Nunez: City sticker controversy an overreaction

Julianna Nunez

People have a tendency to overreact when they sense that children may be exposed to something harmful.

Overall, it is better to overreact to a dangerous situation than to not react at all. However, there are cases when overreaction can create problems where there are none.

The most recent example of people overreacting is the story of 15-year-old Herbert Pulgar and the Chicago city sticker.

Pulgar was the winner of an art contest whose design was going to be used for the new city sticker. He was going to get the opportunity to see his artwork on every windshield of every car in Chicago. Considering the city has about 3 million residents, that’s a big audience. The intent of Pulgar’s design was to recognize the unsung heroes of Chicago. It featured a heart with the Chicago flag and downtown landscape, as well as multiple hands reaching towards the symbols of Chicago policemen, firemen and paramedics.

Everything was going well until people began to notice that the hands on the design can be interpreted as gang symbols. As a result, Chicago city clerk Susana Mendoza decided not to use the design for the city sticker.

While Pulgar was able to keep the $1000 prize money, the runner-up will have her design featured on the city sticker.

As someone who has had to edit potential gang symbols out of photos for her high school yearbook, I know what a gang symbol looks like. The hands on Pulgar’s design are simply reaching upward. Some of the fingers appear to be slightly bent, but that is natural weight distribution when one holds his or her hand up.

The whole situation just became overblown because it was based on assumptions.

The situation reminded me of the “fucksaw” scandal. People were concerned about what students were being exposed to, despite the fact that the students were adults and only an incredibly small fraction of the student body witnessed the event.

However, the difference is that the event actually happened, whereas there was no proof of whether Pulgar based a portion of his design on gang symbols.

It’s good that people want to look after other people. That being said, there are times when the need to protect can cover up common sense.

In the end, such actions can end up hurting innocent people. What the city clerk did was wrong and reflected no consideration for Pulgar.

The city sticker contest is supposed to be a fun event for young Chicago artists who want to pay tribute to the city. But not this time. Not this year.

Julianna Nunez is a Medill sophomore. She can be reached at [email protected]

All opinions expressed in this column are solely the opinions of the columnist and do not reflect the views of The Daily Northwestern. If you would like to respond to the column, you may comment below, email the columnist or submit a 300-word letter to the editor to [email protected]