In the end, despite a lot of anticipatory huffing and puffing by backers and their far more numerous opponents, the event was a low-key one. The controversial “race realist” Jared Taylor — a man who has argued that black people are incapable of sustaining civilization — spoke without incident in the Baltimore suburbs Tuesday evening at the request of far-right student activist Matthew Heimbach.
For all the media attention that Towson University student Heimbach and his proposed White Student Union have received in the past several weeks—from Matt Drudge, the Huffington Post, The Baltimore Sun, local television, this blog and of course the websites of such sympathetic racist groups as Taylor’s American Renaissance, the Council of Conservative Citizens, and Occidental Dissent—there were no TV cameras or news photographers to be seen in the lobby of the University Union building in Towson, Md., last night. The dozen or so policemen that Heimbach and Taylor were required to pay for were very much in evidence, however. Attendees’ bags were checked at the entrance, and when the meeting began, a representative of the student government warned that officers would be standing by to escort any disruptive people from the premises.
Interestingly enough for a meeting of a White Student Union, there were far more black than white students in the packed room.
In his very brief introduction to the main speaker, Heimbach defined “race realism” as the idea that it isn’t “hate” to acknowledge the differences between the races. Then Jared Taylor, who originally came up with the “race realism” phrase, took the podium. He spoke for a half hour or so and took questions for close to an hour. Though he was occasionally interrupted by jeers and laughter and the tone of the questions was generally unfriendly, he was elaborately courteous — if occasionally patronizing — and for the most part unflappable.
Taylor began by ticking off the many existing student organizations at Towson that are premised on the ethnic, religious, gender, and, yes, racial identities of their members (“the Minority Science/Technology Club excludes whites by its definition, I presume”). Then he posed a rhetorical question: why do whites comprise the only demographic group that isn’t encouraged to organize and advocate for its own interests? It’s not because they’re a majority, he said, because women are a majority at Towson, and yet they organize. It’s because of their race, he argued. Whites are systematically victimized by affirmative action and racial preferences, which by definition put the interests of unqualified minorities above their own; in a larger sense, they have been the victims of the myth of diversity, which falsely proposes that America derives its strength from its diversity, he said.
If diversity is so good, Taylor asked, then how come the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has so many lawsuits to deal with—39,000 complaints in 2007 alone? Blacks filed 21,000 of them, so there must be at least 21,000 whites who are worse off because of the ideal of diversity. If diversity is so good, then why is there a thriving industry of diversity consultants? Endemic, structural racism has nothing to do with it. The answer, Taylor said, is simple: because the unfair demands of diversity stress people out. People naturally prefer to be with their own kind. Look at anything from backyard barbecues to churches and what you will see is racial homogeneity. Racial mixing only happens when it is compelled.
Ninety percent of the U.S. population was white in 1960; by 2050, whites will be a minority. No one ever asked whites if they wanted to be a minority, Taylor declared, as the room erupted in derisive laughter.
Then Taylor attempted to pound in some wedges, reminding the roomful of mostly black students that Hispanics and immigrants are as much their enemies as white people. He told the story of the Varrio Hawaiian Gardens gang in Los Angeles County, a Latino gang that targeted African Americans for murder in an attempt to ethnically cleanse its town. If whites were driven out of neighborhoods by blacks, blacks are being driven out of their homes and losing opportunities to immigrants. He cited an L.A. Times story that quoted an Asian-American politician who said that Asian-American politicians are “taking charge of the conversation about what it is to be an American.” He quoted an anchorman at Univision who said that “Hispanics own the century.” Where does that leave whites? he asked. Where does that leave blacks?
When a questioner noted that Taylor had spent the bulk of his speech defending white majority status and denigrating other races and ethnicities, he was indignant—he insisted that neither he nor Matt Heimbach wish to dominate anyone; they merely wish to be left alone to pursue their own interests.
To a questioner who asked if race wasn’t a social construction, Taylor amusedly replied that “the idea that race is an optical illusion is so stupid that only an intelligent person could believe it,” adding that if race didn’t exist then the black student union had no legitimacy either.
To a questioner who stated that America had been stolen from the Indians, Taylor replied that if it was wrong for whites to take the country from its indigenous people back then, then surely it’s wrong for dark-skinned immigrants to seize it from whites today.
To a questioner who asked Taylor about the melting pot, he blandly replied that the U.S. was founded by Englishmen, who created all of its institutions. Only free whites could be naturalized citizens according to the law in 1790. Until 1965, he added (correctly), our immigration laws were specifically designed to preserve the white majority.
Taylor countered a questioner who brought up the U.S.’s 400-year history of racial injustices with a question of his own. Why are Saudi Arabian students allowed to have a student union? They persecute Christians and women in their country today. Neither he nor Matt Heimbach have ever owned a slave and Jim Crow was ended in the 1950s. Why punish whites for their past while giving dark-skinned oppressors a pass?
The questioner who bore in the hardest on Taylor wasn’t a student; he was Daryle Lamont Jenkins of One People’s Project, who noted Taylor and American Renaissance’s long-standing associations with white supremacists and other racists. (The 21-year-old Heimbach hasn’t left as long or as extensive a paper trail as Taylor, but his debacle with Towson’s Youth for Western Civilization’s chapter — see my post yesterday on Heimbach for details — is a recent memory and his activities with the League of the South and the Council of Conservative Citizens are in the public record). For all their disingenuous talk of “equity” and “fairness,” Jenkins said, it’s hard to imagine how the student union they propose would not be a tool to lash out at other groups. If that were the case, it’s fair to wonder how it could be a net asset for the Towson community at large.
Whether or not the university should allow an official White Student Union is a different and still unresolved question, and one that Towson University will have to deal with if a faculty advisor comes forward to offer to sponsor Heimbach’s proposed group. Even if the school were to allow Heimbach to register his group as an official student organization, last night’s discussion suggests that he might have an even harder time getting people to actually join it.