Video by Sam Mayfield. Text by Sam Mayfield and Ben Dangl
At a time when activists around the US are confronting Nazis, white supremacists, and fascists in the streets and in power, Idahoan protesters took a stand against racism in their predominantly Republican state.
On Saturday, August 28, dozens of people gathered in Boise to voice their opposition to a political fundraising event hosting notorious white supremacist and sociologist Charles Murray.
“His research and his so-called science is used to justify neo-Nazism and white nationalist movements,” one protester told Toward Freedom. “I think it’s disgusting that he’s being hosted here in Boise.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a prominent social justice advocacy organization, identifies Murray as a “White Nationalist” who argues in his research that “social inequality is caused by the genetic inferiority of the black and Latino communities, women and the poor.”
Murray’s work has been widely cited by racist lawmakers and white nationalists to back up their own claims and agendas.
“According to Murray,” the SPLC explains, “the disadvantaged groups are disadvantaged because, on average, they cannot compete with white men, who are intellectually, psychologically and morally superior. Murray advocates the total elimination of the welfare state, affirmative action and the Department of Education, arguing that public policy cannot overcome the innate deficiencies that cause unequal social and educational outcomes.”
Murray’s public appearances are typically met with protests. Such gatherings against the speaker have taken on renewed importance under President Trump, whose administration has encouraged and empowered white supremacists across the country.
The Boise event was hosted by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a right wing lobbying group. With tickets starting at $50, the event was considered part of a wider push to benefit from the political support and openings for racist politics provided by the Trump administration.
A source inside the Boise fundraising event confirmed that thirteen Idaho lawmakers were in attendance including Republican Senators Dan Foreman and Jim Rice, along with Republican Representatives Gary Collins, Mike Kingsley, Bryan Zollinger, Ron Nate, Greg Chaney, Sage Dixon, Joe Palmer, Dorothy Moon, Brent Crane, Terry Gestrin, and Republican Congressman Raul Labrador. Political candidates seen inside the event were David Leroy, Steve Yates, Russ Fulcher.
Idahoan protesters took a stand against Murray and his work alongside other recent mobilizations against white supremacists from coast to coast.
“I am here to tell my elected officials and the people who support them at this event that Charles Murray is not welcome here and racism is not part of my community,” a woman protesting Murray in Boise explained to Toward Freedom. She said there is a need to “stand up for what we believe here in Idaho, and show that we don’t tolerate people like him and his beliefs.”
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Sam Mayfield is the Director of the feature length award winning film “Wisconsin Rising” and Co-Director of the documentary film,”Silenced Voices”. She is a video journalist and documentarian. Twitter: @. Ben Dangl is the editor of TowardFreedom.com.