William H. Tucker
Although Neisser's (2004) review of the books by Lynn (2001) and myself (Tucker, 2002) on the Pioneer Fund was generally fair and accurate, I write to elaborate on a few points in his essay.
Neisser states that I “seem almost to delight in quoting the ghastly and offensive views held by racist ideologues” (Neisser, 2004, p. 5). The quotes at issue were all taken either from the fund's directors or its grantees and thus seem relevant to a consideration of the fund's purpose. However, in addition, the Pioneer Fund is well-known for its litigious response to critics, and the careful rendering of these observations in support of my argument was done not so much in “delight” but as a protective measure—to demonstrate, in anticipation of possible legal pressure—that there was substantial evidence in support of the book's conclusion. True to form, even before the book was published, J. Philippe Rushton, Pioneer's president, sent a letter to the University of Illinois Press and to the university president, with a copy to Pioneer's attorney, claiming, on the basis of the description on the press's Web page, that I had defamed Pioneer and demanding that the advertisement for the forthcoming book be amended or withdrawn. This was both disappointing and ironic from someone who has complained justifiably about attempts to suppress his own academic freedom.
After noting that Lynn regards William Shockley as the fund's most illustrious grantee, Neisser states that my own book “does not try to describe” (Neisser, 2004, p. 5) the research of many of the Pioneer scientists. For the most part he is correct: Beyond acknowledging that a number of the grantees have made significant scientific contributions, I say little about the details of their work. In Shockley's case, however, there is no research to describe—with the possible exception of a few instances in which he reanalyzed others' data. Instead, as I document in the book, Shockley used Pioneer's money, with the fund's approval and assistance, to carry on a lobbying campaign, an attempt to garner publicity for his claims about Blacks' intellectual inferiority and the need for various eugenic measures. Indeed, businessman Carleton Putnam, a segregationist leader whose activities in opposition to civil rights were also funded by Wickliffe Draper, suggested that his own support be reduced so that the money could be transferred to Shockley's campaign (Tucker, 2002, p. 143).
Neisser proposes a detailed definition of racist, from which, he decides, “we cannot conclude that people are racists just because they accept grants from the Pioneer Fund” (Neisser, 2004, p. 7). Although my book did not offer any definition of the term, I agree completely with this conclusion and, in fact, state that some Pioneer grantees probably have no sympathy for the oppressive policies favored by so many of the fund's directors and “want merely to use Pioneer's money to advance their own research and their academic careers” (Tucker, 2002, p. 201). However, whatever definition one chooses to use, it is certain to include the many directors of the fund and recipients of its money who fought to keep Blacks separate and unequal and who insisted that the real source of racial tension in the country was Jews manipulating the civil rights movement for their own purposes. When, for example, a scientist—who was a recipient of Pioneer funds, a director of the fund, and incidentally a former president of the American Psychological Association—responds to court-ordered integration in the public schools with the advice “to make the white schools so unpleasant for them that the Negroes withdraw” (Garrett to George, quoted in Tucker, 2002, p. 80), I thought that a nuanced discussion of the meaning of “racist” was rendered unnecessary.
Finally, Neisser mentions Pioneer's most recent project—the free distribution of tens of thousands of unsolicited copies of a paperback by Rushton (1999)—but declines to describe the work because, in Neisser's words, “it turns my stomach” (Neisser, 2004, p. 6). The title of Neisser's essay-review is “Serious Scientists or Disgusting Racists?” Whether or not one concludes that the noun in the latter characterization is warranted, there seems to be persuasive evidence that the adjective is appropriate.
Lynn, R. (2001). The science of human diversity: A history of the Pioneer Fund. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: University Press of America.
Neisser, U. (2004). Serious scientists or disgusting racists? [Review of the books The science of human diversity: A history of the Pioneer Fund and The funding of scientific racism: Wickcliffe Draper and the Pioneer Fund]. Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 49, 5–7.
Rushton, J. P. (1999). Race, evolution and behavior. (2nd Special abridged ed.). Port Huron, MI: Charles Darwin Research Institute.
Tucker, W. H. (2002). The funding of scientific racism: Wickliffe Draper and the Pioneer Fund. Champaign: University of Illinois Press.