Iowa Civil Rights Adviser Resigns Following Book Review Controversy

The chairman of the Iowa State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission has resigned his post, following controversy over his public support for racist ideas.

Dr. Ralph Scott submitted his resignation by letter June 21 after the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith challenged his suitability for the position.

Jeffrey Sinensky, director of the ADL’s Civil Rights Division, received a letter July 5 from Dr. Murray Friedman, the commission’s acting chairman, notifying him of Scott’s resignation.

In early May, Sinensky told the commission that Scott was unsuitable for the position because of his “insensitivity” to racial and religious minorities. sinensky spoke after two articles blasting Scott appeared in the Des Moines Register and The Nation magazine.

In 1972, Scott approvingly reviewed “The Dispossessed Majority,” a book that charges that the United states is degenerating as its northern European majority is displaced by “inferior” peoples, such as blacks, Hispanics, Jews and people of Mediterranean origin. The review appeared in Spotlight, a publication of the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby.

The book, written by Wilmot Robertson, a pseudonym, also vilifies Jews for having such traits as “intrusiveness, disputatiousness and haggling” and alleges that they are disproportionately represented in the “inner circles” of the American government.

Discussing the “Jewish problem,” the book says that “separation is obviously part of the solution.”

Robertson also publishes a magazine, Instauration, which seeks to prove the Holocaust was a hoax.

AUTHOR OF BOOK ON BUSING

Scott called “The Dispossessed Majority” a valuable book, because it throws a “bright, clear light on facts which our politicians have kicked into dark corners. For those ‘majority’ Americans who seek to understand their cultural heritage, this book is a family must.”

In 1975, Scott himself published a book, “The Busing Coverup,” using a pseudonym, Edward Langerton. The book’s publisher, Howard Allen Enterprises of Cape Canaveral, Fla., also published “The Dispossessed Majority.”

According to a May 7 article in The Nation, written by University of Illinois history Professor Barry Mehler, Scott also organized anti-busing groups throughout the United States; was in 1974 an Iowa gubernatorial candidate of the right-wing American Party; and received grants from the pioneer Fund, an organization that subsidizes academic racists who seek to prove the intellectual inferiority of blacks.

Mehler claims Scott also used Pioneer funding to study “forced busing and its relationship to genetic aspects of educability.” He also wrote that since Scott was appointed to the commission advisory committee, he has written regularly on how black children suffer under desegregation.

Scott refused to discuss his case with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

But in his resignation letter, he said: “I have concluded that adverse and inaccurate publicity has significantly impaired my effectiveness as a representative of the commission. I believe that my record on civil rights is clear; upon completion of my service with the commission, I anticipate making continued contributions to the goal of a color-blind society.”

‘NO REFLECTION IN HIS PERFORMANCE’

Friedman, who is also regional director of the American Jewish Committee in Philadelphia, thanked ADL for its disclosures about Scott and said he concurred with the assessment that Scott’s “enthusiastic review of a bigoted book is inconsistent with the attitudes and role of a civil rights official.”

But Friedman, who was not on the commission at the time of Scott’s appointment, said he had been “informed by commission staff, including the regional director who oversees the Iowa regional committee, that during Dr. Scott’s tenure on the committee, there was no reflection in his performance of the views embodied in that book.”

Sinensky, expressing his gratification that Scott had resigned, said the continued presence in an important civil rights post of a person who defends racist views is “an affront to those working to advance the cause of civil rights in this country.”

It is not clear who nominated Scott to the position in 1985. John Eastman, director of congressional public affairs for the commission, explained that regional offices, commissioners and other staff members will often recommend people, to be approved by the regional office.

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