Target: You Don’t Say? Campaign at Duke University
Goal: Commend photo campaign encouraging others to be responsible with their speech
Many of us, at some point or another, have been guilty of forgetting the potential we have to hurt others when we speak mindlessly. A new campaign at Duke University aims to remind students and the public that our words are powerful and can reproduce damaging social norms and stereotypes. The You Don’t Say? Campaign directly confronts the oppressive words and phrases that many say without thinking, by creating posters of words superimposed on photos of students in black and white that explain why a certain word or phrase marginalizes people.
This campaign is a much-needed reminder that we have to be responsible for our words, no matter who we are, and that we have the power and obligation to call ourselves and others out when they oppress people with their language. As one poster says, “I don’t say ‘tranny’ because it takes away people’s agency to define their gender identities.” Another reads, “I don’t say ‘no homo’ because it means that showing any affection towards someone of the same sex is inherently bad.” All of the posters give reasons directly from the students themselves for why we should watch what we say, encouraging us to think critically about our words without being accusatory. More detailed explanations can be found on the campaign’s Facebook page, which has already garnered over 13,000 ‘likes,’ demonstrating that this campaign has already had a wide and positive impact.
By signing this petition, you are applauding the You Don’t Say? Campaign and the students behind it for standing up to oppressive language.
Dear You Don’t Say? Duke,
Your new photo campaign is a beautiful and innovative way to encourage people to examine their own privilege and use of language. It provides a way for students and the public to educate themselves on the impact their words can have, without feeling accused or defensive, and it empowers them to call themselves out when they use oppressive language. This campaign shows students how important it is to be vigilant against the casual use of marginalizing phrases and stereotypes.
Thank you for starting this campaign and spreading it across Facebook and other social media to be shared and start a dialogue about hate speech. Thank you for encouraging students and others to be responsible for the language they use every day, and to educate people about oppressive language to end its use.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Buchoamerica via Wikimedia Commons