Stop Saying ‘Alt-Right’ and Start Calling Them White Nationalists

Richard Spencer’s band of white supremacists is not a mere third party alternative as the name ‘Alt-Right’ would suggest, but a terrifyingly hateful and threatening organization that should be treated as such. While the KKK-esque rituals are enough to send chills down anyone’s spine, what is perhaps more alarming about this racist insurgency is the normalization of it all. Dubbing a hate group the ‘Alt-Right’ labels them as just another political party, minimizing the horrific perversion of their quest for ‘ethnic purity’. While I prefer the titles Neo-Nazis, fascists, racists and anti-Semites, you can decide what to call them, just don’t make it ‘Alt-right’.

This nationalist racist movement is spreading. And worse, it’s legitimizing. Breitbart, right-wing newspaper/white nationalist platform, recently extended its operation to Europe. Mike Cernovich, far-right blogger and journalist (of sorts), extended his reach from delegitimizing date-rape to propelling fake news stories (he’s the #Pizzagate guy).

But perhaps the most formidable infiltration of white supremacists is the one into politics. From labelling Mexicans as rapists to attacking Muslim gold star parents, the tumultuous rise of Trump has propelled the once small and countercultural white supremacist movement into the mainstream political arena. Richard Spencer even credits Trump with the normalization of his movement, saying, “Trump sincerely and genuinely cares about Americans, and white Americans in particular.”

Spencer set up political-shop in Alexandria Virginia, a suburb of D.C., to increase proximity to the hub of this country’s government. He also nods in support of Trump’s appointments of Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions. In continuation of this political trend, David Duke, former Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, became one of the two Republican finalists for Louisiana’s open senate seat.

To comprehend the disastrous implications of normalizing the “Alt-right”, one must understand what the hate group stands for. The loosely-structured group thrives on the edge of political fringe, aiming to “preserve and protect the white race”. This idealized dogma alone is horrifyingly racist and hateful.

But these people are even worse in practice. These white-nationalists, Neo-Nazis and anti-Semites burn torches in support of Confederate statues and –in a manner reminiscent of Nazi Germany– hail Trump’s victory. Thomas J. Main, professor at SUNY, wrote that they, “support the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants and protectionist trade policies. It opposes feminism, diversity, gay rights, globalism, gun control and civil rights.”

Support for the movement grows, and after Trump’s presidential victory Spencer triumphantly declared, “The alt-right is here, the alt-right is not going anywhere and the alt-right is going to change the world”. So now, more than ever, it is imperative that exactly that does not happen. And the fight against white nationalism begins in treating it as what it is: racist hate, not a legitimate political party. So Republicans, for the sake of basic respect for humanity, denounce the Alt-right and start calling it white nationalism.

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Alexandra is a junior in high school from the DC area.

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