Posted on March 5, 2007

SMU Says No Racism Debate On Campus

CBC News, March 5, 2007

An upcoming debate between a Saint Mary’s University professor and a self-described “race realist” is too risky to hold on campus, administrators say.

The debate between Peter March, a philosophy professor, and Jared Taylor was scheduled to take place at the Halifax university on Tuesday.

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.

In a release Monday, the university said there’s a higher level of personal risk and the need for increased security is more than the university can provide.

The school will reimburse March for any related expenses, the university added.

When the debate was announced last month, Saint Mary’s University said it wasn’t sponsoring the event and March was responsible for all costs, including security and cleanup.

In January, David Divine, Dalhousie University’s chairman in black Canadian studies, cancelled a debate on racial diversity after reading up on Taylor.

Taylor came to Halifax later that month to make a speech but was disrupted by protesters.

Mixed-race couples kissing, rather than masked hecklers, might greet controversial American speaker Jared Taylor when he visits Halifax next week.

Mr. Taylor, who calls himself a “race realist,” was shouted down and manhandled out of a room he rented when he tried to speak in Halifax in January.

People who oppose his views are planning to protest his appearance at a debate with philosophy professor Peter March at Saint Mary’s University on March 7.

But they are considering different methods.

One idea being discussed on the online forum Halifax Locals is to stage an “interracial make-out party.”

“I think the key here is to marginalize this man through humour and intelligence . . . just go out of our way to reinforce the fact that this guy’s anti-intellectual arguments are stupid and his supporters are out of touch with reality,” one poster writes.

“Let the makin’ out begin!”

Mr. Taylor, reached Friday in Oakton, Va., found the idea amusing.

“I hope they enjoy themselves,” he said. “If they’re busily making out, I assume they won’t be screaming and beating on pots and pans at the same time, which would be a refreshing change from the last time.”

Mr. Taylor said he took that incident as an aberration and doesn’t expect a physical confrontation this time.

There will be Halifax Regional Police officers present at the debate and masked people will not be allowed in, he said.

Mr. Taylor said he believes in complete freedom of association, including between races, but that integration should not be forced on anyone. He intends to argue Wednesday that racial diversity is a societal weakness that leads to conflict.

To refute that, his opponent Mr. March will have to demonstrate concrete advantages to North American society attributable directly to racial integration, Mr. Taylor said. He suggested that would be a very tall order.

But Mr. March said a physical demonstration of the enjoyment people with different skin colours find in each other, such as the proposed make-out party, would be a striking image to undermine Mr. Taylor’s position.

“This would be, on the whole, a salutary way of convincing him that we really mean it when we say that we are tolerant up here of multiracial relationships, as he would call them,” Mr. March said.

He said that in today’s visually oriented culture, such a demonstration might be one of the best possible ways to show Mr. Taylor his views are different from those of most Canadians.

Asked if he would consider joining the party, Mr March said, “I’m going to come with my pockets just full of Viagra.”

Still, the potential for things to turn ugly hangs over the event.

After the last incident involving Mr. Taylor, some people who took part in the protest found their names, addresses and phone numbers posted on an American “white pride” website.

One of them, Aaron Doncaster, posted on the Halifax forum a copy of an e-mail he said he received from someone threatening to assault him if he disrupts Wednesday’s debate.

“If we even suspect you of attempting to interrupt Mr. Taylor’s speech, I’ll cut you so bad and so fast no one will know what happened,” the message reads in part.

Mr. Doncaster couldn’t be reached Friday.

Mr. Taylor said he found such a threat upsetting.

“I would be distressed if any of those people were attacked by someone who thought he was defending me,” he said.

The debate is slated to take place in Theatre A of the Burke Education Building on Robie Street at 7 p.m.