speaking of unicef

I’ve been sitting on this for a while now.  It came to my attention before I even had a blog.  My blood boils every time I see it in my folder of pictures.  Thank God today seems to be it’s day because now I can delete it.  I’m certain that Audrey would NOT approve…

unicef blackface

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/59019/

This is an actual ad-campaign by UNICEF Germany from 2007!

This campaign is “blackfacing” white children with mud to pose as “uneducated africans”.

The headline translates “This Ad-campaign developped pro bono by the agency Jung von Matt/Alster shows four german kids who appeal for solidarity with their contemporaries in Afrika”

The first kid says:

“I’m waiting for my last day in school, the children in africa still for their first one.”

second kid:

“in africa, many kids would be glad to worry about school”

third kid:

“in africa, kids don’t come to school late, but not at all” (!)

fourth kid:

“some teachers suck. no teachers sucks even more.”

Besides claiming that every single person in “Africa” isn’t educated, and doing so in an extremely patronising way, it is also disturbing that this organisation thinks blackfacing kids with mud (!) equals “relating to african children”. Also, the kids’ statements ignore the existence of millions of african academics and regular people and one again reduces a whole continent to a village of muddy uneducated uncivilized people who need to be educated (probably by any random westerner). This a really sad regression.

Bottom lines of this campaign are: Black = mud = African = uneducated. White = educated. We feel this campaign might do just as much harm as it does any good. You don’t collect money for helping people by humiliating and trivializing them first.

Unfortunately, if it was clear to the average German that this is wrong, UNICEF and the advertising agency wouldn’t come out with such a campaign.

Below is the official response from UNICEF about the ads run in Germany:

 “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We agree — these advertisements are not appropriate and run against UNICEF’s mission. They have been dropped from the UNICEF German National Committee’s website and there are no plans to use them in the future. We apologize for any offence caused.

As a UNICEF supporter, you may be interested to know a little more about the German National Committee’s campaign to promote child-friendly schools in six African countries. Launched in late 2004, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the fact that nearly half of all children in Africa lack even primary education.

With funds from private donors, 350 schools have been repaired or newly constructed. In addition, several thousand teachers have been trained and school management improved. In total, around 100,000 children and young people have benefited from this campaign since 2004. The right to education for all children is a prerequisite to develop their full potential and a basis for social and economic development. Again, we apologize for any offense caused.

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/59019/

4 thoughts on “speaking of unicef

  1. When I saw the ad I thought it was old and not recent. 😦 Who thinks this stuff up?!! Smiling white children in black face…Like the genius who thought up the Air Force One NYC flyby!!! It’s not that someone thought this up, but how these things pass through the vetting process and the people who thought this would be a good idea. That is the scary part!!!

  2. Where exactly do those posters claim or imply that all black africans are uneducated and all whites are? And where exactly does your knowledge about the “average” german come from? Judging people by what one advertisement company came up with rather proves that you are just as ignorant.

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