First, some context.
Defining Alt Right, Alt Left, Antifa: Read via NY Times
What does the alt right want?
In short: a white ethno-state where each race lives in a separate nation.
Read more at CNN and feel free to go down your own Google rabbit hole.
Where the $#%^ did they come from?
Racism/ bigotry/ antisemitism didn’t cease to exist after the Civil Rights Act or WWII but such viewpoints were largely expressed in private or anonymous internet forums. When Donald Trump was elected to the most powerful position in the world, these people took it as a green light to come into the open because the leader of the free world has used divisive rhetoric against minorities. via CNN:
“Many “Unite the Right” rally participants have latched onto President Donald Trump’s controversial comments about Muslims and Mexicans, according to Beirich.
“They feel validated,” she said. “They feel like all of sudden we can be a part of the political system”
What are they fixin’ to do next?
- “Free Speech” rally in Boston 8/19
- White supremacist rally in Durham, NC 8/18
- The March on Google protests in 9 US cities planned for 8/19 have been indefinitely postponed (the march’s organizer have publicly denounced bigotry and said they are not affiliated with the Charlottesville group).
- Read about the future of the “alt right” on The Atlantic.
Should you use your platform to say something? Some things to consider:
- Educate yourself, do your own research, if you feel genuinely compelled to speak then figure out what approach feels authentic to you
- Many people are calling for entertainers and politicians to utilize their platform to speak out
- Your words have consequences – stay with whatever conversation may result on your post
- I like this post in considering how terrorists are radicalized when communicating with opposing viewpoints. In writing this guide, I have personally reached out to someone I know to be alt right to ask questions and get some first person insight.
- Don’t meet violence with violence. I don’t suggest posting something about punching a nazi, that adds fuel to the fire and further radicalizes people, however, what you post is your choice (“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr)
- “violence is just not as effective as nonviolence.” – via NY Times How to Make Fun of Nazis
- If you’re thinking of coming from an angle that these groups should be silenced, consider that Freedom of Speech is protected by the constitution almost always without exception for hate speech. I encourage you to research. Some resources:
- Via the ACLU: “Racism and bigotry will not be eradicated if we merely force them underground. Equality and justice will only be achieved if society looks such bigotry squarely in the eyes and renounces it. Not all speech is morally equivalent, but the airing of hateful speech allows people of good will to confront the implications of such speech and reject bigotry, discrimination and hate”
- Via Vox: Some racist, homophobic chants in Charlottesville may not be protected under 1st Amendment
- Via USA Today: From cross burning to funeral protests, hate speech enjoys broad protection
- Research what politicians and other artists are already saying – you can use this to inform what you will say or even share their existing posts and add onto them with your own two cents as you see fit
- Some examples of what artists/ celebs have posted:
- Nashville Musicians React to White Supremacist Protests via Nashville Scene
- Creature Comfort
- Via HuffPost: Celebrities Speak Out Against White Supremacist Violence In Charlottesville
- Kelly Hoppenjans
Now for some sample ideas:
I encourage you to skim through all of these and create a response in your own voice. Avoid copying word for word as this will be distributed to multiple artists for use.
If you’re a Republican/ Libertarian/ Conservative….
- SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM “Through his statements yesterday, President Trump took a step backward by again suggesting there is moral equivalency between the white supremacist neo-Nazis and KKK members who attended the Charlottesville rally and people like Ms. Heyer. I, along with many others, do not endorse this moral equivalency… Many Republicans do not agree with and will fight back against the idea that the Party of Lincoln has a welcome mat out for the David Dukes of the world.”
- SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: “There’s no moral equivalency between racists & Americans standing up to defy hate& bigotry. The President of the United States should say so” via Twitter
- SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL: “We can have no tolerance for an ideology of racial hatred…There are no good neo-Nazis, and those who espouse their views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms. We all have a responsibility to stand against hate and violence, wherever it raises its evil head.”
- Click here for more Republican lawmakers calling out the President for not condemning white supremacist groups/ blaming both sides for the violence
- Statement from the head of the libertarian party denouncing white supremacists (which he’s getting a ton of flak for) and another good post from the vice chair
- Sample: I’m a firm believer in free speech (with zero exceptions, no matter how ugly) so here’s mine: the ideologies of these modern day white supremacist/ Neo-Nazi groups are despicable, disturbing, and unAmerican. Their swastikas and hateful rhetoric are not only disrespectful to so many Americans but also dishonor all those who served in WWII defeating the Nazis.
- Sample: I tend to lean conservative in my political ideologies and I’m deeply disappointed in the President’s decision to parse blame in Charlottesville rather than explicitly condemning these white supremacist groups and all that they stand for. There are no good neo-Nazis or Klansmen, Mr. President. There’s no place for racism, bigotry or antisemitism America or the GOP.
- Sample: I encourage all of my fellow [Republicans, Conservatives, Libertarians] to emphatically denounce white supremacy. They have repackaged “Nazi/ KKK” as “Alt Right” and their hateful ideologies of ethnic cleansing have no place on any part of the “Right.” Bigotry, antisemitism, racism, sexism – these are not American values. Regardless of who you voted for, it is crucial to stand against emboldened hatred and hold people accountable (whether friends/ family or elected officials) in firmly opposing and combating white supremacists.
If you have a family member who served in WWII…
- Feel free to use a photo! The below assumes using a photo, tweak language if not using.
- Sample: This is my uncle. He served in the XXXth Infantry Regiment in World War II. He watched his fellow soldiers give their lives defeating the Nazis and all they stood for. To see groups of people publicly gathering in 2017 adorned with swastikas and giving the Nazi salute is deeply disturbing and dishonors all those who served in WWII. Racism, bigotry, hate, antisemitism are not American values.
If you never intended to ‘get political’ as part of your brand…
- Sample: I never intended to “get political” on my music pages (and I recognize that is a privileged stance to take) but what’s going on right now transcends politics. I don’t care who you voted for, we should all be horrified by the racist/ bigoted/ antisemetic ideologies of these white supremacist groups and the violence that ensued in Charlottesville. While the First Amendment protects their hateful rhetoric and nazi symbols, it is still deeply unsettling to see KKK and Neo-Nazis emboldened enough to come out of the shadows. I imagine the numbers at the “Unite the Right” march are the tip of the iceberg – these are the people that aren’t afraid to go public, I can’t imagine how many more exist in the dark corners of the internet. All of us, regardless of political party, to utilize our freedom of speech to denounce white supremacy.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
- Sample: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – MLK
Confession: the thought of getting political on our band’s social media pages makes us uncomfortable. This isn’t the time to stay in our comfort zones, however. We don’t consider this to be politics – this is about standing up to overt racism, bigotry, sexism, antisemitism and violence. To the disenfranchised, the minorities, whomever is targeted by these groups – we will are here to throw our straight white cis male selves in front of the angry horde of torch wielders. If you aren’t safe, none of us are. Words only go so far. Still grappling with how to effectively combat the rise of radical hate groups. While we’re thinking on it, our August merch sales will benefit XX. Join us in donating.
- Sample: Same Indy, same
ABOUT THE AUTHOR //
Samantha Zaruba is a visual artist and entrepreneur based in Nashville, TN. This mission of her label, LunaSea Media is to empower artists through education and development.