Angela Saini, who describes herself as a “freelance science journalist,” has written a propaganda piece on race for the Guardian (“Why race science is on the rise again”), a precis of a now-released book of the same title. You know what you are up against right from the beginning, with the phrase “so-called ‘races,’” with ‘races’ in scare quotes. She describes herself as growing up in an “Indian-Punjabi household” and appears to be yet another non-White who is campaigning against the idea that Whites are a real group—a group with interests and a long, proud history. In other words, she is promoting her own ethnic interests in dismantling the West as an ethnic entity and sees herself as a lifelong victim of White racism (“racism was the backdrop to my teenage years”) because there was a White nationalist bookstore in her neighborhood and because of the murder of one Black person — Stephen Lawrence who has since been elevated to sainthood by the same activists and media that have systematically ignored or downplayed victimization of native Brits by non-White immigrants; see Tobias Langdon, “Black Saints, White Demons: The Martyr-cult of Stephen Lawrence”).
The Guardian piece centers around one Barry Mehler, who has been a longtime anti-race realism activist as head of the Institute for the Study of Academic Racism, a non-profit housed on the campus of a state-supported university, Ferris State in Michigan.
I’ve long been aware of Mehler, being a target of some his writing. Mehler was the protégé of Jerry Hirsch, a behavior geneticist who devoted much of his professional life to campaigning against sociobiology and against quantitative behavior genetics, especially as applied to humans. Hirsch has a cameo role in Chapter 2 of The Culture of Critique, so you know what I think of ethnic activists like Hirsch and Mehler.
Indeed, Mehler is Faculty Advisor to Jewish Students at Ferris State University, a good indication that he has a strong Jewish identity. Saini’s article also shows his Jewish identification as informing his crusading against race science: Mehler “immediately saw parallels between the far-right network of intellectuals and the rapid, devastating way in which eugenics research had been used in Nazi Germany, terrifying him with the possibility that the brutal atrocities of the past could happen once more.”
Also indicative of his ethnic activism, Mehler has long been associated with the ADL. A 1995 article on the ADL website describes Mehler as the ADL National Commissioner. Another describes him as the chairman of the ADL’s Latin American Committee working to combat the confiscation of Jewish property and forced exile of Jews by the Sandinista government because of Jewish support for the previous government and because of Jewish support for Israel.
Not much doubt that Mehler is a Jewish academic ethnic activist, an activist ensconced at a state-supported university—the height of establishment respectability.
Once again, we see the confluence of Jewish identity and academic activism aimed at furthering Jewish interests, in this case by someone with no training in evolutionary biology or genetics. Despite the clear ethnic and political motivations characteristic of both Mehler and Saini, Saini has the gall to claim that race science is “innately political,” thereby absolving the activism of people like Mehler and Saini from any taint of extra-scientific interests.
The article names the usual suspects — e.g., Richard Lynn, Richard Herrnstein, Charles Murray, and Jared Taylor, but also some who are less widely known today, such as Roger Pearson, founder of the Journal of Indo-European Studies, the Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies and Mankind Quarterly.
Here I want to focus on another important figure who is less well-known today: Prof. Ralph Scott. This is what Saini’s article says about Scott:
In May 1988, Mehler and [another activist, Keith] Hurt published an article in the Nation, a progressive US weekly, about a professor of educational psychology at the University of Northern Iowa called Ralph Scott. Their report claimed that Scott had used funds provided by a wealthy segregationist under a pseudonym in 1976 and 1977 to organise a national anti-busing campaign (busing was a means of desegregating schools by transporting children from one area to another). Yet in 1985 the Reagan administration appointed Scott to the chair of the Iowa Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights, a body tasked with enforcing antidiscrimination legislation. Even after taking up his influential post, Scott was writing for Pearson’s journal.
Scott informs me that Saini presented him with quotes from some of Mehler’s writing on Scott, asking for comments. However, she ceased contact after Scott related his allegations about Mehler and in particular that Mehler had repeatedly refused to debate him on the issue of busing.
TOO has previously published two articles dealing with Scott. Nelson Rosit’s “Assault on Psychology: Research on Race Differences Anathematized” (2017) also deals with other dissidents from racial orthodoxy, including Arthur Jensen, J. Philippe Rushton, and Raymond Cattell, all of whom have been targets of Mehler’s activism. Cattell was one of the most influential psychologists of the twentieth century, with major contributions in personality psychology as well as experimental design and analysis. At the hands of Mehler’s activism, these accomplishments, which were influential in the rise of scientific psychology, counted for nothing, and Mehler targeted him after he was nominated for a lifetime achievement award by the American Psychological Association. (Cattell eventually withdrew from the nomination and died soon thereafter.)
Cattell’s fall from grace was the result of being a thoroughgoing evolutionist, accepting not only the science behind eugenics (which is based on individual differences, not race differences), but also viewing the improvement of human potential as a good in itself. His secular religion of Beyondism, published late in his career, is a logical consequence of this perspective, proposing that evolutionary competition should be allowed to happen such that only the leading civilizations would survive.
Although Cattell never published scientific papers on race differences per se, this combination of accepting eugenics and natural selection between civilizations was enough to provoke Mehler’s ire, and his activism included the usual guilt by association drivel. It’s no surprise that the SPLC posted a 1999 Mehler article on Cattell, Lynn, Glayde Whitney, et al. with a section titled “Race, IQ and the death camps” that cites Richard Lewontin and Ruth Benedict (two villains discussed in Chapter 2 of The Culture of Critique). Mehler was also cited favorably by the SPLC in its portrait of Cattell; this article mentioned that Mehler’s colleague, Abe Foxman, head of the ADL at the time, wrote a letter to the APA opposing Cattell’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
So the portrait of a Jewish academic ethnic activist is complete: head of a non-profit housed at a state-funded university, with close ties to the SPLC and ADL, able to publish in elite left-leaning media like The Nation, characterized by a strong ethnic identity and working for Jewish activist organizations. And Mehler, having stated his concern that eugenics leads to a holocaust for Jews, clearly sees his activism as advancing Jewish interests. As has been typical of Jewish intellectual activists, in such an enterprise, the truth about race, intelligence, school busing and everything else he touches on has no importance whatever.
I penned an article, “Prof. Ralph Scott on the Costs of Not Mentioning Race Differences,” based on a 2013 article Scott wrote for Mankind Quarterly. These articles make it clear that Dr. Scott was much impressed by the research of Arthur Jensen, the father of research on race and IQ, who, amazingly, is unmentioned in Saini’s article. Scott’s Mankind Quarterly article is essentially a tribute to Jensen, but also describes the dismal history of the attempt to raise the academic achievement Black children. Prof. Scott was vilified to a large extent because he opposed busing of Black of children to largely White schools as ineffectual in rectifying the racial gap — a view that has been resoundingly confirmed by all the research. But the correctness of his views had no influence on the haters.
What’s striking from the perspective of 2019 is that someone like Prof. Scott could have become a respected public figure during the 1970s and 1980s, for example becoming Iowa chair of the US Commission on Civil Rights during the Reagan administration, testifying before the U.S. Senate on educational issues, and actively participating in educational interventions in Iowa. As Rosit notes,
In the early 1970s Prof. Scott was involved in designing Home Start, a birth-to-kindergarten enrichment program for poor families in Waterloo, Iowa. Such early intervention was one of Jensen’s recommendations. Although Scott’s program was well received, the problems began when he advocated early intervention as an alternative to forced busing. In 1976 he organized a series of symposia entitled, “Constructive Alternatives to Forced Busing.” That is really all it took. To support Jensen’s findings and oppose massive busing could only mean one was a hateful bigot. The news media in several cities where the symposia were held alleged Scott had racist affiliations. Reporters, including Grace Lichtenstein of the New York Times, called administrators at Scott’s university to complain about his activities. This led to an investigation to see if there were grounds for dismissal.
Fortunately, Prof Scott’s tenure prevented termination.
While the university could not rid itself of Scott, leftist students and “colleagues” could make his life unpleasant. He and his family received threating messages including death threats. Follow professors denigrated Scott to their students, resulting in decreased enrollment in his classes. The university reduced his teaching assignments. The harassment and opprobrium lasted for decades until Scott’s retirement in 2014.
In 1988 Scott’s teaching and research came under scrutiny of the baleful eye of leftist academic activist Barry Mehler. Mehler, who received his undergraduate degree from Yeshiva University, is the Jewish director of the so-called Institute for the Study of Academic Racism (ISAR) at Ferris State University in Michigan. As part of his investigation Mehler had an assistant use a pseudonym to make calls to Scott posing as a reporter seeking an interview for the Baltimore Sun.
All’s fair in love and war, and it’s quite clear that this is war. As Rosit notes, Scott was harassed throughout the remainder of his career. Scott’s Mankind Quarterly article describes the general picture:
For years, hitherto supportive White and Black students sought to drop my courses, having been informed in classrooms that I am a “racist” and consider Blacks “inferior.” In citing my “racism,” one lecturing professor reported that a New York NAACP organization advised him to monitor my classes. Asked about this, the professor threatened to sue me for infringing on his academic rights. Given parameters of customary academic freedom, I brought the issue to the university graduate council, composed of friends and colleagues opting to accede, however reluctantly, to academic constraints; my concerns were summarily dismissed. During council discussion, one professor asked, “Is it any worse for someone to be called a racist for antibusing views than reporting that busing is harmful to Black children?” … Day and night, my family members received threatening calls at home and office; university police scanned anonymous death threats; the dean of the College of Education warned, “You could get shot.”
I have been corresponding with Prof. Scott and he has allowed me to see some of the extensive paper trail extending from the 1970s to his retirement at the age of 86 in 2014. One thing is quite clear. Dr. Scott never backed down from a battle. The entire history is littered with court proceedings and complaints to government agencies and various offices of the University of Northern Iowa.
The fact that Scott was appointed Iowa chair of the US Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) in the 1980s says a lot. Even more remarkably, the lead council for the USCCR, John C. Eastman (now a professor of law at Chapman University), with the cooperation of the head of the USCCR, Clarence M. Pendleton (a Black conservative), wrote a letter published in the Des Moines Register (dated March 4, 1988) that supported Dr. Scott against charges the paper had published alleging that Scott “stands against much of what the civil rights movement stands for.” Eastman wrote that the charges amounted to the claim that Scott had “vigorously opposed race-based forced busing, and has therefore earned the ire of those who favor race-conscious remedies and who consider themselves monopoly landlords of civil rights policy.” Eastman’s letter goes on to state that “many leading academics, politicians, and even some civil rights leaders have raised objections to busing on the basis of race.” Not surprisingly, the letter caused a maelstrom of controversy, with both Eastman and Pendleton being heavily criticized.
The attacks were relentless, spanning over 40 years. Way back in 1974 Dr. Scott was being called a “Nazi” and someone with “extreme dislike for blacks, Jews, and nuns” by other faculty. But these statements were not in his presence. He also received harassing phone calls and was terminated as a consultant to the federally funded Head Start program despite being involved in the design of the program.
Face-to-face hostility can be even more difficult to endure. As with others who have become academic pariahs, Dr. Scott’s face-to-face world included a number of hostile encounters. Articles appeared attacking him for his views in the Des Moines Register, a local newspaper read by many in the campus community. A very painful example occurred in 1982 at a faculty women’s lunch when the wife of a dean refused to sit at a table with Scott’s wife, claiming she would not sit with “the wife of a racist.” The harassing phone calls continued.
Speaking from personal experience and that of others subjected to such accusations, this type of social ostracism is typically more devastating to women than men and often has very negative repercussions on marriages. One can only imagine the devastating impact such an incident would have on his wife and on their marriage. Such incidents are often the most painful experiences of the entire process. But the people who revel in politically motivated harassment are clearly proud of their actions. They are the real haters.
These attacks are devastating to White people because they are framed as moral failings, not intellectual failings. We all want to have a reputation as upholding the moral standards of the wider culture, but it’s particularly important for northwest Europeans—a major issue in my forthcoming book. As a result, it’s especially difficult to be seen as a moral pariah in one’s face-to-face community.
So one can imagine the distress Prof. Scott felt when being called as a witness in an Iowa court on an issue involving possible termination of a school administrator. The opposing attorney claimed that Scott’s testimony was useless because of Scott’s “character problems” associated with his opposition to busing. The fact that in Scott’s scholarly opinion, busing consigned large numbers of Black children to harmful practices (e.g., much less involvement with the school by students and parents) and did nothing to advance their academic achievement meant nothing.
Another incident, also from 1982, says much about the academic environment at the University of Northern Iowa. A Black woman, Dr. Patricia J. Edwards, head of the university’s Culture House, had made the mistake of co-teaching a course with Dr. Scott. Administrators who are not also faculty members do not have tenure, and for simply co-teaching the course with Dr. Scott she was vilified and harassed because of Scott’s views that forced busing is counter-productive—an empirical question that should be settled by research, not fiat. She eventually resigned her position at the university rather than be fired. Any association with Dr. Scott — whether by marriage or co-teaching a course — was grounds for stigmatizing and, in Dr. Edwards’ case, loss of livelihood.
It’s quite clear that nothing happened to those harassing Dr. Scott or his associates. Indeed, they likely prospered in a university environment where virtue signaling on issues of race is practically a prerequisite for upward mobility. All this occurred despite the usual university pronouncements against harassment, hostile educational environments, and promoting “safe spaces” to prevent people from having their feelings hurt. Pleas to the FBI to investigate went unanswered. Harassment, hostility, hurt feelings, and tensions within one’s marriage are quite acceptable if the recipient is someone like Dr. Scott.
Dr. Scott retired from his full-time, tenured position in 2009 as part of a settlement with the university and the Iowa Civil Rights Commission of an age-discrimination complaint and retaliation because he had filed previous complaints. The settlement noted that his treatment was much more likely due to his ideas, not his age—hardly reassuring.
Dr. Scott’s last controversies occurred because the university was under contractual obligation to continue to offer him the opportunity to teach part-time in his specialty of human development after his retirement. The final events unfolded in the Fall semester of 2014 when a Black student stood up in class and angrily denounced Scott, claiming he had violated her “civil rights.” At first nothing happened, but then Scott realized that he was no longer scheduled to teach the course in the Spring semester even though he had been listed as the teacher for the course. He was told that the reason for this action was not the result of student concern but because of a need for budget cuts.
The university did nothing to redress the situation, so Scott filed several claims in small claims court for the salary he would have received—his fifth such claim since 2012. No documents were ever presented showing that the university had not allowed him to teach the course because of budget cuts, and the judge acknowledged that he was qualified to teach the course. However, Dr. Scott lost the cases, despite the judge in one case acknowledging that it was highly probable (400-to-1 probability based on his qualifications compared to other part-time teachers) that the document specifying the rights of emeritus faculty had been violated.
Moreover, the judge in another claim ruled against Scott despite the court’s recording system having broken down so that it was impossible for either Scott or the respondent to hear the proceedings. Scott complained that this was a clear violation of Iowa law and was referred for redress to the Iowa Board of Regents (the board that runs Iowa’s university system). Their reply was truly Orwellian: They refused to do anything to rectify the situation but restated their firm support for academic freedom. Dr. Scott concluded his reply to the Regents by writing that “as a World War II veteran I must add that events which transpired in the matters I now bring to the Board of Regents are reminiscent of what I witnessed under ‘Soviet justice’ in the 1940s.”
The forces of censorship and moral preening had achieved their final victory.
Ironically, Scott’s position on busing is now identical to what some liberals and the NAACP have been saying for years. Right now Joe Biden is coming under attack from the left for his history of opposition to race-based busing, a history that may well cost him in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Scott’s recent letter to the Iowa Board of Regents (March 24, 2019) refers to a 2015 article, “School Busing Does Not Work. And to Say So Is Not Racist.” by Ted Van Dyk, a staunch liberal and author of Heroes, Hacks and Fools (University of Washington Press, 2007). Van Dyk notes that the main concern for parents opposing busing was the well-being of their children:
This was the case even in liberal Washington, D.C. My wife and I had two sons enrolled in a Northwest Washington elementary school when busing began in the city. School buses would deliver black kids from Southwest D.C. at the Janney School front door at the morning bell. The same buses picked up the same kids, immediately at the end of classes, and took them back to Southwest. They did not participate in any pre- or after-school activity. No black parents took a bus or drove from Southwest to attend evening PTA meetings or to otherwise participate in school-related activity. The quality of classroom instruction fell off markedly. Fourth- and fifth-grade neighborhood students, for instance, were repeating material learned in earlier grades because teachers found their bused classmates had not yet received it. Not surprisingly, parents from the neighborhood began looking for private schools for their kids or moved to Maryland or Virginia suburbs—not because of racism but because their neighborhood school no longer was working.
Van Dyk makes the very telling comment on the contemporary racial situation: it’s more about registering grievance than helping Blacks:
The emphasis now is not on [initiatives to improve the education of Black children] but on real and imagined grievances against a “white establishment,” denunciations of local police, focus on race-based violence (which has diminished markedly in recent years), and on the labeling as “racist” anyone not buying completely into the current politically correct talking line.
And so it is with the entire panoply of issues related to race, gender, immigration, and multiculturalism. Questions that should be decided by scientific studies (Does race-based busing really help Black students? Does race-based busing harm White students?) are instead settled by leftist ideologues and dissenters are punished. All in the name of being on the side of propping up a grotesque, Orwellian morality.
Throughout his career Prof. Ralph Scott has stood for the pursuit of truth in his research and for integrity in his recommendations on public policy. He deserves a prominent place in the pantheon of brave souls who stood up to the imposition of a short-sighted, politically motivated, leftist orthodoxy in the social sciences.
 Interestingly, she seems quite proud of her genetic heritage, given the title of another of her books, Geek Nation: How Indian Science Is Taking Over the World), but the book actually paints a rather bleak picture of Indian science as mainly staffed by conformist, uninventive drones and light years behind the West and Japan.