In Winchester, Massachusetts (right next to my old home town of Arlington!) flyers reading “Islam is RIGHT About Women” suddenly appeared around the town, fastened to trees, utility polls and street signs in the familiar manner of those “lost cat” notices.
An “alarmed” woman brought two flyers to the Winchester Police Department, and officers subsequently found eight more, including one that was posted outside of an elementary school. The flyer presented multiple dilemmas. Police said the signs were not threatening and considered free speech. But because they were placed on town property, the flyers technically violated town ordinances. Yet those lost cat flyers were always allowed to remain.
Some residents were adamant that the signs should come down: one who spoke to a local TV station, Jim Leary, said, “Putting signs up that make people feel uncomfortable is unfortunate, particularly in this time and age.”
Really? Sounds like you’re not too fond of free speech, Jim!
The police took the flyers down. Constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh wrote, citing Members of the City Council v. Taxpayers for Vincent (1984), that the content of the flyers’ message is constitutionally protected, but that the city could take down the ones that violated town law so long as it wasn’t discriminating based on the viewpoint of the signs. But of course it was, since the lost cat flyers were never taken down.
What’s going on here? The Professor played dumb, writing,
“[W]as this politically self-defeating expression by a Muslim?…Was it put up by a critic of Islam who wanted to highlight certain traditional Muslim teachings? By a prankster who was trying to put people who are reluctant to criticize Islam, but who certainly don’t support conservative Muslim teachings about women, in a tough rhetorical spot? Only the Shadow knows.”
Oh, we don’t need the Shadow, Professor. The flyers were another example of the same diabolical but valuable public trolling discussed in this post regarding the “It’s OK to be white” stickers that mysteriously showed up on the Harvard campus in 2017, and were treated by the university like they were Nazi manifestos. Ethics Alarms posted an ethics quiz about it that flummoxed the knee-jerk progressives then still having the courage to engage here. It’s not OK to be white? It’s hate speech to say it’s OK to be white? Wrote now exiled Leftist commenter “Chris,” “The stickers are stupid. No one disputes that it’s OK to be white.”
This was one of the great hanging curve balls I’ve ever received here. I responded in part,
You know, it’s easy to deal with any problem if you make up your own facts. Nobody says its not OK to be white? This list took me less than 10 minutes:
Then there’s the Ethics Alarms antiwhite racism tag…https://ethicsalarms.com/tag/anti-white-racism/
All resulting in THIS:
As I may have mentioned, I was explicitly told that the only reason I was not hired as an Assistant US Attorney in DC …a life and career-altering result for me…was that I was white. Now, I think it is reasonable to assume that if I was not hired because I was white, there was something “not OK” with my being white. I’m not unhappy or bitter about this, but it happened.
The problem with being an ideologue, Chris, is that it requires distorting reality.
And this, of course, was the message the flyer-posters were sending, and if it makes people uncomfortable, too damn bad. (Incidentally, the flyers weren’t restricted to Winchester. They turned up in other cities around the world.)
A British-Libyan writer who uses the pen name Alaa al-Ameri wrote at Spiked,
At their best, these acts of public disobedience are examples of real-life Winston Smiths pointing out to the rest of us that ‘Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four’. Their persecutors, like his, are those who know and fear the truth of Smith’s next sentence: ‘If that is granted, all else follows.’
Noting that Winchester residents didn’t know what to make of the flyers, he continued,
The reason for their dilemma is obvious enough to anyone who has been paying attention. Western society has managed to convince itself (at least in public) that any statement criticising any aspect of Islam is, by definition, bigotry. As a result, Western societies have effectively decided to enforce Islamic restrictions on blasphemy, and called it ‘tolerance’. The strain of conforming to this lie is evident in the fumbling attempts by the interviewees to explain their objections. Do they believe that Islam is right about women? If so, why the objection? Do they believe that Islam is wrong about women? If so, in what sense is the statement an attack on Islam or Muslims? Do they believe that the author of the poster is saying that ‘Islam is right about women’, but doing so ironically? In which case, the objection can only be that the author is guilty of a thoughtcrime by stating that ‘two and two make five’ with insufficient sincerity. Or do they worry that they are guilty of thoughtcrime for noticing the irony?
I think the source of the objection is as follows: ‘I thought we had all agreed to pretend not to have any negative opinions about Islam. But this statement forces me either to agree with it, which I don’t, or disagree with it, which I’m not allowed to.’
Far from being “hate speech” or, as several sources have called them, “Far right hoaxing,” the Winchester flyers accomplished exactly what free speech exists to accomplish. It forced people to think…at least those people still willing to risk social ostracizing if, heaven forfend, they reach the “wrong” conclusion.
(I’m not even going to try to link this one on Facebook…)
Heck, I’m going to re-post the entire “It’s OK to be White” essay here. It’s right on point, and needs to paired with the Winchester flyers.
More than a dozen handmade stickers reading “It’s okay to be white” were posted around overnight in Harvard Square earlier as well as around the nearby Harvard Law School campus.
Law School Dean of Students Marcia L. Sells, who is black, wrote an email to law students in the wake of what Stephen King might call “The Stickering”:
“It seems likely that these anonymous postings, made in the middle of the night, were provocations intended to divide us from one another HLS will not let that happen here. We live, work, teach, and learn together in a community that is stronger, better, and deeper because of our diversity and because we encourage open, respectful, and constructive discourse”
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day—and watch your step!—is…
Do you think posting the stickers was unethical? Do you think the Dean’s response was responsible?
I have a few matters to note and subordinate queries…
- Apparently the idea was germinated on the forum website 4chan, a former Ethics Alarms unethical website of the month, which called upon followers to put up posters on Halloween night. The author of the original post on the site wrote that the group hoped the “credibility of far left campuses and media gets nuked” as a result of the incident, adding that they could help achieve a “massive victory for the right in the culture war.”
Does it matter who came up with the slogan and why?
- The reaction by Glenn Reynolds on Instapundit: “SO I GUESS IT’S NOT OKAY. GOOD TO KNOW.”
Of course this the stickers’ inherent “When did you stop beating your wife?”-style trap. Nevertheless, why isn’t that a fair and natural response to the Dean’s words?
- There are some terrific comments to Glenn’s link:
Okay, next move in this game: put up some signs saying “It’s okay to be black.” See what Harvard does then. Dares Harvard denounce those? But under these circumstances, dares she not?
Source: Harvard Crimson
25 thoughts on “The Sequel To The “It’s OK To Be White” Stickers: “Islam Is Right About Women” Flyers”
See? Not all sequels are flops!
I still like soup.
Incredibly, I actually understood this comment.
I don’t get the reference, but it sounds like a good confusing non-sequitur reply to any “gotcha” question.
No Soup For You!
Come back six months.
I saw this when it was being discussed initially on 4chan. It is always fun to watch these things spout as an idea, then within a few days seeing the news reports. Watching the cognitive dissonance setting in on the news broadcasts is rather hysterical.
Everyone is sure this is bad faith, but they cannot figure out what exactly is wrong with it, but they know it is bad. One lady says “It is a myth that Islam treats women poorly” Which is a fine opinion to have (I guess everyone is entitled to their opinions) but if that is your opinion, there is nothing wrong with the sign.
Does that mean that this was another 4Chan stunt? I tried to find anything that confirmed that outright, but it was my assumption.
Definite maybe. We’ll never know. Channers take credit for literally anything they can get their paws on.
All I know is that while perusing /pol about a week or two ago I saw them talking about this. I think at first the wording was slightly different (something like: Islam is right to hate women) and then someone came up with this variation. It made me chortle. Probably 4 or 5 days later I saw it starting to hit local news via YouTube reposts of the reporting.
“It is unclear if a law was broken”
Really? Only if you’re an idiot who slept through high school civics class.
I think that this is both more and less effective in some ways. The difference between this and “It’s OK to be white” is that this lacks relevancy. I mean, sure, progressives have been calling anyone with a criticism of Islam -phobic for years, but I can’t think of a recent stimulus for this in particular, where “It’s OK to be White” happened on the coattails of Black Lives Matter and an absolute deluge of blatant anti-white bigotry in op-eds.
That makes this more effective in that because it’s not obviously a response to anything in particular, so people aren’t immediately so emotional or riled up about it. It’s more likely to produce good conversations, and it’s harder to attack or write off as base reactionary bigotry. But on the same leaf, it makes it easier to write off because it doesn’t have that bump from tying it on to something relevant. I hadn’t heard of this one, and that’s because it’s not making the rounds…. I don’t think that’s because progressives have learned to ignore the things they don’t like…. No, they are still comprised entirely of exposed, raw nerve endings, I think that this didn’t get traction because there was less controversy. And what progressives don’t hear can’t enrage them.
Good analysis, HT. I found this one on FARK, which is hardly mainstream media.
I find it amusing it came out of left field. Who knows when the Spanish Inquisition will strike? (Although the Monty Python boys were actually pretty humorless, ardent lefty anti war virtue signallers.)
I disagree a little about this sign lacking relevancy. The Squad, in particular Tlaib and Omar, exploit their faith for political points while masking their unethical behavior behind accusations of Islamophobia. In addition modern progressives have been using the image of the Muslim women in a hijab or other type of head covering to promote ideology around so-called inclusion. An example is New York’s Pride celebration this year featuring such a depiction in their promotional materials (including a photo on their current website showing what appears to be a Muslim woman in a head covering wearing a shirt that says “They Power.”)
Not related but Tlaib sure has some interesting ideas about who qualifies as a conspiracy theorist. During a hearing regarding the vape issue she asked proponent Vicki Porter:
“Ms. Porter, I was reading, because I wanted to know more about you and your beliefs. And, I respect that we all have different beliefs, and you call yourself a converted conservative and reformed Marxist? Are you a conspiracy theorist?” It gets more weird from there.
(I used no ampersands in this comment)
I think we’ll disagree on this, and that’s OK. In my opinion, the squad hasn’t been relevant since July when they tried to capitalize on “Go back to your own country”. Either they figured out that they were helping Trump, or they were told by Pelosi to shut up in a way they found convincing, but I can’t think of an AOC, Omar or Tlaib headline between then and now. Had these signs been shellacked over a town between late July and Early August, I’d agree, but with the speed of politics and the news cycle being what it is, I think this is like calling “covfefe” relevant.
“On Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez unveiled “A Just Society,” a six-part bundle of bills and resolutions that focus on reducing economic inequality, making housing more accessible and affordable, and protecting the most vulnerable members of American life through the kinds of basic social supports that everyone deserves.”
It’s basic socialist raisnows and unicorns stuff, aimed at the economically and constitutionally illiterate:
A synopsis of the things sic tenets:
A Just Society Creates a Place to Prosper: Put onerous regulations on landlords, set rent controls in place for all (see California’s new rent control laws), cap rental increases, and renters who face eviction get legal counsel.
A Just Society Is Merciful: Doesn’t matter what the crime was, any criminal released can’t be denied any federal funds.
A Just Society Uplifts Our Workers: will create a “worker-friendly” score sheet for federal contractors and give PREFERENCE to worker-friendly contractors who score high.
A Just Society Guarantees the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of All: work conditions, unions, food, clothing, along with mental and physical health would fall under the jurisdiction of the United Nations.
A Just Society Embraces Our Immigrants: The federal government will have to give aid and assistance to ANY immigrant no matter his or her status.
Who is made to feel unsafe by the poster? Women? What does Islam say about women. Isn’t it a religion of peace? Are muslims made to feel unsafe? Saying muslims are wrong about women would make them feel safer? Saying Islam is right about women makes muslims feel unsafe? Does Islam have a problem with women? Praise Allah we have the Winchester constabulary to sort this out for us!
If muslims say they feel unsafe, is that an admission that they think islam is wrong about women?
I love it when the left is forced to think critically. See, they are so bad at it, and get outed as the pathetically insipid, lazy mouth breathers they accuse their opponents of being.
Dumb down your education, ignore history, ban fair debate, and in two decades you TOO can arrive at a battle of wits unarmed.
Oh yeah, it’s some 4 Chan trolling. Brilliantly done. “The Army of Autism” strikes again!
4 Chan isn’t an organized, directed website, it’s a cacophony of topics, chat rooms, threads, etc., many very weird and some quite distasteful. Some denizens will organize pranks like this, or the “Hey, the OK hand sign is racist” caper, and howl with glee as it gets mainstream (read: idiot) media attention.
I would enjoy seeing next a flurry of similar lost-cat-like postings that say, “Women are right about Islam.” Now, THAT’s a curve ball.
“If you LIKE your clitoris, you can KEEP your clitoris…”
Sound about right.
Islam is definitely a religion “for guys.”
There’s about a 99.9% chance it’s the work of alt-right trolls, and not actual Muslims. It’s also hilarious and fun. I couldn’t join in the fun in good conscience though, since as a matter of fact Islam is not right about women. Still a great gag.
These guerrilla campaigns “work” because the Left builds its castles on illogical, self-contradicting propositions. They claim to care about misogyny and mistreatment of women, but strain their necks looking the other way when the only real institutionalized sexism remaining is in Muslim enclaves, because they’ve invested equal energy into the myth that any criticism of Muslims or Islam is racist. Women being mutilated, honor-killed, and beaten are just going to have to take one for the team. It’s more important to have an “intersectional” coalition to help tear down Republicanism, society and culture so they can rule unopposed.
The most likely distraction they’ll employ to avoid people noticing their house of cards: “This is a campaign by trolls on the Right to divide us!”
This is an interesting case. Then, there is this case about a white guy being convicted of a hate crime because he told a woman wearing a Puerto Rico shirt that she should not be wearing it. I watched the video. There are two occasions where he gets close to the woman. I don’t know that I see the assault elements because he was not threatening bodily harm. He was charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct. But after local community leaders, including then-Cook County Board member Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, criticized that decision as being far too lax, and the charges were upgraded to felony hate crimes. Here is a link to the conviction:
Here is the original story:
I will allow that the guy is a jerk, a loud mouth, and probably drunk. There is no discussion about whether he should have been charged with a hate crime for telling someone she should not wear a Puerto Rico shirt. That, to me, is a huge problem.
Here are some Facebook posts celebrating this man’s guilt: