Barry Alan Mehler (born March 18 1947) is a professor of humanities at Ferris State University who founded the Institute for the Study of Academic Racism (ISAR). [1] He earned his B.A. from Yeshiva University in 1970, his M.A. from City College of New York in 1972, and his Ph.D. from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1988. His dissertation was titled "A history of the American Eugenics Society, 1921-1940." He has taught at Ferris State University since 1988.

Cattell controversyEdit

Mehler was a driving force behind a successful campaign to have an American Psychological Association lifetime achievement award for Raymond B. Cattell postponed in 1997 because of claims that some of his writings were 'racist'. [2] Mehler's most cited article came from that time and examined Cattell's concept of "beyondism." [3]

Mehler was also the driving force in the 1977 formation of the Committee to Free Russell Smith (later the International Committee to Free Russell Smith). See Russell Smith (prisoner activist). Smith had been one of the Marion Brothers, a group of prisoners locked down in the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. Smith and the rest of the Marion Brothers successfully proved that all of them were locked down due to their political activities. Smith's own activities were in the arena of organizing prisoners to fight prisoner rape. After his release from lock-down, Smith was again raped and retaliated as a defense from further rape. Mehler and the committee (ICFRS) supported Smith during his legal proceedings and provided a home for Smith after his release from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Using the resources of the ICFRS, Smith went on to form the grass-roots People Organized to Stop Rape of Imprisoned Persons (POSRIP), which was later incorporated as Stop Prisoner Rape, Inc. (SPR). (See the article on Stop Prisoner Rape.) Unfortunately, Smith and Mehler did not continue working together for reasons not currently disclosed.

Criticisms of Mehler and the ISAREdit

Hereditarians such as Glayde Whitney have criticized Mehler for employing 'inflammatory' and 'inquisitional' anti-racist rhetoric in an effort to spur activism and discredit controversial scientists through the manipulation of popular opinion. Targets of Mehler's have at various times included hereditarian psychologists such as Cattell and Richard Lynn, it is claimed that they were made the objects of Mehler's campaigns primarily for ideological rather than scientific reasons. [4] Mehler's detractors have raised questions over his objectivity because of prior affiliations with communist groups [5] Whitney has suggested that Mehler is simply not qualified to talk about eugenics or race because he is a historian by training not a psychologist or physical anthropologist. [4] Whitney has also pointed out that Mehler combats those he accuses of racism exclusively through popular rather than scientific channels, via left wing periodicals and popular TV programming, such as Geraldo. It has also been observed that Mehler has published very little in technical peer-reviewed journals relevant to the subject matters of his criticisms - these tactics have been somewhat polemically compared to those employed by Creationists such as Duane Gish. [4] Roger Pearson has accused Mehler of "activist Lysenkoism." [4]

Selected bibliographyEdit

  • Mehler, Barry. Controlling Human Heredity: 1865 to the Present (book review). Isis, Vol. 88, No. 2 (Jun., 1997) , p. 369
  • Mehler, Barry. The Rise of Statistical Thinking, 1820-1900. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Autumn, 1988) , pp. 294-296


  1. Barry Mehler profile via Genes on Trial: Genetics, Behavior, and the Law, PBS.
  2. Hilts, Philip J. (August 15, 1997). Racism Accusations and Award Is Delayed. New York Times
  3. Mehler, Barry. Beyondism: Raymond B. Cattell and the new eugenics. Genetica. 1997;99(2-3):153-63.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Whitney, Glayde (Fall 1997). Raymond B. Cattell and The Fourth Inquisition. Mankind Quarterly, vol. 38, #1 & 2, Fall/Winter 1997, p.99-124.
  5. Tucker, William H. (2002) (Conclusion: Pioneer or Pamphleteer. In The Funding of Scientific Racism: Wickliffe Draper and the Pioneer Fund. University of Illinois Press: ISBN 0-252-02762-0

External linksEdit