The Tunnel of Oppression (or Why White People Suck)

You can find a video of my journey through the Tunnel via TuDou (which, unlike YouTube, allows me to upload the video as one file).

Tuesday marked the second time that I have ever been meaningfully oppressed (my first such experience was, of course, last year’s Tunnel of Oppression). There were some slight differences in this year’s Tunnel (largely, I think, because of my insightful and probing criticism from last year), resulting in what I will consider an upgrade in the Tunnel’s performance, i.e. instead of being completely ridiculous like last year, this year’s Tunnel was only extremely ridiculous. Despite some tweaking around the edges, there was still plenty of absurdity to go around. So, let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Last year, the Tunnel sported a Harry Potter theme. This year, the theme was Willy Wonka. I commend the Tunnelers for choosing such a theme, as it’s entirely appropriate to the overall context of the Tunnel. Being nothing more than a fantasy of the liberal imagination, the planning committee was spot-on to select Willy Wonka as this year’s sponsor. My only criticism here is the rather obvious lack of chocolate in the Tunnel. After walking under the banner proclaiming the entrance to Willy Wonka’s factory, I was expecting at least a few chocolate bars somewhere along the course of my journey through the Tunnel. A chocolate fountain would have been most excellent, but I’m entirely willing to settle for a few Wonka Bars. Also missing were the demeaning name tags everyone received last year. I had really hoped to be the “Towel Head” in the group again, but was severely disappointed when I learned this part of the tour had been deleted.

We then played the rather odd, “Take One Step Forward if You’re a White, Privileged, Male. Take One Step Back if You’re Anyone Else” game. Unlike last year, I think I nearly won this time. In my alias as an underprivileged Hispanic (by the name of Juan Franco-Seelingez), I was a close second to the black Jamaican guy. Unfortunately I did not anticipate encountering such stiff competition, but I hope to do better next year.

We next passed by a couple of people reciting kvetches from the Daily Tar Heel. I’ll confess that I didn’t quite understand the point of this presentation. I guess the Kvetching Board is oppressive??? Then a homeless man wandering onto the scene, and the Kvetchers “oppressed” him by refusing to give him money. Now, as a rule, I don’t give money to panhandlers. Aside from the dozens of welfare programs that these people could choose to avail themselves of, I’m of the opinion that local charities are much better at determining the needs of such people than I am. The Tunnel’s presentation of the hobo was also misleading. Many bums don’t simply wander up to you (in their brand-new jackets) and amble off when you refuse to give them money. In my experience, they can be quite mean and vile: getting in your face, swearing at you, spitting at you, etc. Not altogether a pleasant experience. The Tunnel’s hobo is quite fictional without any basis in reality, departing with a simple, “Ok, no problem. Have a nice day.” It just doesn’t happen that way.

Next, we wandered into a room that took up the issues of binge eating and the like. This wasn’t particularly interesting one way or the other. Binge eating’s bad, I get that. But then we also have such things as Michelle Obama’s “Move On” campaign and UNC’s own Lifetime Fitness requirement, which for the obese might constitute its own form of oppression. The demonization of anything but a perfect body is not something that is just found in vain Hollywood actors.

Special needs (actually I’m not even sure if I’m allowed to say that) was up next. This was yet another fantasy world dreamed up by Willy Wonka-inspired Tunnelers. In this room, a teacher proctoring an exam refused to allow extra time for the dyslexic student in the room to finish his exam. I don’t know any teacher (or professor) who’s not willing to make accommodations for people with special needs. It’s really just a non-issue for me. The whole scene was contrived.

Next up was the Museum of Religion. The very name of the room was a tip-off, as it implies that religion is some sort of relic of the past. This was the first area of the Tunnel for which I think I can claim responsibility. Considering the way I sandblasted the Tunnel’s presentation of religious believers last year, I think this really goes to show the extent of my power and influence. Instead of outright making fun of Christians, etc. (but mainly Christians), the Tunnelers attempted to present the diversity of religious belief in the world. However, what they accomplished in creating was simply a set of caricatures. Take the Christian as an example. He was a Bible-thumping, Fundamentalist Christian. This fails to appreciate the great diversity of belief among Christians and instead simplifies it down to what is simply a popular mischaracterization of Christians among non-Christians. This occurs while the Muslim girl makes a point about how everyone who’s not Muslim thinks all Muslim women wear burkas. I’m not sure that she appreciated the irony. But then this also seemed like another non-issue (especially if we’re talking about the United States). Sure, there’s still religious discrimination in the world (particularly in, dare I say, Islamic states), but what do the Tunnelers expect us to do? Fly to Iran and tell the mullahs to back off?

We then moved onto what was one of my favorite rooms from last year, the Homophobia Room! I also saw my mark here, as the homophobes (unlike last year) were not carrying Bibles and did not have terribly overt Southern accents. However, there were such classic lines as, “What about AIDS? Aren’t your parents going to be worried?” Because that’s totally the first thing that comes to mind when I meet a gay person. And then there was the not so-veiled criticism of Christians (although, in fairness they could have been invoking Islam, but somehow I doubt that), “Don’t you know what our religion says about these people? That you’re just going to beat them down, [what???] that you’re just an abomination.” I’ll take ignorance for 100 please, Alex. As luck would have it, I happen to be fairly well-versed in what my “religion” says about “these people” (at least on the Catholic side of things). And it’s not, like the Tunnelers suggest that “Gays are bad people.” In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I also don’t think the Tunnelers appreciated the irony of (continuing to) present caricatures of religious groups just after telling us we shouldn’t generalize about religious groups.

We then moved through a TSA security line, where the screeners pulled out all of the Middle Eastern-looking people. Now, like I’ve said before, I have no problem with racial profiling (or profiling in general) in police work. It’s how you eliminate obviously innocent people and narrow down the list of bad guys. Considering that there are armies of Middle Eastern terrorists who would love nothing more than to blow you and me to pieces, I really don’t have any problem with giving them a little extra scrutiny at the airport.

On that subject, following our screening, a group of terrorists herded us into a “gas chamber” and gassed us as we listened to a recording of people being gassed to death. I still believe that this presentation is highly inappropriate as it trivializes some of the most horrific mass-killings of the last century. If the Tunnelers had any respect for the dead, they would drop this.

After listening to two girls talk about relationship violence (which as I mentioned last year, conspicuously omitted any mention of female on male relationship violence), we proceeded to the Diversity Room with Comfy Chairs, where we listened to some of the most confused people I have ever met. Actually, the room might also be entitled the Mental Ward, as no one in the room seemed to know who they were.

(Preface: I apologize for inadvertently filming the ceiling for this section. Being sneaky is harder than it looks). First, we had the throughly confused girl who didn’t want to be placed in a racial “bubble”, but was also freaking out about not being able to fit in with the various racial groups with which she didn’t actually want to identify. As if to make her point, she proclaimed, “[The Egyptians] ask for my passport.” Among a whole list of platitudes, there was this classic line (which I think she stole from an Obama speech), “I am everything I want to be. I am everything I say I am.”  Well… no you’re not. She was quite obviously a woman. Even if she had claimed to be a man, she would still have been a woman (even if some people in the Gender Studies department would contest that). But I think the most bothersome part of this monologue was its sheer hypocrisy. Liberals (and especially UNC’s Admissions Office) obsess over racial identity. I couldn’t care less, but they’re the ones who insist that we all fill out the little racial bubbles on our applications and tests and census forms. Identifying as an American is quite enough for me. I’m not the one obsessing over my racial heritage or demanding reparations for crimes committed against my race. When I look at a person, I don’t see a race. I see a unique person with his own set of skills, talents, ideas, and desires. Liberals, on the other hand, only see arbitrary group identities. So, if you want the source of your “oppression” honey, look in the mirror.

A Racial Bubble

I then had to listen to a black woman complain endlessly about how everyone assumes she’s uneducated because she happens to be black. Of course, she didn’t really do much to help her case with her frequent grammatical slips. She seemed to have a particular issue with adverbs. Consider, “I’m not allowed to speak proper [sic],” or “Just because I speak proper [sic], I’m acting white.” Now, I normally try not to be a grammar Nazi, but if you’re going to make a big deal about how you’re educated and you speak like the white people, you might want to proofread your speech a few times. Just a suggestion. Also, her point about how BET is a true representation of “her people” was also really funny. If you remember, in the 2009 Virginia Governor’s race, the co-founder of BET, Sheila Johnson, endorsed the Republican, Bob McDonnell. Considering that the black vote is overwhelmingly Democrat, I guess the point of the Angry Black Woman is borne out here. But somehow, I don’t think that’s what she meant.

Next was Madame Bolivia, who, if I remember correctly, was also present in this room last year. The one point of her’s that was really irritating concerned her “people can’t be illegal” comment.Clearly they can, and clearly they are. If you break the law (even if it’s not immigration law) you operate in a fashion that is outside the bounds of the law, and hence illegally. Also, being an illegal immigrant doesn’t “void” your existence (as she claimed) in the same way that trespassing doesn’t “void” your existence. You’re just simply in a place that you’re not supposed to be. I’ve never heard of an illegal immigrant just ceasing to exist. She also asks us to consider “things we cannot fathom” (a particularly difficult exercise) and imagine all the things that illegal immigrants give up to be here. But what about those who came here legally and all that they gave up? What makes the illegal immigrants so special? The odd thing is, the illegal immigrants are operating out of a place of selfishness, placing themselves above the laws the govern everyone else and putting their wants and desires ahead of those who patiently waited in line. We all learned in kindergarten that cutting the line was a bad thing and unfair to those in the back of the line. Line cutters would be ratted out to the teacher and frowned upon by the other students. The same principle applies to illegal immigration. I don’t understand what’s so complicated about it that a five-year old can understand it, but the Confusedly Whining, College-Educated, Swedish-Bolivian can’t. Also, her comment about treating illegal-immigrants as third-class citizens is totally out of line. If they were “below human” as she claims, they’d be out in the fields working as slaves, and would not have access to our hospitals, schools, and a whole host of welfare programs. Compared to what many of them came from, I’d say they have it pretty good. And I’d appreciate it if the Confusedly Whining, College-Educated, Swedish-Bolivian did not make my country sound like the re-incarnation of the Third Reich.

Do you think they're illegal???

We ended with a visit to the Hall of Flowers and Sunshine, where we wrote our feelings up on the wall. I, of course, promised to be the change I hope to be, but others took the event a little more seriously than I did. We finished up with the Indoctrination/De-compression session and wished Willy Wonka a good-bye before heading out the door.

All in all, it was a rather entertaining experience. While I realize most liberals have nightmares about these sorts of things, the way in which they presented them was quite funny, at least to me and my compadres (no racial slur intended) who live in what we like to call reality. The Tunnelers followed the classic liberal line of building of a straw man (That’s oppressive isn’t it? Maybe I should say, “straw person” or “straw wo/man”), and tearing it down. But given that we’re dealing with people who obviously have the intellectual depth of a teaspoon, what more should we expect? Though, in all honesty, I think they should really consider billing the Tunnel as a comedy show. I can’t even count the number of times I nearly broke down laughing. They could call it, “A Parody on Life: The Tunnel of Oppression.” But I guess there’s always next year.

72 comments

  1. I can’t believe I spent four years at Carolina and never visiting the tunnel of oppression. It sounds like an absolute hoot.

    1. It's not a hoot, it's actually quite an eye-opening experience that everyone should go through. Mark Seelinger has a warped point of view. If you believe anything he says, you will be believing pure bs.

      For example, I live in Cobb and I know that the Willy Wonka decorations were put up by Cobb staff at the beginning of the semester (just like Harry Potter last year) and I'm pretty sure they had nothing to do with Tunnel. He's a complete idiot!

      1. You have a warped view on self worth. Quit directing the message of the program towards yourself. Believe me there are bigger forms of oppression than some sad excuse for a white, conservative male. And quit taking the stance that it's directed against white people, everyone does it.

  2. This is great! Thank you for this insight, this experience made no sense to me until I read this article! Maybe you should be on the planning committee next year and show them how it's really done, I'm sure they'd love to hear what you have to say. Now if only every one at Carolina thought like you did, this University would have even greater academic credibility!

    1. you are kidding, right?
      did you even go through the Tunnel of Oppression yourself?
      the fact that you think this article shows his academic credibility makes me question your psychological sanity

  3. By the way dumb ass, the Willy Wonka and Harry Potter themes had nothing to do with Tunnel of Oppression, those are the decorations that the Cobb staff has had up all semester.

  4. Anybody who reads this article should take the time to come out to Tunnel of Oppression next year and see what it really represents as the views expressed here are not the way that the general student body interprets the Tunnel of Oppression. At least 90% of the comments we received are positive, indicate that the Tunnel raised awareness and was a much needed eye-opener. I encourage everyone to come out and form your own opinion, please don't base your thoughts off the glob of poo above.

    The first red flag of Seelinger's ignorance is his commentary on the Willy Wonka decorations. News flash: as Tunnel of Oppression is held in Cobb dorm, they, like all other residence halls, tend to decorate their lobby. The Willy Wonka and Harry Potter decorations had absolutely nothing to do with the Tunnel, they were simply Cobb staff's decorations for their residents. That is why you got no chocolate, idiot.

    You, Mr. Marc Seelinger, were not only noted for your horrible attitude throughout the whole experience but came into the Tunnel with a closed mind. You make a joke of all the months of hard work that the committee and actors spent. While you might not look at somebody and identify them by their race, there are many people who do. If you would open your eyes and ears you just might realize that Tunnel is not an attack on you, it's simply expressing hardships of others that you are too lucky to have experienced. Just your comment that Hispanic immigrants have it pretty good, shows your lack of real world knowledge. The Race Room monologues were written from the hearts of the actors themselves, based off their own experiences, so if you found them to be unbelievable, I must point the Ignorance finger at you!

    Instead of focusing on every little detail that you can possibly construe into something negative, step back and look at the big picture. For example, you never mention how the actor's monologue in the Disability room accurately represents the oppression felt by those with learning disabilities, which was the point of the room. Instead you say "Hmm, what can I find about each room to complain about?"

    Oh yea, and the Privilege Walk is in no way targeted to show the privilege of only white men, it points out privileges that all people could have experienced. If you think "Take one step forward if you had more than 50 books in your house growing up." only applies to white men, again you are the ignorant one.

    Now as for the Homophobia room, the term "religion" was specifically used as a general term as this is one of the main ways in which the LGBTIQ community experiences oppression. If you chose to hear "Do you know what the Bible says?" instead of "Do you know what our religion says?" then this is you, once again, making Tunnel into something it's not.

    The point of the kvetching scene was to show the economic diversity in Chapel Hill. If you don't think that homeless people are looked down upon and oppressed in the minds of passer-by simply because of their economic status, again, ignorance on your part. Your comment about how the hobo has no basis in reality simply because he is polite is exactly the kind of stereotyping Tunnel seeks to discourage.

    And please don't flatter yourself by thinking any changes in this year's Tunnel were the result of any of your many nonsense complaints. All participants who go through the Tunnel have an opportunity to fill out a survey about what they feel should be different and we base changes off the view of the majority, which typically does not include you. Tunnelers typically laugh at most of your ridiculous complaints and shake their heads at your stupidity. You should seriously think about why you find it necessary to trash Tunnel. Giving constructive criticism is one thing, but turning the whole experience into something it's not reveals many flaws in your character.

    Instead of spending your time sneaking in hidden video cameras, deliberately being a jerk and writing nasty reviews, which I guess give you a sense of power, why don't you do something productive? All in all, if you think you can do so much better than join the committee next year or make your own version of the Tunnel the way you think it should be. Or better yet, just stay at home. I'm beginning to think you would rather just ignore oppression altogether. To really make people aware of the harsh realities of oppression, we are going to represent things like they truly are. You are the epitome of why we need Tunnel of Oppression in the first place and although I have never met you, I consider myself lucky, as you make it glaringly obvious that you are indeed a spoiled white boy, insistent on throwing a tantrum when you don't like something you see. It would be quite beneficial for you if you went through the Tunnel as yourself and with an open mind instead of deciding you are going to pretend to be Hispanic. You, more than anyone else, need to hear what's actually being said in the Tunnel and you need to take it seriously.

    The goal of Tunnel was to start much needed conversation on these difficult topics, no matter where that conversation leads, so thank you for helping Tunnel reach its goal!

    1. As someone with a Learning Disability, I sincerely wish that the Tunnel Of Oppression people had more thoroughly researched the law. I do not consider myself to be oppressed, and the fact that you showed a student being told that they could not receive extra time is a complete falsehood. Anyone who has a documented Learning Disability has the right, under FEDERAL LAW, to receive extended testing. If you deny someone who has a documented Learning Disability (which typically is a 504 or an IEP), you are breaking the law, and can face charges for it.
      And as someone who uses extended testing, I have never ever had a teacher, professor, or other student insult me or limit me from using my extended time. If anything, the teachers and professors respect me more because I am taking control of my Disability, and managed to get into UNC with one. My classmates didn't care. I was never called stupid or dumb and I visibly struggled with my LD in classes in high school.
      Maybe I was different, I wanted to go to college, and never considered giving up and dropping out. Should someone with an LD drop out because it's hard? No, you keep fighting.
      If a child, regardless of race, gender, or socio-economic status, goes to public elementary school and shows signs of having a Learning Disability, they are tested by the school/county. Their parents are then notified and are offered the chance to document with a 504 plan.

      Thank you for reading my comment. I expect that everything I just said will be dissected until you find one thing that I got wrong.
      And for the record: I am not a republican or in any way affiliated with the Carolina Review. I stumbled upon this article via Facebook.

  5. Worst piece of trash ever. Your journalism skills are horrendous. Your memory is skewered like a pig's, which is funny cause you videotaped the whole experience. I know you have the right to your own opinion, but my god no wonder it's taken me 2 weeks after I went through the Tunnel to find out i'm in these videos, because this garble of nonsense you wrote is utterly worthless. This is the first time I've come accross this "#1 alternative media outlet", my ass.
    The only reason I'm addressing you, a worthless close minded dirtbag, is to tell you that you do not have my permission to have any video of me in the tunnel of opression up on Youtube (every video on your channel).

    Watch everyone as he lives a pathetic life of lies.

    You're a disgrace to Catholics, a disgrace to Christians, a disgrace to conservatives, and a disgrace to all Mankind.

    1. I hope you make sure this video is deleted as he filmed without permission from ANYONE. I also hope somebody on Tunnel staff does something about this, I'm pretty sure it's a violation of some law to secretly film others and then post this on the internet. The Race monologues, for example, were the personal work of the actors, written by them and all, and never once did you ask for permission to film.

      Smooth move, Marc. Thought you were slick huh?

    2. You should really do something about him filming you and everybody else w/out permission! I'm not sure why his videos are still posted!!!!

  6. This is childish. All of the arguments you make are based on your personal experiences and not on real facts and data on discrimination. The point of tunnel of oppression is to see the world from others' points of view, not from your own.

    Since you neglected to look at the facts, I'll give them to you:

    Disability: Sure, UNC has a good policy about learning disabilties, but many places don't. People with learning disability are much more likely to drop out of school, struggle to find a job and their disability is oftentimes overlooked as stupidity:
    http://www.sbac.edu/~werned/DATA/RESEARCH/journal

    Body Image: I don't quite get what you are trying to argue with body image? That it isn't a problem? It certainly is and there is a direct effect of portrayals of women in the media and eating disorders:
    http://cdp.sagepub.com/content/10/5/181.full.pdf+

    Religion: You clearly misinterpreted the religion room. The whole point of the Christian monologue was to show the diversity of Christian views, I don't know how you got out of that monologue that he was a bible thumping Christian. Of course there is religious discrimination in the Middle East, but if we portrayed the religious discrimination all over the world we wouldn't be able to fit it all in a hour.

    Homophobia: We weren't trying to show a criticism of Christians, we were showing how people are actually treated by their peers. In case you didn't notice the string of gay suicides last year, bullying of the LGBT community is a serious problem. People say ignorant and hurtful things when they bully others, and that's what we're portraying, not the real views of a religion.

    Homophobia has real long term effects on people:
    See pages 32-46: http://www.bps.org.uk/downloadfile.cfm?file_uuid=

    Genocide room: I don't understand why you find this disrespectful. The experience allows a first hand experience of what it feels like to be shoved into a gas chamber and puts perspective on the number of people who have to go through this experience. How is it disrespectful to the dead for students to understand what they suffered?

    Relationship Violence: We contacted the Dean of Students offices and several other organizations that deal with relationship violence issues and no one could provide a story of female on male relationship violence that was reported on campus. I'm sure it happens, but the lack of reports is certainly indicative of the campus culture of relationship violence.

    Race room: I'm glad you're color blind, but unfortunately racial discrimination is real and a lot of it is subconscious. Take the Harvard IAT test to see what your subconscious racial biases are: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/takeat

    While you might not think about race, many people do. They are aware of their race everyday and regularly feel the impact of their race on how they are treated.

    You're right that Tunnel of Oppression can be improved. There are certainly better ways to communicate our message and help people understand discrimination. I fully contend that some of the rooms did not necessarily get the message across as well as they could have.

    Lastly, stop making this a LIberal/Conservative issue. Discrimination is discrimination, we aren't making arguments about policy. We're just sharing the effect of institutional privilege on everyday experience.

    1. I wanted to yell at this Seelinger guy after reading this crap. I appreciate how you found a constructive, factual way in which to disprove all his arguments. Way to go!!

      I would like to add an interesting fact that was posted in the Body Image room for anybody who missed it. It gives evidence to the fact that body image is a huge issue and our society exacerbates the problem by making women feel like they need to reach an unreasonable weight goal:

      The average American woman is 5'4" and 140 pounds.
      The average American model is 5'11" and 117 pounds.

  7. Dear Marc,
    First off thank you for taking the time to come through Tunnel. There is an appreciation for all who came through, even if they did not receive the point as it was meant to be delivered. To the above comments, he is a man who is entitled to an opinion and calling him petty names won't change that. The only thing I would say is that the next time you, Mr. Marc, want to judge someone's intellectual depth, know them first.

    -Isaac

    (P.S.) I am sure that everyone in the cast would love to discuss what their roles meant to them, and maybe through that you can see that their "intellectual depth" far surpasses that of a "teaspoon." All the best.

    1. I completely agree with you Isaac.
      I really wish Marc had taken the time to put down the camera, close his mouth and LISTEN to what was being said by the actors throughout Tunnel. Especially the personal monologues from the Race Room, he just might have learned something.

  8. Hey, if any of the claims were legitimate, I would be fine with this commentary.

    However, for anyone that went through the Tunnel, such as myself, it's clear that this is not a fair representation of Tunnel. He might as well have gone through with his eyes shut, because he clearly missed a lot of the basic details, as well as the points that were trying to be brought across.

    To anyone who doubts that, just watch the lovely documentary footage Mr. Seelinger here posted and see it for yourself.

    1. No one would be "crying home to Mommy" is there was any legitimacy in his argument. You can't expect me not to say anything when I feel someone has completely bypassed constructive criticism and gone straight to writing bulls**t.
      and by the way, I haven't mentioned this to my mom yet

  9. "Take the Christian as an example. He was a Bible-thumping, Fundamentalist Christian. This fails to appreciate the great diversity of belief among Christians and instead simplifies it down to what is simply a popular mischaracterization of Christians among non-Christians. "

    Did you even listen or pay attention? This very view was criticized. If you go to the youtube videos (that, you did not have permission to upload) you'll see that the dialouge state, that he hated this view and that christianity was about one word: love.

    Come back with a true argument.

  10. Really? his argument is built on misconception, mi-understandings, and flaws throughout. I'd expect more from a young republican, let alone your organizations president.

  11. This is insane. I'm sorry but as a non-Republican, I'm offended by the comments that have been posted on this column. They are petty and rude, and are take the lessons that the Tunnel of Oppression is trying to teach and ignoring them.
    Rather than insulting Mr. Seelinger for his close-mindedness and Conservative viewpoints and for being white (this is generalization, folks don't kill me), why don't open your minds to his opinion. He's trying to show the reader how to Tunnel of Oppression, rather than opening his eyes to the plights of certain people, personally offended him. So, he put pen to paper (er..fingers to keyboard) and wrote down what it was that he felt was absurd about the entire process.
    Isaac M: Do you know Mr. Seelinger personally? Or are you suggesting that he get to know others before he judges them, with a hint of irony? I hope that it's the former.
    This is why dialogue at UNC frustrates me so much. I'm a Moderate, with some Republican stances and some Democrat stances. This makes me an outcast, not among the Republicans on campus, who seem to enjoy friendly debates and challenges, but among the Democrats, with whom I identify more. I realized that the Democrats on campus were unwilling and unable to listen to someone else with a different viewpoint without crying out that the person was racist, sexist (which was hilarious to be called as a woman), or fill-in-the-blank.
    I am not saying that the Tunnel of Oppression people are all Democrats who would rather ignore and insult a legitimate belief than try to understand why a person holds that belief, but their attitudes towards the Conservatives on campus are similar.

    Rather than insult, discuss in a civil, non-insulting manner. Ad Hominem attacks isn't helping anyone. Instead, it is holding everyone back from taking a step in the direction of true understanding of others.

    1. I think most people here are criticizing him for lack of a valid argument… not his conservative viewpoint.
      Such as:
      "In my experience, they can be quite mean and vile: getting in your face, swearing at you, spitting at you, etc. Not altogether a pleasant experience."
      No homeless person I have been approached by has ever been hostile.
      "Confusedly Whining, College-Educated, Swedish-Bolivian "
      Apparently he missed the whole point of the race room. Being born somewhere, living somewhere or speaking a language does not make you a nationality.
      "I’m not the one obsessing over my racial heritage or demanding reparations for crimes committed against my race."
      Go through racial injustices then come back and talk. Being absolutely sure about ethnic identity is a blessing. How many countries and cultures has HE been in? I might be making an assumption, but there was no mention of this in his argument.

      Everyone here needs to stop generalizing based on party affiliation. There are oppressing republicans as there are oppressing democrats. But apparently, Marc doesn't see so:

      "When I look at a person, I don’t see a race. I see a unique person with his own set of skills, talents, ideas, and desires. Liberals, on the other hand, only see arbitrary group identities. "

      Again he missed the idea of the race room. Its not about what he sees, but about what individuals feel what SOCIETY labels them. AND stating that liberals, and only liberals….. well that adds to the present day arguments between parties and its members.

      1. OK so the messages that the collective group of MEN and WOMEN proclaim. I like how target one specific word as its one and the same. Do you deny the existence of culture then?

      2. There are multiple collective groups of individuals, yes, all with differing viewpoints. That's the beauty of individualism. But those are political parties, and divergence of messages is expected.
        There is a sense of a broad, commonly held, beliefs, perpetuated, most notably by pop-culture, music and the film industry, and religion. Would you call this cultural or societal?
        Both embed expectation, and beliefs into us. You may argue that experiences, and upbringing determine these. But something made your parents believe what they did, and made your experiences what they were.

      3. Not similarities between pop culture and religion, but that both promote views onto people. Bad phrasing on my part.
        Of course the two counter each other in many cases. Theres nothing in common between religion, and say…Playboy. But they both do subconsciously affect individuals. Religious views promoted on the TV and news, would oppress those it is personally attacking –(homophobia, and while not all negative opinions on it are religiously based, there is no denying that some are)
        For the example of playboy magazine, it promotes an unrealistic body image onto women.

        The fact is, all of these do permeate society, regardless of how opposing they are to each other.

      4. True, but just because you dont feel the reach of these messages doesn't mean others don't as well. Yes, I believe that we should all celebrate how we all are. But women may see these images in playboy, and on TV and strive for that body because thats whats put out there.
        Homosexuals may see the backlash and reactions to (movies that promote it ie. Brokeback mountain) and feel like outsiders.

        It isnt tangible oppression, but there is something that is making these individuals feel less than adequate.

  12. Your memory is very skewed and while I assume that you got into Carolina through your own achievements rather then who you know or where you come form you lack the comprehension skills of the average 10th grader. The Swedish-Bolivian actress says she does not understand how a ( key word here) HUMAN BEING can be illegal and how can a document determine a persons validity. But one thing that I know you should know (or your publication which I have been unable to contact) is that filming people without their permission on private property is illegal.

    1. Private property refers to assets owned by a state, community or government rather than by individuals or a business entity. Therefore most buildings on UNC campus are private property.

  13. I understand how you feel that the Tunnel of Oppression felt that the Tunnel of why-white-people-suck. it goes to show that the white people you associate with are the ones to whom the tunnel is geared toward. there is no point within the tunnel that explicitly points the discriminatory finger at any race let alone the one who is statistically the most oppressive. (Dose anyone else hear the key strokes of guilt? )
    Normally I am a firm believer in our 1st amendment rights and the wise words of Voltaire but at this moment, the slander that is found throughout this article shows that in the hands of some individuals ( regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or ability) free speech has a hefty cost.

  14. Frankly, I support the writer's right to his opinion. However, I only wish that he would at least explain what happened in Tunnel in a non-biased way before launching into his tirade.

    I think it's clear from the the beginning that Seelinger didn't go into Tunnel for the true experience – he went in with the full intention of writing this article about it. He clearly states he put on an alias as a minority and mocked the process from the first moment. This doesn't tend toward a fair viewing, in my opinion.

    From the opening, this article is just riddled with "facts" about the Tunnel that simply have no truth value, regardless of one's personal opinion. Just a few I noticed:
    – As stated, the Willy Wonka theme clearly had nothing to do with Tunnel. To use it as an example of Tunnel's frivolity, therefore, is unfair at best.
    – "The Tunnel’s hobo is quite fictional without any basis in reality" – not entirely true. Admittedly, this isn't a typical example, but there are people like this that do exist.
    – As far as I know, the "body image" room had nothing to do with binge eating – it was meant to give a model of how society idealizes the perfect body via magazines, and how it affects one's self esteem. "The demonization of anything but a perfect body is not something that is just found in vain Hollywood actors" – you said it yourself, Seelinger, and that was the entire point of the room.
    – In the religion room, the point was entirely missed. The stereotypes portrayed represented what the characters WERE NOT – the Christian was NOT a "Bible thumper," etc. Further, if you truly believe bias against the Muslim religion doesn't exist in the US, please look again.
    – I've heard the attacks from the homophobia room come from the mouths of people on countless occasions. Was it overdramatized? Yes. That's the idea, isn't it? It was drama.
    – "We then moved through a TSA security line, where the screeners pulled out all of the Middle Eastern-looking people." Entirely false. In the group I saw, three people with no clear racial commonality were picked out, and all for wearing blue, as far as I could tell. This is a perfect example of what I mean. There is just no fact here, so basing the rest of your analysis on that fact renders the information useless.
    – As far as the race room goes, I just don't know where to begin.

    The thing is, some of these points are very valid, such as the statement "When I look at a person, I don’t see a race. I see a unique person with his own set of skills, talents, ideas, and desires." They are just so quickly marred by statements like the following "Liberals, on the other hand, only see arbitrary group identities. So, if you want the source of your “oppression” honey, look in the mirror," which makes it hard to really lend credit to the validity. I'm not glorifying Tunnel's representations, and everyone can take them how they wish to (even if they really did hate them as much as the writer evidently did), but I just think the factual basis for the opinions expressed needs to be there first.

    Tunnel surely had flaws, as all things do. However, before anyone builds an opinion of it based solely on this article, please consider the fact that this in no way encapsulates even the basics of what happened at Tunnel. I suggest you go next year to see what really happens, and then judge it however you want.

  15. A differing point of view… and people jump on him about it.

    Discussion between people, an exchange of ideas, etc. are what advances the common knowledge. Don't be afraid to call a spade, a spade and if something doesn't fit into your world view, maybe your world view needs to change (see cognitive dissonance). If the only words you know in response are to call someone – racist, homophobic, sexist, classist, privileged, antisemitic, etc. then you a) likely aren't thinking but using one of these words as a shortcut to thinking… a knee-jerk reaction, b) are responding in the same way you are accusing the other person in responding… plus, its an easy way to shut down the conversation without having to do any real heavy lifting. I'd recommend you remove these words from your vocabulary.

    The truth doesn't always correspond with an ideal… and out goal should always be to uncover/discover the truth in a civil and systematic fashion, even when the truth is in direct conflict with our beliefs. I am glad a one or two people have taken the time to respond with something a little more than "you're wrong."

  16. Just a pet peeve but "Confusedly Whining, College-Educated, Swedish-Bolivian "
    She said Switzerland not Sweden. Im pretty sure Swiss is the correct term?

  17. Ok, if it wasn't a violation of my privacy, then you would have been perfectly comfortable having your camera out in the open. So I have kindly asked youtube to take down the video, since you haven't yet.

    You knew there was something wrong with videotaping it. No better way to express the Carolina way then to videotape potentially emotional experiences and then post them on the internet.

    1. Thank you, Anthony, for taking the time to clarify.

      However, I do feel disappointed that Marc felt he needed to hide the filming. If he had been forthright about wanting to film Tunnel and asked for permission (not on the grounds on legality, but instead as an act of good form), we would have gladly supported him!

      We encourage all publications, from DTH, to CR, to Blue and White to come through the Tunnel and we are open to any accommodation, including film! We had someone from the Journalism School that did just that. Marc could have even gotten better quality shots if he had approached us.

      Marc, I would like to ask you why you felt like you needed to hide the fact you were filming. Why not be upfront and honest about it? Was it because you assumed we would say no? I assure you that was clearly not the case We could have avoided all this needless backlash in the first place if we had had open communication.

    2. One-party consent almost always requires the person to how consented to be identifiable on film ( or tape). While I do not know the likeness of Mr. Marc or his voice, due to the fact that he was covertly taping it is unlikely that this falls under that law.

  18. This is apparently the second year in a row that, desperate to find some sort of theme for your polemic, you have mistaken the Cobb Community theme for the Tunnel of Oppression's theme. I live in Cobb: it has been Willy Wonka themed all year. Your reluctance to do any kind of background research into your ridiculous assertion makes me lose any respect I would have had for you.

    I will freely admit that I agree with the Tunnel's message, but I am open to those who dislike it. I was hoping to find in your article something that would generate honest, thoughtful discussion. Instead I found poorly-thought out name-calling.

    P.S. If you want to tape it next time, don't play super spy. Have the decency to go explain what you are doing and why, and be willing to negotiate with the organizers. If you ever intend to engage in actual journalism, they might agree to something.

    1. If he was in his legal right to video tape the production, why did he hide the camera and go under a pseudonym?

  19. Cobb isn't public property. If you haven't realized, you need a flexpass to get in, even on the day of the Tunnel of Oppression. How would you like it if I personally went to your Residence hall, and setup a surveillance camera right outside your door?

    So I will allow Marc to keep up the section of the first video in which we are outside.

  20. I think I’ll just note that I appreciate those of you who are actually attempting to engage in a fruitful dialogue about this event. That, was in fact, the point of the post. The rest of you who have simply resorted to name-calling and intimidation, I have no interest in engaging. You guys also make the point better than I ever could have myself, namely that in seeking to create “oppressed” groups, you miss the very oppression that exists right under your nose and that you yourselves perpetuate this oppression.

    I will also note that I was aware the Willy Wonka decorations (like the Harry Potter ones last year) were not actually part of the Tunnel. I merely found the coincidence amusing.

    1. That was never refuted. It was acknowledged that we all take part in the oppression of others. You on the other hand seemed to dismantle every means the production used to bring light to the oppression. Are you denying it exists? Just because you personally see a black man, or woman, or any race for that matter, as a "unique person with his own set of skills, talents, ideas, and desires." doesn't mean everyone else does. Kudos to you if you do.
      But please don't make it a liberal-conservative word view argument. That is reductionism and this dialogue needs more than that

    2. I also support discussion. That's what we at Tunnel are hoping to initiate. However, Marc, I would like to point out the following instances of name-calling you yourself utilized in your original post:

      1) Your comment on the Race Room in general

      "…the room might also be entitled the Mental Ward, as no one in the room seemed to know who they were."

      Exploring ones identity, even when one is frustrated and confused, does not entail a mental disability. It entails humanity in my opinion. Please refrain from insinuating that my actors belong in a psychiatric ward. It is insulting to them as well as insulting to those in such a place.

      2) Your derogatory language towards women

      -"So, if you want the source of your “oppression” honey, look in the mirror."
      -"Madame Bolivia"

      "Honey" is a pet-name one can appropriately use in a familiar situation, but the idiom you utilized smacks of potential misogyny. In addition, it assumes a familiarity that you clearly do not have with the above person.

      "Madame Bolivia" is once again a completely inappropriately familiar term to refer to a character and/or actor, especially when you did not have access to the script to respectfully identity Tunnel performers. In my personal opinion, your lack of courtesy tips your hand to disingenuous nature of your argument.

      3) Your "Angry Black Women" label

      "I guess the point of the Angry Black Woman is borne out here. But somehow, I don’t think that’s what she meant."
      If you do indeed "…look at a person, [and] don’t see a race. I see a unique person with his own set of skills, talents, ideas, and desires" why did you turn to identifying the above character as the "Angry Black Women." You could have easily have typed, "the actress performing the second monologue." Then you would have avoided the racial labeling you say you avoid. Once again, instead of highlighting your intention to critique grammar, you have ended up impacting a fellow human being in a negative way.

      4) "Confusedly Whining, College-Educated, Swedish-Bolivian"

      As pointed out in other comments, the actor does not identify as Swedish-Bolivian, instead Swiss-Bolivian. A potential slip of the keys, but a hurtful misnomer nonetheless. In addition, your list of negative adjectives preceding the racial identification (that, once again, you say you try to avoid) are hurtful comments. Moreover, from a strictly dialectic sense, they weaken the structure of your argument. If you feel the script for the room felt "whiny," say that instead of turning to something that can be seen as a personal attack.

      A few points in conclusion:
      1) I am not whining to mommy as Mr. Dent might say. I am instead picking out specific references from the original article that follow a pattern you yourself look down upon.

      2) I apologize if any part of this post has come off as an ad hominem attack. I have tried my best to focus on specific references to the text and to systematically show how the language of the original post can be seen conflicting with the type of conversation Marc hopes to foster through the commentary. If you have been impacted, Marc, I apologize in advance.

      3) I understand this is a blog and the author has every right to use the language they wish to use. I acknowledge this, and will also acknowledge my right to comment on how those choices came off to me as a reader. And would also appreciate the ability to post my comments.

      4) I invite any and all responses!

      Also, Marc please take time to respond to my above comment concerning you intentional choice to hide filming the Tunnel.

      1. My use of the titles was meant to be ironic. I thought that the actors seemed obsessed with placing themselves into groups and giving themselves labels, despite their claims to the contrary. I sought to highlight this contradiction by giving them my own labels. Also, my use of Swedish vs. Swiss was entirely accidental. I thought she said, “Swedish.” Though, I think getting insulted at being called Swedish instead of Swiss is somewhat insulting to Swedish people.

        It is my experience that people act differently when they are being filmed or photographed. I also did not have any interest in disrupting the flow of the Tunnel through the introduction of unnecessary distractions. I don’t like it when people attempt to draw attention to themselves at my events, and I try to provide the same courtesy to others. I also believe that since the event was being funded with resources that I helped pay for, permission to film was not required.

      2. Would you concede that in your attempt to be ironic, you personally affected fellow individuals in a negative manner which amounts to naming-calling, something you have condemned during this discussion?

        If I mislabeled your Catholicism (intentionally or purposefully), would you not take offensive because it was potentially insulting to Mormons? Or would you have been impacted? I do not see it as a normative matter of labeling between groups, I see it as miss-representation (regardless of intentions) of a fellow human being's identity, something that once again you say you try to avoid.

        Forgive me if this comes off as personal, but during your participation of Tunnel, it did not seem that you were attempting to limit attention to yourself. Your attitude (as well as individual next to you, did he really not understand was he just pretending? One of my actors said he spoke very clear English in the airport room, though I cannot confirm this) during the homophobia room was disruptive, though I would be wrong to deny you a honest response to the scene in the room. Was you reaction honest or an attempt to dis-rail the scene?

        Your point about your student fees helping fund Tunnel is valid, though I would hope as a fellow Eagle Scout, you would have been more courteous. Once again however, that is a matter of personal choice, and I respect your right to yours.

        You still have not addressed your use of potentially degrading language towards women. Would you care to elaborate?

  21. "Well… no you’re not. She was quite obviously a woman. Even if she had claimed to be a man, she would still have been a woman (even if some people in the Gender Studies department would contest that). "

    I know this doesn't relate to where you placed this statement, but really now? Yes, in most cases people are the gender they appear to be. But do you deny the existence of transgenders individuals? What about genetic diseases that result in multiple sex chromosomes? What about adrenogenital syndrome, which masculinizes female reproductive organs. Knowing this whats your opinion on a male, or even a female claiming to feel like the opposite gender? Yes UNC is a liberal school, but just because a department supports this FACT doesn't make it untrue.

  22. A joy to read, Marc! I too had a blast in the tunnel last year: a hilariously ridiculous hour was followed by the even better indoctrination session. It consisted of our group thoughtfully lambasting the entire program, scene by scene. The bewildered indoctrinator was totally unprepared for anything but an ovine audience. I think several of us had pinch marks from preventing ourselves from bursting out in laughter.

    Anyway, good point on how the liberal mentality creates the oppression. They want oppression; to be oppressed and have an excuse-card to play when things don't go their way, or to congratulate themselves for supposedly fighting it. This latter motivation is probably common in the self-hating type of liberal (or America-hating type). You pointed out how they don't bemoan the true religious oppression in the middle east (because they can't "fit it all" (!) ). Why would they omit it? Because it would show that America is actually quite an unoppressive, great place – a message which is totally against their hateful agenda.

    1. The production was about oppression in America, not all over the world. And just because you dont feel oppressed, or KNOWINGLY take part in it, oppression does exist.

      1. In what way is the gas chamber room about oppression specific to America??? Also, the Tunnel representative above said middle-eastern oppression was omitted because they couldn't "fit it all". If it was supposed to be about America only, Tunnelfacts would have said so.

        Of course oppression exists – it's everywhere the way ya'll like to think about it. It's something like, "any human discomfort, great or small, that is caused by others", from the way it's handled by the Tunnel.
        So yes, oppression is ubiquitous. As I pointed out to my Indoctrinator last year, I found it odd I (a white male) was not once targeted for oppression in the Tunnel, but I can walk though any hood in this country and experience sever "oppression". I thought the point of the production was to show me (especially!) what it was like to be oppressed! Guess her response…"Oh we can't represent the oppression of every group". Convenient.
        But is my, the homeless person's, the gay's oppression a big deal if you look at what happens world-wide or historically? It does not compare. You guys portray America as a foul, backward place and it's just a lie.

  23. If you really feel this way maybe it isn't the fact that you don’t understand but are bias to the fact that these are improvable conditions within our society . The real message of the tunnel is what is really missing from your article, and it may even be lost on you. That no person should have to feel this way. Why can't the right to not be oppressed be one of those unalienable rights?. If you had given me your ideas on that topic that would have produced the dialogue you wanted.
    I really don't have a problem with your article. It is your experience, props to you on your lifestyle not eveyone is that lucky. The topics of the Tunnel of Oppression are some of the most serious in our country. Approaching with irony and meticulously dissecting peoples feelings was not the best direction for you. If you didn’t use those guises and expressed how you felt contrary to the tunnel, I might have respect for you.
    All in all, I feel that this was just to humorous of a article to express the somberness of the topic. If you are going to give an opinion of a production of some sort, stick to comedy. It would offend less people

    1. I cannot and do not want to speak for Justin, but a common definition of oppression (at least in the dialectic we approached it as Tunnelers) has roots in the Critical Pedagogy of Henry Giroux, the Pedagogy of the Oppressed of Paulo Freire, and the Theater of the Oppressed of Augusto Boal.

      These founding theorists are distinctly removed from our use and expression of the term (look at their historical background, no one would deny their socialist background!). The term and practice has come a long way. A wonderful example of the growth and evolution of their ideas into a non-revolutionary form of community theatre can be found in Michael Rohd's Theatre for Community Conflict and Dialogue: The Hope Is Vital Training. His Sojourn Theatre Group in Portland, OR is a wonderful example of people coming together to address such issues in a creative format that in many ways transcends the staleness of a sociology lecture. In my opinion, theatre offers us a way to viscerally and honestly respond to the matter at hand without getting lost in equivocation.

      Enough background, here's a working definition of oppression I had in mind when working on Tunnel:
      Oppression is the systematic, individual, or cultural favoring of an individual or a group based on social-identities over individuals or groups from other social-identities. Power dynamics (historical and modern) perpetuate and reinforce the relationship between these "privileged/targeting/oppressive" social-identity groups and the "disadvantaged/targeted/oppressed" social-identity groups. The disparities between the privileged and targeted groups include, and are not limited to, access to resources (physical and cultural), structural representation, and individual agency.

      I hope that helps! I'd guess there are some fundamental assumptions we disagree on (I'm cross referencing the conversation you and Eeshan are having about society), but at least you know where I as a director was coming from. This is my personal understanding of oppression and it does not necessarily represent Housing's definition, Justin’s, or the individual understandings of my cast members.

  24. Hah they took down the videos from youtube, and now Marc has turned to Todou…safe-haven of copyright violations…

  25. inadequacy is a feeling, and therefore subjective, and as you stated below, feelings are un-quantifiable. One persons sense of inadequacy may be felt tremendously more strongly by another person. We cant assign a blanket statement over everyone. The ranges of emotion felt can be from inadequacy to semi-pariah-like. I personally dont know what it is to feel like that, as I have never been targeted. Because of this, I can't state confidently either way, but the effects of these emotions are very noticeable. Suicides, anorexia, etc.
    And I can bet that Terry Jone's quran burning stirred up more intense emotions that mere inadequacy.

  26. "Now, like I’ve said before, I have no problem with racial profiling (or profiling in general) in police work. It’s how you eliminate obviously innocent people and narrow down the list of bad guys. Considering that there are armies of Middle Eastern terrorists who would love nothing more than to blow you and me to pieces, I really don’t have any problem with giving them a little extra scrutiny at the airport."

    Wow, that really says it all, doesn't it? #racism

    1. Do you want to tell me what exactly in that statement is untrue? Are you denying that there are Middle Eastern terrorists out there who want to kill us? If you have any doubts about that, I urge you to consider the recent (failed) attacks of the Underwear Bomber and the Times Square Bomber. Now, I think we can have an intelligent conversation about appropriate counter-terror policies, without resorting to petty name-calling. Unless of course calling me a racist is the best you’ve got, in which case you might as well just throw in the towel.

  27. I'm pretty disappointed on the immaturity on both ends of this debate. Even though I was a part of Tunnel, I don't appreciate the base comments from Tunnel supporters because I believe we are supposed to take a lesson of humanity and tolerance from the experience.

    That being said, I'm pretty disappointed in Anthony's antagonism. Come on, people are obviously upset about this and the article contained some very harsh criticisms without anything positive. Although I understand a few of the concerns addressed, I think that some of the comments were personally hurtful. Many people performed in Tunnel as a way of sharing their stories, I know I did. While criticism is certainly a useful tool, I think that assuming intentions and presupposing where people come from fosters unproductive dialogue.

    where is the love?

    1. As long as we’re talking about antagonism here, considering that I’ve been called everything from a racist to a neo-Nazi for writing this article, that accusation rings a bit hollow. My analysis may have offended some people, but then some aspects of the Tunnel offended me (as I’ve noted above). The tone of the post is satirical, and you people are taking it way too seriously.

  28. Christians get such a bad rap because of missionaries. Yes, they still exist and they are still trying to subvert the mainstream cultures of "heathens" and "pagans" all over the world. I have plenty of Christian friends, and even a few in my family whom I love dearly. I respect their right to practice their religion in the privacy of their homes and places of worship. But its the missionaries who give them a bad name.

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