Posters proclaiming “It’s OK to be White” have been spotted on college campuses and city streets across the U.S. this week, sparking outrage and fueling racial tensions as intended.
The signage, prompted by a comment posted to anonymous Internet forum “4Chan” last month, encouraged users to post the fliers with a goal of fueling social unrest, prompting mainstream media to go “completely berserk,” and swaying white Americans to adopt far-right ideologies, according to The Washington Post.
The signs have prompted major news coverage after appearing everywhere from Tulane University in New Orleans to Harvard University in Massachusetts, and then from Auburn University in Alabama to Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md., and even to the University of Alberta in Canada. In most cases, the flyers were quickly taken down by school officials. However, the messages and images behind the so-called campaign to end “white hate” have continued spreading on social media.
This is perfect. “It’s okay to be white” forces the left to show how much they hate ideas that are simply not their own. pic.twitter.com/52GL8pfbM9
— /pol/ News Network (@PolNewsupdates) November 3, 2017
/pol/ launches nationwide “It’s Okay To Be White” campaign and its absolutely TRIGGERING liberals everywhere. pic.twitter.com/TgPkULwIpl
— Mike Tokes (@MikeTokes) November 2, 2017
In a series of messages posted to the online forum, users were instructed to print and post the “It’s OK to be White” signs on school campuses and elsewhere, then sit back and watch the magic happen. The author behind the coordinated “prank” predicted that media reports would bring attention to the signage, and white Americans, referred to as “normies,” would finally see how much “leftists & journalists hate white people.” In turn, these middle-of-the road people would disavow the media and be influenced by white nationalist ideals in a “massive victory for the right in the culture war.”
Many now recognize that the campaign was troll attempt, but not before they took the bait.
“To state the obvious, it is ‘okay’ to be any race,” Tulane University public relations director Michael T. Strecker said in a emailed statement. “We have no idea who posted the signs but that person is obviously not speaking for [our university].”
“Tulane is firmly committed to diversity and supporting every member of our community,” Strecker added. “We are reviewing video footage in an attempt to identify this individual and figure out how they arrived on campus an from where.”
President David Turpin of the University of Alberta said officials at his school are also taking the matter seriously and that authorities are now working to find the culprit.
“The university is aware of several incidents of racism that have occurred on north campus in recent days,” Turpin said in a statement posted to the university’s website. “…Messaging or displays that target or marginalize any individuals or groups will not be tolerated. We are working with University of Alberta Protective Services to find the parties responsible.”
Meanwhile, in Silver Spring, Md., officials at a high school there have launched a police investigation into the posters.
“We are taking this seriously and are investigating this incident,” Principal Renay Johnson wrote in a letter to parents last week. “Our research so far has indicated that this may be part of a concerted national campaign to foment racial and political tension in our school and community … I want you to know that Montgomery Blair is a very smart, diverse and inclusive community, and we will not fall victim to attempts to divide us.”
Officials with Auburn University and Harvard didn’t respond to requests for comment. An Auburn student and member of the Auburn White Student Union spoke with the Campus Fix, however, saying the campaign “was organized as a response to the anti-white vitriol that is seen far too often these days.”
“We condemn any outrage caused by the signs as hate against white people,” the student only identified as “Hunter” told the college news site. “If the signs had said ‘It’s Okay to be Black,’ anyone outraged by that wording would be labeled a racist. Yet somehow prevalent there is a double standard which makes ‘It’s Okay to be White’ an offensive statement.”
“We must work to destroy this unhealthy double standard.”