PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (WFLA) – A controversial sign referring to so-called white privilege has been taken down not even three days after it was put up.
The sign was outside the Good Samaritan Church. It read, “If you are white, use your privilege to fight for justice.”
The sign’s meaning depends on who you ask. It creatainly created a whole lot of controversy.
Some call it racist and offensive. “And this sets us back way too much,” Stuart Flores said about the sign. “Why are we still separating ourselves?”
“It doesn’t matter that I’m red, I’m brown,” Flores added. “We are all people. We’re human.”
Others agree with what it says. Even though the sign has been taken down, Pastor Jennifer Daysa and her congregation aren’t backing away from the message.
That’s exactly why members of the church, mostly white, have been studying race, Daysa said. After all of that studying, the pastor said the sign is just one way to help with racial equality.
“When you do see that you’re being privileged in a way others are not simply based on skin color, speak up and you can reject that privilege,” she said.
Daysa said the true reason for the sign is to start a much-need dialogue to bring everyone together. “Of course our hope is not divisiveness or hatred or judgement,” the pastor told News Channel 8.
Sign brings mixed reactions
But for many in the area, that sign brought out that divisiveness.
News Channel 8 went to neighboring businesses and showed the sign to people. We received mixed reactions.
“That’s kind of racist just to think about it,” John Insixiengmai said. “Not everybody’s white.”
“I think it doesn’t make any difference if you’re white, black, yellow, green, purple,” Shari Reynolds said. “You should just fight for justice anyways.”
But, others said the time for a sign like this has come. “Our race is, does need to stand up for itself,” said John, who did not want to provide his last name. “Every other race does.”
The pastor said,”Once we’re together, we can beat everyone.”
Daysa also said they’ve received threats about the sign, mostly from people she described as white.
This isn’t the first time the church has caused a stir with signs. A few weeks back, another sign mentioned white privilege. Some people in the community say these signs are pushing the envelope way too far.