“It’s Okay To Be White” Signs Causing Controversy at Bates
Student president, Walter Washington of Bates College in Lewiston reported to the Lewiston Police Department over the weekend that an "IT'S OKAY TO BE WHITE" flyer had been "posted a utility pole near the campus bookstore."
Washington stated of the matter, "It’s indicative of where we are and how far we have to go as a society. As far as our campus is concerned, it’s deplorable, disgusting and intolerable, and it has no place in or around this campus," according to WGME.
This was not the only account the Lewiston police had received and it was reported that there were more flyers in addition to the one reported near the bookstore. The flyers appear simple in design, printed on standard copy paper with the controversial phrase filling the page in all capital letters.
The origins of the slogan are attributed to users on 4Chan, an online forum. The idea behind it was "to create a flier that had an (ostensibly) inoffensive phrase on it that would nevertheless be treated as racist by people who viewed it, particularly liberals or members of the media. Their subsequent “overreactions” would in turn ostensibly make those people lose credibility in the eyes of others and seem like hypocrites." according to the Anti-Defamation League. The phrase also has connections to white supremacists with the phrase being used on their flyers as far back as 2005.
Sean T. Findlen, chief communications officer at Bates college stated in an e-mail to WGME, "We condemn any attempt to incite hatred and bigotry based on race, as contrary to Bates’ most deeply held values."
The flyers have been removed due to an ordinance, not because of the content of the flyers.