Trending: β€˜white supremacist’

Lookups spiked 4,000% on September 30, 2020

Why are people looking up white supremacist?

As the dust settled from the vitriolic first presidential debate, President Trump was asked to clarify his refusal to denounce white supremacists when specifically asked to do so by moderator Chris Wallace, leading to this exchange:

WALLACE: Then do it, sir.

BIDEN: Do it. Say it.

TRUMP: You want to call them? What do you want to call them? Give me a name, give me a name, go ahead β€” who would you like me to condemn?

WALLACE: White supremacists, white supremacists and right-wing militia.

TRUMP: Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.

Journalists asked President Trump the next day, September 30, 2020, and even some Republican politicians went on the record to say that the president should have condemned white supremacists. The commentary on the debate and Trump's responses kept the term in the news and in dictionary lookups for another day.

President Trump, speaking to reporters, said that he didn't know of one of the groups that he had been asked about.

What does white supremacist mean?

The definition of white supremacist is: "a person who believes that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races."

What is notable about this use of white supremacist?

White supremacist is not labeled as "offensive" in our dictionaries, because evidence shows that although it is used to describe a person espousing an idea which is viewed as offensive by many, the words themselves are intended to be descriptive and accurate, rather than pejorative. We do not provide labels for ideas that are offensive.

Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.

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