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Thursday, March 8, 2012

EU "Reaching Target Audience" with Racist Geopolitical Video

Sometimes reality is almost too obvious.

Recently the EU Commission released (and later withdrew, I understand) a one-and-a-half-minute-long video clip. The video is a textbook example of racist geopolitical propaganda: Three non-European males displaying violent, threatening behavior toward a single, un-armed woman who "pacifies" them by suddenly multiplying herself and transmogrifying into the 12 stars symbolizing the European Union. The message conveyed here is age-old, that of European moral superiority in a global context depicted as irrational, violent and essentially dangerous.

Let's consider an experiment. Watch the video and ask yourself the following question: Would your least favorite racist ideologue (they are too many to list, so just choose one) have any problem with its "European goodness" message, its mixed dance-and-martial-arts visual language or the overtly racist taxonomy of characters?

When a friend forwarded the link to the video to me, at first I had some questions regarding the genuineness of this material, it being so obvious. As it turns out, at least a recent article in Der Spiegel suggests this visual text was indeed produced (I assume under contract) for the EU Commission. (The EU Commission is the only credit that appears in the video, at the very end.) The goal was "reaching young people," and the commission think that "they have reached their target audience." The essence of racism is an ontological claim: the attribution of moral superiority to humans delineated from the rest of humanity by surface appearances. This video is a well-produced--and because of the quality of its production, spectacularly glaring--illustration of racist discourse.

Furthermore, one wonders, if the Commission still thinks it has reached their target audience," then why is the video not marketed widely? Also, why is there no artist attribution? No director, no producer, no music, costume, etc. credits. Interesting.

As I said it many times: In a truly striking fashion, the European mainstream (and that includes the liberal and the so-called "left" as well as the right) is almost completely "open" toward racist taxonomies, cultural discourses of superiority and inferiority, and identity claims based on cultural geography. Impervious to critique, fully oblivious to the implications, for this location, the notion of the "freedom" of the market is expected to smooth over five hundred years of the history of physical, moral, economic, social, and symbolic violence that constitutes the "European project" in the first place.

Well, it doesn't.

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cover page of the book

cover page of the book
image used for the cover design by Anannya Dasgupta