In this post I’m going to talk about one of the most important interviews of the year.
Especially if your attention is preoccupied with what’s happening in Charlottesville are afraid about the rise of White Nationalism.
It is between Charles Barkley, a famous african-american basketball legend, Gerald Griggs, a civil rights lawyer and Richard Spencer, the man who coined the term the “Alt-Right” —and is one of the leaders of the movement.
What makes this interview so important is that it exemplifies the type of conversation we need to be having and the way we need to be having it:
No, we should not be “Punching Nazis”.
We need to sit down with those we disagree with, in a calm, cool and unhysterical manner, and treat them with dignity and respect, and attempt to reach some kind of mutual understanding.
If we want real progress as an America, we can’t so easily fall into “us and them” vilifying tropes.
The Alt-Right, The White Nationalists and The Racists are people too.
Objectifying them and shaming them doesn’t do any good. It only further entrenches the divisiveness, the tension and the hate.
We need to have compassion for the Alt-Right and actually take the time to understand their perspective rather than getting in fistfights and flamewars.
They are people too. They deserve to be heard.
They aren’t evil. They believe they are right. And their worldview as an internal logic to it.
They just aren’t as consciously evolved. They are often younger souls, if you will.
I know this may be hard for many people to do who are feeling a lot of hurt, anger and fear, but you need to reflect on what’s more important:
Finding damaging and divisive outlets for your pent-up emotions or actually creating the world you want to live in?
What I love about this interview is how cleanly Charles and Gerald draw out the core assumptions and motivations driving Richard Spencer’s Behavior.
Understanding these core motivations are key, for what is perceived as reprehensible speech and behavior is an emergent property of these core ideas.
What follows is a summary and some key quotes.
Core Beliefs that Make up Richard Spencer’s Worldview and the Alt Right’s:
– They don’t want White People to lose social dominance
– They are afraid of being marginalized and becoming a minority
– They believe they still dominate the world, but the trajectory is pointing away from White Power
– Jews aren’t part of White People
– They want their great grand children to live in a White Society, a European Empire.
– They believe racial differences cannot fundamentally be breached ever. Equality and Opportunity are bullshit.
– Equality is non sense. There is no equality in nature. There is difference.
Spencer: I would never say something like I don’t like Black people, that’s not what I”m about.
Barkley: You know we don’t want anything different than what you want
Spencer: You sure about that? You just want what White People Want?!
Barkley: Yes, we just want a good family, a good job, and I want my daughter to live in a world where she doesn’t have to worry about discrimination. But in your world if you get your dream, you are going to kill our dreams that’s the problem…it’s like you want to put your foot on our throats.
*Richard Spencer smiles both knowingly and sheepishly*
Griggs: All Charles is talking about. All I’m talking about is we want those 3 American Values: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of HappinessSou
Spencer: “Sounds very Enlightment-y, Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…it sounds very…I”m tempted to say Faggy to me…woohoo…”
Griggs: “For 400 years you have oppressed my people and the rhetoric you’re spewing is more oppression. The generation I come from and the generations to come are not going to stand for that because we’re not going backwards. We’re here now whether you like the equality or not. And there’s nothing this country can do except embrace American Values for EVERYONE, and the millions of people who want to become American.
So what needs to happen right now, is you the world as you see it right now, you need to start embracing the world as we see it, and we can come to some kind of mutual understanding where we can coexist. Because this is what’s going to happen.. you’re great great great grandkids are going to be Brown.
*Richard Spencer smiles sheepishly*
Barkley: I tried to treat him with respect and dignity which I did. But in my heart I had some anger. It was frustrating and tough to listen to.
To have the America and the World so many of us want, we need to have more conversations like these, like this.