By: Connor Blakeborough

Only two weeks after the divisive and controversial United States presidential election, a set of alt-right posters suddenly appeared on McMaster walls.

The alt-right movement is a modern term for those who believe in right-wing ideologies that presents itself as an alternative to mainstream conservatives. For the movement, this means opposing immigration, pluralism and political correctness. The posters claimed the marginalization of the white community through being labeled racist if they “organize in our self interest” or “preserve our culture”.

I know what you’re thinking; these people must be joking, right? On the campus of a well-respected Canadian university thought to embrace ideals of multiculturalism and tolerance, how do such controversial statements and posters make it onto the university’s walls? It’s simple: educated isn’t a synonym for informed. That’s not to say that controversial opinions have no place in a university, don’t get me wrong. Express all the opinions you want. Just don’t be surprised when they’re shot down with historical facts and a set of morals held by any decent human being.

I feel comfortable in saying that the posters left on the walls on Nov. 21 do not represent the clear majority of views held by McMaster students and faculty. They represent a small minority of the McMaster community.

However, when can we stop being tolerant of these exclusionary views and start calling them what they are? These people are bigoted. There’s a difference between being tolerant of another’s culture, and being tolerant of views that intend to harm other members of our community.

There’s something hypocritical about complaining Canadian culture is being diminished due to immigration and multiculturalism in a nation that was built on immigrants fleeing persecution and international immigrants investing in this country. The same Asian Canadians the alt-right movement often claim are at fault for destroying what “makes Canada great” are the people who built the Canadian Pacific Railway. Just as the Muslim Canadians, often generalized as terrorists by the movement, are those dedicating their lives to civil service.

It doesn’t take a political scientist to figure out that immigrants and pluralism are what make this country the envy of the world. The divisive politics showcased during this past American election have shown how much progress in the way of tolerance and enlightenment there is still to make. Let’s not make believe that because we’re on a university campus, that we all share the same set of values and principles.

There’s still much progress to make in the way of equality and tolerance, and that stands for both sides of the political spectrum. Just as there are extremism and alternative movements on the right, the left shares similar problems. No political ideology makes you exempt from hypocrisy and intolerance, no matter how virtuous or morally valid it might seem.

Just as there is no excuse for these recent ill-informed opinions being plastered on the school walls, there is no excuse for callout culture over opening a dialogue. Communicate your ideas in a productive manner, without bigotry.

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