Candy bars can be as dangerous as guns when you're a black man on the street

Film from Goodby Silverstein & Partners illustrates the disproportionate risks African-Americans face in everyday life

Published On
Feb 25, 2020

Editor's Pick

In 1999, four plain-clothes New York police officers fired 41 times at Amadou Diallo as he was trying to enter his own apartment building. Nineteen of the bullets hit, killing him on the spot. Officers later testified that they thought he was holding a gun; Diallo was actually holding his wallet. All of the officers were acquitted of second-degree murder.

In 2012, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a vigilante while carrying a package of Skittles.

In 2018, Stephon Clark was killed in his grandmother’s backyard when two Sacramento police officers fired 20 rounds at him, believing he was holding a gun. Only an iPhone was found on his body.

Black people in America are three times more likely to be killed by police and 50 percent more likely to be found to be unarmed after they are killed. A new short film from the Courageous Conversation Global Foundation and Goodby Silverstein & Partners makes this point abundantly clear, with a bit of sleight of hand to illustrate how a candy bar can become a gun. Kevin Foley at Rakish directed.

“Unconscious bias towards black people has been problematic among police for such a long time,” said Glenn Singleton, founder of CCGF in a statement. “To spark change and to ensure we all get home safely, we either need the police and the community to solve it together, or we need policy change. One way or the other, something has to happen.”

Not A Gun OOH

The “Not a Gun” campaign launches with broadcast, outdoor, print and digital ads in Austin, Texas, where former assistant police chief Justin Newsom was accused of using racial slurs last year. It also debuts just as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is facing renewed criticism for his “stop-and-frisk” policy that predominantly targeted people in communities of color. The searches were later ruled unconstitutional.

The various assets push visitors to a site where law enforcement professionals can sign up for a training seminar designed to improve relationships between police departments and communities. They can also sign a petition calling for more unconscious-bias and de-escalation training for police.