Recently, many acts involving white supremacy have been seen throughout college campuses, UNT being one of them. Flyers encouraging white students to fight back against “anti-white propaganda in college” were littered all over campus this past January.
Unfortunately, white supremacists have been emboldened by the election of Donald Trump. They have gone from being something of a fringe group to landing in the spotlight.
In order to understand the mindset and beliefs of white supremacy, I decided to dive into one of their most popular, narrow casting mediums: podcasting.
After powering through a number of these alt-right podcasts, I began to notice some similarities in ideals, attitudes, and beliefs.
Prejudice backed by nothing
Many of the podcasts I listened to centered on the topics of immigration and extreme vetting, especially because of the Syrian refugee/Muslim ban that was under fire at the time. Opinions on how much they don’t care, and even hate people from that region, were tossed around (in some episodes, they were described as “subhuman” and “vermin”).
However, I noticed that each of these conversations (some would call them rants) would always lead up to one particular message.
Heated podcasters would begin describing the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia as “a desert wasteland filled with tents inhabited by savage, subhuman vermin.” At one point, Muslims were described as “the shittiest of the shit.”
Here’s the kicker: immediately after saying this, podcasters would say something along the lines of “…or I don’t know. I’ve never been there. I don’t want to go there. I don’t want to interact with those people.”
In other words, podcasters were strongly rooted within their hateful mindsets despite the lack of knowledge of these geographic regions, their landscapes, their history, their people, or their culture. They have never taken the time to get to know anyone from these regions.
Listen, if you’re going to hate something, at least follow it up with a good reason for hating it. If you hate cruises but you have never been on one, you’re opinion isn’t credible. If you hate camping but you’ve never actually been (or even spoken to someone who has), your opinion isn’t credible. If you hate a group of people and their country of origin but you have never encountered either…you see where I’m going with this.
While listening to this, I couldn’t help feeling sad for these podcasters. If they only knew how much more enriched their lives could be if they took the time to expand beyond their tightly drawn limits. The friends they could make. The experiences and adventures they could face. The true human experience.
Normal guys who also happen to hate
During the podcasts, there were a few points of “dead time,” in which podcasters would just joke around. The jokes were (usually) not even centered on prejudice! The hosts of the show would kill time by playing with reverb to distort their voices in funny ways, share amusing personal stories, and even reference television show that I love!
And guess what! I would sincerely laugh!
It came to the point where I had to be honest with myself and say, “These guys are actually funny sometimes!”
At some point during my laughter, I realized something. These were just normal guys. Normal guys who also happened to have extreme prejudices. In fact, if they were to get rid of said prejudices, they would probably be the kind of guys that I could share a laugh with! Not only that, but they would sound a whole lot like many of the friends I have now!
Isn’t that a shame? There are people out there who, because of their deep-rooted hatred, are missing out on so many friendship opportunities.
That’s really all I can say about that. Again, what a pity.
Joking backed by hatred
Before I get into this, I would like to express just how much I love comedy. It is a wonderful form of therapy. I especially love self-deprecating comedy. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you may end up taking yourself too seriously.
Being multiracial myself, I grew up always poking fun at the cultural quirks of my heritage. It is all in good fun and I do so because I love the culture so much.
That being said, I LOVE accent-based comedy. I pride myself as someone who has an extensive personal library of accents that I can pull off.
I see this style of comedy as a form of flattery. There is not hate or prejudice behind it. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for the podcasters.
As I mentioned before, there were many points where the podcasters joked around. The hosts especially liked to pull out an accent and run with it.
Accent-based jokes used during the show were clearly backed by hate. In fact, EVERY. SINGLE. PODCAST. was littered with anti-semitic “impersonations” of Jewish people. Not only that, but the hosts (along with many others who identify as white supremacists) would refer to themselves as “goys” (a non-Jewish person).
Such “jokes” were also directed to different gender groups and sexual orientations.
I can go on and on about how I think extreme PC culture is hurting comedy, but that’s for another editorial. I will say this, though:
When the joke is backed by HATE, is it is no longer a joke. It is a personal attack.
I can tell you right now that these podcasts were loaded with such attacks.
I am not easily offended. In fact, I can say that the podcasters pulled off many of these accents!
A joke can range from harmless to offensive. At the end of the day, however, it was still meant to be a joke. The simple fact that “jokes” used throughout the podcast to promote a hostile mindset towards different groups immediately removes them from the category of “jokes” and inserts them into the category of “hateful rhetoric.”
It seems that many people who categorize themselves as “white supremacists” do so in order to feel like they are included in a group. They more than likely obtained these ideas after hearing another source spout them out. Instead of leaving this group to find out the answer for themselves, they accepted it as truth, causing them to feel even more included within the group. In other words, its seemed like a quick way to figure out their “identity.”
It’s child-like. It’s lazy. It’s sad.
We must understand, though, that those who are easily swayed into a negative situation can be just as easily swayed out of it. There is still hope for such minds.
Instead of fighting hate with hate, perhaps it is our duty to arm ourselves with intelligence and open minds; to do our best to show these extreme groups just how much we can accomplish if we stop seeing one another as merely “different people from different cultures, religions, backgrounds, etc.”
I encourage readers to take time to engage in a culture outside of your own. Go to that new Korean restaurant down the street. Talk to the Indian girl in class about a funny thing that happened to you. Join an international student organization. Do whatever you can to learn about the lives and customs of those who live in your city, your apartment complex, across the hall, in your dorm, wherever.
If you have family members with extreme views, try your best not to start yet another argument. Instead, explain to them how expanding your horizons has positively shaped you.
Finally, if you are scared that you won’t know what to say to someone of a different background, take my advice: Just start talking. No matter where we are from or what language we speak, we all love music, dislike bad weather, have opinions on different food, movies, sports teams, etc.
Even the simple act of smiling at someone who doesn’t speak your language says so much.
At the end of the day, we’re all stuck with one another on this planet. Might as well start becoming friends.