The words written on “The Wall of Prejudice” — a portable wall where Indiana University students can write words or phrases that are offensive to them — are harsh and sometimes shocking.
“Bossy.” “Fat.” “Retarded.” “Slut.” “Stupid.”
While seeing such words can be uncomfortable for some, the point of it is necessary, said Pi Lambda Phi member Thomas Mandel. The fraternity is hosting the wall as part of this week’s Elimination of Prejudice Week.
“The purpose of the wall is really to raise awareness to the injustice in our current society and to the sometimes off-handed things people can say that can be hurtful,” said Mandel, a senior at the Kelley School of Business. “Students can write something on the wall they want to see eliminated and can take a moment to reflect on some of their behavior they might not be aware of.”
Throughout Elimination of Prejudice Week, Pi Lambda Phi, in collaboration with on-campus organizations and departments, is hosting a number of panel discussions that will address issues such as mental health, gender identity, Islamophobia and environmental racism.
“These discussions are important because they are not just someone speaking to you; we want people to ask questions, give their opinions and really open up a dialogue around these issues,” said fraternity member Jack Arnold, a junior studying informatics.
The activities will wrap up Friday with a wall teardown event, featuring guest speaker Kand McQueen, a motivational speaker who focuses on transgenderism and intersexuality. The group will literally tear down the wall in a symbolic gesture of tearing down and eliminating prejudice.
Mandel said he hopes the series of events provides students and the IU community an opportunity to talk about these sometimes sensitive topics and feel empowered to do more.
“Our intention is to have a week of events that is intensive so we really get the dialogue going,” Mandel said. “We want to start the conversation and have students keep that conversation going throughout the year.”
Elimination of Prejudice Week events and activities:
- 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 12 to 15: “The Wall” will be at various locations. Monday and Tuesday it will be at 10th Street and Fee Lane, across from the Kelley School of Business; Wednesday it will be near the Woodburn Clock Tower; and Thursday it will be at the Neal-Marshall Clock Tower.
- 7 p.m. Sept. 12: A discussion on “Breaking the Gender Binary” at the Indiana Memorial Union State Room East.
- 6 p.m. Sept. 13: A discussion on mental health stigma at Ballantine Hall Room 228.
- 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14: A discussion on Islamophobia. Featured speaker is Zaineb Istrabadi, a senior lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures in IU Bloomington’s College of Arts and Sciences.
- 6 p.m. Sept. 15: A discussion on environmental racism at the Global and International Studies Building, Room 1128.
- 4:30 p.m. Sept. 16: “Wall Teardown,” from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Dunn Meadow. Kand McQueen will be the guest speaker.