Over the past few days, I have seen much alt-right anger over comments Milo Yiannopoulos made last week, which I have commented on in another post here. Much of this anger seems to be in the form of a sort of “I told you so” directed at those of us who haven’t all-out attacked Milo from the beginning. Buried in this critique is an assumption that what Milo said last Thursday at the University of Colorado is somehow different from what he’s been saying all along. That he has somehow suddenly turned on us White advocates and on White identity in a new way.
But as someone who has kept up with Milo to some extent, that’s quite obviously not the case. This statement was just a slightly more forthright way of saying what Milo has been saying all along: he is against identity politics, period. Anyone who has listened to him at all, and has not realized that his underlying worldview is anti-identity politics has not been listening very closely. It was always evident that Milo was against identity politics at all. He was never one of us, and he’s never claimed to be (in fact, he’s vociferous in claiming otherwise).
In his much discussed speech on the Alt-right last year, Milo stated that although identity politics for White people was only fair from a leftist perspective, since they promoted identity politics for everyone else, he would prefer if no one had identity politics. And this has been a constant refrain from him. If you haven’t noticed you haven’t been listening.
Is this directly at odds with White Nationalism? Yes. Is this directly at odds with White identity? Yes. The reason why some of us have not rejected him outright from the beginning is not because we thought he was for White identity politics as we are. Rather, it was because we saw that he was politically useful. Yes, it is strategic. Even if he does not support White identity politics, he openly says that if non-Whites are allowed to have it White people should too. And if you look at the young people he turns out to listen to him, this is very important. As much as we ultimately disagree with the anti-identity message he preaches, just the very fact that he puts White identity politics on equal footing with non-White identity politics destigmatizes and legitimazes it, whether he wants to or not.
Non-White identity has become a sacred idol of the anti-White establishment. It is a secular religion. Comparing something to it is like comparing that thing to a god. The mere act of comparing the two, raises and elevates White identity from the perspective of the average joe who knows precious little of the real history or science behind race, and all too much of the stigma and moral impurity that follows White identity. By stating unequivocally, as Milo has on at least several occasions, including in this particular comment, that White identity politics is just as legitimate as non-White identity politics (albeit both being illegitimate), he is removing that stigma. If White identity is equal to Black identity, and Black identity is so benign, than White identity—even if misguided—is at least not the evil his anti-White teachers have been telling him it is. Even if the young listener ultimately decides for a while that identity politics is not for him, the stigma of White identity, and those who fight for it, will have been lost in translation.
The Milo fan will lose his hatred of White identity and the intensity of his rejection of it and those who promote it. Even if he disagrees, he will be open to cooperation and amenable to hearing both sides, and he will resist attempts to paint White identity as evil on principle. He will see White identity as just one more misguided identity among many. And although that is not ultimately where we hope he will stay, it is none the less important.
Melanosupremacy is built on the claim that White identity is uniquely evil. That it is singular, and incomparable. It is always worse than other race’s identities. What Milo is saying is that it is not worse, it is not singular, and it is not in any way uniquely undesirable. It is in fact, no different at all from all other forms of identity politics. Though it might not always seem like it, this is a plus. Some people will need this bridge to get from supporting non-White identity and hating White identity, to supporting White identity. We should not dismiss it as unimportant.
Of course, we hope that those people will eventually come around to understand the importance of White identity. I believe most of them will. The reality is that identity is the basis of society. It always has been and always will be. And sooner or later, the anti-identity politics people are going to get hit with reality. And when they do, we will still be here for them to come to.
There are certainly many bad things about Milo. But for all his faults, whether intentionally or not, he is doing us more good than harm in the long run. Let’s return Milo’s favor: he is misguided, but not uniquely evil. We would all do well to approach him this way.