Marquette Warrior: Politically Correct “Tunnel of Oppression” Coming to Marquette

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Politically Correct “Tunnel of Oppression” Coming to Marquette

The bureaucrats at Marquette seem to be planning a spring full of politically correct indoctrination.

Here is an e-mail we got today:
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 13:40:12 -0600
Subject: You’re Invited...
From: Kate Kusiak
Thread-Topic: You’re Invited...

. . . to be a part of Remove the Blindfold, a new program coming to Marquette this April!

What Is Remove the Blindfold?

Remove the Blindfold is modeled after a well-known event called Tunnel of Oppression, which is organized on a number of college campuses across the country. It allows participants the opportunity to explore various forms of oppression and discrimination including racism, heterosexism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and ageism. The Tunnel of Oppression is intended to be eye-opening and conscious building [sic] and is targeted at those students who have rarely experienced difference. The rationale is that students are unable to fully understand oppression and discrimination until they have experienced it first-hand. The experience should stimulate thoughts, feelings, and emotions around the issues and images presented.

Who Is Sponsoring Remove the Blindfold?

It is a collaboration between Residence Life and Intercultural Programs.

Who Can Participate?

We are inviting all student organizations to be a part of this important program.

What Does Participation Involve?

Student organizations that want to be a part of Remove the Blindfold will create displays representing the form of oppression or discrimination they choose.

Here is a list of potential ideas for a display:

Hurricane Katrina
Body Image
Sexual Assault
Racial/Ethnic/Religious Oppression
Sexual Orientation
Educational Opportunity
Women’s Issues/Gender
Global Oppression/Awareness

When Is It?

It will take place from April 15 – April 20, 2007.

How Does My Organization Volunteer to Participate?

If your organization would like to be a part of Remove the Blindfold, please reply to this email and we will get in touch with you. Or, if you would simply like additional information, please reply to this email and we’ll answer any questions you have.

We look forward to working with you!

Carla Cadet, Cobeen Hall Director
Dannie Moore, Abbottsford Hall Director
Ed Gricius, O’Donnel Hall Director
Pamela Peters, Assistant Dean for Intercultural Programs
Meredith Galloway, Graduate Assistant for Intercultural Programs
Note the elitist assumption that Marquette students have “rarely experienced difference,” need their “eyes opened” and their “conscious” [sic] built.

(We perhaps should not blame these people for the use of “conscious” for “conscience” or “consciousness.” That text was in fact plagiarized from a web page at the University of Maryland.)

Of course, people who mount events like this are hardly “tolerant of difference.”

In their world, there are few if any legitimate political differences. There is only “racism, heterosexism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and ageism.” Banish those things and political conflict will melt away in a society of equality for all. Except for those evil heterosexual white males, who should feel eternally guilty for being oppressors.

Marquette is hardly on the cutting edge in this. It’s become a standard project of the usual suspects at many universities.

An excellent critique can be found on the Critical Mass blog.
Ball State joins a growing list of schools that have staged their own interactive tunnel visions of “hate” (defined in terms of the usual -phobias and -isms). Some of the more ambitious Tunnels of Oppression have been put on at Arizona, where tunnel-goers were cast as Jews in a Nazi gas chamber (some were cast as gay Jews); Maryland, where false sexual assault statistics were presented as true and where white students were handcuffed to a wall to simulate the experience of slavery; and Regis University, which also disseminated false sexual assualt numbers and where tunnel-goers confronted their “ableism” by trying to do tasks while blindfolded or while sitting in a wheelchair.

The Tunnel of Oppression is a good example of what passes for enlightenment on today’s campuses. It is not about disseminating information (not about disseminating true information anyway), or about providing historical context for understanding the conflicts that define our age, but about oversimplifying those conflicts through a disingenuous appeal to our emotions. The Tunnel of Oppression -- which proudly casts itself as a “sensory experience” -- encourages students not to think rationally about what ails the world, or to inform themselves by learning facts and studying context, or even to take reasoned, principled action against injustice, but to react viscerally to images of violence, to become hysterical on cue.
Of course, if the people organizing this really wanted to showcase all aspects of oppression (rather than push a leftist agenda) they might include displays on: Somehow, we don’t think that any of these forms of oppression will interest the folks doing Remove the Blindfold.

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Blogger Christopher Charles said...

I totally understand where you're coming from on this, and to a certain degree, agree with your assertions. Working both with this program and in Residence Life I can see both sides.

Here's the important piece being missed:

1. Catholics are, comparatively, a large group that does not experience oppression on a daily basis. Additionally, there is no systematic oppression in the way it is for sexual assault, females, subjugated identities, etc.

2. Yes, some Muslims have anti-semitic feelings, but again, this is a not a majority of what will be experienced by college students. It is an important area, but the idea is to help students connect to an idea that they can identify with. Imagine how Muslim Americans already feel given our current social climate, now compound that with a program targeting them as anti-semitic.

3. Duke - Yepp, it was bogus. At the same time most rapes and sexual assaults continue to go unreported. The false reporting rate is the same as other crimes (as reported by the FBI) with a rate of 7 to 8 percent (the same as other crimes). The fact of the matter is sexual assault is a much bigger problem than false reporting considering 1 in 4 college women will be sexually assaulted.

4. There's no excuse for those in the military being treated that way, and I think it's a good addition to the program. Please note that it's your own religious right starting those protests (Phelps).

5. Saying any student is kicked out for race is tricky being that you're by no means a part of that conversation or that situation. If that student truly was, it's wrong, but remember Caucasians have been dominating education throughout the history of higher education. Additionally, the idea of scholarships linked to race or ethnicity is to give a chance to those who traditionally do not have that opportunity. Fact of the matter is, white people have always had access - why should we get mad if we don't get something for once?

6. Take a higher ed law class and learn more about free speech on campus, sorry, but it doesn't exist.

7. Why should non-Christian students be forced to sing song for and by Christians? Again, Christians are a majority. Wade Clark Roof said "Christians are a growing majority with a growing minority complex" and you can attribute that to the "moral majority" era.

8. You're right, many are born out of wedlock, but what about the highest number on welfare being single white mothers? The birth issue in the black community is an outgrowth of the gender breakdown and dynamics.

I think that about covers it. Again, I understand your point but as a white heterosexual male, I have not had to live oppression daily.

10:44 AM  

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