It's Wrong to Out the Alt-Right Protesters of Charlottesville, VA
I don't love this @YesYoureRacist initiative to "Out" the Alt-Right protesters of Charlottesville, VA.
I know, in our Modern Society, the only acceptable response to people who have ideas you find abhorrent is to punch them in the face like we're in a comic book strip from 1941. However, I'm a future minded humanist that realizes any hope of us escaping the 21st century—without collective acute radiation poisoning—is going to require that we engage bigotry and hate in more constructive ways than...hitting.
Yes, there should be consequences for openly aligning yourself with ideologies of hatred and racism, but what do we get out of "revealing" who these tiki torch armed Alt-Righters are? What is the tangible, in the bank, "we're one step closer to no racism in America" outcome we achieve for uncovering the "Secret Identities" of these guys in slacks and tucked in polo shirts? Them no longer working at a hot dog hut? Way to go, Social Justice Warriors, you just decapitated the head of the sinister multinational corporation with ties to Nazi war profiteering in World War 2.
But, okay, I can appreciate the impetus for wanting to do this. If nothing else, it sends the message that if you associate with such groups there will be a literal price to pay. But is some redneck losing his job going to help improve race relations in this country? Will this extinguish the mentalities that would make a person want to support radical right-wing ideologies in the first place? Is it going to bring Heather Heyer back to life?
It just makes us feel better rather approaching these difficult situations with any reason, objectivity and long-term strategic thinking. We'll share a meme of a goofball with a beard, Sieg Heiling, who then gets socked in the jaw and say, "Remember, make contact with the two largest knuckles and keep a strong wrist. You want to hurt the Nazi, not yourself!" We'll feed that part of our brain that Digital Culture has metastasized into a frothing, vicious insatiable beast that craves immediate affirmation in the form of damning anything that runs contrary to our particular morality. In our quest to impose Social Justice, we're destroying the part of ourselves that makes that phrase mean anything in the first place.
So again, I ask, other than feeding the understandable indignation of the mob, what do we get for getting these morons fired from their Shakeshack jobs? Nothing—but here's what we do get: A further emboldened and radicalized group of lunatics who will now work more furtively to effect the goals of their hatred. Perhaps even in less obvious ways we can monitor and potentially more dangerous than if we simply address, as a culture, whatever these guys think they want. That is, if the 24 hour news cycle or Facebook slowed down long enough to actually explore the misguided demagoguery of these tiki torch Nazi wannabes. And no, that isn't "Giving them a platform." It's giving them enough rope to choke themselves with by letting American citizens, who may be sympathetic to their cause, a chance to hear how ugly their words truly are. If we're strong enough to quietly listen.
Pushing the Alt-Right back into secret rooms and deep woods, thinking in doing so we've achieved their abolition, doesn't solve problems. It creates more of them.
Do better, Liberals.