The UC San Diego community has recently been made aware of a new Instagram account that has made numerous posts denouncing the Black Lives Matter movement and promoting the white supremacist slogan, “White Lives Matter.” The original account was taken down shortly after official UCSD condemnation but has since resurfaced.
The new account mirrors the previous one and has continued to use misleading quotes and insulting memes. By drawing on information from the far-right website Breitbart and conserative political commentator Candace Owens, the account attempts to spread hateful messages targeted at African Americans and other minorities.
In response to the original Instagram account, both UCSD administrators and Associated Students released separate statements on July 27 and 28, respectively. AS has stated that they will be contacting the UCSD Black Student Union and developing training programs for students interested in combating anti-blackness. The AS Office of External Affairs has stated that they will collaborate with the University of California Student Association and the Afrikan Black Coalition to create the programs.
“We firmly denounce what was shared on this account that claimed affiliation with UC San Diego, and condemn all forms of racism and hate,” the official UCSD statement reads. “We understand a similar account posted, claiming affiliation with another university. The Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD) is working with our Chief Information Security Officer to investigate the incident.”
The advent of this Instagram page is not the first time African American students at UCSD have faced blatant discrimination. A decade ago, the university had another incident, now known as the Compton Cookout, during which students had a “costume” party where guests wore stereotypical African American attire and accessories. The event was followed by multiple racially motivated episodes, including a noose found in Geisel Library and a Ku Klux Klan hood found adorned on the Dr. Seuss statue. The racist events have since gained notoriety as the Black Winter.
The university has since taken steps to address the Black Winter by supporting programs and initiatives to promote diversity and cultural awareness on campus. The Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the academic DEI requirement, and various cultural resource centers were created following the events. In February 2020, UCSD held a remembrance event to mark the 10-year anniversary of the Black Winter.
However, in light of the racist Instagram accounts, the rise of racial tensions in the United States, and the long-standing reality that African American students make up only 2.6 percent of the undergraduate population, UCSD still faces additional obstacles to ensure a supportive and diverse environment. Moreover, the university has yet to respond to the list of demands the BSU sent to administrators in June 2020. To learn more about this and ways to take action, refer to the organization’s Twitter page.
If you have any information regarding the incidents, please contact the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination at [email protected]. UCSD officials have stated that the individuals involved, if a part of the UCSD community, will be held accountable for their actions, but have not yet explained what punishments, if any, the culprits would face.