Blog Assignment

Dear all,

Your blog post for this week can be posted anytime before 9 a.m. on Sunday, Feb 19th.

In the course of my own research this week, I came across an NPR report on the controversy triggered by a series of posters and billboards in Duluth Minnesota created as part of a campaign to bring awareness of white privilege to the local populations in the wake of racially motivated violence and in response to the information that Duluth, largely Caucasian, is not considered a welcoming environment for minorities. For this week, visit the UnfairCampsign.org website, and  visit the RESOURCES section to see the three posters created. Read the section ABOUT the origins of the campaign, and for your blog post, prepare your own assessment of the potential effects of the campaign posters in effectively prompting a greater awareness of the workings of white privilege as  structural racism.

Enjoy your three days without classes, Liz Constable

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52 Responses to Blog Assignment

  1. michelley says:

    Regarding the Un-Fair campaign, I think it is a good effort, but I don’t believe it will be very effective. The campaign focuses on picturing white citizens with writing all over their face. From a marketing and advertising perspective, this probably will not be very effective or efficient. People are not going to stop doing what they’re doing, whether that be going to work or reading a magazine, to stop and read all the words on the posters. There are simply too many words. In addition, pictures tend to show more than words. These posters depict white citizens with very stern faces and writing all over their faces. To be more effective, I believe showing a picture to emphasize and prove the point of the racism in a community. The picture would need to show something to catch the passer-byer’s eye, yet not be too controversial. A shocking picture would make one reflect on how he or her treats others of color and different origins. I don’t believe the campaign will raise much awareness of white privilege; rather it will just pass by and be disregarded. I think it is a good effort and good idea, I just don’t think the way they are advertising and executing their idea is very effective.

    • Kayla Wigley says:

      I agree completely with the point you made about there being too many words. As I stated in my comment, I also agreed that a “shocking” picture was needed. Why are there white people on a poster about favoritism towards themselves? For me, this was very confusing. The ad itself seems more like it would be attempting to inform us about depression, a disease, or acne. The visualization is not matched to the message.

    • kimcmull says:

      I definitely agree with you about this campaign. I think it definitely has a good point, but it is not executed very well. I don’t really believe that something has to be shocking to get you to think, but I do agree that in order for something to be effective it should be eye catching. Maybe some color? Also something that puts me off about the people in this campaign is how almost bored they look and how the amount of writing, although thought provoking, and everything about it in general is just too much and too plain for someone to be interested enough to take time out of their day.

  2. rsicilekira says:

    I feel the message is good, yet a little unclear at times. It is hard to read the words written on the person’s face, which could potentially steer people away from the message. When it comes to advertisements, mainly images, viewers don’t always want to spend a long time focusing on the ad. They want to see and understand the message almost immediately. While the slogan and portraits are captivating, the text is too small to read right away and there is lots of it. Too much text can be distracting from the over all message. I think the billboards they have with just the slogan on it are very effective though and really send their message. The portraits are good for the people who want to spend the time and read more about the issue, while the billboard helps to get their message across in a simple and efficient manor.

    • Steph. says:

      I agree, the font used doesn’t seem the best either. I think it was written onto the poster after the photo was taken. -_- I completely agree with you, it seems like a STD / proposition 8 ad to me I don’t know why. The only thing is that the sentence that includes the word WHITE is written bigger than any of the other messages.

    • daniellelong90 says:

      I agree completely. The importance of advertising is to catch the viewers’ attention immediately. With so much small text, it would leave passersby to wonder what it says on the faces rather than prompting them to spend time contemplating the billboards. They should pick one slogan to stand out from the rest to catch viewers’ eyes. doing this would make the campaign more effective.

    • That’s a good point. People now a days are a very visual. Media, at the national level, is all about the “explosive” advertisements. Advertisements that will grab their audience’s attention. The campaign being initiated can be or could be a better campaign strategy without so many words on each face. Or better yet, maybe even with no words and just the expressions. Most people don’t want to or can’t take the time to read and actually analyze the situation. People can be categorized as “lazy” in that sense because most people want the “puzzle” solved for them. In this campaign strategy the words take a lot of meaning out of the visual image. Therefore, the words are important and take the visual image displayed beyond and to the next level if and when people take the time to read them. Although I agree that there are too many words and they are way too small, which puts on a strain mentally from the get go, I think at the end the words initiate thought and therefore contribute to the campaigns initial purpose. Calling attention to the existing white priviledge.

  3. xxxjo says:

    Yes “white privilege“ exist and it is important to talk about it and create greater awareness about it. But how? At the first glance to write the privileges of people all over their skin seems to be a very intense and good idea to create awareness about white privilege…. but stop, yes, I think it creates mainly greater awareness about white privilege, but not so much about structural racism. I feel like this campaign is actually not about racism it is about “white” people thinking about “themselves.”
    So, does it really help, if “white“ people talking about themselves and start a campaign where again it is all about themselves? The question therefore is: does „critical whiteness“ lead to a greater awareness of the positioning of „the other?“ It is pretty conspicuous that the campaign is mainly made by “white” people and actually all the faces we see on the website could be categorized as “white.”
    Furthermore the campaign does not deliver any background information about the category “race” and also does not mention that it intersects with other categories like class, gender, sexuality, age, ability etc. Therefore I think that the campaign could reinforce the idea that there is actually something like a naturally given „race.“ It does not tell the audience about the fact that „race“ is socially constructed.
    Huhm… problematic…

    • Lisa says:

      I think you make a really good point, that by calling attention to the existence of white privilege, we are re-enforcing racial barriers, even if the goal is to break them down. I totally see that. However I do think that it should be acknowledged that what they’re doing is still braver and more beneficial than what they’re fighting, which in particular is ignorance of white privilege. The messages on those faces discuss the fact that those who benefit from white privilege are the same people who have no idea it exists. So I think if they’re goal is simply to raise awareness as one, singular step away from the problem, then they’re doing a good job. While I agree with you that they’re re-strengthening barriers of race, I don’t think they’re goal is to break down all racial barriers to much as to specifically attack the way white people tend to be the least aware of racial inequality.

    • katherynevu says:

      I feel the same way when you say “I feel like this campaign is actually not about racism it is about “white” people thinking about ‘themselves.'” By putting emphasis on race or “color” its giving more light to labeling. By putting labels on one another it separates people into their own groups. In my opinion, I also feel that these posters could give rise to arrogance. Although I do applaud the fact that unfair campaign is trying to recognize the white-privileged issue, I think they should promote a better light of peoples from multicultural backgrounds.

  4. Steph. says:

    I think campaigns bring awareness to this issue; however, it does not seem to be the most effective way. I honestly would not even read what was written on the model’s face because it is too cluttered and doesn’t convey anything. “Lucky car doors don’t get locked when we walk by.” That is not necessarily true and the messages written on the model’s face seem to apply to a certain race only. Everyone has a different definition for racism, which makes it hard for everyone to be on the same page sometimes. I do not like the posters because I have seen other races get picked up or bullied for simply being certain race. From my perspective, it fails to bring up other stereotypes that other races go through and not just African Americans. Furthermore, I think another point important that should be made is that every single race should try to limit their bias or stereotypes against people of a different race. I know this campaign is about “white privilege”, but i feel that it should include stereotypes that all races go through in the United States. On the other hand, it is nice to know some people (people that started the campaign) acknowledged what the advantages of being “fair skinned” are.

    • dluoo says:

      I agree with your assertion that the campaign seems to imply white versus black racism more than encompassing the whole umbrella of racism. In particular, the scenarios written on the first female poster(brown-haired) seemed to contrast white with the experiences of people who can be associated with “bloods and crips” (ie. lock doors, security follows). It’s almost making fun of social class even though “racism” is the topic. But on the other hand, I can understand the kind of “general” stereotypical scenarios they want to paint without getting too much into the bulk of different racial comments (since stereotypes can be applied in a variety of situations and can be used to justify them). For example, I remember when my Dad told me that once a security guard seemed to circle around the aisle he was shopping in. We’re Asian, but beyond that trivial point, I don’t think, stereotypically, that (40-year-old-looking) Asian men would be followed around in a store and my dad said it was probably because he looked Hispanic so the security guard followed him rather than the white male in the same aisle (the security guard was Hispanic too though: perhaps leading to the perception of Hispanic stereotypes?). But racism is difficult to combat no matter what because of the different perspectives and perhaps if we can over look the color and just focus on the “gaze” or even the “look” of the person, racism can be combated.

  5. Nikki Mahmoudi says:

    With this campaign, I really respect the purpose of the campaign and I feel like this is an issue that does not get much attention. Therefore, I appreciate the attempt to bring this topic out in the public and spread awareness of the realities of our society. However, I feel that this idea of the posters as a way to seek awareness is not going to be too successful due to the fact that the posters have way too many words on them. It almost overwhelms the viewer and makes them not want to read all of the lines on the model’s face. Also, it is a little difficult to read what is on the model’s faces as the font is harder to read. In my opinion, there is nothing really striking about the pictures either that would really make me want to read them. I feel that a better approach would have been to either write in bold a short sentence on the model’s forehead that would catch the attention of the viewer or present a poster with a controversial picture that presents this issue of white supremacy. Having a poster with a controversial photo would probably be a more successful approach because a controversial picture will catch a person’s attention and provide some sort of reaction from the viewer. When I read the words on each model’s face, I really just felt that I had been given some awareness of an issue. However, it did not really make me want to go and fight for the cause where as I think a more visual and controversial picture would have done that. Although there is an image of a fair skinned person, the words don’t provide me with an image of the realities of white supremacy. I think that an image that actually showed the realities of white supremacy would have been a much better choice because now there is an image that becomes glued in the viewer’s mind. Overall, I appreciate the fact that this group is bringing awareness of this issue, but I feel that they still need work on how they want to spread awareness and catch a viewer’s eye through their use of imagery.

    • bjvanhorn says:

      At first I thought your reply seemed somewhat silly, talking about font size and excessive word counts, but then I realized how silly I was being! Those are most definitely important! The whole point of having advertisements is to use the psychology of the human mind to your advantage, to get someone interested in your cause. And these ads, completely ignoring the content, and not made in a way that would really catch anyone’s attention. If I glanced at them, I could see myself thinking the ads are just about a new acne medication, or something about peer pressure (given the young Female ad). Considering how very vital this issue is, you would think it would be important to make sure every ad takes the message home. Well, either the message isn’t very good, or this group is composed of a number of very well intentioned individuals who are just bad at advertising. I’ll imply it’s the latter, of course.

      Considering the production of the advertisements, I’ve noticed they’re meant to look kind of like people looking in the mirror. It would have been interesting if they actually installed mirrors with those words on it. People (naturally being a bit narcissistic) would see themselves in the mirror, and then be drawn to the words. Reading, they might become interested and find out more about the cause.

  6. Kayla Wigley says:

    The campaign enlightens the ignorant white majority. Often, we do not realize the specialized treatment we receive on a daily basis. My opinion may be biased, and I truly am not attempting to offend anyone. I can see the campaign as being powerful, but not at all memorable. We are provided with blank faced strangers through this campaign. We are presented with the faces of similar strangers everyday walking, talking, and glancing. Note that these individuals are almost never noticed unless something out of character or some situation occurs. These faces we are being provided with are simply there and are not grabbing our attention. In order for us to be instantly drawn to the campaign, these faces would need to be showing “out of the ordinary” expression. It may be debated that the writing on their skin catches the eye, but in retrospect many cannot recite more than three of the sayings on the faces of the posters (so I have found). This is a great detail made by the people behind the campaign. The black ink on the white skin is there. It is noticed. It is an attention grabber. But is it the first thing we see? Are we first drawn to reading the messages on the faces? Or are we subconsciously choosing the white man first? Now the question to ask is if we are guilty of what this campaign tells us to be against. We are now enveloped, and we are now guilty and wanting to restore our judgement.
    I have a lot of respect for the people behind this. The issue is usually never brought up in a social setting and deserves to be recognized.

    • ananunez3 says:

      I agree with you that the faces are no attention grabbers since they are common white faces and are also expressionless. The writing does get our attention bit but are people really interested in reading rather than look at an interesting picture? I also respect the people behind this campaign because they attempt to make white people reflect on if the way they are treated is being influenced by their skin color but they still do not know or have a clue of what it is like to be of a darker color and be treated differently. I believe it would be a better idea for the focused audience to be anyone making people aware of what colored people go through as they are treated with racism.

  7. bnvue says:

    Although I do appreciate some of the efforts that were put forth by the YWCA group and the Duluth advertising agency, the message of “white privileges” isn’t presented well in these posters. I feel that by putting three different white faces and having some of their privileges inscribed over their faces doesn’t make a strong message about the issues of white privileges. It’s still understating the issue of white privilege with the quotes “That’s UNfair.” and “We’re LUCKY to be White.” Granted, the UNfair quotes are used to acknowledge the campaign group, but the litote “UNfair” just takes away the fact that this should is an issue. It could have used words like “racism” or “wrong” to spark more attention and awareness versus the sugarcoated word, “UNfair.” Instead of using other advertising techniques that would present better emotional or logical appeal, the Duluth advertising agency chooses three white individuals for the poster while using more than six sentences to elicit some emotions. This is probably the biggest problem that makes the posters ineffective in showing the issues of white privileges: there is a lack of “issue” of “concern” raised in these posters.

    Already, the Twin Ports recognizes that they are a “predominantly white community” and their goals are to “change themselves and the institutions and systems in their community that perpetuate white privileges.” Yet, they still fail to present the greater concern of how their privileges have negatively impacted other racial groups. How would they know what they need to change if they don’t know how other groups are affected by this? Especially because they are in a predominantly white community, there should be more perspectives from other groups that have experienced the cons of white privileges. By using white individuals on these posters, the groups and agencies are demonstrating again that they are still looking at white privileges from the white perspectives (the pros) rather than from other perspectives (the cons–issues).

  8. Iris says:

    From a graphic design viewpoint, the text is beautifully written but hard to read. Effective posters are designed for high impact with short slogans that prompt one to question and find out more, which I do not find here. The text is more similar to what I would find on tumblr posts, or thoughtful advertisements.

    On a content viewpoint, I think it is wonderful for those who are white, a little conscious or aware of white privilege, or are open and curious to being questioned about the privilege they are born with. However, I’m not quite sure about the firmly ignorant, or those who are very well educated about their own white privilege. Those extremes are hard to address in any ad campaign. I also find it really concerning that they prepared the posters without additional educational materials, important essays, or other authors, or just myriads of important social justice resources. It’s a gateway without content, and it loses the chance to have a lasting impact on the viewer very, very quickly.

    It would also be interesting to see how it could be extended to white privilege in foreign countries, aka the “Ugly American”, for I’ve heard of some extreme examples of unchecked white privilege in other countries, and how the tourist simply expects the ‘high treatment’ given to them.

    The points made were very astute though, and it’s very relevant to the idea of “checking your white privilege” – but again, it must be drawn out and extended so that people understand that checking your privilege is not only for whites, but it’s done to promote a greater equality in all stratas of society, for everyone has some sort of privilege. This is an incredibly complex issue, and it’s great that Un-Fair is taking steps to start the work on confronting white privilege.

  9. ananunez3 says:

    I like the fact that this campaign is attempting to stop or decrease racism and the messages it gives. I don’t believe this would be a good way to advertise for various reasons. First of all, the images are plain; a white person with black sloppy writing all over. On two of them its too much writing and the last thing people actually do is want to actually read long adds. If the picture would be more dramatic colorful or even show actual racism with no need of too much writing then it would work better at catching viewers attention. Second The fact that all the people on the posters are white does not give us the insight that its a campaign for racism awareness. When I first saw the website, being so bright colored and simple, I did not imagine it would be a racism campaign. If one really wants to show awareness of color then what better way than to have faces of all types of color skin not just white. Third, the writings are all from the white peoples perspective saying that it is unfair that they are unaware that they get better treatment because they are white skinned, This might raise awareness and make people think about the way they are treated but if they are white, this wont help them realize what racism is really doing to people of color. A more effective way would be to place colored people telling their own experiences of racism so that others can get a glimpse of what they are going through.

    • jane go says:

      I don’t really see the campaign as much as racism awareness as I see it as white privilege awareness. They use more white people in their advertising because they are targeting white people. I think they wanted their appearance to be a contrast of black and white because they want people to see the strict divisions between the colors, as well as between people. However, I definitely agree that it would be more effective to show interviews with colored people who have dealt with racism. If more white people could see how people of other racial backgrounds have been affected by racism, then it would expose them to the thing that we need to stop. The campaign doesn’t really seem to focus on showing people of all colors dealing with racism. Their point is that they believe it’s unfair for white people to have privilege while colored people don’t. If the campaign decided to use a picture of a colored person, they should probably use phrases that describe a struggle with racism.

      • bnvue says:

        I understand your point about how this campaign is focused on white privilege awareness that’s why they use white people in these posters, however I still believe is not just limited to white privilege. In all three of the posters, there is a quote on that side that says, “If you see Racism, speak up. Break the silence.” So clearly, the campaign is trying to deal with other aspects of racism besides white privilege and by “speaking up,” they want people to break these racial norms. Aside from that, all of the sentences written all over their faces describe challenges/disadvantages that colored people encounter which many white people do not. Although the campaign’s main target may be white people, it raises awareness for every colored person also. So as much as white privilege awareness may seem to be its own issue, it is, nonetheless, an issue and awareness that needs to be raise about racism.

    • cameron says:

      I believe it is preferable to use white faces in these images. These images express an accusation towards the white community; using a white face is suggests to the viewer that he/she is being accused by other whites, while using a colored face might tend to cause the viewer to feel he/she is being accused by a member of a colored community. Generally, if a party claims it is being harmed, that claim is taken with a certain degree of skepticism. In contrast, when one party claims a different party is being harmed, that claim is considered more seriously. A loose example is when a brother teases a sister; the brother probably will not take the sister’s complaints very seriously, but if a peer of the brother steps in and tells him he should stop teasing, the brother is more likely to reconsider his actions. Of course, there are issues of sexism in the example and connotation translations to the real world, but let us take the important part out of it. If a colored face is used, the viewer may wave it off, as ‘another racism ad,’ while using a white face is more relatable, and is more likely to cause the viewer to give pause and think. However, I agree with your points on the excessively long and difficult to read text.

  10. dluoo says:

    Good cause, good message. But there’s a caveat to everything. The posters are effective, yes: they got me thinking about the prevalent “white privilege” we still have in the US. However, I felt the posters can be easily combated, where the flaws of the poster outweighs the message of them. Yes, white people relatively don’t have to worry about being unfairly criminalized or prejudged insufficiently of their character, but what kinds of people are? The stereoytpical scenarios they used seem to aim more to “bloods and crips” characters and their associated races like African-American/Hispanic/possibly even Asian (we could also argue that with white privilege, there are also traces of Asian privilege, but that’s another story). The fair-skinned poster was probably the most powerful message displayed where we are forced to acknowledge that it’s not only race, but it’s the color (ie. fair—->dark spectrum : good—->bad). Again, it defines the pyramid structure of color where people who are usually light-skinned are equivalent to riches and the dark/tan mean arduous labor (working outside). I also think that rather than just combating white privilege and the racism that is defined in that aspect, I think all the comments can also define and throw in discrimination of social classes/norms (ie. job aspect yes, but also public image (how we’re dressed and etc)).

  11. jane go says:

    My initial reaction to the posters was this: “This just seems like too much. How can you expect people to contribute to this campaign if their posters look like they’re attacking a specific group of people?” With all those facetious phrases written across people’s faces, I don’t really see an effective approach being made. To me, it looks like the main thing that the Unfair campaign is doing is spreading the awareness of racism by projecting a form of racism towards white people. They’re saying, “because you’re white, you can’t see racism until someone else shows you, you can’t see it by yourself.” I understand that they’re trying to get white people to be aware of the white privilege that most white people are born with, but the posters don’t begin to set the right tone. I get the message of “it’s not fair that white people were born white.”

    In the “Project Background” section of the website, I got a weird feeling from reading this:

    “It is hard to see racism when we are white because the systems and institutions are set up to look like us and advantage us. It is hard to see racism when we are white because we live in a monoculture based on white northern European values, beliefs, practices and culture. We are ‘normal’.”

    The main thing that bothered me was the fact that the website reiterated the words “when we are white.” I’m pretty sure that not a lot of people can be white/not be white whenever. I know that sounds strange to interpret it that way, but what I mean is that I think that these words try to get people to connect to white people in some twisted way. I interpret it as saying, when people are white, they have a hard time relating to a diverse society because of their European heritage. The campaign wants white people to question their own cultural background. They suggest that white people don’t stand out as much as other races in society because they aren’t different enough. I get a strange feeling from this campaign because it seems to be slightly dehumanizing people of white European descent. The campaign is telling them, “you people have difficulty seeing racism because you’ve always lived in a monoculture. The color of your skin is unfair. If you were born different, with darker skin, we wouldn’t have a problem with you.”
    It’s just a very eerie feeling.

    • kjg07 says:

      I completely agree with what you wrote about the campaign. I also observed that these posters are projecting a form of racism toward white people. I don’t think that the color of ones skin makes them blind to the effects of racism. I think that it is the education and upbringing which make them aware or unaware of racism. I also agree with the fact that the campaign does give off a strange feeling, because it seems to say all whites have difficulty seeing racism. To be more effective perhaps the posters should have used a diverse group of people, that way the campaign against racism, wouldn’t seem racist itself. I feel as though the campaign was started as a good cause but it got too caught up in blaming white privilege for ignoring the effects of racism.

  12. bjvanhorn says:

    Personally, I’ve always wanted and try to better understand the current status of the racial disparities in our (attemptedly) fair country. However, I am not sure how well this campaign will necessarily be effective in helping us, as a nation, better understand the current disparities between we and our national kin. My first and major issue is the slogan, “It’s hard to see racism when you’re White.” The reason I say this is because being White has nothing to do with how hard it is to see racism. Just as there are Whites who are ignorant of the effects of racism, I’m sure that there are members of other races, privileged ones I’m sure, who are ignorant of the effects of racism. It’s not as though just because you’re Black, Asian, Chicano, etc, that you somehow are an expert in the racial dynamics of our country. I’m not going to go as far as to say this is racist in and of itself, but it is most definitely stereotyping Whites as these blind simpletons who can’t see racism even when its right in front of us. Considering this slogan is plastered on their billboards, it is relevant to factor in how people, most importantly Whites, will react to this phrase. Personally, it disgusts me. It does not, in any way, interest me into finding out why I may or may not be ignorant of the racial dynamics of the US. It just makes me feel stereotyped, and somehow I don’t feel as though that’s the point.

    Fortunately, their posters have a bit more merit, in my opinion. My personal favorite is the one with a middle-aged White Woman, because the little factoids provided on her face are very real and very unfortunate. Someone being harassed by police or security just for the color of their skin is completely wrong, and I know for a fact these cases are very true. The quintessential example I can think of towards the systemic intolerance and fear/hate of the non-White population is the case of Amadou Diallo, who was shot and killed by New York Police for having his wallet in his hands. Personally, if I saw a billboard that says, “Do you think you’d ever be shot by police for taking out your wallet?” I’d be a lot more keen on figuring out what they meant and implied by that statement.

    Continuing on with my initial thoughts on the posters, the other two posters are merited, but are a little vague and generalize a bit. The reason I say this is because it’s not as though JUST because one is White one magically has a universal key to the world. However, this is the sense I get from these posters. A certain level of context is necessary to properly understand what they’re really talking discussing. For example, with the poster of the White Male, it’s not as though just because a Male is White, suddenly he’s not judged before someone knows who he is. People of all race and creed are judged for anything possible; the way they dress, act, talk, hold themselves, etc. Are they seriously implying that a homosexual/queer White Male has all the accessibility of a straight White Male? Are they implying that a 5′ White Male has all the accessibility of a tall White Male? Because that’s simply not true. The act of bigotry is one based on as many facets as the acting bigot may choose. One could be completely “blind” of race, but still be a horrible bigot. It’s not as though just because one hates people for something other than race it’s suddenly okay.

    To finish my analysis, I suppose I should discuss the poster of the young White Female. It is true that White entitlement has shaped most people’s lives, especially in a way quite advantageous to Whites. However it isn’t fair to imply that ALL Whites are privileged. Are there not White homeless? Are their not Whites living in the lowest income areas of the country? Are there not Whites that are discriminated? I’m not trying to say that Whites somehow pulled the short straw, but I am saying that the old White Male syndrome is not exactly applicable to all Whites. For this reason, I feel that statistics much more effectively help bring to light the effects of this privilege. Discuss how much easier it is, on average, for a white to: get into college, find a job, get a loan, etc.

    The final thing I’d wish to briefly discuss is a weird contradiction I’ve noticed in the posters. If it’s hard to see racism when you’re White, then how are we supposed to speak up when we see racism? Supposedly we don’t see racism because it’s so hard! We’re just so White! And it’s not as though the posters tell us to visit their websites to better understand how to see the signs of racism. To the contrary, they say “Not sure what to say. Visit unfaircampaign.org.” Seriously? If one has a campaign setup about how blind Whites are to racism, why not explicitly help us learn how to spot racism? Isn’t that the biggest issue?!

    One thing I remember from my middle school years was the concept of “Show, don’t tell.” Well this is a case where one is telling, not showing. I’m not seeing the racial disparity in their posters nor billboards, just being told they exist and how much I suck at seeing them.

    • xxxjo says:

      „It´s hard to see racism when you´re white.“ From personal experience I think that this is true. It is about the way people treat you, look at you and the possibilities you have. I grew up in germany and I wondered why some of my friends who are people of color do not want to go to the country side for holidays. As I once went with a person of color to the baltic see it was the first time I really could see how it is, if you are treated as „the other.“ People stared at my friend almost the whole time(…) and we could not go to certain places, because it was potentially dangerous for my friend. Yes, the U.S. defenetly has another history than germany, but the experience to be treated as „the other,“ „the suspectected to be criminal,“ or „untrustworthy“ never happend to me before in that, way because I obviously wasn´t identified as „the other,“ but instead as part of the norm.
      Of course, if I talk to people who are in other positions I can gain knowledge about racism and other potential categories of discrimination. However it still needs someone who is telling/showing me, because I cannot experience it by myself. I think the risk of not seeing racism is especially very high in segregated communities (when „race“ becomes a reason for where people live). It is easy when you are priviledge to turn the gaze away from structural privileges. If something does not affect you it is easier to not be aware of it. Therefore I think that it is harder to see racism when you are “white.”

  13. Michelle says:

    I think it’s great that this campaign is not afraid to bring to light a sensitive topic and that it wants to educate people more about racial issues. I thought the billboards were pretty direct and could be effective. The delivery of the message is simple yet what’s behind it is very charged and complex; “It’s hard to see racism when you’re white”. The posters have more words, which I agree can be hard to read and perhaps easily discarded. But the blatant manner in which the stereotypes are presented makes them more thought-provoking. The billboards/posters are not perfect. I also think it needs to be acknowledged that racism isn’t just through institutionalization, or related to white privilege. Racism extends beyond institutions and it can be present in and against all races. Nevertheless, I’d say that since its aim is to bring to light the injustices and effects of white privilege, it definitely has potential and the fact that these billboards/posters have attracted attention and controversy means that it’s making people uncomfortable. And it was discussed in class how feeling uncomfortable is a good thing sometimes because it confronts with reality and makes people aware, if not think.

  14. kjg07 says:

    I feel as though the ad campaign has been done in good spirit, it is still flawed. As many people before me noticed, the words written on the faces are small and there is a lot written. The amount of writing could be a negative point to these ads because people usually don’t have the patience to stand and read everything. Short to the point phrases with powerful meaning would have been more effective. I like the fact that this campaign is against racism, but by targeting white people it’s being a bit racist itself. The campaign says it’s hard to see racism when you’re white, but I believe there are many people of different background who have not experienced racism and do not speak up against racism. Not all white people are privileged, and there are many who speak up against racism. The good thing is that this is an effort to spread awareness of racism, but there are things that could have been improved. Looking at the posters for the first time I would assume it would be hard to tell what they are for, until one reads the words. To make a more successful campaign I think they should reconsider their poster design.

    • Nikki Mahmoudi says:

      I totally agree with what your saying in regards to the posters still being flawed. I also feel that a better approach to these posters would have been one simple sentence that could instantly grab the viewer’s attention. In my response, I also mentioned that another better approach would have been to add in a controversial picture that had to do with white privilege that could easily grab the viewer’s attention. You mentioned something that I had never thought of before in regards to the posters being racist. Now that I think about it, I believe that you are right. Personally, I feel that in every ethnicity we see cases of racism and cases where that ethnicity is being racist. Of course there are always cases where one ethnicity might seem more racism than others, but overall racism is everywhere. However, I still appreciate the attempts of the posters in that they are spreading awareness of a type of racism that many people do not care to mention about today.

  15. hahn chiu says:

    I was initially inclined to dismiss these posters as reverse discrimination, because social complacency and ignorance are not unique to one race. However, the “About Us” section of UnfairCampaign.org clarifies that the organization is addressing people in one community (“The Twin Ports”). If severe racial injustice exists in a given community, I don’t think it’s inappropriate for members of the privileged race to remind each other of that disparity. It doesn’t matter if it’s an 89% privileged majority in Duluth or 12% privileged minority in apartheid Johannesburg.
    Though the posters are well-intended in spreading awareness of social privilege and disadvantage, I think there are two major problems with their delivery of the message:

    1) It is not apparent in each poster that it was created by white people. White people are singled out, and most viewers will not visit the website for context. Misunderstanding could cause more racial tension. It takes great social awareness and empathy from organizers to lead this campaign, and they should be commended, but the posters would be more effective if they were contextualized; for example if white campaign members modeled and were identified as members.

    2) The messages are unnecessarily insulting. It would be more effective if the facts were plainly stated (e.g. “I am privileged”) without the condescending implications of ignorance (e.g. “I don’t even realize I am privileged”). Every person is ignorant to some extent, so it’s rarely productive to imply another is ignorant per se. The audience in this case should be reminded of what they lack awareness of- not that they lack awareness. Omitting the implications of ignorance would also reduce the wordiness other bloggers have pointed out.

    The campaign should be commended, but I think these posters could be ineffective for the two problems stated above.

  16. sueeeeeet says:

    In my opinion, I feel that the Unfair Campaign is indeed effective. At first glance, their posters display 3 Caucasian individuals, two female and one male. I would assume the purpose of such a poster would be to appeal to their key demographic of 89% since this is beginning as a regional project. I find this technique to carry more impact so as to reach out and identify with those models in the posters. The messages written on their faces mention in which ways they are privileged. Besides making the models an identifiable race with their key demographic, they also emphasize the word, “White” and really try to engage the reader. Their overall mission statement is to raise awareness of white injustice, and to ultimately, “break the silence and speak up,” which I think the posters are doing.

    I considered if there was a person of color where the message said, “you lock the door when you see me,” will it be more effective in creating awareness? I feel that it would turn people off from reading all together or even visiting the website in an effort to support this campaign because the guilt would turn them away. It would create a greater sense of guilt rather than creating awareness and wanting to speak up when injustice is witnessed.

    I do understand that they don’t tackle all areas. What I mean by this is that they don’t discuss class, sexuality, age, etc., when it is not just the WHITE skin that empowers them. However, I do feel that they tackle the most fundamental problem and making that first step to bring awareness on white privilege.

  17. Rosiecigarroa says:

    I think some potential effects this Unfair Campaign  could lead to dislike, hate or even racist feeling against white people. The purpose, according to the website, is to promote a dialogue of about the causes and effects of racism, along with possible solutions. Focused on solutions white people can promote since the campaign is about white privilege. The faces displayed on the website are of “white” people that look confused, lost, and slight sad. Their faces are full of quotes that enficise on the way white privilege is excercise or even dismissed. Although in my opinion, this idea of of putting “white privilege” out there makes it more vulnerable for people to inisiate dislike, anger or even hate. I think it could cause problems for more racism to occur not only against people of color but to the “white privileged” as well. I myself am Mexican American and I have been look at different and acted different upon simply because I’m brown. It’s sad to say that it still happens now but I always think or more like tell myself it’s because people can br ignorant. Unfortunately we have a long way to go

    • Maria Salazar says:

      I hadn’t this potential problem, but yes this would be a very logical result of the campaign. This reminds me of the book Animal Farm by George Orwell where the farm animals are being oppressed by their farmer, they revolt and take over the farm with the pigs as the new leaders. This however backfires when the pigs themselves become as equally oppressing if not more so than the farmer was… the oppressed essentially becoming the oppressor. Now i’m not saying not to cause change, its just the matter in which we go about it is very important, lest we create another “privileged race.”

  18. elaaaineee says:

    I think the posters are somewhat effective. It is spreading more awareness of white racism, and allows people to consider some things they probably haven’t before. Yes, as a lot of people have said, the font and words are a little hard to read, but using this concept of writing on the models’ faces can draw other people to stop and look at the posters. To be honest, before seeing the posters, I did not really think too much about white injustice. A lot of people who think of racism connect it to “bad” things and they do not consider stereotypes of white privilege as a form of racism. After reading the messages on the posters, I realize that a lot of people are unaware of white injustice. I showed these posters to some of my friends and family. Some of them admitted that some of the comments written on the poster are thoughts they have had, but did not consider racist. The goal of the campaign is to make people more aware of white injustice, and I think the posters are successful in doing this.

    • Damien says:

      I agree that this campaign seems successful in bringing awareness on white privileges. Besides, I did not especially think about white injustice when I was considering minority issues too.
      The posters are immediately more provocative and powerful for a white man like me but, nevertheless, I doubt those would be as much effective for other people who might not identify themselves with the campaign.

    • hahn chiu says:

      If by “white injustice” you mean injustice towards whites for their alleged privilege, that’s a very interesting interpretation of these posters. I didn’t consider that possibility because the statements written on the faces are so critical of whites and mindful of minorities’ hardships, e.g. getting pulled over more frequently.

      I think racism and racial stereotyping ought to differ in that racism has greater negative connotations/badness. Racial stereotyping is still negative in that it boxes individuals into categories, but I don’t feel statements like “asians are good at math” or “whites in Duluth are privileged” should be considered racist per se; if they were, almost every mention of race would be racist. The range of perspectives of racial hierarchy (inferiority, superiority, etc.) is too wide, and racism describes more severe ignorance and enmity.

      The font style and size of the writing on the models’ faces do force the viewer to put more effort into reading it; I agree that could be a good strategy, but this handwriting looks kind of sloppy. The average viewer might get the impression that the poster was thrown together.

  19. Audrey says:

    I think this campaign is very effective. Although I do agree that the long messages might tune people out, I do appreciate the fact that the font is quite small and hard to read. It forces target audiences to really look at the faces in order to make out the words, ultimately drawing our attention to their skin color, eye color, etc.– physical features we probably never would’ve paid attention to had it not been for the slightly illegible words scrawled across their faces.

    To be honest, when I first saw the posters, I was immediately reminded of tattoo enthusiasts who have tattoos all over their bodies and faces. In a lot of ways, I find that smart campaigning as my first reaction was, well, shock. Like the people who proudly display their tattoos on their faces, people of different ethnicities are misunderstood and often times judged purely for their physical appearances/skin color (let’s not try to deny it, we all form stereotypes just by looking at a person from time to time), so I found it very clever that Un-Fair Campaign would attempt to create the same effect by using the faces of three Caucasian people.

  20. Christina says:

    For me the posters were ineffective and hard to understand at first glance. I found them controversial and uncomfortable to read, however I’m assuming grabbing the reader’s attention was one of the main strategies of the ad. I disliked how the print was so scribbled and small, and the messages were quite long in addition to the fact they were all over the person’s face. Making the messages shorter would have simplified the poster, as well as making the faces seem more indifferent or even happier? If the point of the campaign is to voice how unaware and ignorant Caucasians are then why do they look so sad in the posters? Are they sad that they are ignorant? Are they sad that they are privileged? To me it also seems sort of illogical that while bringing to attention the “power” or “privilege” white people and their ignorance of racism, all the readers of the posters/campaign will now be more aware of these facts; leading to prejudice against whites ultimately encouraging racism against whites. So by educating about whites being ignorant of racism, there is actually indirect encouragement of racism against whites which to me seems counterproductive doing more harm than good since the point of all this is equality…isn’t it?

    • rsicilekira says:

      I agree with your response. I had many questions regarding the ads, and many of them were left unanswered. The text was almost impossible to read, and made the message even more confusing. The portraits themselves were also unclear, and could have been portrayed in a better way. I agree that they are trying to promote inequality, and this may not be the best way to go about doing so. Instead of making the white people look ignorant, they should have been finding ways to promote equality. I believe they are trying to send out a positive message, yet it is hard to truly see the message with this ad campaign that doesn’t seem to be very successful in my opinion.

    • Audrey says:

      I definitely agree that by drawing attention to white privilege, it encourages other people to become bitter and racist towards white people. I think it mainly stems from the fact that the campaign is just incredibly negative. Sure, I think the negativity draws a lot of attention and is able to hook people in, but its side effects are that, instead bringing awareness to the unaware so that they can solve the issue fairly, it might just provoke racism in minorities towards white people.

      I feel the campaign might’ve been much more effective had it been done from the perspective of the minority. Sure, it’s been done before, but I feel like if it had highlight the underprivileged minorities instead of the privileged white people, it wouldn’t provoke racism from white people (And why would it? They’re the ones with the upper hand, aren’t they?) and it could be just as effective as the current campaign posters.

  21. Maria Salazar says:

    As far as the campaign’s effectiveness in making the public aware to the societal problem of white privilege, it is flawed. The effectiveness of a campaign relies completely upon its ability to grab the attention of its target audience. With the small cramped writing across the faces of its models, the message isnt very attention grabbing. If someone passes it at just a glance, the advertisement doesnt shout “LOOK AT ME!” And as far as its effectiveness on being a campaign against white privilege, the campaign posters could be for a campaign against artificial beauty, on body imagery, or another societal problem entirely. Its a great first attempt to bring this problem to light, however if the campaign wishes to really bring about change in the community of Duluth, then it must take more drastic measures. Perhaps show role-reversal images to show people just how privileged they really are to be the skin color they are.

    • michelley says:

      I entirely agree with what you’re saying. The posters are missing a “wow” factor and aren’t likely to catch anyone’s attention at first glance. In addition, I agree on how if you quickly glanced at the posters, you wouldn’t know what it was advertising/advocating. An initial sighting of these posters wouldn’t explicitly tell me what the message was supposed to be about. The posters definitely do not have a “Look at me” effect at all.

    • GwynSims says:

      I agree that the campaign is not effective, and you brought up some points that I hadn’t really thought of before–the illegibility of the writing on the people’s faces and so on. I also think that since most people are in denial of racism as a problem, that other, more factual evidence should be offered to prove that it’s still an issue in today’s society, rather than statements that can easily be laughed off by those who don’t agree.

  22. gayathriwms says:

    It is wonderful that the Un-Fair campaign is working towards creating awareness towards white-privilege. However, the approach that they are taking is not efficient and in my opinion, will not have a big reach. Having small fonted texts on people’s faces will not create a long-term impact on the audience. There is too much text on each poster that it will not get people’s attention easily. Also, the white people on the posters have a sad face. It would create a better impact if they were more happy since it will show that they know their privilege. Also these posters look normal or usual and don’t have a punch in them that will make a person stop and look at them. However, having an emphasis on the word ‘White’ is helpful. In my opinion, another way to portray this would be to have a photo where one of theses un-fair acts are performed. Pictures say more than words and will also be visually effective. One of the texts that I liked from these poster was the one on the man, “What you do is worse…you don’t even know you’re doing it”. I think this is one of the major problems today. People don’t realize that they are judging based on looks, color, race, ethnicity, but they are always doing it. Even I could boast that I don’t judge people and will accept them as who they are. I definitely don’t judge people. However, there are times I catch myself judging using stereotypes. This is something that needs to be looked into and must be fixed. Thus, the mission of the campaign is terrific and needed for the community. But, altering the way they present their goal will create a better and longer impact on the society.

  23. Damien says:

    The un-fair campaign is a good campaign for a fair cause. Previous students have pointed out the unclearness of the posters (too many things to read, too hard to read, …) which is something I agree with but I think it can, in the end, be an advantage for its effectiveness. Indeed, I was only able to read some of the sentences and so, based on my first impressions of the posters, I felt intrigued and read the rest of the text. It is exactly the kind of campaign I would pay attention to.
    The message of the campaign is effective and bring awareness to this issue. Racial violences are treated in a non-usual way by targeting mainly on white population. However, I feel like by focusing only on them, we reinforce stereotypes and strengthen socially created divisions or supposed differences between “races”. Using generalization might sometimes lead to some misunderstandings even for important campaigns.

  24. GwynSims says:

    I’m not sure that the campaign will be particularly effective, mostly because it makes a lot of hard, impactful statements without an awful lot of facts to back them up–with most people denying that either racism or sexism is still a problem in today’s society, going back over all the things that have been accused of the white majority is not going to be helpful. If what I just stated is unclear, what I mean is that since most people don’t agree with the statements on the posters, no one is going to take them seriously (because there is no evidence).

    What we should be looking for are statistics to back up the claims made on the posters.

    • Christina says:

      That’s a really good point that most of the messages presented on the posters were simply claims. They had nothing to really support anything the messages said so why would anyone with a critical eye even believe these supposed “facts” in the first place? This I feel is another weak point of the ad and its overall ineffectiveness at being a convincing campaign.

  25. katherynevu says:

    These posters were created to speak up against the unfair bias towards White people. They don’t see or witness racism often because they are always treated with higher respect when it comes to jobs, privileged, and overall social treatment. By using models that are same in “color” or race to show a bias towards their own type of people, it would help enlighten them to realize there is racism among themselves. In many places where White is that prominent race, this would be effective to help others realize that there could be racism that they practice without realizing that they do it.

    However these posters may not be as effective in a multicultural society, because the majority will not be able to to relate to the faces that are in these posters. People that feel that they are not the same as “white” or Euro-descent and therefore the posters are not effective.

    The first thing I noticed about the posters were that the models all look unhappy. I personally thought that the “unhappy” facial expressions were a little humorous. I can’t tell if these unhappy facial expressions are symbolizing that they disagree with their own race, or with being unfairly treated better, or just to evoke an emotion in the audience. These posters leave me emotionally confused. Because I am not “white” I don’t know whether to feel sympathetic, enlightened, or understanding. I don’t know how to the models in the posters.

    In some ways, I feel offended by the posters. It feels like they’re trying to support other races because they feel bad about being “treated” better because of their skin color. Its true that there are some people who are biased towards White, but it doesn’t mean that every biased situation is because they’re White. It seems like they are not giving other factors of bias such as gender-bias, relationship- bias, etc as a possibility. In my honest opinion, racism is a factor in all races not just in white people. Sometimes people’s opinions about other just cannot be changed. By showing equality and not by talking about it so much, you can fight racism.

  26. cschoeon101 says:

    I’d have to agree with janego’s post on how this campaign is perceived in a manner that focuses on white privilege awareness rather than racism awareness. Although the goal of this commercial ad was cleverly executed, the message would’ve been more thoughtfully and strongly delivered if they used at least one picture of a minority showing the disadvantages that a colored person has to deal with. Also, their point is that they believe it’s unfair for white people to have privilege while colored people don’t. Overall, the message of these statements written all over each white person’s face has left a strong impression but in order to express a certain message of racism awareness, they should’ve executed a method that showed both sides of the issue. If the campaign decided to use a picture of a colored person, they should probably use phrases that describe a struggle with racism.

  27. kimcmull says:

    I think that this campaign definitely has the right intentions, but falls short because of artistic choices. The most important thing about a poster to raise awareness about something is that it has to be eye-catching. The animal rights group PETA definitely has this down to a science, but they are almost obnoxious in the way they try to spread awareness. This campaign’s subtlety was refreshing, but I don’t think that a couple of written on head shots are really that poignant. For the few that will actual stop and read these it will definitely give them an awareness, but I don’t see how this organization expects us to solve the problem of white privilege. All the posters do is make people aware and I guess that it is the first step for solving any problem, but I think its overall underwhelming attributes, will just make people go on with their lives. Maybe if they gave not just clear example of white privilege, but good ways to actually “speak up” about it, it would be more effective.

  28. daniellelong90 says:

    I feel that while the campaign is striking and makes good points, it will not be a very effective advertising campaign, especially for the area in which it is posted. If Duluth, Minnesota is already a predominantly white area, city members will not see the billboards of white individuals as unusual. Although the campaign makes good points, I feel its effects will be lost based on the population demographics of the area. The campaign needs a more striking or shocking image to grab attention in order for it to be effective.

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