Question: Is this Racist?

Sometimes I think my super liberal hypersensitive mind is playing tricks on me. However, I know for a fact I can’t be crazy all the time. I mean, is it just me, or am I not the only person who finds this poster not just offensive, but dangerous?

Some background: I live in Switzerland right now, and these posters are everywhere. It’s an advertisement to drum up signatures for an initiative by the Schweizerische Volkpartei (SVP) to kick out foreigners (and in some cases, their families as well) found guilty of crimes. I wrote about this on my personal blog and received a couple of e-mails telling me I was wrong. That, in fact, this isn’t racist, but just a demonstrative of the old “black sheep” parable. Right.

But then I looked a little deeper. It turns out the SVP is actually the ruling party in Switzerland. And check out this fun page of theirs, directed towards kids. It contains several fun games where you, the player, keep Switzerland safe by kicking out the black sheep (but of course, letting in the white sheep). Also, you can prevent Swiss passports from landing in the hands of several multi-colored hands by eating them.

Politically the SVP has campaigned for a ban on building mosques and minarets in Switzerland, loosening anti-racism speech restrictions, and tighter immigration laws. Past advertisement campaigns have included posters with black hands reaching into a pot of Swiss passports and Osama Bin Laden holding a Swiss passport.

So what is it? Racism? Xenophobia? Sippenhaft? Cute cartoony tomfoolery? Perhaps they just don’t want us foreigners to find all that Nazi gold.

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