The so-called “alt-right” emerged as an incendiary group during the election campaign and supported Donald Trump — but many people have been quick to note that its members have a striking resemblance to white supremacists.
The term was coined by neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, who runs the respectably named National Policy Institute, a white supremacist think tank — and who showed his true colors earlier this month when he hosted a conference in Washington, D.C., rife with Nazi signs and propaganda.
Followers of the alt-right movement support racism, intolerance and white supremacy behind the façade of preserving “European culture in the United States.” They often identify as white nationalists who want to preserve the white majority in the country and believe the mixing of races and “black crime” is akin to “white genocide.”
Many in the group are blatantly anti-Semitic and blame the Jewish community for promoting “anti-white polices” like immigration.
All of the above behavior is extremely reminiscent of neo-Nazi and white supremacy, so much so that the term “alt-right” is perceived by opponents as whitewashing racism and many have called for a ban against using the word.
"members of the alt-right" is a weird way to spell "Nazis." https://t.co/2FRy9sHRyf— farwz (@farwzz) November 22, 2016
We MUST NOT "normalize" the White Supremacists. We must call them out. Do not use "alt-right" avoid it, fight the term even in conversation.— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) November 22, 2016
Alt-Right = White Supremacists = Neo Nazi. They're no different than the KKK or Hitler. Don't let the ambiguous name fool you. #altright— Demetria L. D'Oyley (@DLDoyley) November 23, 2016
The continued use of the word not just normalizes xenophobia and racism but also propagates bigotry and hatred towards minorities — and apparently, online media has now joined the fight against it.
A New-York based advertiser, known as George Zola, has created a Google Chrome extension called “Stop Normalizing The Alt Right,” which automatically replaces all mentions of the term “alt-right” with “white supremacy” for frustrated users.
Zola, who himself is white, said it was his way to express solidarity with minority groups who face hatred everyday as well as for those Trump supporters “who don’t tolerate white supremacy.” He also thinks it can serve as a wakeup call to those who don’t believe there is a race problem or how bad it has become.
“White supremacy has been rebranded to the friendlier 'Alt-Right,'” Zola wrote in their description. "We must not allow the term or its followers to be normalized. This Chrome extension makes it a little easier to reject their rebranding and have them referred to as what they are, white supremacists. Enjoy and keep up the good fight."
“I don’t want this term to be sugar coated, I want it to instantly make [people] recoil in the same way most recoil when thinking of white supremacists or white nationalists groups,” Zola told Huffington Post. “They’re scary, dangerous, and it’s important we stop the normalization of this before it gets out of hand. History shows us how quickly these movements can spiral out of control.”
Radio show host Jay Smooth has created a similar extension called “Alt-Right Denormalizer,” which automatically replaces the term “alt-right” with “rebranded white nationalism.”
Smooth, who often speaks out against oppression, said he didn’t have high expectations of his app. Instead, he thinks it would be infinitely better if the media and its viewers think about these things critically and treat these threats “with the seriousness they deserve.”
“Lots of politicians use coded language and dog whistles to appeal to people’s racism,” he said. “But Trump was more brazen and open about it than any major candidate in recent history, and for him to prevail with these tactics is a scary precedent. Seeing Donald Trump win makes people feel safe to speak that hate more loudly, and act on it more violently. This is a real danger.”