Keep White Nationalism Out of the U

The+crowd+claps+during+the+Solidarity+Rally+against+racism+at+Washington+Square+Park+in+Salt+Lake+City%2C+Utah+on+Monday%2C+Aug.+14%2C+2017.+%28Rishi+Deka+%7C+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29

The crowd claps during the Solidarity Rally against racism at Washington Square Park in Salt Lake City, Utah on Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. (Rishi Deka | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Connor Richards

An editorial from the opinion desk.

They didn’t even wear cloaks.

No masks, no capes, no concealment of identity. Although they hold the same torches and share the same degenerate, primitive ideology as their ancestors, today’s racists are not yesterday’s.

Today’s racists, like the ones who marched through Charlottesville on a weekend that will be codified in American history books, do not dress like members of a disgraced secret society. They dress in polos and khakis, something they learned watching their president golf.

Today’s racists don’t shy away from their barbarism. They embrace it. They wear it. They own it. And who can blame them? They have friends in the White House. Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who describes himself as a white nationalist, is intellectually and politically driven towards building a segregated future where a monolithic “white race” can thrive. President Donald Trump would not denounce the Ku Klux Klan or its former Imperial Wizard David Duke — who endorsed him.

As enlightened, advanced and progressive as we like to think of ourselves, we remain engulfed by infinities of darkness. We live in the shadows of a dark and undistant past. This shadow was cast over the city of Charlottesville on Aug. 12 and over the University of Utah only days earlier when posters decrying Black violence were taped around campus.

“Stop the rapes,” the posters read. “Stop the crime. Stop the murder. Stop the Blacks.”

U students will not stand for this. We will smother racism and stampede tribal nationalism. We will fight in the papers, in the classrooms and in the streets. There is no intellectual justification for racism. There is no genetics program or school of philosophy that will ever support the idea of white superiority. There is no place for white nationalism on a college campus.

University officials share this attitude. In an email to students and faculty, President David W. Pershing and two other administrators condemned the posters and admonished the U has zero tolerance for hate.

“Let us be clear,” the email stated. “There is no place on the University of Utah campus for hate speech and violent behavior of any kind.”

Your flyers will be taken down and your torches will be put out. Your speeches will be occupied and your voices will be clamored over. Your dangerous beliefs, however hidden or academically dressed up, will be met with unwavering hostility. Your cries of free speech will fall on uninterested ears.

There is no constitutional protection for preserving or maintaining a legacy of oppression, enslavement and malignity. We reject any interpretation that says there is. White nationalism belongs in the desolate caves of archaic ignorance from which it descended, far away from the political, public, academic and journalistic spheres where ideas are given legitimacy.

The U will not hear out or carve a space for intellectual arguments in favor of oppression or segregation. These ideas belong in the cabinets of museums in Washington D.C. and New York City, not in the pages of contemporary college textbooks.

Let’s not forget that the Nazi movement of the 1930s and ‘40s, a movement that led to the largest ethnic cleansing in human history, thrived and excelled in Germany’s intellectual circles. That is to say, evil ideas have historically been taken seriously by educated people.

We will not let it happen again.

[email protected]ronicle.utah.edu