Tuesday, March 3, 2009


There's a very clever and effective billboard up in my neighborhood. Its a photo of a parent shaking their child by the arms in a super market and screaming at them. The parent's face is all twisted with rage and falling-apart-ness; and the child is cringing in fear (you can't see their face). You get the impression that whatever the kid did, it probably didn't warrant the reaction.

The tagline is: 'Be Human, be humane. Say something'

Its an effective public service announcement, and I think its worthy to combat the indignation of the ''Are you telling me how to raise my kid???'' response to somone interfereing in such a situation. ''Well yes,'' one might respond ''Thats exactly what I'm trying to do. I can't actually take your kid out of your inept hands, so for their sake the least I can do is socially censure you for being a bad parent.''

The impact is a little dampened by the subheading, though: ''Protect children and animals from abuse.'' *chuckle* Kids and animals are equivalent, eh? I'm all about protecting animals as well, but the choice of wording isn't the best. Might throw in a ''neuter and release kids and animals to prevent suffering'' bit. You wouln't be wrong, exactly, but clearly not right either.
At anyrate, my purpose in commenting on the billboard isn't to nit-pick the copywriting, its to commend it for encouraging the bravery of 'saying somthing.' I would suggest that the advice should be applied broadly, across all levels. You should object when you see a right being violated, whatever it is.

An appaling question now comes to mind: do people in general even know injustice when they see it? Just like how most people would look away from the supermarket scene and wrongly say 'its not my place;' how many other injustices have we become accustomed to overlooking? Shouldn't we object when we're cheated or stolen from? And worse, can we even tell? And is there anyone to cry out to?

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