Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Not all oppression created equal 

Students at Friends for Life, a group that advocates for pro-life positions, received a letter from another student group called Out Loud, a group "that takes a stand against homophobia and heterosexism." The letter invited them to participate in an event called the Real Real World, an event I find described from a 2004 newsletter of our Social Responsibility program as interactive program that addresses and exposes oppression on an everyday level as well as a larger level. This is mostly portrayed through visual and auditory media, where students take a tour through the life of different populations who face oppression on a regular basis.
A newsletter from this spring for students to find volunteering opportunities on campus describes Real, Real World as
a campus event ... that showcases displays on anti-Semitism, heterosexism, sexism, body image, racism and empowerment.
FfL felt it should present a booth for an oppressed group: the unborn. Its leader, David Brix, then reports to me that he received a call from Out Loud's faculty advisor, who is the interim director of the campus' GLBT Services office. While never explicitly told that FfL could not participate, Brix says he was told that the group's proposed presentation "would probably not fit with the theme of the real real world as her group is about women's progress not about restricting what they can and can not do with their bodies. " (His quote, not the advisor's.) Brix concluded from the conversation that any further discussion would not result in FfL getting the make their presentation.

Perhaps the descriptions of the event that I have are not accurate. In this case, perhaps Out Loud would like to provide a more accurate description of its program. But even then we have a coordinated event created by something paid for by state dollars, to which a student group is discouraged from participation based on viewpoint. One can only imagine what might happen on a university campus if a group created a public presentation called "Real, Real Fetuses".

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