Throughout Donald Trump’s journey to office, “alt-right” has gained momentum in media as well as verbally. Unfortunately, the term, short for “alternative-right,” is a mere blanket covering what it truly indicates: a belief in white supremacy.
Members of this group tend to reject mainstream conservative ideologies and instead support white supremacy, racism and populism.
Alt-right flew relatively under the radar until the group announced its support of Trump in 2015. Afterward, Hillary Clinton gave a speech linking Trump’s platform with alt-right ideals. Rather than burying the topic altogether, this action only enhanced the group’s standing and threw it into the limelight.
Trump has never admitted affiliation, yet avid media consumers raised eyebrows on the matter after looking into his running platform as well as a few of his selected officials.
Most recently, Trump’s pick for National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, called the tech editor of Breitbart “phenomenal” and one of the bravest people he has ever met.
Breitbart News is a far-right news website oftentimes linked with alt-right ideals. Publicly, the owners have denied any connection to alt-right, but a former chairman of the website, Stephen K. Bannon, coined the media outlet as “the platform for the alt-right.”
Since Bannon took control in 2012, the alt-right group has only gained momentum through Breitbart’s many stories featuring racism.
Trump recently appointed Bannon as Senior Counselor and Chief West Wing Strategist, a reasonably concerning step to many Americans.
Though potential affiliation between Trump and the alt-right remains unknown, the term’s increase in usage is disturbing.
Often, when used in recent media, alt-right has not been properly defined. Instead, its glossed-over name has been its only tag, rather than its real defining factor of white supremacy.
The Associated Press, fondly described as the Bible for journalists and “the definitive source” for reporting as quoted on its website, has released an official usage guideline for writing about alt-right.
“‘Alt-right’ (quotation marks, hyphen and lower case) may be used in quotes or modified as in the ‘self-described’ or ‘so-called alt-right’ in stories discussing what the movement says about itself,” a post on AP’s website states.
According to the post, the term should not be used generically without a definition.
“It is not well known and the term may exist primarily as a public-relations device to make its supporters’ actual beliefs less clear and more acceptable to a broader audience,” it reads. “In the past we have called such beliefs racist, neo-Nazi or white supremacist.”
Calling out alt-right for what it is will further spread understanding of its overall beliefs. Hopefully, this education will make the public aware that this is not simply a term for far-right conservatives but instead a dangerous collection of ideals that would be detrimental to the America we have worked so long to build.