#DolphinsLiveWell Oppression

By: Justin E. Snell, Undergraduate Intern, Wellness Center for Health & Counseling

I am a victim of racism.

I am a victim of homophobia.

I am a victim of sexism.

I am a victim of classism.

I  suffer from a mental illness.

I am a victim of religious persecution.

I am victim of sexual assault.

I am Justin Eugene Snell and yes it is all true.

 

Racism. Homophobia. Sexism. Classism. Mental Illness. Religious persecution. Sexual Assault.

Domestic Violence.

I refuse to be stagnant in an environment that expects me to assimilate to a society that does not allow me access to happiness.

Oppression affects everyone. When it hits, it hits hard. Those who have faced direct oppression of any kind almost always find it hard to talk about, let alone be able to believe that it actually happened. There is always that feeling that you just might be alone, that the issue must not be as serious because the earth keeps turning. Everyone around you is still smiling. The world turns fast, but your world slows down. In the midst of it all, there may even be self oppression. Oppression affects everyone, some directly and other indirectly.  The hard part about oppression is that when it happens there may not be any hard evidence to show, except for that internal scarring. I’m not saying playing the victim is what those who face oppression need to do. What I am saying is speak out. There is nothing more powerful than the voice and its ability to connect. You too will find that there are people who went through the same thing. It doesn’t matter the intensity of the situation, the issue is that it happened. No one should go against any of our human rights or subjectify us for any difference we may have.

So how can we effect our campus?

Forums, rallies, revolution, a movement? Yeah, that could work. But who will we get support from? Our friends… oh, wait they have class and don’t really want to choose sides. Our professors… nope, they have an exam to make and their syllabus must stay concrete. Our staff members… no, information about the next school event must be distributed and they must display neutrality. All these things are obstacles when it comes to showing  the light of what is really good. Fighting for what you believe in and showing what is morally right helps everyone. At Le Moyne College I have found it difficult at times to gain full support from certain places on campus, not because of belief but more so because of offices’ need to remain neutral. This becomes a little difficult for students who have no models to show them what expressing themselves fully and righteously really means. I’m not saying that professors, counselors, staff, and faculty members are not supportive or that they don’t have the choice to choose whether they should or should not support a particular cause, student or philosophy. But I want to shed light on the idea that some may not feel able to because of how they may be perceived by others who utilize these campus-wide groups [or the assumption that they will be perceived in a certain way]. I believe that all individuals of Le Moyne College should be able to express themselves as much as they can and want and not be judged by it. It is both the students and position holders of Le Moyne  that have the responsibility of getting their point across and eliminating  ignorance. It is our responsibility to understand our fellow man/woman’s point of view. Believing that something is wrong and wanting to fix it for the betterment of society is the beauty of being human. It should not be constricted. We should be able to stand up for what we believe in even if there is only the voice of one. Having to remain neutral only means that one wants to remain a bystander which has the potential to lessen all of us as a community!

Hopefully, you have been through the TUNNEL OF OPPRESSION in James Common sponsored by Student Development. This interactive exhibit consists of  different themed rooms: racism, homophobia, sexism, classism, mental illness, religious persecution and sexual assault. In the front of Grewen Hall is another exhibit, Portraits for Positive Change [facilitated by Karisma Goldston ‘15]. The message of this project is to promote solidarity and be a signal of inclusion and understanding on Le Moyne’s campus. The Wellness Center fully supports this idea. We believe that this will open the mind of what standing up against oppression really means and hopefully start a new wave of support that LMC students need and should have. Remember respect, patience, and willingness to understand is all up to you.