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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Digging into ‘Tunnel of Oppression’

Alex Kulpinski
Alex Kulpinski / Daily Wildcat UA students take part in the Tunnel of Oppression, an interactive experience where participants move through a “tunnel” and become part of scenes depicting racism, border issues, sexism, etc. in the Student Union Grand Ballroom on Monday.

“I experienced racism everyday on our own fucking University of Arizona campus,” said Kenneth Brown, a media arts freshman.

The Tunnel of Oppression is an interactive experience where participants move through the “tunnel” and become part of scenes depicting border issues, homophobia, racism and sexism — and these were just few of the scenarios shown to attendees for more than an hour.

The tunnel involved a series of different rooms that presented skits, videos and images where a group of 20 people were guided through the tour. Scenes depicting sexism and violence left some students with an aloof reaction, others with shock. Crystal Bright, a pre-nursing freshman, guided one of the tours while reading off of a script in order to prevent herself from showing any emotion and affecting tour attendees.

“The Tunnel of Oppression interpreted parallel events from history that showed history repeats itself,” said Fletcher Zumbusch, a biosystems engineering freshman. “It was aspects in the racism room that stood out that I never thought about before.”

Each group of 20 were led into the final scene of the tunnel where they stood facing four minority students, and each shared their frustrations with racism and stereotypes in America.

“Just because I have a nice car, it doesn’t mean I stole it,” said Brown, an African American student. “So because I am black I must have a big dick and be good in bed?”

The tunnel was sponsored by Residence Life’s Advocates Coming Together and the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. The event sought to challenge people’s thoughts, perception and feelings about oppression and hatred.

A participant in the skit, who went by the name of Crystal, chanted the words “fuck” and “bitch” to express her emotions about her privileged roommate.

“Fucking everyone thinks it’s easy (to be privileged), well my mommy and daddy can’t afford my shit,” Crystal said. “I can’t party like this bitch. Fucking open your eyes.”

This skit, like many others, aimed to show discriminations toward those who are financially disadvantaged.

“Hearing people’s story and seeing visual examples provides students with a complete different perspective,” said Angharad Daly, a senior studying French and creative writing.

Stephanie Montano, a business senior, said although the tunnel showed extreme cases of discrimination, nonverbal actions can make a difference in hurting someone else’s feelings, whether it was intentional or not. This is an experience that every UA student should go through, she said.

Today is the final day the Tunnel of Oppression is running in the Student Union Memorial Center’s Grand Ballroom. Tours begin at 6 p.m. and the last tour runs until 8:30 p.m. A small group discussion proceeds each tour.

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