Mainstreaming racismLatest Issue, Trans Progressive Thursday, August 17th, 2017
Commentary: Trans Progressive
When a group says it wants to go mainstream, the group needs to worry about their optics and messaging. If a group wants to take part in peaceful assembly and engage in public discourse, then peaceful means they use to disseminate their ideas must match the peaceful ends they seek.
The group self-identified as the alt-right has indicated they want to go mainstream. How are they doing?
“Women, as mothers and caregivers, are key to the future of our race and civilization” writes alt-right leader Richard Spenser in his political manifesto What It Means To Be Alt-Right on his Web site altright.com. “We oppose feminism, deviancy, the futile denial of biological reality, and everything destructive to healthy relations between men and women. We must overcome today’s debased and lonely “porn culture” and return to a sexuality that is fruitful and erotic in the truest sense of the word.”
Well, LGBTQ people are out of the alt-right mix, especially if you’re a feminist.
“Race is real. Race matters. Race is the foundation of identity.”
“Jews are an ethno-religious people distinct from Europeans. At various times, they have existed within European societies, without being of them.”
“The founding population of the United States was primarily Anglo-Saxon and Protestant. By the Great War, a coherent American nation emerged that was European and Christian. Other races inhabited the continent and were often set in conflict or subservience to whites. Whites alone defined America as a European society and political order.”
Well, we can see where this is going.
Alt-right is retitled, repackaged white supremacy. The manifesto soft-peddles it a bit in places, but it’s pretty clear when you read it that “alt-right” means a doctrine of “white supremacy”. Spenser elsewhere has called for “peaceful ethnic cleansing,” whatever that might entail.
As most who even remotely follow the news know, there was a gathering of – well, let’s not soft-peddle it – white supremacists in Charlottesville, N.C. during the weekend of 11 through 13 August. Spenser subtitled his manifesto “The Charlottesville Statement.”
Apparently, peaceful assemblies of modern white supremacists now come with military style assault rifles. North Carolina is an open carry state; many of the participants came armed with guns, shields and pepper spray, dressed in military camouflage and assault gear.
When I think about free speech, I don’t think about the speakers or those gathered on the side of the speakers being armed. Counter-protesting takes on a whole different aspect when “Second Amendment rights” are used to intimidate a counter-protesting group’s First Amendment rights to also peacefully assemble and protest.
And, in their midst were those waving Confederate and Nazi flags, and displaying other Nazi iconography. Chants included “Jews will not replace us,” “you will not replace us,” “white lives matter,” and the Nazi slogan “blood and soil.”
The alt-right movement – this repackaged white supremacy movement – has failed in their attempt to become a mainstream movement. Their optics don’t resonate well; the movement messaging isn’t such that it’ll change a majority of people’s hearts and minds; the means of their movement doesn’t have the remotest appearance of being peaceful enough to pull off a peaceful assembly.
I don’t know anyone personally who was hoping the self-identified members of the alt-right movement would succeed in looking mainstream. Personally, I’m glad they failed.
That two police officers and a counter-protester died in the process of showing that the alt-right white supremacists aren’t mainstream though is nothing to be glad about.
Just f*ck this racism, and every other form of bigotry, that this alt-right white supremacist movement stands for. (And if it makes it easier for you to dislike the alt-right, they hate LGBTQ community members just as much.)
And while we’re decrying the big hate of white supremacists, we can also think locally. Challenging casual and overt racism when we see it in our own backyard, especially if we’re white and in white company, seems an imperative.
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