So, as many of you know, sometime during the past week this happened:
These posters were found on the bulletin boards in Hagerty Hall, which houses the World Media and Culture Center, the Center for Languages, Literatures and Culture, the Diversity and Identity Studies Collective, and other centers that focus on multicultural issues. It’s also where I top off on coffee a few times a week.
I have to say that, as a white person, I was not inspired by these posters to be more proud of my whiteness. I’ve never been especially proud to be white, really. I’m proud to be a German-American, and if you are too I’d urge you to check out the American Center for German Culture or, if you have some musical talent, Columbus Männerchor. They’re very worthwhile organizations, and—unlike some white pride organizations in central Ohio—they’re not listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate map.
But the question remains: what should be done about these signs? They’re deeply offensive to a lot of people on campus, and I have no doubt that those people, and the Administration, will make their thoughts known on the subject soon. I find them deeply offensive as well, and profoundly disappointing: those among you whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet have been very welcoming of diversity, and in such a seemingly effortless way that it inspires a twinge of envy and pride in someone of my own generation. Ugliness of this sort is not what the OSU students I know stand for, and it’s not what the University stands for.
Some people will respond that this is free speech. Public universities are public, and the First Amendment applies in full force. Especially in a University setting, it’s important for people to be able to voice their ideas, however unpopular they might be.
While that argument holds considerable merit in the abstract, it overlooks a simple fact in this particular case: the empirical claims that are marshaled in favor of white supremacy are so deeply moronic that they are unworthy of being given serious consideration in an institution of higher learning. I’d go into detail, but honestly I don’t want to dignify any of the above by giving it the appearance of being one side of a reasoned debate. It simply isn’t. And in case any white supremacists out there doubt me, well, my skull is almost certainly bigger than yours, so by your own logic I must be smarter.
As I found myself wondering how such ideas could persist for many decades despite being completely devoid of any meaningful empirical support, it occurred to me that there was something that I could do, without even raising the issue of free speech: I could put these ideas in their proper context by promoting other ideas that have received the same degree of support from the scientific community.
So without further ado, I give you three original advertisements for three of science’s biggest losers: Ptolemaic astronomy, Lamarckian evolution, and cold fusion. Each one has text at the bottom pointing out that the idea in question has been totally discredited by science—as has white supremacy. They encourage interested readers to use the hashtags #EmbraceKnowledge and #RejectHate to post about this subject.
The images above link to (large) PDFs that you can download and either print out (they use a lot of ink!) or send off to a print shop. I sent mine to the FedEx shop just off of High Street, which charged me the flyer rate of 69¢ per copy and produced really lovely copies on nice, thick paper. Feel free to post them next to any white supremacist signs that you see on campus, or put them up in your dorm room or on your door. If you do, or if you see one, please snap a photo of it and add the hashtags.
Embrace knowledge. Reject hate.