The Fearful Implications of ‘If You See Something, Say Something’

another compelling piece from the Race and New Media participants -- originally posted 2008-05-19 07:29:24 - bumped, cho

In 2003 the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) introduced an advertisement campaign titled “If You See Something, Say Something”. Since its inception, New York City has been bombed with posters and billboards proclaiming this ambiguous slogan, most notably on subway cars, buses, and railroad stations. The MTA Newsroom remarks that the security awareness advertisement campaign is to “reinforce the effort to enlist customers to join the police and MTA employees as the eyes and ears of the system… The ads remind customers of the need to stay aware of their surrounds and to report anything suspicious… [and] that continued watchfulness is necessary to help prevent terrorists from carrying out their plans”.

In it’s core foundations, the MTA slogan is based entirely on fear-mongering tactics. The very fact that the slogan is left so open and in-finite suggests an underlying agenda of New York City officials to create a stronger sense of ‘us versus them’ within the city. After 9/11, much of the world reached out to the United States, and especially New Yorkers. Since the decision to go into war with Iraq, the support from the world has lessened so much that the United States of America is now one of the most unpopular nations in the entire world. Our government went into a war on misguided hatred and fear, and the price we continue to pay is a nation confused with whom to trust. It was fear within the nation, the people and the congress that led the United States into the War on Terror in the misrepresented country of Iraq. Led by a government that chooses to pick the wrong battles, how can this nation’s people learn to respectfully interpret their surroundings without fear-colored glasses? And what does that then mean for people who see something and say something?