‘Smithwhitebusiness’ sparks outrage among students, alumni

We have the right to an opinion. If a Smith club made to create a safe space for Black individuals exists, why can we not exist?

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Hundreds of Queen’s students and alumni are taking to Instagram to denounce the creation of “smithwhitebusiness,” an Instagram page which describes itself as the “silent majority.”

The goals of the group are “To provide a safe space for White students in the commerce program that is both safe and welcoming. Free Speech. Freedom to have your own opinion.”

“1. it’s okay to be white 2. You are not racist because you are white 3. Diversity includes white people too 4. Be an advocate for free speech 5. It’s okay to have different political opinions” the post says.

excerpt from the page

Within four hours of the pages’ creation, its five posts collectively amassed over 1000 comments. Reactions ranged from outrage to finding the posts to be racist and white supremacist.

The Backlash

“This account proves why we need @stolenbysmith. I’m disgusted and outraged. Clearly there is a lot of education and learning that needs to happen. Whoever made this account, you are seriously troubled and misinformed” one comment said.

excerpt from the page

“This account is (yet another) embarrassment to Queen’s and all associated with it. If you care about free speech so much why are you not exercising it without the shield of anonymity? Surely as proponents of free speech you’re all for facing the consequences of your speech.” another Alumni said.

In response to the comments, smithwhitebusiness state that they are not racist and that are okay with being controversial. The group claims that they “have a right to their opinion.” They also state that its not coincidental that this group was stylized in the same way as the recently created ‘smithblackbusiness’ and ‘stolenbysmith‘ pages. They admit that the groups’ creation is a direct response to the recent movement started by Queen’s student Kelly Weilling Zou

“We have the right to an opinion. If a Smith club made to create a safe space for Black individuals exists, why can we not exist? We exercise the same rights”

Smith Business Responds via comment

Following the backlash, the official Smith School of Business Instagram account commented on the posts.

“Posts like this just serve to divide us at a time when we must come together as a community. Denying or dismissing the experiences of others is a symptom of systemic racism. Equally, so is turning the light away from the problem and the actions that must be taken to remedy centuries old behaviours, beliefs and practices. We encourage you to first listen to the voices that are too often unheard. The fundamental issues that underlie systemic racism and join us in fighting racism in all its forms.

As of August 8th, the instagram page has been removed from instagram for violating the platforms community standards.

Smithwhitebusiness provided the following statement to YGK News:

“We are not white supremacists. We are not racists. Everyone will understand this soon.”

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