Avoid Propaganda (A Poster Series)

By: Catherine Garza

Over the course of the semester, our class has discussed the multiple ways that propaganda can be defined and how it can be used. We examined past uses of propaganda in the context of anti-Semitism prompted by Hitler, as well as current propaganda issued during the presidential election by Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. In looking at those methods of propaganda, we discussed a few ways that a person can identify when propaganda is being used and how to avoid buying into the message. With that in mind, for my final project I decided to create an “anti-propaganda, propaganda campaign.” The campaign will have three different posters that highlight three different ways to identify propaganda when facing it around the world.

Project Rationale

The project idea came to me in a stress-induced dream I had over Thanksgiving break. In the dream, an alien species had taken over the entire world by using propaganda. The aliens essentially created a campaign convincing every country in the world, including the United States, that Donald Trump, as President of the United States was devising a plan to annihilate all people who were not white Americans. In their message, the aliens convinced people of the world that the only way to save them was to allow them to peacefully take over the planet. As the takeover began, Earth’s citizen’s soon realized that the aliens had an ulterior motive: kill the human race. Although there were few attempts by the United States government to dismantle all forms of their propaganda, it failed. No one cared to believe them, nor did they attempt to uncover the truth.

While I was aware that it was just a dream, it forced me to really think about changes that come with the new president elect and how people may interpret things that he and his staff say differently. In our class we discussed how, at times, different communities of people fall victim to propaganda. An example of this is how Americans quickly turned on Japanese-Americans during World War II. We looked at the website “WWII Homefront: Anti-Japanese,” and the many images and posters used to paint the Japanese people as villains. This ultimately led me to realize that people really do not know how to identify when propaganda is being used and that if they did, there may be the possibility that few human-made disasters could have been avoided. I know that thought may be a bit farfetched but, it made me think about potential propaganda education. With that in consideration, I decided to create the anti-propaganda, propaganda posters.

Project Objectives

The main objective of my project is to teach my peers and others ways to identify propaganda around the world. Although my posters may not be able to reach a world-wide audience, I am creating the posters with hopes of educating those that I can. The first point is to “pay attention to who the message is coming from.” This first message was created with the hopes that a person would pay attention to who a message may come from, for example the United States Government, and think about what implications that might have. The second point is “stop and think – don’t gloss over a message, think about it.” That message was created in order to make the audience stop and analyze the message rather than just read it and keep that message instilled in their brains. The third and final message is “pay attention to the symbols used.” This last message was created with the intentions of encouraging the audience to look at what symbols are used in propaganda and how those symbols relate to the message. Through those messages I am hoping to increase awareness of how to identify propaganda.