“White privilege” has a meaning that almost anyone who isn’t white understands, but the idea that there are certain automatic benefits that whiteness affords you in society is still lost on many white people. It’s even harder to educate people on how white privilege contributes to racism if they cannot even recognize the role they play in facilitating it. A new ad campaign called the “Un-Fair Campaign” seeks “to look at racism and to encourage a community dialogue about the causes and solutions” with a series of billboard ads that some people are calling offensive and in themselves racist.
…outraged critics say the campaign ads — featuring the faces of white women with messages like, “It’s hard to see racism when you’re white,” or “Is white skin really fair skin” — blames racism on whites or suggests that whites aren’t smart enough to recognize it.
“You can’t open a discussion on race and hope to see it move in a positive direction when you raise the topic by stereotyping an entire race,” local resident Phil Pierson told the Star-Tribune, after he started a Facebook page to raise his objections called “Stop Racist Unfair Campaign.” “It spreads animosity and hate, teaches a new generation to point fingers and [focuses] on the color of our skin instead of the idea that we’re all human,” he said.
Of course the nastier, white supremecist versions of Pierson’s objections have also been rolling in, and those threats of violence and hate speech threaten to dismantle the campaign. That racists would object to taking responsibility for racial tension makes an ironic sort of sense, but it’s frustrating to see rational white people refuse to even broach the subject of how much easier life is with white skin. As non-whites, we don’t need an ad campaign to remind us that society treats you better when you’re white, and neither does any new generation of brown people. The message that we’re all human becomes quickly diluted when you realize that you are treated as less so because you are not white. Yes, perhaps some other white people are doing the de-humanizing but that doesn’t mean you do not benefit from it and can’t stand up and object to it. This is what a campaign like this needs to make sure people understand.
See more of the ads at http://unfaircampaign.org.