As a reminder that white nationalist activity remains a problem in the Northwest, last week Idaho's only black lawmaker received a hand-addressed application to join the Ku Klux Klan.
Rep. Cherie Buckner-Webb, told the Associated Press that childhood memories of a cross burning on her lawn on Boise's north end were rekindled when she opened the hand-addressed application form to join the Harrison, Arkansas-based Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. "It conjured up a lot of things for me that weren't very comfortable – not fear, but sometimes we get to thinking things are settled," she said. Responding to why she may have received the mailing, she added, “My first inclination was someone wants me to know the Klan is still around.”
On Saturday, April 7, the conservative publication, the National Review, finally severed ties with controversial columnist John Derbyshire after his latest racist rant. Now the question remains as to whether they will maintain ties with another white nationalist they publish.
That the American Renaissance 2012 conference took place at all was a cause for minor celebration by the participants. The scientific racists, academics, lawyers and assorted white nationalists who attend these events had been frustrated for the several years by the anti-racists who had successfully protested their events, rendering it nearly impossible for them to fool a private hotel in a big city into booking their confab. So, this time the so-called racial realists retreated to the Tennessee woods. Specifically, American Renaissancers had to drive almost an hour west of the Nashville airport before they got to Montgomery Bell State Park, where they parked over the 16-17 March weekend. They were all pleased with the results: A quiet affair amidst beautiful surroundings with little noise intruding from the outside.
In the month since the tragic shooting in Sanford, Florida of 17-year old Trayvon Martin, sustained pressure by the NAACP and local civil rights advocates has brought national attention to the killing, and the way the incident was handled by local law enforcement. More than two million signatures have been collected on an online petition seeking justice for Mr. Martin. Rallies for justice in Florida have been amplified by scores of rallies in cities and towns across the country. A renewed discussion of race and racism has emerged in this presidential election year.
Into this increasingly complex situation, white nationalists have sought to inject their poison. They have defamed Martin, concocted false allegations and amplified racial stereotypes of young black men—in effect, putting the victim on trial in the court of public opinion. Even before Florida officials started leaking negative "information" about Trayvon Martin, white nationalists were portraying Mr. Martin as a scary black man who deserved what he got.
ProEnglish executive director Robert Vandervoort’s inclusion on two panels was apparently not a matter of controversy inside the recently concluded Conservative Political Action Conference. Not one word questioning his participation was uttered publicly by any of his co-panelists, and one and all treated him with respect. Indeed, all of his co-panelists, including Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Florida Representative David Rivera were glad to shake his hand.
Outside the conference was a different matter, however. After IREHR raised concerns because of Vandervoort’s white nationalist attachments, a significant discussion ensued. It was often coupled with an intersecting debate about the appearance of Peter Brimelow, after People for the American Way noted the author’s white nationalism. The Kansas City Star, the Wichita Eagle and Mother Jones were among the publications to take note of these events. American Spectator, a decidedly conservative periodical weighed in with the comment that “if Vandervoort indeed organized events for an American Renaissance affiliate … he should explicitly and publicly renounce his old associates; that is a crowd that no one should touch with a ten foot pole.”
In the interest of answering these questions raised by American Spectator, among others, IREHR provides the following information about Vandervoort’s relationship to American Renaissance as well as his own re-articulation of white nationalist dogma.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, known nationally for his anti-immigrant activism, shared the stage with long-time white nationalist leader, Bob Vandervoort Saturday at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference. The other panelists joining Vandervoort and Kobach include Rep. David Rivera (R-FL), and Alex Nowrasteh of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The moderator is Niger Innis, national spokesperson for the Congress of Racial Equality.
Despite being informed of Vandervoort's background in advance, none of the panelists challenged Vandervoort on his white nationalism. All of them shook his hand.