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Is this road sign offensive?

Old 01-05-08, 12:58 PM
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Is this road sign offensive?

As some of you may know, I collect road signs. Mostly the blue shield Interstate road signs, but I have a few other types of signs. Yesterday, I obtained what I believe to be a true gem, and my favorite road sign in my collection:

<img src=http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s15/fickensie/DSC00225.jpg>

Here is one hanging on the freeway (this one may be mine, when hung at Camp Pendleton, which is where I think this picture was taken):

<img src=http://claytonguiltner.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/prohibido_fleeing_migrants_sign_mexico_border.jpg>

Anyway, the recent story about these signs is that they are being decommissioned because of complaints from the Mexican community. They believe the signs are racially insulting, and serve to be objects of anti-immigration propaganda.

The person who sold me the sign bought it legally and talked to someone in the DOT, and was told that there were only 5 to 8 of these ever made, and that they are not replacing them. They may be leaving some up until they need repair, and at that time, they will be taking them down. The person who sold me my sign is a big license plate and road sign collector and businessman, and has connections all over the country in DOT offices and scrapyards, and he makes a business out of it. I told him back in October that I'd love to have one of these signs, and just last week he called and said he got one. He said he might be able to get a few more, and I told him I'd take them. After considering the article I've got posted below, I think there is value in these signs, much more than I paid for mine.

I've seen a few of these signs hanging around San Diego, but cannot remember where each of them were. I do know there was one by the Camp Pendleton checkpoint, but that one is now gone. I believe the sign I have was hung at the Camp Pendelton checkpoint, but I'm not 100% certain.

I found an article about the sign, its origins, and the public's reaction, of the sign, which can be viewed here:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniont...1n10signs.html

I personally don't find the sign as something that ought to be considered by anyone as insulting. Sure, the sign is similar to animal crossing signs, and for that reason only, could be viewed as somewhat insensitive. However, according to the article, they had different signs with text only, but they believed people overwhelmed with so much text. I find that rather silly, but I do agree, the silouette sign is much more effective.

So, do you people here in the politics forum find the signs offensive? Should they be decommissioned because of any outcry in the Mexican community? Have any of you seen the exhibit at the Smithsonian that has a picture of the sign, as referenced in the article above?

One thing that I found interesting is that there were no bullet holes in the sign.

Last edited by ukywyldcat; 01-05-08 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 01-05-08, 02:00 PM
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Yeah, the sign is somewhat offensive. But I'm not sure what kind of symbol you would use to convey the same idea.
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Old 01-05-08, 02:17 PM
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It's only offensive if you turn it into a political issue, applying your own personal beliefs, so IMO, it's not offensive. A sign should convey an idea and quickly. This sign says, "Watch out! There may be people running across the road in groups and not paying attention." Why they're running across the road and what the government thinks about it is immaterial. If the sign is true, and people are doing this in the area, then it is effective in its primary goal. You can't post a sign with an essay about differing political views.



This sign says, "Watch out! There may be children in the street preoccupied by play." It's not an indictment of parents who let their children play in traffic or a statement on the decline of the American family. It's conveying a valuable warning to motorists and quickly. Anything can be made offensive if people want to make it that way. Why does the child have no hands and feet? Are amputees more likely to play in traffic? And <i>slow</i> children? Gee, that's not offensive.

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Last edited by das Monkey; 01-05-08 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 01-05-08, 02:25 PM
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Well, under the MUTCD (Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices) if the sign is not a yellow diamond, it is not a warning sign for motorists. And what is up with the white, regulatory "PROHIBIDO" sign? Running across the road is prohibited, only Spanish=speaking drivers are forbidden to hit them? I don't know what it means, making it a bad road sign.
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Old 01-05-08, 02:44 PM
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Carlos Mencia on the W54 Special Pedestrian Crossing Sign
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Old 01-05-08, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
Well, under the MUTCD (Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices) if the sign is not a yellow diamond, it is not a warning sign for motorists.
I didn't consider that, but can't a yellow square/rectangle be used for motorist warnings as well? I cannot think of a specific example off hand, but if the warning you're making is wider than it is tall and needs to be viewed on a large scale from far away in high-mph situations, it seems silly to make it a giant diamond.

Originally Posted by OldDude
And what is up with the white, regulatory "PROHIBIDO" sign? Running across the road is prohibited, only Spanish=speaking drivers are forbidden to hit them? I don't know what it means, making it a bad road sign.
I assumed there was something else at work with the alignment in that specific picture. The article displays just the sign, which I don't find offensive. If these two are always paired together, then I'm not sure what to think.

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Old 01-05-08, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by das Monkey
I didn't consider that, but can't a yellow square/rectangle be used for motorist warnings as well? I cannot think of a specific example off hand, but if the warning you're making is wider than it is tall and needs to be viewed on a large scale from far away in high-mph situations, it seems silly to make it a giant diamond.

das
I'm not sure. I've seen rectangular yellow height and width clearance signs affixed to the structures, but diamonds on road signs. I'm not about to wade through the MUTCD to find out.

And the video above proves it fits yellow diamond format just fine.

The real issue is the prohibido. I'm going to argue either Spanish=speaking people can't run across the road in groups or Spanish-speaking drivers can't hit them, one or the other. The rest of us can ignore it.
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Old 01-05-08, 02:57 PM
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Yeah, at first, just looking at the sign from a driver's perspective, I thought this was an unusual warning to watch out for pedestrians. It's not really offensive, but a better sign is needed.

Maybe someone has pics of better signs, perhaps from countries that have strict border control?
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Old 01-05-08, 03:02 PM
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The video posted above is excellent.
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Old 01-05-08, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
I'm not about to wade through the MUTCD to find out.
Me either. A .dot.gov site? No chance I'm wading through all that.

Originally Posted by OldDude
And the video above proves it fits yellow diamond format just fine.
Sure, but you'd need a "PED XING" attachment. And that sign would be completely ineffective on an 8-lane freeway as the article suggests. It would need at least 10 times that area to be visible in time for high-speed motorists. There's no reason it couldn't be a diamond; it just seems silly to me.

Originally Posted by OldDude
The real issue is the prohibido. I'm going to argue either Spanish=speaking people can't run across the road in groups or Spanish-speaking drivers can't hit them, one or the other. The rest of us can ignore it.
I think it means that Spanish-speakers are not allowed to read the sign.

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Old 01-05-08, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
I'm not about to wade through the MUTCD to find out.
I lied, I waded through the MUTCD. Warning signs are Chapter 2. http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2003r1....htm#figure2C3

The basic standard is
Standard:
All warning signs shall be diamond-shaped (square with one diagonal vertical) with a black legend and border on a yellow background unless specifically designated otherwise. Warning signs shall be designed in accordance with the sizes, shapes, colors, and legends contained in the "Standard Highway Signs" book
However, there are specific cases where a sign may or must be a different shape, mostly rectangular, but triangles, chevrons etc, where the shape becomes part of the message, but there MUST be specific authorization in MUTCD.

Having said that, signs legal under a prior version of MUTCD when they were installed are grandfathered until replaced.
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Old 01-05-08, 03:57 PM
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Yeah, I guess we better replace these signs of Illegal Mexicans crossing the borders and near-by roads...with deer icons. Currently, deer can't speak for themselves, so I think we're ok. Unless PETA has something to say...
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Old 01-05-08, 06:29 PM
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How are we supposed to know they're Mexican? I think this one might be easier to understand:

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Old 01-05-08, 06:50 PM
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Old 01-05-08, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by grundle
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Old 01-05-08, 08:12 PM
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I believe I've seen a similar sign in Arizona.

I always thought the "slow children at play" signs were offensive when I was a kid. I'm not <i>that</i> slow. It seemed like a "blind child Xing"
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Old 01-05-08, 08:46 PM
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It's a stupid sign, but I don't find it offensive.
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Old 01-05-08, 09:22 PM
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I thought the offensiveness in it would be from the parents dragging their child through the air forcefully. I didn't even realize it had to do with immigration till I read the article.
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Old 01-05-08, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by SlartyBart
How are we supposed to know they're Mexican? I think this one might be easier to understand:

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Old 01-05-08, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by crazyronin
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Old 01-06-08, 12:51 AM
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I voted yes... but, and I will go there... it's offensive only because we had to put them up in the first place.

Side note: when I as a budding young artist waaaay back in the early 1990's when CalTrans first put these up, I painted a version of this sign on a very large canvas. My 'pop-art' twist was the removal of the word "caution" and in it's place I added the Nike name and the swoosh logo. To say this piece was polarizing would be an understatement. You either loved it, or hated it. And although my impression was very political at the time, a majority of the hispanic art goers were actually supportive of the piece. Even though I don't think they quite understood the hypocrisy of my message.

I'll miss these signs... I always found them to be sadly funny.
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Old 01-06-08, 03:12 AM
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So, all the art goers were confirmed from the island of Hispaniola?

Or none of them were, but you're just ignorant in regards to the term "hispanic"

Either way, carry on. You seem to be doing fine.

E
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Old 01-06-08, 03:19 AM
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You look like Micheal Chiklis, except smaller.
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Old 01-06-08, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by hal9000
I voted yes... but, and I will go there... it's offensive only because we had to put them up in the first place.

Side note: when I as a budding young artist waaaay back in the early 1990's when CalTrans first put these up, I painted a version of this sign on a very large canvas. My 'pop-art' twist was the removal of the word "caution" and in it's place I added the Nike name and the swoosh logo. To say this piece was polarizing would be an understatement. You either loved it, or hated it. And although my impression was very political at the time, a majority of the hispanic art goers were actually supportive of the piece. Even though I don't think they quite understood the hypocrisy of my message.

I'll miss these signs... I always found them to be sadly funny.
Pic of your art?

As for looking like Michael Chiklis, thats a first. I had never heard of him until your post, and I had to look him up. I don't quite agree with your assessment, but concede that the distance from the camera and the hat, the sunglasses, and lack of a smile may create an image that make us look alike. Although, with all that on, I look like a lot of people.

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Old 01-06-08, 10:36 AM
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I don't think the sign is offensive at all and like Mojo said I don't think you'd find another way to convey the same message without someone finding it offensive. I think these are better signs than the original ones they had up in SD where the kid in the back was being pulled so fast she was flying in the air. If they were wearing sombreros then I'd say perhaps it is offensive but as it is I say no. Of course they will take the signs down, some illegals will get killed, and the family will sue for there being no warning signs.
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