It's Okay to Be White
|Frogs, clowns, and swastikas|
|Rebuilding the Reich, one meme at a time|
|Buzzwords and dogwhistles|
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 October 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 hate 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.
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.
Note that Anglin is promoting that it is "okay to be white" while simultaneously endorsing Holocaust trains for Jews, of whom many are white — 92% of United States Jews in 2020, for instance. It should be pretty clear that this troll campaign was disingenuous from the start.
In November 2017, posters saying "It's Okay to Be White" were found at Montgomery Blair High School in suburban Maryland. The school, 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 to 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. The alt-right created this campaign not for open debate, but to provoke an emotional reaction and backlash against anti-racism.
Redux 2019: "Islam is Right About Women"
A similar poster campaign was conducted in September 2019 with the slogan "Islam is Right About Women". Posters hoisted on lampposts and telephone poles in Winchester, Massachusetts, received coverage in particular.
Taking down Dilbert
In February 2023, cartoonist Scott Adams of newspaper comic Dilbert encountered controversy after telling white people to "get the hell away" from black people, who he called a "hate group", based on a Rasmussen Reports poll finding that 53 percent of black respondents agreed with the phrase "it's okay to be white". Rasmussen has been criticized for push polling with questions "almost certainly calculated to demonstrate public support for the conservative position." Following public criticism of Adams's remarks, hundreds of newspapers stopped carrying Dilbert, including those in major markets such as The Washington Post and The Plain Dealer in Cleveland.
- Alt-right glossary
- Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white
- Loaded question, which relies on a similar deceptive conundrum
- Paul Nehlen uses the slogan quite often, including a variant called "It's Okay to be Nehlen"
- Persecution complex
- Reverse racism
- White genocide
- White guilt
- Friedberg, Brian; Donovan, Joan (11 August 2020). "Viral Slogan: “It’s OK To Be White”". The Media Manipulation Casebook. Retrieved 26 February 2023.
- 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.
- "Motions - Australian Society - It's OK to be white". TheyVoteForYou.org.au. 15 October 2018.
- "Race, ethnicity, heritage and immigration among U.S. Jews", Pew Research Center, Jewish Americans in 2020, 2021 May 11
- 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.
- Baragona, Justin (23 February 2023). "Fully Unhinged ‘Dilbert’ Guy Tells White People to ‘Get the Fuck Away’ From Black People". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 26 February 2023.
- Chait, Jonathan (25 May 2010). "The Rasmussen problem". The New Republic. Archived from the original on 31 July 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2023.
- Darcy, Oliver (26 February 2023). "Hundreds of newspapers drop ‘Dilbert’ comic strip after racist tirade from creator Scott Adams". CNN. Retrieved 26 February 2023.