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This Anti-Racism Campaign Is Being Accused Of Racism Against White People

The posters are meant to highlight that "Muslims are part of Toronto."

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A new anti-racism campaign in Toronto has an answer for when Muslim-Canadians are told to "go back" to where they came from. In this poster, a young man replies to the insult by naming his Toronto neighbourhood.

OCASI

Versions of this poster are hung up around the Toronto as part of the city's outreach efforts to immigrant communities. They were created in co-operation with the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants.

By naming Toronto neighbourhoods like St. Clair West, the posters are meant to highlight that "Muslims are part of Toronto."

"It is important that Torontonians from all walks of life take responsibility for not only welcoming refugees but also examining assumptions and stereotypes they may hold about Muslims, racialized communities, refugees in general, and refugees from the Middle East and Africa in particular," Debbie Douglas, the executive director of OCASI, said in a release.

"We hope this campaign will start to shift some of people's erroneous and harmful assumptions."

OCASI

The campaign was launched ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20, and is meant to "get people thinking, talking and challenging the assumptions they make about others," an OCASI spokesperson told BuzzFeed Canada.

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Lots of people are applauding the campaign for speaking out against anti-Muslim discrimination.

@TONewcomer: Good job 👏🏽 #cdnimm #TorontoForAll

Well done @OCASI_Policy and @TONewcomer! #TorontoForAll #CanadaForAll https://t.co/LP4fXrhQAA

But there has also been a backlash to the campaign's message, with some people claiming the ads are racist "against white males."

@TONewcomer @TorontoComms @OCASI_Policy @joemihevc @joe_cressy @JohnTory @JamesPasternak @OntMCIIT this ad discriminates against white males

@TONewcomer @OCASI_Policy These are horrible and racist against white men. Take them down. We will be complaining about this type of thing.

The backlash isn't just on social media. The Toronto Sun's Tarek Fatah wrote a column describing the poster campaign as a "slap in the face" to "all the decent, white males who have stood up for equal rights over the last century."

The ad "is a slap in the face of all decent, white males who have stood up for equal rights" https://t.co/wisbX15Fc9

"In one sweep the City of Toronto depicted every white man as a racist bigot and perpetuated the victimhood of Muslims, a goal of all Islamists worldwide who hate the West," Fatah said.

When asked about the backlash, a spokesperson for OCASI said the campaign "purposely wanted to show existing stereotypes as a way to start a conversation around existing sentiment."

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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