A confusing sign posted on a pillar outside of a Starbucks in downtown Toronto has the Internet divided about its meaning. The poster says, "It's okay to be flat white" - a reference to the Flat White Starbucks drink. The poster seems to mimic the controversial "It's okay to be white" signs that popped up on the Ryerson and University of Toronto campuses back in November.
Originally, the "it's okay to be white" signs appeared on university campuses in the US before they were anonymously posted in Canada. The idea for the poster was started in an online forum called 4Chan. According to the forum, the posters' sole purpose was to offend people and raise racial tensions. Both Ryerson and U of T ensured that the posters were torn down immediately.
Found several posters on College and Spadina while in downtown Toronto. The ‘It’s Okay to be White’ posters have been displayed in several campuses across the United States and Canada and have been put up earlier in November 2017 throughout the UTSG Campus. pic.twitter.com/xaJ8WrQkzs— Ann Marie Elpa (@annmarieelpa) May 24, 2018
Today, the "flat white" parody poster is sparking a major online debate. People can't seem to decide whether the poster was intended to offend, or poke fun.
"I think it's a joke at the expense of the people who put up those 'It's okay to be white' flyers, and therefore not racists," one user claims, "It's mocking the original posters by switching one of the words with something mundane and making it sound dumber than it already did."
Many seem to believe that the original posters were "racist in design and had racist intentions." But, others claim that the very purpose of the posters was to prank people into believing that the intentions were racist.
"I watched this event happen in real time," one user says, "they knew that if the media called this poster racist, they won, for the simple fact that it definitely NOT racist, and anyone who believes so opinion is worthless."
Others have a different theory about the meaning of "flat white." One user seems to think it refers to a "white woman with small breasts - a 'flat white'." Another user responded with, "Then it's definitely 'okay to be flat white' as per the poster. We all deserve to feel beautiful in our own skin!"
Or, there's always the literal interpretation - it's okay to treat yourself to a $4.00 Flat White from Starbucks?
To see the full message thread, click here.