The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Racist Prof Latest to Join Group That Seeks White Rule in America

By Heidi Beirich on June 27, 2011 - 2:42 pm, Posted in Anti-Black, Anti-Semitic

Racist activist Jamie Kelso announced this past Friday that long-time professor Virginia Abernethy has joined the board of the white nationalist American Third Position (ATP) political party. Established in 2009, the ATP was originally created by racist Southern California skinheads and is now led by a man who once sought to deport any American with an “ascertainable trace of Negro blood.” Its chief aim, ATP says, is to “return our nation to its rightful owners” ­— that is, white people — and by “liberating” it from the “banksters,” a radical-right term meaning Jews.

Abernethy, a self-described “white separatist” and emeritus professor of psychiatry and anthropology at Vanderbilt Medical School, has a long history of working with racist groups. At one time, Abernethy was on the editorial advisory board of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a racist hate group that describes black people as “a retrograde species of humanity.” But her addition to the board of ATP, with its open racism and anti-Semitism, is a further step to the extreme right.

With the addition of Abernethy, the ATP board is now populated by the top tier of American white nationalists. The chairman of the group is corporate lawyer William D. Johnson, and board members include virulent anti-Semite Kevin MacDonald — an academic like Abernethy — and white nationalist radio host James Edwards. Kelso, who for years ran former Klansman David Duke’s website and also helped moderate the white nationalist, is the chief organizer for the party.

Abernethy has grown increasingly extreme in her views over the last decade. But even in 2002, she was a white nationalist, telling the Southern Poverty Law Center, “What is the point of a society that pushes [racial] mixing?” She added, “Our society pushes mixing. I think this is probably not a good thing for the society.”

Abernethy, who is also a leading nativist, has had some success in the past pushing her anti-immigrant agenda. In 2004, she was the chief spokeswoman of Protect Arizona Now, a campaign that backed a harsh anti-immigrant referendum known as Proposition 200 in that state. Though her racist background became public before the vote and helped spur the proposition’s denunciation by almost every Arizona newspaper editorial board, the referendum still passed with 56% of the vote.

Abernethy has some other interesting connections. She has held leadership positions in two organizations that claim to work toward a reduction in U.S. population as part of an effort to protect the environment. Though Carrying Capacity Network and Population-Environment Balance portray themselves as pro-environment, both are really greenwashers — groups that use environmentalism as a smokescreen to severely restrict immigration to the U.S.

Partly because of the addition of Abernethy to ATP’s board, the party has become the most serious white nationalist organization in the U.S. It is also growing quickly. In 2010, the party had 10 chapters in nine states.

  • MST

    @Difluoroethene – you’re right, most of us don’t know what’s in our family background. You probably heard that Hitler almost certainly had Jewish and North African ancestry. I wonder how his modern-day followers feel about their “Aryan” leader now>

  • manny

    Someone should tell that crazy professor that one hundred years from now All new People. I wonder if there is going to be a White only heaven when we get there.

  • Difluoroethene

    I just checked out the American Third Position’s Facebook page and they already have nearly 2,000 “Likes”. This is, as the article says, probably the most powerful white-nationalist group in the US right now. Still, I doubt the A3P is going to get anywhere near the number of followers the KKK had back in the 1920s. The vast majority of Americans have abandoned that kind of racism.

  • Fiona Mackenzie

    As a senior professor of psychiatry in the medical school, her teaching and presumably ideas will have touched every medical student graduating from that college. Each student will have had at least one psychiatry course, and those specializing in psychiatry during residency would have spent a great deal of time under her influence.

  • Geneva

    It is really scary that a psychiatrist would have such racism views with the power to make decision about someone else mental well being. If she practice psychiatry, is it safe for her to even prescribe medication, make recommendations to insurance company, evaluate any Black person at all. When I was in graduate school, our emotional well being was also looked at. Who is looking at Professor V. Abernethy well being. This is one of the reasons Black men are slow to follow up on needed
    medical examination.

  • DDB9000


    “She was born and raised in Cuba….which makes her an IMMIGRANT! See: self-loathing.”

    Not really. Her full name is Virginia Deane Abernethy (no Hispanic name) and she went to a British school when her family lived in Argentina. So probably she was born in Cuba to ex-pats from either the UK or US. And remember that she is in a white rule group, not an anti-immigrant group.

    This is important to remember because although most white rule groups are also anti-immigrant, 9 times out of 10, they aren’t against ethnic white (Europeans) emigrating to North America. Just those who aren’t the same colour as they are, like most Mexicans that try to cross the border, who are either Indios or Mestizos. I’ll bet an ethnic European Mexican citizen with good English skills could easily pass in one of their groups, too.

    And in addition, Difluoroethene is correct about DNA. Some of these white racists could find out that, no matter how lily-white they appear, they may have African or Asian genes in them. I’d love to see the looks on their faces if any of them ever found that out!

  • Difluoroethene

    They recently did DNA testing among European Spaniards and found that they have, on average, 20% non-European (specifically, either North African or Jewish) DNA. Ferdinand and Isabella’s attempts at “Limpieza de Sangre” (ethnic cleansing) were ultimately unsuccessful, apparently.

    Bill Johnson and Virginia Abernethy are the 21st century versions of Ferdinand and Isabella. Just goes to show you that old-fashioned racism never dies.

  • Tyrone Mixon

    Let’s start a retoactive anti-immigration policy. That lady would be on the first thing smoking but to Cuba. Effing hypocrite.

  • Allen

    If they did DNA testing, then there would probably be nobody left in the US. We’ve all got “non-white” in our background somewhere.

  • MST

    @Ruslan: I wonder if this organization considers Jews and other people of Semitic descent “white?” One poster says that people of European Spanish descent are ‘white,” but I have been to Spain and some Spainards are fairly dark.

    I agree that the goals and aims of groups like this should be publicized but I don’t know how successful it will be, because in general, people are pretty apathetic. How many Americans even vote?

  • Deep Ecology

    A quick comment on tenure. The system is designed to protect professors from censure and loss of position based on what they publish or research results. It really is the ultimate freedom of speech protector and is universally defended in the academic world as both essential and necessary in order that we can pursue any line of research or inquiry without fear of loss of position. And yes, it can lead to some pretty interesting and at times “out there” kind of research and advocacy positions. At both ends of the political spectrum, there is some professor busily offending someone, with cries of outrage that he or she should be removed from their position, censured, etc, but at the end of the day, tenure protects speech and academic inquiry, and trusts in the adage that bad ideas like bad science don’t stand the test of time.

    A quick question for Heidi, I agree with you that the above mentioned “environmental” organizations are more nativists than ecological, but are there organizations in your opinion that advocate for population reduction and oppose immigration that are not greenwashing but genuine environmentalists and which are they? Or is any advocacy of population reduction, to include bio-regionalism (opposes all immigration) racist by result if not intent?

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    It is from A3P’s mission statement:

    The “- that is, white people…” is added, but given the A3P’s propaganda it is clear who they see as the “rightful owners”.

  • Rose

    I could not find anywhere on the ATP web site anything that said “ATP says, is to “return our nation to its rightful owners” ­— that is, white people . . .’

    @LaTrice is either incorrect or she is not being truthful. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t find the term “White rule” !?

    Can someone direct me to this information?

  • jerilyn kay miller

    Now as to this ”race mixing”, first all we are all just plain human beings, now as for the mixing of genes, it is a necessary survival tool for the humans of earth. What this Abernathy is suggesting is like ”incest”, which we all know the result of. And i fear, i see much evidence of this already, Remember, what someone beautiful . once said. POVERTY BREEDS POVERTY , IGNORANCE BREEDS IGNORANCE. MAY GOD HELP US ALL . jeri

  • SJR

    SHE’S CUBAN! She was born and raised in Cuba….which makes her an IMMIGRANT!

    See: self-loathing.

  • difluoroethene

    Tomato Queen:

    Unfortunately, when a professor is tenured it means that he/she _cannot_ be fired, except in cases of severe misconduct (and apparently, being a racist or an anti-Semite is not considered severe enough). Other examples of professors with similar views include Kevin MacDonald, Satoshi Kanazawa, J. Philippe Rushton, and Arthur Butz. There really needs to be some sort of tenure reform to solve this problem, because it greatly harms the image of the universities involved.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Third position also isn’t really accurate. These types always say “we’re between left and right” or some other such nonsense. But read their ideas and programs and what you see is just right wing populism.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Hello Ice Eater, you might be interested to know that as much as 95% of crime is intra-racial. And luckily, violent crime in general is still going down.

    A3P if run by cowards. I tried asking them some tough questions(the toughest being, “Who is white”?), and in one case they actually changed my post, and when I complained they just deleted one of them so that it appeared that their guy “won” the debate. They weren’t about to be humiliated on their own front page apparently. Of course this was satisfying because I know how frustrated these people get when they can’t win arguments.

  • difluoroethene

    The number of chapters has already grown beyond 10 to at least 14, last time I checked.

    So far they haven’t been able to get full ballot access in any state. But, they did get enough signatures to get a guy named Harry Bertram on the ballot for this year’s governor’s race in West Virginia.

    One thing particularly worrisome about this group is that they seem to be very good at using coded language to appeal to voters who might initially be turned off by the idea of a racist party. The group’s name (“American Third Position”), while a reference to a form of fascism, it is also a relatively obscure reference that few Americans would “get”. Most people who hear the name probably will assume it’s a moderate or centrist group, and be more favorably inclined toward it based on the name alone. As this article mentions, their use of the term “banksters” is another example of this practice.

    They’re essentially trying to appeal to widely disparate groups including “tea party” conservatives, moderate centrists, liberal-leaning environmentalists, and libertarians. They do this by using language that appeals to the concerns of all of these groups while couching their own racism in vague euphemisms. This is a particularly scary strategy because if enough people in the aforementioned political persuasions manage to get duped by the A3P’s pablum, we could end up with a racist getting into an elected office. That’s why I think the media needs to give these guys more coverage and expose these guys for who they really are and what they really believe. The best way to defeat a vampire is to drag it out into the sunlight, and the same holds true for the A3P. Most people would avoid voting for the A3P if they knew how bigoted it really is.

  • difluoroethene


    They should DNA test themselves. I bet they find too much chlorine in their own gene pools.

  • Tomato Queen

    I am having trouble understanding why a person with such background, beliefs and behavior would still hold a professorship at a recognized and well-reputed institution such as Vanderbilt–academic freedom notwithstanding.

  • Stephanie

    Vanderbilt Medical School? It cannot be “the” Vanderbilt can it? Are they that short staffed?

  • ice eater

    Can you refer me to the place on this web site where white on black and black on white violent crime is listed?

  • LaTrice

    ATP says, is to “return our nation to its rightful owners” ­— that is, white people . . .’

    No, that would be the indigenious people who were here long before “white people”

  • Jon_S

    Ha, racist crackpots are pretty amusing sometimes. Do they plan to DNA test everyone?