Hate Speech or ‘Reasonable Racism’? The Other in Stormfront

We use the construct of the “other” to explore how hate operates rhetorically within the virtual conclave of Stormfront, credited as the first hate Web site. Through the Internet, white supremacists create a rhetorical vision that resonates with those who feel marginalized by contemporary political, social, and economic forces. However, as compared to previous studies of on-line white supremacist rhetoric, we show that Stormfront discourse appears less virulent and more palatable to the naive reader. We suggest that Stormfront provides a “cyber transition” between traditional hate speech and “reasonable racism,” a tempered discourse that emphasizes pseudo- rational discussions of race, and subsequently may cast a wider net in attracting audiences.

Tags: Discourse Analysis, Extreme Right, Hate Speech