You can learn everything you need to know about the “alt-right” by looking at the man who popularized its name. Credit goes to Richard Spencer, head of the white supremacist National Policy Institute (NPI), and one of the country’s leading contemporary advocates of ideological racism. [snip]
So you might wonder what, if anything, distinguishes the alt-right from more hidebound racist movements such as the American Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan. The answer is very little, except for a bit of savvy branding and a fondness for ironic Twitter memes. Spencer and his ilk are essentially standard-issue white supremacists who discovered a clever way to make themselves appear more innocuous — even a little hip.They say that they "won't do racists' public relations work for them." Neither will we.
We're finding a few news and opinion outlets are getting on the same page, too.
As Lindy West at The Guardian puts it,
... [I]f declaring the superiority of the white race, quoting Nazi propaganda, calling for “peaceful ethnic cleansing”, and provoking Nazi salutes from his audience isn’t enough to qualify one as a neo-Nazi, then where on earth is the bar? What is the hesitation? And, given the close ties between the “alt-right” and Trump’s cabinet, how is the top story on every front page not some version of “NEO-NAZIS ATTEMPTING TO SEIZE CONTROL OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT”?KUOW, a Seattle news and information radio station is choosing to use white nationalism and white supremacism in place of "alt- right":
Alt-right, short for alternative right, is a loose, online community that Stephen K. Bannon, Donald Trump’s chief strategist, has pushed as chief executive of Breitbart News. Breitbart News promotes racist and sexist stories like "Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive And Crazy." For a while the news site designated some stories “black crime.”
Given that bent, alt-right sounded too soft to us. Would our listeners understand that alt-right is another way of saying white supremacist? [snip]
Cathy Duchamp, KUOW’s managing editor, wrote in a memo to the staff:Lindy West concludes in her article, "Be brave, writers, and be honest. If you see a Nazi, say a Nazi." As you might imagine, we don't hold out much hope that the vast majority of the "mainstream media" will summon the courage to call these rat droppings what they are. Corporate media business models that depend on access, advertisers, clicks and not offending the offensive are powerful counterweights to speaking truth to power.
The takeaways: ‘alt right’ doesn’t mean anything, and normalizes something that is far from normal. So we need to plain-speak it.This may change. Alt-right may become better defined and understood by the general public. But until then, we will avoid vague words that neutralize anti-social and abnormal ways of thinking.
Well, we and others won't wait for writers and the media to be brave and honest. We'll just go ahead and do our small part regardless.