Are Bigots Welcome in Tennessee? Is That a Rhetorical Question?



The white separatist hate group known as American Renaissance is holding another conference at Montgomery Bell State Park next month. That's forcing state officials to explain to the media again why they can't do anything to stop it: "The park is a state park," says the governor's press secretary, David Smith, "and because it's a public park and state-owned we can't discriminate against who can or can't use the facilities as long as people follow the park's policies and rules."

But that shouldn't stop state officials from the governor on down from repudiating American Renaissance and making certain the rest of the world understands that Tennessee doesn't condone or accept racism. That hasn't happened yet. Where's the outrage? What's that? We can't hear you.

Here's how the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hate Watch describes American Renaissance:

Founded by Jared Taylor in 1990, the New Century Foundation is a self-styled think tank that promotes pseudo-scientific studies and research that purport to show the inferiority of blacks to whites — although in hifalutin language that avoids open racial slurs and attempts to portray itself as serious scholarship. It is best known for its American Renaissance magazine and website, which regularly feature proponents of eugenics and blatant anti-black racists. The foundation also sponsors American Renaissance conferences every other year where racist "intellectuals" rub shoulders with Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists.

Over at her blog, Southern Beale is right on:

It’s amazing to me that our state legislature can hold pointless, grandstanding votes on anti-UN nonsense like Agenda 21, but a bunch of intolerant bigots and extremists hold a gathering at a taxpayer-funded state facility and no one can be bothered to make even the slightest gesture in objection.

This is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. The more Tennessee is associated with bigotry and intolerance, the more we are dragged down, economically and socially. It’s obvious that the reason these groups find Tennessee a friendly place for their kind is because of the actions of some prominent legislators — actions like this, where the state House passed a bill banning local communities from renaming Confederate historic sites, but punted on a Democratic amendment that would also ban renaming sites named for Civil Rights leaders. This is a clear message to groups like Stormfront and American Renaissance, but keep in mind, it’s also a clear message to every prospective employer who might have thought Tennessee was a good place to relocate.

Tennessee, when are you going to speak out? When will you say, enough? We are not a haven for hate? Ever? Or is it just, *crickets*?

The Scene's Jonathan Meador went to last year's conference and wrote about the new face of hate.


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