This past Monday, Dec. 5, a friend of mine noticed and took a picture of this poster taped up near the UW Book Store. Addressed to those who choose to date white people, it warns that “propagation of whites” will “not be tolerated,” and that those who choose to date white people “have been warned.”
This is a crystal-clear threat against people of color in the Seattle community. I would argue that, implicitly, it is especially a threat against women of color. I know such women who felt shocked and afraid for their safety after seeing its toxic message, a message that is unequivocally a racist and violent threat.
Obviously, I get that the “goal” of the poster, as far as one is discernible, is to challenge white supremacy. In the abstract, this is a noble pursuit. But sentiments like this one are so ridiculous, so comically hyperbolic that they go beyond being merely fodder for conservatives to rightfully mock and liberals to shake their heads at. They present a genuine threat to the very people they claim to try to protect.
In our world, those who are members of any marginalized identity — such as being a woman, queer, non-white, or transgender — do not simply face violence and increased difficulties to self-actualization. They also tend to be the first ones hit by the effects of problems as diverse as climate change, relationship violence, and poverty.
Think about it for a second. The poster makes no threats against the white people it claims are inevitably destined to perpetuate social ills. Instead, it directly threatens the people of color who choose to date them. This is a disgustingly classic example of how people of color, especially women of color, are blamed, attacked, and otherwise targeted disproportionately.
Whether it be survivors of sexual assault getting blamed for being assaulted, or a poster threatening to harm women for their dating choices, we live in a world where women and people of color suffer violence from many different directions. This poster proves that those directions know no political bounds. People and organizations, both liberal and conservative, will gleefully join in.
To the creator of this poster, I ask: How many women of color must we harass before you are satisfied in your goal of ending white supremacy? Give me a number, please.
The poster credits ”Emerald City Antifa,” an anti-authoritarian organizing group. I reached out to this group to ask if they did indeed put it up and I have yet to hear back from them (See update below). I would hope they would be eager to clear their name of the poster or clarify their thinking behind it, since the threat it perpetuates is a classic play out of the fascists’ handbook.
This poster is the tip of a diseased iceberg in our national discourse. In an effort to reject ideologues like our incoming President-elect, some people have run so far in the opposite direction as to be absolutely destructive to the issues that are actually important.
For me personally, dating really is hard as a white guy — it has to be. When I go on dates I am constantly evaluating my own biases and my role in the context of the relationship; this is part of being a more decent and sensitive person. If you want to make an argument about how people like me can better understand and play our role in relationships, especially with people of color, I’m all ears.
But if you feel the need to put up a ludicrous, violent, threatening, racist piece of hyperbolic crap like this, I ask that you kindly cut that s---- out.
Update: On Dec 18th, The Daily was informed that on December 5th, the Emerald City Antifa had posted an update on their Facebook page to announce that they were not responsible for putting the poster up. According to the group, the poster was falsely attributed to them. In the context of the group’s denouncement of the poster, it is possible that the poster was put up in order to defame the organization, but its origin is still unknown.
Reach Podcast Editor Alex Bruell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @BruellAlex