2014/10/29

The Tunnel of Indoctrination Indubitably

I recently had the displeasure of learning that Bradley University, my alma mater, will be hosting an "interactive event"/propagandistic carnival attraction called the Tunnel of Oppression.

The production is staged by the campus Office of Multicultural Student Services, who claim that it "...highlights contemporary issues of oppression in a creative and realistic avenue. It is designed to introduce participants to the concepts of oppression, privilege, and power by guiding them through a series of scenes."

In contrast, an RA at DePauw University described her participation in various scenes showing how "...religious parents hate their gay children, Muslims would find no friends on a predominantly non-Muslim campus and overweight women suffer from eating disorders."

And to leave no doubt who's really exerting power in the name of oppression, the same young woman said, “We were told that ‘human’ was not a suitable identity, but that instead we were first ‘black,’ ‘white,’ or ‘Asian’; ‘male’ or ‘female’; … ‘heterosexual’ or ‘queer.’ We were forced to act like bigots and spout off stereotypes while being told that that was what we were really thinking deep down.”

This tunnel begins to sound less like an "interactive event" intended to "...educate and challenge participants to think more deeply about issues of oppression throughout society," than an intersectionalist version of Willy Wonka's harrowing boat ride, albeit minus the fun.

Indeed, the mention of "introducing participants to the concept of privilege" gives the game away. Disqualifying dissent by invoking an opponent's alleged "privilege" is nothing but a rhetorical dodge used to preempt rational thought; not promote it.

Looking beyond rhetorical claims to the actions of those who make them is the best way to discern someone's true motives. The claim that the Tunnel of Oppression is designed to foster tolerance disproves itself when one sees that the event is based on the hypocritical notion that entire groups of people deserve to be vilified for the actions of others, with whom they share only superficial traits like skin color, nationality, etc., and when its organizers dismiss the common humanity in which true equality is grounded.

Words are but the shadows of actions, and by their actions, the tunnel's promoters betray their real aim of indoctrinating minority college students into seeing themselves as eternal victims who are helpless without institutional aid, and brainwashing white, male, heterosexual, and religious students into an unearned sense of worthlessness, guilt, and shame.

The BU Multiculturalism Office will be happy to know that their propaganda has worked--though perhaps not as they hoped it would. I am ashamed. I'm ashamed of my alma mater--of the fact that I spent even one red cent of tuition money on an institution of higher learning that employs its considerable monetary and social power to shame and mislead the students who likewise pay enormous sums for that privilege.

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