Equality board defends racist posters

THE COMMISSION for Racial Equality yesterday defended its decision to launch a racist advertising campaign which suggested that black people were rapists and compared them to orang-utans, prompting more than 30 complaints from the public.

The government-funded race relations watchdog said the pounds 250,000 poster campaign was designed to shock the public into thinking about racism and challenging it when it occurred.

The posters, which went up at 192 sites in cities across Britain on Friday, were yesterday covered with the message, "What was worse? This ad, or your failure to complain?"

But the exercise was criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority, which said the commission could have the "dubious honour" of becoming the first organisation to be forced to have its campaigns vetted.

An authority spokesman said: "It is a shame that the CRE did not work with us within the guidelines laid down. The complaints we have received have come mainly from irate members of the public and there have been others from race relations organisations."

The three posters, which were spoof advertisements for bogus companies and did not mention the commission, prompted more than 30 complaints to the association.

One of the posters for a rape alarm shows a white woman sitting on a bus with a black man in the foreground. The accompanying slogan reads: "Because it's a jungle out there".

Another, for sports footwear, shows a black man jumping at a basketball hoop and an orang-utan in a similar pose reaching for a branch. The caption reads: "Born to be agile".

The final poster goes under the guise of a recruitment company's advertisement. It depicts two businessmen, one black and one white, climbing a ladder. The white man is treading on the hand of the black man with the caption reading: "Dominate the Race".

The commissioin was unapologetic. A spokesman said: "We have been hitting our heads against a brick wall when trying to get British society to pay attention to [racism]."

Sir Herman Ouseley, the chairman, said: "The campaign is designed to force people into considering their own personal attitude to racism and is specifically intended to provoke a reaction - preferably complaint or condemnation. "There were still thousands of people who must have seen these posters and thought about complaining but couldn't be bothered."

Brett Gosper, who led the team that devised the advertising campaign, said its message was aimed at the "passive majority". If a racist joke was delivered among such people in a group, they would not protest: "They will perhaps laugh and move on. The statement in this campaign is: condone or condemn, there is no in-between."

Sir Teddy Taylor, Tory MP for Southend East and Rochford, said the commission should be closed.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living