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3 Feb, 2016 22:34

‘White privilege glasses’ campaign uses special ‘spectacles’ to show discrimination

‘White privilege glasses’ campaign uses special ‘spectacles’ to show discrimination

A church group in Chicago has launched a campaign to raise awareness about racial discrimination by imagining a world in which ‘white privilege’ can be viewed through a pair of eye goggles.

The Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS), a self-described “forward-thinking” school for religious studies, launched the social justice campaign around a web video. 

Entitled ‘White Privilege Glasses’ the one minute long clip poses the question of whether everyone can see the problem of racism clearly.

It begins with a black couple giving their white, male friend what look to be 3D cinema goggles.

The spectacles help him to see how the world would have different if he were black - from walking in the street to meeting a policeman.

The campaign is an effort to show how many people receive a leg up across all walks of life, like education, employment, healthcare and even when dealing with law enforcement simply because of their lighter skin tone.

“We believe the racial divide will only change when the collective ‘we’ understand the concepts of privilege and begin to identify and correct the systems that advantage one group over the other,” the CTS Chicago website states.

The group say they hope the video will “spark discussions and inspire dialogue” about how non-white people are given disproportionately less opportunities in society.

“The theological thinking behind this video is to make conversations happen…when you watch this video you can’t help but go, ‘woah yeah, never thought about that,’” CTS president Alice Hunt explains in a behind-the-scenes video.

“So I hope that every white person that sees it pauses for a moment and says ‘Oh my goodness, I need to think about that [discrimination].’

“I hope it promotes conversations and actions that will make a positive difference.”

For many, the issue of racial division can be seen quite clearly in Chicago without eyewear.

A spate of African-American deaths at the hands of law enforcement has led to large scale protest by the movement Black Lives Matter.

On Tuesday, the group announced it was suing the Independent Police Review Authority to force the release of information relating to the shooting of Rekia Boyd by a Chicago police officer Dante Servin in 2012.

Boyd was fatally wounded by Servin following an altercation. Officer Servin was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter by a court but was recommended to be fired from the force for “incredibly poor decision making”.

It comes after a Freedom of Information Act request, lodged by activist Jason Tomkins, for investigative records into the killing were denied.

A spokesperson for the Independent Police Review has said Tomkins has not engaged properly with the review board, report DNAinfo Chicago.