Shakia Asamoah & Ruby Montes De Oca
Staff Writer & Editor-in-Chief Emeritus
Jane Elliott, who created the Blue Eyed/Brown Eyed experiment, once said that the two greatest rights that privilege affords are the right to be ignorant and the right to deny this ignorance. This statement rings true of many minority experiences on this campus. We are expected to constantly deal with ignorant comments and actions without much of an opportunity to respond.
Often, our frustration is met with the excuse of “I did not know any better, I did not grow up with exposure to minorities” or something to that effect. Any efforts to address these microaggressions are read as anger or whining and brushed aside. It is time for that to change. We must no longer accept ignorance as an excuse for micro (and sometimes macro) aggression.
Minorities on this campus contribute too much to the Denison community to continue to live in silence about our issues. We decided to create the We Too Are Denison project as a step towards ending this silence. It is simply a platform for students to be heard and recognized as important members of our community.
We were inspired by the ITooAmHarvard photograph campaign that highlighted the faces and voices of black students at Harvard College. The photograph campaign was inspired by a play “I, Too, Am Harvard” that premiered this past weekend. The photographs were an added avenue for them to claim the campus and have their voices heard, which they expressed feeling that their voices are devalued.
We decided to recreate the photograph campaign on our campus because we noticed that we deal with similar issues on The Hill. However, with our campaign we decided to extend the opportunity to all the marginalized voices on campus. The Denison community is currently at a point where we have many issues bubbling just below the surface, constantly threatening to boil over.
This gives us a unique opportunity to take an honest look at ourselves and begin to create a better community for all of our members. This project will serve as a reflection of the marginalized experiences on this campus and as a step towards a better Denison.
We are currently taking pictures of any Denison student that identifies as a racial, religious, ethnic and sexual minority, as well as first generation college students. Join our Facebook group for updates on when/where we will take pictures. We also have a Facebook page where pictures will initially be published.
Photo Courtesy of Shakia Asamoah