The Alt-Right Is a Subculture Without a Culture - 2018-04-02
Al Stankard is a racist. He believes that the biggest problem facing humanity is the insistence that everyone is equal, that a "globalist elite" is imposing multiculturalism on Europeans, and that black people in the US who demand reparations are engaging in "seriously violent, vitriolic rhetoric." He effectively disguises these abhorrent views by dressing like, in his own words, a "shit-lib." When I met him on the campus of Rutgers University in the fall of 2017, he was sporting a giant hiking backpack, an oversized flannel shirt, and weather-worn boots. His black hair was unkempt, bordering on a mullet. The 30-year-old philosophy student spends his days lazing around the New Brunswick, New Jersey campus, drinking green tea out of a silver cup he keeps at his hip, gushing about the hyper-literary indie bands he enjoys like the Mountain Goats. This persona works to his advantage when he attempts to spread his views.
Actually, it's surprising that Stankard hasn't gotten punched in the face for his beliefs like Richard Spencer. He proudly identifies as the guy who chased down Spencer's assailant, and as a member of the so-called alt-right. He's also the champion of those he described to me as "quiet white males who are normal outwardly but are secretly wanting to go back in time and help Hitler win World War II or something." And as we walked and chatted last November, he stopped, unannounced, to tape up a flyer that declared, "The Only Way to Win the War on Racism Will Be to End It." He's done this before, and to his disappointment, it didn't even make the school paper. That's probably because you'd have to do a double-take to catch what he meant. What Stankard is calling for is not an end to racism itself, but rather the right for self-described racists to peddle their toxic worldview without facing consequences.
"This is one of the problems with being by design so inoffensive is that it's not interesting to people," he told me. "I'm not being incendiary about it, though that's sort of the point."