We can pretty well guess what NPR ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen‘s next column is going to be about. It’s going to be about whether NPR should have given seven minutes of national radio time on Thursday evening to Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who coined the term “alt-right”.
That the term, which many believe is meant to be a nicer term than racist, is getting more use in the media, shows the impact Spencer already has had on the national landscape.
Spencer isn’t shy about sharing his vision: a white ethno-state, a “safe space for Europeans,” he says.
“Should only white Europeans be considered U.S. citizens?” host Kelly McEvers asked.
“The citizenship… is not something that can be changed,” Spencer said, before adding “right away.”
Spencer says different races and ethnicities simply cannot get along.
“Do we really like each other? Do we really love each other? Do we really have a sense of community on that subway car…”
“Or a cul-de-sac, or a kindergarten,” McEvers interjected.
“Whenever different races are in the same school, there’ll be a natural segregation at lunchtime, at PE, in terms of after-school play,” he responded.
Spencer said a friendlier relationship with Russia would foster his goals, and he insisted that illegal immigration isn’t “nearly as damaging as legal immigration.”
“With legal immigration, they’re here to stay,” he said. “I think a reasonable and palatable policy proposal would be for Donald Trump to say, ‘Look, we’ve had immigration in the past, it’s brought some fragmentation, but we need to become a people again, and for us to do that, we’re going to need a break from mass immigration. We’re going to need to preference people who are going to fit in, who are more like us, that is European immigration.”
McEvers read a list of items, asking Spencer if he thought they were OK or not OK.
“Graffiti saying ‘Make America White Again‘?” she started.
“Graffiti is illegal,” Spencer responded.
Pushed by McEvers, Spencer said he “doesn’t have a huge problem with that.”
“It’s an ancient symbol,” Spencer said. “If you’re asking me do I have a problem with people expressing themselves, they could do whatever they want.”
“Wearing white robes or hoods?”
Spencer pushed back, saying “you haven’t given me anything that is either fundamentally illegal or immoral. I’m not going to condemn any of that.”
“Not a fan,” Spencer said, acknowledging he likes Republican voters. “In terms of operatives, in terms of the conservative movement, not a fan.”
Spencer says he’s not been in contact with the incoming administration, though he thinks he can have influence on coming policies.