Chet Hanks, the son of famous actor Tom Hanks, initially used the phrase “white boy summer” in a lighthearted and playful manner. However, the term has been taken up by white supremacists and hate groups worldwide, causing controversy and backlash.

In the spring of 2021, Chet Hanks posted statements and a music video featuring the phrase “white boy summer,” which led to confusion and discomfort among many. The phrase has now been co-opted by hate groups, according to a report by the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism.

The slogan “white boy summer” has been widely shared on platforms like Telegram, where it is used by far-right groups to recruit members, plan protests, and incite violence against marginalized communities, such as immigrants and L.G.B.T.Q. individuals. Many now interpret the phrase as a celebration of white masculinity that excludes and marginalizes women and people of color.

The meme has transitioned from the online fringes to the political mainstream, with figures like podcaster Jack Posobiec, associated with white supremacists by the Southern Poverty Law Center, displaying a banner with “white boy summer” at a conservative event in Detroit attended by former President Donald J. Trump and several members of Congress.

The appropriation of the phrase by hate groups has raised concerns about the spread of racism and extremism in society. It serves as a reminder of the power of language and symbols in shaping public discourse and attitudes towards different communities.

As the controversy surrounding “white boy summer” continues to unfold, it underscores the importance of challenging and confronting hate speech and discriminatory attitudes in order to foster a more inclusive and respectful society for all individuals, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation.