The first Ethics Alarms post about the trolling masterpiece “It’s OK to be white” was in 2017. The message, apparently launched by those puckish trouble-makers at 4Chan, first appeared on stickers appearing on the Harvard campus, sparking an idiotic response from an African American dean. I concluded, in part, that the sticker campaign was brilliant “no matter who came up with it or what the motive was,”; that anyone who was troubled by the message is part of the problem the stickers are responding to, and that the stickers would have been harmless if they were treated as harmless, and they should have been.
The Ethics Alarms’ self-appointed Voice of the Woke at the time took umbrage, saying, “The stickers are stupid. No one disputes that it’s OK to be white….The correct response from average citizens to this display of faux persecution should be mockery and ridicule, not outrage.” Realizing a hanging curve over the middle of the plate when I say one, I replied 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 anti-white 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… is that it requires distorting reality.
Well, the perplexing message made another appearance over the weekend, also in the Boston area. Some wag hoisted a large white banner that featured the motto in bold black lettering, only to have it torn down by another motorist. The Anti-Defamation League of New England’s Executive Director of the ADL’s Boston office, Robert Trestan, issued the following indignant and counter-factual statement that echoed that Harvard dean’s silliness two years ago:
“It’s pretty disappointing to see people in Massachusetts using a platform like that to disseminate a message that excludes people and targets people.”
Whom did that message “target”? Whom did it exclude? What language does the ADL speak, since it’s obviously not English. Black Pride events, Black Lives Matter rallies, the old “Black is beautiful” campaign—none of these were condemned by the ADL as “excluding” or “targeting people,” but a sign that says “Whites don’t suck” does? An explanation of this strange reasoning is in order, except that would be unfair, because there is no logical explanation for the outrage over the stickers, the banner and their message. White supremacy is bigotry and racism, but proclaiming white adequacy is offensive?
The closest thing to a coherent explanation of why the slogan is “hateful” is based on guilt by association, and the same dubious logic that holds that the “OK” sign is now a white supremacy symbol, the result of another 4chan prank. If it is okay to be white, and it is, the fact that white supremacists say so doesn’t make the statement any less true or benign.
Add this to the issues I’d love to have raised in the Democratic candidates debates. What’s offensive about the slogan, “It’s OK to be white”? Mr. Biden? Senator Warren? Senator Booker? Should white American be ashamed of their race and heritage? If they are not ashamed, should they be allowed to say so?