What the internet has given us is this virtual sense of freedom to speak our mind, without feeling the emotional barrier or the consequences our choice of words may have, on our peers. And, in many cases, this leads to the rise of online bullying and racism, which is one of the most prevalent problems of the online era.
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Many campaigns have been created in the past, in order to tackle this ever-growing problem. However, Criola, a Brazillian non-profit organization that seeks to defend black women’s rights across Brazil, took the whole online racism conversation to a whole new level. In fact, it took it from its shielded internet context and put it offline, for everyone to see it and to reflect on it.
Because, after all, it’s true what they say: Harassing behaviours are hidden behind words, between the lines. By putting it up there for anyone to see and reflect on, Criola hopes that we will become more considerate when we use words and, eventually, we will experience a shift in mentality that will allow ample space for tolerance and acceptance.
The spark that ignited the campaign was a series of insulting comments which were posted under a Facebook photo of a Brazilian journalist, posted on her personal account. The anti-racist group traced back all those comments both on Facebook and Twitter, along with their geo-localisation data.
The next step was to print out those comments – blurring the names of each user. In a bold move, gigantic banners were placed near the neighbourhoods where the offenders reside. By naming and shaming, the campaign hopes to raise awareness and generate discussions about this issue. Its tagline “Virtual racism, real consequences” rings true.
Does it succeed? The response is up to you.
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