Sarah Owehmohle, Flat Hat (College of William and Mary), March 14, 2008
Jared Taylor, the editor of race issues journal American Renaissance, lectured Thursday night on the weaknesses of American diversity. Taylor was invited to campus by John Kennedy ’08 in what some believe was a response to the Sex Workers’ Art Show.
“It is practically the state religion to assume race is a great strength. Some would tell you it is America’s greatest strength,” Taylor began his speech, “but they seldom have concrete examples.”
He argued that there were numbers of obvious disadvantages, claiming that everyone from American founders John Jay and Thomas Jefferson to British author George Orwell had realized the true weakness of racial diversification.
Taylor’s speech was peppered with historical examples and scientific studies that all point to humanity’s biological predispositions to xenophobia and consequences such as “the other race effect.” He explained this as a human tendency to remember faces of people from their own race better than those of other races as a result of the functioning of the brain.
Among the studies he cited was one by Robert Putnam of Harvard University, which examined 41 different communities in the United States and concluded that communities with greater diversity were less likely to carpool.
“Carpooling is based on trust—you have to trust that your fellow is going to be there,” Taylor said. “People in these communities were less likely to participate in community events.”
Taylor also addressed the economic effects of diversification.
“The diversity industry is built on sand. $8 billion a year is spent on diversity training in businesses; if diversity were a great strength, why would diversity management be necessary?”
Taylor then turned his attention to the College community, noting that there were 16 organizations on campus “just for blacks.”
“Why are there all these organizations? Because black people want their own little Denmarks,” he said, alluding to his previous mention of Denmark’s homogeneity and the country’s consequent successes.
“I don’t blame [the black community;] they’re tired of diversity,” he said.
In his speech notes, which Taylor gave to The Flat Hat following the discussion, he had written to “conclude with two irreverent remarks.” He stuck to the script, beginning with one about white America.
“White Americans are being asked to celebrate diversity. They are effectively being asked to celebrate their dwindling numbers and influence,” Taylor said.
He followed this with a remark that, “the purpose of a university education is to educate you about diversity, and give you the means to get as far away from it as possible.”
Taylor then opened the floor for questions. Most of the students and faculty he called on refuted his claims with their own evidence, including Dean of Admissions Henry Broaddus.
Broaddus asked how Taylor could “cavalierly dismiss an entire body of research,” then went on to list a number of studies from universities such as Princeton University and Tufts University, all of which he said contradicted Taylor’s arguments.
When asked how he would define the term racist, Taylor said. “It is essentially name-calling, and I don’t know what the definition would be. It is the most graceless way of admitting loss of an argument.”
Kennedy organized the event by himself.
“I thought it would be interesting to introduce a completely different view on [diversity], and to see if I could get funding, too,” he said.
Regardless, Kennedy has been criticized for his motives.
“It’s most definitely a reaction to the Sex Workers’ Art Show.” Sen. Ray Ciabattoni ’10 said. “[Kennedy is] a noted conservative on campus, and it’s purely in spite of the Student Assembly’s attempt to bring a more diverse thing. That’s his way of snubbing his nose at the campus community,” Ciabattoni pointed out that Kennedy allegedly withdrew funding from the SA when he saw that there was support for it, and he was not going to get “shock value.”
“It goes to show that he really didn’t want to promote a diverse campus, he wanted to support his own agenda,” Ciabattoni said.
Kennedy claims that he did not apply because he picked up the wrong form.
“I am still hoping they will give a check to Mr. Taylor for coming,” he said.