How Extremists Weaponize Irony To Spread Hate

Of interest, and no “just joking” is no excuse:

On a recent episode of his livestreamed show, the 22-year-old extremist Nick Fuentes repeated a formula that has won him a following with some of the youngest members of the far right. He went on an extended, violent and misogynistic rant, only to turn to the camera and add with a smirk, “Just joking!”

In this case, from the April 22 edition of Fuentes’ show, America First, a viewer wrote in to ask Fuentes for advice on how to “punish” his wife for “getting out of line.”

Fuentes responded, “Why don’t you smack her across the face?”

The rant continued for minutes.

“Why don’t you give her a vicious and forceful backhanded slap with your knuckles right across her face — disrespectfully — and make it hurt?” Fuentes went on. At one point, he pantomimed punching a woman in the face.

He then added, “No, I’m kidding, of course. Just kidding. Just a joke.”

Fuentes was following a playbook popular among domestic extremists: using irony and claims of “just joking” to spread their message, while deflecting criticism.

Researchers who track domestic extremism say the tactic, while not new, has helped several groups mask their danger, avoid consequences and draw younger people into their movements.

Irony as “cover” for extremism

Fuentes is best known for using cartoonish memes to spread white supremacist propaganda. His followers refer to themselves as “Groypers” — a reference to a mutated version of the Pepe the Frogcartoon that was co-opted by the far right. Though Fuentes exists on the fringes of the extreme right, Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., spoke at a political conference that Fuentes hosted, drawing widespread criticism.

But Fuentes has said himself that he uses irony and “jokes” to communicate his message without consequences.

“Irony is so important for giving a lot of cover and plausible deniability for our views,” Fuentes said in a 2020 video. He specifically cited Holocaust denial — or what he termed Holocaust “revision” — as a topic that is too fraught to discuss earnestly, even on the far right.

Far-right extremist Nick Fuentes, seen here in a screenshot from his livestreamed show, has said he uses irony because it provides “plausible deniability” and cover for some of his most incendiary statements.

“When it comes to a lot of these issues, you need a little bit of maneuverability that irony gives you,” Fuentes said.

And, in fact, after Fuentes questioned the death toll from the Holocaust in one rant, he later claimed to The Washington Post that it was just a “lampoon.”

Researchers who track domestic extremism say Fuentes is not the only figure to adopt these tactics, particularly among far-right content creators, who encourage their audiences to follow suit.

“A lot of these content creators will tell the audience explicitly, ‘When people say you’re racist for liking this or thinking this, just laugh at them. They can’t handle it — they’re sensitive babies,’ ” said Jared Holt, a resident fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab.

Concern on campus

In early 2020, Oona Flood started getting more and more worried about a classmate at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The classmate, a 22-year-old named Christian Secor, was already well-known for his self-proclaimed “love” of guns. Around that time, he was also posting racist and antisemitic memes and tweets, attacking immigrants online and publicly supporting Fuentes. Often, Secor adopted the kind of “trolling” style that’s prevalent on the internet.

When one student called Secor out for a tweet that the student found offensive, Secor responded that he was using “post irony.”

“It’s called a joke and the fact that you think that these posts are anything more than that is telling,” added Secor.

Flood, who is Japanese American, said they wanted to speak up.

“I definitely felt that sense of threat,” Flood told NPR recently. “And, like, I really hate to say, [because] it sounds so much like, overblown, ‘snowflake,’ that we’re just overreacting, you know?”

And throughout 2020, students told NPR, UCLA took no action against Secor despite his escalating rhetoric, likely because of free speech concerns. (As a public university, UCLA is legally bound to follow the First Amendment, which protects hate speech.)

In retrospect, Flood’s concern does not seem like an overreaction.

Secor is currently facing federal criminal charges for allegedly storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Prosecutors have cited his support for Fuentes in charging documents. Secor has pleaded not guilty.

In addition to Fuentes and his followers, other experts point to the extremist group known as the Proud Boys, which has embraced outlandish rituals. The group’s name was inspired by a song from the Broadway version of Disney’s Aladdin, and one of the group’s initiation rites involves members listing breakfast cereals while they get lightly punched in the stomach. Yet that same group is known for its involvement in violent street fights. At least 25 members of the group are facing federal criminal charges related to the Capitol riot, including, in some cases, conspiracy.

Gavin McInnes, the group’s founder, said in an email that the media, including NPR, “willfully ignores” jokes to paint the group in a more negative light. The Proud Boys are “funny dudes, not Nazis,” McInnes wrote.

But Cassie Miller of the Southern Poverty Law Center said the group’s use of “jokes” is strategic. “It distracts from what their actual political ideology is and from their violence,” said Miller. “Because if you point it out, it’s, like, ‘well, they’re so goofy.’ ”

Similarly, the far-right, pro-Trump conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is often so over the top on his InfoWars broadcasts that his own attorney likened him to a “performance artist” during a court hearing about Jones’ divorce.

The appeal to young people

Humor has always been crucial to building social movements, experts say, because it serves to define the people who are “in on the joke” and those who “just don’t get it.”

And online extremists have adopted irony because it is, in many ways, the native language of the internet.

“I’m speaking the language of other zoomers,” said Fuentes in 2020. “If you’re a young person online, I mean, this is the language of our generation.”

“Every kid naturally wants to push away from their parents,” said Joanna Schroeder, a writer based in California.

Schroeder was troubled when she saw a pro-Hitler meme pop up in one of her kids’ Instagram feeds. Memes that merely pushed boundaries were mixed in alongside outright racist and antisemitic content.

“The problem is that all of this kind of trolling behavior, some of it is harmless and goofy,” said Schroeder, “and others of it is designed to look harmless and goofy but will drive our kids’ social media and YouTube algorithms toward alt-right and even more extremist content.”

Schroeder has since collaborated with the Western States Center to develop a guide for parents who see their kids share online extremist content.

Historic parallels

Violent domestic extremism in America long predates the internet, however, and so does the tactical use of irony.

Historians have documented how the early iterations of the Ku Klux Klan were portrayed by group members and their allies as outlandish, rather than as a dangerous terrorist group. The KKK put on racist minstrel shows and created its own songs.

This drawing from 1868 depicts early members of the Ku Klux Klan. Historians have documented how the group used absurdity to mock its opponents and to try to mask the seriousness of the KKK’s atrocities.

Descriptions of attacks by men in hoods, who had titles like “dragon,” “ghoul,” and “wizard,” were often seen by white Americans as tall tales and ghost stories. Newspapers that supported the KKK played up those aspects of the group and mocked their opponents for supposedly taking the KKK too seriously, said Elaine Frantz, a historian at Kent State University.

Pro-KKK newspaper editors would often “talk jokingly about what the klan has done,” said Frantz, “in order to be deniable.”

And at first it seemed to work. Frantz cites the testimony of a Georgia congressman who tried to play down klan murders and other racist atrocities.

“Sometimes, mischievous boys who want to have some fun go on a masquerading frolic to scare the negroes,” testified U.S. Rep. John H. Christy of Georgia in the early 1870s. Christy insisted that stories of klan attacks were “exaggerated.” In fact, he claimed, the group did not exist at all. Frantz said there were also documented instances in the Reconstruction era of white Northerners dressing up in klan robes as a supposedly boundary-pushing “joke.”

But eventually, Frantz said, the testimony of Black Americans who witnessed these atrocities — published widely by newspaper reporters and in government investigations — so thoroughly demonstrated the KKK’s campaign of lynchings and assassinations that it became undeniable. They pulled back the klan hood to see the terrorism and violence it masked.

Source: How Extremists Weaponize Irony To Spread Hate

Number of hate groups in U.S. rises to all-time high, watchdog says

Not surprising given the “enabling” language of the Trump administration:

The number of hate groups operating in the United States rose seven per cent to an all-time high in 2018, reflecting an increasingly divisive debate on immigration and demographic change, the Southern Poverty Law Centre said on Wednesday.

The SPLC, which has tracked hate groups since 1971, found 1,020 were operating in the United States last year, compared with the 1,018 record set in 2011 and marking the fourth consecutive year of growth.

The group’s annual report on hate activities blamed the rise in part on Republican President Donald Trump, whose administration has focused on reducing illegal and legal immigration into the United States.

“The numbers tell a striking story that this president is not simply a polarizing figure, but a radicalizing one,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, which released the new numbers.

White House has rejected charges of bias

“Rather than trying to tamp down hate, as presidents of both parties have done, President Trump elevates it with both his rhetoric and his policies.”

The SPLC defines hate groups as organizations with beliefs or practices that demonize a class of people.

The White House has repeatedly rejected charges of bias levelled at Trump, often citing the effects that a strong economy have had on minority communities. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report on Wednesday.

The non-profit said the growth of hate groups appeared to be prompting some who share their ideologies to take violent action. As an example, it cited Robert Bowers, who is accused of killing 11 worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October while shouting, “All Jews must die.”

The report also found the number of black nationalist groups rose 13 per cent to 264 in 2018, an increase the SPLC attributed to a backlash against Trump’s policies.

Some of the SPLC’s targets have criticized the Montgomery, Ala.-based organization’s findings, saying it has mislabelled legitimate organizations.

Earlier this month, the founder of the Proud Boys, a self-described men-only club of “Western chauvinists,” sued the centre for defamation over the hate group label. He contended the Proud Boys oppose racism, while the SPLC said it stood by its research.

Source: Number of hate groups in U.S. rises to all-time high, watchdog says

Why White Supremacists Are Chugging Milk (and Why Geneticists Are Alarmed)

Hard to combat such wilful ignorance and distortion:

Nowhere on the agenda of the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics, being held in San Diego this week, is a topic plaguing many of its members: the recurring appropriation of the field’s research in the name of white supremacy.

“Sticking your neck out on political issues is difficult,” said Jennifer Wagner, a bioethicist and president of the group’s social issues committee, who had sought to convene a panel on the racist misuse of genetics and found little traction.

But the specter of the field’s ignominious past, which includes support for the American eugenics movement, looms large for many geneticists in light of today’s white identity politics. They also worry about how new tools that are allowing them to home in on the genetic basis of hot-button traits like intelligence will be misconstrued to fit racist ideologies.

In recent months, some scientists have spotted distortions of their own academic papers in far-right internet forums. Others have fielded confused queries about claims of white superiority wrapped in the jargon of human genetics. Misconceptions about how genes factor into America’s stark racial disparities have surfaced in the nation’s increasingly heated arguments over school achievement gaps, immigration and policing.

Instead of long-discounted proxies like skull circumference and family pedigrees, according to experts who track the far-right, today’s proponents of racial hierarchy are making their case by misinterpreting research on the human genome itself. And in debates that have largely been limited to ivory-tower forums, the scientists whose job is to mine humanity’s genetic variations for the collective good are grappling with how to respond.

“Studying human genetic diversity is easier in a society where diversity is clearly valued and celebrated — right now, that is very much on my mind,” said John Novembre, a University of Chicago evolutionary biologist who has taken to closing his visiting seminars to illustrate how one of the field’s textbook examples of natural selection has been adopted for illiberal ends.

One slide Dr. Novembre has folded into his recent talks depicts a group of white nationalists chugging milk at a 2017 gathering to draw attention to a genetic trait known to be more common in white people than others — the ability to digest lactose as adults. It also shows a social media post from an account called “Enter The Milk Zone” with a map lifted from a scientific journal article on the trait’s evolutionary history.

In most of the world, the article explains, the gene that allows for the digestion of lactose switches off after childhood. But with the arrival of the first cattle herders in Europe some 5,000 years ago, a chance mutation that left it turned on provided enough of a nutritional leg up that nearly all of those who survived eventually carried it. In the post, the link is accompanied by a snippet of hate speech urging individuals of African ancestry to leave America. “If you can’t drink milk,” it says in part, “you have to go back.”

In an inconvenient truth for white supremacists, a similar bit of evolution turns out to have occurred among cattle breeders in East Africa. Scientists need to be more aware of the racial lens through which some of their basic findings are being filtered, Dr. Novembre says, and do a better job at pointing out how they can be twisted.

But the white nationalist infatuation with dairy also heightened Dr. Novembre’s concerns about how to handle new evolutionary studies that deal with behavioral traits, such as how long people stay in school.

Anticipating misinterpretations of a recent study on how genes associated with high education attainment, identified in Europeans, varied in different populations around the world, the lead author, Fernando Racimo, created his own “frequently asked questions” document for nonscientists, which he posted on Twitter.

And in a commentary that accompanied the paper in the journal Genetics, Dr. Novembre warned that such research is “wrapped in numerous caveats” that are likely to get lost in translation.

“Great care,” his commentary concludes, “should be taken in communicating results of these studies to general audiences.”

Already, some of those audiences are flaunting DNA ancestry test results indicating exclusively European heritage as though they were racial ID cards. They are celebrating traces of Neanderthal DNA not found in people with only African ancestry. And they are trading messages with the coded term “race realism,” which takes oxygen from the claim that the liberal scientific establishment has obscured the truth about biological racial differences.

Some scientists suggest that engaging with racists would simply lend credibility to obviously specious claims. Many say that they do not study race, in any case: The racial categories used by the United States census correlate only imperfectly with the geographic ancestry groupings of interest to evolutionary geneticists. “Black,” for instance, is a socially defined term that includes many Americans who have a majority of European ancestry.

But as the pace of human population genetics research has accelerated, it has yielded results that, to many nonscientists, appear to challenge the idea of race as a wholly social construction. Genetic ancestry tests advertise “ethnicity estimates” (Senator Elizabeth Warren appealed to the perceived authority of DNA this week to demonstrate her Native American heritage, in response to mocking by President Trump), and some disease-risk genes have turned out to be more common among certain genetic ancestry groups. Doctors use patients’ self-identified race as a proxy for geographic ancestry, because individual readouts of DNA are costly, and though the correlation is imperfect, it exists.

As DNA databases tied to medical records and personal questionnaires have reached a critical mass for individuals of European descent, moreover, so-called polygenic scores that synthesize the hundreds or thousands of genes that contribute to many human traits into a single number are being developed to predict health risks, and in some cases, behavior.

Last summer, researchers developed a score that can roughly predict the level of formal education completed by white Americans by looking at their DNA. And while those scores cannot yet be compared among racial or population groups, the new techniques have prompted some scientists to feel it is the field’s responsibility to head off predictable misrepresentations.

“You have to make a judgment when you have powerful information that can be misused,” said David Reich, a Harvard geneticist who has publicly called on colleagues in a recent book and in a New York Times Op-Ed to more directly address the prospect of identifying genetic differences between populations in socially sensitive traits.

There is no evidence, scientists stress, that environmental and cultural differences will not turn out to be the primary driver of behavioral differences between population groups.

At the same time, the advances in genetic technology have put white supremacists into a kind of anticipatory lather.

“Science is on our side,” crowed Jared Taylor, the founder of the white nationalist group American Renaissance, in a recent video that cites Dr. Reich’s book.

Dr. Reich was among those to decline an invitation to lead a discussion on the topic at the San Diego meeting. “I really wanted to return to research,” he said.

The widespread uncertainty among Americans over what scientists know about genetic differences between racial groups, experts say, has left many flummoxed in the face of white supremacist claims that invoke genetics.

“I was surfing my favorite dumb picture site and I came across a post trying to prove racism with science,” a community college student in Florida wrote to Jun Z. Li, a University of Michigan geneticist whose work has been invoked to buttress racist claims of white intellectual superiority. “I read through the paper myself but I do not have the education or experience to understand and make sure I have a coherent counter argument.”

For white Americans half-inclined to blame nonwhite immigrants or African-Americans for perceived social problems, the veneer of a scientific rationale for white superiority, researchers say, can tip them toward racial resentment. It can be more effective than base appeals to tribalism, especially for the educated demographic the far-right has been targeting.

And while much of current white nationalist rhetoric is framed in terms of preserving a white cultural identity, experts say it relies on a familiar narrative of immutable biological differences. On a YouTube talk show earlier this year, for instance, Gavin McInnes, founder of the Proud Boys, whose appearance set off a brawl outside a Republican club in Manhattan last week, echoed the pet white supremacist theory that the environmental challenges of cold winters explain the supposed higher intelligence of northern Europeans.

Some geneticists have penned blog posts explaining why new genetic tools will not support white nationalist claims that average behavioral differences between groups are immutable. Others — including Dr. Li — have replied directly to individual queries.

And when a blogger at the far-right Unz Review noted that the DNA variations associated with high IQ in a 2017 study of Europeans were at the lowest frequency among Africans, the study’s lead author, Danielle Posthuma, wrote in a published reply that such cross-population comparisons were spurious.

“This,” she wrote, “is a very deep-rooted misunderstanding.”

Many geneticists at the top of their field say they do not have the ability to communicate to a general audience on such a complicated and fraught topic. Some suggest journalists might take up the task. Several declined to speak on the record for this story.

And with much still unknown, some scientists worry that rebutting basic misconceptions without being able to provide definitive answers could do more harm than good.

“There are often many layers of uncertainties in our findings,” said Anna Di Rienzo, a human genetics professor at the University of Chicago. “Being able to communicate that level of uncertainty to a public that often just sees things in black and white is very, very difficult.”

As a step toward changing that, Dr. Di Rienzo has helped organize a meeting of social scientists, geneticists and journalists at Harvard next week to discuss the social implications of the field’s newest tools.

Participants have been promised that the meeting will be restricted to some three-dozen invitees and that any remarks made there will be confidential.

And David L. Nelson, a Baylor College of Medicine geneticist who is president of the human genetics society, says it will not stay completely quiet on the issue, promising a statement later this week.

“There is no genetic evidence to support any racist ideology,” he said.

The Right’s Reckless Racial Agitators: Noah Rothman

Good commentary by Rothman. Largely a “plague on both houses” on liberal and conservative hypocrisy regarding their respective extremists, he is particularly pointed in his critique on conservatives:

Like so many terrible things, it all began with a broken window.

Stewards of the historic Metropolitan Republican Club on Manhattan’s Upper East Side awoke on the morning of October 12 to see their institution vandalized. A brick had shattered two windows. The front locks were caulked shut. The entryway keypad was smashed. And the building’s two oversize wooden doors had been marred by graffiti—the anarchist’s wreathed “A.”

Source: The Right’s Reckless Racial Agitators

Why Young Men of Color Are Joining White-Supremacist Groups

Hard to understand the internal logic and apparent cognitive dissonance. Numbers are not significant but this is nevertheless an interesting phenomenon:

Outfitted in a flak jacket and fighting gloves, Enrique Tarrio was one of dozens of black, Latino, and Asian men who marched alongside white supremacists in Portland on Aug. 4.

Tarrio, who identifies as Afro-Cuban, is president of the Miami chapter of the Proud Boys, who call themselves “Western chauvinists,” and “regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Earlier this month, prior to the Patriot Prayer rally he attended in Portland, Tarrio was pictured with other far-right activists making a white power hand sign. Last year, he and other Proud Boys traveled to Charlottesville for the Unite the Right rally that ended with a neo-Nazi allegedly killing an anti-fascist protester.

Tarrio and other people of color at the far-right rallies claim  institutional racism no longer exists in America. In their view, blacks are to blame for any lingering inequality because they are dependent on welfare, lack strong leadership, and believe Democrats who tell them, “You’re always going to be broke. You’re not going to make it in society because of institutional racism,” as one mixed-race man put it.

If racism doesn’t exist, I ask Tarrio, how would he explain the disproportionate killing of young black men by police? “Hip-hop culture,” he says. It “glorifies that lifestyle… of selling drugs, shooting up.” Because of that, “Obviously you’re going to have higher crime rates. Obviously you’re going to have more police presence and more confrontations.” (Police kill black males aged 15 to 34 at nine times the rate of the general population.)

Elysa Sanchez, who is black and Puerto Rican, attended the “Liberty or Death Rally Against Left-Wing Violence” in Seattle on August 18, joining about 20 militiamen open-carrying handguns and semi-automatic rifles.

Sanchez says, “If black people are committing more murders, more robberies, more thefts, more violent crime that’s why you would see more black men having encounters with the police.”

Also in Seattle, Franky Price, who said he is  “black and white,”wore a t-shirt reading, “It’s okay to be white.”

They are among nearly a dozen black, Latino, and Asian participants at far-right rallies on the West Coast interviewed by The Daily Beast recently. They represent the new face of the far right that some scholars term “multiracial white supremacy.”

The Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer, which overlap, embrace an America-first nationalism that is less pro-white than it is anti-Muslim, anti-illegal immigrant, and anti-Black Lives Matter.

Daniel Martinez HoSang, associate professor at Yale University, co-author of the forthcoming, Producers, Parasites, Patriots: Race and the New Right-Wing Politics of Precarity, says “Multiculturalism has become a norm in society” and has spread from corporations and consumer culture to conservatism and the far right.

Indeed, Patriot Prayer’s leader is Joey Gibson, who is half-Japanese and claims Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as a hero. But his agenda is the opposite of King’s. Gibson’s rallies have attracted neo-Confederates and neo-Nazis.

His right-hand man is Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, a 345-pound Samoan-American who calls himself “a brown brother for Donald Trump” and is notorious for brawling. By bringing diversity to what is at heart a white supremacist movement, people of color give it legitimacy to challenge state power and commit violence against their enemies.

David Neiwert, author of Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump, says, “The ranks of people of color who show up to these right-wing events are totally dominated by males.” He says the alt-right targets white males between the ages of 15 and 30 with a message of male resentment, which ends up attracting black, Latino, and Asian men as well.

Neiwert says many young men of color in the far right grew up on conservative traditions common in minority communities. Their journey to the far right has been enabled by the ease of recruitment in the internet age and the endorsement of extremism by Trump.

Entry points to the far right include male-dominated video game culture, the anti-feminist gamergate, troll havens on 4chan and 8chan, and the conspiracism that flourishes on websites like Infowars. Libertarianism is another gateway.

“A lot of these young guys,” Neiwert says, “especially from the software world, who are being sucked into white nationalism, start out being worked up about Ayn Rand in high school.”

Andrew Zhao, 25, a software engineer, says his parents, physicists who emigrated from mainland China, “are Trump fans.” He found out about the Seattle rally from Reddit and Facebook and said, “We need more patriotism. A lot of liberals don’t like America.”

Daniel HoSang says some people of color are drawn to the far right because they “identify with the military, with nationalism, with patriotism, with conservatism.”

Wearing a Proud Boys hat, David Nopal, 23, came to the Seattle rally alone, like others. Nopal, whose parents crossed illegally from Mexico, said, “I’m very patriotic. The U.S. isn’t perfect, but we are a hell of a lot better than other countries.”

Sanchez comes from a military family. “They all love America. It’s a big part of the reason I’m a patriot.”

Similarly, Tarrio attributes his anti-socialist politics to his grandfather’s experience in Cuba under Fidel Castro.

They proudly identify as “American” without modifiers. In their America they’ve never experienced racism. They eagerly talk politics, but evidence of their America is scant beyond the internet. Institutional racism has been ended by affirmative action, “black privilege,” and equal protection under the law. Any remaining black inequality is caused by social welfare and liberal policies. In any case, it was Democrats who started the Klan.

People of color within the far-right play a role that  “excuses white racism and bears witness to the failure of people of color,” HoSang says, adding that they make “white supremacy a more durable force.”

HoSang said the far-right is trying to broaden its appeal from a whites-only movement in a multiracial America, so it is “laying claim to the ideas of anti-racism, racial uplift, and civil rights progress.”

HoSang says, “It’s hard for people to wrap their head around how Dr. King and civil rights language are being used to legitimate positions approaching fascism and violence to restore hierarchy and order. But they are.”

Source: Why Young Men of Color Are Joining White-Supremacist Groups

Anti-immigration groups at protest demand apology from Trudeau | Ottawa Citizen

It would be interesting to know more about the background of the Asian Canadians at the protest as, at first blush, these appear to be curious bedfellows (the website listed below is largely unpopulated):

Hundreds of Asian-Canadian protesters, supported by several white, far-right, anti-immigrant groups stormed Parliament Hill on Sunday afternoon to demand an apology from the prime minister.

According to plans for the protest on, members of the Asian-Canadian community feel victimized by a Toronto girl’s false claim in January that an Asian man cut off her hijab and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s apparent rush to view the fictitious incident as a hate crime.

Anti-Muslim and anti racist protestors voiced their views on Sunday on Parliament Hill. Anti-Muslim protestors joined with a group of Chinese-Canadians who were upset about the controversial hijab news story in Toronto. Ashley Fraser/Postmedia ASHLEY FRASER/ POSTMEDIA

“As the real victim of the hijab hoax, our Asian community was completely ignored by PM Trudeau,” reads a statement on the website.

A man who identified himself as “Yuanyuan” said, “There are some out-of-town conservative Chinese racists and they are collaborating basically with some white nationalist groups here in Canada. As a Chinese Canadian, I’m pretty ashamed about that. That’s why I’m here.”

The large Asian group, with members coming from Toronto and Vancouver to join members of the Ottawa Chinese-Canadian community, chartered buses for the event.

“We want to oppose them,” Yuanyuan said. “We don’t want them on our Hill saying they get to represent Canadian values. We know that their rhetoric is basically trying to normalize violence against minorities and marginalized folk. It’s not really a discussion about whether or not multiculturalism is good or not. We know that they stand for genocide.”

About 100 anti-racist protesters — while denouncing white supremacy and chanting about how welcome Muslims are — also repeatedly screamed “f-ck the police.”

Providing security for the Asian protesters were several anti-immigration, ultranationalist groups such as Quebec’s La Meute — or Wolf Pack — and the Northern Guard. Several Proud Boys — a far-right men’s group — were also in attendance.

La Meute’s Stéphane Roch said his members — of which there are 42,000 in Quebec — were in Ottawa to support the Chinese community.

Roch called them “real Canadians” who have been in the country for hundreds of years. “The Chinese community are a very good community. Trudeau don’t listen to them.”

“The government has to work for the citizens, not for themselves,” Roch said. “The power has to go to the citizens. They have to listen to us.”

An organizer with the Chinese-Canadian community who asked a reporter to “just call me Monica” said the event was behind schedule and chose not to speak to a reporter from this newspaper.

Several Chinese-Canadian protesters were there with their children, who held signs condemning the “hijab hoax” and “fake news.” The signs urged the government not to “stir up ethnic disputes.” Multiple people approached by a reporter indicated they did not speak English.

But speakers urged respect for “human rights” and asked that all Canadians be treated equally.

Among the sea of protesters were several placards taking aim at Trudeau, not Muslims.

Evan Balgord, a journalist and researcher who is following the rise of the new far-right movement in Canada, said that what was branded as anti-Muslim is being re-purposed as anti-Trudeau rhetoric.

“They always were anti-Trudeau, anti-Liberal government, anti-multiculturalism, anti-M-103 (a motion to condemn Islamophobia in the country) but the anti-Trudeau rhetoric is coming more and more to the front.”

Police escorted members of both groups away from the demonstration and some were banned from the Hill.

RCMP officers made a handful of arrests during the demonstration, but several of those people were released. A large group of Ottawa police escorted both groups on and off the Hill.

via Anti-immigration groups at protest demand apology from Trudeau | Ottawa Citizen

Alt-right’s jocular façade attempt to deny responsibility: Southey, Proud Boys’ behaviour goofy, but hardly ‘deplorable’: Blatchford

Interesting contrast between Tabatha Southey’s description of the “Proud Boys” and Christie Blatchford’s.

Starting with Southey:

The Halifax incident made national headlines, as a story like this should, particularly as all the men involved – who later celebrated at a local Halifax pub, posting pictures of themselves making the “okay” symbol with one hand, a beer in the other – turned out to be members of Canada’s Armed Forces. As a nation, we are now forced to ask ourself the question “Who the hell are these jokers?” and, always anxious to serve, I present A Brief History of Slime, the story of the Proud Boys.

It’s best to think of the Proud Boys as a group of guys possessed of a seriously shaky grasp of history and a burning desire to wear the same shirt as the guy next to them, who want a white supremacist to tell them when they are allowed to masturbate.

It’s not a fetish I’ve encountered before, but were the Proud Boys not also a far-right group of self-described “Western Chauvinists who will no longer apologize for creating the modern world,” who are against “racial guilt” and who “venerate the housewife” and believe “that the last 50 years have been a disaster for women” (one doesn’t have to be Alan Turing to break thatcode), I wouldn’t kink-shame.

As it is, I have concerns.

The Proud Boys were launched and are headed by Gavin McInnes, Vice magazine co-founder (although they parted long ago) and current contributor to The Rebel Media, the right-wing website founded by Ezra Levant; and yes, a strict limit on masturbation is one of their many peculiarities.

They “believe that this energy,” the energy spent masturbating, “is better spent … getting married, and having children,” and I suppose that’s their call but I can’t help thinking that if you truly believe that by not masturbating you’ll be able to save enough energy to raise a child, you are doing one of these things very, very badly.

Some of you may remember Mr. McInnes as the man who made a bit of a splash with neo-Nazis in March when a number of videos he recorded on a recent trip to Israel were posted.

In these videos, one of which was called “10 things I Hate About the Jews,” Mr. McInnes variously put the word “Holocaust” in air quotes, complained that Jews, who he said “are ruining the world with their lies and their money and their hooked-nose, bagel-eating faces,” have a “whiny paranoid fear of Nazis.” He repeatedly spoke in a grotesque cartoon Jewish accent and said that people in Israel spit when they talk and that “Middle Easterners reek.”

Ensconced in his hotel room in Israel, which he believes was likely paid for, along with the rest of his “propaganda tour,” by private Israeli donors and the Israeli government, Mr. McInnes told viewers that while they “assume we’re going to listen to all this shit we get fed” it’s “having the reverse effect on me: I’m becoming anti-Semitic.”

“Well, we’re at the Holocaust museum, and we’re being told, ‘The Germans did this. The Germans are horrible people …’” he sulked, apparently irritated that Holocaust deniers might not be getting a fair hearing at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial.

“Well, they never said it didn’t happen,” he said, in an attempt to remedy this perceived injustice. “What they’re saying is it was much less than six million and that they starved to death and they weren’t gassed …”

Mr. McInnes was quick to ask that the viewer not “take that clip out of context.” He’s not saying “it wasn’t gassing” – that’s just what the “far-right nuts are saying” and, being “sick of so much brainwashing,” he felt compelled to articulate the theories of said nuts.

Mr. McInnes worries that we’re too caught up on the Holocaust in general. “There’s been a lot of genocides,” he says, most notable to him being the Soviet Holodomor, of which he says, “I think it was 10 million Ukrainians who were killed. That was by Jews. That was by Marxist, Stalinist, left-wing, commie, socialist Jews.”

It seems that the major distinction between the alt-right and Mr. McInnes’s preferred “alt-light” is that the former are very concerned about “Judeo-Bolshevism,” the Nazi conspiracy theory that Jews were secretly behind the rise of communism; and the latter just wish to inform you that the Soviet Union (or at least the more genocidal aspects of it) was secretly run by Jews.

Jews have been very busy in the Proud Boy’s founder’s bizarre understanding of history. When not engineering the downfall of the Russian Czar, they were “disproportionately” influencing the Treaty of Versailles, forcing terribly unfair terms of surrender on Germany. The treaty “sucked and the Germans hated it” Mr. McInnes says, indicating that “Jewish intellectuals” were, at least in part, responsible for the Second World War, and the Holocaust, such as it was.

If this sounds extreme, anti-Semitic, or perhaps dangerous to you, it’s okay: Mr. McInnes chortles when he says these things, allowing his fans to assure us that it’s just harmless comedy.

If much of what you see on the alt-right side looks and sounds so ridiculous, such jocular goose-stepping, these days, that’s deliberate. Share a photograph of you and your be-polo-shirted buddies flashing the Nazi salute, and the popular discourse knows just what to do with you. Substitute the “okay” gesture – unofficially but lovingly adopted by this crowd – and anyone who points out the white-supremacist imagery is just a crazy leftist snowflake who probably thinks a cartoon frog is a hate symbol too.

What we’re seeing here, and in Halifax, is white supremacy painted over with a coat of irony, euphemism and plausible deniability. All of that just barely thick enough that Mr. McInnes still gets airtime on CBC’s Power & Politics. He used this airtime, speaking in his capacity as the Proud Boys’ founder and leader, to ask the host “Can you see why Cornwallis issued a bounty on Mi’kmaqs?” and spread, pretty much unchallenged, a number of hateful and damaging historical inaccuracies about the Mi’kmaqs. (The CBC has since apologized for the segment.)

Source: The alt-right’s jocular façade is an attempt to deny responsibility – The Globe and Mail

Blatchford’s alternative universe:

A small crowd was gathered around the statue, one of them carrying an upside-down Canadian flag with the word “decolonize” written on it, there to mark the various atrocities committed against Indigenous people while Chief Grizzly Mamma, who is originally from British Columbia, shaved her head.

According to what McInnes later told the CBC, the five were in a bar on July 1, heard rumours of an anti-Canada protest, and decided to go check it out.

Also for the record, the men were well-spoken, polite and respectful; they were met by a young woman, from the protesters, who was equally polite and respectful. The men explained they were curious and wanted to see what was going on; she said they’d be welcome to listen quietly if they didn’t disrupt things.

But a couple of other protesters were not similarly inclined.

One snarled, “This is a fucking genocide.” Someone else said, “This is Mi’kmaq territory, to which one of the Proud Boys replied, “This is Canada.” Members of each side tossed about historically inaccurate facts in the manner of the young and unschooled. Another young woman bristling with hostility kept moving closer to one of the men until she was practically touching him. “You don’t seem to like me standing so close,” she said. “You’re very close,” he replied calmly.

But then the Proud Boys left, having been chastised for their pronunciation of Mi’kmaq and for their disrespectful tone, or, as a protester put it, got “the —- out of here.”

There were no harsh words from the Proud Boys. There was even some humour; once, told by a protester to speak more softly, one of the men said, in effect, “What? This is a library now?” But he did as he was asked.

Not a blow was struck. Not a disrespectful word was uttered, unless, of course, one counts the mere questioning of Indigenous protest as disrespectful. Not a gram of cereal was consumed or thrown.

Source: Christie Blatchford: Proud Boys’ behaviour might be goofy, but is hardly ‘deplorable’