Terms like "white supremacy," "neo-Nazism" and "white separatism" were once relegated to the history books. Now empowered by a President they claim as their own, the white nationalist movement has successfully pushed those terms into the mainstream. They are so common in the American lexicon that the AP Stylebook - the writing handbook and style guide for media professionals - issued an update in late August defining the terms.
Although the inclusion of the terms is not surprising, it's a grim reality that 72 years after the United States and its allies defeated Nazi Germany, neo-Nazis are having some success incorporating into American society. Of more concern is that the Trump administration is willfully remaining ignorant of this modern-day Nazi movement.
Much of the media focus has been on Trump blaming both sides for the white supremacist terrorist attack in Charlottesville, doubling down on that assertion days later, and reaffirming those statements more than a month after the attack. That is despicable - and unprecedented - behavior for a modern-day politician, let alone the president.
But the real concern is the actions of his administration that subtly boosts the white supremacist platform and marginalizes minorities:
- Trump's administration changed the focus of the "Countering Violent Extremism" task force in the Department of Homeland Security from targeting all violent extremists, including white supremacists and neo-Nazis, to specifically targeting ISIS. That impact was felt by Life After Hate, an organization that works to rehabilitate former white supremacists back into society. The group lost its $400,000 government grant.
- In February, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Department of Justice will "pull back" from monitoring police departments responsible for multiple instances of police misconduct, typically against minorities.
- Trump's proposed budget eliminates the Minority Business Development Agency.
- The Department of Education terminated a $12 million program, "Opening Doors, Expanding Opportunities," designed to promote diversity and improve student achievement in low-performing schools.
- Trump's proposed budget eliminates NASA's Minority University Research and Education Project.
- The Department of Justice withdrew its complaint that a 2011 Texas voter ID law discriminated against black and Latino voters, even though a federal judge found it discriminatory.
- Trump usurped the judicial process by pardoning Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who admittedly discriminated against people of color, and ordered his officers to racially profile its citizens.
- And most recently, Trump announced the ending of DACA, endangering the lives of more than 790,000 people brought here as children.
Trump's words are discouraging, but his administration's actions are alarming, undoing decades of Civil Rights progress. If his assault on minorities and acceptance of white nationalists continues, the AP Stylebook won't be the only book needing updating. So will future American history textbooks.
Contributing Editor: Joe Dennis
As a freelance journalist, Joe Dennis has been an "enemy of the American people" since 1998. Currently a college professor of mass communications at Piedmont College, Dennis is a progressive Christian who believes Jesus was the ultimate liberal, calling out conservatives, helping the poor and respecting all people. Follow him on Twitter @drjoedennis.