The AMC Statement on George Floyd and Racism
In 1986 and again in 1998, our Board of Directors (AMC) affirmed: “bigotry and prejudice are antithetical to the nature of American Mensa.” In response to George Floyd’s homicide, the AMC reinforced this with a message to our members. Some complained the statement violated our constitution’s prohibition against Mensa expressing opinions or having any “ideological, philosophical, political, or religious affiliations.”
Mensa’s constitution recognizes that all Mensa members have opinions, and by extension have the right to express them. That includes members of the AMC who don’t lose those rights upon being elected. While some members didn’t read it that way, the statement took pains to differentiate that this was AMC members making a statement, not American Mensa expressing an opinion.
It is relatively rare for the AMC to get compliments. Yet after our statement on racism, we got lots of compliments. Perhaps as many people were supportive as those sending complaints. Many felt racism isn’t an “opinion”; it’s a violation of fundamental human rights.
This reminded me of the uproar after Chicago’s Rainbow SIG marched in the 2015 Chicago Pride Parade. This put Mensa’s name in front of around one million attendees, and I proudly marched with them. While the event had been planned for months, the parade was held just two days after the Supreme Court decided the 14th Amendment allowed same-sex couples to marry. Despite the ensuing complaints about Mensa “expressing opinions”, it was determined the SIG did nothing wrong, and they’ve marched in every parade since.
I personally supported sending a statement and said so in my August 2020 Local Group newsletter article. I would have preferred the statement include some concrete actions to back up our words. Let’s face it: our organization lacks diversity. We need to improve; unfortunately, improvements are still very much “TBD”.
For more information about my thoughts on various Mensa issues, please click here: