Monday, December 12, 2016

Trump and the De-Normalization of Bigotry and Inflammatory Rhetoric

I've been reading about this person, Richard B. Spencer, who is the face of the "Alt-Right" movement that some view as the "U.S. neo-Nazi movement," a phrase that they want to distance themselves from.  It is not a large movement, but it is clearly emboldened by a Trump administration. If you go to their Facebook page, you can read more about their white nationalist views here.  

I offer also the following articles as possible additional starting points for your own investigation of this extremist movement which though small, presents optics through social media that render them inescapably allied to the KKK and neo-Nazi's.
The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the alt-right “a set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals whose core belief is that ‘white identity’ is under attack by multicultural forces using ‘political correctness’ and ‘social justice’ to undermine white people and ‘their’ civilization.”
Five myths about the alt-right .  A myth, among others, that Nuzzi dispels is that Trump isn't sympathetic to their movement. 
"[Trump] has never asked its members to stop photoshopping Jewish journalists into gas chambers in his honor. What’s more, he has often seemed to wink in their direction by deploying their rhetoric, with his talk of opposing “globalism,” his repeated retweets of alt-right Twitter accounts and his use of imagery — such as a Star of David illustration — that originated on Nazi websites."
This extremism is precisely why we need ethnic studies as a normalized part of education in order to non-normalize the racism and inflammatory rhetoric that's getting normalized by a Trump presidency.  Stated differently, ethnic studies is as much for whites as for non-whites because it provides readings, evidence, and frameworks that lead to an understanding of the historicity of race as a social construct—as well as how race intersects with other markers of identity like gender, social class, sexual orientation, religion, and so on.  

That is, race is a modern idea that tracks back to the imperialist exploits of Europeans.  A classic in this regard is Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. Pre-contact America had no such construction of race. Rather race came into being as an actual word or concept with the consolidation of slavery in North America.  There is a deep history on the social construction of race that I can't give justice to right here, but this is a starting point.

A Trump presidency notwithstanding, our youth should not be deceived by the hateful ideology of this fringe movement. Moreover, there is much to know and celebrate about a multicultural, multiracial, and multilingual America and world.  My thoughts this morning....

Angela Valenzuela

'Hail Trump!': White Nationalists Salute the President Elect

Video of an alt-right conference in Washington, D.C., where Trump’s victory was met with cheers and Nazi salutes.

Daniel Lombroso / The Atlantic

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