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.