‘Stop Being Black': Campaign Ads Remind Brooklyn Residents That Racism Is Still Alive And Well

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January 17, 2013 ‐ By Jazmine Denise Rogers
Source: Colorlines.com

Source: Colorlines.com

Since August, there have been some fairly controversial billboards popping up on bus shelters in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn that are reminding residents that “racism still exists”. Each month, a different form of racial injustice is highlighted by the billboards. Thus far, the campaign ads have tackled issues such as entertainment, smoking, policing, fast food and Black wealth.

This month’s ad is confronting the controversial Stop-and-Frisk tactics of the NYPD, which are highly criticized for their impact on Black and Hispanic men. The attention-grabbing billboard reads:

“Don’t want to get stopped by the NYPD? Stop being Black.”

The organization behind these billboards remain anonymous, but what we do know is that the campaign series is a part of a project entitled RISE. A brief excerpt, which provides background information on the campaign, found on the group’s Tumblr page reads:

“Although public commentary describes the United States as “post-racial”, racism continues to exert a very real and pervasive influence on institutional policies and processes, interpersonal interactions, neighborhood infrastructure, socioeconomic opportunities, media imagery, and more. RISE is a project designed to illuminate some of the ways in which racism operates in this country.”

According to Colorlines.com, although the group maintains their anonymity, New York activists applaud them for their efforts.

“Bed-Stuy, and Brooklyn in general, is going through a very profound transformation and we gotta put that in context […] For many of the young yuppies and buppies, they see the police playing a positive role and trying to engage in a race neutral dialogue. What the billboard is doing is kinda opening up and exploding this myth that [stop-and-frisk] is taking place in a race neutral light — it’s making people confront it in a very real way. I applaud the effort. If the intent was to shake things up, I think they did their job,” expressed Kali Akuno, an organizer affiliated with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement’s New York Chapter.

Check out an enlarged version of this month’s ad below. What is your opinion of the billboards? 

Source: racismstillexists.tumblr.com

Jazmine Denise is a news writer for Madame Noire. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise 

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  • MLS2698

    Sad that white men are still jealous of a black man’s ” bulge.” 32,375, though? all jokes aside, these ads are great!

  • Candacey Doris

    I’m glad they put this up. People act as if black people have it coming, that young black men are all up to no good. The cops are profiling, plain and simple. Not always, but when you look at the numbers you have to admit that it happens a lot of the time. It’s not right, it’s not ok.

  • kierah

    That’s just one the ads. Others that I’ve seen criticize Octavia Spencer’s Oscar win comparing her character “Minny” to Hattie McDaniel’s “Mammy, ” as well as the abundance of fast-food restaurants vs. fresh food restaurants, and the proliferation of liquor stores.