A new campaign in Brazil is plastering billboards with racist Facebook comments. The point is not to expose anyone but to educate people that their words have a real impact.
The campaign, “Virtual racism, real consequences,” is using the location tag from Facebook posts to find where the offenders live. The group is then buying billboard space in their neighborhoods, but blurring out the names and photos of the commenters.
Behind the project is the Criola group, a nonprofit that works to defend the rights of black women in Brazil.
The campaign was prompted after Brazilian journalist Maria Júlia Coutinho was targeted by racist Facebook comments online. Coutinho, the first black weather forecaster on Brazilian prime-time television, corrected another anchor on air in July. When another news site praised her for getting the terminology correct, Facebook commenters responded with a torrent of comments against everything from her hair to her race.
The offensive comments range from telling her to “go f— herself” to saying her nickname “Maju” made it clear she was from Africa.
The project is republishing those comments as a reminder that virtual bullying can have an impact in the real world.
“We omit names and faces of the authors because we have no intention of exposing anyone. We just want to educate people so that in future they think about the consequences before posting racist comments,” the project says.
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