White nationalism is on the rise—and so is racism on college campuses. Therefore, it should be no surprise that the University of Alabama is allowing a white nationalist to speak at the school, all in the name of “free speech.” His topic? Whether “diversity is a strength.”
Jared Taylor is the editor of American Renaissance, which has been identified by the Anti-Defamation League as a white supremacist site. According to AL.com, “University officials confirmed Jared Taylor was invited by the student organization America First to speak at UA on April 19.”
University president Stuart Bell said in an email, “A registered student organization invited a speaker to our campus in mid-April who has been identified as a white nationalist. This ideology is counter to our institutional values. The University of Alabama did not invite this individual. UA stands for the equality of all people.” However, Bell also claims “as a public university, the law and UA’s commitment to free speech do not allow it to refuse the speaker based on the content of speech. The registered student organization followed appropriate policies and processes.” In case you are wondering, the university is 79.9% white, 10.6% Black/African-American and 4.5% Hispanic/Latino.
Because universities are state entities, they have more protections under the First Amendment. Moreover, this continues an ongoing debate on whether or not hate speech is protected under free speech. Unfortunately, as the Washington Post reported, there is no hate speech exemption to the First Amendment. As you can guess based on its geography, University of Alabama doesn’t have the best history when it comes to race and inclusion. As early as May of 2014, an all-white sorority was allowed to ban Black students.
We can only imagine there will be protests from people of colors against Jared Taylor.