An anonymous Instagram account with the handle ‘Smith White Business’ faced major backlash from the Queen’s community before it was taken down on Saturday.
According to the account, which launched Friday, Smith White Business aimed “to provide a safe space for white students in the Commerce program that is both safe and welcoming.”
Though the account described itself as “a silent majority” and had gained almost 1400 followers, it was removed by Instagram for violating the platform’s Community Guidelines. Many individuals in the Queen’s community had posted comments claiming the account perpetuates racist ideas and reported the posts.
“Hate towards us is expected,” Smith White Business had shared in one post addressing the criticism. “Our opinions are not socially accepted.”
Smith White Business also claimed to be receiving support in private.
“We do not expose direct messages publicly. The same people attacking us publicly are the same people in our direct messages confessing their support,” the account wrote.
The platform didn’t make any direct references to the two other platforms which have recently been launched to address the needs of racial minorities at Smith—Stolen by Smith and the Smith Black Business Association (SBBA). One post, however, alluded to the Smith Black Business Association, a group created on Aug. 5 to support Black Commerce students.
Screenshot from Instagram user
The Commerce Society (ComSoc) said it’s “excited to welcome the [SBBA] into the ratification process this year.”
The post stated that the account has “the right to an opinion” and asked “[i]f a Smith club made to create a safe space for Black individuals exists, why can we not exist?”
Although the account appeared to be run by a group of Commerce students—one post said the account owners have “been through the entire program and [they] are aware of the issues”—it was anonymous. The anonymous nature of its owners, according to the account, was due to fear of having their opinions suppressed.
ComSoc condemned the “white supremacist” account in a statement posted to its Instagram, adding “[i]t is to be made explicitly clear this ‘club’ is not affiliated with, nor will be affiliated with, the Smith Commerce society.”
Screenshot from ComSoc Instagram
“This evening’s events are extremely disappointing and further demonstrate the level of work that needs to be done, as well as the explicit oppression, marginalization, exclusion and white supremacy that run rampant within the Smith School of Business,” ComSoc wrote in the statement.
In its single comment to The Journal, Smith White Business said that, according to them, they are “not white supremacists.”
With files from Claudia Rupnik.
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