It is the second year of our Blessed Orangeness’ reign and here on the ground things are still just as bizarre and migraine-inducing as ever. This last week, Dayanna Volitich, a Florida teacher, was uncovered and denounced as a member of the alt-right. Nothing occurred in the classroom but she was found to be running an alt-right podcast called “Unapologetic”. She subsequently was removed from her post. This comes as no surprise in a state where the alleged Florida-Man runs amok, accosting well-meaning citizens, rifling through garbage, and devouring the faces of those uninitiated into the insidious rites of bath salts. I was nonplussed when the news of Volitich reached my phone. In a state where a citizen may open-carry and openly take the life of an unarmed, black child, anything most go when it comes to extremist opinions on ethnics and “the gays”. Yet questions began to seep into my brain, unfiltered and with a morbid sense of curiosity. This woman was taxed with the upbringing of the youth, who are often impressionable when concerning radicalizing ideas. Only time will tell if her opinions are protected under our sacrosanct constitution (spoiler: they are). But the black paranoia was already bubbling in my mind. Volitich stated on her podcast that she tried to inject her class room with her backwards ass views and encouraged other white supremacists to try to get jobs as teachers. The scenario reminded me of the honored pastime of white supremacists known as “ghost skinning”. Unfortunately, it is difficult to land a job when you are wearing the spooky regalia of one of the oldest fraternities in the grand U-S-of-A. So white supremacists developed a term for going deep undercover. Ghost skinning. The act of donning the costume of a reasonable human being and entering into the workplace, specifically positions of power and civic duty. I have been told for many years that I am merely a black conspiracy theorist. Instead of searching for the hidden bunkers of Area 51, I’m convinced that some teachers, politicians, and police officers are card wielding members of the Klu Klux Klan. This does injustice to my very real worry. A worry that is substantiated by history. To look at our current news concerning identity politics and fuck-all white nationalists requires a heavy dose of the past. But we are a young country with the collective memory of an Alzheimer’s patient. We remember nothing other than our founding daddies, pertinent and homophobic scriptures from the New Testament, and the number of seasons of Friends.
First it is necessary to voice the arbitrary distinctions of white nationalists. For it is a distinction that they wield with great authority and power. When local news decries that a Klanswoman is a social studies teacher, the brown and black people of the neighborhood are likely to roll into PTA meetings, torches blazing, sickles in each hand, and blood on their snarling lips, demanding justice. This cannot be allowed. Instead, the teacher is a part of the alt-right, a cleaned up version of the hooded menace who are rooted in the collective memory of every black of this country. There are three major distinctions. The alt-right consists predominately of white nationalists who espouse the typical racist drivel of Klansfolk but through the use of twitter, 4chan, and other social media outlets. They trade in memes which distill their simple hatred to even simpler terms. Richard Spencer, their unofficial leader, was slugged in the face while explaining to a reporter the importance of the Pepe meme. The second group is the Alt-light. A more socially acceptable version of the same claptrap but sans the outright ethnic hate. See Milo Yiannopoulos and Briebart. Steve Bannon line-dances this distinction with the poise and grace of a belligerent drunkard. The alt-light screech that they’re merely trolls trying to rile up the soft-skinned left. For a time, the alt-right declared these timid folk as “cucks” for not being bold enough to outright call the kettle a nigger. But times are a’changing and the alt-right has embraced such light avenues as prime recruiting ground. Baby food for the white nationalists who haven’t gotten enough teeth to chew on their desire for mass genocide. Both the Alt-right and light claim their antics are merely irony or satire. A similar claim that Volitich made when she was outed. The last distinction is full-on white supremacist. Folks such as the KKK. I really don’t believe that I have to explain this one. They like flaming crosses, lynching black people, and have a unhealthy fixation on Jehovah’s chosen people.
The distinctions are important to this ghost skinning business but only politically. That’s because the government only closely watches one of these groups: outright KKK members but this was not always the case. There was a point where the fuzz was watching a broader swath of racists. In 2006, the FBI released a document called “The White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement”. It is stated in this document that “White supremacist leaders and groups have historically shown an interest in infiltrating law enforcement communities or recruiting law enforcement personnel”. Briefly after Obama took office, a study was released by the Department of Homeland Security which stated “that small terrorist cells embracing violent right-wing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States”. This report was made when the USA was seeing a massive increase in small, racially motivated militia. But the report didn’t go over well due to it mentioning that white nationalists often targeted former military and had considerable luck with the strategy. Conservatives threw a fit and the unit responsible for investigating these bastions of American ideals was disbanded. The document disowned.
It is not illegal to be a part of the Klu Klux Klan and you cannot fire someone in the public sector for political opinions. Private sector, yes. But the public sector and unionized workers have certain protections for the free speech and unsavory opinions of employees. These opinions can be as benign as flat-earth theory or as demented as holocaust denial. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But it is naive to assume the opinions of individuals won’t bleed into their work place, specifically when these individuals are responsible for areas in life that are deeply tainted by America’s special strain of racism. For every cop that pulls over a black person driving a Cadillac and accuses them of smuggling weed (my personal experience four times during a one year period while living in La Mirada, CA), there is an officer who openly abuses their power in ways that are nearly too diabolical to believe. Yet it happens. Jon Burge, a Chicago detective who was under suspicion of having ties to the KKK, tortured blacks with what he affectionately referred to as his “nigger box”, an electric shock device. He was responsible for the torture of over 200 black men and implicit in the unlawful jailing and death row sentence of countless others. Burge served a four-and-a-half-year sentence and was released in 2014. He still collects his police pension and now resides in the Holy State of Oranges.
Opinions bleed. They are not separate from individuals or the actions which individuals make. Take the outlawed practice of redlining. In 1935, the National Housing Act was created. The act was passed so that housing could be more affordable to the mass populace. But this was a time of intense racial unrest and prejudices. The enacting of this act was where things got dubious and interesting. Private organizations created maps that detailed the racial populations of cities, encouraging banks to prioritize loans to affluent, white neighborhoods over those of poorer blacks. Eventually this snowballed so that banks were not offering loans or services to individuals who lived in the areas that were “redlined” on the map. It is doubtful that any of the legislators of the act were Klanspeople. It was, in fact, a legislation made in good spirit. Likewise, it is unlikely that any of the individuals who denied loans to blacks were actively engaged in mass lynchings or cross burning. But it didn’t matter. Their opinions on the moral integrity of blacks contributed to the underdevelopment of black neighborhoods and eventually created pockets of inequality across this sacred land of the opportunity.
Schools are the final frontier of race politics. Needn’t I remind the faithful reader of the time that Malcolm X told his teacher that he wanted to be a lawyer and she reminded him that he was black and that he might want to make his dreams a little bit more realistic. We should not pretend that these things do not happen. During high school, I was told by my principal that I would not be able to keep up with the AP Lit students. When my mother asked for a reason, the principal suggested it was because of my “background”. All this from Christ-fearing South Africans. I was as surprised as I know you are, dear and faithful reader.
So what happens when teachers of perverse racial opinions leak into our schools? It is not a question worth asking. They’re already there. It is impossible to screen for such a thing. The real question is what level of value are we going to apply to the variations of white supremacy that a teacher is allowed to agree with or actively espouse on their spare time? We already see how this plays out in schools. We will see as this strange case goes further, most likely fading into the ether. Volitich will be my personal case study. It would be terrible if our current political climate prevented a teacher from inspiring the youth due to a little inconvenience such as vomiting hate speech. These are fearful times to be aware. The nuances are coming to the forefront and it does not seem as if many of us are equipped for the conversation. Most likely, there will be silence. We will be told to continue ignoring racists because by speaking about them, we are giving them power. And they will continue to quietly indoctrinate our children, to unfairly jail our brothers and sisters, and to deny us services that are the right of every citizen of this god-damn country. It isn’t the white hood that makes a racist, it’s the black heart. Unfortunately, we don’t see color in this country anymore.