BY TAMMY PETTINATO
MONEY TALKS, AND most of the time it doesn’t say very nice things. Luckily, this is only an issue when people are listening.
One of Harvard Law’s top scholars was recently on the receiving end of one of these financial “conversations.” Mary Ann Glendon has been awarded one of four inaugural Bradley Prizes from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, an award which is accompanied by a very vocal $250,000. Now she is faced with a choice: lend it an ear or tell it to hold its tongue.
The Bradley Foundation is arguably the most influential right-wing funding source in the country. Operatives on the right – from compassionate conservative guru and former Bush advisor Marvin Olasky to everybody’s favorite independent council Ken Starr -have pocketed Bradley dollars. But funding the right-wing is only a crime in the most reactionary of liberal circles, and the major problem with Bradley isn’t that it funds the right but that it funds activities that are so far right, they’re flat out wrong.
It ought to disturb Glendon that the organization offering her a quarter of a million dollars has spent more than four times that amount funding Charles Murray, best known as co-author of The Bell Curve. The Bell Curve, which argued that differences in intelligence are racially based, is widely regarded as a piece of racist pseudoscience. The book was so controversial that Murray’s then-employer, the Bradley-funded Manhattan Institute, asked him to leave. No bother – Bradley simply arranged for him to go to the American Enterprise Institute, and even offered him a pay raise after the publication of the book. Then-Bradley president Michael Joyce defended Murray, saying, “Charles Murray, in my opinion, is one of the foremost social thinkers in the country.”
Apparently feeling that one piece of racist propaganda wasn’t sufficient, Bradley has also funded Dinesh D’Souza, author of The End of Racism: Principles for a Multiracial Society. The book argued that racism is logical since low-income African-Americans are basically “pathological.” D’Souza, rejecting the notion of institutional bias, claimed that racism could only end when “…blacks as a group can show that they are capable of performing competitively in schools and the work force…If blacks can close the civilization gap, the race problem in this country is likely to become insignificant.”
Bradley has also helped fund a number of anti-affirmative action lawsuits and campaigns including Hopwood v. The State of Texas and the California Civil Rights Initiative, the successful 1996 anti-affirmative action referendum campaign in California. While being against affirmative action is clearly not an inherently racist position, the funding of these efforts combined with the funding of Murray and D’Souza call Bradley’s racial views into serious question.
Mary Ann Glendon is a respected scholar who shouldn’t allow her name to be associated with an organization like Bradley. She has a duty not only to herself but to the law school as a whole to turn down an award from an organization that has helped to fund the perpetuation of racism. By accepting the award, Glendon implicitly accepts Bradley’s funding of racially divisive and questionable scholarship.
Glendon should have refused the dubious honor Bradley awarded her, and with it the $250,000 prize. Otherwise, she risks giving her implicit approval of Bradley’s insidious agenda and accepting an “honor” which, in the language of the “money talks” theory, is little more than hush money.
Tammy Pettinato is The Record’s Photo Editor.