Charles Murray, the social scientist cited by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) last week in his comments about the inner city “culture problem” of men not wanting to work, on Monday responded to allegations that he has drawn racist conclusions in his works about poverty in America.
Murray defended his book “The Bell Curve,” the piece many criticize as racist for suggesting that African-Americans are less intelligent than white Americans due to genetic differences.
“Our sin was to openly discuss the issue, not to advocate a position. But for the last forty years, that’s been sin enough,” Murray wrote in a piece published by the American Enterprise Institute.
Murray argues that in “The Bell Curve,” he and co-author Richard Herrnstein merely deliberated whether genetics had anything to do with racial differences without drawing a conclusion. Murray cites this passage from the book:
If the reader is now convinced that either the genetic or environmental explanation has won out to the exclusion of the other, we have not done a sufficiently good job of presenting one side or the other. It seems highly likely to us that both genes and the environment have something to do with racial differences. What might the mix be? We are resolutely agnostic on that issue; as far as we can determine, the evidence does not justify an estimate.
He then suggests that critiques of his book are misleading because they do not directly quote his work.
“In all the critiques of The Bell Curve in particular and my work more generally, no one ever accompanies their charges with direct quotes of what I’ve actually said. There’s a reason for that,” Murray wrote.