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Promoting 'Preservation' Of Whites in Suit and Tie

Protesters gather near a meeting at the Dulles Hyatt held by the New Century Foundation, called a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Protesters gather near a meeting at the Dulles Hyatt held by the New Century Foundation, called a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. (Tracy A. Woodward - The Washington Post)

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By Michael Laris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 26, 2006

The dress code at what participants called their European "preservation" meeting near Herndon yesterday was strict: "Gentlemen will wear jackets and ties to all conference events," organizers instructed.

There were at least two explanations for this.

"I don't want an event I sponsor to be characterized by slovenliness," said Jared Taylor, president of the Northern Virginia-based New Century Foundation. "In a society of considerable ugliness, that's one thing we can control."

But Tom Gomez, an activist who assailed the gathering as a gussied-up front for dangerous racists, said donning nice clothes is just a smarter tactic than wearing "your robes and your hoods."

"The way to play it is smooth, quiet -- the David Duke strategy," Gomez said.

And so it was that Taylor, former Ku Klux Klan leader Duke and more than 250 other attendees from across the country, all but two dozen of them men, gathered in the chandeliered Concord room at the Hyatt Dulles hotel yesterday wearing their Saturday best and listening to warnings about the dire straits of white people in the United States and around the world.

The Southern Poverty Law Center terms Taylor's organization, which produces a publication called American Renaissance, a hate group.

The Anti-Defamation League says the journal "promotes 'genteel' racism: pseudoscientific, questionably researched and argued articles that validate the genetic and moral inferiority of nonwhites."

Taylor told those gathered that a key problem in the United States is the prevalence of "anti-racists." Duke, who attended as a participant and was not a scheduled speaker, said during a break that whites are being "ethnically cleansed."

Outside the hotel, more than a dozen protesters wearing jeans, jackets and sometimes face masks held signs that read "Stop Racism" and "Change your name. You're still the KKK."

"They are attempting to be respectable and appear to be intelligent. The truth is, they are nothing but lowdown Nazis," said David Benzaquen, a demonstrator and student from the District.

The setting near Herndon was infused with meaning for those inside and outside the hotel. In the two years since the last time Taylor held his conference at that Hyatt, Herndon has become a symbol in a national debate about immigration policy. An offshoot of a national group calling itself the Minuteman Project has garnered media attention by photographing employers who pick up workers at a government-sanctioned day-laborer center in the town.

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