Why does such an innocuous statement rattle people so?
Clearly they don’t agree that it is okay to be White. The rise in anti-white racism is frankly disturbing.
The appearance of “It’s OK to be white” and similar posters on the Clark College campus left students and staff feeling frightened, angry and threatened, members of a crowded audience said at a community forum Wednesday.
As first reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting, “It’s OK to be white” posters first appeared on campus in early November, about a week before demonstrators waved signs bearing the slogan on an Interstate 5 overpass in Vancouver. “It’s OK to be white” posters have also been spotted on Washington State University’s Pullman campus and at other colleges across the country.
In response, Clark College hosted two community forums this week, collecting ideas on how to make students of color feel more secure on campus going forward.
Ophelia Noble, founder of nonprofit group The Noble Foundation, called the forums and the crowds they drew a turning point.
“I think it shows diversity is what’s needed,” she said. “I feel that having the community represented in this room and respected in this space is a beautiful thing.”
The posters’ appearance at Clark College appear to make it the latest target in a widespread effort to encourage white Americans to support the far right. The Washington Post detailed the proliferation of “It’s OK to be white” posters across college campuses as a concentrated effort by the alt-right to recruit people into white nationalist circles. Posters on 4chan, an online forum which originated the meme, reasoned that white Americans would see news reports and criticism from minority groups as proof the media and liberals hate white people, creating a straw man to rally against and help persuade people toward far-right, white nationalist and white supremacist politics.
Dolly England, the college’s diversity outreach chair, recalled the frustration she felt finding an “It’s OK to be white” poster down the hall from the college’s office of diversity.
“This is my community,” England said. “Now not only do I have to think about it at work, but I have to think about it in my community.”