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American Renaissance leader Jared Taylor is slated to speak at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on April 19. Taylor’s appearance is sponsored by Students for America First, a registered campus group that describes itself as,

dedicated to the recognition & preservation of the American ideals of self-determination, individual liberty, and constitutionally bound democratic government as absolute necessities for prosperity…Students for America First upholds these principles by fostering an environment where discussion among group members dealing with the challenges American and Western ideals face in our country and the world today is encouraged, not silenced.”

Students for America First President Andrew Wilson Williams is an actor who has appeared in movies such as Season of Miracles (2013), Grim Reapers (2015) and the pending Season of Mysteries. A Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016, Williams once commented “#anyonebuttrump2016” on his Facebook page. Williams also wrote “Watching American politics die” in response to an article on white supremacists supporting Trump’s candidacy. In March 2016 Williams indicated he would vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

Actor and Students for America First President Andrew Wilson Williams

After the election, Williams’ politics appeared to shift subtly. He began posting articles on Facebook about Trump supporting the LGBT community and the racist president-elect asking supporters to stop “harassing minorities.” Responding to an article about people wearing safety pins to show solidarity with those targeted by the Trump administration, Williams wrote, “Virtue signaling. Grow up.” Williams also posted an article in which Bernie Sanders indicated potential support for Trump if he was to take on corporate America. On November 20, 2016, in response to the Adam Yauch Memorial Park being vandalized with swastikas, Williams dismissed that, “Children will be children and do stupid things like vandalize playground equipment. #MAGA.” Yauch, a founding member of the Beastie Boys who died in 2012, was Jewish. Williams would also criticize Daily Show host Trevor Noah, writing “South African Comedian telling Americans how they should live.  Okay.”

In November 2016, Williams began posting articles by and about anti-Muslim bigot and former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos. In February 2017, in response to an announced appearance by Yiannopoulos on the Bill Maher show, Williams wrote, “it’s my two favorite unabashed ideologues on either end of the spectrum.” In March 2017, Williams posted a link to Front National leader Marine Le Pen’s Facebook page. He had also “liked” the pages of the Front National, Marine Le Pen and Marion Marechal-Le Pen – the daughter and grand-daughter, respectively, of Jean Marie Le Pen, the founder of the nationalist party who was fined in 2016 for flirting with Holocaust denial.

SFAF Vice-President Lincoln Egbert cast the event in free speech terms, stating that “SFAF neither endorses nor condemns Mr. Taylor’s work: our sole motivation in deciding to host him is to ensure that all social and political views, regardless of how offensive they may appear to the generic public are accounted for in the free marketplace of ideas that ought to exist on the university campus.”

It is commonplace for those hosting white nationalists to spin their events in such a manner.

All of this begs the question of why, specifically, Jared Taylor? Taylor is a longtime white nationalist leader who touts himself a “race realist” – the latest version of dressing up biological determinism as “scientific.”  In 2016, for instance, Taylor wrote that,

“Race is a biological fact…Different races have different average IQs, and the evidence is overwhelming that these differences are, to a substantial degree, genetic… Asians get the best [IQ] scores, followed by whites, then Hispanics, then blacks…This pattern reflects biology… Those who deny biology always try to ‘narrow the gaps’ in test scores. That was the purpose of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act…This silliness consumed huge amounts of time and money, and required so many exemptions it was finally set aside as meaningless. It was crushed by the reality of race.”

Expressing a core white nationalist idea, Taylor praised the “Alt-Right” for recognizing that, “whites have legitimate interests as a people. One of the most obvious is to resist the waves of non-white immigration that are dispossessing us…Virtually all whites everywhere in the world face the same crisis of dispossession.”

Brad Griffin, aka Hunter Wallace, editor of the white nationalist Occidental Dissent and Public Relations Chief for the League of the South, is also promoting Taylor’s speaking engagement. Though he says he will not be attending, on April 2 Griffin wrote, “We’re still dealing with Antifa political violence. We’re still dealing with campus crybabies. We’re still dealing with police departments that are standing down. If we retreat from the public sphere, these problems aren’t going to get any better and will likely get worse without opposition.”

Dr. Bruce E. Barrett, Associate Professor of Statistics at the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce, is listed as the academic adviser for Students for America First. Attempts to reach both Andrew Williams and Dr. Barrett by phone and email were unsuccessful.

University of Alabama President Stuart R. Bell denounced Taylor’s white nationalism, stating that his “ideology is counter to our institutional values.” Bell continued that,

“As a public university, the law and our commitment to free speech do not allow us to refuse a speaker based on the content of speech. This speaker was invited by a registered student organization that followed appropriate policies and processes. The best way to demonstrate distaste for hateful dialogue is not to give it an audience…Many in the campus community, including campus leadership, have strong feelings against the messages this person may espouse. The security of our campus is our absolute priority. Hate and bigotry have no place at The University of Alabama. Our community is diverse, inclusive and accepting, and we are committed to treating one another respectfully. We value the ways diversity enriches our University community.”

Chuck Tanner

Author Chuck Tanner

Chuck Tanner is an Advisory Board member and researcher for the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. He lives in Washington State where he researches and works to counter white nationalism and the anti-Indian and other far right social movements.

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