Zeta Phi Beta’s Founders’ Day mural defaced with racist graffiti at University of Virginia
A Zeta Phi Beta’s Founders’ Day mural was defaced at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, with what looks like a racist symbol that many say is a white supremacist slogan, Watch the Yard reports.
A day after the historically Black sorority celebrated it’s 99th anniversary on Jan. 16, the mural was painted over on Jan. 17, with the words “It’s OK to be white.”
The slogan, “It’s OK to be white,” is reportedly the popular phrase commonly used by white supremacists in online discussion groups like the controversial 4chan. White supremacist websites like The Daily Stormer and hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, have since adopted the saying.
“On its face, the statement is both innocuous and obvious. It is OK to be white. But the intent of the flyer’s author is not to state the obvious. It is to find sympathizers to the white nationalists’ cause,” Richard A. Baker, the president of the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity, told Inside Higher Ed via email.
The saying was painted on the Beta Bridge on campus, located on Rugby Road. Since 1926, it has been a tradition by University of Virginia students to paint messages and information to share with the campus and surrounding community.
“Graffiti and comments that are hateful or aimed to intimidate others are inconsistent with our shared values and have no place anywhere in our community,” University spokesperson Anthony de Bruyn said in an email statement to The Cavalier Daily, the student newspaper who broke the story.
“Over many years, Beta Bridge has become a public forum for the community, similar to the free speech wall in downtown Charlottesville,” de Bruyn told The Cavalier Daily. “Although the bridge is city property, it is seen by many as a place where the University community can share messages about important events in the life of the University.”
The University released a statement on Friday condemning the insensitive act, saying it’s, “racially motivated targeting of the sorority’s positive message on Beta Bridge.”
“We are very glad Zeta Phi Beta is part of the UVA Greek community and this institution is better for their presence here.”
White supremacist activity is on the rise. Back in November, “OK to be white” leaflets went left on the campus of the University of Vermont and Champlain College. They have also popped up at the American River College, Duke University, North Carolina State University, Tufts University, the University of Delaware, the University of Denver and the University of St. Thomas, in Minnesota, Inside Higher Ed reports.
Meanwhile, the Charlottesville Police Department doesn’t deem that this incident warrants further investigation.