From Carol M. Swain, Editor, Contemporary Voices of White Nationalism in America, (Cambridge University Press, 2002); December 21, 1999
It is fitting to begin our interviews with Jared Taylor, the founder and chief editor of American Renaissance magazine. For Taylor, more than any other figure over the past decade and a half, has succeeded through his magazine and his periodic national conferences in creating an intellectual forum in which white rights advocacy, white nationalism, and white ethnic assertiveness could be shifted from the redneck margins of society to a position, if not of mainstream respectability, at least of cultured urbanity and general intellectual seriousness. Taylor is in many ways a most unlikely figure to have carried out this project. Raised in Japan by Christian missionary parents, Taylor attended Japanese schools throughout his childhood and adolescence where he learned to speak fluent Japanese. He went on to attend Yale University and later worked and traveled extensively in West Africa. He also studied in France, where he received a graduate degree in international economics from the Paris Institute of Political Studies. His cosmopolitan and peripatetic background, however, did not prevent him from moving gradually in the early 1980s to adopt a white-centered view of American nationality and to develop the conviction that cosmopolitan and multiethnic societies are much less successful than those consisting of a single dominant ethnic group. While viewed by many as a highbrow racist, Taylor himself strenuously rejects the racist label and claims that his views on race and nationality are moderate, commonsensical, and fully consistent with the views of most of the great statesmen and presidents of America’s past. All human beings are by nature tribal, Taylor contends, tribal in the sense that they all have a special affinity for — and a natural loyalty toward — the members of their own race. White people, he says, have their own legitimate racial interests, just as the members of all other racial and ethnic groups do, though white people, he adds, have been slow to realize this.
The interview of Jared Taylor on December 21, 1999, by Russell K. Nieli is printed with kind permission of the interviewee.
White people have allowed other groups to organize and defend their racial interests while doing nothing to defend their own. This situation, Taylor believes, is akin to unilateral disarmament. Like many of the other interviewees in this volume, Taylor believes that the high incidence of various social pathologies among non-Asian minorities in America is at least partially the result of differing genetic endowments, though he also believes that bad social policies and the reigning liberal agenda on race have made these problems much worse. Taylor offers no concrete vision for the future racial landscape of America, though it is clear from his remarks here that he vigorously opposes affirmative action policies that preference racial minorities, antidiscrimination laws that restrict private associational rights, and immigration policies that are shifting the racial demographics of America away from the previous white majority.
Interview with Jared Taylor
Interview: Could you explain the nature of American Renaissance magazine? What is its underlying philosophy, its stated mission, and the sorts of people who write for it?
Jared Taylor: The purpose of American Renaissance is to discuss issues that are of interest to whites. After all, every other racial group in the country has groups and media organs that speak for them, and the purpose of American Renaissance is to speak for whites. Its subsidiary purpose is to convince a larger number of whites that it is legitimate for an organization or for a publication to in fact speak for them. Most whites are not convinced that they have legitimate group interests, so another purpose of American Renaissance is to convince a larger number of whites that it’s entirely legitimate for them to have group interests that may sometimes be in conflict with the interests of other groups.
As far as American Renaissance’s philosophy is concerned, that’s a very long subject, and I think we might have to go about that in a somewhat more piecemeal manner. I think perhaps you could summarize it in the most economical terms by saying that the position of American Renaissance is that race is not a trivial matter of either individual or group identity, and that it is a mistake to try to build a society — as the United States has been trying for perhaps the last forty or fifty years — to build a society in which race can be made not to matter. I think that the architects of the civil rights movement, both white and black, those who were most enthusiastic about it in the 1950s and 1960s, would never have anticipated the end of the century in which race is still an extremely salient characteristic in the social life of the United States. I think they would be surprised because at that time they misread human nature. They seemed to be working on the assumption that race was in fact something that was ultimately trivial. The stylish way to look at it these days, of course, is to say that race is not biological, that it is merely a social construct. I don’t know anyone who was putting it in those terms at that time, but that was the thinking. What we find today is that people still do sort themselves out quite reliably on the basis of race. In elections, they very frequently vote for candidates of the same race. The United States is scarcely more integrated racially today than it was in the 1950s and the 1960s, and I think that’s because once again race is a salient and significant biological and social fact. I suppose you could say that that is the major assumption that underlies the positions American Renaissance takes — that race is important and race matters, and it’s folly to try to build a society on the assumption that it can be made not to matter.
Interview: And the magazine is specifically geared towards white people and towards the interests of white people?
Jared Taylor: It’s not geared towards white people in that sense. We have a surprisingly large number of black subscribers.
Interview: What would interest a black subscriber in your magazine?
Jared Taylor: I think there are many black subscribers who share our view that race is a significant matter. In fact, when I talk to Americans about racial consciousness and about the legitimacy of racial consciousness, blacks understand this much more readily than whites because they themselves have racial consciousness, and they have group interests that they make no bones about expressing and advancing. It’s whites for whom the idea of racial consciousness has been turned into something that is, if not irrelevant, then even loathsome. Because blacks understand their own racial interests, they find it much more straightforward to imagine that whites can have racial interests, and I think that gives them an interest in what racially conscious whites may be thinking. For my own part, I find it interesting to read the black press — for example, The Final Call, Louis Farrakhan’s magazine, or the Amsterdam News.
The black press expresses black interests more explicitly than any other press, which is exactly what you would expect, and I think for anyone who has a consciousness of race and is conscious of the kinds of group conflicts that race can give rise to, it’s very interesting to see how other groups in their organs that are directed to their own group approach these same questions. And I think for that reason blacks would be interested in American Renaissance.
Interview: Besides your black readership, which, one would imagine, is only a small portion of the total readership, could you tell us something about your readership in terms of demographic categories. What sorts of people are attracted to the magazine and what are their reasons for wanting to read it?
Jared Taylor: We did a reader survey some years ago. My recollection is that, oh, something on the order of about 75 percent of the readers or subscribers were men, they tended to be of an average age of about forty to forty-five, they are overwhelmingly college educated, and they have above-average household income. Also, they tend to be conservative in their political views, and my recollection is that about half of them pronounce themselves to be Christians. The other half expressed no particular religious orientation.
Interview: Do you have any strategies for increasing your circulation?
Do you advertise, for instance, in like-minded magazines, in college newspapers, or over the Internet?
Jared Taylor: We have a web page on the Internet that sometimes brings in new readers. There are two primary ways we increase readership. One is through radio and television appearances by myself. Sometimes they bring in quite large numbers of new subscribers. The other is through direct mail, the way every publication tends to increase readership. I don’t doubt that you get solicitations in the mail all the time for various kinds of publications. We do the same thing. We rent mailing lists and we send pitch letters out to people who read other magazines that we think would suggest that they have a view of the world that would be compatible with ours.
Interview: Have you been successful in recent years in increasing your circulation?
Jared Taylor: Oh, no editor or publisher would ever tell you that he’s been successful … never sufficiently successful … but sure, it’s growing all the time. This is about our tenth year of publication, and we are growing steadily.
Interview: It’s a monthly magazine, now isn’t it?
Jared Taylor: Yes, it’s always been a monthly.
Interview: How many people read your magazine each month?
Jared Taylor: Well, this is a figure we release only to advertisers if you wish to advertise. I wish I could tell you that it was hundreds of thousands, but I can tell you only that it is thousands.
Interview: How would you characterize the current state of race relations in America?
Jared Taylor: I think race relations are essentially unchanged for the last forty or fifty years. I think that the greatest set of problems having to do with race is simply inherent to multiracialism. There has never been a multiracial society on the face of the earth in which there was not racial friction, and in fact the most stable multiethnic or multiethnic societies that I can think of have been ones in which there was some kind of quite firm hierarchy of different groups, whether it be in the United States — if you’re just speaking of blacks and whites, for example — or South Africa. Whatever one may think of apartheid, it was a stable situation, as was slavery, if you will. These things can continue for years whether one considers them just or unjust. In the past also, say in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, generally there was a group that was considered dominant … when you have multiethnic groups, you have a kind of overclass and an underclass. You’ll find the same thing elsewhere. The Tutsis tended to be the aristocratic class and dominated the Hutu in Rwanda and Burundi. The Sinhalese and the Tamils in what is now Sri Lanka, they were in a hierarchical relationship at one time, too, but now once that hierarchical relationship disappears, you find them in conflict. This is a fairly reliable pattern that you see around the world.
Race, of course, isn’t the only source of group conflict. Probably language may be the most fertile source of conflict after that, but any kind of group identification, be it religion, language, race, culture, tribe, all of these things are sources of friction — far from being the kind of source of strength that we have been encouraged to take them to be. But as far as the United States is concerned, I think, well, there are many, many subsidiary aspects of this problem, but, as I say, the great source — the original problem, the original sin, if you will — is the attempt to try to construct a society of such disparate racial elements. Any society that attempts this will encounter the very problems we have always been wrestling with, and I think for that reason, race relations have always been America’s greatest challenge. And, in fact, you can describe them as America’s greatest failure, but I think that they are inevitably a failure, given the way human nature is.
If you want to be more specific about race problems and what causes them, that was an aspect that I think I explored pretty thoroughly in my book Paved with Good Intentions. At the heart of our race problems is the assumption in the United States today that when nonwhite groups — specifically blacks but also including Hispanics — when nonwhite groups are less successful in America, their differences in achievement when compared to whites must be attributed to white racism and white wickedness. I think that, by and large, this is a mistake. I think that the different racial groups are different biologically, and they differ on average in their intelligence, and that’s, of course, why we never have this problem with Asians. Wherever you look, Asians outperform whites academically and financially, and so you would suspect that this nonwhite group that is doing better than whites would somehow cause a little bit more widespread skepticism about the white-racism-as-the-cause-of-nonwhite-failure theory. We don’t find that this Asian anomaly is much of a reason to doubt the prevailing view that all the problems of nonwhites can be attributed to whites.
In any case, in my view the differences in achievement are largely due to differences in inherent ability, and it is the unwillingness of America at large to recognize these differences in ability that I think are the cause of a certain very specific set of problems you see in the United States today. I think that most people, for example, accept the fact that blacks are, for biological reasons, the better athletes, certainly in many sports.
And no one therefore assumes that the fact that the National Basketball Association is 80 percent black is a result of some kind of systematic antiwhite or anti-Asian or anti-Hispanic racism. On the other hand, if we discover that most of the mathematicians and physicists and research scientists in the United States are white or, in fact, Asian, then we insist on assuming that some kind of institutional racism is throwing up vicious barriers to advancement for blacks and Hispanics. I think the analogy is, whether one likes it or not, an almost perfect one, between basketball and, for example, nuclear physics. People who do nuclear physics do it because they’re good at it, and people who play professional basketball likewise do it because they’re good at it. To assume that we have to have some kind of perfect, mathematical-geometrical equality of representation in all these fields I think is to overlook the significance of race and the biological aspects of race.
Another aspect of this problem is that by constantly blaming whites for the failures and shortcomings of nonwhites, our society is, despite I think the best intentions, teaching nonwhites to hate whites. After all, we are constantly telling blacks that it’s those racist bankers who won’t give you loans, it’s those racist policemen who arrest you despite your innocence, it’s those racist teachers who expect you to fail, it’s those racist television producers who portray you in a bad light — racist this, racist that, white society is just seething with racists. How can blacks help but grow up disliking or even hating whites? I think that if we have a real problem of outright, visceral racial hatred in this country today, it’s not a problem of whites hating blacks, it’s more a problem of blacks hating whites. And you find this in the overwhelmingly lop-sided crime statistics when it comes to the different races committing crimes against other races. You also find it, I think, in the kinds of statements that you see publicly made by blacks about whites, the equivalent of which would be very, very difficult to find in any kind of public figure … public white figure speaking about blacks. So this notion that the failure of blacks specifically — and now Hispanics have been brought into this game to a large degree — this idea that the failures of blacks and Hispanics can be attributed directly to white racism, past or present, is first of all wrong. Second of all, it creates hostility toward whites in the minds of blacks and Hispanics, and I think it creates a whole set of unnecessary guilt-related problems for whites. So aside from the great racial problem that inevitably arises simply from having different races in the same territory, I would put this first and foremost in characterizing America’s current racial problem, namely, this assumption that the failures of blacks and Hispanics can be attributed to white maliciousness or white wickedness.