Virginia Abernethy

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Date of Birth: 
1935
Location: 
Hendersonville, Tenn.

Former Vanderbilt University professor Virginia Abernethy is fond of manipulating environmental and population data to suit her white separatist agenda. A longtime associate of such hate groups as the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), Abernethy stepped onto the national stage in 2012 as the vice presidential candidate for the racist American Third Position ticket. Her CCC ties drew widespread condemnation of her role as advisor in 2004 to promoters of Arizona's harshly anti-immigrant Proposition 200 legislation, which nonetheless passed.

In Her Own Words

"The population explosion is not the fault of European-Americans. It has been foisted on us by ill-thought-out or even treasonous immigration policies, and enabled by the large family size intentions of immigrants who find their offspring supported by the US' social safety net."
—Virginia Abernethy, on her own website, 2011

"Factually untrue is that I am a supremacist. I am an ethnic separatist, which means respecting preferences to be with whomever one wishes."
—Virginia Abernethy, unpublished letter to Gannett responding to USA Today article about her, 2012


"Return to Americans their traditional right of freedom of association, including voluntary racial separation; the abolishment of all forms of government-mandated and corporate-mandated racial discrimination, such as affirmative action, quotas, and all forms of ‘racial sensitivity training.’”
— From the American Third Position platform on which Virginia Abernethy ran for vice president, 2012

Background

As a professor emeritus of psychiatry and anthropology at Vanderbilt University, Virginia Abernethy pushes repugnant, race-based politics from behind an academic veneer. She has a long history of alliances with groups such as the racist political party American Third Position (renamed the American Freedom Party in 2013), and the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC). In addition, she was chairwoman in 2001 of the advisory board pushing Arizona's anti-immigrant Proposition 200, aka Protect Arizona Now.

Interestingly, given her advocacy of a total moratorium on U.S. immigration from Third World countries (Europeans excepted), Abernethy was born in Cuba, and was raised there and in Buenos Aires, Argentina, before coming to New York City and attending the Riverdale Country School. She subsequently received a B.A. from Wellesley College, an M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

As an academic, Abernethy authored about 100 academic papers and books such as "Population Politics," which chronicles "efforts to regulate fertility rates so that populations do not grow beyond the earth's capacity." From 1989 to 1999, she edited the academic journal Population and Environment. She sits on the boards of two nativist anti-immigrant groups, the Carrying Capacity Network and Population-Environment Balance. She is also on the editorial advisory board of The Occidental Quarterly, a journal edited by a notorious white nationalist, California State, Long Beach, psychology professor Kevin B. MacDonald, that purports to defend "the cultural, ethnic, and racial interests of Western European peoples."

Among Abernethy's published academic papers are texts related to the "fertility opportunity" hypothesis that correlates expanding economic opportunity with larger family size. But Abernethy uses her research as a springboard for radical conclusions, relying upon established scientific theories such as "carrying capacity" to justify anti-immigrant and "ethnic separatist" (that is, racist) views. Carrying capacity refers to the number of people an ecosystem can support, based on natural resource limits, before social, cultural and economic systems become degraded. It has been cited by biologists studying wolf populations in Isle Royale National Park and in World Population reports from the United Nations.

In Abernethy's worldview, non-European immigrants do little but undermine carrying capacity, devalue the work force and spread dangerous diseases. And while it's one thing to worry about overpopulation, it's quite another to warn, as Abernethy has, that “[t]he issue has become, will European-Americans, newly in the minority, retain the liberties with which they were endowed? Who will respect those rights if not European-Americans, themselves? If the United States is to retain the European-American character of her Founders, European-Americans should rapidly increase family size in order to avoid minority status.

"Essentially, the premise is that white Americans must organize and reproduce in order to fend off Third World immigrant hordes who are intent on overrunning and eradicating them. Abernethy’s admonitions certainly seem to run against American traditions, in which the United States holds itself as a beacon to immigrants regardless of race, creed or ethnic origin, or, as Emma Lazarus wrote, "Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore."

Unfortunately, unlike many academics, Abernethy is not content to remain in an ivory tower. She is an activist, and a variety of white nationalist, anti-immigrant and nativist groups are only too happy to leverage her academic credentials as a way of legitimizing themselves and their views.

Her highest profile foray into race-based politics began in June 2011, when she joined the American Third Position board. The American Third Position/American Freedom Party evolved from a racist skinhead group named Freedom 14 in Orange County, CA, which had previously gained notoriety by passing out anti-immigration fliers with white supremacist themes.

After a false start, when original chairman Tyler Cole was revealed to be an ex-con, the group renamed itself the American Third Position and recruited racist corporate lawyer William Daniel Johnson as chairman. Johnson is a longtime advocate of deporting all non-white immigrants, including anyone, even U.S. citizens, with any “ascertainable trace of Negro blood.”

Johnson remains ATP/AFP's chairman, and in addition to Abernethy, other board members in 2013 included the aforementioned Kevin B. MacDonald; James Edwards, host of the white supremacist “Political Cesspool” radio show; Don Wassal, publisher of the racist Nationalist Times; and Jamie Kelso, who was for many years the chief aide of neo-Nazi and former Klan leader David Duke.

During the 2012 elections, Abernethy was ATP's vice presidential nominee on a ticket with presidential candidate Merlin Miller. The Miller-Abernethy ticket received approximately 12,900 votes nationwide with platform points that included:

  • End all immigration from the Third World, construct a security fence along the entire Mexican border to stop the invasion of America, and deport all illegal immigrants back to their place of origin."
  • "Return to Americans their traditional right of freedom of association, including voluntary racial separation; the abolishment of all forms of government-mandated and corporate-mandated racial discrimination, such as affirmative action, quotas, and all forms of ‘racial sensitivity training.’”
  • "Return to a strengthened traditional family unit as the norm for society, rejecting homosexuality and all other types of so-called 'alternative lifestyles' that are being promoted by the government-regulated corporate media." 

It should be noted that another ATP platform position called for "ending all DUI roadblocks."

Just as troubling is Abernethy's association with the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) hate group. In the late 1990s, she served as editorial advisor to the CCC tabloid Citizens Informer, which regularly publishes articles condemning "race mixing," decrying the evils of illegal immigration, and lamenting the decline of white, European civilization. In addition, Abernethy regularly addresses CCC meetings. She also has been a guest on the racist “Political Cesspool” radio show, whose host is on the CCC board of directors.

Harkening back to the old White Citizens Councils that once battled school desegregation in the South, the CCC was formed in 1985. After weak attempts to project a mainstream image, it has devolved into a crude white supremacist group whose website has run pictures comparing pop singer Michael Jackson to an ape and referred to blacks as "a retrograde species of humanity."

In 2004, Abernethy became chair of the national advisory board of Protect Arizona Now (PAN), one of two rival groups set up to help pass Proposition 200 in Arizona. PAN was led by Kathy McKee and supported by the Carrying Capacity Network (CCN) and Population-Environment Balance (PEB) (see above). Proposition 200 was an anti-immigrant ballot initiative that attempted to limit undocumented immigrants’ access to public benefits and required proof of citizenship to register to vote.

But after describing herself to East Valley Tribune reporter Bryon Wells as a white “separatist,” Abernethy was denounced editorially across the state for her ties to the CCC. She was quoted by Wells as saying, "I'm in favor of separatism — and that's different than supremacy. Groups tend to self-segregate. I know that I'm not a supremacist. I know that ethnic groups are more comfortable with their own kind."

Proposition 200 passed handily, despite widespread editorial criticism of Abernethy’s role and bipartisan opposition that included U.S. senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, both Arizona Republicans, then-Gov. Janet Napolitano (D), the Arizona Republican Party, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, and the AFL-CIO. Abernethy is fond of saying that 47% of Hispanics voted for the measure.

The proof of citizenship requirement for voter registration was later ruled invalid in federal court.

Virginia Abernethy often responds to media portrayals of her that she disputes. Many of these are revealing.

In response to a September 25, 2004 article about Prop 200 in the Washington Times that included the SPLC among its quoted sources, Abernethy wrote a letter to the editor that was printed Sept. 30, 2004. In part, it said:

"Your recent, generally complimentary, editorial on Protect Arizona Now’s Proposition 200 contained a flawed and insulting description of me. You write that 'some of the proposition’s backers adhere to repulsively un-American ideologies. One, Dr. Virginia Abernethy, an emeritus professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and adviser to the principle group behind the effort, is a self-described 'racial separationist.’

"First, I am not a 'racial' anything. I am an ethnic separatist, European-American to be exact, responding to the current national obsession with multiculturalism. Separatism is merely going with the flow. Multiculturalism was originated, ironically, by the same people who advocate open borders and mass immigration. Both are harmful to America, and I am the first to admit it."

In 2007, she wrote about her efforts to edit her Wikipedia entry, only to have it changed back. She took a shot at the Southern Poverty Law Center in the process: "Two weeks after adding a paragraph of 'rationale' to the Wikipedia entry on me, my added paragraph has been eliminated. This is the way Wikipedia operates. Entries are liable to change by anyone."

I have no time to monitor what is said about me but obviously someone does.The entry below — which seems to satisfy those that are steadily monitoring the site — reflects that Wikipedia has not made much of an effort to rebut the Southern Poverty Law Center's practice, which is to demonize anyone who argues effectively against mass immigration."On Oct. 22, 3012, Gannett Newspapers ran an article by Anita Wadhwani headlined "Retired Vanderbilt professor is 'ethnic separatist' candidate," regarding Abernethy's A3P vice presidential run. The article appeared in numerous Gannett newspapers, including The Tennessean and USA Today.

Abernethy responded with a letter to the editor to correct what she saw as inaccuracies, but the letter was not printed. However, it does appear on The Occidental Observer website. An excerpt: "It is factually untrue that I am a supremacist. I am an ethnic separatist, which means respecting preferences to be with whomever one wishes. I have no objection to campus African-American groups, B’nai B’rith, La Raza or countless others. What I see, however, is that Christian and European-American groups — and only these groups — are targeted for discrimination. They are in the SPLC bull’s-eye of hate — hate for anyone who does not agree with the the SPLC’s anti-Christian, anti-patriotic, globalist agenda.

"It is factually untrue that I am a neo-Nazi, or that people with whom I associate are neo-Nazis. They are American patriots. Moreover, anyone who has political affiliations associates with people whose language and positions are not identical with their own. I am neither racist nor anti-Semitic, although I support the recent letter from leaders of mainstream American churches to the effect that Congress should re-examine the no-strings-attached policy of giving large aid packages to Israel."