Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
The Residence Hall Association erected the "Wall of Oppression" Sunday on the UA Mall adjacent to Old Main in order to promote Wednesday's UA Discusses Diversity program.
Though the wall was well-intended and is scheduled to be ceremoniously torn down tomorrow, RHA's efforts at raising awareness are inherently flawed.
The organization's creation, a colorful, eye-catching collection of painted cinder blocks that look like a fourth-grade art project gone horribly wrong, has littered the UA campus with slurs and epithets not even suitable for normal conversation, much less a 37-foot long wall located on a central part of campus.
RHA's efforts come up well short of producing its intended result, which is promoting tolerance and student reflection regarding the harm that results from offensive language used in passing.
What will result is a sour taste in the mouths of those just visiting campus, unaware of the purpose of the project, who will in turn carry with them a negative image of UA and its students.
Though there will be those thoughtful individuals who actually take time to reflect on the wall's greater purpose, they are the exception, not the norm.
Due to the abrasive and offensive atmosphere surrounding the wall, those who are on campus regularly will be more inclined to head in the other direction without fully understanding why the wall is there. The consolation of having a representative available next to the wall to explain the purpose is commendable, but how will that person get the message across if people are either too offended or afraid to come near and listen?
Others will undoubtedly be willing to approach the wall, but what will stop them from snickering at the sight of seeing "Whoronado 9th floor" or "Rich Bitch from Snobsdale," let alone those words or phrases that are far more damaging?
If RHA's goal was solely to create an uproar on campus, the group will succeed. The goal of breaking down oppression, however, gets lost amidst the inflammatory presentation of the message.
Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Susan Bonicillo, Nate Buchik, Evan Caravelli, Brett Fera, Caitlin Hall and Andrea Kelley.