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The Tantonites Just Don’t Get It…


Rev. David L. Ostendorf • Apr 20, 2011

When high-grade ore in Minnesota’s Iron Range began running low some years back, mining companies turned to extracting taconite, an iron-bearing hard rock once discarded as uneconimcal in the mining process.

Taconite.  Tantonite.

As the aging John Tanton, patriarch of the contemporary anti-immigrant movement, is slowly nudged by his successors toward the “uneconimcal in the nativist process,” it is clearer than ever that his followers just don’t get the fact that they are, indeed, the bearers and purveyors of Tanton’s white nationalism.  As much as they try to deny that reality, as much as they try to distance themselves from Tanton, the more they become his disciples, Tantonites.

Let’s name the names once again.  Dan Stein of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).  Roy Beck of NumbersUSA.  Mark Krikorian of Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).  Like John Tanton himself, these and other so-called “immigration restrictionists” conveniently brush aside the charges of racism and whtie nationalism levelled at Tanton, charges that now characterize and taint them as well.

Stein: Tanton has had “…no significant control over FAIR for years.”  For Beck, who lives in an integrated neighborhood and once edited Tanton’s white nationalist Social Contract: “…charges of bigotry were especially unfair…” Krikorian recently declared that “Haiti’s so screwed up because it wasn’t colonized long enough.”

The trio has enough of its own salacioius, racial quotes to embarrass John Tanton himself.  Yet they continue to claim innocence, to eschew hatred, to ignore the structural racism that shapes their anti-immigrant agendas.

Now these three and their organizations face (for some) the great white plight of the twenty-first century: that whites are becoming the numerical minority population in the U.S. Nativists and white nationalists have fretted for years about this, building and operating out of the Tanton Network of organizations fundamentally committed to restricting the flow of immigrants… and, quietly, to maintaining a  “Western” (that is, European) heritage and “culture.”  The political landscape will soon shift as dramatically as the demographic landscape; not much time remains for FAIR, NumbersUSA, CIS and their allies to craft a workable response to their plight. Denial and distance just won’t work, but they keep on trying.

They are Tantonites, who just don’t get the structural racism of their own ideology—the Tanton-infused, Tanton-mentored, Tanton-generation of nativists…

Tantonites all—the successors, the disciples, the purveyors of John Tanton’s ideology and his wandering white nationalism.

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