Is The European Commission Racist?
At the beginning of March 2012, the European Commission published a controversial video that was criticized by many for being racist. It was the Commission’s intention to promote the expansion of the EU and appeal to young voters. In the video a young white woman, dressed in yellow, was facing three men which were supposed to represent the countries of Brazil, India and China. In the video, entitled Growing Together, the woman is attacked by a man from China, who shouts kung fu slogans and jumps towards her in a combat style. A man representing India, wearing a traditional dress and wielding a knife approaches her in an aggressive manner and a black man with dreadlocks representing Brazil advances upon her in the capoeira style. The woman reacts by multiplying herself and forming a circle around the men. Consequently, they drop their weapons and sit down inside the circle. Then they disappear and the women turn into the 12 yellow stars of the European Union. Then the video shows the words: “The more we are, the stronger we are”. There is a link leading to more information about the enlargement of the European Union.
This video was considered controversial and some say it is questionable whether viral videos are necessary to promote the EU enlargement. Clearly, the European Union has never shown hostility towards other nations and is interested in working together with the emerging economies now and in the future. I believe the EU does not feel threatened by their rapid economic growth but rather sees an opportunity to cooperate and strengthen each other. After all, the emerging economies might be the ones capable of helping Europe’s disastrous economy and filling its financial gaps.
It was the Commission’s intention to target a young audience between 16 and 24 years old and appeal to them in their role as young voters. Reactions were positive as well as negative, according to the Commission, who claims to have tested the clip on a test group before publishing it. It didn’t mean to offend the mentioned cultures but rather wanted to show that mutual respect and peace and harmony should reign in the global market that is increasingly being dominated by the BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. With the exception of Russia, the BRICS members are all newly industrialized countries that are on their way to becoming major global players by means of their large and fast-growing economies. The five BRICS countries account for almost 3 billion people with a combined nominal GDP of US$13.7 trillion.
The Commission did not mean to be racist and has sent out its apologies to those that felt offended. Consequently, the campaign was stopped and the video was withdrawn. It is quite clear that the Commission was not able to deliver the message it intended. The European economic and political union should probably have thought of a better way to promote EU enlargement and remain true to their image as a politically correct union.