July 22, 1995 in Nation/World

Kicking Up A Furor But It Was The Same Old Song And Dance From Nazis

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A hired-for-television chorus line of young women delivered a musical message Friday to racists gathering at the Aryan Nations:

“Stop! In the name of love.”

The racially mixed 12-member dance troupe was joined by an actor dressed as a rabbi and a clown handing out heart-shaped red balloons.

The performance, on the gravel road outside the entrance to the Aryan compound near Hayden Lake, was videotaped by a Fox Broadcasting crew.

It will be aired in a upcoming episode of “TV Nation,” starring Michael Moore.

The show will poke fun at racists: serenading a Ku Klux Klan rally in Georgia; dressing whites as slaves and singing the old Supremes’ hit to the Aryans.

“We’re showing love to them, even though they hate us,” said one dancer, an 18-year-old black woman who will be a senior at Shadle Park High School. “For me, doing this is personal because I’ve been ridiculed by these kind of people my entire life.”

The event was political-musical bizarreness never before seen in North Idaho.

While the leg-kicking chorus line danced to a version of “Stop! In the Name of Love” blaring over a boombox, gunshots rang out from an adjoining farm field.

Target practice, every one nervously assumed.

Actor Gene Engene of Cheney couldn’t find a yarmulke for his role as rabbi, so one-half of a black D-cup bra was improvised for the skullcap. A bit too small, it was held to his head with duct tape.

Looking toward the entrance of the Aryan Nations, Engene intoned a Hebrew peace prayer: “May there be peace for all of us.”

The commotion at the compound’s main gate eventually drew a response from Nazis and white supremacists attending this weekend’s Aryan World Congress. But Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler, hosting the event, didn’t bite for the TV opportunity.

On his behalf, a contingent of 20 skinheads and Aryans walked down to the gate. They responded with nasty stares, stiff-arm salutes, middle-finger waves and “Heil, Hitler!” shouts.

One stern-looking skinhead with plenty of tattoos spit directly into the camera lens of a Fox photographer.

When the skinheads and Aryans approached, two young black women in the troupe stopped dancing and appeared scared.

“I’m not dancing in front of them,” said one, sipping bottled water in the hot sun.

The dancers, members of Class Act troupe in Spokane, were hired earlier in the week by Fox. Many said they thought the concept was a joke.

“I said, ‘No way, I don’t want to be associated with those people”’ at Aryan Nations, said dancer Stacy Olenoski, a 17-year-old senior at Lewis and Clark.

“Then, when I saw the concept was to promote love with people and not hate, I changed my mind,” she said.

Butler and his followers had promised to provide the public spectacle at this year’s gathering.

Last year, he and second-incommand Tim Bishop said they would get a permit for a parade of 500 Nazis and Aryans down Sherman Avenue in Coeur d’Alene.

“We’ll do it next year,” Bishop said, explaining that the parade will take most of a day to stage.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 3 Photos (2 Color)


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