Tunnel of Oppression seeks to challenge people’s thoughts and perceptions on issues dealing with oppression and hatred.
Before entering the Tunnel, individuals hear and read a disclaimer.
“The experience is not intended to offend or bring about tension,” it states. “The Tunnel is meant to be an educational experience and the views expressed in the Tunnel are not the views of the University of Miami, any department or the individuals involved.”
Tunnel portrays different forms of oppression through the use of statistics, stories, videos and acting. While planning the Tunnel, we draw on current issues to challenge people’s views on what is happening in the world.
This year a Tunnel participant questioned a reference to Trayvon Martin’s case in the racism room. What appeared in the room was a statement saying, “17-year-old Trayvon Martin was visiting a relative’s house in a Florida gated community when he walked to the store to get Skittles and iced tea for his little brother. Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a self-styled neighborhood watch leader, who told police he thought Trayvon was ‘suspicious’ in the mostly-white community.”
This statement sought to highlight racial issues raised by the shooting. It was not meant to levy any judgment on the case itself.
By creating a dialogue, we hope that people will begin to stand up to the injustice present in society and continue alleviating oppression. It is this kind of dialogue that Tunnel tries to bring about, but the notion that Tunnel perpetuates racism is an insult to the integrity of the event.
Natania Widensky is a senior majoring in economics. She served as co-chair on the Tunnel of Oppression’s Executive Board.
Haley Gordon and Ryan Schooley contributed to this report.