Whenever I see Ku Klux Klan rallies or skinheads marching, instead of hate, I am always filled with a sense of curiosity. What do white supremacists do when they’re not white-supremacy-ing? There’s only so much time one can fill denying holocausts and soaking crosses in kerosene for nighttime activities.
More important, I wonder where they work. The job market must be limited for neo-Nazis because they can’t work at Taco Bell. Even the ones who work in education, like the white supremacist principal of a predominantly black charter school, must start out somewhere.
Luckily (or unluckily), my questions have been answered. In the past few weeks, students have discovered the records of teaching assistants in the graduate programs of two major universities.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found evidence that a teaching assistant in the school’s chemistry department has a long history of hate and white supremacy, including confessing to police that he spread racist flyers around campus.
On Oct. 7, CV Vitolo Haddad, a UW doctoral candidate, published a blog post entitled “The Nazi in the Chemistry Department.” The post featured screenshots of anti-Semitic and racist social media proclamations apparently by Dylan Bleier, a graduate student at the school.
According to Haddad’s findings, Bleier left Oberlin College after he was investigated by law-enforcement authorities for going on a monthlong spree in which he vandalized the campus with swastikas and spread racist propaganda on and around the Ohio college.
Bleier printed out flyers (He says he only printed out 1,000 anti-Islam flyers as a joke, because ... you know ... no one would get the joke if he printed out 50) and professors found copies in file folders outside their offices with phrases like: “Faggots Go Against Nature! Arrest Them,” “Save Our Nation Join the Klan!” and “Celebrate Nigger History Munf [sic]! Rape a White Woman!”
In all, Bleier allegedly committed more than a dozen acts, the most prominent of which was this graffiti below:
Bleier told investigators that it was all a joke. He said he printed out a racist “niggermania” cards and left them “by accident.” He claims he put a poster with a site known for racism on someone’s door. He said he made a big Nazi flag just to “troll” people. But no, Bleier said he’s not a racist. Prosecutors eventually declined to file charges against him, because ... white privilege.
Sidenote: Part of my curiosity also makes me wonder how hate-mongers like this would be treated if, instead of spewing hate against blacks, Jews and gays, they used terms like “jihad” or defaced public property and threatened people using gang lingo. But anyway ...
Bleier eventually transferred to the University of Wisconsin, where he reportedly joined a chapter of the nonmasturbating, “alt-right” “fraternal order” called the Proud Boys. (No, that’s not a joke. They literally take a vow against jerking off. Look it up.) He continued his behavior while working as a teaching assistant in the chemistry department.
That’s when Haddad published her extensive exposé of Bleier. It quickly spread around campus, forcing the University of Wisconsin to step in. So what did the school do when it discovered that it was paying a student who had a documented record of having committed acts of intimidation and hate?
To be fair, even though the school didn’t fire him, kick him out or punish him in any way, it did remove Bleier from the classroom, which means that Wisconsin taxpayers and the students at UW are paying an alleged white supremacist to do nothing.
Bleier, in his defense, issued a statement that said, “I am not now and have never been a member of any white supremacist group.” In his statement, Bleier added that he does not “hold and have never held any white supremacist or racist or homophobic views. ... I believe in racial equality and have been an active member of White Allies Against Structural Racism and a supporter of other groups also advocating for an end to racism.”
Well, that clears everything up. Even with police evidence, traced IP addresses, countless incidents of anti-Semitism and intimidation, apparently, Dylan Bleier is not a racist simply because he says he’s not a racist.
All’s well that ends well, right?
A few days before Haddad published her post, students at Virginia Tech discovered another alleged white nationalist working as a graduate teaching assistant at their college.
As a journalist, I hesitate to call this man a white supremacist. Instead, I will let him explain his nuanced stance:
When people discovered his identity (which he didn’t really hide), the technical-writing intern employed by Virginia Tech, who also instructs freshman composition, tried to scrub his racist history from the internet:
Virginia Tech’s administration has yet to discipline the employee, but students recently protested a speech by Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands in response to the school’s inaction, according to a report in the Roanoke Times. Sands addressed the protests:
“I understand the conflict of the principles that they are raising. I feel the same way,” Sands said. “The specific concerns that they raised have to do with an individual who has professed on his own time through media his opinions, which are in stark contrast to our principles of community. We’re working through that process.” ...
“Certainly free speech, we all value that,” he said. “We also want to maintain an inclusive campus. We have our principles of community that nobody signs on to. They are just principles. Those principles and the First Amendment sometimes collide. What better laboratory to work all this out than a university campus?”
Well, there you have it. So if you’re wondering why your composition teacher gave you a bad grade on your paper about equality and justice, or why your chemistry T.A. believes that certain molecules shouldn’t mix, now you know.
After all, racists gotta eat, too.