by Jerry Johnson, J.D.
The term "alt-right" is an attempt to recast white supremacy as a new, acceptable ideology. White supremacy is not new, and it has no place in our politics.
White supremacists are rebranding themselves. It’s understandable. The American public has spent the last half a century resoundingly and continually rejecting the idea that one race of people is inately superior to another or that national policy should advance the interests of one race of people above others.
Instead, the American public has increasingly embraced ethnic and racial diversity. White supremacy has been relegated to fringe corners of American society; so much so that, until recently, many white supremacists only expressed and shared their ideas under the veil of anonymous screen names on obscure webpages. It is in the shadowy corner of the fringe internet where many closeted white supremacists conspired to rebrand themselves as the alt-right. The goal is to conceal their true beliefs and intentions.
Today’s white supremacists, masquerading as the alt-right, seek to present their hateful, centuries-old ideology to an American public decidedly focused on cultivating a multicultural society and a public convinced that increasing acceptance, inclusion, and equality are the hallmarks of American exceptionalism.
It is critically important that the U.S. and world media reject this rebranding effort. Call it what it is. Richard Spencer, leader of the white supremacist National Policy Institute (NPI), popularized the term alt-right. According to Spencer, who was recently interviewed by NewsOne Now's Roland Martin, the centerpiece of the movement is “white identity.”
Media outlets (and the public) must not euphemize white supremacy by calling it alt-right. Doing so allows proponents of racism and bigotry to avoid scrutiny and leaves audiences at best uninformed and at worst misled.
This piece was originally published on Medium.