The Identitarian Left and the Alt-Right are Equally Racist

Bryce Dunio ’22, Opinion Columnist

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In 2019, two views of the current state of America can generally be said to dominate the political environment. To many Americans, we have the collective privilege of living in a nation where clean water is an expectation, grocery stores offer an entire meal for one hour of minimum wage labor, and even the poorest of society can chase the American Dream. To others, however, we live in a society where rampant racism plagues every aspect of American life and must be vanquished by any means necessary, no matter how radical. Some may even argue the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but those who cannot fathom or accept a United States with unparalleled freedom and opportunity instead wish to dismantle decades of racial tolerance and nurture the growth of tribalism in America. These people tend to side with either the identitarian left or the alt-right, who, though on two separate wings of the American political spectrum, are remarkably aligned when comparing their stances on segregation.

We may have the collective privilege of living in the greatest time in human history, but the identitarian left and the alt-right desire to reverse this progress. What should be thought of as a terrible era of the past has become common thought among identitarians on the left and the right, spreading even to our finest educational institutions. In 2017, Harvard held its first exclusively black graduation ceremony. The Independent wrote at the time how “all-black ceremonies have been held at other US universities, such as Stanford and Columbia, but this will be a historic first for Harvard.” After years of fighting for racial equality in education, there are those who not only see segregation as a potentially beneficial policy, including in the ivory tower, but desire to implement it. Just a year prior, Fox News reported that California State University LA was “the latest public school of higher education to establish African-American-priority housing in response to demands from black students seeking refuge from what they consider insensitive remarks and ‘microaggressions’ from their white classmates.” While not explicitly segregated, these dorms would be, by intent, overwhelmingly black and lacking the diversity modern colleges boast of. I cannot understand how “microaggressions” justifies the segregating of dorms on college campuses, a practice once thought of as a piece of the past; however, the identitarian left sees further dividing our country along racial lines as a good thing. They see segregation as justified through intersectionality, drawing a fine line between minorities in the United States, or at least the categories they wish to recognize, and the white majority. What kind of future does this aim to build? Does it make any sense that we must segregate society in order to better race relations? Never once do they consider, as Ayn Rand put it, that “the smallest minority on earth is the individual.”

Luckily the alt-right does not have nearly the same influence as the identitarian left in our educational institutions, but their ideas are just as diametrically opposed to American values. Covering the alt-right, the Anti-Defamation League wrote in an informative article that “American Identitarians such as Richard Spencer claim to want to preserve European-American (i.e., white) culture in the U.S.” Such a dream could only materialize, albeit as a nightmare for anyone not obsessed with the amount of melanin in one’s skin, through the racial segregation and legalization of discrimination in society. This is where the great irony in the struggle between the two identitarian wings appears. Both camps have values that conflict almost entirely with the other, and yet they would both likely cheer on the segregation of black people in colleges. The identitarian left, of course, would likely view it as a “safe space” for people of color, while the alt-right would likely view it as a reactionary victory for the preservation of the white race. In both cases, the unity of the United States is harmed by the intentional division of Americans simply by race and sex.

This is what the ideas and the rhetoric of identitarians are doing to society. The disgusting narrative of identifying and placing value on an individual based on the groups with which they associate paired with the logically inept hierarchical concept of oppression is sending us back decades culturally and reopening racial wounds that were once thought to be healed. We must continue on the path toward greater individual value and the tolerance of difference. We cannot teach our children of the tragedy of racial segregation if we continue to willingly segregate ourselves along racial lines. If we are to stay as one nation, united under the values of freedom and opportunity for all, we must end our drift toward identitarian policies – left and right.

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