Tunnels of Oppression Expose ‘Privileged’ Students to ‘Dehumanization’

Amber Athey, Campus Reform, February 3, 2017

Several schools are hosting “Tunnels of Oppression,” where students experience simulated acts of racism, misogyny, and more so that they can “recognize their own privilege.”

Lee University’s Residential Life and Housing and Student Leadership Council will be hosting its fourth annual iteration of the event on Friday, during which participants will go on an interactive tour that exposes them to a different type of oppression in each room, including ”racial, sexual, mental, and societal oppression.”

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A video from the 2010 Tunnel of Oppression at Southern Illinois University, for instance, shows students being subjected to verbal abuse by university employees.

“Get the fuck up!” a black male employee is seen shouting at a white female student. “What the fuck is wrong with you?”

Later in the video, two actors simulate a struggle between a white man and a police officer. The white man pushes the police officer and yells “fuck you” before he is wrestled to the ground.

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Alternatively, students who attend a Tunnel of Oppression at Texas Tech University on February 6 “will encounter first-hand different forms of oppression” through student monologues, interactive acting scenes, and multimedia presentations.

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Boise State University, who held its annual Tunnel of Oppression back in November, chose to model an even more extreme version of the event portrayed at SIU, explaining that the exercise is not intended to be comfortable for participants.

“The Tunnel of Oppression attempts to recreate such feelings by having the guides create an environment where participants can actually feel disoriented, dehumanized, and uncomfortable,” BSU asserts. “Oppression does not stop because its victims are uncomfortable or tired, and it does not respect personal boundaries. While the experience is not always pleasant, it is part of the simulated experience.”

 

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