At least two posters proclaiming “It’s okay to be white” were found Thursday at American River College.
Los Rios Community College District spokesman Gabe Ross said maintenance staff spotted some fliers with the slogan at about 1:30 a.m. and reported them to campus police. They were immediately taken down, Ross said, though student paper American River Current reported finding additional signs later in the morning.
“With everything going on in the world it’s a particularly charged time,” Ross said. “I think that regardless of the specific interpretation ... it clearly had the potential (to be), and was frankly, incendiary for some who saw it.”
The signs appeared to be printed on standard letter paper and did not include imagery or color. They were found outside the football stadium and near the door of the campus gym, the Current reported.
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The “It’s okay to be white” phrase was spread through an organized campaign beginning last year by users of 4chan, an anonymous online chat forum known for its controversial and often incendiary content. Users on that site came up with the slogan as a prank meant to garner reaction from both those on the left and right of the political spectrum. The pranksters allegedly put signs up at various locations around the country, sparking outrage from some who associated the phrase with white nationalism, and a defense of the phrase from right-wing commentators and others. Since then, the slogan has become more closely associated with white nationalism.
Similar posters have been found at other college campuses in the country. This week, signs with the slogan have been found at Duke University, North Carolina State, University of Delaware, University of Vermont and others, according to media reports.
The American River posters were found just weeks after racist graffiti was discovered in the mens’ bathroom at Sacramento City College, another Los Rios Community College District campus. Photos posted on social media showed the graffiti included swastikas and racial slurs, with the words “Kill them all” written in the corner of one mirror.
“It’s important to note we have no reason to think these things are connected,” Ross said.
Maintenance staff and campus police are continuing to look for additional posters, Ross said. He did not know the total number of signs with the message found on campus. A representative of Los Rios Police Department could not be reached for comment, and Ross said he did not know if police would be investigating the incident further.
The college notified the campus community about the posters Thursday afternoon, informing students and staff of increased custodial checks on campus facilities, and emphasizing that “hate has no home on our campuses,” Ross said.
“It’s always concerning when anything offensive or hateful messaging is found on one of our campuses,” Ross said. “It’s incumbent upon us to be conscious of the culture in our community and ensure that our campuses are safe and welcoming environments.”