How Should We Converse with the Alt-right?

dialogueFuture historians who write about the 2016 presidential election will probably devote many pages to the “Alt-right.”  If I understand the Alt-right correctly, its members defend an alternative approach to conservatism in America that is focused on white supremacy, opposition to the immigration of non-white Christian people, and a general disgust for homosexuality, feminism, Jews, Muslims, elites, liberals and the GOP establishment.  Not all people sympathetic to the Alt-right will embody all of these traits, but those who do identify with the movement believe that they are losing their country and are willing to fight to get it back.  It is the most recent form of American nativism.

I think it’s fair to say that the most prominent mouthpiece of the Alt-right is Breitbart News.  I think it is also fair to say that many Trump supporters, but not all of them, identity with the movement.

It is easy to condemn the views of the Alt-right.  But they are out there and they will now have a strong voice in American life thanks to Trump and his chief strategist Steve Bannon.

We are in the midst of the holiday season.  This is often a time when we leave our social bubbles and engage with friends and family members who may not share our views on politics and culture.  Such encounters can be good things if dialogue about our differences can take place in a civil manner and people are willing to listen to one another.  (Of course I know that this is not always the case–especially with families).

I was recently asked to recommend some reading materials for those who have opportunities to dialogue with people who like the Alt-right.  Granted, some folks on the Alt-right may not be interested in reading or engaging with different ideas. But others will be.  Which leads to my question: What books (or other kinds of publications) would you encourage people on the Alt-right to read in the hopes of triggering a conversation that might lead them to change their hearts and minds?

Any suggestions?  Where would you start the conversation?  What book or books would you give your alt-Right friend to get such a conversation going?  (And, of course, this might mean you will have to be open to reading something that they give you). 🙂

5 thoughts on “How Should We Converse with the Alt-right?

  1. Yeah, still looking for that evidence that the Steve Bannon and Breitbart are white supremacists. Investigative articles anyone? No NYT or HuffPo articles making assertions with no evidences. Again, let me assert that I have no dog in this fight. I did not vote for Trump. I do not get my news from Breitbart. My point is left-wingers have as much of a problem distorting the facts as right-wingers do. If we all care about truth, put up credible evidence or stop making empty charges.


  2. Speaking of Breitbart, ‘We’re the platform for the alt-right,’ Bannon told me proudly when I interviewed him at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in July.” Sarah Posner in Mother Jones

    OK, having dealt with that, can anyone tell me why Hitler gets such a bad rap? I mean, did he ever actually say “white supremacy”? Did anyone see him shopping at the Gap, or listening to Celine Dion? Did he ever actually hurt a Jew with his own hands?

    Or is this just a tactic of the decadent cosmopolitan socialist-symps who are trying to vilify good American racists?


  3. I have read the charge that Steve Bannon and Breitbart News represents the vanguard of the alt-right and white supremacism in multiple places. However, I have yet to see any credible hard evidence that either could be identified with white supremacism. I think this is simply a tactic of liberals to vilify Trump, et. al. Please provide the evidence. Saying so doesn’t make it so. I say this as one who has been a never-Trumper.


  4. I think it’s fair to say that the most prominent mouthpiece of the Alt-right is Breitbart News.

    I don’t think it is, esp when you make “alt-right” synonymous with white supremacy.

    John McWhorter, an English Professor at Columbia University, is demanding that leftists stop labeling everyone that disagrees with them as “white supremacists.”

    McWhorter pointed out that those who accuse others of racial hatred rarely have to substantiate their claims. He believes that an accuser should be able to prove their claim that someone else is racist before they decide to label them “supremacist.”

    “If you make a claim that someone desires that white people be in charge and muzzle the opinions and opportunities of people of color, you should be able to prove it,” he writes. “No, the fact that psychological tests reveal subtle racial biases in whites does not justify calling any white person’s questioning of the views of a person of color a white supremacist.”


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