You may remember when Towson University’s Youth for Western Civilization held a “straight pride” rally last fall, raising the ire of many on campus and off. And now the rabblerousing student group is at it again, chalking “White Pride” messages on prominent campus locations.
Is this just a first-amendment expression of traditional conservative values or a provocative act with overtones of racism and white nationalism? Depends on who you ask.
“As a black student, those words scared and concerned me,” said Kenan Herbert, president of the school’s Black Student Union. “White pride is no different than gay pride or black pride,” said YFWC president Matthew Heimbach. “I’m not trying to put anyone down. We want to celebrate our unique culture and we encourage every other group to do the same.”
The Towson group is one of a dozen or so campus offshoots of a national organization that has recently taken up such issues as advocating a return to Apartheid values in South Africa. The Towson chapter has proved to be one of the most active, perhaps because of its flair for dramatic and incendiary rhetoric. In its year end report for 2011, Heimbach noted how the group has had to battle “aggressive attacks” from “terrorist front organizations like the Muslim Student Association,” and sniffed out “the stench of a conspiracy that besmirches the name of Towson University.”
When they’re not causing a ruckus, YWC members watch movies like 300 and Red Dawn. For Halloween, they polled students to find out why so many students thought “it was acceptable to dress up like a sexy nun, mock European heritage, and denigrate Ancient Greece,” but that a blackface or terrorist costume was offensive. But the real thrills seem to come from getting people on campus all riled up: “The men and women of the Towson chapter of Youth for Western Civilization can guarantee one thing to the disgusting degenerates that make up our opposition, we always be on the attack.”