Anahzsa Jones| Managing Editor
“The Media Will Call This Hate. Why? Because They Hate White People.” These were the first words on flyers posted on NC State’s campus on Nov. 9.
Rachel May, a junior studying horticultural science, first found the flyer posted on the bulletin board between Bostian Hall and the brickyard.
“I felt anger and disgust that someone, probably a student here, feels like it’s acceptable to post this kind of content. I followed my first instinct and ripped them down,” May said.
The flyers were found posted on bulletin boards in several locations on campus and in a Nubian Message newsstand outside of Caldwell Hall. May showed the crumpled flyer to her boyfriend, Carl Hintz, a junior studying mathematics, who is a writer for the Nubian Message. “We met up outside of DH Hill library at 11 am and she showed me the flyers that she found,” Hintz said. “From 11 [a.m.] to 1 [p.m.] Rachel and I walked around north campus and central campus to remove the flyers.
In total, Hintz and May found 17 flyers stapled to the cylindrical bulletin boards near Caldwell hall, Poe hall, Park Shops, and in Wolf Plaza.
Vladimir Ureña, a junior studying English and correspondent for the Nubian Message found the same flyer in a newsstand for the paper. “I found the flyer outside Caldwell hall at almost 1 pm today [Thursday],” said Ureña. “At first I was just kind of in shock and in disbelief. Then I just felt really frustrated and it made the already gray mood darken even more. Lastly I felt angry and took the flyer with me.”
Anger was not the only emotion felt by those who encountered the flyers. “I wasn’t surprised that someone had posted white supremacist flyers,” said Hintz. “To me some of their language was so off the wall that it was almost amusing. They referred the reader as a ‘fellow White comrade’ and ended their flyer with the claim that there is a ‘#WHITEGENOCIDE.’”
Editor-in-Chief of the Nubian Message, Stephanie Tate, a junior studying political science felt the effect of the flyers on a personal level. “I was extremely upset when I saw these flyers but I was even more upset when I found out they were in the Nubian Message newsstand,” said Tate. “Our staff works really hard to give a voice to minority students so to have people on campus that deliberately want to stifle that voice is disheartening.”
Reggie Barnes, Senior Director of Campus Community Centers, responded to the views expressed on NCSU’s campus. “As an alumnus of NC State, it hurt to see the sentiments expressed on our campus. Of course, we do not know who put them there, so we cannot assume that a member of the campus community was involved,” Barnes said.
While the motivation and identity of the person who posted the flyers is not known, white supremacist rhetoric has a negative impact on our campus. “Putting up these flyers is, in a small way, an attempt to terrorize black students here, because it is an attempt to create fear and intimidation,” said May.
For students of color, white supremacist rhetoric may have a chilling effect. “Honestly, after finding the flyer the day just darkened. I didn’t know what to think and I couldn’t concentrate in the rest of my classes or at work later that day. I now feel unsafe to walk around campus, to go back home on the bus,” said Ureña.
The first flyers were found the day after the presidential election. Both CNN and The New York Times have reported an apparent rise in racist incidents and hate crimes on college campuses just days after the election. To many, the timing of these flyers being posted indicates a connection between the election results and the sentiments expressed in the flyer.
“It’s difficult to say that our country is against these principles when we elected someone to our highest office that openly shares some of the same beliefs as white supremacists,” said May.
Patrick Neal, the director of student media described his reaction to the flyers. “The very first words out of my mouth were not words you’d want to print. I was surprised in that I wasn’t expecting it, but I’m not surprised someone would do it. There are hateful people in the world, and right now some of them are celebrating this election by getting their hate on,” said Neal.
Hintz said, “Many people who hold white supremacist beliefs feel emboldened by the election results. People who already held white supremacist beliefs think that they can speak and act with relative impunity.”
Ureña felt a direct correlation between the election results and the choice to put the flyers in Nubian Message Newsstands. “Because of the election results, racists everywhere are feeling more empowered than in a long time. This makes them think that they can show their true colors. So of course they’d put it in the Nubian newsstands where everyone would take notice,” Ureña said.
Tate also felt the placement of the flyers in the newsstands was deliberate, to “send a message to our staff and our readers.” The content of the flyers expresses anti-media sentiments, which Tate described as “dangerous.”
“It was not only silly but blatantly untrue. There is this idea that the media calling out systemic racism, misogyny, etc. is the equivalent of hating white people, men, etc. I reject that completely. Journalism can be a form of advocacy and I think to ignore the role of journalists in informing the public about the perspectives of others is extremely dangerous,” said Tate.
While the content of the flyers does not have any blatantly violent language toward minority groups, the websites printed on them do feature articles that target minorities and encourage violence and discrimination. “My guess is that the flyers were put on campus to promote their ideology. The flyers include links to white supremacist and anti-semitic websites,” said Hintz.
“It makes me ashamed to be a white, straight, male Southerner, honestly. I’ve never been more disappointed in ‘my people,’” said Neal.
The next steps to take are unclear, as no official word has been given from the University. According to Neal, “We’ve notified Campus Police and the university’s Bias Incident Response Team, and they’re taking the lead from here. While we’d certainly like to know who was responsible, I think the top priority right now is making sure our students are OK.”
Going forward, Tate highlighted the need for productivity in the face of adversity. “I can only speak for our staff but I think our next steps should be to continue to produce quality journalism. I think our campus community needs that now more than ever,” Tate said.
Hintz advocates for unity and accountability to combat the views expressed in the flyers. “As a community we need to hold our peers to the basic standard of respect. Our university can and should help to set this expectation. When we see or hear bigotry we should condemn it as such. As a country we need to get organized in order to prevent the very real possibility of consolidated authoritarian leadership,” said Hintz.
May suggested that white people should educate other white people about why white supremacist beliefs are wrong. “I think it is also important to explain to people in clear terms why and how these groups are wrong and why they can be dangerous. To be honest I think white people like myself should be the ones to step up and do that,” said May.
Others feel there should be a more direct course of action. Ureña said, “If there are cameras that could detail who put the flyers up, then that person needs to be punished. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression can only go so far when you’re calling to arms against minorities and endangering others.”
While many on campus wish to hold students accountable for hateful speech, this can be difficult to do. “Our policies around speech are in alignment with federal and state law. As a new NC State employee, I am still learning more about the scope of those policies and how they impact actions we can take when incidents occur,” said Barnes.
There are some effective ways to respond to hateful speech. Neal called for community involvement to help officials stay abreast of these incidents. Neal asked students to “help us keep an eye out on campus. If [students] go to get a newspaper and see something like that in our boxes, I’d hope they’d let us know right away so that we can follow up. As far as what I’d say to whoever put up the flyer there, you wouldn’t want to print that, either,” Neal said.