'OK to be white' signs appear in major cities across North America

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lagatta4
'OK to be white' signs appear in major cities across North America

https://ottawacitizen.com/trending/its-okay-to-be-white-signs-appear-in-...

Posters proclaiming “It’s okay to be white” were reported at downtown Ottawa intersections Thursday morning, a year after they first appeared on streets and campuses across the continent.

I'm trying to think of a good retort (other than removing the "white" signs, of course)...

 

MegB

A friend of mine in Toronto saw them plastered all over the place. WTF indeed.

lagatta4

If anything, that is even worse, given how extremely diverse Toronto's population is.

And in the context of the "debate" between a right-winger and a more extreme and openly racist extreme right-winger.

Meg, if by chance you should want to change the thread title, that is fine with me.  I haven't seen any Toronto stories yet, but will look.

MegB

Okay, I've changed the headline to reflect the broad scale of this "campaign". Thanks lagatta.

6079_Smith_W

They hit the University of Manitoba yesterday.

lagatta4
WWWTT

Not really sure if I should contribute to this thread because there’s a good chance I’m going to get in trouble. 

First off, I haven’t seen any of these posters in Brampton. And I doubt I will because if they’re put up, they’ll probably get pulled down just as quick

from the opening link I’ve read what people whom I’d assume appear “white” think. But I’d like to hear from someone whom is a visible minority 

Thinking about it I believe I’m disappointed that Rabble babble doesn’t have more visible minorities contributing. 

The more I think about it, the more I believe that Rabble should be actively trying to rectify this

6079_Smith_W

What direction should we point that finger in I wonder.

And whose job is it to rectify it.

Meanwhile, it might be okay to be white all across Canada, but it isn't okay to be a First Nations preschooler in Montgomery Park:

https://thestarphoenix.com/news/local-news/neighbours-oppose-proposed-sa...

Never mind that Saskatoon wouldn't be here if it was not for Chief Whitecap inviting settlers onto their reserve land.

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Actually "visible minority" is considered a racist category outside of Canada. In the Lower Mainland it is a meaningless term given the actual demographics. The following list is the percentage of the population that is a "visible minority" according to our race based classification system. The list is useless for social programming because it lumps all "non-white" people into one category. Upper class people from families that did not at some point in time originate in Europe are all therefore disadvantaged because of belonging to a visible minority.   The stupidity of the system that is in place in Canada says that an immigrant of Iranian or Syrian descent is non-white no matter where they score on the melanin chart and a immigrant from Greece is white no matter what their skin colour is.

British Columbia

6079_Smith_W

Maybe someone should let the cops know that.

And casino security:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-vancouver-casino-apologiz...

I guess people actually have to do something when they are rich or famous.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

You are not getting your point across. I still have no idea what the fact that we have racist cops has to do with another fact i.e. that our classifications system is useless and considered racist by the UN.

Unionist

kropotkin1951 wrote:

You are not getting your point across. I still have no idea what the fact that we have racist cops has to do with another fact i.e. that our classifications system is useless and considered racist by the UN.

Exactly. I love when the classification of the underprivileged is done by the privileged. It does not accelerate the end of privilege.

6079_Smith_W

Well we could also sidetrack this by pointing out that none of us are visible at all on this site. But I understood what WWWTT meant - that most of us on here are white, male and privileged. My point is that if we are looking for responsibility and solutions the first place is probably our own actions.

(edit)

And however racist that distinction is, appearance is how many people get targetted. Again, cops are a prime example.

WWWTT

@ all the European descent men commenting so far in this thread

I don’t like using a colour to describe people’s past 10,000 year heritage(give or take) I have in the past and will so again because of the norm

As far as the term “visible minority “ goes, Mobina Jaffer actually has come out and said that the term is still required!

So you tell me now, who the fuck am I supposed to listen to? The “white guys” saying don’t use the term because you never liked it and the U.N. said something about it in a report 11 years ago or a female senator born in Uganda to Indian parents?Now from what I have read, Mobina screwed up and made some bad choices, but because of her background, I put value on her opinion relating to race. 

Keep in mind, I’m not the Canadian government. I’m just saying it would be nice if there were some/more African Asian Indigenous etc etc posters and writers

lagatta4

Distinctions can come from things other than colour, such as surname and accent.

For example, the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hildago, is from about the southermost city in Andalusia. The Socialist MP and former cabinet minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem is from the Rif, in the very north of Morocco (they were actually born quite close to each other). They seem exactly the same hue to me, but far more discrimination remains against Maghrebi people (neither of these women seem remotely religious and wear no "signs" of Catholic or Muslim belief).

I wouldn't assume anything about skin colour, ethnic, racial or class background unless people have mentioned it here.

Yes, the police (most lethally) profile by skin colour but also on other grounds, for example if a person looks poor or "homeless". Businesses, including retail and restaurants, also profile on such grounds.

I suspect that younger and more "diverse" people might prefer newer forms of online discussion than what has become a more "traditional" discussion board.

Pondering

retort? In other news, the world turns. 

Message boards are akin to paper newspapers for younger people I think. They are too busy for message boards or for the news for that matter. 

They will hear about this, the okay to be white signs. That will go viral. There will be pictures on Instagram. 

Paladin1

WWWTT wrote:

@ all the European descent men commenting so far in this thread

Maybe all the white males here should take a month off from posting to try and attract more minority posters.

MegB

We used to have more diversity on babble (more women, POC, Indigenous - lagatta, you'll remember the early rabble/babble) but a combination of FTS and the broader reach that Facebook and Twitter have has taken their toll. Yes, babble is overwhelmingly identified as white, male and heterosexual but we do have people of differing abilities, different economic levels and classes and political persuasions. We can certainly do better. Thoughts and suggestions for accomplishing this are more than welcome.

lagatta4

Yes, it was far more diverse in its early years. En Masse and Bread and Roses siphoned off quite a few LGBTQ people and women, respectively - after moments of acrynomy here, but both have disappeared. There were certainly people of colour and Indigenous people from the inception.

I do NOT think that having people who are presumably white/male ceasing to post for a while would be an answer, as one of the main problems is not enough traffic.  And trolling problems, which affect all sites and boards.

6079_Smith_W

Paladin1 wrote:

Maybe all the white males here should take a month off from posting to try and attract more minority posters.

Well I am sure we like to think of ourselves as indispensable. At least it seems so from the reaction every time this question is raised.

I know after seeing the response to the last thread about the shooting of an Indigenous person by a white person (since Colten Boushie) I don't even bother posting that here anymore. If the protection of white feelings is always going to trump recognition of white supremacy, why bother dragging real tragedy and people's real pain through the mud?

Here's a real-life suggestion: If you haven't witnessed or taken part in a blanket exercise, it is a good start to understanding what our dominant presence does to spaces. And in answer to WWWTT's very good point I think the place to start isn't with "the group" or policy or enforcement but with how each of us personally act.

(edit)

The signs at the U of M - they weren't just plastered all over campus. They were faxed to the Women and Gender Studies department, and I read elsewhere that the Indigenous Students' Association got one too.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/hate-messages-university-manitob...

lagatta4

I'm definitely not a male, and not entirely white. Don't usually talk about grandfather from the Caribbean, as I have blue-green eyes, though I do have the African kink, and have generically somewhat swarthy "white" skin, mostly a mix of Northwestern and Southern European. And my most significant connection to non-white people is Indigenous peoples - many Indigenous relatives, but mostly "par alliance" (mariage or cohabitation, not "blood").

I also don't understand your statement as I very much took the side of the young Indigenous man.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

WWWTT wrote:

As far as the term “visible minority “ goes, Mobina Jaffer actually has come out and said that the term is still required!

You failed to note that she is a Liberal politician, its as if her sex and skin colour can make up for her political leanings. Its like telling me Condoleezza Rice thinks that war is necessary.  I guess since she is a black woman I should just shut up and take her opinion given her personal characteristics.

By the way Mobina ran against Svend Robinson in 1997 trying to upset the most progressive MP in the House.Given he was a white male would that would have been a good thing for the left? She came third behind Svend and the Reform candidate.

WWWTT

Hey brother the point I’m trying to make was about the lack of diversity in posters and writers for babble Rabble. 

Maybe the term vm is racist? Maybe not?  If it came up again then it would be refreshing to read comments articles and opinions from a broad spectrum that currently this forum lacks

lagatta4

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/midterms-2...

The Independent is reporting that the SAME signs - same lettering, not just same stupid slogan - have been appearing in Texas and elsewhere in the US.

I confess I'm glad to get this thread back on topic.

Yes, we need more diversity - I think everyone here agrees. But even white people, including white hetero men, have to fight white supremacism.

This is a slogan with a hidden meaning - of course it is ok to be white, just as it is true that all lives matter, but the real purpose is to insinuate that it is not ok to be of colour (and white supremacists include Muslims and Jews in those outside the people of pallor).

I'd like to find any counter slogans or campaigns if anyone has found some.

Bacchus

I think its more of a 'don't blame me if you have problems with xyz' so that you can refuse any responsibility for white priveldge or your unconscious/conscious racism

lagatta4

I do not understand this comment. Are you perchance insinuating that I am a racist?

If that is the case, I've been involved in antiracist action for decades,

I deleted a rude expression, and am sorry that there was a misunderstanding.

Bacchus

Um no Lagatta, having been here for a decade I know you. No i was providing my own description as to the meaning of the sign

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I agree.  I think it's less about "it's NOT ok to be a different colour" and more a reaction to things like "The Problem with Whiteness" and suchlike.

6079_Smith_W

Mr. Magoo wrote:

I agree.  I think it's less about "it's NOT ok to be a different colour" and more a reaction to things like "The Problem with Whiteness" and suchlike.

Actually this baiting campaign isn't a reaction to anything. Of course the stated goal is to play innocent and let people freak out, but for some reason racists just can't help but blow their cover. And they likely didn't count on people documenting its use:

On top of everything else, the phrase “It’s okay to be white” actually has a fairly long history in the white supremacist movement.  While far from the most common white supremacist slogan, it was in use enough that white power music band Aggressive Force even used the phrase as the title of one of its songs—a song that dates back at least to 2001, if not earlier.  ADL has tracked white supremacist fliers featuring the phrase “It’s okay to be white” as long ago as 2005.  In 2012, a member of Ku Klux Klan group United Klans of America actually even used the hashtag #IOTBW on Twitter.

https://www.adl.org/blog/from-4chan-another-trolling-campaign-emerges

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_OK_to_be_white

Besides, the first "okay to be white" groups - the Klan, the Orange Order - weren't just defending themselves from nasty "libtards".

Unionist

Bacchus wrote:

I think its more of a 'don't blame me if you have problems with xyz' so that you can refuse any responsibility for white priveldge or your unconscious/conscious racism

I think that's exactly right. There must be an "it's ok to be male" equivalent around somewhere. Like, "it's not our fault".

EDITED: On further reflection, having read Smith's Wiki reference, it appears to be a lot more sinister than I suggested.

6079_Smith_W

The "who, me?" version would be #notallmen, I think.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NotAllMen

Hurtin Albertan

It started on 4chan /pol/ a year or maybe 2 ago.  Not entirely sure if it was meant to be "pro-white" as much as it was probably meant to be "anti-PC".  I think it was just coincidence that the origional idea came up just before Halloween, people might not be so inclined to tape or staple these things up in public but a lot of things are easier to do if you can conceal your identity in a Halloween costume.

The images all have the same font because the people taping them up all download the same source image from 4chan.  There's a big 8.5x11 version, ones with 4 smaller versions on 8.5x11 that you can snip up to save on paper or whatever.

The origional idea, at least as far as I can remember, was to provoke an over-reaction because on the face of it, it's a really generic message.  There's really no good retort in my opinion because the only way you can really take offense to the message is if you are either convinced that it is not ok to be white, or if you are convinced it is somehow offensive or what have you.

4chan doesn't always come up with great ideas but this was one of them.

Hurtin Albertan

I'm not sure if the origional idea was meant to be a prank, or actually had a goal beyond provoking an over-reaction, but I'd like to copyright the term "pranktivism" to be used to describe this sort of thing.

6079_Smith_W

That's not true, Hurtin Albertan.

The article I just posted points out this has been used by white supremacists for close to 20 years. It is not two years old, but of course the first line of defense is that it is just some innocent pranksters going after people who can't take a joke.

As if people getting regularly shot for the colour of their skin is a joke. 

And using a halloween costume to conceal identity is really handy. Time was people had to use a white sheet when they didn't want people to know who they were.

 

lagatta4

Yes, of course a Halloween costume can be a kind of white sheet - even playing a ghost.

I'm sure that such "celebrations" have at times been a cover for racist "pranks", even violent ones.

Livia reminds me that it is not a pleasant time to be a cat with black fur. And I'm sure one can find links between colour prejudice against humans and against other sentient beings.

Speaking of deplorable historical events, in two days it will be the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht...

Nowadays in Germany and Austria, that dark day is often referred to as Reichspogromnacht.

Hurtin Albertan

I'm just saying what I saw on 4chan.  I did look at your links, never knew the term had any history prior to a year or 2 ago, but I have never claimed, and will hopefully never claim, to be completely familiar with hate speech terms used by white supremacists.

Maybe the person who origionally pushed the poster idea on 4chan knew the term had ties to white nationalism, maybe it was a coincidence.  Maybe they are obsessive fans of some obscure, shitty WN hate rock band.  Maybe they are the lead singer of said band.  Don't really know, don't really care.

4chan is a strange place.  They do have a long history of trolling people both on and off the internet.  I can't say with 100% certainty but I am reasonably sure that some of the people posting this in the real world are doing so only to provoke an angry reaction from people they don't like, or to maybe feel a part of something for once in their life, or both.

And no doubt some of them doing it are doing it because they are white supremacists. 

Making this into an issue just plays into their hands.  About the only appropriate reaction I can think of (other than ignoring it - do not feed the trolls or some such) would be to counter with posters of your own saying "It's OK to be First Nation" or "it's OK to be Hispanic" or any varient to basically dilute the origional intent of the posters or to otherwise promote tolerance.

 

 

 

Pogo Pogo's picture

Isn't this just another version I'm okay -Your okay.  Translation, I am okay - don't care.

6079_Smith_W

Pogo wrote:

Isn't this just another version I'm okay -Your okay.  Translation, I am okay - don't care.

If that was the case why would they be tacking it to the doors of Indigenous Studies Departments (as has happened in the past) and faxing it to Women and Gender Studies Departments?

And again, read the article I just posted, and the wikipedia listing.

This isn't just I'm okay you're okay, even if we don't hear the whistle.

 

Hurtin Albertan

Have you never read "Rules for Radicals"??  This is straight out of "Rules for Radicals".  The goal was to provoke an over-reaction.  People over-reacted.  I have to say, it almost sounds like you might be over-reacting.

6079_Smith_W

Don't be silly. This is not something I just pulled out of a hat; this is in fact the finding of the Anti Defamation League.

And we are talking about a tactic used by the KKK and other white supremacist and far right groups. While the Klan certainly has done some things that get a response, as you say (like burning churches and murdering people) I think trying to equate David Duke with Saul Alinsky is ridiculous. Do you honestly think anyone here is going to buy that, or is this just a gag? Because I don't think it is funny at all.

Or is this how we draw more non-white straight guys into taking part in conversations here?

Hurtin Albertan

The ADL found one actual flyer handout campaign where one obscure group handed out pamphlets in one town on one day about 20 years ago.  And one band that used it as a title, and yes, knowing what little I do of the genre I'm sure they shouted it loudly over and over again while someone played a guiter really bad and really fast.

"These 2 obscure examples of it's use from 20 years ago" is not the same as "been used for close to 20 years".

"Rules for Radicals" is about tactics.  Look at the chapter Alinsky wrote about tactics.  This is for sure a textbook example of Alinsky's second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and ninth rules of power tactics. 

6079_Smith_W

You read that article aout the University of Manitoba because you knew about the halloween costume. So presumably you also know about the fact the perpetrator wrote "fuck Islam" on walls too, and that some people felt rightly intimidated by it, and the posters.

Considering that we had a mass shooting in this country not too long ago, I can understand why non-white people clearly see this for what it is - an act of intimidation - even if you refuse to.

6079_Smith_W

And from that wikipedia page, last month in Australia:

An "It's OK to be white" motion from One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson was supported by Coalition senators with former cabinet minister Eric Abetz saying he was comfortable with his decision, although he conceded the motion was not as "elegantly written as it could have been".

Ms Hanson, best known for her views against various minority groups over time including indigenous Australians, Asians and most recently Muslims, put forward the motion to the Senate on Monday.

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/coalition-backs-pauline-hanson-s...

Hurtin Albertan

No, I read the article because you posted a link to it.  To be honest I do not remember anything about any writing on walls.  I mainly remember the ADL stuff, and I have to admit I read them pretty quick.

And from last month in Australia, I'm pretty sure they only proposed the idea because they knew about the success of the origional poster campaign, and hopped on the bandwagon.  Or maybe because the phrase has been used for close to 20 years by Australian white supremacists, who am I to say?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

I'm okay -Your okay

..this is from transactional analysis. everyone is thought to fall into one of 4 life positions.

i'm ok you're ok

i'm not ok you're ok

i'm ok you're not ok

i'm not ok you're not ok

6079_Smith_W

Hurtin Albertan wrote:

No, I read the article because you posted a link to it.  To be honest I do not remember anything about any writing on walls.  I mainly remember the ADL stuff, and I have to admit I read them pretty quick.

The article about the U of M; the one with the Halloween costume you mentioned. There's a picture of the graffiti in the article; it is hard to miss. And why are you slinging this rules for radicals nonsense if you can't even be bothered to read how the people on campus were affected by these posters being put up and faxed around to people?

Anyway, here we are once again, where we usually wind up when it involves shitty racist behaviour being pointed out. Must be mistaken, or it's an overreaction, or that's not how they meant it, or its a free country. Anything to avoid calling what it is.

Hurtin Albertan

So in at least one documented instance, a person or persons unknown put up these posters and incited some other unknown racist dipshit to write racist graffitti on the wall nearby.  Pardon me for skimming over such a crime against humanity.  I guess our yardsticks for shitty racist behaviour aren't calibrated.

Seriously, read Alinsky's chapter about tactics (not you specifically, it's a really good chapter, everybody should read it).  Alinsky's work is a little dated now, as it was pre-internet olde timey days, but his chapter on tactics is the best I've ever read given the context.

 

6079_Smith_W

I have read it, Hurtin Albertan. I didn't expect I'd ever hear it used as an apologist argument denying that a racist hate campaign is what it is. Can we get back to THIS conversation, please?

Forget your joke about all the white people here taking off to make room for other voices. The point is listening to those people when they DO say how racism affects them. And people in that article said very clearly how it made them feel. We as white people have no idea how it feels to be targetted in that way, which might be part of the reason your yardstick isn't calibrated. I think their perspective counts a bit more than our attempts to deny what it really is about is hate and intimidation, so this might be a case where it is best to listen to those who know.

WWWTT

Hurtin Albertan wrote:

The goal was to provoke an over-reaction.  People over-reacted.  I have to say, it almost sounds like you might be over-reacting.

This comment probably comes closest to what I feel would be the proper approach.

These signs are meant to bait and troll, the way I deal with this behaviour is to ignore. But for some reason no one up till I mentioned it, has suggested ignoring???

Just rip down the fuckin poster/flyer if you see them and don't give it a second thought. What's so hard about that?

6079_Smith_W

Once it is getting pinned on Indigenous Studies Department office doors (as happened here last year) and sent via fax it is getting to the point of direct harrassment. It shouldn't have to get to the point where it just did in the Australian parliament to realize this is something haters want to normalize and push as far as they can.

Ignoring it does not stop it, and the U of M did the right thing in openly calling it out as unacceptable and a hate campaign. It is the least we can do to let those targetted by this know they have some support.

WWWTT

I'm not the University of Manitoba. I have not seen any such signs posters flyers etc etc. Sounds like U of M is or may be taking the appropriate action since this has happened on their property.

As far as phone calls and faxes go, there's other ways to deal with that to.

Unless you actually catch the person spreading this, it will probably continue.

My concern is that it is being done to draw a large or any reaction from those whom find it offensive. And if this is the case, then such reaction would only encourage the perpetrators to continue. And also the reverse. Completely ignoring these actions may send the signal to the perpretators that they're just wasting time and they'll just move on.

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