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ASU student objects to sensitivity exercise (Assigned the identity of a gay Hispanic)
East Valley Tribune (Arizona) ^ | 1/21/07 | David Discobing

Posted on 01/29/2007 6:23:08 PM PST by paulat

ASU student objects to sensitivity exercise By David Discobing, For the Tribune January 21, 2007 Arizona State University senior Ryan Visconti was told “his kind” wasn’t welcome — that he was an abomination and an unforgiveable sinner. He pleaded to join the “church,” which was set up Jan. 10 as part of diversity training for ASU dormitory employees.

The role-play training took place Jan. 11, one week before the start of the spring semester.

Assigned the identity of a gay Hispanic, Visconti’s persistence during the training got him nowhere. A woman with a Southern accent told him there was nothing he could do. She said he was going to hell, and that even Jesus said so in the Bible.

Visconti, a 22-year-old political science major from Mesa, called the role-play an “ultra-clear example” of the victim mentality and liberal bias that permeate ASU.

“It crossed the line,” Visconti said. “All it did was reinforce the most disgusting, hateful and ugly stereotypes in our society.”

Visconti said he was required to participate in the role-play for his job as a resident assistant. It was an activity that Visconti, other dorm employees and a Valley religious leader said went too far.

Even an ASU associate professor who specializes in minority relations has raised concerns about the activity.

ASU Residential Life spokeswoman Diana Medina said the role-play was designed to examine the effects of racism, classism and “homophobia” on different cultural and economic groups.

But Visconti said the students who designed the roleplay overlooked their own stereotypes, such as the notion that white men don’t have to work for wealth because society gives them a free ride. Or the idea that Christian churches are filled with bigots, and people who support traditional family values such as heterosexual marriage are hateful and narrow-minded.

“They were basically saying that if you don’t feel the same way, you’re wrong,” Visconti said. “It got to the point that if you weren’t a minority or gay, you were supposed to feel guilty and that everything was given to you in life.”

To start the role-play, participants were handed coded index cards that indicated their race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Participants were then told to visit different “life stations” and create their “perfect life.”

The stations included booths for housing, banking, church, jail, transportation and employment.

At each stop, Visconti said he was given scripted responses based on his gay Hispanic identity. He was told he could be a landscaper and live in a ghetto apartment or be unemployed and homeless. Meanwhile, students assigned white identities were encouraged to be business executives.

According to Visconti, the exercise didn’t focus on any of the positive aspects of diversity.

That’s something Madelaine Adelman, an ASU associate professor who specializes in minority relations, said can be dangerous.

“Exercises like these can be powerful tools,” she said. “But if implemented incorrectly, they can have a harmful effect.”

She said the Residential Life exercise needed to focus more on understanding and collaboration.

“It’s good they are incorporating this training,” Adelman said. “But exercises like this can’t just focus on the negative. They need to highlight the differences and advantages too. It all needs to be part of a longer process. If it’s not constructed carefully, it exacerbates the problem.”

According to Medina, the ASU exercise was modeled after those at national leadership conferences. She said ASU students designed the exercise, which was approved by Residential Life staff as a way to increase awareness and sensitivity.

But Visconti said the roleplay was based too much on extreme situations that were too unrealistic to relate to real situations.

He said the narrow portrayal of the church bothered him the most.

“I am Christian,” he said. “And I don’t think like that.”

Paul Eppinger, executive director of the Arizona Interfaith Movement, a nonprofit organization that focuses on building cooperation among religious groups, said the ASU activity made unfair assumptions about the way a church would respond to a gay Christian.

“There are some churches out there who might act that way,” Eppinger said. “But many are very open, accepting and welcoming of homosexual men and women.”

Eppinger said he agrees with diversity training as a tool to bridge differences — as long as the role-playing is set up in a fair manner.

“Without proper forethought,” he said, “it will cause people to get the wrong ideas.” Contact David Discobing by telephone at (480) 898-6500.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: aclumia; agenda; arizona; atheismandstate; christianbashing; homosexual; homosexualagenda; indoctrination; liberalbigots; politicalcorrectness; politicallycorrect; reeducationcenter; religiousintolerance; taxdollarsatwork; thoughtcrime; university; youpayforthis
oookayy!!!
1 posted on 01/29/2007 6:23:10 PM PST by paulat
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To: paulat

Oh, thank goodness. I thought ASU stood for "Appalachian State U."

Not that you couldn't get a goofball assignment there, of course, but at least it wasn't this one :-).


2 posted on 01/29/2007 6:25:03 PM PST by Tax-chick ("It is my life's labor to bring Christ to souls and souls to Christ through word and example.")
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To: All

And they're wondering why the male University population is down....


3 posted on 01/29/2007 6:28:52 PM PST by paulat
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To: paulat

ASU should get sued.


4 posted on 01/29/2007 6:30:13 PM PST by lormand (Chuck Hagel - the Jihad's favorite RINO)
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To: Tax-chick
When these role-playing games are entirely voluntary, and carefully designed, they can be interesting and useful. When they are mandatory (and I consider when it's required for a job mandatory), they're simply divisive and wrong.

Myself, I'd have chosen homeless and unemployed -- it's just a game after all -- and simply blown the whole thing off.

5 posted on 01/29/2007 6:30:25 PM PST by CatoRenasci (Ceterum Censeo Arabiam Esse Delendam -- Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit)
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To: CatoRenasci
When these role-playing games are entirely voluntary, and carefully designed, they can be interesting and useful.

Paid by tax-payers?

6 posted on 01/29/2007 6:31:59 PM PST by paulat
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To: paulat

Wonder what they did with the Muslims?

Or Hispanics fresh from the old country, where Blacks are the lowest kind of human. And many won't even touch a Black. Guess they are afraid it will rub off.

Or Liberals/Lefties of every stripe who...oops, almost forgot they don't have mirrors in the department that came up with this little exercise.


7 posted on 01/29/2007 6:32:37 PM PST by oneamericanvoice (Too many morons, so little time.)
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To: paulat

I'd be willing to volunteer as lesbian.


8 posted on 01/29/2007 6:38:13 PM PST by baltoga
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To: oneamericanvoice
Or Hispanics fresh from the old country, where Blacks are the lowest kind of human.

Oprah said once that one day, she will have a show on the bias among blacks among skin color. (I saw the show).

She never has. Wonder if she ever will.

Wonder if, in their role-playing...they pitted light-skinned black against dark-skinned black.

Doubt it.

9 posted on 01/29/2007 6:38:18 PM PST by paulat
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To: baltoga
I'd be willing to volunteer as lesbian.

Sorry...you've got to be an African-Asian-Native American double-amputee attention-deficit lesbian to qualify.

10 posted on 01/29/2007 6:47:09 PM PST by paulat
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To: paulat

This is America. No one needs a job that bad.


11 posted on 01/29/2007 7:08:06 PM PST by CindyDawg
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To: paulat

"Oprah said once that one day, she will have a show on the bias among blacks among skin color. (I saw the show)."

Maybe you should remind her of that promise. Bet she never does it though.

I had a friend who auditioned for "In Living Color" (remember that show). He was turned down because he wasn't "Black" enough.


12 posted on 01/29/2007 7:15:31 PM PST by oneamericanvoice (Too many morons, so little time.)
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To: paulat
Anything the state pays for is not entirely voluntary....

That said, if a bunch of students at a publicly funded university want to engage in one of these things, I suppose I don't have any real objection as they don't use any more university resources than any other legitimate activity. Lots of things done at universities are silly or stupid, some of them turn out to have been worthwhile, others not. That's the marketplace of ideas.

13 posted on 01/29/2007 7:29:21 PM PST by CatoRenasci (Ceterum Censeo Arabiam Esse Delendam -- Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit)
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To: paulat

Let's take the sexual orientation out of it and just make him a meth user, like many homosexuals are.

Should the church accept his meth addiction and pretend it is a wonderful trait?


14 posted on 01/29/2007 7:30:52 PM PST by weegee (No third term. Hillary Clinton's 2008 election run presents a Constitutional Crisis.)
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To: paulat

If it weren't pathetically sad, that story would be hilarious. Alas, there is nothing to laugh at here.


15 posted on 01/29/2007 8:56:23 PM PST by Roberts
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To: paulat

My husband had to do this as a college prof about 18 years ago, when it was pretty unheard of. He'd been in business, decided to switch to teaching. (Lasted for about 1/2 year!!). He said some hispanic activists came and made them take a card for a new identity, etc etc. HE came home FURIOUS, just furious. He is hardly ever that mad. I think if it were now and we were more aware of this hogwash on campus, he would have spoken up or sued. He was just livid.


16 posted on 01/29/2007 9:30:32 PM PST by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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To: oneamericanvoice

I was told recently that I need not apply to teach at a High School I had been volunteering at, even tho I am credentialed in that field, because 'they wanted teachers who matched the students' racial backgrounds.' I know I matched the WHITE FEMALE students' backgrounds there. I told them I wouldn't apply to work there, if that were the case, if it was the last job on earth. hahah.


17 posted on 01/29/2007 9:32:57 PM PST by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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To: DirtyHarryY2K; DBeers
Even an ASU associate professor who specializes in minority relations has raised concerns about the activity.
18 posted on 01/29/2007 10:15:49 PM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: hsmomx3; Wayne; FlyVet

ASU student objects to sensitivity exercise



19 posted on 01/29/2007 10:18:33 PM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: bboop
Obviously you weren't credentialed in indoctrination 101, shame on you.

They sure missed out on a lot of fun if you are the real Betty Boop.

20 posted on 01/29/2007 10:35:18 PM PST by Navy Patriot (Zimbabwe, leftist success story.)
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To: george76
Oh yes, isn't it nice to know that our Institutes of Higher Education are teaching Role Playing. That's so important compared to such paltry things as math, science, engineering, and English.

It's a good sign that there are students rebelling against Analistic Statist UniDiversity's load of PC nonsense. But, those cheerleaders sure are cute. :P

21 posted on 01/29/2007 11:21:10 PM PST by FlyVet
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To: CatoRenasci
When they are mandatory, ... they're simply divisive and wrong.
When they are mandatory, ... they're brainwashing.
22 posted on 01/30/2007 4:22:20 AM PST by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: paulat
ASU Residential Life spokeswoman Diana Medina said the role-play was designed to examine the effects of racism, classism and “homophobia” on different cultural and economic groups.

How about how a conservative student is treated by liberal staff who have a ton of money to spend on whatever brainwashing activities their hearts desire? Oh, wait. That's what actually happened.
23 posted on 01/30/2007 4:39:22 AM PST by aruanan
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To: paulat
A woman with a Southern accent told him there was nothing he could do. She said he was going to hell, and that even Jesus said so in the Bible.

Sensitivity towards a gay Hispanic, taught with a southern stereotype.

Some folks are more equal that others.

24 posted on 01/30/2007 4:47:02 AM PST by Mr.Unique ("Are you gonna propose? Because if you're not, quit staring at me!")
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To: Navy Patriot

They would have had MORE fun if I had been the one being indoctrinated, you can just bet. My husband has a slow fuse, such a great gift in many ways.


25 posted on 01/30/2007 6:15:20 AM PST by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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To: Tax-chick

"Oh, thank goodness. I thought ASU stood for "Appalachian State U."

Not that you couldn't get a goofball assignment there, of course, but at least it wasn't this one :-)."

My middle boy goes to App. Let me assure you, this crap happens there.


26 posted on 01/30/2007 9:04:56 AM PST by thegreatmalcolmx (I came to love white people.)
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To: paulat

I wonder what would have happened if this " stereotype game" had been played by a fraternity. Especially on MLK day.


27 posted on 01/30/2007 9:09:34 AM PST by thegreatmalcolmx (I came to love white people.)
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To: paulat
The skin color amongst blacks played a huge part in the poverty of pre-Katrina New Orleans where the poorest were always the darkest. Historically, an even know as a "brown bag dinner" was invented by NO blacks. Guests had to turn up with food in a brown paper bag and if their skin was darker than the bag, they were not allowed in. The same prejudice is common in African nations as well - hence the huge industry in skin lightening products exported to that continent (now largely banned.)
28 posted on 01/30/2007 12:10:31 PM PST by Rodney Kings Brain ("veritas odium parit" - "truth begets hatred")
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To: bboop

Did you tell them to speak into the microphone of the tape recorder? I'd go to the nearest media and lawyer with the evidence. Then when they offered the job, tell them no way.

My sister teaches elementary in New Mexico. The guy who won district teacher of the year last year couldn't speak proper English, yet he got a college degree at our expense, and the distinction of teacher of the year for the district. They gave him the award so he could "inspire" students like himself (Hispanics).


29 posted on 01/30/2007 7:21:10 PM PST by oneamericanvoice (Too many morons, so little time)
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To: oneamericanvoice

I was told this second-hand, had said something like, 'Aren't there a huge number more of students this year? I bet they are hiring.' "I'll ask the Principal." "He said he wants people to match the skin color of the stduents.'

disgusting. I wouldn't work at a union school anyway, i would go NUTS.


30 posted on 01/30/2007 8:42:37 PM PST by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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To: bboop

I wouldn't work at a unionized school either if I were a teacher, which means I'd have to move from California. I don't know if my sister is in a union in New Mexico. Hope not.


31 posted on 01/31/2007 3:29:45 PM PST by oneamericanvoice (Too many morons, so little time)
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