It’s come as little surprise to anyone who followed President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign that he would appoint a racist, like former Breitbart Executive Chairman Stephen Bannon, as his chief White House strategist. In fact, the appointment has now received praise from Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white nationalists across the country. Which makes perfect sense as Bannon told Mother Jones in August that his site was a “platform for the alt-right.”
“Alt-right” is a term that has grown in use throughout this election cycle and is fairly new to the nomenclature scene. Coined in 2008 by Richard Spencer, the president of the National Policy Institute (which is a white nationalist think tank), it’s merely a rebranding of the same old racist, white supremacist worldview – only with nice clothes and a middle-class white guy look.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has an entire page dedicated to Richard Spencer and his deplorable behavior over the years. A few quotes from him featured on the page include:
Martin Luther King Jr., a fraud and degenerate in his life, has become the symbol and cynosure of White Dispossession and the deconstruction of Occidental civilization. We must overcome!
Or this little gem:
Immigration is a kind a proxy war—and maybe a last stand—for White Americans, who are undergoing a painful recognition that, unless dramatic action is taken, their grandchildren will live in a country that is alien and hostile.
Spencer’s entire purpose of creating the term “alt-right” was to present a white nationalist platform with an “image-conscious strategy meant to appeal to educated, middle-class whites,” as stated by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The goal is to shed the stereotypical “redneck, tattooed, illiterate” persona which has long been associated with the hateful rhetoric of the white nationalist movement.
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In an interview with Lauren Fox of Salon, Spencer said, “We have to look good” and then spoke of the importance of rebranding the movement by saying, “being part of something that is crazed or ugly or vicious or stupid, no one is going to want to be a part of it.”
Using the term “alt-right” does just that. It places a prettier label on the same old hate which has resulted in a continued oppression, discrimination, harassment, and even death to those who are viewed as the enemy of these knuckle-draggers. As trite as the saying is, there simply isn’t enough lipstick in the world to put on this pig to make it look like anything other than a pig.
Yet, there is still a risk that by using a term like the “alt-right” those lipstick wearing pigs get to redefine who they are – and we should never allow them such a privilege.
So, starting today and moving forward, let’s call these assholes by the names they rightfully deserve. They are racists. They are white supremacists. They are neo-Nazis. Forget this “alt-right” crap. They do not deserve a rebranding and legitimization.
Oh no, they don’t get to dump their vicious history of vile actions with a new “clean-cut” image. They love their “heritage” so much – they get to keep it.