VANCOUVER—Posters with the slogan “It’s okay to be white” were found plastered around New Westminster on Thursday, prompting police to monitor the case.
Similar posters bearing the slogan, which has connections to racist and white supremacist movements, have been found in cities in Canada and the U.S. since last year.
New Westminster resident Vanessa Woznow came across the posters that read “Its okay to be white” while walking along 8th St. and ripped them down. The NWPD is now investigating. (VANESSA WOZNOW)
New Westminster resident Vanessa Woznow came across the posters along 8th St. between Royal Ave. and Carnavron St., which is located near the Skytrain Station.
“I ripped down three of them but I saw there had been others up,” she said, referring to staples and leftover paper stuck to some electrical poles along the street.
Woznow said she was shocked to see the posters in her neighbourhood.
“It just stopped me short; I was very horrified to see them,” she said. “It’s really, really, upsetting to see language that pushes hate.”
New Westminster police responded to a tweet she sent about the posters, announcing they have opened a file and are seeking more information on the case.
The slogan originated on the online forum 4chan, where users suggested creating posters with the apparently innocuous phrase as a way to provoke media attention and use the backlash to sway readers toward white supremacist ideas. The phrase has been linked to Neo-Nazi groups and was promoted by KKK Grand Wizard David Duke.
The Anti-Defamation League, a U.S.-based organization that fights anti-Semitism, has identified the slogan as a “trolling campaign” associated with “white supremacist alt-right movements.”
Cherise Seucharan is a Vancouver-based reporter covering health and safety/youth. Follow her on Twitter: @CSeucharan