Chris Lambie, Chronicle Herald, Febuary 27, 2007
A self-described “race realist” who was mobbed by angry protesters last time he tried to speak in Halifax will return next week to debate one of the city’s academic lightning rods.
Jared Taylor, an American magazine publisher banned from a Dalhousie University debate on racial diversity due to fears he would preach hatred, will go toe-to-toe with Peter March, the Saint Mary’s University philosophy professor who garnered national notoriety last year for posting controversial cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad on his office door.
“I had such a warm reception, how could I stay away?” Mr. Taylor said Monday.
Mr. Taylor was originally slated to debate David Divine, who holds Dalhousie’s chair in black Canadian studies. But Dalhousie cancelled that Jan. 15 appearance after a story about the controversial debate, and how it was being touted on a white supremacist website, appeared in The Chronicle Herald.
On Jan. 16, Mr. Taylor tried giving a talk at the Lord Nelson Hotel. But he was shouted down and roughed up by masked protesters.
“People like Jared Taylor turn up in every generation and you have to answer them and you have to be firm about it and you have to be courageous about it,” Mr. March said.
“You don’t do it by bullying them and making them look good. You don’t do it by putting on a mask and playing Ku Klux Klan.”
Mr. March will argue there’s no such thing as racial diversity because there aren’t races.
“It’s just not true that there are races in Canada,” he said. “There are human beings and they’re all one race.”
Dalhousie failed to uphold standards of academic freedom when it cancelled the January debate, Mr. March said.
“My job is to give sharp, efficient, fair, informed argument against a highly obnoxious philosophy,” he said.
The Anti-Defamation League describes the ideology of Mr. Taylor’s New Century Foundation as “intellectualized, pseudo-scientific white supremacy.” It’s a charge the Virginia man denies.
Saint Mary’s issued a terse statement Monday about the March 6 debate, which will take place on campus.
“Saint Mary’s University is NOT sponsoring the debate nor does it support or sanction Mr. Taylor’s presence or his views,” it said. “All planning and arrangements are being made by this individual faculty member.”
Mr. Taylor will cover the $1,200 it will cost to provide security for the event, Mr. March said.
“There are going to be four policemen present,” he said. “They’re going to search everybody at the door. They’re going to make sure nobody wears any masks.”
The 7 p.m. debate is slated to take place in Theatre A of the Burke Education Building on Robie Street.
“We got a black eye last time,” Mr. March said. “I’m quite sure that this time it will go very smoothly.”
A self-professed “race realist” who was roughed up by protesters in Halifax last month plans to return to the city next week.
Jared Taylor, who is with American Renaissance magazine in Virginia, says he is returning to debate St. Mary’s philosophy professor Peter March. Taylor was prevented last month from giving a speech on the separation of the races by protesters who pushed him out a meeting room door at the Lord Nelson Hotel.
Taylor has filed a complaint with Halifax police.
St. Mary’s University says it isn’t sponsoring the debate and doesn’t support or sanction March’s presence.
In order for March to use a room for the debate, St. Mary’s says the professor must pay for all expenses, including insurance, security and cleanup.
March is a controversial figure himself.
The philosophy prof drew the ire of Muslim students at the university in February 2006 when he posted controversial cartoons outside his office.
The cartoons depicted the prophet Muhammad.
March cited freedom of speech for putting up the cartoons, which were eventually taken down at the insistence of the university.