Privilege and Oppression
Today the Office of Intercultural Affairs hosted the Tunnel of Oppression, a gallery of sorts highlighting groups who feel especially targeted by a majority of the population. I didn’t know what to expect when I first entered the Tunnel, but I can honestly say that it was one of the greatest experiences in my life thus far. It was moving, yet educational. It was strongly put, yet it wasn’t overbearing.
In the Tunnel they had “stations” spotlighting different things–body image, the stigma attached to being an Atheist; SAGA had a corner where Concordia students of the LGBTQ population shared their stories. International students spoke of how hard it is to be a foreigner in this country. They opened with a station dedicated to how often racial slurs are thrown around.
Did you know that a girls self esteem peaks at age 9? Do you know how many slurs against the LGBTQ population are posted on Twitter each day? I didn’t know until today.
It’s amazing what the students here are cable of doing. I also think that the students involved in this program are incredibly brave. It takes a lot to stand up and say that you find imperfections in yourself. It takes an extreme amount of courage to be able to stand in front
of people and tell them that you live a different way than what is expected of you.
Something that really resonated with me was the station put on by Better Together, the interfaith youth group on campus. Students who identify themselves as Atheists wrote their stories on big posters, and flipped through the posters so that people could read about their journey through faith. As someone who is unsure of their position on God, it was nice seeing others who knew what they believed, even if it wasn’t the expected Christian ideals. Even though it was relieving, it was hard to see how badly people can treat others just because they don’t believe the same way.
The Tunnel of Oppression really opened my eyes to the problems people face today, whether I realized they were there or not. As someone who strives for equality, this has provided me with a drive to continue the movement of acceptance throughout society. I only hope that it did the same for others as well.