Recently Dayanna Volitich, a Florida middle school teacher, was “removed from the classroom.” Her offense? Not sexual contact with students. Not furnishing students with alcohol or drugs. Not profanity in the classroom. Her crime was expressing “white nationalist” views outside the classroom. Under a pseudonym, Volitich utilized Twitter and podcasts to expound her ideas. I have not sampled any of that material, and so I cannot offer a blanket defense of Volitich. However, this case is important for reinforcing a lesson we all probably have learned by now: the “conversation” is over.
Remember when any racially charged incident prompted all kinds of noble rhetoric about having a “national conversation” about race? The things the media quote Volitich as saying are of the nature of making serious contribution to such a “conversation.” But instead they present Volitich’s statements as evidence that she is not fit to teach school. The NBC article quotes from a Volitich podcast, “So many other researchers have already looked into this. That’s just the way it is. There are races that have higher IQs than others.” This is not the raving of a hater. Indeed, the 1994 book The Bell Curve, by Drs. Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, presents scientific evidence and argument for what Volitich states. By any standard this ought to be taken as credible contribution to a “national conversation.” Also, The Huffington Post helpfully has provided screenshots of some of Volitich’s Twitter input: “It isn’t supremacist or hateful to prefer your own people over others.” “You know America’s education system is designed to enable victimization when teachers are forced to learn about institutional racism and prove it’s real when it isn’t.” “White privilege? Prove to me that it exists.” “What does having compassion have to do with the fact that systemic racism and white privilege aren’t real?” Huffington Post says these are examples of Volitich’s “racist and incendiary statements.” According to them it is “racist and incendiary” to claim that a preference to associate with people like yourself is not motivated by hatred. It is, in their view, “racist and incendiary” to question the dogmas of “institutional racism” and “white privilege.” In other words, you are not allowed to contribute to the “national conversation” unless your remarks are HuffPo-preapproved. Perhaps Volitich’s remarks employ some hyperbole. But twenty years ago the political establishment was urging us to be “frank” and “honest” in our contributions to the “conversation.”
Back in 1997 President Bill Clinton launched a “national conversation on race” initiative. In introductory remarks to a “town hall” meeting in Akron, Ohio, he urged the participants, “You’ve got to imagine that we’re at a cafe downtown, sitting around a table drinking coffee together. Forget about the fact that all these people are staring at you and you’re on television. Don’t say this in the way you think it’s most proper. Say this—whatever you have to say—in the way you think is most honest so that we can move forward together.” In 2009 Attorney General Eric Holder gave his famous “Nation of Cowards” speech. We are cowards, he said, because we “…do not talk enough with each other about race.” He exhorted us that, “…if we are to make progress in this area we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us.”
That is very appealing rhetoric, isn’t it? The trouble is, when people like Volitich speak frankly about what they honestly think instead of trying to spin it in a way that is “most proper,” they are censored and persecuted. Not only is Volitich not allowed to contribute to the “conversation,” she also is not allowed to teach school. This didn’t begin with Volitich, and it certainly will not end with her. The same Huffington Post article on Volitich also reported that in June 2017, Nicholas Dean was fired from his position of principal at the Crescent Leadership Academy in New Orleans because he was seen outside school wearing a ring with the Iron Cross symbol. And in August 2017, Greg Conte was fired from teaching and coaching at the Academy of the Holy Cross in Maryland because administrators learned that he was associated with the National Policy Institute. Clearly, the “conversation” is over.
In his 2013 remarks following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, President Obama basically admitted that the “conversation” is over: “There has been talk about should we convene a conversation on race. I haven’t seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have.” A 2016 piece in the New York Times explored the recent history of “national conversations” and argued that they are “futile.” The days of the “national conversation” are past. Speaking of being “locked into positions,” the radical Left has its social and political orthodoxy firmly locked into place. There is no further opportunity for input or dialog. Just last year, The Bell Curve co-author Dr. Charles Murray was violently attacked on an American college campus, where he was invited to speak, because those expounding the new orthodoxy found it virtuous to oppose him by whatever means. Their signs read “No Hate Here” as they gave full vent to their hatred of him. The hypocrisy is stunning, but one must remember that when one has bought into an orthodoxy, then “tolerance” operates only within the sphere of that orthodoxy. Within the sphere of their own orthodoxy, the Left thinks it is virtuous to persecute whites and Christians. And the very things they persecute whites for, they see as noble and heroic when expressed by blacks.
Consider the case of Valerie Starks’s editorial in the Central Florida Focus. The Central Florida Focus is the online student journal of the University of Central Florida. The graphic header shows an all-black group with clenched fists raised on outstretched arms. But that is not racist or incendiary, right? Starks begins by asserting that she is proud to be black. But that is not racist or incendiary, right? She states, “For me, celebrating black people, our history and our culture is a radical act.” But surely that is not racist or incendiary, right? She says, “I choose to celebrate my people and heritage every day of the year.” But there is nothing racist or incendiary about that, right? She quotes the words of Carter G. Woodson, founder of Negro History Week, “If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” This must never be allowed to happen to the black race, right? But it is a racist and incendiary statement to say that it must never happen to the white race either. Right?
Many more examples of the same kind of thing could be compiled from current events and popular literature. But we have seen enough to make the point. The “conversation” is over. The Left evidently feels that it has sufficient grip on the general public mood that it now is safe to shut down the “conversation.” The NBC article quoted the remarks of Meredith Bleakley, mother of one of Volitich’s students: “They were talking about segregation in a civil rights type of capacity, and the teacher somewhat alluded that segregation might possibly be OK in her opinion. This is not what this community stands for. This is a small town, so it’s very upsetting to find out that this is going on in our school system.” You would think they found out that Volitich was operating a drug or prostitution ring out of her classroom. Oh, it is all so “very upsetting.” But I have not read of anyone being “upset” about what the Central Florida Focus published. No one that I know of lost his job over the decision to print those “racist and incendiary” remarks. The Leftist orthodoxy is firmly locked in and the “conversation” is over. If I say the wrong thing, I’ll be out of a job.