Always a home for trolls

The “It’s ok to be white” vote:

The Australian Senate almost passed a motion affirming that “it’s OK to be white”. This probably sounds innocuous enough to the casual or incurious observer — and that’s exactly what the white supremacists who devised the slogan intended.

Well you’d have to be awfully casual or incurious to think statements that it’s ok to be [insert dominant group here] are innocuous. This one is a product of – you’ll never guess – 4chan.

The idea of using “it’s OK to be white” as part of a far right political project emerged around a year ago on the message board 4chan.

Always a home for trolls, over time certain boards on 4chan and its cousin 8chan have become nerve centres for far right activism.

The notion cooked up by one of the site’s anonymous users was that a postering campaign featuring the ostensibly inoffensive slogan would “trigger” leftists and journalists, who would immediately understand its racist intent.

Circular, isn’t it. Racist provocateurs come up with racist slogan saying that people who oppose racism would find it distasteful. Well duh. So what’s the point of spattering the world with stuff that people who oppose racism or sexism or xenophobia would find distasteful? Why, to demonstrate how foolish and wrong people who oppose racism or sexism or xenophobia are. I guess? Or just because it’s funny? But what’s funny about it?

No, see, it’s to draw everyone else, all the sensible people who don’t care about racism or sexism or xenophobia, into right-wing rage-addiction.

But it turned out to be too obvious.

[A]s the ADL points out, the slogan has been used by white supremacists for decades, and it was immediately identifiable as a racist meme.

White power bands were using it for song titles as far back as 2001, and it was appearing on white supremacist fliers as long ago as 2005.

That’s no surprise – “it’s OK to be white” perfectly expresses the sense of white victimhood that pervades white supremacist movements that see any demand for racial justice as an attack on white identity.

The slogan neatly encapsulates the imaginary universe of “reverse racism”, wherein critiques of white supremacy and structural racism are turned inside out, and used as evidence of anti-white racism. It captures the mindset that accuses those opposed to racism of being, themselves, racist.

Also, it was too popular with the upfront literal racists as opposed to trolls and Milo-types.

“It’s OK to be white” followed a path that many awful ideas have taken in the Trump era — from the cesspits of the alt right internet, through an increasingly confident far right street movement, and on through the self-aggrandising provocateurs who occupy increasingly prominent positions in conservative media.

Finally it got to Pauline Hanson. Then, unbelievably, it came to a vote in the Australian Senate.

Notwithstanding the white supremacist origins of the slogan, and the sentiment of white victimhood that underpins it, that body almost passed a motion supporting it.

The fact that this happened with the support of government ministers — including the Indigenous affairs minister — is beyond disheartening.

Sounds all too familiar.

H/t learie

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