Andrea MacDonald, Daily News (Halifax), February 27, 2007
Self-described “racial realist” Jared Taylor hopes to finish what he tried to start in Halifax.
The controversial American magazine editor will get to debate racial diversity after all. This session, however, features heavy security and a different sparring partner.
Last month, Taylor and Dalhousie University professor David Divine were scheduled to debate whether racial diversity is good for Canada. Divine, Dal’s Black Canadian studies chair, cancelled the talk because he feared people would misinterpret the subject matter.
Taylor supports racial segregation, arguing that mixing different races leads to tension.
When he later tried to discuss his views at the Lord Nelson hotel, protestors prevented him from speaking. Some wore masks. Halifax Regional Police are still investigating whether their actions constituted an assault.
Yesterday, Saint Mary’s University philosophy professor Peter March announced he’ll take on Taylor next month. The two men will square off March 6 at Saint Mary’s University.
SMU says it does not support the event or Taylor’s presence or views. March is organizing the debate and had to pick up the cost of renting the room, cleanup and security.
March said he’s also required to carry $2 million in personal insurance for the event. He had to clear a lot of hoops to make the debate happen, he said, but felt it was important to confront tough questions directly.
“Is it better to let someone like this talk and perhaps persuade some fragile mind in the audience to become a racist? Or is it better to confront him right away and parade the obvious and powerful arguments in favour of a multiracial society?” March said.
“It’s a judgment call, but I think the issue is now so much in the air that we’re fools not to confront it.”
March said he faced the same level of security during last year’s lecture on Islam and democracy held at SMU. (March created a furor by posting incendiary drawings of the Prophet Muhammad—the same ones that had triggered international controversy—outside his office door.)
Taylor said yesterday it wasn’t the security that persuaded him to return to Halifax.
“I tend to be an optimist about human beings. I would like think that after what I would consider to be a rather shameful episode for Halifax, that an audience would be better behaved.”
Halifax Regional Police Const. Jeff Carr has confirmed there will likely be “a small police presence” on hand to ensure everything remains peaceful.
The racial diversity debate will take place March 6 at 7 p.m., in Theatre A of the Burke Education Building at Saint Mary’s University.
SMU philosophy professor Peter March says he’s had to hire four cops, the head of SMU security and student police.
People will be searched at the door, and no one with a mask or anything that could be used as a mask will be allowed in.
Anything that could be used in an “undesirable” way, including posters, will be banned.
The hour-long debate will be followed by an hour-long question-and-answer period.
Admittance will be strictly limited to 236 people.