Authorities in the City of Saskatoon, Canada are under fire after paying for a billboard of a white man reminding people to ‘check their privilege’.
The massive anti-racism ad, funded by local government tax dollars, has attracted negative attention on social media, where people slammed it for implying white people are by definition privileged and prejudiced against people of other ethnicity.
It features a white man alongside the quote “I have to acknowledge my own privilege and racist attitudes.”
The ad is part of a government multimedia campaign called “I am the Bridge” that urges people to share their experiences about racism.
Local government officials have defended the billboard, claiming it is aimed at starting a conversation about racism in the city and larger society, Global News reported.
Lynne Lacroix, Saskatoon’s director of recreation and community development, told the site that the quote on the ad was taken from one man’s submission and isn’t representative of the whole program.
“This isn’t a scripted line intended to target anyone individually. This was an individual in Saskatoon who made this statement of his own free will,” she said.
The city has spent about $22,000 on the anti-racism campaign over the last three years.
“The campaign was intended to invoke discussion and that it’s done in a really big way,” the government official continued. “The campaign wasn’t intended to offend.”