Tennessee: State of Hate

While the City of Memphis has approved the KKK’s permit to hold a rally on March 30, the racists and extremists will descend on Montgomery Bell State Park right outside of Nashville a week later. The event is the American Renaissance Conference (be forewarned: that link goes to the conference website). This comes after Stormfront and other white supremacist groups held their international conference in the east part of our state last fall.

Apparently the racists, bigots and hate groups view Tennessee as a friendly, welcoming place for their gatherings. I wonder why that is. People of Tennessee, is this okay with you? Gov. Haslam, is this how you want the world to view our state? Tennessee legislators, do you think affiliating our state with racism and intolerance makes us an attractive place to do business? Yes? No? Because you are making taxpayer-funded state facilities available for this meeting:


That “beautiful, government-owned facility” is Montgomery Bell State Park, according to Not In Our State, a grassroots group planning to meet at the same time and at the same place to “confront racist dialogue and action in the state of Tennessee.” As they write:

American Renaissance is not your average white-supremacist group meeting in the backwoods. The individuals that participate in this organization have political, economic, and academic sway in their communities. Their conference, held April 5-7 at Montgomery Bell State Park in Dixon, Tennessee, is purposely in the public eye, where they believe their hatred and pseudoscience will go unopposed.

Speakers include Roger McGrath, who teaches history at California State University, Northridge and Pepperdine University (which in itself is amazing. This is okay with these institutions? In 2013?), and the infamous John Derbyshire, fired from National Review for fearmongering about scary black people. For American Renaissance, what Derbyshire wrote was actually “sensible”:


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*?


Memo to Chief Justice John Roberts, who yesterday wondered if the South is more racist than the North. You sure as hell don’t see these conferences in Detroit. Maybe there’s a reason for that, ‘mmm’kay?


Filed under racism, right-wing hate, Tennessee

13 responses to “Tennessee: State of Hate

  1. yutsano

    Crickets, of course. The fact is the majority (including Halsam) agree at least in part with these views. Plus, FREEDUMB!! or something.

  2. Eykis

    Unless and until Bill Haslam, Ron Ramsey, Beth Harwell, TN GOP speak out AGAINST this mess of Racism and Hate, I presume they are endorsing this RACISM.

  3. Ivan Ivanovich Renko

    One more example of why I left my hometown (where you live now, SB) 30-odd years ago and wouldn’t consider moving back. (Just to let you know, my grandmother worked as a maid for a certain Tennessee state senator who happened to live in Belle Meade…) The Book of Faces put me back in contact with a lot of people I went to high school with; and some of them have done a bang-up job of convincing me that I was right back then.

  4. I love this state…….but the PEOPLE can sometimes make my bood boil!!! Most of them need to get out beyond the Mason Dizon Line to see how the REST of the country Lives and thinks. With Campfiled, and Duncan, anf DeJarlais in the mix….it’s a mess here.

  5. As we know, the Tea Party has a strong presence here in TN and these folks have a rather xenophobic outlook. A couple of years ago my parents were visiting and I took them to tour the state capital. In the legislative chamber there are small flags on all the desks, including the US and TN flags. Someone in the group asked about the other flags and the tour guide said that they were military. Some were, but MANY of the desks had the yellow Gadsden Flag (Don’t Tread On Me) which has been usurped by the Tea Party. Urban and rural TN are worlds apart.

  6. Ever considered moving to California? Kidding. Well, I ‘m not surprised about TN. Over here in my neck of the woods, Northern California, there are people like that , too. the republicans and their ilk have emigrated from Southern California to Northern Ca, very north. ( San Francisco , unabashedly blue and liberal )is part of Northern Ca, too, so I’m referring to parts of Ca near Oregon. )

  7. Mary Wilson

    And before Haslam left our Knoxville Mayor’s office, our city, in the name of ‘free speech’ allowed a small group of KKK sympathizers to march…I think their major protest was “gays” and our “black President”…Thank goodness we were NOT welcoming! Law enforcement out in force, choppers overhead, and a huge crowd who met them in front of the Courthouse telling them to go home. The sad part of the story was that the few who did come dragged their poor children with them, teaching them hate, the Nazi salute, etc. The good citizens of Memphis and Nashville need to stand up and speak out and run ’em off as well.

  8. democommie

    “You sure as hell don’t see these conferences in Detroit. Maybe there’s a reason for that, ‘mmm’kay?”

    Yes, there is a reason. The reason is that allathem skeery black and mooslim people in Detroit ARE racists and hate other murKKKans for their freedom to wear sheets and burn crosses. I mean, it’s not like the KKK ever lynched anybody; well, not since the 1970’s or so.

  9. greennotGreen

    Legally, can the state of Tennessee deny such groups the use of its facilities, just based on their beliefs? Isn’t it a free speech issue? Which is also why the state of Tennessee shouldn’t be able to stop protests against such groups meeting here.

    • No they can’t deny use of the facility, nor am I asking them to. That’s not what this post said. But they can certainly let the world know that they condemn what these groups stand for. As I said in the post, they’re happy to hold ridiculous votes condemning the UN for imagined tin-foil-hat conspiracy nonsense. At a time when the state has taken more than one black eye for intolerance, you’d think someone would at least make the fucking gesture.

      But they won’t because, as more than one commenter has pointed out, our Republican legislature apparently agrees with them.

  10. ThresherK

    Prince’s in Nashville? I remember Christopher Kimball going there on TV and trying to replicate the recipe on ATK. Curious if you’ve tried their version and if it’s as good as the original.