The stupidity behind the silence

cartoon by Caroline Binley

By Caroline Binley
Copy Editor
I first learned about silent protest in sixth grade when a friend used it to mourn the billions of children who lose their lives to abortion every day. At the time, I didn’t know what abortion was, let alone the debate behind it, but if I’d been more informed, I would have been grateful for his decision to shut up about it.
On April 17, silent protest will enter our lives again, this time in the purpose of Gay Straight Alliance’s Day of Silence, a movement meant to remind us of the way that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and asexual (LGBTQA) bullying silences the students it affects. As  great as that sounds, Day of Silence is a counterintuitive, counterproductive way to initiate change.
As a disclaimer, I’m not saying that change isn’t necessary. As a member of the LGBTQA acronym, I’m quite a fan of things like having rights and making it through the day without hearing slurs whispered behind my back. But silence won’t accomplish anything on these fronts.
Trust me.
I’ve tried to death-glare homophobia out of half the school, and so far, I haven’t made much progress.
Though the awkward silence will undoubtedly raise a few eyebrows, problems 1-5 all stem from the fact that you can’t actually explain what you’re protesting. Those out of the loop don’t have much hope of being educated, and those who oppose the terrifying, color-coordinated gay agenda won’t have anyone to stop them.
Maybe problems 6-10 are just a nerd thing, but as a twice-failed Day of Silence participant, I find it pretty hard to make it all day without speaking, especially when teachers don’t set aside things like speeches, group projects and even partner tests.
Though being silent sounds easy, it’s not, and logistical nightmares don’t often lead to radical change. Better protest methods involve innovations such as poster boards, t-shirts and even human speech.
As much as I love everything Day of Silence is meant to be, I’d be happy to let the Westboro Baptist Church have it. Queer students deserve more than an awkward lull in conversation once a year.