On January 20th, 2017, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States and with him, he will bring Steve Bannon, the man who created the platform for the alt-right, BREITBART. Alt-right, for those that who are unfamiliar with the latter phrase alternative right, is a political ideology based in White identity and nationalism. And a man who has chosen to give their ideology a platform will be entering the White House as if it were a “normal” occurrence.

The Alt-Right and White Nationalism

Before Steve Bannon gave them a platform on BREITBART, white supremacist Richard Spencer coined the term alt-right to rebrand a white nationalist ideology still held by the Ku Klux Klan today. Richard Spencer, founder of white nationalist think tank National Policy Institute, seeks to normalize white supremacist views that; opposes multiculturalism, all forms of non-white immigration, supports a white homeland, and a “peaceful ethnic cleansing” in the United States.

Alt-Right
Richard Spencer

The comparisons between the alt-right and other white supremacist groups are virtually identical, especially in terms of an ideology based in white identity rather than an ideology based in conservatism. The Anti-Defamation League says that people who identify as alt-right reject principles of main stream conservatism like; supporting Israel as an ally in the middle east, free market-capitalism, interventionist foreign policy, and not specifically advocating for white people in America. They refer to conservatives that don’t hold their world views as “cuckservative,” combining the words cuckhold and conservative.

Also according to THE ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE, preserving a White majority in the U.S. and in other western civilizations is the driving force behind the alt-right and other white supremacist groups. They seek to persevere their identity and they see losing their status as the majority, multiculturalism, and immigration as a sign of “white genocide.”

One of the many tactics used by the alt-right includes spreading propaganda like false statistics regarding black on white crime, they use those false statistics as evidence of “white genocide.” Through the use of intimidation, harassment, and a far right belief system founded on archaic ideas like eugenics, people who identify as part of the alt-right create online campaigns to target anyone that disrupts their view of a homogeneous America. Take the online harassment of SNL comedian and actress Leslie Jones for example. Milo Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter for organizing a harassment campaign targeted at Leslie Jones for her role in the 2016 GhostBusters film.

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Richard Spencer and Milo Yiannopoulos represent a dangerous trend of the normalization of white nationalist/white supremacist ideologies. Without adopting the traditional white hoods of the Jim Crow south or the shaved heads and black boots of the 1990s neo-nazis, spotting a person with obvious white nationalist ties has become latent. Today we have white nationalists dressed like they were Banana Republic models. They spread their racist ideas and rhetoric to whoever is willing to listen to them, and there lies the problem. They believe by looking normal and not being decked out in the latest white supremacist fashion, they're presenting their view in a mild manner so they can gain traction to have a mainstream platform.

Their platform shouldn’t go mainstream

When large publications like Simon & Schuster give lucrative book deals to Milo Yiannopoulos, a man banned from Twitter for leading the alt-right to harass Leslie Jones with racist and misogynist tweets, they are condoning hate speech. When A&E producers inadvertently fund the Ku Klux Klan for their now-canceled reality TV series GENERATION KKK it's unethical and deceitful. But, when mainstream media corporations hand a platform to people tied to hate groups it's outright dangerous.

Alt-Right

The need to intellectualize, romanticize, and debate whether or not groups like the “alt-right” are normal may empower them and their views. For example, take what happened on THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW in 1988 when she invited neo-nazi skinheads on her show and tried to expose their ignorance and confront their hatred. By the end of the show her panel had to be removed from the set because they began to uses racial slurs directed at African Americans. Looking back on that episode in 2006, Oprah Winfrey said, “I realized in that moment I was doing more to empower them than I was to expose them, and since that moment I’ve never done the show like that again.”

It is safe to say that the revelation Oprah Winfrey came to in 2006 can be applied today, giving hate groups a platform can be dangerous. The people who identify themselves as the alt-right do not visually look like neo-nazis or use specific racial slurs to describe people of color. Today’s version of the people that appeared on THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW in 1988 are not shouting from a soap box, marching in the street, or holding klan rallies to get their message across. The Richard Spencers of the world are speaking at any college or university willing to allow them on campus. They’re networking at conservative political conventions, going to any talk show on YouTube, or any talk show in the mainstream media willing to give them a platform. In essence, the alt-right”is trying to legitimize themselves in the press by distancing themselves from their overtly racist counterparts in the Ku Klux Klan and in neo-nazi skinhead gangs.

Alt-Right
Tomi Lahren and Trevor Noah

Fast forward to this year when Trevor Noah from THE DAILY SHOW invited conservative internet pundit Tomi Lahren on the show to challenge her views on race. Instead what happened was Tomi Lahren regurgitated her usual racist respectability politics talking points and Trevor Noah challenged her views only for her to doubled down on them. Trevor Noah and Tomi Lahren never reached a consensus on anything they debated about during the duration of the show. In fact, during the entire 20 minute interview Trevor Noah had with Tomi Lahren, he had to defend his right to exist as a black man in this country and he had to defend the rights of other people of color to peacefully protest.

In the following days and weeks after their debate something interesting began to happen in the media, news pundits started to replicate their debates with extreme white supremacists. For example, the interview with NEWS ONE NOW's Roland Martin and white nationalist Richard Spencer had the same results like the interview with Tomi Lahren on THE DAILY SHOWTomi Lahren, also known as the queen of the alt-right and their enabler, gained massive exposure in the mainstream press because of  THE DAILY SHOW interview. Everyone from ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, THE NEW YORK TIMES, TMZ, USA TODAY, ABC NEWS, and BBC NEWS began to publish absurd articles romanticizing people like Tomi Lahren and Richard Spencer.

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Giving Tomi Lahren a platform is like watching toddler play with a loaded gun. She is the same woman who uses an “us versus them” narrative when she spouts ignorant and dangerous views about black people. She once referred the Black Lives Matter movement to the KKK, and she performs mental gymnastics to push the fallacy known as “black on black crime” to denigrate black people in a racist fashion. She is the same person who said, “I’m not a reader,” because she has a “short attention span.” Yet, she has received more coverage from legitimate media because Trevor Noah decided to legitimize and welcome a racist parrot on his show. However, unlike Oprah and her reflection on her interview with the neo-nazis in 1988, Trevor Noah does not see the danger in giving a person with hateful views a platform.

A Rise in Reported Hate Crimes

Not everyone that voted for Trump is a part of the alt-right and with that said, the people in the alt-right feel empowered and embolden because of Trump's electoral college win and their growing platform. White nationalists like Jared Taylor from the AMERICAN RENAISSANCE, David Cole from TAKI MAGAZINE, and Richard Spencer who gave a disturbing nazi like “hail Trump” speech after the election, feel that Trump's electoral college win entitles them to act on their beliefs and this has resulted in a rise in reported hate crimes.

One of the many dangers that stem from normalizing the alt-right and other white nationalist hate groups is the correlation between their rise in politics and the rise in reported hate crimes. According to THE NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY, the FBI reported a spike in hate crimes after the election cycle was completed. Reports of hate crimes rose 6 percent in 2015 during the start of the cycle. For comparison, in 2014, there were 5,462 hate crimes reported; this has risen from last year to up to 5,818 crimes. Furthermore, assaults against American Muslims and Mosques surged to 257 assaults; that is the highest number following the 480 attacks after 9/11.

Alt-Right
A graph of the Southern Poverty Law Center's report of hate crimes after the election.

The most significant aspect within the USA TODAY report is the number of hate incidents reported to THE SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER after the election between November 11th and November 14th. There were between 200 to 400 incidents that involved harassment and intimidation, and even some that went viral like the Trump supporter who harassed a Michaels Store employee in Chicago.

Alt-Right platforms present a clear and present danger

With a rise in reported hate crimes and the alt-right’s growing platform, fake news online and mainstream press coverage, the general public’s safety is at risk. Take the PizzaGate incident that took place on December 4th of this year for example. A North Carolina man named Edgar M. Welch, 28, drove to a pizzeria named Comet Ping Pong in Washington D.C. and fired his assault weapon into the restaurant to investigate a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring. Even though none of the restaurant patrons were injured during the incident there was also no signs of a child sex ring, secret tunnel, or any other aspects involved in the PizzaGate conspiracy theory perpetuated by fake news and the alt-right.

READ: Do you want to know how the “Trump Effect” effects Kent State? Check out this article! 

Incidents like the one that happened at Comet Ping Pong are a result of how dangerous normalizing the alt-right can be. It isn’t just that conservative news sites are giving them a platform, the alt-right is flooding websites like Facebook, who chose not not to filter fake news stories, with propaganda like PizzaGate. Furthermore, the problem goes beyond fake news, half-truths, pseudo-facts, and partisan politics. Lone actors like Edgar Welch act off of false information and the power of their own delusions.

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Dylann Roof

However, before Donald Trump decided to run for president, there was the Charleston Church Massacre committed by Dylann Roof. According to his manifesto, his motives for committing this act of terrorism is heavily linked to him being radicalized by online white supremacist propaganda. In his manifesto, he writes about how he googled black on white crime and came across alt-right websites like the COUNCIL OF CONSERVATIVE CITIZENS and THE DAILY STORMER. Roof read this excessive propaganda geared towards the criminalization of black people and developed a warped view of black on white crime.

What is even more frightening, according to a REUTERS report, alt-right neo-nazis feel so empowered by their own anti-semitic propaganda that they have decided to march with guns in Whitefish, Montana. Their armed march is a response to Richard Spencer’s mother, Sherry Spencer, being pressured to sell her property in the community because it has ties to the alt-right. THE DAILY STORMER, an alt-right website linked to Dylan Roof, called for the intimidation the area’s Jewish community because of this.

As alt-right “news sites” like COUNCIL OF CONSERVATIVE CITIZENS and BREITBART gain traction and press courage because of their absurdity. These platforms serve as a real danger because of outliers in our society like Dylann Roof and Edgar M. Welch who choose to act on their propaganda harming others.

The alt-right getting sucked into American culture and becoming normalized creates a clear and present danger. Since the media’s recent fascination with them, like the interviews with Tomi Lahren and Richard Spencer, white nationalists feel embolden by the election of Donald Trump. Normalizing the alt-right could very well lead to an upward trend in reported hate crimes in addition to the propaganda being spread on the web. Furthermore, normalizing these groups can create vacuums for more incidents like the PizzaGate incident in DC. However, more tragedies like the one in Charleston, South Carolina remains a possibility if the alt-right becomes normalized.

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2 Comments

  1. Rick Wilson

    January 4, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Mayhap yonder lady will touch my penis after she sees how those HORRIBLE GROSS ALTRIGHT NERDS are destroyed by my epic wit and intelligence. *tips fedora*

    Reply

  2. Vanitas

    January 4, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    In countering the Alt-Right, it is essential to meet and confront the ideas of prolific Alt-Right leader and youtuber, Alexander Gordon Jahans. It is from his ouroborian mind that much Alt-Right thought comes to life.

    Reply

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