If you need yet another reason to regret giving your dollars to Amazon to buy everything from an air purifier to a stapler (two items I have, admittedly, purchased recently from the site), a report released today charges the retail behemoth with profiting from the sale of white supremacist propaganda that, contrary to its own policy, continues to be available for purchase.
The Action Center on Race & the Economy and the Partnership for Working Families, the co-authors of the report, document how items such as a baby onesie decorated by a burning cross and a swastika-emblazoned necklace could be bought through Amazon, despite the company’s policy against selling “products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.”
The groups also allege that the company’s publishing and music platforms allow for the spread of racist and white supremacist ideology. At least seven organizations identified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center use Amazon to sell books and other reading materials, including Counter-Currents, described as a “white nationalist publishing house” by the report’s authors. Others self-publish through Amazon to put out books with titles like White Apocalypse, the plot of which revolves around “a rogue anthropologist [who] teams up with a proponent of the Solutrean Hypothesis and a fiery lawyer in order to reveal to the world the shocking truth that carries immense cultural, political, and racial significance: 17,000 years ago, white people immigrated to North and South America from Europe, and when the Amerindians arrived by crossing the Bering Strait roughly 12,000 years ago, the latter subsequently and systematically murdered the former.”
As Carrie Sloan, the research director for the Action Center on Race & the Economy told the Washington Post, “Hate movements really rely on symbolism to carry their ideologies and signal their belief systems to other members of their tribe. It’s so easy to go to Amazon and get a backpack to signal that your kid is somehow connected to neo-Nazi and white-nationalist ideology.” The two organizations are calling for Amazon to stop doing business with hate groups.
The response from Amazon has been somewhat muted. A company spokesperson told the Post that it is planning to remove music by neo-Nazi bands identified in the report from its site. And while it appears many of the items cited in the report have been removed, you can still buy a used copy of the aforementioned White Apocalypse for the low price of $299.94.