The angry white men who congregated in Charlottesville last month were widely described as “Nazis”, a usage for which there are arguments both for and against. On the one hand, these people love swastikas, chant things like “blood and soil”, and hate Jews and black people, which definitely seems pretty Nazi. On the other hand, to call them “Nazis” is a convenient “othering” that refuses to acknowledge their identity as Americans, standing in the US’s own proud tradition of violent racism that includes for example the Ku Klux Klan. The unfortunate truth is that nazism does not exhaust the scope of possible human evil.
What, then, about “white nationalists” or “white supremacists”? Such terms certainly seem more coolly analytical than “fascists” or “Nazis”, though it might be seen as a problem that they both contain the word “white”, and so implicitly acquiesce in the underlying idea that skin colour is really important. And “white supremacist” itself (from 1896) was formed from the earlier phrase “white supremacy” (1824), and thus carries within it the exact noxious ideology that opponents wish to denounce.
to congregate se réunir / swastika croix gammée / to chant scander / blood and soil slogan nazi (Blut und Boden, "le sang et le sol") / pretty assez / convenient commode / othering stigmatisation d'autrui / to acknowledge reconnaître / unfortunate truth triste vérité / to exhaust épuiser / scope champ, portée.
coolly froidement / underlying sous-jacent / phrase expression / noxious nocif, délétère.