In what many are describing as a satirical effort to directly confront the race based “Black Lives Matter” movement on college campuses and draw attention to the anti-white racism that has caused university administrators to resign their posts or run in fear, students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign launched a Facebook page called “Illini White Students Union”.
Since the nuanced nature of the Facebook page was naturally lost on the professional protest class, black activists condemned it and claimed additional offense since the Facebook authors – who remain anonymous – went one-step further by blasting the mission of the national Black Lives Matter movement as “terrorism.”
Launched just two days ago to stare down radicals sympathetic to “Black Lives Matter” on campus, the student newspaper, “The Daily Illini”, quoted the Facebook page as saying that it was created:
“…for white students of University of Illinois to be able to form a community and discuss our own issues as well as be able to organize against the terrorism we have been facing from Black Lives Matter activists on campus.
The original “Illini White Students Union” page, which was taken down just hours after it was launched to give the impression that black student protestors had run it out of town, was revived a short time later here leaving black activists fuming since the tactic made them look like fools.
“We recognize the right to free speech, and we encourage you to exercise that right when you see examples of racism, discrimination or intimidation on our campus,” Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson, who called the page “extremely disturbing,” wrote in a message Thursday to the student body.
In an anonymous message to the News-Gazette, the page’s administrator discussed Black Lives Matter said:
“We feel they disrupt student daily life and activity far too much,” the message read, saying that movement “marginalizes” white students. “… We are in the United States and not Africa and we don’t desire to have an African flag on campus.”
As far as Facebook pages go, the current page is bare bones. It contains just a few links to news stories about the controversy, includes an image of a statue on campus and boasts just over 1,000 “likes” in two days.
The original mission statement posted in the “about” section of the Facebook page said the page was meant to give “White Pride and a safe place for White students” – text that was later changed to read: “A group for white University of Illinois Students. The first white student organization on campus.”
The original “Illini White Students Union” Facebook page was even more provocative including this tongue and check message:
“Feel free to send in pictures you take of any black protestors on the quad so we know who anti-whites are.”
Student reporter, Marijo Enderle, a 20-year-old senior at the university, said in a telephone interview that protesters were particularly concerned that they were being targeted.
“One of the parts on the page particularly concerning to students is that they were taking pictures from the rally of the main quad and identifying students in attendance to identify the ‘anti-whites,’” Enderle also pointed out that “there hasn’t been any indication that it has been a university student” who created the page.
Predictably, university administrators condemned the page saying that it was not only offensive but that it used the university’s trademark without permission. University spokesman Robin Kate wrote in an email to The Daily Illini” that:
“It is disturbing and cowardly that someone would create an anonymous and senseless social media page specifically designed to intimidate others, including and especially our students. When we became aware of the page, we immediately contacted Facebook and requested that it be removed.”
“Facebook has been responsive to our requests, but the page continues to be reposted. We are continuing to work with Facebook to address this matter. We recognize that passions run deep on all sides of many issues, but actions like this are senseless and hurtful and do nothing to foster meaningful dialogue.”
Some of those who posted comments on the page disagreed.
“As a Mexican American I do not find this page racist or in poor taste,” another wrote. “It’s only fair that you are allowed to have your own page and the same rights to freedom of speech as black Illini students have.”
Another comment posted on the page expressed support for the idea of a white students union saying:
“What I do like about it is they are fighting for the rights of the white man which are dwindling faster than a rabbit on meth!” Alan Scroggins, a 37-year-old stay-at-home dad from Rantoul, Ill., wrote. “I’m not racist, but I’m proud of my heritage! You know!”
While the university was quick to condemn “white” race based groups and comments, the university was silent on campus groups, publications, website pages and social media like Facebook based on other races – particularly black groups and potentially violent protest groups like “Black Lives Matter” who have allegedly advocated the killing of police officers.