Jared Taylor sits across from me in a small radio booth. We are just a few feet apart and nearly an hour into a sometimes-heated conversation about race in the United States. The discussion pivots to America's Founding Fathers, and Taylor gets personal.
“We built a wonderful country that your ancestors could not have [built]. That is why people like you come here,” Taylor said, brow furrowed as he gestures toward me. “And the more of you [who] come in larger numbers, you will change the country my ancestors built into something else. And it is completely normal for me to wish to oppose that.”
When we launched “Uncomfortable” as an ABC News series, the goal was to include voices with strong views on American society and to unpack their ideas openly, rigorously and without flinching.
Taylor has spent decades arguing white identity is under attack and that whites deserve a homeland of their own. He pushes back against the “white nationalist” label in our interview, saying he prefers to call himself a “race realist” or “white advocate.”
In many ways, he was a perfect first guest for our interview series.
It doesn’t get more uncomfortable than sitting across from someone telling you that you don’t belong in your own country.
I am Muslim. I am first-generation American. I was born in raised in Virginia. I still say “y’all” from time to time.
Taylor, born and raised in Japan until he was 16, argues that Muslims add nothing to American society. He claims immigrants are responsible for what he calls the “dispossession” of white Americans.
Taylor has written several books and runs a website called American Renaissance, formerly a magazine. On the site, he posts misinformation-filled commentary by him and others that is disparaging to African-Americans, Hispanics, and immigrants. Recently posted pieces include, “It’s About Erasing White People,” and “’Immigrant Privilege’ Drives Child Rape Epidemic.”
So why would we invite him to our show?
After Donald Trump won the November election, Taylor called his victory a “sign of rising white consciousness.” In our interview, he pointed to specific policy proposals from the Trump campaign he found attractive, including deporting unauthorized immigrants; building a wall on America’s southern border; and temporarily banning Muslim immigration.
Taylor claims such steps would “slow down the dispossession of whites.”
The ideas Taylor espouses are clearly divisive and, many would say, destructive. But there are unquestionably some Americans sympathetic to his views. To dismiss those ideas, however ugly and bigoted, without attempting to understand how and why people have come to hold them in the first place, doesn’t bridge the divide. It doesn’t move us forward.
Taylor recorded our interview on his own equipment. He indicated he’s been unhappy with the way other media interviews have been edited. We are publishing our interview in full, from start to finish. Our conversation ended after Taylor’s comments about his and my ancestors. I am certain nothing in our discussion changed his mind, as nothing he said changed mine. But I thanked him for his time and for sharing his views with us. We shook hands before parting ways.