UPDATE, MAY 29, 4:15 P.M.: The Irvine Police Department is now investigating the fliers' language as a hate incident. "It isn't a question about whether it actually is a hate incident or not because it is. We're investigating where the the fliers came from and who posted it," says Craig Reem, Director of Public Affairs and Communications at Irvine PD. When asked to comment, Equity Residential representative Marty McKenna replied that the company is "cooperating with the investigation and hope that they find the person responsible."
ORIGINAL POST, 12:08 P.M.: Fliers addressing noise levels are nothing new in apartment complexes, but last night, a UC Irvine student going by the username teyent_theequeenb Instagrammed a flier posted in a Toscana Apartments elevator specifically calling out African-Africans. In bold, a paragraph reads, "We also would like to remind our African-American residents to keep conversation volume down and reduce music levels between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Multiple complaints have been made regarding this issue."
teyent_theequeenb posted another photo showing a second flier attached in a complex elevator. She says that out of eight elevators in different buildings, these two fliers were posted in the building she lived in alone. "Call me crazy, but it's about eight people or less I've seen that are black in my building, so what's really the issue?"
Following that, she posted a video showing the flier, in which she states, "This is what it means to be black in Irvine: generalizations."
A friend adds, "Blatant racism, with no regard to our personal feelings."
"Only two are posted, and it's just in my building, and I'm black," she says. "WE ALL BLACK."
Marty McKenna, a representative from Equity Residential, the publicly traded company that manages Toscana Apartments, told the Weekly, "The flier was not created or posted by any employee of Equity Residential. We are outraged by the content and are investigating the matter." When approached by Gawker and Jezebel, the company stated the same, as well as Tweeted as much on its Twitter account.
— Equity Residential (@EquityRes) May 29, 2015
At 10:01 a.m. this morning, teyent_theequeenb posted that she tried to confront one of the office managers about this, and the manager allegedly said that she understood because her husband was black. "Lord help us," teyent_theequeenb posted.
At 10:32 a.m., teyent_theequeenb Instagrammed another image saying, "After speaking with the management, their response is ridiculous! So they said we can't file an official complaint. Just a blank sheet of paper. Unbelievable! And the people in the office didn't answer any of our questions. Even if it was a resident, I fear for my life living here in Toscana." UC Irvine has also commented on the incident, Tweeting it's not affiliated with Toscana and does not condone the flier's message.
**Toscana Apartments are not affiliated w/ UC Irvine & we do not condone the flyer's message. UCI is addressing this w/ apt. mgt & the city.
— UC Irvine (@UCIrvine) May 29, 2015
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Of course, anti-blackness is nothing new in Orange County. In "To Be Young and a Gifted Black Anteater", Michelle Woo covered how a UCI branch of the Lambda Theta Delta fraternity created a blackface video that only scratches the surface of a larger anti-black problem at the university. And the problem persists in the county at large. Stay classy, OC!