In today’s society, racism is generally less of an issue than in the past. However, there are still some who believe otherwise. Just because a person is ‘black’ it does not mean they should be treated as a different person. Everyone should be treated equally no matter what their background is. Joe Bloe reports… An incredible number of children grow up being heavily influenced by the previously decided values and beliefs of their individual families. Whether it is their sexual preference, forthcoming profession or religion, children always deserve a say in their individual life choices. At birth, being labelled with a pre-determined future career, entirely due to your particular skin colour, is exceptionally rude and it should never be accepted in any society!! There is nothing more that I irrevocably despise in this whole, entire world, than innocent children, or any innocent race, being labelled with a designated future career purely because their skin tones are of darker colour. Angela Davis an American political activist, scholar and author cites, “Racism is a weapon used by the wealthy to increase the profits they bring in by paying black workers less for their work”. The need for this quote to be verbalised disgusts me to the extremities! Personally I think no person should be treated any different, we should all be treated equally. This confronting ad was published by a French organisation, founded in 1927 called LICRA. LICRA, which when translated is the ‘International Organisation Against Racism and Anti-Semitism’. The predominant message this group of concerned citizens is sharing is their main aims directed towards stopping the ‘constant battle against racism, anti-Semitism, and all discrimination of races.’ Another message they also promote is equality among citizens. LICRA depicting an innocent newly born infant being prejudicially portrayed with a pre-determined future.
This non-prejudicial organisation speaks out on behalf of the unfair situations that a discriminated person has to experience in silence on a day-to-day basis. An avenue they utilise to share their messages includes calling upon authoritarian figures to become alert to the deliberately offensive acts that victims experience everyday due to their real or perceived origins. For these innocent people to be continuously made to suffer with the loss of dignity so regularly is not fair and needs to be communicated to as large an audience as possible. LICRA is spring boarding this action.
LICRA’s latest advertisement from their ‘Babies Campaign’ features four newly born babies in the traditional cribs that young infants are placed into in most Caucasian maternity hospitals. This thought-provoking ad is not in any way aiming towards selling a product, but instead, it aims to stimulate the viewers to question the beliefs of our contemporary society. The unfortunate and misguided beliefs of a modern society that has not changed in any way, shape or form in the unjustified attitudes towards stereotyping people who are born with more melanin in their skin.
Incredibly, it can be seen in this advertisement, that the feather duster and cleaning cloth placed into the innocent infant’s hand has been deliberate. Additionally, the bucket full of soapy water and rubber gloves props are both situated beneath the crib, are strategically placed to portray the infant as a cleaner. This imagery is used to persuade the audience towards re-evaluating and re-examining their possibly prejudiced opinions. It is confronting them to question opinions such as beliefs that ‘black’ people do not belong working in anything beyond menial jobs in society. It could also be thought that the baby in the right hand side of the picture is portrayed as already looking down upon the ‘cleaning’ baby. It could be interpreted as this infant staring at the ‘black’ baby in confusion – perhaps as the ‘cleaning’ baby is already being distinguished as being different. Different to what supposedly belongs in his Caucasian surroundings.
The staged attire displayed within the advertisement further acts to undermine the racial integrity represented through the contrast of skin colour. At first glance, note that whilst the ‘black’ infant is clothed in the traditional attire of a cleaner, the other infants are in nappies which are typical infant wear. By already having the ‘black’ infant dressed in workforce clothing while the others have infantile nappies on plus baby toys to play with, it is showing that the child who has darker skin tone is being forced to grow up and start working earlier than others. This significant contrast in attire provides the viewer with a juxtaposition of colour persona, and clearly depicts the true difference in public identity; the perceived superiority of ‘whites’, and the inferiority of ‘blacks’.
Recently two organisations, named The Young Invincibles and Demos, partnered to complete a comprehensive study focusing on the comparison of blacks, specifically Black Americans, to Latinos and ‘whites’ in America. This report focused on jobs, education, and health care. The results of this research highlighted how horrifically racist are some of the attitudes existing in modern society. The statistics stated that 52 percent of young African Americans went to work sick because they could not afford to lose any pay. Furthermore the research also discovered that young African Americans earned only 75 cents for every dollar earned by whites. It is unsurprising then, that attending work whilst sick was found to be considerably more prevalent in our so-called ‘black’ population.
In studying the alarming results of this survey, it is evident that the ‘blacks’ are having to work hard, quite possibly too hard, in poor conditions. However, if ‘blacks’ weren’t viewed as subservient people in society, and were actually given a chance to pursue the careers they wanted, then such appalling statistics would undoubtedly not exist or would surely, at the very least, be less staggering.
Blacks have fought for nearly a century now to have rights, as a citizen, as a worker, as a human and yet they are still living under the shadow of the rest of society. This is not how anyone should be living. We need to show society that everyone is equal and that no matter what you skin colour is, it should not determine who you become nor what future career you pursue! We know that in a fair and equitable society, that a person’s skin colour should not dictate their future. We know that in a fair and equitable society that paying ‘black’ workers less for the same job is wrong. Yet although it saddens me to report, racism and inequities against ‘blacks’ still exist in today’s society. It is time for action, but is there anyone actually willing to change society’s view? Or is it easier to continue to use this misguided opinion of the supposed superiority of whites as a way to make a profit?