'Hate Wall' exposes stereotypes
Students wrote down negative language associated with their identity on cardboard "bricks."
Sep. 29, 2010
Various religious and social justice student organizations on campus met to identify and break down stereotypical barriers faced by student groups at the Hate Wall event Tuesday night.
The Missouri Students Association Multicultural Issues Committee organized the event. MCI Chairwoman Alex Holley said the event was reorganized for more audience participation in order to make it more of a forum than a presentation.
“In the past we’d take a wooden wall and people would go throughout the day and write down different stereotypes so students could go by and see it,” Holley said. “The problem was they would see these things but not do anything, so this year we decided to make it a little different.”
MSA senator Lindsay Miller said the Hate Wall event was created in order to expose the stereotypes faced by students on campus.
“Different organizations or individuals are putting down different stereotypes or things that have hurt them in the past,” Miller said. “Whether it’s because of their race or sex or their sexual orientation, just things that have offended them or hurt them.”
The premise of the event was to allow students to take a cardboard ‘brick’ and write down stereotypes and derogatory language they’ve experienced on them, and then use those bricks to build a hate wall that symbolized the stereotypes faced by students on campus.
Five groups and about 40 students were in attendance, including the Hispanic American Leadership Organization, The Triangle Coalition, The Mizzou Black Men’s Initiative, The South Asian Student Association and The Filipino American Student Association.
HALO member David Aguayo said the organization participated in the event to clear up misconceptions about Hispanics/Latinos.
“This is all about clarifying misconceptions,” Aguayo said. “Particularly for our organization, those that deal with Latinos and Hispanics, so I’m just here to represent our organization and clarify these misconceptions that people may have about Latinos and Hispanics in general.”
Triangle Coalition Spokesperson Kayden Prinster said the event was a good opportunity for a variety of student groups to interact and learn about the stereotypes that other people face.
“It’s just really important to be here because it’s not just about representing Triangle Coalition,” Prinster said. “It’s also about seeing everybody else that’s involved, and how hate has affected other people and to find that common ground because we don’t get to interact with these other groups very often.”
Before the wall was destroyed, students broke up into three small groups to discuss the stereotypes in depth and come up with solutions for eliminating them both on campus and beyond.
To end the night, students knocked down the wall to symbolize the elimination of stereotypes and prejudice on campus. Students counted down and let out a cheer as the wall of cardboard boxes was destroyed with a foam sword.
Phillip Simpkins from the Mizzou Black Men’s Initiative presented for the organization and said he hopes these stereotypes will be a thing of the past in the near future.
“I just hope that all these stereotypes that you see here will be nonexistent hopefully within a short period of time,” Simpkins said. “It’s going to take a lot of work on our part and on the part of other groups that are here today.”