There seems to be a common misconception that diversity leads to inclusion. More representation of and exposure to others of different races and cultures does not mean that people will be tolerant of such differences; if they were, there wouldn’t be a white supremacy group forming on my college campus.
“Identity Evropa” is a hate group (they refer to themselves as a fraternity) that intends to celebrate and assert European culture… through violence and racist rhetoric, that is.
The founder of the group, Nathan Damigo, is a white supremacist best known for his criminal activity (he robbed a cabman at gunpoint and spent 4 years in prison) and violent behavior. At the ‘free-speech demonstration’ in Berkeley, California, Damigo punched a female protester in the face.
He and his gang were also present at the infamous “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. “Identity Evropa” may market itself as a sophisticated and progressive organization dedicated to uplifting those of European descent, but underneath its cookie-cutter exterior, anyone with eyes can see that the organization is rooted in racism and white supremacy (especially since Damigo bases many of the principles the group is founded on around the teachings of KKK grand wizard, David Duke). One of their focuses is on “[taking their] country back”... But from whom? And what makes them believe that “their” country is being annexed in the first place? The answers to both questions:
- Minorities, especially Mexican immigrants.
- Their white privilege and grandiose sense of entitlement make them believe that economic and social equality for minorities is a threat to the comfort and security of whites.
I have always been aware that people who hold these thoughts and beliefs exist in society, but I didn’t realize that they lived and breathed alongside me, in an area where I was supposed to be ‘safe’ and ‘appreciated’. Flyers supporting “Identity Evropa” have begun to appear on the Rutgers-New Brunswick campuses (so far, they have been spotted on the Livingston, College Avenue, and Douglass campuses, according to The Daily Targum). Phrases such as “Our Generation, Our Future, Our Last Chance” have appeared on the flyers. In addition to the flyer postings, an EE bus has been vandalized with racist and hateful rhetoric. Phrases such as "Black Lives Don't Matter" and "Black Lives Matter Only to Blood and Crip Thugs" have been sprawled onto the bus.
Out of all the places in the world, I didn't expect for such overt discrimination to be present at Rutgers. When I first saw the article in The Daily Targum about the flyer postings and bus vandalization, I remember thinking to myself, "how could hateful people like this go to Rutgers? We're the most diverse school."
But diverse doesn't mean accepting. Diverse doesn't mean safe. And diverse doesn't mean equal.
My problem with alt-right and white supremacist groups such as "Identity Evropa" is that their fears, concerns, triggers — whatever you want to call them — are based in delusion, irrationality, hypocrisy and sheer ignorance. These groups form because they feel the white race is being threatened, that their liberties are being encroached on, or that they, themselves, are being discriminated against.
My problem with alt-right and white supremacist groups is that their issues aren't even real issues. They are nonsensical claims formed from desperation and anxiety due to their system of oppression and dominance being challenged.
Let's break it down one-by-one:
1. Their biggest fear is being replaced.
They see an influx of immigrants, blending of cultures, and more freedom and equality for all people... and equate that to anti-whiteness. *Sigh* In their bubble of privilege, monopoly, and entitlement, they cannot fathom any other group of people being on the same level as them. Appreciation of other cultures is seen as a degradation of European culture. Diversity and inclusion are seen as 'hand-outs,' or a ploy to remove whites from the workforce and other spaces (you won't believe how many times I've had the affirmative action line thrown at me). Organizations or causes to promote equality for minorities are equated to terrorist groups. The FBI just recognized a new terrorist organization called "Black Identity Extremists" — aka BLM members — but white supremacists still aren't recognized as a threat, despite all of the violence.
Herein lie the delusion and irrationality: Not everything has to be about white people. The fact that they are so afraid of not being the most represented and most powerful in society (although they still have mass influence over the political and business worlds 80% of the members of Congress are white males, while there are only 5 Black CEOs at the 500 largest companies in America. What more do they want?) just highlights their tendency to distort the meaning and overestimate the influence of any program or movement dedicated to helping minorities.
At Rutgers specifically, we attend a session about microagressions at New Student Orientation, titled "Language Matters." The session is meant to teach us that certain common phrases are offensive to minorities (not just race-wise either — the session included those affecting women and the disabled), but one white student believed the session to be anti-white and an excuse to degrade white people. Much like the female student at NSO, white supremacists lack the skill of discernment, and instead result to self-absorption, automatically demonizing anything meant to promote the wellness of non-whites.
2. Groups like "Identity Evropa" pride themselves on their history, but how quickly they are to forget it.
Everyone in the world knows who the original people of America are. Everyone knows whose land this actually is. White supremacists feel intensely possessive over their "land", but fail to remember that European explorers pushed their way into America, tortured, beat, and enslaved people. They tossed them from their homes and forced them to relocate, destroyed and replaced the culture of Indigenous and African people, and exploited non-whites while they got to reap the benefits. That is the definition of taking someone's land. That is the definition of replacing people.
They chant "blood and soil," but the main blood spilled on American soil came from those who had no rights or opportunities to protect themselves from abuse and demoralization. European explorers and settlers spilled blood to instill a system of racism, oppression, and violence. I don't believe that's anything to be proud of. White supremacists fear the same thing being done to them, although there is no basis that the two situations are even remotely similar. Their irrational fear is a reflection of the system we live in: they see how terrible minorities are treated and they fear that with the influx of ethnic people and cultures, they will become the new minority. They fear they will be targeted due to their skin color, their heritage, and their background. They fear that the system will no longer benefit them. And if that's not even more of a reason to fight for equality, then I don't know what is.
Immigrants come to America for better economic and social opportunities, not to dominate others. Immigrants come to America to escape persecution and civil tension, not to wreak havoc on groups of people. Alt-rights and white supremacists highlight their right to freedom and opportunity, but do not extend their ideologies to others not descended from Europe. Now, what do we call that? Racism.
3. Lastly, they're extremely hypocritical.
They spew so much rhetoric about how minorities are inferior, more violent, and a hazard to 'American civility', but ignore and justify their savage behavior. A KKK leader threatened to "burn" an Afro-Latina journalist, while white supremacists beat people with poles and run them over with cars at their rallies.
How can they be so up-in-arms about their rights when they try to take rights away from others? How can they see people who are darker than them as savages, but not feel any disgust from their own behavior? How can a group of people be so deluded and hateful?
It doesn't make sense, but their beliefs aren't rooted in logic. They're rooted in bigotry and hostility. Although I am concerned for my safety on the Rutgers-New Brunswick campuses, I have not lost hope. I believe in my peers and from personal experience, I know that there are way more of us that love and accept one another. We are stronger and more powerful than hate and we will not go backwards. And we will not be replaced.