Learning to Speak Alt-Right

White liberals who were appalled by the alt-right rally in Charlottesville need to lean into the kinds of stories white nationalists use, not recoil from them.

Screenshot from “Who Are We?”
“Unite the Right” rally, Charlottesville, 2017
“Who Are We?”
Screenshot from “Who Are We?”
Screenshot from “Who Are We?”
Screenshot from “Who Are We?”

“Umm…so you agree with a white nationalist?”

Well, while other white men might be more pure and holy antiracists, it turns out that, paradoxically, me and Richard Spencer have quite a lot in common when it comes to our views on race.

White man whispering

So when are we, the white antiracist men, going to show up as fearless as the alt-right does, to preach our own liberation gospel to our brothers?

Screenshot from “A Vast Audience” (1928)
  • A story that unapologetically targets white men. Many progressives clutch their pearls at the thought of white men organizing our own kind. Of course, white men are the most prominent terrorists in this country, so we need to hear and consider these critiques, but we can’t let them paralyze us. We can’t wait for someone else to give us permission to save ourselves.
  • A story that exists in accountability to movements led by women and people of color. Our organizing of white men has to produce results when it comes to supporting movements led by women and people of color. Our stories need to be informed by theirs. Our unique contribution to movements flows from our ability to invite other white men to step into freedom struggle alongside us. But it’s the testimonies of oppressed people that hold the insight needed for us to understand systemic oppression and how to resist for the long haul.
  • A story that helps organize white men towards collective shifts in our behavior and culture, not just individual change. The dominant culture in this country focuses on individualism, and so our own transformation has to be done as a part of collective efforts. We white men have a particular superpower in working with other white men for racial justice — the ability to speak with the magical “I.” I can tell my story of the pain I’ve felt specifically as a white man, which can open up space for other white men to confront their own pain. This is where the bonds of brotherhood come from. The alt-right knows this and has been exploiting it while we’ve been wringing our hands. We don’t have time to waste.

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A treacherous stormtrooper, quietly loosening bolts inside the Death Star. www.risksomething.org

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