Friday, September 25, 2009

Of All The Bad Ideas...

Yesterday night, I was walking through the center of Ljubljana when I came across UNICEF's latest campaign, "Help Get Rwandan Kids off the street". The first image I saw was a big sticker over a bus shelter which featured the slogan up top and then a "Rwandan person" laying down writhing in pain at the bottom. I thought "Hey, this is dumb" and then walked off.

When I walked a little further I came upon this little fella.

A cardboard cutout of a Rwandan boy supposedly called "Eric".

The street ahead was filled with these young'uns. It was beyond bizarre.

I even saw a stack of back up "kids" laying in a side alley in case the originals got vandalized or someone decided to go Madonna with one.

They weren't joking when they said "get them off the street". The direct implication being, "You, nice white person, give us some money and we'll get these black kids out of your way."

I am annoyed by this on two fronts, first the idea that the black presence on Slovenian streets is posited in this way -- some sad, dirty, unfortunate character who needs handouts from white Europeans. Secondly, considering there are almost no black people in this country and many Slovenians can't help but stare and isolate the black people they do see, I can't imagine this ploy working. As a matter of fact, I think it far more likely that the cardboard kids will get tired of being gawked at and having their hair touched and just up and walk away...


Viajera said...

Sorry, but I would have kicked over all of them. I'm not kidding.

Lenox Ave said...

Not feelin' this campaign @ all. It's just messed up on so many levels including the ones you mentioned.

I'm tired of seeing Black folk reduced to slogans, trends and pity projects.

Eva Internazionale said...

This campaign really bothers me as well, not to mention I don't see how it's going to work at all.

Kasalina said...

woah, that is so wierd.

Carlitos said...

The first thing I thought when I saw these, was "which streets do they want to take these kids from?", because, you know, it could be read as "take the Rwandan kids of the European streets".

Anyway, groza.

MKL said...

I think it's a good campaign.

If people get uspet (which is obvious here), then it's a good campaign. You can only get attention to go into extreme and this one is far more harmless than some other.

Not worth to be seriously bothered with.

Layla said...

hm. I saw this campaign on TV - the kids talking, not this cartons. The first time I was really moved, kids talked about being assaulted etc.
I wondered if it was 'for real' or fake though.

Interesting to see an African American (?) perspective on this.
Is there any way to raise money or awareness for Africa that would be considered 'okay'?
(just curious, I'm not involved in any such projects..)

Dre said...

Lol @ going Madonna. Camille, thanks at shedding light on UNICEF dodgy marketing abroad. Last year I sponsored a child but then when I went back they were using the same kid to sign up new sponsors. I wonder how much actually gets to where it needs to go.