December 01, 2005

Spelunking through Oppression

As even casual observers of American academia well know, freedom of thought is a cardinal virtue in the hallowed halls of the ivory tower. In order to ensure that its faculty members and students devote themselves to the disinterested pursuit of knowledge, a given university does its best to ensure that it fosters an intellectual climate welcoming to a rich array of perspectives.

And what better way to welcome a rich array of perspectives than force-feed incoming students with rebarbative “orientation sessions” designed to compel them to adopt a radical worldview? If you are a college administrator, your answer to that question should be “There is no better way.” Or words to that effect.

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” had reason to reflect on this anew when we received a kindly e-missive from one of our readers, which pointed us in the direction of the “Tunnel of Oppression.” Although said Tunnel was briefly featured on Charles Johnson’s luminous Little Green Footballs “weblog,” we found it so delightfully offensive that we deigned to discuss it at greater length.

What, you may or may not be asking yourself, is a “Tunnel of Oppression”? And what the heck does it have to do with American academia? Those are darned good queries. Why don’t we let the progenitors of this Tunnel tell us in their own inimitable prose?

Since its original debut in the mid-1990s, the Tunnel of Oppression has become a nationally recognized program offered at a number of college campuses including The Ohio State University, the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, and The University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

Well, gee: If it’s good enough for an academic powerhouse like UNLV, it should be good enough for us, eh? Not only can UNLV students get a degree in casino management, they can experience a Tunnel of Oppression as well. What dedication to the liberal arts!

Some campuses use it as an element of diversity training within the residence halls while others have fully incorporated the idea into their campus programming efforts. Campuses have implemented the program in various ways, incorporated various themes, and have realized varying levels of success. Following the interactive portion of the Tunnel, many campuses offer students an outlet for processing the activity including panel discussions with faculty and staff members.

We know what you are thinking, dear reader: If the genius prose stylists who wrote this palaver are in charge of the Tunnel of Oppression program, you desperately hope your child is compelled to undergo their hazing at his school. After all, what says good times quite like a Tunnel of Oppression? We couldn’t think of anything either.

But what does the program entail? What is this Tunnel of Fun? Our e-brochure continues:

As part of the program, participants are led through museum style series of connected rooms which each ask the participants to experience various forms of oppression. Participants are challenged to consider how oppression and advantages have an effect on them, as well as the individuals and groups around them.

This year’s themes include:
(1) Tools of Oppression
(2) Women’s Issues
(3) Racial Oppression
(4) LGBT Issues
(5) Religious Oppression ***this room is pending***.

Sounds like a blast, doesn’t it? Personally, we can’t wait to learn what Tools of Oppression are. Can they be purchased at the local Home Depot? Or, given its shady treatment of employees, does Wal-Mart alone stock them?

We found it particularly delicious that the “Religious Oppression” train-car is still “pending.” Do the eminences behind the Tunnel of Oppression disagree about the nature of religious oppression? Do some of them believe that such an issue doesn’t deserve their ham-fisted treatment—even if the Religious Oppression room is merely the caboose?

Naturally, we are quite certain that said Religious Oppression train-car won’t feature the anti-Christian bigotry espoused by countless “diversity” training commissars. That’s not the kind of oppression they have in mind.

And this leads us to a question for the brilliant boosters of the Tunnel of Oppression. Why not have a “Radical Indoctrinators Oppression” train-car? Surely the students, after passing through the moronic Tunnel of Oppression, are going to realize that the only real oppression they’ve experienced is that of the intolerant chuckleheads who sponsored this program in the first place.

Posted at December 1, 2005 12:48 AM | TrackBack