anti-semitism

In Praise of the Jewish Woman Who Called Out a Neo-Nazi at the Gym

richard spencer

Don’t you love it when women stand up for themselves? I know I do. Women are often told not to make a scene, to not take up too much space (do I know this all too well), and to basically just make everything smoother for everyone by holding their tongue. Well, one professor at Georgetown University said exactly what was on her mind, and I love her for it.

C. Christine Fair, an expert in South Asian politics and military affairs, wrote in her Tumblr post, “I anticipate being kicked out from our gym,” because she confronted white nationalist Richard Spencer at an Alexandria fitness center. We can’t even make the really bad joke and say kvetched, because well, her wrath was way more brutal than that (and rightly so).

The gym, however, told Spencer not to come back to Old Town Sport & Health in Alexandria, instead of the woman. Sometimes, it seems, justice does happen.

Sadly, however, DCist pointed out that Fair has “been subjected to a torrent of phone calls, death threats, pizza orders, and truly vile online harassment since the story got out.”

Fair explained how her personal information had been leaked:

“The quality of the heinousness is off the chart. This isn’t my first rodeo [with right-wing trolls], though these guys are more sophisticated—publicizing my home address, phone number. They’re clearly well-resourced and practiced in this kind of thing.”

So, why did Fair say something to Spencer? Because she believes Spencer puts an “unfair burden they’re putting on the staff by putting this very public Nazi in a gym and expecting them to treat him decorously,” especially since people of color and marginalized people frequent the gym–making it unsafe, she believes. In her post, she went on to say:

“I want to note that this man is a supreme coward. When I approached this flaccid, sorry excuse of a man and asked ‘Are you Richard Spencer,“ this pendulous poltroon said ‘No. I am not.’ But of course he was.

I find his membership at this gym to be unacceptable. I found his membership at this gym to be an unfair burden upon the women and people of color–and white male allies of the same.  I also loudly identified him as a neo-Nazi who has said, inter alia, the below detailed things.”

As DCist explained in a refresher, Spencer is the man responsible for using the term “alt-right” to rationalize white supremacy as normal in politics–he’s also said that his “ideal state would also relegate women to the domestic sphere.” Spencer also quoted Nazi propaganda in German at a conference in November, prompting a room full of people to yell “Heil the people! Heil victory.” The New York Times also wrote about this incident:

“He railed against Jews and, with a smile, quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German. America, he said, belonged to white people, whom he called the “children of the sun,” a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized but now, in the era of President-elect Donald J. Trump, were “awakening to their own identity.”

As he finished, several audience members had their arms outstretched in a Nazi salute. When Mr. Spencer, or perhaps another person standing near him at the front of the room—it was not clear who—shouted, “Heil the people! Heil victory,” the room shouted it back.”

Fair aptly called Spencer out for what he is, stating:

“I did make a scene. I did accost a member who was minding his own business. But I believe you don’t get to be a Nazi from 9-5 … He’s a Nazi and he should be treated like a Nazi.”

I believe that says it all.

We can’t idly stand by and watch anti-Semitism, racism, and sexism get a free pass–or be able to become even more normalized because the people around us turn a blind eye. If we let that happen, we’re letting our children be raised in a world where they aren’t safe–and where fear rules all.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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