Race, Racism, and White Nationalism

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Kansas Secretary of State to Share Stage with White Nationalist at CPAC
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Kansas Secretary of State to Share Stage with White Nationalist at CPAC

02.09.2012

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, known nationally for his anti-immigrant activism, is scheduled to share the stage with a long-time white nationalist leader Saturday at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Kobach is on a panel entitled "High Fences, Wide Gates: States vs. the Feds, the Rule of Law & American Identity" alongside Robert "Bob" Vandervoort. The organizational affiliation listed for Vandevoort at CPAC is executive director of ProEnglish. What Vandervoort left out of his bio is that during his time in Illinois he was also the organizer of the white nationalist group Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance.

Kris Kobach scheduled to speak with white nationalist at CPAC

As IREHR first reported on Wednesday, Vandervoort was at the center of white nationalist activity during his time in Illinois. While he was in charge, Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance often held joint meetings with the local chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens. The group held events featuring numerous white nationalist figures. Vandervoort also made appearances at white nationalist events outside Illinois, for instance participating in the 2009 Preserving Western Civilization Conference.

Started as a modest newsletter in 1990, American Renaissance has grown into an important vehicle for white nationalist ideas. American Renaissance first described itself as a "literate, undeceived journal of race, immigration and the decline of civility." It claimed that "White people" had lost their voice and that the United States was in danger of losing its "national and cultural core." Capturing the centrality of nativism to white nationalism, American Renaissance founder Jared Taylor wrote in a 2001 AR piece that,

Undoubtedly the greatest threat to whites today comes from immigration. Racial preferences, guilt-mongering, anti-Western education, even anti-white violence are manageable problems compared to a process that is displacing whites and reducing them to a minority. With a change in thinking at the right levels, anti-white policies and double standards could be done away with practically overnight, but that would still leave us with nearly 100 million non-whites living in the country.

Kobach and Vandervoort are not only scheduled to share the same stage at CPAC, they've also shared the same boss. Both have worked for organizations created by John Tanton, the grandfather of the modern anti-immigrant movement.

Kobach serves as council for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of the Tanton-founded Federation for American Immigration Reform, where he drafted some of the nation's most draconian anti-immigration laws. Vandervoort was recently hired as the executive director of ProEnglish, the Tanton-founded English-Only outfit run as a project of his group US Inc.

Tanton, who has played an integral role in the formation of many of the national nativist organizations including FAIR and NumbersUSA, has had his own intersection with the ideas animating white nationalism. In 1988, he was forced to resign from the English-Only group US English when his racist positions came to light. He's written that, "I've come to the point of view that for European-American Society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that."

For two decades Tanton has shared a Petoskey, Michigan office with Wayne Lutton, a white nationalist leader who's participated in Holocaust Denial conferences of the so-called Institute for Historical Review. In addition to serving as a board member to several racist groups, Lutton is a paid staff member of the nativist journal, The Social Contract. Like ProEnglish, The Social Contract is a project of Tanton's US Inc. In the early 1990s, Tanton even corresponded with Jared Taylor about his thoughts on the early direction of American Renaissance (and Lutton was a board member of the American Renaissance parent organization, The New Century Foundation).

Like Kobach, Vandervoort is also familiar with the nativist groups in the Tanton orbit. For instance, Vandervoort and several Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance members attended a March 22, 2005 Federation for American Immigration Reform meeting at the Lincoln Restaurant in Chicago. At a November 13, 2004 FAIR "Midwest Immigration Reform Summit" in Rosemont, Illinois, Vandervoort attended and passed out leaflets to the crowd announcing a local American Renaissance event.

ProEnglish was created by Tanton in 1994, to fill the void of being forced to resign from the first English-Only group he founded, US English. Of the three national English-Only groups, ProEnglish is the smallest. Vandervoort was hired by ProEnglish last fall, after the organization lost three other executive directors in less than a year.

The other panelists joining Vandervoort and Kobach include Rep. David Rivera (R-FL), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, and Alex Nowrasteh of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The moderator is Niger Innis, national spokesperson for the Congress of Racial Equality.

Last modified on 02.09.2012
Devin Burghart

is vice president of IREHR. He coordinates our Seattle office, directs our research efforts, and manages our online communications. He has researched, written, and organized on virtually all facets of contemporary white nationalism since 1992, and is internationally recognized for this effort. Devin is frequently quoted as an expert by print, broadcast, and online media outlets. In 2007, he was awarded a Petra Foundation fellowship. more...

Follow him on twitter: @dburghart

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