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Friday, May 26, 2017

Columns

What the ‘alt-right’ movement really is


A recent conference confirmed the fears of those who are wary of the “alt-right” — an organization that, under its guise as a branch of conservatism, blends racism, white nationalism and populism to appeal to its mostly white supporters.

The “alt-right”’s attempt to normalize themselves as an alternative to conservative politics — instead of an organization rooted in bigotry and anti-Semitism — is a pathetic attempt to fool the masses and let it leak into the mainstream. 

It worked. Now that they are in the spotlight, however, we can judge them for what they truly are: neo-Nazis.

Richard Spencer, a self-professed white nationalist and the man who coined the term “alt-right,” of the nonprofit National Policy Institute, held a conference to discuss the future of their movement and Trump’s victory.

After what seemed like a politically correct version of the group’s core beliefs during most of the conference, Spencer ended the night by hailing the white race, likening Jews to monsters and demonizing the media as biased “cucks” who cannot be trusted.

Gone are the days of “alt-right” supporters claiming to be only internet trolls trying to enrage people. Trolling will continue, of course, but you are sending a clear message if you do it in the name of the “alt-right” despite your supposed naïvety.

The “alt-right,” despite what you want it to be, is also a group that believes in the supremacy of the white race and how immigrants are afflicting the country. If you get triggered when you read the rest of this column, if you haven’t already, please seek a safe space before you post a comment.

You may just prove me right.

I want to be clear that I am calling the “alt-right” exactly what they are. This neo-Nazi group is an attempt to infiltrate American ideals by appealing to white Americans and Europeans, or the “children of the sun” as Spencer said, and other white supporters.

We can’t ignore that one of the highest-ranking members in, and possibly the leader of, the “alt-right” is pushing for a white America and condemning Jews for just being Jews. It’s true that people like Spencer and Stephen Bannon aren’t Adolf Hitler, but they are trying their hardest to model themselves after history’s most evil person.

Hitler and his movement didn’t simply become a full-fledged, anti-Semitic empire overnight. The Nazis started with one idea that grew over time thanks to supporters and a leader who is one of the best orators of his time.

We can’t allow the media and social media users to normalize this movement. It is not normal to be a white nationalist who hates all immigrants and have supporters give the Nazi salute at the end of a conference.

It is not normal to attack people online with anti-Semitic remarks and a cartoon character that celebrates Hitler.

There are people out there that see an alternative to typical politics and jump at the chance to be different. Still, to ignore some of the core values is not an excuse to terrorize people and then claim it to be a joke.

Let’s disavow and condemn an organization that deserves them before they become normalized and part of our society. If we don’t act and let this group infiltrate our politics, we may regret it in future elections.

We may regret it during President Donald Trump’s first term with Bannon as his chief strategist.

Opinion editor Frank Campos is a media production senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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