A week ago, I had never heard of Richard Spencer and I am just beginning to understand what this term "alt-right" means. I now know that Spencer is a white nationalist who supported Trump for president and uses Nazi terminology and gestures ("hail/heil" and the right arm Nazi salute). Trump, for his part, has rightly disavowed him and his movement.
Now I learn that Spencer will be speaking at Texas A&M University this evening. He was invited not by the university but by some former student who shares his views.
If USA Today's definition of alt-right is accurate, they are nobody I want any part of. In addition, I don't quite understand the school's policy that enables this former student to set up a speaking event of any kind on campus. At the University of California, speakers must be sponsored by recognized student groups. Texas A&M is not happy about the appearance but says they cannot stop it since it is a matter of free speech. Students and faculty are vowing to protest.
Here is where I stand on this: Spencer's talk will indeed be a matter of free speech. I not only support a protest, I encourage it. However, I would not approve of disruption. I would encourage anyone who objects to go to the event, listen, videotape it and ask hard ball questions during the q and a. That is what I do. Let Spencer's own words discredit him. If you engage in disruption or violence you only discredit yourselves and give Spencer and his supporters fodder.
"But wait a minute, Fousesquawk," you ask. "Did you not just this morning post two mocking articles about campuses that are attacking "whiteness?"
Indeed I did, and I stand by them. What is the difference between colleges demonizing innocent white people and people like Spencer attacking innocent non-white people? Only a tiny minority of white Americans share Spencer's views about race.
The really sad point here is that Spencer will give currency to the absurd argument on college campuses today that all white people are irredeemably racist and privileged to boot. It will provoke more white students to don sack cloth and ashes and proclaim their shame at what they are.