“Anti-diversity” Fliers Found on Campus

Stephanie Rodriguez, Reporter

Last week, flyers with the slogan “It’s Okay to Be White” were discovered in Rossey Hall. The flyers were reported to Public Safety and torn down, but later replaced by new ones. President Sue Henderson sent an official statement via email condemning these “flyers promoting anti-diversity” and tying this event to a “larger movement.” The content of the flyer was not disclosed in the email.

Some students were alarmed, wondering if the flyer contained racial slurs or other overtly racist rhetoric. While neither is true, the flyers served an insidious motive.

Identical flyers were discovered and reported in schools across the country during the same week. Media reports traced the slogan “It’s Okay to Be White” back to an anonymous internet chat room, where users were advised to post flyers while in their Halloween costumes to obscure their identities. The campaign’s intent was to tap into a sense of white alienation and a perceived “reverse racism” – key recruitment tools of the alt-right movement.

Last month, recruitment flyers for white supremacist group Identity Evropa were reported at Rutgers University. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Identity Evropa is one of three major white supremacist organizations responsible for 329 flyer incidents on more than 240 campuses across the United States.

Additionally, just prior to last week’s election, a still-unknown source distributed flyers groundlessly accusing Hoboken’s mayoral candidate Ravi Bhalla, a Sikh man, of being associated with terrorism. Bhalla won the election.

If I may offer a reassuring word to the NJCU community in this time of uncertainty and outrage: the “It’s Okay to Be White” campaign is a low-effort stunt riding the coattails of higher-priority indignations. It seeks undermine “political correctness,” a phrase which itself, in the words of poet-activist Dionne Brand, is an “attack on ethical questions.” For our community, one of the most ethnically diverse academic spaces in the nation, this is an opportunity to open an intelligent and honest interrogation of the “reverse racism” myth and its role in the current political climate.