“It’s okay to be white,” what several signs posted around the Coastal Carolina University campus said.
While the signs were taken down shortly after they were posted, it wasn’t before someone snapped a photo of one of them on the Wall College of Business building.
The photo posted on the Social Justice Research Initiative Facebook page quickly made it’s rounds on social media.
The signs appear to be a part of a national social media campaign, according to a statement released by the University.
Though the signs themselves are simple, many believed they speak volumes.
“It hurts because no one should be, like, hurt and going into college and you see that poster as you’re going to class,” said Demi Luede, a CCU student. “It ruins your mood.”
Luede wasn’t alone with how she feels. Many believed the signs were part of a racist movement.
“I’m not going to lie. When I first heard about it, I was very upset about it,” said Jala Bennett. “Racism is mostly ignorance and when you’re ignorant, you don’t want to listen to anyone. Constantly seeing this progression of racism becoming bolder in society, and then directly coming into our campus and being something okay with people doing, and not feeling ashamed about personally made me very mad.”
Others on campus said they don’t see a problem with the signs. They argue if other ethnicities can be proud of their skin color, white people should be allowed to, as well.
“If it were to say it’s okay to be black, no one would bat an eye,” said Shawn Passeri. “…It’s okay to be white. It’s okay to be whatever you are. It doesn’t matter, like, we’re all people.”
When The Chanticleer asked their followers on Instagram how they felt about the sign, many agreed with Passeri.
“This is ridiculous. The posters aren’t offensive,” posted Tina Martinetti. “They aren’t negative. They aren’t anything. It is okay to be white. Or black. Or brown. Or purple of whatever. Who cares?”
The Chanticleer reached out to the Multicultural Services Department at Coastal to get their perspective, but they declined to an interview.
Whatever the intent of the signs, the University is taking the matter seriously.
According to a statement, all signs posted on campus must be approved by the Office of Student Life, and even then, signs are not allowed on exterior walls or doors. That means the signs were violations of University policies.
In addition, the statement says the matter is also being investigated by campus authorities, saying in part, “…Public Safety is now reviewing surveillance video, license tag readers, and a photo of the individual who posted the signs. If investigators are able to identify the individual, the University will determine the appropriate steps to be taken.”