How Free Speech Warriors Mainstreamed White Supremacists - 2018-05-08

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F0.png How Free Speech Warriors Mainstreamed White Supremacists May 8, 2018, Mari Uyehara, GQ

These opinions are borne out in research. In their book Why Civil Resistance Works, Maria Stephan and Erica Chenoweth found that nonviolent resistance is more than twice as effective as violent activism. They attributed this to nonviolent action attracting allies, thus bringing about change more quickly, while violence repelled potential allies. This has played out in liberal discourse, with influential figures like The New Yorker's Jelani Cobb, Trevor Noah of The Daily Show, and Noam Chomsky sharply criticizing Antifa for furthering their opponents' political goals. A Berkeley student, Malini Ramaiyer, wrote an op-ed titled "How Violence Undermined the Berkeley Protest", in which she described a chaotic scene during which a Syrian Muslim student was misidentified as a Nazi and then beaten with a rod. As Jeffrey Pyle put it, "A woke mob is still a mob and can make mistakes."

There is also the position of public universities, which are legally required to host invited speakers, to consider. A plaintiff on behalf of Spencer successfully sued Auburn University for $29,000 for barring him from speaking there. The Westboro Baptist Church family, which is composed of a number of lawyers, make money by suing municipalities that ban their protests. Banning the speech of reprehensible figures can result in filling their coffers. For those seeking to counter the spread of white supremacist ideology, there are plenty of avenues with proven long-term results. In addition to disciplined nonviolent protests, which effectively market protesters as noble actors to a larger audience, researchers have found that tactics for reducing bigotry include brief non-judgmental conversations. Some have theorized that Antifa's violent tactics have hastened the recent coming apart of the alt-right movement, but it seems to have taken place in spite of their methods, not because of them, particularly after Americans witnessed hordes of angry young men demonstrating their free speech by screaming "blood and soil" and "Jews will not replace us" by torchlight the night before the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. The unmasking and shaming of attendees, including the white supremacists who were caught on video brutally beating DeAndre Harris, that followed was effective enough to force many leaders underground and some to discuss rebranding the alt-right.

Of course, the question remains why right-wing trolls are getting invites to campuses and on YouTube and television shows in the first place. "The forbidden message is an attractive message," said Jeffrey Pyle. Milo Yiannopoulos's career was launched and extended merely on his ability to trigger libs with outrageous and vapid pronouncements. Shepherd's free-speech club chooses their speakers based on whether or not they are "polemical" and topics are "taboo," which would qualify any number of loonies: flat-earthers, Holocaust-deniers, and, well, white-supremacy conspiracy theorists.

Wikipedia cite:
{{cite news | first = Mari | last = Uyehara | title = How Free Speech Warriors Mainstreamed White Supremacists | url = | work = GQ | date = May 8, 2018 | accessdate = August 30, 2021 }}