About a week after students turned up in Snapchat photos last month giving the sieg heil salute to red Solo cups arranged in the shape of a swastika, white supremacist propaganda turned up on the Newport Harbor High School campus.
That revelation came in a Monday report on the LAist website and KPCC (89.3-FM) radio with the headline, “How White Supremacists are Recruiting Educated ‘Normies’ Around LA.”
The same story reports that white-power posters have turned up at UC Irvine and Saddleback College in Mission Viejo as well as on the streets of Orange and Anaheim.
These incidents have more to do with a national trend than they do with the Harbor High scandal—which my colleague Gabriel San Roman covered with followups on a solidarity rally by Orange County Jews; Holocaust survivor and Anne Frank’s stepsister speaking with Harbor High parents and students; and a swastika partygoer’s mother sending the Weekly an open letter.
“There’s been a major recruiting effort in the white supremacy, white nationalist movement over the past few years, especially in California,” says Lowell Smith, a former Orange County Probation Department terrorism liaison officer who’s now a criminologist studying extremist groups at La Sierra University in Riverside, in the LAist/KPCC piece.
“They’re looking for the educated people, not the uneducated, and not the criminals. You’re talking about people who have legitimate jobs, or college students, college graduates. And then, they try to use that base to legitimize their movement.”
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.