April 2, 2012

Anonymous Posts (3.26.12-4.1.12)

Every week, we collect anonymous entries sent in using the link on our sidebar and post them all on Monday. We post anything as long as it doesn't contain personal attacks, hate speech, or express or insinuate that one is at risk for hurting themselves or someone else. Please read this for an explanation of this policy and seek help if your or a friend find yourself in that position. With those exceptions aside, please feel free to submit your thoughts and questions. :)

So, we're starting to see the end of the semester here folks. For some of us we'll be off for the summer to work summer jobs and take classes or maybe just relax. For our seniors though, this is it for the Duke bubble. If you're a senior and you're reading this, how does that make you feel? We'd love to hear from you, so if you're interested in writing a senior post for the blog, email us at bluedevilsunited@gmail.com and we'll set you up.

Now, notes from OC:

I am frustrated that there aren't a greater number of queer folks actively involved in fighting the Amendment at Duke. This is our community, this is our basic rights, this is about stopping in the state we live in queer people from being fundamentally disrespected and degraded in the constitution. I feel like it should be a much bigger priority than it is right now.

Do you want to know what I'm tired of? I'm tired of these Oppression Olympics. X people are more represented than Y people who are more represented than Z people but everyone is underrepresented thanks to the A people. You know what? It sucks. I'm sick and tired of being told that I don't have privilege/have less privilege/have more privilege than someone else because of my skin color or orientation or gender. I'm sure all of you will call me naive or try to say that I haven't experienced the world. But I have. Oh, I have. And do you know what I've learned? You're only as oppressed as you let people make you feel. When it gets to the point that you think about things based on how oppressed you feel, that's when you lose the power. People can only have as much power over you as you allow them. Sure they may have some power over you in respect to getting a job or something, but why should we let that stop us? Keep searching until you find the right one. I'm just so sick and tired of everyone playing the Oppression Olympics. I am an out female person of color who does not feel oppressed by anyone. I refuse to let that happen. I do what I want and go to the spaces that I want. As I'm sure someone will, please tell me: where is my oppression?

Hey, all! Just a quick update. I'm the prospective student who commented on the blog a couple months ago. Just wanted to say: I'VE BEEN ACCEPTED TO DUKE AND I AM ECSTATIC. I'll be down for Blue Devil Days and we'll see where it goes from there. Right now it's down to Duke and one other school. Just wanted to thank all of you on the blog who have rekindled my love for Duke over the past few months. GO BLUE DEVILS!!!

Since coming to Duke I've only been crushing on straight girls because I've never actually met a gay girl here. Well, this week I finally did meet a gay girl ( I think), but it's just my luck that there's only like a month left of school so basically nothing could even happen. Sometimes I feel like the universe deliberately tries to make it impossible for me to be gay.

Please remember that there are a number of resources available on campus and in the local community. These resources are available over breaks and throughout the school year. If you or a friend are experiencing thoughts or urges to harm yourself or somebody else, please reach out to the following resources: In an emergency, please don't hesitate to call CAPS at any time, including "after hours" at (919) 966-3820. Ask to speak to the advice nurse and tell them you are a Duke student. You may also call the Trevor Project, a national hotline specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and questioning youth (college students included). Their number is 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386).


  1. #3: Congratulations!!! :) I hope your visit here goes swimmingly, and that wherever you end up you'll enjoy your experience. I didn't go to Blue Devil Days, but I wish I had, you learn a lot about the school's atmosphere during visits.

    #2: THIS FIRST SENTENCE IS KEY: If this has any relation to last week's anonymous post, then read the following, which I will probably have to break into two posts... If it does not, then ignore this (save for point 2, which I think everyone should read).

    I left this post alone for a few hours because I wasn’t sure I could respond earlier without using words that were completely inappropriate and tied to anger. However, now, I will politely respond.

    Point 1: Derailing... You’ve taken the train, and you’ve flipped it onto its side, ripped it from its tracks, and shaken up everyone. (http://tinyurl.com/84u75pt) I’m not sure anyone survived this train derailment. I’d like you to go back and read last week’s anonymous post. And then maybe you should read through the comments if you want to. 8 times was the word “oppressed” (and its variations) mentioned. Only once by anonymous poster #1 to give an example of when it’s important to discuss things that aren’t the norm. And a number of times by another anonymous poster to argue that it’s tiring to constantly be in a situation in which they’re fighting against oppression, which would be similar to being in the Center trying to talk about things that affect PoC. And then once, each, by Kory and Denzell who might’ve subconsciously picked up the word from the anon who’d mentioned it so many times before them.

    The original discussion was not about oppression. Repeat, last week's anon posts conversation was not about oppression. It was about some PoC not feeling comfortable in the Center or just not going to the Center because some of the people there don’t seem to care about issues that affect PoC and would rather turn and blind eye and leave those topic unacknowledged. And thank God! Thank God for you, that token PoC who’s here to tell all of the non-PoC, “HEY, look. It’s ok. We don’t NEED to talk about PoC. It's not important. Keep calm, carry on; I’m here, I’m silencing them for you so you don’t look like a racist.” Which I would argue is MUCH WORSE than a non-PoC ignoring this topic. Which leads me to the next topic.

  2. Point 2: Did you really mean to use the term “Oppression Olympics*”? If there’s a better term to use to UNDERMIND AND MAKE LIGHT THE STRUGGLES OF MARGINALIZED PEOPLE, I don’t think I’ve encountered it. And again, there’s your drift in topic to “oppression” which this is not about. Not at all. I don’t feel oppressed by anyone at the Center in the same way you don’t (which is super fantastic). Not at all. Not ever. But that is irrelevant, because we weren’t even talking about oppression.

    Point 3: Finally, this statement: “You're only as oppressed as you let people make you feel.” How does that work? I’m sure all of those African slaves piled up into those slave ships to be brought across the Atlantic sure LET those Europeans oppress them. I wish I’d been there to say, “Hey guys, don’t worry, if you don’t FEEL oppressed you aren’t.” This word “oppression”, I’m not sure you know the meaning, because you sure certainly aren’t using it correctly. So before you derail the conversation with some unrelated topic, at least know and understand what that topic is. You ask where your oppression is, are you sure you know what you’re looking for?

    So thank you. Thanks so much for trying to invalidate the opinions of others. That was the one thing you did right, I’d argue, sharing your opinion (because everyone’s opinion matters... well, imo, which you are free to disagree with). Your opinion that the opinions of others are a burden to you and that you’re tired of them. Sharing that you’re “sick and tired” of hearing people voice their opinions because they differ from yours. I'm sure this would’ve been a very uplifting and empowering anonymous post had anyone said they were feeling oppressed in the Center (and it can STILL be uplifting if not related to the anon posts from last week, save for that part about how feelings affect oppression, because that is completely wrong).

    *Oppression Olympics is another term I think you’ve seemed to use in an incorrect matter. Wouldn't that involve two non-intersecting marginalized groups arguing their causes should have more attention be paid to them because their struggles are worse (which is a problem in and of itself). Unless this term does approach intersectionality, though it doesn't seem to... Not from what I've read about it.

    I heard that people were talking about this at the Center, and I hope that that discourse continues, but I also hope it isn’t derailed and stays true to the original issue. If there has been discussion off-blog about oppression w/in the community, I'd argue it was a spore that just budded off of the original conversation. Which is *somewhat* unfortunate because that original conversation still had much to give.

  3. hey!

    I used to think this too, and I found a hard time here at Duke meeting queer women and then it hit me....don't look here if you aren't finding success (also it feels weird to date within ur friend circle, so I couldnt date half the queer women at duke). This year I've tried meeting women at The Bar, The Pinhook, or general coffeeshops in the area, and it has really worked awesomely for me. Bring your confidence and go check out these places with friends-and then once you're off Duke's campus, check out the localities in other cities/areas for queer hangouts. :) you can do it!

    good luck.

  4. Thank you, Ebony. I completely agree with everything you said.

    Saying that I am oppressed as a LGBTQ person and woman does not mean I am playing a game of oppression olympics. I've just got two marginalized identities, and I need to talk about, recognize, and affirm both.

    And I'm finding community elsewhere tha does that.

  5. To #1:

    Many of the people who identify as queer at Duke care passionately about a vast range of different issues, from solving educational inequalities, to researching diseases, to combatting climate change, along with a whole host of other causes. They may find these to be more rewarding and important to the world as a whole. While fighting the marriage amendment is indeed an important task, there are only so many hours in the day. I found your comment condescending, as there are so many queer folk here who care more about issues that don't solely affect themselves, but are trying to make an impact in other areas.

  6. #1: There are a TON of people here, at Duke and in Durham, fighting Amendment 1, both LGBTQ and allies. (Check out the Friedl building as of today - it is totally covered in rainbow flags after the CulAnth and AAAS departments chose to hang flags from their offices and classrooms in support of defeating Amendment 1. It is fantastic!) But like anonymous 5:02 said, there are so many things wrong with the world and so many things to fix that I don't think everyone should be expected to drop the causes they're working on for this one. That's not even going into the fact that everyone here has a ton of stuff going on in their own lives, from schoolwork to relationships to volunteering to sports to family to whatever.

    You are right. Defeating Amendment 1 is enormously, hugely important to our community, our state, and our country. But ultimately the most important thing is that people get out and vote against it, and there are already extensive efforts in that direction (Anti-Amendment 1 and voter registration rallies on the plaza and the successful petition to get an early voting center just being two of the most visible). There are more people working than you think.

  7. #3- That's awesome! If you come to Blue Devil Days, the stop by the Center (if you feel comfortable). There should also be a table set up at a morning activities fair during BDD that the Center will be at.

    #2- I think I get what you're saying, that you feel mostly positive about your experience here at Duke and don't feel underprivileged like it seems to be implied that you should. I can really relate to that, as I've rarely had situations in which I felt like someone was actively oppressing me. That said, I think we might want to note the difference between privilege and oppression. In my understanding (which could be very flawed) privilege is simply an institutional/cultural thing that elevates some group over another based on some identifier. It doesn't necessarily mean that you are oppressed in your circumstances, but that the institutions of this country privilege white, wealthy, straight males. So when we talk about privilege, it certainly isn't a universal indicator of oppression but more of a discussion of who is given an advantage

  8. #3- while the center is great and all, just know before you come that if you feel like it isn't for you, there is a lot more to the lgbt scene at duke. so don't be discouraged if you feel like the center isn't everything you dreamed it would be