If W.E.B. Du Bois could call himself black, then I could be white. Fuck it.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-07-23 01:14Z by Steven

The only tribe I’d ever identified with was the punk rock scene. The few kids up north I had punk rock in common with also happened to be white, and soon I was the half-white kid who hung out with the whites. I’d been mistaken for Italian in New York and New Jersey before, and I’d always corrected whoever said it. I had read about Creoles, who must have looked like me, and I thought about how nice it must have been to live somewhere where everyone around you wouldn’t question what you are, because you’re all the same thing. Here, in prison, I was accepted as white, and as time went on, I seemed unable or unwilling to correct anyone on it, thinking it would complicate things. I was tired of the ambiguities my appearance presented and decided I wouldn’t tell anyone anymore about “my dark side.” If W.E.B. Du Bois could call himself black, then I could be white. Fuck it.

Leo Oladimu [Leo Felton], as told to Shawna Kenney, “I Was a Black Nazi Skinhead,” Narratively, November 12, 2018. https://narratively.com/i-was-a-black-nazi-skinhead/.

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I Was a Black Nazi Skinhead

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-07-22 22:02Z by Steven

I Was a Black Nazi Skinhead


Story by Leo Oladimu [Leo Felton], as told to Shawna Kenney

Illustration by Ben Passmore

When I went to prison I was black. By the time I got out 11 years later I was crazy, fascist and white.

A framed photo of American fascist Francis Parker Yockey glared down at me from a wall in my two-room studio in Boston’s North End. Next to me was a 50-pound bag of ammonium nitrate and other materials that I planned to make into package bombs and hand deliver to the offices of a short list of organizations I felt were at war with my culture.

Below me was the naked, athletic body of my 21-year-old comrade in arms. We’d just had sex, and I was as consumed by the tattoo covering her back as I was with the girl herself. Four black hatchets, bound together at the handles, formed the most beautifully rendered swastika I’d ever seen.

I hadn’t told her I was black. In a few months, though, she would learn my secret — along with the rest of the world — and I would begin my trip out of the most batshit-crazy ideological corner anyone has ever painted themselves into

Leo Oladimu in prison. (2014-04-18)

Read the entire article here.

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Felton is in many ways a historical hiccup, a throwback to a bygone racial trope: the “tragic mulatto” of books like Mark Twain’s “Pudd’nhead Wilson” and William Faulkner’s “Light in August.” Like so many terrorists, he was a man at war not just with the government but with history itself.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-08-16 02:10Z by Steven

[Leo] Felton’s subterranean journey into whiteness came during a historical moment in which many Americans, particularly those of his generation, were redefining their races in a very different way from the way Felton did: identifying themselves, in growing numbers, as multiracial. Multiracial activism flourished during the 90’s, with marches in Washington, magazines dedicated to interracial couples and a successful lobbying effort to include more complicated definitions of race on the 2000 Census form. (Seven million Americans ultimately chose to identify themselves by more than one race in that census.) Felton is in many ways a historical hiccup, a throwback to a bygone racial trope: the “tragic mulatto” of books like Mark Twain’sPudd’nhead Wilson” and William Faulkner’sLight in August.” Like so many terrorists, he was a man at war not just with the government but with history itself.

Paul Tough, “The Black Supremacist,” The New York Times Magazine, May 25, 2003. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/25/magazine/the-black-supremacist.html.

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The Black Supremacist

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-08-16 01:49Z by Steven

The Black Supremacist

The New York Times Magazine

Paul Tough

Leo Felton walked out of prison on Jan. 28, 2001, looking like a man ready to take his place in American society. He had spent 11 years in the custody of the state, but now, at 30, he had served his time and seemed ready to settle down. He moved into the apartment that his wife, Lisa, had found for them in Ipswich, an old-fashioned New England town north of Boston. He got a decent job doing construction. It was a cold winter, but Lisa and Leo took walks in the woods together and rode their bicycles all over town.

Felton managed to stay free for only three months. He is back in prison now, beginning a 21-year sentence for crimes he committed after his release. The prosecutor in the case said in court that Felton was a racial terrorist, that he had been “plotting to use violent terrorist actions, like blowing up the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., in the hope and belief that such actions would spark and ignite a racial war, a racial holy war, that would bring about this new, all-white nation.” In a letter that Felton wrote to the judge, after he was found guilty, he confirmed that his ultimate goal was to establish “a politically and territorially autonomous White nation somewhere in North America.” He wrote that given the way things had looked to him at the time he got out of prison, he wasn’t able to see any path that seemed like “an honorable alternative to armed revolt.”…

I recently went to visit Felton in prison in Massachusetts (the only time we met face to face over the course of several months of conversation by phone), and we talked for half an hour through an inch-thick slice of Plexiglas, each of us with a phone held up to an ear. Felton is a lean, tall, imposing man with tattoos up and down each arm and the word “skinhead” inked into his shaved scalp in inch-high Gothic letters. His gaze was intent, and his vivid, expressive face shifted rapidly from humor to anger and back again; his voice was loud and deep, and his speech carried within it all the contradictions of the jailhouse autodidact. He swore frequently, turning venomous when talking about the “maggots” guarding the maximum-security wing of the prison where he was being held. But when our conversation shifted to politics or books or an article he had enjoyed in the latest New Yorker, his vocabulary blossomed with words like “aegis” and “Weltanschauung” and references to Dostoevsky.

If you know Leo Felton’s story, it is difficult, when you first meet him, to concentrate on anything other than his appearance. It’s not just the tattoos. He has spent many years devoted to the idea of racial separation, to the belief that Americans should be divided by the color of their skin. But his own appearance is hard to define. His skin is olive-colored. His features are angular. It’s not hard to believe what he wrote in a letter to a racist friend just before he got out of prison, that he is “¼ English and ¾ Italian.”

But, in fact, he is the product of a short-lived and idealistic late-60’s marriage between a white former nun named Corinne Vincelette and a black architect named Calvin Felton. That is Leo Felton’s biological reality, despite his elaborate attempt, over the last decade, to rebel against it. It is a reality that he blames for many of the wrong turns that his life has taken, a reality that he successfully shielded from his brothers in the movement for years, a reality that only now, back in prison, is he trying to understand in a new way…

Read the entire article here.

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Hey – Are You White?

Posted in Articles, Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2014-10-09 00:34Z by Steven

Hey – Are You White?

The Austin Chronicle
Austin, Texas

Wayne Alan Brenner, Arts Listings Editor

And what, if anything, do you intend to do about it?

Black may be beautiful, but here’s a somewhat paler man who’s been involved with the uglier parts of the White Power movement. His name is Wesley Connor and he’s the main character in a new drama called Am I White by Austin playwright Adrienne Dawes. And this Connor guy is based on a real, actual person: A man named Leo Felton.

Note: The real guy, Felton, is in prison (not for the first time) as of this writing, sent up for armed robbery and allegations of planning to bomb the Holocaust Museum, and will likely remain there for a couple dozen years or more.

Thing is, this White Power guy, he’s … well, he’s actually of mixed race himself. And this fact was publicized during news coverage of his indictment. And so, back in the harsh black-and-white world of the lock-up, things are now a bit more let’s say problematic for him on a day-to-day basis. Not to mention what might be going on inside the man’s own skull: How does he square all this cognitively dissonant bullshit away?…

Read the entire article here.

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In a new play, Adrienne Dawes delves into racial identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2014-10-02 02:22Z by Steven

In a new play, Adrienne Dawes delves into racial identity

Austin American-Statesman
Austin, Texas

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, Reporter/Arts Critic

Before the dialogue begins, before the first stage direction is explained, the complexities of race and racial identity percolate up from the script of “Am I White,” a new play by Austin writer Adrienne Dawes.

Take the cast list: “Wesley Connor, biracial (passes as white), member of the White Order of Thule,” “Ryan Cahill, white, member of the Aryan Brotherhood” and “Justine Ramos, biracial (could pass as black).”

Ricocheting back and forth in time, seguing into nightmarish scenes played out as a disturbing minstrel show, “Am I White” tells the story of an imprisoned neo-Nazi convicted of plotting terrorist acts who must confront his own mixed-race heritage.

Directed by Jenny Larson, “Am I White” opened Wednesday for a three-week run at Salvage Vanguard Theater.

“Am I White” is based on the true story of Leo Felton, a white supremacist who hid his own mixed-race identity as the child of a short-lived idealistic Civil Rights-era marriage between a black architect and a white former nun…

Read the entire review here.

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“Am I White” by Adrienne Dawes

Posted in Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2014-09-28 20:12Z by Steven

“Am I White” by Adrienne Dawes

Salvage Vanguard Theater Presents the Word Premiere of Am I White by Adrienne Dawes

Performances run October 1- 18, 2014
VIP Opening Night Performance: October 4, 2014

Salvage Vanguard Theater
2803 Manor Road
Austin, Texas 78722
Telephone: (512) 474-SVT-6 (474-7886)

Salvage Vanguard Theater announces the third and final MADE IN THE SVT production of its 20th anniversary season: the world premiere of Am I White by local playwright Adrienne Dawes, directed by Jenny Larson.

When Neo-Nazi terrorist Wesley Connor returns to prison after a failed bomb plot, he is confronted with the two identities that threaten his position within the White Order of Thule most: fatherhood and his own mixed race heritage.

Wesley Connor first entered the prison system at age 19. He became a member of the White Order of Thule, quickly rising the ranks of the “esoteric brotherhood working toward the revitalization of the Culture-Soul of the European people.” Within months of his release from prison, Wesley and teenage girlfriend Polly were arrested exchanging counterfeit bills at an ice cream shop. The subsequent search of their apartment found bomb-making materials, illegal weapons and plans that targeted the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

Inspired by the true story of Leo Felton and Erica Chase, Am I White travels between recurring dream and minstrel show nightmare to discover if a singular self exists in an alleged “post-racial” America…

For more information, click here.

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The Coming MiscegeNation?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2011-02-15 02:12Z by Steven

The Coming MiscegeNation?


Marcia Alesan Dawkins, Visiting Scholar
Brown University

It’s official. We’re a “miscegeNation.” The 2010 Census results are reminding us that multiracialism is not only our destiny but our reality. We’re seeing the rise of the most diverse cohort of youth in the nation’s history with a record low white population—the millennials. According to The New York Times, “Young Americans are far less white than older generations, a shift that demographers say creates a culture gap with far-reaching political and social consequences.”…

…Does today’s focus on multiracialism mean that we’re finally seeing the end of racism? Or does it mean that racism has simply gone underground?

The answer depends largely on talking and to whom we talk. Many would like to believe that our comfort with categorizing people as multiracial has erased racism and the stigma of interracial relations. Here is a perfect example: In defending herself and the tea party against the NAACP’s charges of racism, Sarah Palin calls on her own multiracial family as evidence in a Facebook post titled “The Charge of Racism: It’s Time to Bury the Divisive Politics of the Past”:…

…Translation: Multiracial families bestow the skill of racial reconciliation that will result in the end of racism. What is more, multiracial families can even promote the end of race. Palin is not the only one who expresses such views. The politically correct lip service that says that multiracial individuals and families are not racist and naturally racially progressive abounds in the press and blogosphere.

This sexy-but-flawed way of thinking is based totally on appearances. Because of our nation’s history of slavery, segregation and interment, racism is conflated with physical racial separation. As a consequence racial progress is conflated with racial mixing. Multiracial individuals and interracial families are touted as icons of racial healing because they are thought to have special insights based on what they are—mixed. In his 2008 “A More Perfect Union” speech, President Obama addressed how absurd this kind of thinking is. He said that his grandmother “once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.” The president also implied that the idea of multiracials ending racism ignores the fact that interracial romantic relationships still experience higher rates of failure and divorce than same-sex relationships (i.e., his own parents’ divorce; Halle Berry’s and Gabriel Aubry’s custody battle over their daughter, Nahla).

If we still think that being multiracial or being part of a multiracial family automatically ends racism, then we must consider the cases of Lawrence Dennis and Leo Felton. Dennis, the multiracial right-wing fascist, was charged with sedition for allegedly seeking to establish a Nazi regime in the U.S. during World War II. Felton, a multiracial white supremacist, was convicted of bank robbery and plotting to blow up Jewish and African-American landmarks around Boston. The child of an interracial couple, Felton wrote a letter in which he criticized his parents and said he is “an unrepentant enemy of the multicultural myth.” Multiracial backgrounds did not encourage these men to become racial healers…

Read the entire article here.

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