Posted on March 7, 2007

Radio Takes On Race Debate

John Gillis, Chronicle Herald (Halifax), March 7, 2007

Controversial American “race realist” Jared Taylor finally got the debate he’d been seeking in Halifax on Tuesday.

The hastily arranged engagement with Saint Mary’s University philosophy professor Peter March on Rick Howe’s Hotline radio program on CJCH went off without a feared clash between opponents and supporters of Mr. Taylor’s views and with no clear winner.

Both Saint Mary’s and Dalhousie universities had previously cancelled debates involving Mr. Taylor, who argues that racial integration weakens societies and leads to conflict. When the Virginia resident scheduled his own appearance at a Halifax hotel in January to make up for the Dal event, protesters shouted him down and pushed him out of the room.

Saint Mary’s officials nixed a debate planned for Tuesday evening in a campus building after one person who planned to protest received an apparent threat of violence.

On air, Mr. Taylor said Canada struggles to make racial diversity work through expensive bureaucracies like this province’s Office of African-Nova Scotian Affairs, yet still sees a high rate of violence among blacks, aboriginals and Indo-Canadians. Meanwhile, American schools and prisons are gripped by interracial gang warfare.

“You are not yet at the point that we are in the United States, but if you keep going down this road, if you keep revelling in this fantasy of multiracialism being a strength, that is where you will end up,” he said. “The main thing I’d like to see is to get rid of this foolish fantasy that something is a strength when in fact it’s a weakness. Then you can draw policy according to what is fact rather than fantasy.”

Mr. March said his opponent was doing a service by pointing out the problems that exist between races and our failure to resolve them. But he argued racial diversity is itself a benefit to society.

“Jared is right: we have not behaved very well,” he said. “But the signs in the 20th century and the hope of the 21st century is that we will surmount these tribal differences. This is a fundamental moral value and therefore we will pursue it no matter what the cost.”

Mr. March argued the violence attributed to blacks in the United States is a predictable outcome of 150 years of slavery followed by 100 years of civil rights restrictions that both antagonized and impoverished the culture.

He said our society includes all people and it is a greater good to share the rights and prosperity some privileged people have historically enjoyed than to save money for “rich white men like (Mr. Taylor).”

Callers to the Hotline show had mixed views on the outcome.

Outside the studio, Mr. March said Mr. Taylor, who calls himself a “race realist,” is not only a racist but his stance is deeply immoral.

Mr. Taylor explained his racial views by referring to his family.

“I feel about my race the way I feel about my children: I love my children more than I love the children of any of you here and I make no apologies for that,” he told reporters. “Race is in effect our extended family.”

The men, who travelled to and from the radio station together, were united in their criticism of Saint Mary’s for cancelling the public debate.

Mr. March said his employer is part of a racist society that does not want its dirty laundry aired in public.

“I am raising issues which embarrass Saint Mary’s,” he said. “They do not confer any public relations value on Saint Mary’s whatsoever, although they do confer great academic value.”

He later said the school had offered to pay to make a video recording of a debate as long as no one from the media or the public was present.

Reporters outnumbered protesters at the radio station. Two pairs of people showed up at the building during the show but didn’t stay long.

Scott Bodnarchuk, general manager in Halifax for the parent CHUM radio chain, said CJCH and Mr. Howe wanted to provide a forum for the free expression of ideas, including controversial perspectives on sensitive subjects like racial diversity.

“This is a much more safe environment, more secure environment to hold the debate and let the public give their opinions on both sides of the debate,” Mr. Bodnarchuk said.

The station asked Halifax Regional Police to keep an eye on the building, and the front door was locked.

Mr. Bodnarchuk said the usual seven-second delay in the broadcast would protect against any potentially hateful material getting on air.