This week, Residence Life hosted the annual Tunnel of Oppression event. Tunnel of Oppression is an interactive theatre experience in which participants are guided through rooms designed to display oppression and hate experienced by individuals and groups. This year’s event featured five rooms around a variety of topics: Immigration, Take a Knee, Mental Health, Sexual Harassment, and Toxic Friendships. The goal of the event is to raise awareness to the harsh reality of hate words, images, stereotypes, and the impact these have on us all.
As noted in “Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook,” oppression can be defined as fundamental and inescapable inequality woven through society and embedded within individual consciousness. Combating oppression requires constant struggle against all its forms, and building a network among diverse people offers the most promising strategy for challenging oppression systematically.
When considering issues like oppression, it can become overwhelming to think how you as one person can make a difference. A good place to start is by considering the areas of privilege that exist in your own life. Privilege can come in more than one form – and so can oppression. Having one type of privilege does not mean that you are not oppressed in other ways. Think about the privileges that exist in your life, as well as the areas in which you or those you know may experience various forms of oppression.
As the actors stated in this year’s Tunnel of Oppression, “No one has to do everything, but everyone has to do something.”
Miss the event, but still want to experience Tunnel? Videos from the five rooms featured in this year’s event can be found on the Missouri State Tunnel of Oppression event page.