As racial tensions and protests roil college campuses across the United States, students at the University of Illinois have launched a White Student Union Facebook page in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Facebook page, called the Illini White Student Union (IWSU), was created Nov. 18, just hours after a black student rally took place on campus.
IWSU says white students are the victims of reverse racism because whites are not allowed to have their own cultural groups the way African-American, Asian-American, and Latino-American students are.
“Inclusiveness and cultural diversity is when every race has their organization on campus. Racism is when white people have one,” the group wrote sarcastically.
“We wanted to give white students in our school an opportunity to have their first organization on campus,” said IWSU. “They deserve an equal right to form a union as any minority group on the campus already has. We believe in freedom of speech and dislike censorship and political correctness. We want to get rid of ‘white guilt’ by being open about our white pride.”
The IWSU page administrator slammed the Black Lives Matter movement in an anonymous letter, saying it “marginalizes” white students.
“We feel they disrupt student daily life and activity far too much,” the White Student Union wrote. “We are in the United States and not Africa, and we don’t desire to have an African flag on campus.”
Facebook briefly shut down the IWSU’s FB page amid protests from African-Americans students, who claim they felt “unsafe” because of the account’s existence. Facebook then reposted the page after critics slammed the move as censorship.
A rep from the University of Illinois said the school will continue to pressure Facebook to have the White Student Union page shut down.
“When we became aware of the page, we immediately contacted Facebook and requested that it be removed,” said University of Illinois rep Robin Kaler. “Facebook has been responsive to our requests, but the page continues to be reposted.”
The uproar at the University of Illinois followed weeks of protests at the University of Missouri, where president Tim Wolfe was forced to step down amid pressure from student activist group Concerned Student 1950.
Wolfe resigned on Nov. 9 after being slammed for not responding adequately to three racist incidents where students claimed they were called the N-word. One Mizzou grad student even went on a hunger strike, and vowed to starve himself to death if Wolfe didn’t resign or get fired.
Among the list of demands Concerned Student 1950 sought included an admission by Tim Wolfe of his “white male privilege” and the hiring of more black faculty at the university (whose student-body president and vice president are black).
The protests have thrown the University of Missouri into total chaos, with classes on hold and students expressing safety concerns — both real and imagined — amid false alarms about danger on campus. Protests have also erupted on other campuses across the country, including Yale and Princeton.
On Nov. 11, Payton Head, president of the Mizzou student body (who is black), posted a chilling warning on Facebook of a “confirmed” Ku Klux Klan presence on campus — only to admit hours later it was not true.
Payton later apologized for the false alarm. In September, Payton had claimed someone called him the N-word.
Mizzou students are now being told to call the police if they hear hateful or “hurtful” speech. The University of Missouri responded to the protests by naming Michael Middleton interim president. Middleton, who is black, was a former civil rights attorney.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens at the University of Missouri with a black president at its helm. Mizzou’s student-body president and vice president are also black, although 80% of the student body is white.
Ironically, racial tensions across the United States have rapidly deteriorated under Barack Obama, the nation’s first African-American president.