I’m far from the only person to be noting this, but I’m continually annoyed by the willingness of people to accept the term ‘alt-right’ rather than just calling these people out for what they are: neo-Nazis.
There’s a lot that’s disturbing in this report, but the opening few paragraphs alone should be enough to raise a lot of red flags (specifically, red flags with a white circle and black swastika in the center):
By the time Richard B. Spencer, the leading ideologue of the alt-right movement and the final speaker of the night, rose to address a gathering of his followers on Saturday, the crowd was restless.
In 11 hours of speeches and panel discussions in a federal building named after Ronald Reagan a few blocks from the White House, a succession of speakers had laid out a harsh vision for the future, but had denounced violence and said that Hispanic citizens and black Americans had nothing to fear. Earlier in the day, Mr. Spencer himself had urged the group to start acting less like an underground organization and more like the establishment.
But now his tone changed as he began to tell the audience of more than 200 people, mostly young men, what they had been waiting to hear. He railed against Jews and, with a smile, quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German. America, he said, belonged to white people, whom he called the “children of the sun,” a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized but now, in the era of President-elect Donald J. Trump, were “awakening to their own identity.”
I’m far from the only person to be noting this, but I’m continually annoyed by the willingness of people to accept the term “alt-right” rather than just calling these people out for what they are: neo-Nazis.
While many of its racist views are well known…the alt-right has been difficult to define. Is it a name for right-wing political provocateurs in the internet era? Or is it a political movement defined by xenophobia and a dislike for political correctness?
Oh, come on…this is just sad. Difficult to define? It’s not like they’re trying to hide it. This isn’t just some little offshoot of the conservative party, this is full-on white supremacy.
“America was, until this last generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Mr. Spencer thundered. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”
But the white race, he added, is “a race that travels forever on an upward path.”
“To be white is to be a creator, an explorer, a conqueror,” he said.
More members of the audience were on their feet as Mr. Spencer described the choice facing white people as to “conquer or die.”
If you’re writing about these groups, call them what they are. Don’t fall for their attempt to rebrand and obfuscate the truth. Listen to what they say, pay attention to what they’re advocating and pushing for (and likely doing; the SPLC’s count of post-election day hateful harassment incidents is now up to 701 in a single week), and be honest about what this is.
If you voted for Trump? Whether or not you think you share beliefs with these people, you enabled them. You listened to Trump, and you agreed with enough of what he said (or, at best, didn’t disagree strongly enough to vote against him) to give your stamp of acceptance to his rhetoric. You told these people, through your vote, that this was acceptable. You share responsibility for the resurgence of this movement.
And if you truly voted for Trump for reasons other than these; if you truly don’t support this behavior; if you really believe he’ll be just fine as a president and these are just a few problematic loudmouths (even though he’s named one of their patron saints as chief strategist), then I absolutely expect you to be calling these people out on their abhorrent behavior. If you voted for his economic policies but disapprove of the racist rhetoric, then prove it. Act. Make your voice heard. Make it clear that these aspects of his campaign and his followers don’t reflect your views.
Because if you don’t do so, I’ll assume that your silence is acceptance, if not outright support. And you’ll have a damn hard time convincing me otherwise.