The people of Whitby, Ontario are expressing concern after signs linked to neo-Nazi groups were spotted in their town. According to The Star, residents have started noticing "It's okay to be white" stickers plastered in multiple locations around Whitby. The unsettling signage led to Durham Police launching an investigation into the matter.
“I am very disappointed if signage of this nature has been posted anywhere in our community,” explained Mayor Don Mitchell to The Star.
“Bylaw enforcement is now investigating these reports. If this type of signage is found, Durham police will be immediately notified. Discrimination or hate speech of any kind has no place in our community, and the Town of Whitby will not tolerate it,” he continued.
Although the stickers were immediately removed by officers after multiple reports came in, it would appear that the damage has already been done.
One particular resident of the town says her trust has been broken, which she claims is evidence of a growing world issue, especially in the wake of the recent mass shooting at two separate mosques in New Zealand.
“I thought that was awful. First of all, how could it be that in our midst there might be somebody who is thinking these kinds of thoughts and posting these signs?” explained Yaldaz Sadakova during an interview with The Star.
Sadakova went on to warn that the stickers are only the beginning before warning Canadians that “bad things” typically follow acts of racial vandalism.
“We talk so much about how Canada is so diverse and everybody is welcome and that these things don’t happen here, but guess what? We’re seeing these kinds of signs and you know, usually, bad things — they start with these little signs here and there," she continued.
"It's okay to be white" stickers have been spotted in cities all over Canada recently. Police forces in Vancouver, Ottawa and Halifax have addressed the sightings before, and it never gets any less worrisome.
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
The saying actually originated on 4chan, an online forum in which members often stage and organize controversial, polarizing events to get reactions from people. Whether this was indeed an act of hate or just a couple of internet trolls trying to get a rise out of people, it is essential for police to intervene and identify those responsible.