A prominent white nationalist and pseudo-academic is set to give a speech at the University of Alabama (UA) where he will reportedly talk about whether “diversity is a strength.”
Jared Taylor, the publisher of the white nationalist magazine American Renaissance is set to speak at UA on April 19, according to AL.com. He was initially invited by a group called Students for America First, which claims to be a pro-free speech organization “protecting and promoting the American ideals of free speech and civil public discourse.”
University of Alabama administrators are categorically opposed to Taylor’s visit. “Many in the campus community, including campus leadership, have strong feelings against the messages this person may espouse,” University President Stuart R. Bell said in a statement. “Our community is diverse, inclusive and accepting, and we are committed to treating one another respectfully.”
Students for America First maintained that they were simply wanted to ensure free speech for all on the university campus, regardless of the ideas. “We believe that [it] is our right as Americans to decide for ourselves what ideas are right and which wrong,” SFAF told Talking Points Memo. “Not to have that decision made for us by the media and our universities.”
Taylor’s impending visit to the University of Alabama is reminiscent of Richard Spencer’s now defunct college speaking tour. Because they’re state entities, schools like the University of Alabama or the University of Florida (which Spencer visited in October) allow for greater First Amendment protections then their private counterparts.
While not as well known as Spencer, Taylor helped establish the pseudo-intellectual, “dapper” style of white nationalism which Spencer marketed so effectively in the aftermath of Trump’s 2016 electoral victory.
A graduate of Yale University and Sciences Po in France, Taylor has been a mainstay in American White Nationalism since 1991, when he began to publish American Renaissance.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the magazine “focuses on the alleged links between race and intelligence, and on eugenics, the now discredited ‘science’ of breeding better humans.” Previous articles include claims that “psychopathic personality” is more prevalent in African Americans, and that “when blacks are left entirely to their own devices Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears. Taylor’s books meanwhile include “Paved With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America” and, most recently, “If We Do Nothing: Essays and reviews from 25 years of white advocacy.”
As an older white nationalist, Taylor has done his best to harness some of the energy of the so-called “alt-right” in recent years, rubbing shoulders with Richard Spencer at conferences and delivering speeches at conventions designed to attract new far-right recruits. However, with the recent, well-documented implosion of the “alt-right” leadership, it is unsure whether Taylor will want to continue to associate with them.
The University of Alabama is no stranger to racist incidents. Earlier this year, a 19-year-old freshman was expelled from the school after posting two racist videos on her Instagram account, including one where she said she “doesn’t care if it’s Martin Luther King Day” before saying a racial slur more than six times in succession.