Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 23, 2004

'Writing on Wall' just leads to more hate

In the last two years I have attended this school the Residence Hall Association (RHA) has put up some display meant to confront students with what they perceive has hatred and intolerance.

Last year it was the "Tunnel of Oppression;" this year we are subjected to the "Wall of Hate."

While perusing the wall, I came across a block that read, "Jesus is God."

Immediately I asked one of the RHA associates to explain why it was on the wall. They showed me the author's, Tim Imman's, explanation, which said that saying "Jesus is God" puts one religion above others.

Well, I have news for all of you liberals who put this board together: Everyone who takes a leap of faith and decides to believe in one religion thinks that their religion is the true one. There is nothing hateful or intolerant about it.

By allowing this anti-Christian statement on the board, next to actual racist and sexist comments, the creators are implicitly accusing Christianity of promoting hate and bigotry.

Too cowardly to say this directly, this is the only way most liberals who believe this can express themselves. They hide their hatred and ignorance about religion behind the guise of promoting diversity.

Gabriel Leake
mathematics junior

Reality of ignorance displayed by wall

I have grown to develop a sheer outrage regarding certain comments and events about the RHA's Writing on the Wall Project. The outrage and disgust is not due to the wall's offensive nature, but due to the ignorance swarming our student body.

On Tuesday I viewed the wall and was listening to comments from fellow spectators. Some of these comments included, "I don't get it ... if you don't want these things to be an issue then why leave the wall up for so long?" And other comments about how some of the words and phrases of the wall should never be mentioned.

I also read the article of Tuesday's paper, "Wall's presentation silences message." This further was upsetting because students were condemning the wall as if the words on the wall were unbelievably uncalled for. This is the basis for my unbelievable outrage of the ignorance these students are portraying.

The point people are missing is that this wall is reality. The words and hateful messages on that wall are the very words and messages we live by everyday. For a student to say that the words on the wall are uncalled for is absolutely correct. That same student, however, does not realize that the words on the wall are the same words being spoken by his neighbor or the student standing next to him.

My answer to the first student's question, "Why keep the wall up for so long?" is simply this: Why don't we as a university take the RHA's demonstration to heart and do something about this hurtful, uncalled for wall that has plagued the world and tear it down.? It starts with us.

What the RHA is trying to let us know is that these words are heard daily and they need to be extradited from the minds and tongues of each of our fellow human beings.

Jonathan Acenas
pre-business junior

Wall challenges students to think

I am writing to voice my strong disagreement with the opinion expressed by the editorial staff on the Writing on the Wall artwork on the UA Mall. To say that the work is "inherently flawed" because it represents challenging or uncomfortable material is tantamount to saying that Picasso's "Guernica," which graphically depicts the horrors of World War II, is flawed because someone might be offended or frightened. The same could be said of many other works of important, socially conscious art, film, or literature.

Oppression or bias in the language we use is not a comfortable truth, but it is true, and all too common, nonetheless. I hear many of the phrases the wall depicts whenever I am on campus. Phrases that use part of a woman's anatomy as an insult, for instance, are degrading to women. If having these parts is neither gross nor inferior, why use the words as a cut down? If you don't think being gay is bad, why use "that is so gay" as a disparaging comment?

The same goes for racial or religious slurs. The whole point of the exhibit is to challenge by putting these phrases in front of us and letting us know that someone may be hurt or offended when we use them. I think anyone who pays attention for a moment will understand this. I did not "head in the other direction" when I saw the wall. Instead, I wanted to know what it meant.

Those who dismiss works of art without making an effort to understand have only themselves to blame, not the work itself. Your editorial comes dangerously close to suggesting that only very safe, non-controversial artworks should be displayed in public. Such an approach would not represent the university well at all. The "Wall of Oppression" is challenging, just like a good education should be.

Chet Phillips
environmental science and creative writing senior

Commencement should be canceled

I am a 2001 graduate with a master's in visual communications. After giving a somewhat reserved congratulations on recovering the campus-wide commencement, I have these comments.

One of the most memorable moments for me was my School of Art hooding ceremony. It was dignified, moving and literally glorious. Having my teacher and mentor professor Sarah Moore and my father on stage and presenting me with my hood will always be engraved in my memory.

In contrast, the general commencement was a nightmare. The event resembled more of a riot or brawl than a celebration of achievement. Being in the midst of out-of-control students, some intoxicated, wildly heaving tortillas, talking while the speakers were at the podium, I was embarrassed for the university and ashamed that my guests had to witness this event. There is absolutely no place for this kind of behavior outside of a beach party.

I, too, worked many long, sleepless hours to accomplish my goals. As a graduate student, I have written papers (Hey, 10-pages are for wimps! Try 24-pages plus end-notes plus bibliography) and will be paying off school debt for many years. But that is no excuse for disrespect to the school, to others and, yes, to yourself.

I would say, yes, let's give it another chance. Yes, there should have been more student and parent feedback on the decision. But if the behavior is continued, then I say cancel it! And let there be no doubt about on whose heads the fault will lie. It is with you the student and those of you who condone it. Paul Tosh
UA alumnus

Bricks from wall could have fed poor

We shouldn't throw tortillas because it's a waste of food, but we can build a wall that stands for only three days before we smash it to pieces. The bricks in that wall could have helped build a house for the same poor people who could have benefited from the tortillas.

I would like to describe my views of the "Writing on the Wall," but I 'm afraid that any word I use to describe it may be offensive to somebody. I think maybe I'll say that the wall is poopy, but that might offend the babies ... or I mean the Infant-Americans who have yet to shed the oppressions of their diapers.

Come on people, what ever happened to sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me? This whole project was a waste of money, and I hope my tuition dollars are better spent in the future.

Also, how can you have speakers come and discuss diversity and tolerance while hanging above their heads is a banner advertising the visit of Michael Moore?

Let's quickly look at the "tolerance" of Mr. Moore. FrontPage magazine quotes Moore with the following comment that he made on Sept. 12, 2001, in regards to the tragedies of the day before: "Many families have been devastated tonight. This just is not right. They did not deserve to die. If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who did not vote for him! Boston, New York, D.C., and the planes' destination of California - these were places that voted against Bush!"

Sounds pretty tolerant to me. Killing those who did vote for Bush would have been OK. What a way for the UA to kick off the rest of a year that has been dedicated to tolerance than to invite Michael Moore to campus.

Travis Newton
political science sophomore