Billboard Project Brilliantly Shames Racists For Posting Sh*t On Facebook
“How did my racist Facebook Post get on that billboard?”
A women’s rights group in Brazil is blowing up racist social media posts and putting them on billboards near the trolls’ homes, using the location tag. The translation for the billboard in the featured image (and shown in the tweet below) reads: “I arrived home smelling like black people.”
— Decima Computers (@tizai) December 1, 2015
Oh, Brazil. How do I love thee? I cannot tell you how many times so many of us have wanted to do the very same thing. A simple screenshot copy and pasted to your own page isn’t quite the same as seeing it on a giant billboard. This is beautiful.
Brazilian social activists, the Criola group is behind the project. Criola is a nonprofit that works to defend the civil rights of black women in Brazil. Publicizing racist posts on billboards is part of their Virtual Racism. Real Consequences. awareness campaign. The group is then buying billboard space in their neighborhoods, but blurring out the names and photos of the commenters.
Criola explains why they redact faces and names for their billboard project:
“We omit names and faces of the authors because we have no intention of exposing anyone. We just want to educate people so that in future they think about the consequences before posting racist comments.”
The campaign was motivated by racist Facebook posts aimed toward Brazilian journalist Maria Júlia Coutinho. Coutinho, the first black weather forecaster on Brazilian prime-time television, had the audacity to correct another anchor on air in July. When another news site praised her for getting the terminology correct, racist Facebook trolls responded with a barrage of negative comments mocking and degrading everything from her hair to her race.
The offensive comments range from telling her to “go f— herself” to saying her nickname “Maju” made it clear she was from Africa.
Different country, same racist shit.
The objective of the billboard project is for the comments to serve as a reminder that virtual bullying can have an impact outside of the social media sphere.
So, did the billboard work?
The project page on Criola’s website explains:
“We wanted to provoke a reflection. Does a comment on the internet causes less damage than a direct offense?”
“For those who comment, it may be. But for those who suffer it, the prejudice is the same.”
Ultimately, Criola would like to take the project world-wide. Sounds like a great idea.
In the meantime, this gives me inspiration for when I chair the decorating committee of my next high school class reunion. #NoBlurs