In a row that has reignited the debate on the limits of freedom of speech, Frank Ellis, a lecturer in Russian and Slavonic studies, sparked anger after stating, in an interview with the university's student newspaper, that he was an 'unrepentant Powellite' who thought that the BNP was 'a bit too socialist' for his liking.
Ellis said he supported right-wing ideas such as the Bell Curve theory, which held that white people were more intelligent than black people. '[It] has demonstrated to me beyond any reasonable doubt there is a persistent gap in average black and white average intelligence.' Repatriation would get his support, he added, if it was done 'humanely'.
Admirably, the university of Leeds are refusing to sack Dr Ellis on the grounds of free speech. One would imagine that the students—those bright young things, those brilliant flames who are our future—are also supporting Dr Ellis, for free speech is the very essence of our society and are not students the campaigners, nay, the very guardians of this freedom?
Students and lecturers are calling for a Leeds University don to be sacked after he said he supported a theory that black people were inferior to whites.
Now students are preparing to picket his lectures, protest on campus and bombard the vice-chancellor with emails calling for Ellis to be removed from his post.
Oh, apparently not. No, apparently students are reactionary idiots. Who woulda thunk it?
Hanif Leylabi, a student at Leeds and a member of Unite Against Fascism, said: 'Knowing that he's a lecturer and that he holds views that black people are inferior and that women can't achieve the same as men, it's disgusting and certainly not conducive to an academic environment.'
Why not? I would have thought that carrying on a debate with the man—or at least preparing, in your mind, the arguments against what Dr Ellis has said—would stimulate those little, grey cells very well.
I going to go out on a limb here, and throw a statement out into the ether for you people to debate: white people and black people are genetically different. Discuss.
Actually, of course, my question is so vague as to be almost meaningless. Let's try something a little more precise: black people share at least one genetic trait which sets them apart genetically from white people. Discuss.
Well, it is patently obvious that the above statement is true, since there is at least one genetic difference which is also present in the phenotype, i.e. the fact that black people secrete a far higher amount of melanin into the skin than do white people. Otherwise they wouldn't be, well, black.
Now, I've just made a sweeping racial generalisation: is it factually wrong? No. Would some people shoot me down for even saying this? Yeah, sure. Before you do, please note that I merely mention a difference: I did not say that one race was in some way superior to another.
The point that I am, rather clumsily, attempting to make is that we should not allow prejudice to cloud our factual judgement. There are genetic differences between races, and these differences are often valuable to recognise and understand (as with the treatment of such diseases as sickle-cell anaemia, for instance).
I do not agree with Dr Ellis's assessment—as Bookdrunk pointed out, The Bell Curve has been fairly comprehensively debunked. However, given that we must accept that there are, in fact, genetic differences between races, were proof of an intellectual differential to be established, how would we react?
Me, I tend to subscribe to Tim's philosophy.
Assume that the assertion that blacks have a lower IQ is true. By the 6 points or whatever it is claimed. Is this actually useful to us in any way? Is there anything we would, should or could do with this "fact"?
Not really. The variation within the groups is so much vaster that it doesn’t tell us anything useful at all about the individual standing before us. IQ, whatever it is, varies from about 60 (just about capable of walking and talking at the same time) to 150 and more (genius etc). In all groups. Across races, cultures, sexes, regions, countries and so on.
If we are actually to hold on to one of the defining pieces of Western Civilisation (OK, what I regard as one of), that it is the individual, not the group, which is important, then this information, which tells us nothing about the individual at all, is simply irrelevant, not worth worrying about.
Still, what worries me here is that the Leftist orthodoxy is being held up as fact. Let's take this little gem from Greg Mulholland MP, who apparently has some students in his constituency.
'Not to acknowledge that much of the problems experienced by African nations are down to exploitation by Western nations over the years and centuries is simply to ignore the reality of history.'
Well, actually, Greg, that is a severely debateable assertion (as well as being a seriously dodgy sentence). One might wonder, after all, what it was that allowed the Western nations to dominate and exploit the African peoples. One might wonder, in fact, what part the African people played in their own downfall by, for instance, treating with the slave traders. In fact, Greg, to make such a foolishly simplistic statement is to, well, ignore the complexity of history.
Robert McHenry, chairman of the psychology consultancy OPP, said: 'It was developed by white researchers and tested on white populations, so is not suitable for measuring other cultures.' He said the Bell Curve theory was out of date and showed lower achievements among the black population because they were economically worse off.
'There is no scientific data that supports the idea that the difference between blacks and whites is genetic.'
Well done, Robert. So, there is a difference, then?
One suspects that Dr Ellis will be removed anyway, in one way or another; the case has certain parallels with the University of Edinburgh's own erstwhile errant, Chris Brand. Brand, too, said almost exactly the same things as Dr Ellis and he had to go in the end.
So, Dr Ellis: what do you reckon to paedophiles then...?