There’s a chance Auburn University will be accepting Nicholas Fuentes into our family, a young alt-right personality who has called for “the people who run CNN to be arrested and deported or hanged” — among other violent, racist and vitriolic statements.
Fleeing from what he said were death threats in Boston, 19-year-old Fuentes has decided Auburn University will be a safer place than Boston University to espouse his desire for a white ethnostate — a country where uncomfortable white people like him live only among people who share his skin color or cultural “values.”
Individuals like Fuentes have seen the growing tide of inclusivity in Western societies over the past decades, and fear a loss in stature of white culture, or put in their terms, cultural genocide.
They decry multiculturalism, often saying it leads to violence, haplessly unaware that the very violence they predict isn’t a product of multiculturalism, per se, but is instead manifested in the reactions of the culturally insecure alt-righters.
The inability to live among varying cultures isn’t new, but the disease’s attempt to spread to Auburn so openly is. In the past year, we’ve experienced a few instances of this germination: speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos and Richard Spencer, racist and anti-Semitic pamphlets being distributed all around campus, Foy Hall being rebranded as “Goy Hall.”
As members of a community whose mission statement includes, “We believe that the contributions of diverse cultures, ideas and life experiences combine to create an enriched and engaged campus community for the Auburn Family,” we have to critically examine why the alt-right movement has recently tried to latch itself to our community.
Institutional initiatives toward promoting diversity are necessary, but they are not sufficient. We have to assume responsibility as individuals to make our institution friendly to diversity of culture and thought.
It isn’t enough to tell ourselves we support the abstract notion of diversity; we have to put it to practice for it to amount to anything.
We should make attempts to befriend or at least speak with people who don’t look or think like us. Too many people have never attended a religious service that doesn’t coincide with their standing beliefs, and that’s illustrative of who we are.
We don’t challenge ourselves by nature; we are inclined toward tribalism. But being inclined toward a certain way of living does not mean that’s the best way to live.
As rational creatures, we have the opportunity to live against terrible inclinations, like drawing up arbitrary lines between humans that result in people being marginalized and sometimes killed.
Through understanding our nature, and actively working against it at times, we can create a better campus and world.
A central mark of being an Auburn man or woman should be a willingness to engage with varying opinions and cultures.
The idea we should form our own cultural bubbles, and therefore must try to eradicate competing cultures, should be acknowledged as the emotionally insecure and intellectually bankrupt worldview that drove Nazis into the grave, and it shouldn’t be repeated.