Riding the wave of attention following the annual conference of the white nationalist National Policy Institute (NPI), and the spike of media attention towards the white supremacist subculture termed the ‘alt-right’, its founder, Richard Spencer, appeared last night at Texas A&M to further spread his racist ideology.
Inside a student center ballroom, Spencer addressed some 400 students who had turned out for the event, some in support and some in protest. After a meandering introduction about “elective identities” and “rooted identities” — an idea written extensively about by the philosophers of Nazi Germany — Spencer quickly moved on to the crux of his speech: how white people’s history of racist domination justifies his white nationalism.
“America, at the end of the day, belongs to white men,” Spencer said. “Our bones are in the ground. We own it. At the end of the day America can’t exist without us. We defined it. This country does belong to White people, culturally, politically, socially, everything.”
When a student pointed out that the wealth of America was bound up in the forced labor and oppression of slaves, whose bones are also buried here, Spencer lamely countered that the actual labor force was irrelevant. Somehow, those directing the slave labor that built our country’s modern infrastructure deserved the credit.
“The architect is what matters, it’s the genius behind something, its not just whoever happened to do the labor,” Spencer said.
Students and professors alike spoke up for equality and social justice throughout. One young woman attempted to mock Spencer with farce, dressed as a clown and holding signs ranging from “White Flower” to “Ur A Peein’” as Spencer spoke. His only response was to fat shame her, saying: “She’s dancing, perhaps she’ll lose some weight.”
Ironically, Spencer also railed against protestors, saying their constitutionally protected counter-speech came from a need to “fill up that void with hatred”.
“People I don’t really have respect for, to be honest, are the kind of gutter punks that spend their life protesting other people,” Spencer said. “That their life is so empty, so meaningless, that they have to fill up that void with hatred of people that actually care about their identity. And I’m referring to people like you!”
In response, students approached the podium with signs such as “We’re in the USA, not Nazi Germany, Spencer!”
During the question-and-answer session, several students defended Spencer's First Amendment rights, saying they had listened to the entirety of the speech without interrupting, despite disagreeing with his politics. One young woman asked how white people could be considered the best when they have been overtaken economically by Asian and Latino populations. Spencer responded by repeatedly saying, “We are not literally being replaced by them," before conceding that white people are failing to prove themselves supreme.
“This is not a wonderful state for the white race at the moment,” Spencer said.
When the student asked for clarification, Spencer merely insisted that it was a “non-sequitor” and refused to answer further.