Graphic Signs Won’t Change Minds

Gabriella Pinos/PantherNOW

If you stepped foot outside the Graham Center atrium on Monday, you may have seen the signs on the GC lawns depicting aborted fetuses in gruesome detail.

“Abortion is the #1 cause of human death in America,” read one of the signs, along with questions like, “who gets human rights?” Juxtaposed against the blood and gore, this caused quite a stir as students yelled at the protestors from a distance and had heated discussions that didn’t change anyone’s mind.

We love that free speech, no matter how controversial it may be, is always welcome at our campus. We’re also lucky that FIU fosters an environment where all perspectives can discuss and find common ground with one another.

That being said, putting up signs that depict gore doesn’t promote a necessary discussion on abortion and can cause trauma for some people. If anything, it pushes the other side away or infuriates them even more.

We’ve seen this aggressive form of protesting on campus before. People holding signs that warned about the deadly consequences of porn or homosexuality pop up on the lawns every once in a while. And, late last month, a non-profit organization called Bloodstained Men and Their Friends wore white pants with red stains on their crotches to protest against male circumcision.

These spectacles are just that: rallies that draw attention to gory imagery or twerking protestors on the GC lawns. Any thoughtful conversation that could come from a dialogue on said topic is lost in exchange for who can yell the loudest through a megaphone.

The closest anyone came to a fruitful discussion on Monday was the Free Speech Board inviting students to share their thoughts about the anti-abortion signs. Messages on the board varied from praise for the protestors to compelling arguments against their rhetoric, as well as a few statements that had nothing to do with the issue at hand.

While the signs no doubt provoked some of this, they mostly caused eyes to roll and did very little to address the very complex issue that is abortion. Speaking to the protesters mostly resulted in heated conversations between them and the students, which usually ended with neither side gaining much from each other.

We understand that these tactics are done to get our attention. A huge sign with a bloody fetus would get us more riled up than a roundtable discussion on abortion. But it’s not the most effective way to create change. That only comes with actual conversation—maybe in the form of a panel or forum at our University—rather than gory imagery staring students down on the way to class.

Free speech is vital; we as journalists know that better than anyone. But please stop yelling at us to change our minds. It’s probably the one thing you can do to ensure that we won’t.

Be the first to comment on "Graphic Signs Won’t Change Minds"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.