EDITORIAL: Rutgers must take stand against hate
White supremacists are attempting to recruit college students
Klansman robes were notably lacking at last August’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, V.A. — instead, many of the white supremacists marching sported oddly presentable outfits, such as khakis and polos. Swastikas, other hate symbols, shaved heads and belligerent behavior are now seemingly relics of white supremacy’s past in the United States. These groups are beginning to rebrand themselves, focusing on education and appearance so as to be taken more seriously in the public eye. The de-robing of hate displays a rather interesting progression in the evolution of white supremacy in this nation. While white supremacists used to keep their identities hidden under hoods, they are now markedly outspoken.
Students first discovered flyers from Identity Evropa last year, but their appearance on campus has since continued. A few weeks ago, more flyers from the group were found illegally pasted on University property. Identity Evropa is an alt-Right group that publicly considers itself as an identitarian fraternal organization of Americans of European descent — or white Americans — who advocate for eliminating immigration entirely so as to preserve the purity of their heritage within the nation’s borders. On the face, a group which seeks to simply organize and socialize with others of similar identities is not blatantly threatening, but through deeper examination one can come to realize the true insidiousness that lies within the values of groups like Identity Evropa. It is clearly not the members' pride in their whiteness that is necessarily unsettling, but the underhanded racism and divisiveness of their agenda.
What is even more unsettling than the simple existence of such a divisive ideology — and the main upshot of this editorial — is the fact that groups like Identity Evropa may be, to an extent, succeeding in recruiting members of our community. Last January was one of the first instances of American Vanguard flyers appearing at Rutgers — they said, “Imagine a Muslim-Free America.” A couple months later, a University-affiliated organization spread flyers almost entirely mimicking that of one from American Vanguard’s website, with only slight modifications presumably meant to subdue the original flyer’s jarring racism.
As part of #ProjectSeige, groups like those aforementioned have made a legitimate effort to spread their ideologies to young, educated Americans by posting flyers on college campuses. These groups wish to make changes to our way of life in their racist favor, and have the goal of seriously inserting themselves into our country’s political world with the help of the youth.
In the late 1930s, Americans largely turned a blind eye to the rising prominence of what would become one of the most successfully evil identitarian groups the world has ever seen — until the situation was no longer ignorable. Today, something similar is happening not only in the United States in general, but right here at Rutgers. We must not make the same mistake as our predecessors. We must utilize our right to free speech and expression to speak up against these hateful groups and use their only weapon against them. If the Rutgers community joins together in the face of their attempts to divide us, then they will crumble.
The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 150th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.
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