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The All-Seeing Eye

The All-Seeing Eye

Display and Surveillance

(p.112) 05 The All-Seeing Eye
The Aliites
Spencer Dew
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines Aliite engagement with surveillance, from public performances of Aliite nationality through garb and parades to Aliite responses to the constant accusation that such performance of identity is, in fact, a masquerade. Examining Aliite claims about and performance of true identity, this chapter draws a parallel between Aliite visual display and the practice of “masking” engaged in by Mardi Gras Indians before turning to Aliite understandings of and responses to the gaze of the state, from MSTA responses to investigations by federal law enforcement to Yamassee emphasis on use of public media to Washitaw faith in FBI surveillance as a path to state recognition. The chapter concludes with a note on Aliite investment in self-surveillance, on the use of cell phone cameras both to document displays of identity and as protection against state violence.

Keywords:   surveillance, masking, performance, Moorish Science Temple of America, Nuwaubian Yamassee, Malachi Z York, Washitaw de Dugdahmoundyah, FBI, Mardi Gras Indians

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