By Chris Zuver, A&E Editor

In the currently heated political climate, we have seen the rise of the term “alt-right.” The mainstream media writes them off as internet trolls who use the infamous Pepe meme, support President Trump, and hate minorities. The term was made infamous by Hillary Clinton during her 2016 campaign when she said, “The de-facto merger between Breitbart and the Trump Campaign represents a landmark achievement for the ‘alt-right.’”

Mainstream Republicans think of the alt-right as obnoxious racists who are attempting to destroy conservative ideals. Others claim that they’re a backlash against the culture of political correctness and the far-left advocates who hold race to the highest degree. The reality is that some of these claims are accurate, while some of them are off the mark.

The label has been applied carelessly by media outlets towards many public figures including YouTube personalities like Dave Rubin and Carl Benjamin a.k.a. Sargon of Akkad, who claim to be liberal, but stance themselves to the right of the liberal norm. Yet, the media labels them as “alt-right.” This is a loaded term that has been inaccurately applied to many figures in the ongoing socio-political debate. I have even seen it happen to YouTuber Laci Green, who is one of the most liberal feminist advocates around today. By crossing the aisle to debate with those who oppose her, leftist media sources have dismissed Green as a traitor to their ideals. Suddenly, she and those who are associated with her are being labeled “alt-right.” These accusations are simply wrong. All Green has done is discuss ideas with people who don’t agree with her.

So then, what is the “alt-right?” In order to establish a background, it should be known that the term originates from Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who coined the term “alternative right” in 2010. However, today, when you break it down, the alt-right is a loose collective of people, most whom make their arguments over the internet, since their ideas are too radical for the mainstream media. While they are generally not united, there are some common opinions that a majority of them share:

Perhaps their most prevalent argument is one for nationalism and white identity politics. Many who represent the alt-right look back on the history of white people through rose-colored lenses and want to preserve the race in western society. While most claim to not be white supremacists, there are certainly some in their ranks, though many will deny it for PR reasons.

Another big concern amongst alt-righters is their fear of a white “genocide.” They use this term in a loose sense, not actually believing that white people face an impending removal from the planet, but rather that they face becoming the minority in countries that they have historically dominated. These fears are especially expressed by European advocates, who fear the open-border policies enacted by the European Union which has seen the continent’s massive intake of immigrants from the middle east.

They also declare that race determines culture, arguing that many western countries cannot sustain their culture if white people are not the majority. They argue that you can’t have a first world country without a white-dominated nation.

Many in the alt-right support national segregation, though their opinions vary from person-to-person. Some argue that there should be an absolute 100% division between races within a country, while others are willing to admit a small group of non-whites into white Communities.

Finally, they are opposed to mass immigration from non-white people. They fear that their influence will alter a historically white-dominated culture.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, some believe that the alt-right is a reaction to the culture of political correctness and the far-left. Functionally, the alt-right is exactly that. The alt-right is the mirrored version of the “regressive left” or the “social justice warriors,” who use identity politics as their main source of ammunition. While those in the ranks of the alt-right may believe they are justified in their arguments, and some may even support ethnic supremacy, they have to face the reality that they are simply the right-wing reaction to the petty arguments made by far-left ideologues. Neither side is rational and both serve better as an example of the corrosive effects of identity politics.

If the narrative between the political left and right are to be honestly discussed in today’s climate, we can no longer throw extremist labels at each other in order to strawman the other’s arguments. Nor can we continue to hide behind labels. We have to open ourselves up for discussion and debate.