On-campus reactions to the ‘Make America Say It Again’ campaign

‘As a victim of sexual assault, it’s harmful for those who are easily triggered’

The Donald Trump quotes plastered around campus identified as the ‘Make America Say It Again’ campaign are still attracting attention a week after being put up. All the social media attention the quotes drew on Monday inspired the artist to add to the campaign that night.

“I definitely did not expect this to blow up. I understood that people were going to get mad and upset and take them down, but I guess I undervalued the powerful impact social media can play,” said the anonymous creator. 

“I mentioned it to a few friends before I put them up and they were shocked and said ‘you have to put Trump’s name underneath the quote or people will be like this is absurd’. But I stood my ground. “The more anonymous they were, the higher the shock value, and the more people would realize how immoral Trump’s words are.”

“With the word Trump underneath the quote, my project would have paralleled with any news article or CNN report, and people would’ve responded with “classic Trump” because he is in the media everyday. But take away ‘Trump’, and the shock value restarts.”

In response to the complaints that there were no quotes from Hillary Clinton, the artist said, “I wanted to stick to one candidate to keep the message clear, but I understand it’s not fair. But I’m also not here to be fair.”

When Ken Mackin, a sophomore at BU was asked about the project he commented, “although I do not agree with some of the messages displayed on the Make America Say it again campaign, it is important to welcome alternative points of view. BU promotes all types of diversity; religious diversity, socioeconomic diversity, ethnic diversity, but the one thing they fail to promote in my opinion is diversity of thought. We should welcome alternative points of view because at the end of the day, neither Trump nor Hillary is the solution to America’s problems – it is the will of the American people.”

The intensity of the project is what struck students the most. It’s not everyday you walk down Comm. Ave. and see violent words up for display. Some students felt personally threatened by the words, but agreed with the message the artist was trying to convey.

An anonymous woman at BU felt a personal connection with the quotes the artist chose. “I get how powerful the movement is that the artist is repeating these things that Trump has said. However, I think the ones that involve sexual assault are hurtful reminders. I feel the abusive words he’s used against women have solidified my standing with Hillary and it is a good reminder of the atrocious things he’s said. However, as a victim of sexual assault, it’s harmful for those who are easily triggered and upset by these things. It’s not what you want to be seeing when you’re out and about on campus but it needs to be said at the same time.”

Nick Rock is the BU graphic design professor who assigned the project that lead to this campaign. He deemed this project a success, not as a political campaign, but as an artistic commentary. “We’re learning and teaching the ways of ‘how do you get people to pay attention to content and how do you get people to listen to and understand the message?’ and often times that’s through recontextualizing the information and it’s about where you’re own voice and your own opinion fits into the work.”

“The artist was offended by these quotes and they did not want them to just be glossed over like it so often is in the media where it happens, but then it disappears because there is something new to talk about, so I think the whole though process behind ‘Make America Say It Again’ is that yes, actually these things are offensive and they are hurtful and it’s hard for people to deal with.”

There was a lot of positive feedback from the campaign where students felt exactly how the artist envisioned their movement to be received.

Rae Lynch, a senior at BU, felt these quotes needed to be taken more seriously than they were when Trump spoke them. “[This movement] reminds us that when Trump says something sexist or racist again and again, it can’t be taken lightly, it should be denounced. In an election where it feels almost normal for a candidate to belittle large groups of people, we need to see just how wrong the things he says are. .”

Professor Rock supported the project by saying, “I was surprised that the immediate assumption was that it was the equivalent of hate speech, but I read that as thinking people are less informed than we think they, are and those statements are not a reality for some people which reinforces the reason why we should be doing this. It calls things out in a way that people will actually pay attention to them.”