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  • 34


     
    The "Tunnel of Oppression"
    Race; Posted on: 2008-04-29 13:39:04 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    Coming to a college near you?

    An EAU member comments:

    On the University of Miami campus down here in Florida, a project called the Tunnel of Oppression came last week. It is described in the school newspaper as “a dark maze covered in images of violence and suffering deemed a ‘sensory-based experimental learning opportunity,’ through the utilization of multimedia and interactive tours.” Part of our campus was “transformed into a ‘Tunnel of Oppression’ Monday through Wednesday.”

    A flyer handed out before the tour through the “Tunnel” reads:

    “The program, through interactive tours, is designed to challenge people’s thoughts, perceptions and inner feelings on issues dealing with oppression and hatred. At the conclusion of the tour, students will then enter a room for reflection where they can anonymously sign a wall and visually express their reactions, as well as learn about how they can get involved with alleviating and ending various forms of oppression within their communities and beyond.”

    The tour dealt with vague, stereotypical forms of oppression in the forms of “international human rights, religion, racism, classism, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues, sexual assault/body images, and children’s issues.”

    While the exhibit tried to incorporate various laughable examples of “oppression” against European-Americans to make it fair, the majority of the exhibit displayed White people in a way reminiscent of the diversity training videos that show the stereotypical boorish, insensitive, guffawing white person “oppressing” the poor minority victim.

    A disclaimer warns:

    “At times some of the experiences may make participants feel uncomfortable. Participants can choose to ‘step out’ of the experience at any time.”

    and:

    “The Tunnel is meant to be an educational experience and the views expressed in the Tunnel are not the views of the University of Miami, any Department or the individuals involved.”

    Multiple universities across the country have been adopting this exhibit, but it has received no major media coverage. I can find no central group that is responsible for the exhibit’s creation, but I, as a Miami student, am going to leave a comment on the news story on our school paper’s website.

    And also find a relevant person at the University to contact and express my grievances with the exhibit.

    It is absurd to think that people, especially university students, aren't "aware" of oppression. I think the exhibit serves a more sinister purpose, namely to remind Whitey that he is the oppressor, and that we should all chip in to stop this treatment of minorities because it is our duty as human beings!

    I had an interesting experience before the tour. As I was sitting in the waiting room, a young black woman turned to me and said "Hey, don't be scared, you'll be alright!"
    Perplexed, I replied "If I was scared of something, I wouldn't be here!" To which she replied, "Well, you just looked nervous. You have nothing to worry about!"

    I honestly didn't know what the heck this woman was talking about, but I think I understand it now. As a young European-American male with blonde hair and blue eyes, I probably warmed the hearts of the other participants and tour leaders. After all, I was participating in the exhibit, and was therefore committed to changing my racist, White ways, right? I was taking the first step towards extending a helping hand to all oppressed minorities and peoples of the world, right?
    The young black woman probably thought that I wouldn't be able to handle images of oppression, which included swastikas (no!!!), KKK costumes (gasp!), being given an armband with a religious symbol on it (good Lord!!) and the word "nigger"; that I would be ashamed of my people's history of oppressing others.

    Then again, if you bring out the worst in any people's history, they're bound to be uncomfortable. Too bad I knew better; too bad I knew the real purpose behind the exhibit.
    News Source: EAU

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