Mar 29, 2006

Tunnel of Oppression [LINK]

More evidence that American higher education has been overrun by alien seed pods: a press release from the University of Kansas, Nov. 22, 2005:

The Tunnel of Oppression will make its fifth appearance at the University of Kansas on Tuesday, Nov. 29, and Wednesday, Nov. 30, from 6 to 9 p.m. in Lewis Hall, 1530 Engel Road. The tunnel is an intense, interactive, multimedia experience that forces participants to face the different types of oppression, such as racism, sexism and homophobia.

About 200 students, faculty, staff and other Lawrence community members have visited the tunnel every year. Because the tunnel contains some harsh and ugly realities, children are discouraged from attending. Tunnel exits are also available for individuals who find it difficult to complete the experience. Once participants come to the end of the tunnel, they debrief by engaging in a small group discussion with a licensed university counselor....

The tunnel, which will take five to seven minutes to experience, will include video and audio recordings as well as live role-playing situations. Some actually occurred at KU or on other campuses. These include an example of dating violence with one of the partners being abusive to the other and a student simulating symptoms of an eating disorder. Others are international in scope, such as footage of a concentration camp or scenes from movies. Visitors also will hear a variety of slurs and hate speech.

The debriefing session after visitors go through the tunnel will take about 10 minutes, so participants should allow about 20 minutes for the entire experience.

I don't know about you, but I find the prospect of breaking out into groups even more unsettling than getting yakked on by a bulimic. Still, I would invite everyone to seriously dwell on the distinction between abusive dating partners and eating disorders on the one hand, and being in a concentration camp on the other. To conflate these experiences is outrageously insulting and downright ignorant.

Note that there have been many such oppressive tunnels.

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