Using racial stereotypes in anti-racist campaigns

Murji, Karim (2006). Using racial stereotypes in anti-racist campaigns. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 29(2) pp. 260–280.



This article examines the use of stereotyped images in a series of adverts by the Commission for Racial Equality [CRE]. As part of the CRE's `personal responsibility' campaign the adverts aimed to raise awareness of racial stereotyping, and, in one case, to provoke members of the public into complaining about the images presented. As the main body charged with implementing and monitoring anti-racism in the UK the use of racial stereotypes by the CRE has been controversial, though not always in the expected ways. The main arguments are that the CRE's use of stereotypes is based on questionable evidence, on a problematic conception of positive and negative images, and that it fails to consider how the images can be read in diverse ways. The CRE seems to rely upon a quasi-essentialist view of race and racism and, consequently, its anti-racism appears static and unable to engage with racism in its diverse manifestations.

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