Scotland is getting all the praise for its bold new advertising campaign that aims to combat abuse and discrimination, in whatever form it takes.
The campaign is a series of letters addressed to haters, and signed by Scotland, warning them that discrimination and abuse will not be tolerated.
Letters are specifically addressed to homophobes, transphobes, disabilists, and racists — and director of Stonewall Scotland, Colin Macfarlane, has described it as “great leadership” from the Scottish government.
“Dear racists,” one of the letters begins. “Do you threaten people because of where they’re from or the colour of their skin? Do you hurl language so vile it makes people scared to leave their homes? Well, your hate has no home here. We’re making a stand and if we see or hear anything we’re calling you out and calling the police.”
“Dear transphobes,” reads another. “Do you think it’s right to harass people in the street? Right to push transgender people around in clubs? Right to humiliate, intimidate, and threaten them online? Well we don’t. That’s why if we see you doing harm, we’re reporting you. We believe people should be allowed to be themselves. Except if they’re spreading hate.”
These will start appearing on advertising spaces across Scotland over the next week. Great leadership from @scotgov@policescotland@ScotGovFairer#onescotland#ComeOutForLGBT#ComeOutForTransEqualitypic.twitter.com/DMWyJVj7Os— colin macfarlane (@Cmacf76) September 25, 2018
Another of the powerful letters, directed at disablists, reads: "Did you read about the girl with Down's syndrome who was pushed to the ground? Or the man with a learning disability who was tormented so much he was driven to suicide? We did and it makes us sick. From now, if we see or hear your hate, we're reporting you. We're a caring nation, not a hating one. And we're going to take away your ability to hurt people."
The campaign has been spearheaded by Police Scotland and the Scottish Government, as part of the One Scotland campaign against hate crime.
“Scotland believes in equality for all,” it says on the campaign website. “One Scotland celebrates the progress we’ve already made on equality whilst recognising the work still to be done to achieve a truly inclusive society.”
“One Scotland embodies the inclusive society we want in Scotland, where equality and human rights are respected and every individual and minority group feels valued,” it adds. “Despite the great progress made to date, discrimination and prejudice do still exist in Scotland.”
“The Scottish Government continues to work hard to promote equality in Scotland, realising the full potential of human rights in all areas of life,” it says. “No one should be denied opportunities because of age, disability, gender, gender identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.”
“There’s no place for hate in Scotland,” it adds. “Report it to stop it.”
Chief superintendent John McKenzie said: “Police Scotland treats all hate-related crimes and incidents as a priority. It is recognised that hate-related crimes and incidents pose a significant threat to victims, their friends, families, and wider communities and the potential impact of such crimes cannot be underestimated.”
In the past year, there have been more than 5,300 hate crimes that were reported to the Procurator Fiscal in Scotland — but it’s believed there would have been many more crimes that went unreported.
But, according to the One Scotland website: “We all have a responsibility to report hate crime if we witness it — it’s the only way we can challenge it, and put an end to it for good.”