Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post

Haddy the Hebrew: I will not reclaim the echo

There seems to be a never ending list of Nazi dog whistles. From things like Bored Ape Yacht Club (which is debatable) to HH/88, the list can feel like it stretches on forever. Like many marginalized groups, there has been somewhat of an effort for Jews to reclaim slurs or targeted language. 

One such effort is soon in the reclamation of the “echo.” An echo, in dog whistle terminology,  is when three sets of parentheses appear around a name or a word. This is done either to signify that an institution is controlled by Jews, or that a person is Jewish. For example, (((bank))) or (((George Soros))). If the echoes are placed around a term or phrase, then it is meant to alert readers that the word “Jewish” should be placed in front of it, like (((banker))). 

The dog whistle is said to originate from a 2014 episode of a podcast called "The Daily Shoah," an alt-right program associated with the site the Right Stuff. In the episode, a cartoonish echo was played when a Jewish name was said. The parentheses was developed as a visual representation of that echo. 

It may seem like the sound effect and visual representation of an echo are random, but the echo is a deliberate choice. The Right Stuff’s lexicon contains the explanation that “all Jewish surnames echo throughout history. The echoes repeat the sad tale as they communicate the emotional lessons of our great white sins, imploring us to Never Forget the Six GoRillion." This statement claims that Jews have had an undue amount of influence which altered the course of history, and also delegitimizes the Holocaust through the term Six GoRillion.

Typically, dogwhistles are something that remain in-group. Many go undetected or entirely unseen by the majority of the world. However, a New York Times editor brought some awareness when he wrote an article about his experience being targeted by antisemitic tweets in 2016. But what really caused the echo to gain popularity and infamy was a Google Chrome plug-in. This plug-in contained a link to a database of Jewish individuals. When installed, the plug-in would automatically put echoes around the names of Jews, making this a convenient way for antisemites to be in the know about who is and isn’t Jewish. Once the plug-in was brought to popular attention, Google shut it down. 

In response to the article and the plug-in, some Twitter and Instagram users started putting the echos around their own name, to signal that they were allies with the Jewish community or were Jewish themselves. Alternatively, some started putting reverse echoes around their name, which looked like )))Jane Doe(((. In a counter-counter-response, alt-right members also began to put reverse echoes around their name in order to signal that they were not Jewish or that they were antisemitic. 

My first exposure to the echo happened in around 2016 when I was seeing a massive response to the Chrome plug-in. I will admit that I was sucked in by the outrage of my internet peers and began putting the triple parentheses around my name as well. However, as I got older and researched more, I decided to stop. I still see other Jewish internet users putting their names in echoes, but I am now heavily disturbed by it. 

I believe that there is a certain power in reclaiming slurs or other “codes'' that were created to harm. But, the echo and its reverse is still very much in popular use by the alt-right. To put the triple parentheses around my own name would feel like putting a target on my back. It is already easy enough to figure out that I’m Jewish, so putting the echo on my social media would not be giving anyone any hard-to-find information. The echo feels like it's an admission of guilt of some sort. Its origins are in deeply antisemitic alt-right media which is still producing content, and the use of the echo is very modern and still widely utilized by antisemites. I do not feel that there has been enough time since the origination of this dog whistle to make it something I am comfortable using. Maybe in several decades’ time it will feel acceptable to me, but for now it is something that I maintain a deep wariness of. 

Hadass Galili is a senior studying political science pre-law at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Hadass by tweeting her at @HadassGalili

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH