Our VoiceCulture

ProEnglish’s Continued Creep Into the Extreme-Right


Stephen Piggott • Feb 09, 2012

Since its inception, anti-immigrant group ProEnglish has been attached at the hip to white nationalism. Its founder, white nationalist John Tanton, started the group after leaving his other English-only project, US English, in disgrace after a racially charged memo written by Tanton surfaced in the media.

In more recent years, ProEnglish remained relatively inactive in comparison to some other Tanton Network groups (FAIR, CIS, NumbersUSA), but that has all changed in the past six months or so. Not only has ProEnglish become much more active, but the group has also started to collaborate further with white nationalists to promote and to seek more ardent support for its cause.

As previously discussed on this blog, ProEnglish recently hired a new executive director, Robert Vandervoort. One of Vandervoort’s first public appearances was at the annual gathering of the white nationalist H.L. Mencken Club where he distributed ProEnglish materials. Vandervoort has also landed ProEnglish a panel at the upcoming CPAC Conference titled, “The Failure of Multiculturalism: How the pursuit of diversity is weakening the American Identity.”  Vandervoort has even invited British white nationalist Peter Brimelow to sit on the panel, as well. Brimelow runs the anti-immigrant blog VDARE.com, a vast home where Islamophobes, anti-Semites, and other racists publish their views.

Just last week even, ProEnglish staffer Susan Bibby had a blog published on VDARE.

In a 2006 post on the same site, anti-Semitic academic Kevin MacDonald described “Jewish activity” as “directed against neighboring peoples and host societies,” going on to claim that Jews undermine “America’s historic white majority.” VDARE’s most touted writer, Steve Sailer, frequently illustrates his disdain for people of color. When comparing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to that of the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, Sailer pointed out the higher prevalence of looting in the former, crudely explaining that, “when you get down to it, Japanese aren’t blacks.”

Another example of ProEnglish’s continued slide to the far right was the hiring of Phil Tignino. Tignino is a former member of Youth for Western Civilization (YWC), a student group whose motto is “defending the West on campus.” While active in the Washington State University chapter, Tignino participated in such events as “straight pride month,” during which his chapter sold “Straight Pride” t-shirts.

With Vandervoort’s hiring perhaps acting as a catalyst, ProEnglish has become more and more active, and has been collaborating more closely with white nationalists. It’s clear that Vandervoort has many friends that run in those circles, and that he has no qualms about working with them to advance ProEnglish’s nativist messaging.

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