Last week, the Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board published an opinion piece on outed white nationalist and white supremacist Emily Youcis, better known as the “Pistachio Girl” from Citizens Bank Ballpark. The opinion piece titled “Firing ‘Pistachio Girl’ for comments understandable, but hard to swallow” does exactly what the title describes. It takes another step into normalizing the rhetoric white supremacists used throughout the presidential campaign.
The oped describes the Phillies off-season as “quiet” one where the boys in stripes were “batting .500.” The paper called the hiring of fan favorite John Kruk back to the booth as a color commentator a “home run,” and then in the very next sentence called Aramark’s decision to fire the white supremacist hawking pistachios a “free-speech error” that was understandable?
Understandable in what way (looking at Stu Bykofsky)?
The remaining of the editorial board’s oped is littered with drivel that takes a backseat observation to describing Youcis’ rise as a social media star amongst the white-washed, white supremacist “Neo-Nazi” movement.
I – admittedly – have maybe dedicated a total of 20 minutes of my life seeking out Youcis’ online antics that led to her firing since she became a social media cause célèbre over a month ago, but the Philadelphia Inquirer’s dismissive excuse over firing “workers [who] get punished for speaking their mind on their free time” is a dangerous attempt at normalizing racism and white supremacy. It’s like saying “hey, you can be a shitty racist outside of work on the internet and still have a job!”
(Still looking at Stu Bykofsky)
As I eluded to in the previous paragraph, the time I spent writing this story bigly eclipses the time I spent reading and watching what Youcis has said on the internet. Why? Because Emily Youcis, myself and the editorial board members at the Philadelphia Inquirer all operate within different bubbles and echo chambers. What I say here has little bearing to what Emily Youcis or her following thinks even though it can be something really important for our readership or some movement.
The day before Youcis was fired she appeared on a Youtube channel explaining how she became a “white nationalist.” In a six minute video clip, Youcis explained growing up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania how she felt shamed for growing up white in a “diverse” area and how she would be taunted by “some of the black kids” in school. She believes that she was taught that she did not have any roots or historical culture to research. Instead, the only fallback was the “Jew constructed media culture,” and said “from a young age the Jews got me good. I was self hating and had a big deep hole in my self for not having any real roots.”
This is just two minutes into the segment, and then she goes into her fascination for World War II, communism, the Bolshevik Revolution and books on Hitler and stuff at her local school library. She then proceeds to say that her sources were “kosher,” and then came to the conclusion that “all the commies were Jews. It was pretty obvious but at the time I didn’t make anything I didn’t make anything of it. ‘Oh! Jews just love communism.'” The interview continues and you can figure out where the end goes.
This dangerous – and not normal – rhetoric has been something that has literally been festering in Donald Trump’s echo chamber a long time before he announced his candidacy for president. VICE News recently published a report analyzing data exclusively provided by MIT’s Media Lab. The Electome project’s report dives into the political polarity and the echo chambers that journalists and Clinton and Trump supporters operate in on Twitter. Newsflash, they are completely segregated communities and consciously or unconsciously, the bubbles and the echo chambers that journalists and Clinton supporters were in was, for the most part, completely walled off from Trump supporters on the platform.
The glib excuse that Youcis may just be some worker spouting off personal views is dangerous in two ways. First and foremost is the most obvious. This poor excuse does nothing but normalizes racism and white supremacy in a major media market. It allows someone to say something because of their political naivete or their youth. That is not the case with Emily Youcis. She holds and articulates repulsive and not normal political views in an area where that is the norm. Secondly and not as obvious. This excuse shows how the media is going to fail us in TrumpMerica. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial board have demonstrated that they are not aware at how vast Youcis’ echo chamber is or they do not care because we live in an age where both sides in politics is given an even playing field.
The center has broke and this must not be the new normal.