Ali DeFazio is a senior politics major.
If you don’t know who Milo Yiannopoulos is, you will soon. Not only because of his fiery, provocative and Twitter-banned controversies, but also because he’s coming to UC Berkeley to speak on Feb. 1. “Speak” should be used tentatively, however. With Milo’s track record at universities, he might not speak at all due to student protests. So, what has Milo said to deserve all the backlash?
For sake of time and word count, I’ll stick to some of his more offensive Breitbart headlines: “The Solution To Online ‘Harassment’ Is Simple: Women Should Log Off,” “10 Things Milo Hates About Islam” and “Latino Identities Are Confused, They’re Like Geographic Trannies.” He’s also infamous for getting banned from Twitter (harder than you might think) for encouraging users to go after Leslie Jones. He referred to the Ghostbusters’ actress as “yet another black dude” and “barely literate.”
Milo Yiannopoulos is currently on his tour of American college campuses. On Wednesday, he’ll be next door to USF at UC Berkeley. As university students, we need to find a unified approach to combat his alt-right sentiments. And there are definitely right and wrong ways to do so.
Let’s first address the most popular way: protesting to shut down his events. Most popular, most obvious, but not the most effective. I say this for two reasons. The first: Milo is famous for mocking individual protestors. As tempting as it is to call Milo out on his hate, you’ll likely end up as a video on his Facebook feed, “Snowflake liberal CRIES!!!” Sharpied signs and chants are not the platform for an academic debate. Do not engage.
The second: a rallying cry of Milo’s is censorship on college campuses. Milo may say some pretty offensive things, but he has never told people to physically hurt someone. Therefore, he is legally allowed to speak. As damaging as his views are, trying to shut them out only fuels his fan base more. Let him speak so others can see how ridiculous he is. “How To Make Women Happy: Uninvent The Washing Machine And The Pill?’ Come on, that sounds like a SNL skit. I’m going to treat it like one.
Fans love Milo because he points out the contradictions of liberals. It should be noted these liberals are typically young college students, but that’s another issue altogether. We must remember that the most effective way to react to Milo is by playing his own game: pointing out his own glaring contradictions.
The first is his outspokenness against globalization. It’s ironic because Milo enjoys the benefits of globalization immensely. Milo Yiannopoulos is a dual British-Greek citizen making his fortune in American politics. Another contradiction? Milo is a gay man. This wouldn’t matter besides the fact he publishes articles like “Gay Rights Have Made Us Dumber, It’s Time to Get Back in the Closet.” The simple fact is Milo wouldn’t have the platform he has now if it wasn’t for gay rights. It’s as if Milo Yiannopoulos woke up one morning, thought “I could make a lot of money giving homophobes a reason to say they’re not homophobic,” and here we are today.
Let’s not validate Milo Yiannopoulos’ insane views. They read like satire, are offensive only to offend and do not deserve engagement. If you want to shut down racism, misogyny, heteronormativity and xenophobia, debate with those who hold power. Protest law makers, judges and academics, not some personality profiting from offensive trolling.