In an increasingly turbulent political landscape, news of fatal shootings of young black men across the U.S. are all too common. Even as the public bristles in outrage and communities are torn apart, blind eyes are turned. Last year, 263 black men were killed by guns. As if that shocking statistic wasn’t enough, over 69% of them were nonviolent and unarmed.
The fact of the matter is that young black males are three times more likely to be shot by “trained shooters” than their peers – but this is no new concept. In a 2015, a research paper conducted by University of Illinois graduate students discovered that “the false alarm rate for shooting black targets was higher and the shooting threshold for shooting black targets was lower than for white targets.”
Over the years, ad agencies and brands have tried to address the issue in a manner of ways. This time, Fred & Farid New York have teamed up with The New York Society for Ethical Culture in honour of Black History Month to do something a little different.
In a “disturbing potential correlation,” as the accompanying film puts it, the most common target used to learn firearms is that of a human black silhouette — so “what if unconscious bias is deadly?” Taking this eerie comparison and running with it, Fred & Farid New York called on a group of more than 50 artists and illustrators to redesign this target, with the tagline, “More paint. Less hate.” Taking the target out of the shooting range and putting it into the artist’s hands, each responded to the task in different ways, creating work that was as diverse and exciting as the artists themselves.
But you didn’t have to be an artist to get involved. They also set up a #NoMoreBlackTargets website, where you could create your own customized silhouette and share it on social media. Suddenly, stunning visuals that turned the target on its head emerged, flooding digital channels with a message that could not be silenced.
In the simplest way possible, Fred & Farid New York used creativity to turn something negative into a positive icon – a beacon of hope in dark and divisive times. The sheer breadth of the work produced is a shining example of how people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and race can club together to produce something awe-inspiring. Though we are all different, united we stand under a message of peace and love.
Brand: The New York Society for Ethical Culture
Agency: Fred & Farid New York