Poster by American Vanguard
Poster by American Vanguard

On December 5, 2016, posters stating, “White Guilt: free yourself from cultural marxism” were found in multiple locations on campus. Shira Sneg, Chairperson of the Student Senate Caucus was one of the first to post on Facebook, warning other students about the images and the Students’ Union soon followed suit. Posts warned students that similar images have been known to contain razor blades and the like, and rather than removing the papers themselves, to alert UBCO Security.

While it turns out that these posters, and many similar to them, have not yet been found with razor blades or anything else physically harmful on them, the words printed on the page take a stab at those who support equality, inclusion, and social justice. “Cultural Marxism” is a term most often used to comment on the state of political-correctness or multiculturalism in a society. The poster itself is a copy of those produced by the American Vanguard, a pro-white group whose website reads, “If current trends continue, White Americans will be a minority by 2044. It’s time to take a stand.”

Reaction UBCO, a student-run group that appeared on Facebook in December 2016, has claimed responsibility for the posters. “We’re just a few friends who wanted to see how people would react to non-politically correct material and gauge the value of free speech on campus,” a representative from the group stated. “We didn’t withhold our association with the posters because we wanted to hide— our logo and name were left off intentionally to leave space for dialogue and reaction.” The student also explained that Reaction UBCO will be launching a campaign this semester, and that the group does not want any association with the American Vanguard, even though they utilized the group’s print materials in what some students would consider intellectual theft. “All publicity is good publicity,” the representative argued, “we want to focus on ‘cultural marxism’ and how it’s limiting free speech on campus, in Canada, everywhere really.”

While the group itself will not be sanctioned by the Students’ Union, they have continued to share their ideas on their Facebook page. The most recent post on the Reaction UBCO page suggests students “Free [themselves] from white guilt. Have pride in your European ancestry. Don't feel shame or apologize for your forefathers,” and in a press release, they stated their commitment to “fighting back against the social justice movement and 4th waves [sic] feminism on our campus.” So far this term, there have not been any posters or images around campus either, but the group promises to hold events that challenge people’s way of thinking and the limiting capacity of political correctness.