Talking Race and Immigration to Liberals
Wilburn Sprayberry, American Renaissance, June 8, 2012
Until recently, I attended a Dallas discussion group, where I promoted pro-white, traditionalist views. My participation for nearly nine years led to experiences that other racially conscious whites may find interesting or even useful.
The group was called the Dallas Salon, and is part of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, a non-profit for adult education. The institute is staffed mainly by current and retired professors in the humanities. They tend to be liberals of the genteel type, not from the hard left.
Despite the liberal orientation, I have enjoyed some of the institute’s courses on such things as Shakespeare’s history plays and Thucydides’ The History of the Peloponnesian War, as well as symposia on American history. I never attended what has become the flagship event of the institute in recent years, its annual Martin Luther King conference. This attracts historians of the Civil Rights movement, King hagiographers, professional “diversity consultants,” and a number of speakers (mainly of color) who apparently do nothing but fly around the country lecturing on the continuing perils of white racism.
However, I regularly attended the Institute’s monthly discussion group, called the Friday Night Salon. Moderated by Larry Allums, the Institute’s executive director, the 20 to 40 people of the salon discussed topics submitted beforehand by participants, ranging from philosophy (e.g., What makes us happy?) to politics, (e.g., Does government have the right to draft people into the military?), to current events (e.g., the media firestorm over Tiger Woods’ extra-marital affairs).
Participants were evenly divided between men and women and were overwhelmingly white. The most common profession was teacher, followed closely by businessman and lawyer. Except for a sprinkling of economically conservative Republicans and libertarians, Salon members were liberal.
Dallas is usually thought of as conservative, but that is true only of the white suburbs. After decades of white flight, the city is 66 percent minority, with Hispanics the largest single group. Many whites in Dallas are childless liberals who stay for the “Stuff White People Like” cultural amenities and, allegedly, the “cultural diversity.” However, they tend to live in white neighborhoods that enjoy heavy police protection. So few whites send their children to public schools that only 5 percent of the 157,000 students in the Dallas school district are white.
From the first session I attended, I tried gently to prod salon members into considering race, which almost everyone else tried to avoid. For example, in our discussion of the draft (this was a year after the attacks of September 11), I noted that whites had been the only ethnic group to increase their enlistments significantly after the attacks, and that many blacks in “on the street” TV interviews were hostile to the idea of volunteering. When someone asked, “Are you saying blacks are less patriotic than whites?” I simply said, “Let the numbers speak for themselves.”
Not long after I joined the salon, we had a discussion about legal and illegal immigration. A young doctor, an Ivy League graduate and the son of Indian immigrants, asserted that our economy would suffer if we reduced immigration, since our prosperity depends on foreign brainpower and cheap labor. I said those were the same arguments big business made in the 1920s to try to stop Congress from reducing immigration, but that over the next 40 years America prospered as never before. It also won the Second World War with very little net immigration, and even net emigration in some years. Later in the discussion, a young woman spoke about the right of everyone to live where he pleased. When I asked her, “Does that mean the United States doesn’t have the right to keep anyone out?” she backed down.
That was the first time I shocked people. I reminded the salon that for most of its history the United States had an immigration policy designed to keep the country predominantly white, that no one had asked the American people if they wanted to change, and that if the current policy continued we would become a Third-World nation. This produced expressions of disbelief, but no one actually responded. Instead, the next speaker went off on a completely different tangent.
During the break, before discussing our second topic of the night, two young female school teachers approached me, looking like entomologists studying an interesting new bug. They had never heard views like mine, and wanted to know how I came by them. I gave them the websites of American Renaissance, VDARE, and Lawrence Auster, and recommended Mr. Auster’s, Path to National Suicide and Peter Brimelow’s Alien Nation.
I found that virtually all the participants in the salon took anti-white policies like “affirmative action,” “diversity,” and “inclusion” for granted, and almost all the younger participants knew practically nothing about how they came about. In a discussion on affirmative action, a nice young black woman who worked for a big corporation was baffled when I said companies are often forced to hire blacks or women to meet government guidelines. “No, you’re wrong about that,” she said. “At my company we value diversity and the contributions different groups make.”
The salon format didn’t give me enough time to explain the details of the “disparate impact” doctrine, or how most employment tests have been outlawed because whites score higher than blacks. I could say only that her company probably did not “value diversity” until it was faced with lawsuits. I don’t think she or the other younger salon members understood my point.
A salon discussion on “political correctness” sticks in my memory for how it exposed the liberal mindset. The first few speakers stoutly maintained that political correctness was a very bad thing, and that they were very much against it. After Mr. Allums, the moderator, observed that no one had offered an example of PC in action, I described the savaging of Nobel-Prize winning scientist, James Watson, after he speculated that the problems of Africa might be related to the low IQ of Africans. Three people in the Salon responded to my example, and all three said Mr. Watson deserved his fate. No one, not even those who had denounced political correctness, came to his defense. A few days later I wrote on the Institute’s blog that despite what its members claimed, the salon was in favor of PC and against freedom of speech. No one replied.
I also discovered that there were limits to how far we could go in discussing race. When I proposed the topic, “Is America a ‘proposition nation,’ or does it have an ethnic core?” Mr. Allums accepted the topic in principle but replaced ethnic with cultural. He rejected outright topics about the IQ or scholastic achievement gap between blacks and whites, and any other discussion of racial differences.
Reactions to my argument differed, with the most spirited opposition coming from men. However, except for one exception I describe below, no one ever got angry with me. After a spirited debate, male adversaries often came up later and said how much they enjoyed frank discussion of normally taboo subjects. Some said they found my ideas “interesting,” and a few quietly admitted they agreed with much of what I had said.
Women were different. Only a few were willing to argue during the discussion period itself, and I don’t recall a single woman telling me she agreed with me about anything related to race. Although the young teachers I mentioned earlier were always friendly, and most women were at least courteous, several others — usually younger ones — glared at me or turned away when we gathered in the lobby of the institute for refreshments. Occasionally during the discussion period, younger women in their late twenties and early thirties announced to the group that they were offended by my remarks, and were “very uncomfortable.” These and a few others were so disgusted they never came back.
However, the most frustrating reaction was no reaction at all. Often, when I would make a point that had racial overtones and begged for comment, the next speaker ignored it and shifted to a completely different subject. The rules of the salon made it easy to do this, because our discussions were not formal debates; they were supposed to be “prudent, thoughtful, conversations.” Most participants wanted to preserve harmony.
In retrospect, I may have pushed race too hard and too often, and alienated several people unnecessarily. No doubt, a more conservative discussion group in the suburbs would have been more receptive to blunt talk on race. Still, I thought I was doing the best I could under the circumstances. I enjoyed the salons, and as far as I could tell, most people seemed to enjoy my presence — although I had a reputation as the group’s “pet reactionary.”
The election of Mr. Obama brought changes. More minorities began showing up. Several were immigrants from places such as Mexico, North Africa, and Pakistan, with one or two from England and Russia. The Salon was still predominantly white, but the presence of non-whites altered the atmosphere. I noticed Mr. Allums began to cut off my remarks mid-stream, calling on someone else before I could make my point.
My last salon session was a discussion about the question: “Is diversity a strength or a weakness of Democracy?” Naturally, I said diversity was a weakness, and cited the rising crime rates in neighborhoods as they diversify. A young woman claimed her neighborhood was “very diverse” and had “no crime.” An older woman started rambling, eventually claiming that we had won the Second World War because we were more diverse than our enemies. I replied that diversity couldn’t have been important since the America that won the war was almost 90 percent white, and that the armed forces were segregated. “In fact,” I added, “non-whites were not allowed to become naturalized citizens until 1944.”
This was too much for Habib, a Tunisian immigrant of mixed French and Arab ancestry. He interrupted me, screaming out, “No . . . No! That’s just wrong! That’s just not right!” Suddenly four or five people were yelling at once, the first time this had happened. It took Mr. Allums about a minute to restore order, and when we resumed he pointedly refused to call on me. The people he did call on steered us away from controversy with the usual platitudes and diversity happy-talk. As the discussion ended and most people went into the lobby for a break, Mr. Allums and I had a short argument. “You just can’t talk about race like that,” he said. “It rubs people the wrong way.” I accused him of being politically correct. He said he would arrange to have lunch with me the following week but never did.
Mr. Allums never explained why he censored me that evening. I had made much stronger racial statements before, but no one had reacted as Habib had. I suppose the increasing number of non-whites made the moderator less tolerant of my bluntness. Perhaps someone had complained about me. At any rate, I decided not to return for a while. No bridges had been burned, but we probably needed a cooling off period.
Still, I had a pretty good run. I spoke out strongly for eight years against what I saw as threats to my country and unfair treatment of whites. I believe I opened some minds to the idea that thinking about race is not a thought-crime. I felt good pushing back in a public forum against the forces that are attacking everything I hold dear. I urge others to take part in discussions of this kind, and if you do, I would like to offer some advice.
First, start slowly. It’s wise to let the first opportunities for making racially conscious remarks pass by. Establish some credibility on non-race related subjects. Once others respect you a little, they will listen more carefully to your racial views. I admit I didn’t do this myself, and I think it would have been better strategy.
Second, always be friendly and courteous. Present your arguments in a moderate and rational way. When challenged, maintain your composure. Don’t raise your voice even if your opponent does.
Third, express opinions other group members can agree with. Let them know you are on their side. My opposition to George W. Bush, the invasion of Iraq, and No Child Left Behind helped me gain acceptance and made it harder for people to dismiss me as a kook or “hater.”
Fourth, bear in mind that most people, including those with many degrees, are ignorant about history and immigration policy. When the opportunity presents itself, think about how to fit into your remarks key facts that many older people have forgotten and younger people never knew. Most Americans have no idea the country had an immigration policy designed to keep the country white. If they think about that, they may realize that the current shift is not necessarily inevitable. You can even ask, “What’s wrong with keeping America majority white?”
It is also wise — especially with young people — to cite websites instead of books as sources. YouTube videos, such as Craig Bodeker’s A Conversation about Race, are even better.
Fifth, enjoy the conversation and don’t take yourself too seriously. Smile and laugh along with everyone else. A discussion group is a form of recreation. There is a point at which you should stop arguing and have a glass of wine with the guy who has been challenging your ideas. My experiences in the salon persuaded me that it’s worse to be called a bore than a bigot.
Racially conscious whites have an obligation to speak to as many people as possible, including liberals. So long as racially conscious views are carefully and moderately expressed, they only help our cause. It may be necessary to hold your tongue on the job, but I hope I have made it clear that in a discussion group like the salon, being the “pet reactionary” can be both useful and a lot of fun!
The Dallas Salon hasn’t heard the last from me. I’ll be back.