COLUMN: Define the Alt-Right by showing who and what they really are


In recent weeks, the term “Alt-Right” has appeared to describe Stephen Bannon, his Breitbart News organization, or as a way to shame people on Facebook.

Few people know what the Alt-Right is, or where the term came from.

Mainstream media outlets said the group appeared exclusively in 2016 campaign, labeling it a far right, fringe, anti-establishment conservative movement, or a hate group. To call the Alt-Right any of these is blissfully naïve to its sinister and terrifying ideology.

The origins of the Alt-right began sometime in 2008 with the election of President Barack Obama. The 2008 election made those in the dark corners of American politics fear a change in the way of life for white Americans.

They felt threatened, and started using websites such as Reddit, 4chan, Facebook, and Twitter to spread their message. They created a sanctuary to have discussions that involved covert, overt, and an almost academic form of racism. These discussions were initially broad, but the only core belief tying them together was the idea that White America was dying.

That fear produced the perfect conditions for the fledgling Alt-Right to create a new face to a tired, xenophobic ideology.

To pinpoint the creation of the Alt-Right, one must look in the direction of Richard B. Spencer. Spencer is credited with coining the phrase Alt-Right. He is both the ideological and physical founder, and he still serves as its most vocal and public advocate.

The existence of this movement was unknown to the majority of Americans, even though many of them unwittingly spread the Alt-Right’s beliefs by sharing of fake news articles.

The Alt-Right makes use of outdated and distorted half-truth studies to “show” how minorities are naturally antagonistic against America. Or how “women are weaker and should be resigned to bearing children.” Articles that use the Alt-Right’s methods of media manipulation have headlines like “DATA: Young Women Muslims in America are a Ticking Time Bomb, Increasingly Sympathizing with Radicals, Terror,” or “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.”

Both of these headlines come from Breitbart and its former editor, Bannon.

For the Alt-Right, liberals, LGBTQ+, African-Americans, Latinos, Democrats, establishment Republicans, immigrants, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Asians, and Native Americans are all to blame for what they perceive as the decline of White America.

They want to create a pure, white ethno-state, one in which all non-white Americans will be driven out, immigration is halted, women would return to the sole role of bearing children, and Christianity would be forced into every part of life.

Spencer would argue that his innocuous movement is different from your average white supremacy group because the Alt-Right has always been about the American identity. This American identity, for the Alt-Right, is the identity of White-Christian nationalists.

This is the world of the Alt-Right, and to them white people face two choices: “conquer or die.”