AN anti-racism poster designed by a student from the Capital is to become a national campaign tool after it triumphed in a Scotland-wide competition held by Show Racism the Red Card (SRRC).
Edinburgh College student Zsuzsanna Slezak, 26, said she felt “honoured” after scooping first place in the competition run by SRRC – the UK’s anti-racism charity which uses top footballers to educate against prejudice.
The graphic design student from Budapest, Hungary, who was presented with the award at Hampden, was chosen over 2000 other entrants for her “hard-hitting” image of a series of human fingerprints accompanied by the instruction, “Choose a white one”.
She said: “It’s just an honour and I’m so surprised – I did not expect anything like it.”
Ms Slezak, currently in the foundation year of her course, revealed the poster was inspired by the search for a symbol of shared humanity and her experience of coming to the Capital last year as a migrant.
“I knew Show Racism the Red Card was sport and football-related, but I was also thinking about those things that are the same in everybody,” she said.
“And when you have a visa and you’re in a police station or something like that, you always have to provide your fingerprints, which are a kind of ID.
“But at the same time, you will never know just by looking at a set of finger-prints if they belong to a man or a woman, someone with blonde hair or someone darker, someone white or black.
“They are something about us which hides differences, something which is basically the same from person to person.”
Ms Slezak, who came to Scotland with her boyfriend, said she had experienced low-level racism in the Capital, but said she was delighted her poster had won as it indicated society was more willing to face up to the issue.
“People have called out, ‘Ola!’ or ‘hey Polish!’ just because I don’t look like I’m from here,” she said. “I don’t know too much about what happens to immigrants in Hungary, but at least you are talking about it in Scotland and you’re holding competitions like this. That’s the big difference.”
Former Hibs midfielder Michael Weir, now a community coach for SRRC, said Ms Slezak’s design would resonate with players and fans. “It’s the simplicity of it – I just think it’s very hard-hitting,” said Mr Weir. “England obviously has the bigger issue with racism in football but a lot of it comes down to education. That image expresses everything we do every single day – it says everybody is equal.”
Hearts legend Gary Mackay, who also works with SRRC, said: “Over the past few years, with Edinburgh becoming more diverse, having tolerance has never been more important.
“The fact the winner comes from Hungary is brilliant. Hopefully the kids I’ve worked with will grow up to become tolerant and respectful.”
UGLY SIDE TO BEAUTIFUL GAME
ROWS over racism continue to flare up regularly in football.
Among the most notorious cases is the alleged racial abuse hurled by Chelsea’s John Terry at QPR’s Anton Ferdinand in 2011. The accusation was investigated by the Metropolitan Police.
Terry stood trial in July 2012 but was later acquitted.
The case was followed by the FA’s decision to hand a £45,000 fine to Rio Ferdinand, right, Anton’s brother, for referring to Ashley Cole on Twitter as a “choc-ice” – someone who is black but has betrayed their roots.
In February 2011, a Celtic fan was caught mocking black Rangers player El Hadji Diouf with monkey noises and gestures.