Dalhousie University has scrubbed a January debate on racial diversity, fearing one of the two participants was an American hate-monger.
The clash between David Divine, holder of Dal’s chair in black Canadian studies, and Jared Taylor of American Renaissance magazine was called off after the university researched Mr. Taylor’s background and his New Century Foundation.
“We are a responsible institution and therefore we have to decide very carefully when we put on presentations that we do not unnecessarily cause offence and compound the difficulties of individuals and communities who have been systematically discriminated against over centuries,” Mr. Divine said Thursday night.
“Therefore, we will not provide a platform to individuals or organizations who espouse hate against particular groups.”
Mr. Taylor denied the charge in an interview from his Virginia office.
“Oh, heavens, espouse hatred? I espouse absolutely no hatred,” he said.
“I will tell you what—I think (Mr. Divine) is afraid I will beat him. I think he will find himself unable to defend racial diversity in any kind of coherent way. And when I produce example after example of the tension and conflict that arises from racial diversity, he will be completely in a corner and with nothing to say.”
Mr. Divine laughed when told of the comment.
“That’s complete nonsense and anyone that knows my background and my track record . . . would suggest this is complete tosh,” he said.
Mr. Taylor was clearly upset about the cancellation of the Dal debate, which was scheduled for Jan. 15, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.
Instead, Mr. Divine will deliver a lecture on racial diversity and the controversy surrounding the issue.
“They’ve turned the debate into a monologue,” Mr. Taylor said.
“I’m astounded. It seems to me we’re going to have a debate about diversity in which a diversity of views is not allowed.”
A booking agent named Brian Booth contacted Dalhousie a few months ago to suggest the debate, Mr. Divine said.
“Very recently, it came to our notice that there were (interviews Mr. Taylor has given) that suggested the views of Mr. Taylor were in fact bordering on the inflammatory,” he said.
Dal wanted to have a debate that offered a potential for “respectful dialogue” and changing opinions, Mr. Divine said. “The prospects of having that were fairly minimal.”
Mr. Taylor countered that universities should have a “free play of ideas.”
“Apparently, in that sense, Dalhousie is not a university.”
Mr. Divine decided Wednesday afternoon to cancel Mr. Taylor’s appearance, Dal spokesman Charles Crosby said. The cancellation was announced after a story about the controversial debate appeared in The Chronicle Herald’s metro edition on Thursday.
The university has been studying Mr. Taylor’s history for the past week, Mr. Crosby said.
“He’s got some very troubling views,” he said. “He calls himself a white separatist, for example.”
The Anti-Defamation League describes the ideology of Mr. Taylor’s New Century Foundation as “intellectualized, pseudo-scientific white supremacy.”
A book of essays called The Real American Dilemma—Race, Immigration and the Future of America, published by the New Century Foundation, leaves little doubt about Mr. Taylor’s views.
“At some point, nature will reassert itself, and whites will decide not to let themselves be pushed aside,” he writes in the 1998 publication.
“But in the meantime, the real question is why are whites letting this happen to their country? Why do they still pay lip service to ideals of integration that they, themselves, consistently violate? Why are they ensuring that their children and grandchildren will be racial minorities—perhaps even hated minorities—in their own land?”
Mr. Taylor denies being a white supremacist. But at American Renaissance conferences, he has reportedly been seen chatting with David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klansman and segregationist who attended the recent Holocaust deniers conference in Iran.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mr. Taylor has been photographed drinking beer with another Klan stalwart, Don Black, whose neo-Nazi website, Stormfront.org, has been labelled a “veritable supermarket of online hate” by the Anti-Defamation League.
The website, originating in Florida, uses the slogan White Pride Worldwide and has been encouraging “like-minded Canadian allies” to attend the Dal debate.
Comments Mr. Divine read on the Stormfront website persuaded him to cancel the debate.
“I knew then that there was simply no prospect of a conversation or a dialogue, and this would simply be used as a platform to espouse hate, and that’s something that I cannot condone,” Mr. Divine said.
A professor at Dalhousie University has cancelled a debate on racial diversity, calling the ideas of his American challenger too offensive to be voiced on campus.
David Divine, the university’s chair in black Canadian studies, scrapped the January event after reading up on writer Jared Taylor.
“It’s all about providing a public stage for views which are considered by many Canadians as deeply, deeply offensive,” said Divine.
Taylor, editor of American Renaissance magazine, opposes immigration, which he says leads to violence and conflict. He also says traits such as intelligence, sexual promiscuity and criminality are linked to race.
Divine says he wasn’t aware of Taylor’s beliefs when he agreed to debate the strengths and weaknesses of racial diversity on Jan. 15, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The public event has been advertised on Stormfront, a white supremacist website. One posting urges “like-minded Canadian allies” to show up to support “our side.”
The posting also said Paul Fromm, a political activist with ties to Ernst Zundel and David Duke, might attend.
Taylor calls Divine’s pullout an affront to the principles of free speech and accuses him of cancelling the public event out of fear he would lose.
“Anyone who reflects seriously and honestly about human nature and human history and morality will come to exactly the same conclusions I have come to,” Taylor said.
But Divine says academic debate has its limits.
Instead of a debate on Jan. 15, Divine will give a lecture on diversity including a summary of Taylor’s views.