Virginia Abernethy

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Virginia Abernethy
Born1934 (age 84–85)
EducationRiverdale Country School
Wellesley College
Vanderbilt University
Harvard University
OccupationAnthropologist, activist
EmployerVanderbilt University

Virginia Abernethy (born 1934) is an American anthropologist and activist. She is professor emerita of psychiatry and anthropology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She has published research on population demography and immigration. She ran for Vice President of the United States in 2012 alongside Merlin Miller for the American Freedom Party, a party that promotes white nationalism.[1][2][3]

In 2012, the Anti-Defamation League referred to Abernathy as an "unabashed white supremacist", and the Southern Poverty Law Center called her a "full-fledged professor of hate," adding her to a list of 30 new activists heading the radical right.[4] Abernethy denied that she was a "white supremacist," preferring to describe herself as an "ethnic separatist."

Early life[edit]

Virginia Deane Abernethy was born in 1934 in Cuba.[5][6] She grew up in Argentina and New York City.[5] She was educated at Riverdale Country School in New York City.[5] She received a B.A. from Wellesley College, an M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University, and Ph.D. from Harvard University.[5][6]


She was Professor of Psychiatry and Anthropology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee for 20 years.[6] She retired in the 1990s, and still retains an office on campus as Professor Emerita.[5][6] She is an anthropology fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.[7]

She describes herself as an "ethnic separatist".[6] An outspoken opponent of immigration, she has called for a complete moratorium on immigration into the United States.[6] She claims that immigrants devalue the workforce, deplete scarce resources, adversely impact carrying capacity, and that Third World immigration has led to a rise in dangerous diseases within the United States.[8] She has countered claims of racism against her by pointing to her friendship with Jesse Lee Peterson.[9]

Fertility-opportunity hypothesis[edit]

Her research has focused on the issues of population and culture. Her best known work discounts the demographic transition theory, which holds that fertility drops as women become more educated and contraceptives become more available. In its place she has developed a fertility-opportunity hypothesis which states that fertility follows perceived economic opportunity. A corollary to this hypothesis is that food aid to developing nations will only exacerbate overpopulation. She has advocated in favor of microloans to women in the place of international aid, because she believes microloans allow improvement in the lives of families without leading to higher fertility.[10]

She has opposed programs that would spur economic development in less developed countries on the grounds that they are self-defeating. For the December 1994 issue of The Atlantic Monthly she wrote an article entitled "Optimism and Overpopulation" in which she argued that "efforts to alleviate poverty often spur population growth, as does leaving open the door to immigration. Subsidies, windfalls, and the prospect of economic opportunity remove the immediacy of needing to conserve. The mantras of democracy, redistribution, and economic development raise expectations and fertility rates, fostering population growth and thereby steepening a downward environmental and economic spiral."[10]


She has written or edited several books, including: Population Politics: The Choices that Shape our Future (1993) and Population Pressure and Cultural Adjustment (1979).[11] Abernethy has written articles that have appeared in Chronicles, The Social Contract Press, The Atlantic Monthly, and numerous academic journals. She has also made occasional contributions to the weblog VDARE.[citation needed]

Positions held[edit]

She served 1989-1999 as the editor of the academic journal Population and Environment.[12] She also served on the editorial board of The Citizen Informer, the newsletter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC), a neo-Confederate organization. She has also appeared as a guest on the CofCC-affiliated radio show, The Political Cesspool. Abernethy regularly addresses meetings of the CofCC. She is on the editorial advisory board of The Occidental Quarterly, a white nationalist scholarly journal.[citation needed] She serves on the board of directors of the Carrying Capacity Network, an immigration-reduction and sustainability organization, and also on the Board of Population-Environment BALANCE, which advocates an immigration moratorium in order to balance population size with resources and the environment's capacity to cope with pollution.[citation needed]

On June 29, 2011, the American Third Position party announced that she had joined their board of directors.[6] She was later nominated as their Vice Presidential nominee.[6][13][14]

Protect Arizona Now[edit]

She was involved in Arizona's Proposition 200 campaign. She was Chair of the National Advisory Board of the Protect Arizona Now (PAN) committee which promoted Proposition 200 in that state's 2004 election. (Proposition 200, which passed November 2, further limits access to voting and government benefits by anyone without documentation.)[citation needed]

During the campaign, she replied to a journalist's question about her views by stating that she considers herself a separatist, not a supremacist: "I'm in favor of separatism—and that's different than supremacy. Groups tend to self-segregate. I know that I'm not a supremacist. I know that ethnic groups are more comfortable with their own kind."[15]

In a letter to The Washington Times printed September 30, 2004, she rebutted their reporting of her as a "self-described 'racial separatist'", indicating that she is an ethnic separatist instead. She went on to note that the nation has abandoned the motto, "e pluribus unum."[citation needed]


Abernethy ran in election for vice president of the United States in 2012.[16] She was the running mate of Merlin Miller, who ran for president, in the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, for the American Freedom Party.[17]


  1. ^ "Ron Paul campaign denies white supremacist ties alleged by Anonymous". Yahoo! News. 2012-02-03. Retrieved 2012-02-18.
  2. ^ Alison Knezevich (2011-06-15). "Labor changing mind on Tomblin?". The Charleston Gazette. Archived from the original on 2013-01-05.
  3. ^ Sanya Khetani (2012-02-01). "Anonymous Has Revealed The British National Party's Links To An American White Supremacist Group". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2012-02-18.
  4. ^ Wadhwani, Anita (October 22, 2012). "Hate watch list includes retired Vanderbilt professor". USA Today. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e "About Virginia", Dr. Abernethy's home page, retrieved Oct 19, 2009.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Anita Wadhwani, Hate watch list includes retired Vanderbilt professor, USA Today, October 22, 2012
  7. ^ "Abernethy, Virginia D K". AAAS. 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  8. ^ "TOQ-Virginia Deane Abernethy - TB and immigration-Vol 2 No 3". Archived from the original on 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
  9. ^ "The Minister of Minstrelsy". The Nation. Retrieved November 4, 2009.
  10. ^ a b Abernethy, Virginia (December 1994). "Optimism and Overpopulation". The Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  11. ^ Abernethy, Virginia (January 1993). Population Politics: The Choices that Shape Our Future. Insight Books. ISBN 9780306444616.
  12. ^ "Virginia Abernethy". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  13. ^ "Dr. Virginia Abernethy joins American Third Position Board of Directors | American Third Position". Archived from the original on 2011-07-03. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
  14. ^ Racist Prof Latest to Join Group That Seeks White Rule in America | Hatewatch | Southern Poverty Law Center
  15. ^ Migrant foe tied to racism | Arizona local news - Mesa, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Tempe, Chandler |
  16. ^ "Virginia Abernethy". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  17. ^ "Dr. Virginia Abernethy". The Occidental Observer. Retrieved 2018-02-16.

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