As the neo-Nazi organization that refers to itself as the "alt-right" continues to gain support in the U.S., media outlets and media consumers are struggling with what language should be used in reference to its members. As we at BUST have written in the past, the term "alt-right" is used in an attempt to rebrand white nationalism, and using it dangerously misrepresents the ideals of its supporters.
That's why an advertising professional, who goes by the pseudonym George Zola, created a Google Chrome extension called "Stop Normalizing The Alt Right." The extension automatically changes "alt-right" to either "white supremacy" or "neo-Nazi" on Twitter, Facebook, Google, Wikipedia and all other online sites.
“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 the 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.”
Zola said he recognizes that the extension is only a small step to address the problems with the organization, but hopes it will make it clear to reasonable Trump supporters that "alt-right" equals neo-Nazi.
And though a small step, it's a step that other resource outlets are making as well.
On Monday, The Associated Press released information on how to properly use the term without giving readers misinformation. In addition to advising writers to include the definition and explanation that the name may be misleading, the AP said, "In the past, we have called such beliefs racist, neo-Nazi, or white supremacist."
Merriam-Webster also released information about the history and usage of "alt-right," ultimately saying it is "used to repackage old-fashioned bigotry."
These actions are the first steps in an important process. If we want to prevent neo-Nazis from influencing people more than they already have, we have to call them what they are, and stop letting them dictate how they appear to the public.
Photos via Twitter
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