Illustration by Andrew Dyer
The term “alt-right” originated with extremists but recently has become mainstream. This vague term, according to the Anti-Defamation League, encompasses a range of people on the extreme right who reject mainstream conservatism in favor of forms of conservatism that embrace implicit or explicit racism and white supremacy.
Members of the “alt-right” claim “liberation from a left-right dialect” but in reality use rejection of political correctness to promote racism and bigotry. They use racist and anti-Semitic language on social media and refer to it as “free speech” and an act of “freedom” rather than what it is — hate speech.
Theirs is a hate-filled platform reminiscent of Nazi Germany, with rhetoric encouraging a future of authoritarian force returning white Christian men to their proper place in society.
Their ideology stems from the notion that white people are responsible for all prosperity in the country. They ignore the contributions of Africans, Chinese, Latinos and Native Americans who, despite systemic oppression, helped shape America into what it is today. In this alternative reality, white people are somehow responsible for the foundation of America, but its greatness is threatened by a “white-genocide.” This so-called extermination of white people ignores the fact that white people remain the majority of the population. They also believe that races are biologically and genetically different — that race is not a social but rather a genetic fact — and that white people are genetically superior.
In addition to their misguided notions of race, they also oppose feminism, a worldview reinforced throughout the online “manosphere” and the men’s rights movement. In this universe, the “alpha male” is the idealized form of masculinity.
The election of President-elect Donald Trump has pushed this movement to the forefront. This ideology is even more dangerous considering its adherents constantly spew statistically impossible, scientifically dubious and historically inaccurate “facts”.
Using “alt-right” to describe modern white supremacy lessens their impact and hides their potential to do harm. In 21st-century America, movements like this should not be normalized or accepted. While this has not been a normal year, regressive movements such as the “alt-right” have no place in a country that has made so much progress. Hate groups must not be sanitized.
Do not give racist, pseudo intellectual, white nationalists cute nicknames. Call the “alt-right” what it is — white nationalism.