Letter to the Editor: Nightmarish Visions from the “Alt-Right”


I heard a disturbing comment by a nice-sounding man from the “Alt-right” on public radio this week to the effect that he is simply urging “whites” to take care of our own “family” of white people before others. I have also read that members of this movement want to rid the U.S. of all non-Euro-Americans to establish an all-white country. There is nothing simple about either of these ideas, and both rest on fundamental misunderstandings.

Insofar as there is a “family tree” for Caucasians, it begins in Africa with all the other members of the family of mankind. People who had developed brown skin because of exposure to the sun migrated to northern climates where their skin color lightened and other features altered over millennia (not necessarily for the better if global temperatures rise as predicted). Those who settled in Europe eventually explored every continent to augment their resources, and procreated with indigenous people of every “race” (a concept that has proved unworkable and has been replaced by “ethnicity”). When Europeans came to North America, they had children with indigenous people mistakenly called “Indians”; they brought or purchased slaves from Africa, with whom they also procreated, diluting both ethnicities. This process has continued here for 500-plus years so that Americans who send their DNA swabs to or similar sites often find that their heritage is much more mixed than they had supposed. Although there are a few countries left in the world where one ethnicity survives more or less intact because of prolonged isolation (Japan and Korea come to mind), the U.S. is not one of them. It would be extremely difficult to establish an ethnicity of “whites only” here.

So let’s get practical. How will the Alt-right determine who is in the “family” of whites? Will everyone who presently identifies as white be required to have a DNA test? Or, as in Germany during the ‘30s and ‘40s, will everyone present a genealogy? Who will vouch for the whiteness of those who went before us? How far back? Photos of light-skinned people are no proof; many with African American and Native American heritage have passed as white. Nor will length of residence work as a test; ancestors of those ethnic groups have been here longer than most Euro-American immigrants.

It is often said that by 2030 (or so), “whites” will be a plurality but not a majority in the U.S., so the Alt-right vision apparently involves driving out more than 150 million people in the next few years, thereby risking their own status in the family of human beings. That is a nightmare I do not want to experience.


Estella Lauter

Fish Creek, Wis.

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