Alabama state Republican Executive Committee member claims racial disparity in Huntsville City Schools is the result of genetics, not society.
by Heather Hopkins
Before you panic, consider the source.
In December 2007, Huntsville Alabama City School Board attorney J.R. Brooks mailed four boxes of data to Washington with the hope of convincing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to lift the 1970 court order that ended the district’s dual school system based on race. The Huntsville district is now one of just 201 school systems still under a desegregation order, a group singled out by the Supreme Court and specifically told to keep considering students’ race.
In examining the data, DOJ investigators determined that the district’s student enrollment was divided almost evenly by black and white students, yet the majority of the schools were “racially identifiable black or white due to the composition of their respective student bodies.” The investigation also revealed racial disproportion in the number and severity of disciplinary measures taken, as well as in the offering of advanced placement courses.
Currently, the school district needs to slash almost $20 million from the budget, and is considering closing several half-empty schools to reach that goal. However, a February 16, 2011 letter from the DOJ, signed by attorney Allison Brown, warned that “any plan to redraw attendance zone lines or close and consolidate schools must further desegregation.”
But Hugh McInnish, a member of the Madison County Republican Executive Committee who also sits on the state Republican Executive Committee, claims he knows the real reason racial disparities exist in Huntsville.
In a February 28, 2011 letter, dotted with an impressive number of statistics and graphs, McInnish responded to the DOJ, presenting “proof” that “blacks misbehave on average more frequently than whites do,” and that black students are unable to perform as well in advanced classes as white students. McInnish admonished the DOJ for wanting mankind to, “correct a problem that is not of their making.”
McInnish even felt compelled to hold a press conference to explain his outrageous position from his exclusive gated community home in The Ledges, a golf-course community on Huntsville Mountain.
When asked to comment on McInnish’s claims, Brooks and Dr. Ann Roy Moore, superintendent of Huntsville City Schools, remarked that they did not think the Justice Department officials would consider McInnish’s letter.
Yet, the Huntsville media, including local TV’s WAFF 48 News, saw fit to give McInnish attention, describing his letter as using, “key data to back up his arguments.”
WAFF should note, however, that there is a fatal flaw in the credibility of McInnish’s key data: All of the statistics used to support his claims comes from, “The Color of Crime,” a publication of the New Century Foundation (NCF).
NCF is a race-realist United States organization, founded in 1994 by Jared Taylor and supported by the Pioneer Fund. “Racial realists” contend that races are real rather than social constructs; therefore, racial distinctions are important because racial groups differ genetically with regard to behavioral tendencies such as intelligence and impulsiveness. (Measured Lies: The Bell Curve Examined, Prof. Joe L. Kincheloe (Editor), Aaron Gresson III (Editor), Shirley R. Steinberg)
NCF also publishes the magazine, American Renaissance. A main theme of the magazine is non-white minorities pose a demographic threat to the United States and other Western nations. The magazine argues that the United States’ major social problems are due to racial diversity and a weakening of the country’s white racial heritage by increased non-white immigration. It comes as no surprise that, according to the NCF report, the color of crime is black.
A closer look indicates McInnish makes a habit of consulting dubious sources in the course of his research. For example, on October 23, 1999, McInnish asked on David Irving’s web site, as to whether, Churchill mentions the Holocaust in his WWII volumes. “How often, and in what depth, did he talk about the gas chambers and the genocide of the Jews? Given the respect Churchill has as a chronicler of the war, the fact that he was at the center of everything happening at that time, and finally that the Holocaust was without question the most poignant fact of the era, I would expect his treatment to have been comprehensive.” (NOTE: This is the link and it is not coming up: http://www.fpp.co.uk/Letters/History/McInnish.html)
A loaded question at best, McInnish undoubtedly knew Irving would reply, “not once.” “Undoubtedly”, because in the early 1990s, Irving was a frequent visitor to Germany, where he spoke at neo-Nazi rallies. A chief theme of Irving’s German speeches was that the Holocaust was just a “propaganda exercise”. (http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/profiles/david-irving)
There is enough to the Huntsville City School’s story to warrant the public’s attention, without the McInnishes of the world muddying the waters. The school district has a 19.5 million dollar deficit to contend with. The Department of Justice has effectively blocked on avenue that might have slashed budget costs. McInnish, and all who care about the state of Huntsville schools and the education of its students, should skip histrionics and concentrate on finding a workable plan to slash spending.
Heather Hopkins is a professional librarian with a special interest in services for underserved and multicultural populations. She holds a BA in English from the University of Alabama, and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida. Heather served as the librarian for the Health Resources and Services Administration, at the FDA Biosciences Library in Maryland. After several years in the Washington, DC area, she recently returned to her hometown of Huntsville, Alabama. She tries to follow Gandhi’s directive to, “be the change” she wants to see in the world.