Brand in firing line

May 3, 1996

We condemn the discredited and inflammatory views expressed by Edinburgh University psychologist Christopher Brand which claim authoritatively to degrade black people and women. Would there be such "findings" if blacks and women were not so seriously under-represented in the academic world?

His claim that he is a "scientific racist" is a contradiction in terms if science's task is to establish reality. How much he is out of touch with reality is shown by the actions of his publishers, students and the Lothian and Borders police who have decided not to renew his contract for testing officers. He has, nevertheless, the right of free speech, even if it is only ideology.

In CAFAS's experience this right does not extend to everyone, particularly if they are black people or women raising factual questions of standards or impropriety in educational institutions, a fact confirmed by the growing number of industrial tribunals on the victimisation of these "whistle-blowers". Such double standards are allowing those like Mr Brand to speak their "minds" while those who speak in the public interest are punished.

The reappearance of such views as expressed by Mr Brand arises from the attempt to subordinate society to market forces and to convert education from a service meeting society's needs into a profit-driven enterprise. The resulting corruption infects both thought and practice in educational institutions.

Geraldine Thorpe and Patrick Brady Membership secretaries Council for Academic Freedom and Academic Standards

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