Wednesday, January 28, 2009

David McGuire, Filmmaker, Activist, Thinker

This morning David McGuire posted an excellent and very well thought out look into the pitfalls of direct action animal campaigns when the greatest divide is cultural.

To distill this thought down, imagine 22 Chinese Americans waving protest signs outside a McDonalds directed at the predominately white customers inside. "Meat is murder" "Cows are killed inhumanely for this meat". You begin to see why this divide becomes almost impossible to bridge while the salient fact of whites telling Asians what they should and should not eat remains on the table for discussion.

That's not to say it cannot be done. Following the masters of the game WildAid and their campaign strategy of mass communication with members of the Asian community is effective. The subtext here is campaign effectiveness:

Having briefly observed and filmed the Chinese Flower Parade kicking of the New Year in San Francisco, I was amazed at the colors, smells and richness of the Chinese community. San Francisco has the largest Chinese Community in the USA, and a walk down Stockton Avenue is a walk into Asia.

A demonstration by the Shark Safe Project and aided by COARE approached shark fin soup restaurants and came out on the streets passing out information, but the shark activists were overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of Chinese Americans flooding the narrow streets of Chinatown. Most passersby appeared indifferent, a few were angry, most just passed on without making eye contact. Even so, a hard core group of activists, many from out of the area gathered to pass out information for sharks.

Complete Post

1 comment:

Adam Wainzinger said...

Campaign effectiveness is a huge point WildAid has been doing massive multi media ads in China with great success using native Chinese as the message bearers.

People need to park arrogance at the door when it comes to cultural issues. Smart eco work requires thinking beyond the placard!