White supremacist running for Bozeman school board

HELENA — A member of a white separatist group who believes public schools are ignoring whites and promoting homosexuality is stirring up the Bozeman school board election.

Kevin McGuire, 23, shocked many this spring when he gathered enough signatures to run for one of three open spots on the seven-member board.

The California native had just moved to the community last fall, and was vilified by some after the group he belongs to, the National Alliance, claimed responsibility for racist literature distributed in town and showed up to oppose a Martin Luther King Jr. rally that drew more than 1,000 people.

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Human rights advocates say he’ll never win Tuesday’s election in the Montana college town known for its eclectic mix of ranchers, artists and ski bums, and is running only to promote National Alliance beliefs and recruit new members.

McGuire counters he thinks he has more support than most realize.

Some Bozeman residents who signed his petition to get on the ballot believe he misled them by not mentioning his beliefs. A number of them have penned angry letters to the local newspaper, calling him “dangerous” and “unqualified.”

“It’s been a distraction to the community and disturbed the community that he was even able to get on the ballot,” said Martha Collins, a fellow school board candidate.

McGuire, who prefers “European American activist” to the terms neo-Nazi and white supremacist, shrugs off the criticism as ignorance and said he’s committed to reforming Bozeman schools.

He believes white students are currently ignored in a system that promotes other cultures and puts George Washington and other founding fathers on the back burner. Public schools also teach and promote homosexuality and strip parents of control over their children, he said.

“White children are often installed with guilt and a feeling of being ashamed because of the way that whites have dealt with minorities in the past, such as black slavery and the killing of Indians,” McGuire said in a telephone interview. “Past discrimination should not result in present day reverse discrimination against white kids.”

The National Alliance Web site calls for the preservation of the white race and lists among its primary goals a “white living space” and an “Aryan society.” Membership has dropped severely since the 2002 death of leader William Pierce, and some human rights groups say the organization is falling apart.

“They are really on the ropes,” said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Potok and the Montana Human Rights Network say running for public office gives white supremacists a platform to promote their beliefs and recruit new members, something McGuire acknowledges he’s been doing since arriving in Montana.

“He’s not expecting to win,” said Ken Toole, director of the Montana Human Rights Network. “What he wants here is to stir up the pot and get some visibility. The political arena presents a chance for him for get out and present his views as he wants.”

Many in the community hope McGuire’s candidacy will motivate more people to vote in the school board election, which typically has a low turnout.

Source

(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Associated Press, via The Billings Gazette, USA
Apr. 27, 2005
www.billingsgazette.com
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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday April 29, 2005.
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