Established alternative right speaker, Milo Yiannopoulos, will be presenting at numerous California universities this coming January and February.
The self-described alternative right or “alt-right” group’s movement is mainly focused on white identity and mostly operates online. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, this group’s core belief is that white identity is under attack by political correctness and social justice to undermine white people.
Richard B. Spencer is the director and president of the National Policy Institute (NPI), an organization “dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world,” according to the NPI’s website. Spencer created the alt-right group and is considered to be the group’s leader.
On Nov. 19, the “alt-right” group gathered and celebrated President-elect Trump’s win, where Spencer and others in the audience allegedly doing the Nazi salute, while Spencer was saying, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory.”
“As a Chicano male, it is always infuriating to hear people promote racism and hate,” Alfonso Alvarez, a freshman accounting and finance double-major, said. “It is scary, not only for me, but [for] all minorities to think that the next four [years] will be led by someone who is promoted by a group of people who idolize white supremacy.”
Yiannopoulos is a prominent figurehead for the “alt-right” movement and is known for his criticisms of social justice, feminism and Islam. Some are concerned with Yiannopoulos speaking at universities such as UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, UCLA and the University of San Diego.
“I know we’re in California, which is generally considered a more progressive state, but that doesn’t mean there’s no racism or homophobia here,” Alison Taoyama, a sophomore psychology and theatre double-major, said. “I’m worried that his speech would normalize this kind of disrespect and encourage people to act hatefully as a result.”
Taoyama expressed concern for Yiannopolos’ position as a spokesperson, as he will attempt to validate anti-progressive ideologies towards women, the LGBTQ community, people of color, undocumented immigrants and other minorities.
“He stands to uphold a system that lives off the oppression, belittlement and dehumanization of minority groups; and when the type of people who are emboldened by this are the same types of people who already harass or degrade people for their identities, it creates an unsafe environment for minorities to be in,” Taoyama said.
According to an event on Facebook, on Thursday, Feb. 2, a peaceful protest will be held outside of Yiannopoulos’ seminar at UCLA. The post also urges students to push Chancellor Gene D. Block to cancel the event.
“Although I agree that institutions should be a location where diverse thoughts and opinions are welcomed, someone who desires to normalize a mindset that allows and often promotes violence […] towards any community should not be welcomed,” Kiana Gums, a junior economics and political science major, said.
“Women and men like Milo Yiannopoulos use coded language to explain oppressive policies and create a fear of [the]‘other’ in the subconscious of their following [...] The danger of having an ‘alt-right’ speaker come to any university is that they exploit people’s intrinsic fear of ‘other’ to promote their racist, sexist, homophobic, islamophobic ideology.”