November 3, 2017 5:47 pm

Signs intended to create racial tension posted at University of Toronto

Fri, Nov 3: The appearance of signs reading "It's okay to be white" at the downtown Toronto university follows appearances on campuses in Edmonton, Saskatoon and in several parts of the US. Mark Carcasole reports.

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A series of controversial posters already spotted on school campuses in many parts of the U.S. and in Edmonton and Saskatoon have popped up on at least one campus in Toronto.

The signs reading “it’s okay to be white,” may be offensive to some, but that would be playing right into the hands of those responsible. It’s part of an online gag aimed specifically at raising racial tensions.

“I don’t think it’s ever not been okay to be white,” laughed U of T student Daniel Rebelo while walking to class.

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“I feel like that’s such a weird view to have considering how persecuted people of other races are.”

READ MORE: Canadians are concerned about the rise of racism, new survey says

Marcella Bollers works and goes to school at the university. She refers to the posters as “sad, pathetic and funny,” attributing them to people who feel threatened by equality.

“Racialized people are pushing back and they’re being heard more. I think the media are paying attention to them more and I think the momentum is building … and people don’t like that,” she said.

The posters were spotted at U of T Wednesday, but there was no sign of them around the campus Friday afternoon, however a statement from school administration confirmed their existence.

“We were alerted to the posters by members of the community, and immediately notified Campus Police, who have also notified Toronto Police,” said an email for the school’s media relations team.

“Posters that don’t comply with procedures are removed by caretaking and grounds staff. Messages like this are antithetical to the University’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” the statement continued.

Global News also received reports that posters had shown up on the message boards inside the library building at Ryerson University. School officials did not reply to our request for comment by our deadline, but there were no posters there either on Friday.

READ MORE: Anti-Semitic posters pop up at UVic

The poster campaign seems to have started on the message board 4Chan, with a post from an anonymous Canadian user linking readers to a website where they can download the signs so that they have a uniform font and spacing.

The user encourages readers to wear Halloween costumes for anonymity while they tape up their posters.

“The next morning, the media goes completely berserk,” said the post. “Leftists frothing at the mouth.”

There is also a link to a crowdfunding page where the creators said they are raising money to make a giant banner to drop in a public place somewhere.

READ MORE: U of T says white nationalist group not welcome on campus

As of Friday evening, it had raised a total of $62.

There were social media reports of signs being booby trapped with razors to cut anyone who tried to tear them down, though Toronto Police said they’ve seen no proof of that.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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