The College of Humanities and Social Sciences- Multicultural Students Association and the Eta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. stereotyped the audience in their program “Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game” last Monday. This program was meant to educate students on the effects of stereotypes in hopes to reduce such prejudices.
Each audience member had the chance to walk in the shoes of someone else, as they traveled from station to station with an ethnicity card in hopes to carry out regular daily activities or further their status in life. The ethnicity card told the conductors what nationality, gender, and sexual orientation of each audience member. For example, students carried their cards to the bank of Wachovia to purchase a loan or to a real estate agency to buy a house. At these stations, the students were boldly told the reasons as to why they could or could not purchase a loan or had to buy a trailer instead of a house. All of this was based solely on their ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. Students were either turned away or given special treatment.
The other stations were a church, Wal-Mart, car dealership, university admissions, police department, and unemployment office. The conductors at the stations used phrases like “your type” and “you people.” When they would make comments like “Why do you need a loan? To buy rims?” Many of the onlookers laughed out of shock at the bold comments or stepped to the side speechless. Many people who entered into the church were moved to feel ashamed of their lifestyle and wondered why the church did not accept them. The person receiving the negative treatment often looked confused and tried to explain that they just wanted to buy groceries or a car or just needed a prayer.
When asked how this activity made her feel, Chandra Harrington, a senior in chemistry said, “It made me feel horrible. I felt like an outsider.” Deniece McCoy a sophomore in business administration said, “It made me realize how racist the world still is, and how each ethnicity faces different challenges and prejudices with trying to carry out daily activities like buying groceries or trying to get a loan or house. It was a fun and eye opening experience.” It was truly an eye opener.
In the discussion that followed many students spoke of the times they were actually stereotyped or discriminated against and how it made them feel. With the different stereotypes and experiences out in the open, the last question of the night asked the audience if they were willing to make a change in their judgments. Most people said they would try to get to know a person first before making an initial judgment about that person. Freshman in management, Cordera Guion said, “I’ll get to know someone rather than going by appearance.” Overall this program helped to shock students into realizing the things many different people go through on a daily basis, and called for students to reevaluate their own thoughts and actions.