It's Okay to Be White
| Frogs and swastikas|
It's Okay to Be White was a poster campaign spearheaded by 4chan's /pol/ and other far-right groups, such as The Daily Stormer, in November 2017. This campaign counters the context of the perceived "reverse racism" and society trying to make a privileged majority "guilty", and it consoles the privileged majority: "it's okay to be white." By use of this loaded language, the campaign attempted to force critics to either accept the posters' message (despite being pushed by far-right white supremacist groups) or to say that "it's not okay to be white" (an obviously absurd and bigoted statement). The campaign has expected the posters to be taken down so "normies" can realize how the media hates white people and therefore try to recruit them to the white supremacist cause.
In October 2018, the phrase became notorious in Australia, where Pauline Hanson proposed a motion that the Senate acknowledge the "deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on Western civilisation" and "that it is okay to be white". The motion was narrowly defeated, although it did receive the support of the deceptively-named Liberal Party.
The Daily Stormer
On November 3rd, Andrew Anglin of The Daily Stormer wrote
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[sic] everywhere – an IRL viral meme.
Montgomery Blair High School, in suburban Maryland, knowing the real passive-aggressive motive behind the campaign, took down the posters before class began. The school officials cited it as a "part of a concerted national campaign to foment racial and political tension in our school and community", rightfully so, given the white supremacist background of the campaign. The Daily Stormer and friends predictably characterized this move as a "man-hunt". Posters frequently argued that if the poster said "it's okay to be black", there wouldn't be a controversy -- perhaps forgetting their response to "Black Lives Matter". They also expressed outrage that somehow saying "it's okay to be white" is unacceptable, which plays right into the strategy of this campaign.
The Concordia College took down one of the signs, citing that the posters violated the campus display policies, The school president Willaim Craft posted a response, which sounds very similar to responses of the frequent complaints Black Lives Matter receives:
There is and must be a place here for people of different ethnicities and skin colors, of different faith traditions or no faith traditions, of different nations, of different gender identities, of different political convictions,” he wrote. “In that sense, it is indeed OK to be white — and to be black, to be brown, to be Christian, to be Muslim, to be straight, to be gay, to be conservative, to be liberal, and so on. We are stronger for this diversity of identities.
Craft also cites another problem with the poster, that they do not identify the group behind the message, thus not allowing for more honest and open debates. Though the alt-right created this campaign not for open debate, but to provoke an emotional reaction and backlash against anti-racism.
- Alt-right glossary
- Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white
- Paul Nehlen uses the slogan quite often including a variant called "It's Okay to be Nehlen"
- Reverse racism
- White guilt
- Loaded question, which relies on a similar deceptive conundrum.
- Ross, J. (November 3, 2017). ‘It’s okay to be white’ signs and stickers appear on campuses and streets across the country. The Washington Times. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- Hanson, Pauline (16 October 2018). "Pauline Hanson’s ‘It’s OK to be white’ motion narrowly defeated in Senate – video". The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/video/2018/oct/16/pauline-hansons-its-ok-to-be-white-motion-narrowly-defeated-in-senate-video.
- "Motions - Australian Society - It's OK to be white". TheyVoteForYou.org.au. 15 October 2018. https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/divisions/senate/2018-10-15/3.
- It's Okay to be White by Andrew Anglin (November 3, 2017) The Daily Stormer (archived from 16 Nov 2017 03:34:32 UTC).
- NBC Washington. (Nov 2, 2017). 'It's Okay to Be White' Flyers Found Outside Montgomery Blair High School. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
- Harlow, T. (November 4, 2017). Moorhead's Concordia College takes down 'It's OK to Be White' posters. StarTribune. Retrieved November 17, 2017.