Taylor was born on September 15, 1951, to Christian missionary parents in Kobe, Japan. He lived in Japan until he was 16 years old and attended Japanese schools up to the age of 12, becoming fluent in Japanese in the process.
In 1983 he authored the book Shadows of the Rising Sun: A Critical View of the Japanese Miracle, in which he wrote that Japan was not an appropriate economic or social model for the United States, and criticized the Japanese for excessive preoccupation with their own uniqueness.
Taylor wrote Paved With Good Intentions (Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1993), a book on race-relations in the United States. In 1994, he was called by the defense team in a Fort Worth, Texas black-on-black murder trial, to give expert testimony on the race-related aspects of the case. Prior to testifying in the trial he called young black men "the most dangerous people in America" and added "This must be taken into consideration in judging whether or not it was realistic for [the defendant] to think this was a kill-or-be-killed situation."
Taylor has been described as a white nationalist,white supremacist, and racist by civil rights groups, news media, academics studying racism in the US, and others. Taylor has "strenuously rejected" being called a racist, and maintains that he is instead a "racialist who believes in race-realism." He has also said he is not a white supremacist, describing himself as a "white advocate", and contends that his views on nationality and race are "moderate, commonsensical, and fully consistent with the views of most of the great statesmen and presidents of America's past".
Taylor has often been described in media reports as being associated with the alt-right.
Taylor is a proponent of scientific racism and voluntary racial segregation. Taylor also asserts that there are racial differences in intelligence among the various ethno-racial groups across the world. Taylor argues that Blacks are generally less intelligent than Hispanics, while Hispanics are generally less intelligent than whites, and whites are generally less intelligent than East Asians: "I think Asians are objectively superior to Whites by just about any measure that you can come up with in terms of what are the ingredients for a successful society. This doesn't mean that I want America to become Asian. I think every people has a right to be itself, and this becomes clear whether we're talking about Irian Jaya or Tibet, for that matter".
Taylor describes himself as an advocate for white interests. He states that his journal, American Renaissance, was founded to provide such a voice for white interests, and argues that its work is analogous to other interest groups that advocate for ethnic or racial groups. Writing in that journal in 2005, he stated, "Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears."
Taylor supports immigration policies that would favor white immigrants over other groups. Taylor is noted as saying, "Whites deserve a homeland," and when questioned about the US immigration laws passed in 1965, under the Hart-Celler Act, said that "Whites are making a terrible mistake by setting in motion forces that will reduce them to a minority."
Judaism and anti-Semitism
Kathleen R. Arnold, a professor from the Political Science department at DePaul University, states that "unlike many other white supremacists, Taylor is not anti-Semitic, and in fact encourages Jews to join his fight...however many within the white supremacist/anti-immigration movement disagree with Taylor..... and he has been under tremendous pressure to break ties with the Jewish community." The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that Taylor is unusual among the radical right in "his lack of anti-Semitism."The Jewish Daily Forward reported that Taylor "has been trying to de-Nazify the movement and draw the white nationalist circle wider to include Jews of European descent. But to many on the far right, taking the Jew-hatred out of white nationalism is like taking the Christ out of Christmas — a sacrilege."
Taylor attended Trump's inauguration with front-row VIP tickets and described the event as "a sign of rising white consciousness". In a May 2017 CNN interview with Sara Sidner, Taylor said that he supported Trump's election as president "because the effects of his policy would be to reduce the dispossession of whites, that is, to slow the process whereby whites become the minority in the United-States."
A spokesperson told CNN that the candidate "disavows all super PACs offering their support and continues to do so." When asked about the robocalls in an interview with CNN, Trump responded "I would disavow that, but I will tell you people are extremely angry." 
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) describes Taylor as "a courtly presenter of ideas that most would describe as crudely white supremacist—a kind of modern-day version of the refined but racist colonialist of old."
Mark Potok and Heidi Beirich, writers in the Intelligence Report (a publication of the SPLC), have written that "Jared Taylor is the cultivated, cosmopolitan face of white supremacy. He is the guy who is providing the intellectual heft, in effect, to modern-day Klansmen." They have also stated that "American Renaissance has become increasingly important over the years, bringing a measure of intellectualism and seriousness to the typically thug-dominated world of white supremacy".
A 2005 feature in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described Taylor as "a racist in the guise of expert". His online magazine, American Renaissance, has been described as a white supremacist publication and a "forum for writers disparaging the abilities of minorities".
On December 18, 2017, his account (as well as the account for American Renaissance) was suspended by Twitter, after Twitter adopted new rules prohibiting accounts affiliated with the promotion of violence. In February 2018, Taylor filed a lawsuit against Twitter, claiming that the suspension violated his right to free speech. Taylor's lawsuit was dismissed, and an appeals court upheld the dismissal, agreeing that services can control what is published on their sites.
Elizabeth Bryant Morgenstern, "White Supremacist Groups" in Anti-Immigration in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia, Vol. 1 (ed. Kathleen R. Arnold: Greenwood/ABC-CLIO, 2011), p. 508: "Jared Taylor is the or of the American Renaissance magazine, a publication that espouses the superiority of whites. ... Unlike many other white supremacists, Taylor is not anti-Semitic..."
Michael Newton, White Robes and Burning Crosses: A History of the Ku Klux Klan from 1866 (McFarland, 2014), p. 216: "Virginia white supremacist Jared Taylor"
Saini, Angela (2019). Superior: The Return of Race Science. Beacon Press. pp. 81–82. ISBN9780008293833. Another contributor to Mankind Quarterly as become a key figure in the white supremacist movement. Yale-educated Jared Taylor, who belongs to a number of right-wing groups and think tanks, founded the magazine American Renassaince in 1990 ... His brand of white supremacy draws from race science to lend itself the illusion of intellectual backbone.
^Doty, Roxanne Lynn (2009). The Law Into Their Own Hands: Immigration and the Politics of Exceptionalism. University of Arizona Press. p. 61. ISBN978-0816527717.
Leonard Zeskind, Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream (Farrar, Straud and Giroux, 2009), p. 370 & 427: "Taylor began his public foray into the white nationalist arena with a newsletter he ed called American Renaissance... Taylor, by eschewing conspiracy mongering and what they called 'paramilitary infantilism,' gave white nationalism greater potential access to the conservative mainstream."
Roxanne Lynn Doty, The Law Into Their Own Hands: Immigration and the Politics of Exceptionalism (University of Arizona Press, 2009), p. 61: "One of the more prominent members of the new white nationalism is Jared Taylor, or of American Renaissance."
Carol M. Swain, The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration (Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 121: "White nationalist Jared Taylor had this to say..."
Eric J. Sundquist, King's Dream (Yale University Press, 2009), p. 79: "the white nationalist Jared Taylor"