Freedom of Speech]

 

They asked my personal advice and these were my recommendations:

 

1) Continue the fight

2) Engage and Draw out the forces against you

3) Stay out of firing range

4) Keep the children off the streets of the war zone.

 

While 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.

 

The 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.

 

GENOCIDE 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 community.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Using Public Education as a Political Football



To: FWISD Walter Dansby & School Board Members

From: Eddie Griffin, Child Rights Advocate

 

RE: Education as a Political Football

 

 

Dear Mr. Dansby,

 

As 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.

 

Now 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.

 

If 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.

 

The 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 term “economically 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.

 

Therefore, 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 educable 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?

 

For 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.

 

The Southern 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.

 

Recently Murray wrote: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 Thailand.

 

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 Education.

 

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.

 

Sincerely,

 

Eddie Griffin