Last week, flyers stating the phrase “it’s okay to be white” were found scattered throughout NC State’s campus, taped on poles at the Brickyard and Gardner Arboretum near Withers Hall.
However, these flyers are not unique to NC State’s campus. The flyers have also been found at Duke, and at other campuses in Idaho, California and many more states across the country.
According to The Washington Post, the signs began appearing in late October of 2017, as a suggestion that would “feed social unrest and sway Americans to far right ideologies” on 4chan, an online chat space. The slogan has been spread by Tucker Carlson, a Fox News host, and racist groups, including neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
The message has been seen on college campuses and high schools for years, but appearances on NC State’s campus are new.
University Communications and Marketing said last week via email that “the intent of this type of flyer is antithetical to the university's values.”
Some students walking through campus last week noticed the flyers and spoke out against them. Among them is Ruth Kintzele, a third-year studying political science.
“I was shocked and disturbed when I first saw the flyer, and I was still thinking about it 10 minutes later, even though I only saw it briefly as I was walking to class,” Kintzele said. “I just don’t understand why someone would put that up. It’s destructive and unhelpful in every way.”
Lauren Bills, a second-year studying science technology and society, also expressed her abhorrence to the flyers.
“I find it appalling that those flyers were plastered around our campus,” Bills said. “When has there ever been a time where it was not okay to be white? There have been times in the past and present where being black or a person of color is not okay. Systematic oppression of people of color is the foundation and backbone of this country, which is truly heartbreaking. White individuals will never know what it's truly like to be seen as lower solely because of one’s skin color.”
NC State is still unclear on who posted the flyers. In the meantime, according to the statement from University Communications and Marketing, university police are actively monitoring the situation and making sure similar situations are addressed and handled in a timely matter.