"It's Okay To Be White" T-Shirt Receives Backlash For Being "Inherently Racist", And People Are Divided

"It's Okay To Be White" T-Shirt Receives Backlash For Being "Inherently Racist", And People Are Divided

The T-shirt was being marketed by Trade Me an online website and was manufactured by VJM Publishing who tried to troll "anti-white bigots" and "local communists" through this product.

A New Zealand-based online store was forced to stop selling t-shirts which had a controversial slogan "It's okay to be white" printed on it. After being publicly slammed, with many calling the item "inherently racist",  they decided to take it down, albeit grudgingly, according to reports. Trade Me is the platform that was used to sell these products manufactured by VJM Publishing who marketed this item in an attempt to troll "anti-white bigots" and "local communists". 


New Zealand's largest auction website, Trade Me, initially gave a  statement where they were adamant about continuing to sell the item despite the backlash they received as they weren't breaking any rules. However, after being bombarded with numerous complaints and negative feedback, the online site finally took the listing down as of Thursday night. Daily Mail reports white supremacists all over the world have adopted the phrase "it's okay to be white."



Although the manufacturing company, VJM Publishing was careful to describe the listing which read: "An 'It's okay to be white' T-shirt will let people know that you are not a racist who thinks that a child can be born into sin if others with the same skin color have acted badly in the past. Wear this shirt as a white person to troll your local Communists, or wear this shirt as a brown person to troll stuck-up middle-class urbanites. Either way, it's funny!" The sellers produced this item as a way to counter the prevalent "anti-white bigots" sentiment.  Unfortunately, the Human Rights Commission (HRC) seemed to disagree with it describing the whole idea as a message of promoting "intolerance, racism, and division".



The company told Newshub during an interview that the product was not removed from the listing and remained there as "they do not breach its rules." George Hiotakis, the head of trust and safety confirmed the removal of the item from the sites' listings and said, "Items which marginalize individuals or promote one race at the cost of another cannot be sold." He also added, "While we know there is some debate about this slogan, we don't think these items cross that line."


"When we were first alerted to these items, we err on the side of letting legal listings run but we listen to our community and we will change our mind if we feel there's a good reason to do so," he explained. The Project host, Kanoa Lloyd, too got caught up in the mess due to its controversial content. While she tried her best to neutralize the situation by wearing the t-shirt herself, it left New Zealanders "shock and hurt." Hiotakis further said, "We knew there was some ambiguity associated with this phrase so it's been a tough one for us to wrestle with. The listings have proven to be pretty divisive and have attracted a bunch of complaints. New Zealand has told us that they don't want to see this sort of thing on Trade Me and we agree, so this slogan will not be allowed to be sold on any item on our site."



Since Trade Me removed the product from it's listing, the sellers have switched to another online store called Allgoods.co.nz. This time the listing read: "The infamous 'It's Okay To Be White' t-shirts that caused problems on TradeMe! Resist the Orwellian thought police with this t-shirt! The Human Rights Commission thinks that we shouldn't be allowed to sell these shirts - help up stand up for free speech by telling them where to stick it! It is in no way racist, hateful or divisive to say that it's okay to be white!' Apart from standing up for this product the listing also informs the customers that the delivery of the item might take up to three weeks 'due to unprecedented demand.'"







A spokesman from the Allgoodz.co.nz said that the company will "remove obviously offensive, racist or illegal content in real time." The spokesman added that the moderation team "did not find it to be obviously offensive or racist upon original review" as there's "clearly a line somewhere between free-speech and offensive content." In addition, the representative said, "To us, removing content because some people interpret it in an offensive way is a slippery slope which stifles public debate and gives us as a platform more power than we believe is right. We do not feel that we have the authority, or right, to decide what people can or cannot say, outside of obviously inappropriate content."






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