How a candy bar illustrated the grave threat of racial bias
Long before the racial upheaval of 2020, Glenn E. Singleton and his Courageous Conversation Global Foundation had been striving to tackle systemic racism through education and deepening interracial dialogue. With Goodby Silverstein & Partners, the organization opened viewers’ eyes to its mission with the disturbing, thought-provoking “Not a Gun” campaign. The effort illustrated the stark, unfair difference in how a white person and Black person could be perceived in an everyday situation, leading to dire, life-altering consequences for the latter. A disturbing anthem film showed how something as innocent as a candy bar in the hands of a Black person becomes misconstrued as a gun due to racial bias.
Following the tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, the campaign evolved with another film, “Being Black is Not a Crime,” as well as a full-page newspaper ad that ran in the oldest Black-owned newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, which doubled as a protest sign at President Trump’s Juneteenth rally in Tulsa. Finally, the effort expanded to political yard signs that appeared on the White House lawn, but in place of politicians’ monikers were the names of victims of police brutality. The work made big strides, and CCGF saw a 900 percent increase in racial-sensitivity training and helped the organization win a contract with the Austin Police Department to oversee its implicit-bias training.