Davis College Republicans provide platform for hate speech

HANNAH LEE / AGGIE
HANNAH LEE / AGGIE

Milo Yiannopolous brings nationalist “alt-right” to Davis

Roughly a week after the election of Donald Trump, the Davis College Republicans (DCR) announced that they would be bringing Milo Yiannopoulos to campus for a Jan. 13 speaking engagement. Yiannopoulos is perhaps best known as the technology editor for Breitbart News, a so-called “alt-right” website with a racist, white-nationalist agenda. He will also be joined by Martin Shkreli, a pharmaceutical executive with his own history of sexist and morally questionable actions.

The disclaimer on the event page for Yiannopoulos’ talk states: “[Yiannopoulos] is known for discussing topics, both political or not, that may offend some people but not others.” But the ideas espoused by Yiannopoulos should offend all people — at least, all people with any shred of humanity or decency. For the uninitiated, here are a few of the beliefs that Yiannopoulos holds near and dear: he deems rape culture a “fantasy,” argues that birth control has made women fat and miserable and was banned from Twitter after inciting a series of racist and sexist tweets against actress Leslie Jones.

Make no mistake: Yiannopoulos is a hateful spectacle, not a conservative political theorist or anyone who has anything interesting or original to say about the state of politics in America. While the DCR may not endorse Yiannopoulos’ views and may not have intended to incite campus outrage, by bringing him to campus, they are responsible for the impact that Yiannopoulos’ words may have on members of the Davis community. During a December visit at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Yiannopoulos mocked a transgender member of the audience by displaying her picture and full name prominently on screen, calling her a “tranny” and stating, “the way that you know he’s failing is I’d almost still bang him.” Many members of the Davis community, rightfully fearful of a repeat of the Wisconsin incident and outraged by Yiannopoulos’ beliefs, have called on the administration to cancel the event.

Interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter issued a letter on Jan. 11 stating that Yiannopolous’ talk would not be cancelled. While Yiannopolous’ visit will be protected by the university’s policy on free speech, the members of the Editorial Board are deeply offended by the ignorant rhetoric championed by Yiannopolous and his followers, and thus, we support any members of the community who decide to exercise their freedom of assembly and peacefully protest the event.

Another alternative: The Editorial Board encourages members to deny Yiannopoulos the attention he so desperately craves and instead attend Change/The Conversation, a student-led event featuring actress, comedian and video blogger Franchesca Ramsey and Black transgender activist CeCe McDonald. Given Yiannopoulos’ history of degrading the transgender community, the Editorial Board encourages members of the community to attend this event to engage in a conversation about race, gender, sexuality and oppression in a post-Trump world. The event will be held on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. in the ARC ballroom and is currently sold out, but those interested in attending can join a waitlist for tickets.

Black transgender lives matter, no matter how hard white nationalists like Milo Yiannopoulos will have you think otherwise.

5 Comments on this Post

  1. nathanmaxwell

    Thank you for this thoughtful article.

    A case for banning Milo Yiannopoulos:

    Controversial figures speaking at colleges and universities has a long tradition. Columbia University hosted Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2007, for example.

    The outrageous tactics of the some of the event protester’s is a separate issue from a defense of their grievances.

    Stay with me here… On college campuses across the country, one in four women is sexually assaulted, often during the early weeks (known as the “Red Zone”). Colleges typically try to handle the matter internally, meaning that they will do anything to avoid publicity, even at the expense of campus safety and victims’ rights. In the documentary, “The Hunting Ground,” women found a weapon in Title IX. Title IX, among other things, protects students from sexual harassment, stalking, verbal or sexual threats or abuse, and “intimate partner violence.” Violations of Title IX can get a campus federally defunded. That got their attention. Campuses are supposed to keep students safe. Remember that bit.

    Milo Yiannopoulos harassed a transgendered student at a UW-Milwaukee speaking event by projecting her name and photo and insulting her sexually. That’s his M.O. She reported fearing for her life. His bullying remarks about that student continue in his speaking engagements. He is known for using the crosshair cam, in which live shots of students are projected with superimposed gun crosshairs, and shamed in the same manner. I’m not a lawyer, but wouldn’t Title IX apply here? It’s certainly sexual harassment, and it leads to threats from other students and off-campus groups. That’s the difference between hosting unpopular speech and endangering student safety.

    Oh, the other guy… You may remember Martin Shkreli from his perp walk for securities fraud. He’s the guy that raised the cost of an HIV medicine by 5000% for fun and profit. More recently, he has spent his free time trolling a Teen Vogue writer. Why he is of any educational value, I don’t know. Are inspiring people all unavailable at the same time? Maybe there’s a TED talk convention in Vegas. As far as I know, he doesn’t sexually harass students, so he would fall into the category of unpopular speech.

    By the way, Amy Schumer’s audio book (I recommend the audio version in her case) is excellent, full of comedy, heart, intelligence, and outrage. Don’t buy it. Get it from you local library or from a friend. It’s published by Simon and Schuster who just offered Milo Yiannopoulos a $250,000 book deal for being a famous bully. I’m in the wrong line of work. Give me your lunch money.

  2. joecphillips

    It seems that the protesters are the hateful people, does this site support the violence that the protesters used? And to be consistent should this site not talk about how they inspired political violence.

  3. Jim Mason

    Breitbart is neither racist, or white nationalist, but I encourage the students of UC Davis to do some investigating on their own and see for themselves.

    The site is public after all, it won’t take long.

  4. Concernedalum

    Bravo to those who peacefully, but vigorously protested this event. And bravo to the Aggie Editorial Board for lending its support. What attempts to pass under the guise of “free speech” these days when our Supreme Court considers corporations people and their money speech, and even the President Elect regularly crosses the line of decency and respect, must be held up by each of us against our core values. And when the two are not compatible it is our duty as citizens to actively reject it. Ralph Hexter should be no more disappointed by the reaction than he was by the invitation itself and take this opportunity to reevaluate whether such hate and fear inciting events should be allowed to take place on campus in the first place.

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