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‘Racism doesn’t belong in this city’: Brussels launches new campaign

16:02 21/11/2017

“All Jews love… All Arabs are… and all blacks smell like… You’ve thought it, and it’s against that automatic thought mechanism that we need to fight.” Brussels comedian Kody smiles after his opening lines at the kick-off of a new campaign, but his words are deadly serious.

The Brussels-Capital Region has launched an anti-racism campaign, which includes posters around the city that turn the tables with such sentiments as “all racists are the same” and “racists are stealing our jobs”. The campaign was launched yesterday by Kody, fellow stand-up comedian Erhan Demirci and Bianca Debaets (CD&V), Brussels secretary of state for equal opportunities.

Aside from the posters, the campaign includes videos on social media and a website – in English, French and Dutch – with an explanation of how seemingly simple words spread vicious stereotypes. There are also a wealth of statistics – most racist statements are made via the media, while work and the service industry are tied for second – and the chance to tell your story as a victim or a witness of racism.

“I regularly hear from young people who want to achieve something in their lives, who want to grasp the chances that they do see, but who still continually hit a wall,” said Debaets at the launch. “They have trouble, for instance, finding a job even though they have the right diploma because of the colour of their skin or their surname. We need to say ‘racism and judgement – that doesn’t belong in this city anymore’.”

Photo, from left: Kody, Bianca Debaets and Erhan Demirci are working to combat racism in the capital

Written by Lisa Bradshaw