“It’s OK to Be White” fliers made appearances at various campuses over the last couple of weeks, and as intended they resulted in fresh outrage among students and college officials alike.
Inside Higher Ed reports the posters showed up at the University of Vermont, the University of Delaware, and Tufts … and even at the University of Manitoba in Canada.
The posters originated from pranksters at the 4Chan website in order to, as The Fix’s Daniel Payne noted, “make campus progressives angry and offended, leading to a massive overreaction on the part of college activists and officials.” They’re also a reaction to the contemporary race craziness going on at universities.
Then, as now, it looks like the campaign has worked.
Take Richard A. Baker, the president of the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity. He told IHE that while the fliers’ message “is both innocuous and obvious” on its face, the intent is really “to find sympathizers to the white nationalists’ cause.”
Baker, assistant vice chancellor and vice president for equal opportunity services at the University of Houston System, added that “what is interesting is that a position is being inferred by some on the national stage that whites are a marginalized group and are being made to feel ‘not OK’ in their whiteness. This flyer’s purpose is to attract persons who may be sympathetic to that position but may not respond to a swastika or other traditional symbols of white nationalism or direct recruitment.”
Although Baker said that the message behind the posters is protected free speech at a public college, he said that college officials should be paying attention to those spreading this message, and thinking about the implications of the message.
The only reason the posters have gotten a “national stage” is because folks like Baker have reacted to them precisely in the manner the posters’ creators intended.
Lastly, compare the message of “It’s OK to Be White” to an instructor purposely calling on white males last in class. Or a “DISMANTLE WHITENESS” banner being hung in conjunction with a college course. Or a Residence Life bulletin board stating whiteness “perpetuates inequalities.” Or the title of an actual university course: “The Problem of Whiteness.”
It doesn’t seem at all unreasonable to view the 4Chan pranksters’ posters as innocuous.
UPDATE: Lori Wilkinson, a sociology professor from the aforementioned University of Manitoba who “specializes” in anti-racism, proves the point:
We have to look at where the posters were placed and who received the messages. So if you look at where this happened at the university, they were heavily postered around the women and gender department, the Native studies department, in places where international students and Indigenous students congregate in large numbers. They weren’t posted in places where these people don’t tend to be.
Wilkinson claims the posters’ message is “unconsciously racist.”
“It gets us talking about these things and gives racist people a little bit of fodder to criticize us,” she says.