Why We Tear Them Down, Part I

[Note: all links marked with an asterisk are to material from websites dedicated to spreading hate; these links are to archived pages, so they will not add to hits for the site]

One of the most insidious campaigns we face on campuses today is the plastering of “It’s Okay to Be White” flyers on our hallways and faculty office doors. The goal is to create a false front of a seemingly bland assertion (“it’s ok”), and then attempting to weaponize the response of those, like me, who tear these flyers down. “See,” they say, “they don’t think it is ok to be white!”

It is a lie. All of it. It is, in fact, a campaign first cooked up by far-right internet trolls at 4chan’s /pol/ channel in October of 2017. Shortly after, Andrew Anglin, a former OSU student who would go on to become the founder of the Neo-nazi website the Daily Stormer, put out a call to readers to go “viral” with the campaign. The plot was to bring strategies of trolling and race-baiting honed for years in the darkest corners of the web into the “real world.” Here is how Anglin announced the plot on his website* in November 2017:

Please, print off some of these papers on a printer and go post them around.
We need these everywhere.
All you do is: print “it’s okay to be white” on a piece of paper and post it up.
You can even hand write it with a marker.
Let’s make this a phenomenon that is scene everywhere – an IRL viral meme.
This can go on for infinity. These k**es will keep saying that if you think it is okay to be white, you are evil. They will be screaming that as they get shoved into cattle cars.
But be careful – they’re hunting people down who post these hate posters.

I have somewhat reluctantly censored the antisemitic insult for Jews above—reluctant because I do think it is important to see all of this for what it is, behind the mask when they think they are talking only to themselves. The goal here could not be more explicit: it is, as Anglin writes here, to create “an IRL viral meme” in which a seemingly bland statement can be weaponized to cause confusion in those who don’t know its purpose, allowing them to believe that those who resist “hate posters” (as Anglin himself calls them) are objecting to the notion that it is ok to be white, rather than to the true purpose of these posters. That purpose, as the above makes clear, is to encourage the true goal of neonazi and white supremacist groups like this: in the short run, to radicalize vulnerable students; in the long run, race war and genocide (as the fantasy of Jews on cattle cars makes clear).

These are not posters to be judged by their words alone. It is a symbol designed to provoke responses of fear, a symbol whose goals are no different from those of the swastika that lurks behind it.

It is ok to be white. It is not ok to be a white surpremacist. These flyers are the work of white supremacists, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you. Tear them down.


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