A number of posters have been spotted around the Englefield Green area stating “it’s okay to be white”. These posters began to appear around the 1st and 2nd of November near St Jude’s School and Victoria Street.
They are supposedly the product of an anti-left wing campaign launched by the web forum 4chan, on which an anonymous user posted the ‘game plan’ which stated the posters were to be put up on campuses worldwide around Halloween, as costumes provided anonymity, and the reactions of left-wing individuals would inform white people that they are ‘hated’ by the left wing, and thus they would sway towards far right views.
The posters have been seen on multiple US campuses such as Tulane, Princeton and Rocky River, Ohio. US citizens have taken to twitter to call the posters “a disturbing hate crime”, and a “reactionary response when the right refuses to hear the suffering of minorities”, whereas others have defended the statement by equating it to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Royal Holloway, however, seems to be the only UK campus on which the posters have appeared, with heavy backlash from local residents, who have also taken to social media to express their outrage. Among them, Zoe Karen Price, a 22 year old Egham resident informed local news that she disagreed with the message of the posters and wished for them to be removed immediately. “It will just cause arguments,” she stated, “racism is a big thing nowadays and we need to stand together as one.”
Students have also been taken aback by the posters, suggesting that they may be seen as mocking or even counteracting the work of genuine anti-discrimination and equality movements, and many have called for them to be taken down. Malick Doucore, an international relations student, posted about the posters online: “nobody ever said it wasn’t okay to be white, that’s not the point – nor has it ever been the point – of any legitimate liberation movement. Acknowledging racial privilege is not equal to hatred of a race.”
The arrival of these shocking posters followed Hate Crime Awareness Week, in which the UK police announced a shocking 29% increase in hate crime over the last year. The report, which covers England and Wales, noted four spikes in racially or religiously aggravated offences – June 2016, and March, May and June 2017. These spikes coincided with the Brexit vote, the Westminster Bridge attack, the Manchester Arena bombing and the attacks at London Bridge and Finsbury Park Mosque.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “There is absolutely no place for hate crime in our society. This Government is taking action to tackle it. No one in Britain should have to suffer violent prejudice, and indications that there was a genuine rise in the number of offences immediately following each of this year’s terror attacks is undoubtedly concerning.”