Call A Spade, A Bloody Shovel!

This was not what I set out to write this afternoon, but as often happens, one story led to another, which led to yet another and then something came to my attention that begged to be given a voice.  So, here I am, and my piece about Affirmative Action will have to wait another day.

The story came from American political news blog, ThinkProgress.  I get ideas from time-to-time from ThinkProgress, though I always confirm through another source, for the publication is not known for being completely unbiased.  But their reporting is usually accurate and they dig for stories others might miss.  That said, what caught my eye today was the following editorial announcement, issued in November 2016:

EDITORS’ NOTE: ThinkProgress will no longer describe racists as ‘alt-right’

The article gave me pause and made me stop to think for a moment:

A note from the ThinkProgress editors.

THINKPROGRESS, NOV 22, 2016, 4:04 PM

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.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, Spencer keynoted an NPI conference in Washington, D.C. Over the course of his speech, he approvingly quoted Nazi propaganda, said that the United States is meant to be a “white country,” and suggested that many political commentators are “soulless golem” controlled by Jewish media interests.

That, in a nutshell, is the face of the so-called alt-right. As Spencer himself has said, the core of alt-right ideology is the preservation of “white identity.”

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.

The ploy worked. News outlets such as CNN and the New York Times, always a little shy when it comes to identifying racism by its true name, have taken to using “alt-right” in headlines instead. The term is flexible enough that Steve Bannon, a top adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, can boast that he turned Breitbart News into “a platform for the alt-right” while simultaneously denying any association with white nationalist movements. Richard Spencer’s marketing campaign has made it possible for leading conservative figures to make common cause with neo-Nazis and Klansmen while dodging any accusations of personal racism.

Spencer and Bannon are of course free to describe themselves however they’d like, but journalists are not obliged to uncritically accept their framing. A reporter’s job is to describe the world as it is, with clarity and accuracy. Use of the term “alt-right,” by concealing overt racism, makes that job harder.

With that in mind, ThinkProgress will no longer treat “alt-right” as an accurate descriptor of either a movement or its members. We will only use the name when quoting others. When appending our own description to men like Spencer and groups like NPI, we will use terms we consider more accurate, such as “white nationalist” or “white supremacist.”

“White nationalist” refers to a specific ideology held by many of those who adopt the “alt-right” label. A white nationalist is someone who believes the United States should be governed by and for white people, and that national policy should radically advance white interests. White supremacists are a broader and more inchoate group, composed of those who believe in the innate superiority of white people.

We will describe people and movements as neo-Nazis only when they identify as such, or adopt important aspects of Nazi rhetoric and iconography.

The point here is not to call people names, but simply to describe them as they are. We won’t do racists’ public relations work for them. Nor should other news outlets.

I think they are right.  The term ‘alt-right’ does not actually define any particular ideology.  In and of itself, it could mean anything or nothing.  We have come, over the past year or two, to associate it with the ideology of white supremacy, but it doesn’t actually say that.  Words are powerful, and the term “white supremacist” is a powerful term.  It says, “this person or organization believes that white people are supreme to all others”.  It conjures images, as well it should, of Ku Klux Klan members setting fire to crosses on the lawns of black people.  It conjures images of thousands of soldiers with swastika armbands giving a stiff-arm salute.  Those who ascribe to the ‘alt-right’ movement are nothing less than white supremacists, and should be defined as such.

Racism is rearing its ugly head more and more these days, and the likes of Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Richard Spencer, Alex Jones, and many others are giving it their stamp of approval, while themselves remaining above the fray by using the more innocuous term ‘alt-right’.  I thought about this long and hard, and my conclusion is that on this blog, I will follow suit with ThinkProgress.  Unless contained in a quote, or as an example, I will now refer to the ideology and its followers as white supremacists, or if appropriate, white nationalists.

I have tried to maintain a standard with this blog.  I rarely use profanity, and try to be respectful of all sincere viewpoints. I have never, except when using a direct quote, referred to Donald Trump by his official title, nor will I, for to do so would lend legitimacy to an illegitimate president.  As I see it, this is one more layer in the standard … to call a spade, a spade.

29 thoughts on “Call A Spade, A Bloody Shovel!

  1. I think SNL was closer than we realized when they pictured Steve Bannon as The Grim Reaper. His doctrine of choice is deadly. The recent warning to motorists of color by the NAACP to beware when driving through Missouri is a scary sign of the effect of that doctrine. My dad was mainly of Irish descent but he had black hair and was not fair. Many Irish have that coloring. I inherited it. My father was asked in a restaurant in Texas if I was Mexican. He was prematurely gray at the time. They were thinking in that day and age of not letting me eat there. Perhaps some of us remember the movie “Giant” where in the restaurant they asked if Liz Taylor’s character was Mexican. It’s truly scary to see that racism raise its head again. It seems it’s been laying in wait and festering and is now emboldened by the present government. Let’s indeed call the “alt-right” by its true name ripping off its presentable outward shell. Of course, they’re white supremacists. They’re hiding under the sheet of “alt-right”. Let they show themselves if they’re so proud of what they are. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very well spoken, dear friend! Yes, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, but calling them ‘alt-right’ is a matter of gilding the lily, so to speak. It lends them a false air of legitimacy that they DO NOT deserve!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good morning Jill. My apologies for slacking on the commenting front. I meant to comment on your ‘what shall I blog as a break from the awfulness of politics’ but by the time I was ready twas all done – but I shall I look forward to whatever you write.
    As for this – absolutely brilliant. To ‘call a spade a bloody shovel’ as we say here is exactly what is called for. The trouble is it takes diligence and bravery. But you have both of those qualities … in spades! Ha ha sorry had to do that – punny Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First off, my dear friend, there is no need for apologies! Look how long I’ve owed you an email!!! Second, if you have ideas for the Saturday Surprise post, please DO send them my way! It is likely going to be quite an eclectic mix, and I am open for all ideas and suggestions!

      I love your expression ‘call a spade a bloody shovel!’ It has so much more energy that our watered-down version! I shall adopt your version! As to the use of ‘alt-right’ … yes, it is something I hadn’t really thought about, but it is simply a way of ‘gilding the lily’, and cannot be tolerated. Once I thought about it, I would like to see the mainstream media all leave that term behind and … call a spade a bloody shovel!!!!

      Thank you for saying I have diligence and bravery! Diligence, yes, for I am like a dog with a bone when something gets under my skin, but bravery? I am not so sure of that. It is easy to sit here and write words, but if asked to go fight the racists in the street? I like to think I would, but … I guess a person never really knows if they are courageous or not until put to the test. But thanks, and I DID love the pun!!! Happy Punny Sunday, though it is now Jolly Monday on your side of the pond, but you will have to wait another 5 hours until Jolly Monday is published! 😀


  3. Dear Jill,

    I am with you and “Think Progress” on this one. I will never use the name alt-right again without the words of White Supremacist and/ or Racists. And the racists in the WH are Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Sebastian Gorka and then there is Jeff Sessions. Mr. Miller is an ardent supporter of Mr. Spencer. And there are rumors that Mr. Miller might become the next communications director. If I could pick anyone worse than the Mooch, it would be Mr. Miller. Hopefully, General Kelly will not allow this to occur. It seems like General McMaster has been battling the racists by himself but now General Kelly has his back.

    Breitbart, Infowars and Mr. Hannity of FOX TV have been on the warpath against General McMaster. Watchdog groups have been tracking Russian trolls and bots. For the past month, there has been 5300% increase in comments against General H.R. McMaster.

    Let’s hope the generals win the war against the racists in the White House.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you dear Gronda! Yes, I hadn’t thought about it before, but ‘alt-right’ lends a faux legitimacy to an organization that is no better than the KKK!

      Stephen Miller has been on my radar for several days now, and I’m thinking he may just be my next Idiot of the Week!

      A 5300% increase?!?!?! Y’know, when so many of the fools in the current administration and in the illegitimate media are ganging up on one person, it is a pretty sure sign that one person is somehow seen as a threat by them. I hope Kelly can protect him, for I am convinced he is needed.


      Liked by 1 person

  4. Commendable position to assume and worthy of copying especially considering the administration’s planned attacks on the press. I have slipped down that slimy slope of name calling in some things I have written…don’t like it and it doesn’t make me feel any better. Like you I refuse to address this current circus in the WH as legitimate. I’m also reblogging. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! Yes, I think we are ALL guilty of name-calling and ranting. I have done so as well, and regretted it later, but … we are human and of late, our emotions and tempers are often on the brink. I just try to remind myself of something a professor told me many years (decades) ago: “When everyone else is yelling, you lower your voice just barely above a whisper, for then they will have to shut up in order to hear you.” I find it to be true! 🙂 Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Racism Is Racism. Racists Are Racists. – The Militant Negro™

  6. The well thought out decision of ThinkProgress and your own decision show that the press and people are becoming more aware of the marketing ploys of the worst of the racists. No longer can these people expect to be treated as respectable and be allowed to hide behind their fancy rhetoric as espoused by Steve Bannon. The law must be changed to allow for hate charges to be brought against racists rather than allowing them the luxury of hiding behind free speech whilst scaring to death someone of a different ethnicity, colour or sexual preference.
    It seems people haven’t moved on as much from those first settlers who stole the country from it’s original occupants because they felt superior, as I’d hoped. I’m sorry that my country supplied some of those settlers and those attitudes but I’d hoped that out of all the countries in the World the U.S. would have moved most past this racism by now.
    xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, David! I agree with you … I would like to see the law amended to outlaw racist or hate speech, but it is such a slippery slope … where, exactly, does one draw the line? … that I do not look to see that happen in my lifetime, if ever. Funny that some will ardently defend their right to spew hatred at minorities, gays, etc., but will not support the right to a free press.

      Like you, I had thought we had moved irrevocably beyond the Jim Crow era, and it is my greatest disappointment to find that racism is still very much alive and well. We can pass laws to ensure that people are treated equally in the work place, given equal opportunities in housing, education and employment, but sadly, we cannot pass a law to actually change people’s feelings & thoughts. Those who believe themselves superior in any way are beyond my comprehension. There can be no justification for such arrogance.

      xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

      Liked by 1 person

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