Jonathan Tilove, Austin American-Statesman, June 23, 2015
Between 2000 and 2008, I attended four of the biennial American Renaissance conferences outside D.C., white nationalist gatherings at which I was the only reporter from a mainstream news organization who attended them from start to finish, or really, for any more than a few hours, if at all.
This week, Taylor was back in the news when he emerged as the designated spokesman for the Council of Conservative Citizens – a like-minded if rougher-around-the-edges white nationalist organization that he has been a member of for the last 20 years. The Council made one of its occasional forays into national consciousness with news that Dylann Roof’s apparent manifesto suggested that it was the Council’s website that had “informed” his thinking on race and propelled him toward the massacre at the Charleston, S.C., church of which he stands accused.
Late last night I spoke with Taylor and what follows are excerpts from that interview.
FR: How did it fall on you to be the spokesman for the CofCC at this moment?
JT: The president of the CofCC, new in office after the death of Gordon Baum, did not wish to speak to the media, so I stepped into this fiery breach.
FR: What can you tell me about the new president.
JT: His name is Earl P. Holt III. He was adamant about not wishing to speak to media about this.
FR: Was Dylann Roof ever a member of the CofCC?
JT: He has certainly never been a member, and as far as we can tell, no member who we have a headcount of has heard of this guy’s name. As far as we know the only connection is that he stumbled onto the website.
FR: Do you know if Roof ever visited the American Renaissance site?
JT: He’s certainly never said so and, as far as I know, I’m not aware of him ever having left a comment on the AmRen page.
We have absolutely no idea of him either.
Don’t forget, he said that (the CofCC website) is the first site he found from his initial interest in interracial crime.
Then in his manifesto he goes on to talk about how blacks are always thinking about race, that Asians are nice folks, there’s a Jewish problem, all of that I gather is something that came after his discovery of the CofCC website. He just says that’s the first site he went to. As you know, once you start exploring the Internet there’s just no end to it.
(The information on the CofCC site about interracial crime) surprised him because the dominant narrative is, as you know, one of unremitting white racial violence against blacks. So he was apparently flabbergasted that that is not actually the case and this is what led him to a dissident state of mind.FR: Does what Roof did give you pause about the consequences of what is on the CofCC site? Any sense of culpability?
JT: The parallel I would draw is, let’s imagine that you are deeply concerned about global warming and that you have researched the subject and arrived at strong conclusions based on what you think is conclusive evidence and it turns out that someone with whom you agree, even 100 percent, then walks into the headquarters of ExxonMobil and shoots up the executive floor, kills people.
Does that mean you decide, uh oh, I was wrong, my ideas were all wrong. No, that’s not your conclusion. You conclude that what this guy did is horribly wrong but your ideas, you still stand by, and I think that’s the position we have to take. This was a terrible, horrible thing that happened, but the fault, if there is one, I think is with the fact that this information is essentially air-brushed out of the picture.
If there were awareness of the proportion of black-on-white crime, if this were considered a problem that people agonized over, that there was some sense people were trying to get to the bottom of this, to stop this, then perhaps, just perhaps, this guy would not have killed people, he would not be so frustrated.
I think it’s this sense of being in the grip of some all-encompassing set of misconceptions, of refusals to face a certain reality, this long-term dispossession of whites. I think people become obsessed with this, and those that can’t control their anger are likely to go off the deep end.
Taylor also cited the case of Floyd Corkins.
JT: He was a gay activist and he went and wanted to go and attack this Christian organization that opposes homosexual marriage.
Does that mean that the people who are gay activists would rethink their position?
People do crazy, violent things for all sorts of reasons. People attack abortion clinics. People attack people who attack abortion clinics. This is a horrible thing, but I think that so long as the idea is we are dealing with facts in a realistic way, I don’t see how you can possibly modify your position.
FR: You think there is a lot of white anger out there?
JT: I can say with considerable confidence, there is a lot of anger
I know young people, particularly young people, who are especially angry because they feel have come into a world, certainly one which is not of their making, and they’re informed that they are the race that are the villains of history, that white people are responsible for all the terrible things that happened to non-white people everywhere in the world. They’re hopping mad about it. I know they are and I sympathize with that anger, but that anger has to be channeled to useful political work and not violence.
FR: Would you want to talk with Dylann Roof?talk
JT: I would like to talk to him, yes. I don’t suspect I’ll ever have that opportunity, but yes I would.
FR: Why? Would you offer him some advice?
JT: Too late for advice, no. I would be curious why he took this action.
By any standard this sets back any kind of race realist movement tremendously.
Here is a guy who is Heidi Beirich’s wet dream.
JT: Here’s a guy who confirms this historic account of racist violent whites. He’s exactly what we don’t need and I would just try to get a handle. OK, I sympathize with a couple of things you say, but don’t you realize how destructive your behavior was. That’s what I’d want to know. I’d want to plumb his mind a little bit.
FR: What has been the reaction of other readers of American Renaissance?
JT: They’re horrified by this, absolutely horrified by this because this gives our opponents just the kind of ammunition that we don’t want them to have. This guy is not a credit to his race. He is a horrible criminal and a terrible embarrassment. And to the extent one agrees with him, it is a shocking shame that he has taken this knowledge that he’s acquired and this is the consequence. This is exactly what we don’t want to happen.
At some place, it goes without saying- well perhaps it doesn’t go without saying – that we don’t encourage any kind of violence or illegality. I think anyone who would end up at the AmRen page would know that.
FR: You say that Roof has hurt your movement, but won’t he and this manifesto draw people to look at the CofCC site, to look at your site?
JT: If this is what it takes to get more visitors to the site, we sure don’t need it.
FR: Roof also appears to have advanced the day when the Confederate flag will be removed from the state Capitol grounds in South Carolina.
JT: Every group in the country is encouraged to take pride in their heritage and ancestry except for whites and especially Southern whites. They’re the one group who are told to say, `No no, your ancestors were evil slaveholders,” and I think this is yet another mistake to force people to give up a symbol which for them in many cases means devotion, courage, dedication, to say to them, “We don’t care what you think about this symbol, we think it’s awful and we’re taking it down, screw you.” I think that is yet another insult to young whites, young Southern whites. I think all of this is going in a terrible direction, and more and more people are going to be angry about this.
What the left wants is all white people on their knees begging forgiveness. That’s what the left wants. And to a remarkable degree, that’s what the left has gotten. It ain’t going to work for everyone. Believe me I know it’s not working for everybody, and many people are very, very angry.
As if the flag somehow made him do this. Does anyone even believe that? They’re acting as if they do, but who’s even asked that question?
Up until the 1950s, nobody thought the flag represented racism, or very few people, North or South alike. It was a symbol of doughty resistance. The Confederate flag was on matchbox covers, bicycles. It was sort of a standard motif. The ’50s in particular had a kind of Confederate flag vogue. But not now.
If we want to prevent this (what Roof is alleged to have done), the absolutely wrong thing to do is keep piling on this notion of guilty white people. That’s just not going to work. The left has tried this a long time.
Does it really do any good to pile on the guilt? I think it does a terrible lot of damage but nobody is interested in hearing that.
FR: Do you think you speak for more than a small fringe of white people?
JT: Oh indeed. Millions and Millions. Quite literally. Just look at the comments on mainstream media sites these day. More and more they read as if they could have been written by AmRen readers. In fact, it’s often striking. Even something like the New York Times or the Chicago Tribune, you look at the comments on any race-related story, the commenters are almost harsh in opposition to the author and they have a much more kind of hard-nosed view of race.
FR: Were you surprised or disappointed that conservative politicians like Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Greg Abbott so quickly distanced themselves from Holt and the CofCC?
JT: The pressures on them must be tremendous and I am not surprised they are doing this.
But these are extraordinary circumstances. Otherwise, of course, they’d happily accept this money. They’re giving it away because of the circumstances and that’s the only reason.
I think if they were to happen to discover something like this, that Earl Holt was head of the CofCC, if this were not a big media matter, it would make no difference at all. Sure they’d keep the money.
Let’s put it this way – if the CofCC could muster a million votes for Ted Cruz, he probably wouldn’t give the money back.
Or who knows, maybe he would anyway.
I’m really not at all surprised. I would have predicted this.
The notion of whites as subject to discrimination is not new, of course — the idea fueled the “reverse discrimination” argument against civil rights and affirmative action going back to at least the 1970’s. But extent of these attitudes among conservative and Tea Party identifiers is striking. It’s hard not to see some of the initial struggles among Republican presidential candidates to respond publicly to the Charleston murders in this context.
Of course, no one is going to condone such heinous acts in the name of either whites or Christianity. But the initial stumbling around with possible explanations that the killings should be seen primarily as an attack on religion, or that the killer might have had motivations other than race, seem to reflect some implicit acknowledgement of the sense that there are constituencies who think of whites and Christians being under siege .
What follows are excerpts and links to the stories I wrote on four American Renaissance conferences, three for Newhouse News Service and the fourth – my favorite – a 2006 story I wrote for the Jewish newspaper, The Forward, on the struggle between Jews and Nazis in the white nationalist movement.
The last white nationalist conference I attended was in 2008. This from Oct. 22, 2008.
For White Nationalists, Obama Isn’t Half Bad
HERNDON, Va. — The prospect of Barack Obama becoming America’s first black president drew scant attention and little overt alarm among the 250 white nationalists at this past weekend’s biennial American Renaissance Conference.
“I got an e-mail from a fairly prominent person, ‘You should be rooting for an Obama presidency because that would send money and support surging your way,’” said Jared Taylor, the event’s convener and the movement’s most euphonious voice.
But, Taylor said, “I really don’t think that’s true. I don’t think many white people will say, ‘This is the last straw.’”
Those who already “see the world” as he does, Taylor said, “will see this as yet another step, perhaps an inevitable one, in this direction.”
Indeed, many here regarded Obama, contrasted with Republican John McCain, as the lesser of two evils.
Taylor is the founder of American Renaissance, a newsletter and Web site, which since 1994 has sponsored conferences every two years where white men in suits and ties — and a handful of white women — listen to speakers talk about white genetic and cultural superiority and, with increasing urgency, lament the peril to the U.S. national character of mass immigration from places other than Europe.
The last six conferences have been held near Taylor’s home in the Washington suburbs, close to Dulles Airport. He is the glue for the fractious groups and individuals who participate — some of whom can barely stand to be in the same room.
From The Forward, March 3, 2006.
Is White Nationalist Tent Big Enough for Jews and Nazis?
LETTER FROM HERNDON, VA.
For the small, hardy band of right-wing Jews who attended this past weekend’s American Renaissance Conference, the biennial gathering of white nationalists ended on a sour note.
The events Saturday, February 25, passed without major incident. But then, late Sunday morning, none other than former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke approached the microphone on the floor during the question-and-answer session for French writer Guillaume Faye. After congratulating Faye for stirring remarks that “touched my genes,” Duke asked if there weren’t an even more insidious threat to the West than Islam.
“There is a power in the world that dominates our media, influences our government and that has led to the internal destruction of our will and our spirit,” Duke said.
“Tell us, tell us,” came a call from the back of the room.
“I’m not going to say it,” Duke said to rising laughter.
But Michael Hart, a squat, balding Jewish astrophysicist from Maryland, was not amused. He rose from his seat, strode toward Duke (who loomed over him like an Aryan giant), spit out a curse – “You f…ing Nazi, you’ve disgraced this meeting” – and exited.
As it happens, only a few minutes earlier Hart, a mainstay of American Renaissance conferences, had been trying to reassure Herschel Elias, a first-time attendee from suburban Philadelphia, that he should not let his observation that the meeting was “infiltrated by Nazis and Holocaust deniers” ruin his impression of American Renaissance.
“The speakers aren’t Nazis,” Hart assured him. “Jared isn’t a Nazi.”
From February 25, 2002:
HERNDON, Va. – While their deportment was excellent and their intellect obvious, the 250 white nationalists as most called themselves at the fifth biennial American Renaissance Conference were all too aware that they exist along the shadowy fringes of American public life.
“We are minoritarian,” said Jared Taylor, who convened the gathering named for the monthly newsletter he edits. “We are marginal in terms of influence and numbers and not only that, according to the mainstream, we are a despicable group.”
But Taylor and others who joined him “In Defense of Western Man,” as last weekend’s conference was themed, are modestly optimistic that white people are beginning to be roused to the self-conscious racial identity that they believe is all that can save them from losing their dominant place in America in the face of immigration and multiculturalism.
In a new book, Carol M. Swain, a Vanderbilt University professor of political science, warns that their optimism may be warranted, that they may not be on the fringe forever and that the broader public ignores them at its peril. Swain, a black woman whose new book, “The New White Nationalism in America,” will be issued July 4, sees the cadre of folks who attend the American Renaissance conferences as the intellectual vanguard of a slicker and smarter racist right that could gain a following among more mainstream white conservatives in years to come, with disastrous results for American race relations. And Swain believes that black leaders and the multicultural left bear some responsibility for creating the conditions in which this movement could flourish.
“I believe the arguments that Jared Taylor puts forth would appeal to a substantially larger percentage of the white population than are willing to admit it,” said Swain, who was previously at Princeton University and whose earlier book critiquing black electoral districts won her several prizes and considerable controversy.
And, from April 4, 2000:
Nietzschean Henry Higgins Strives to Make White Nationalists Presentable
leave a comment »
RESTON, Va. – April 1 was Census Day, the moment the 2000 census was supposed to capture, marking the first census of a century that promises by its mid-point to record a United States that is less than half white. By coincidence, it was also opening day for a conference of some 200 white men and a handful of white women who are appalled at that prospect and astonished by the apparent willingness of most whites to let it happen.
“We’ve lost the ability to say ‘us’ or ‘we.’ Most whites simply cannot bring themselves to say, ‘This is our culture, this is our nation and it belongs to us and no one else,’” declared Jared Taylor, the charismatic convener of the fourth biennial American Renaissance Conference, named for the publication that he edits.
Attendees suffered no such lip-lock. The conference brought some of the leading intellectual and political lights of the white far right to the Sheraton Hotel in this planned community a traffic jam from the nation’s capital. For two days, they talked to one another in tones by turn defiant and despairing of the demographic changes threatening white dominance in America and the West, and their determination to rally dormant white racial consciousness to turn back that day or at least to go down in history as those who dared curse the twilight of white primacy.
“Our people are going to be extinct if we don’t stand up on our hind legs and do something,” said Gordon Baum, the affable St. Louis lawyer who heads the national Council of Conservative Citizens, which counts as members at least 80 legislators across the nation.
They talked about an America that they believe once was and ever ought to be a white, European-American nation. Theirs would be a nation bound by blood and sanctified by the genetic scientists who appeared before them as a place where white people might rightly prevail over the black and brown people; a nation where what they consider the natural hierarchy might finally triumph over what they count as the false promise of egalitarianism.
In the words of Samuel Francis, an influential writer and one of its leading ideologists, theirs is “a movement that rejects equality as an ideal and insists on an enduring core of human nature transmitted by heredity.”