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Posted: October 19, 2017

Who is Richard Spencer? 5 things to know about prominent white nationalist

What You Need To Know: Richard B. Spencer

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By Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

As co-editor of AltRight.com and president of The National Policy Institute, white supremacist Richard Spencer has risen to become one of the highest profile white nationalists in America.

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Spencer, who was born in 1978 in Boston, made headlines shortly after the 2016 election when a meeting of the National Policy Institute went viral. In a video clip of the gathering, attendees could be seen giving Nazi salutes as Spencer cheered, “Hail Trump! Hail our people!”

>> Related: Restaurant apologizes for hosting alt-right conference

Here are some things to know about the alt-right leader:

1. Spencer is a white separatist who believes in creating an Aryan homeland. He told Salon.com in 2013 that white people “need to start thinking about a new ethno-state that we would want to be a part of.”

He told The Atlantic in June 2017 that the goal of creating a white “ethno-state” is a long-term project and will come about “through a slow process of awakening ethnic pride and instituting government policies that reflect a new white race consciousness.”

His National Policy Institute describes itself as “dedicated to the heritage, identity and future of people of European descent in the United States and around the world.”

2. Spencer is known as one of the most successful young white nationalist leaders in Americaaccording to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights advocacy group.

The organization described Spencer as a leading “academic racist” who “takes a quasi-intellectual approach to white separatism. “

3. Spencer doesn’t see himself as a white supremacist but instead calls himself an “identitarian.” In a 2015 interview with Vice magazine, Spencer said that, “He prefers the terms ‘alternative right’ and ‘identitarianist’ over ‘racist’ or ‘white supremacist.’”

"Identity is the most important question to answer,” Spencer told Vice. “Who are we racially? Who are we historically? Who are we in terms of our experience? Who are we in terms of our community?"

4. Spencer is credited with coining the term “alternative right” or “alt right.” The term appeared in a 2008 article for the far-right Taki’s magazine, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

“At the time, Spencer was using ‘alternative right’ to refer to people on the right who distinguished themselves from traditional conservatives by opposing, among other things, egalitarianism, multiculturalism and open immigration,” according to the group. 

5. Spencer was banned from 27 European countries. He was jailed in Hungary and subsequently deported in 2014 after he attempted to organize the National Police Institute Conference for white nationalists, according reports from The Daily Beast and The Telegraph.

In a statement issued at the time by Hungary’s Ministry of Interior, officials said the National Police Institute was made up of “proponents of racist ideologies, and the expression of their opinions is contrary to the fundamental law.”


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