I condemn without reservation the decision by the Irish Times to publish yesterday, in its online edition, an article to which I will not link purporting to be a “glossary of the alt-right”. This article contains the most infantilely racist and offensive terms, articulated with glee. Such language has no place being presented without comment on its harmful and ignorant nature.
To treat the “alt right”, a group of angry white men suffused with preening, terroristic vanity, as if they’re just one big laugh altogether elides the harm and nastiness caused by their depredations online and off. Just recently the curator of the @ireland account was harassed and abused by a swarm of trolls egged on to attack her by masterminds on white supremacist forums – on account of being black and plus-size. It wasn’t that the trolls were wittier, or that she was over-sensitive or not resilient enough. It was that there were deliberately so many of them that she could not continue with her curation for a while. By sheer numbers they make their target look weak for not being able to rebut them all. They silence by this kind of swarming and people might decide it is not worth the hassle of confronting them. Twitter facilitates the folk who mastermind their attack and that’s another part of the problem.
It is a grievous dereliction of editorial responsibility to treat this group of people, and the vile racist slurry it spews out, like just another interest group. I hope other authors will agree that this is unacceptable, and that the editor of that section will drop his ridiculous idea that airing this stuff in any way constitutes “challenging debate”.