The attempts of Chico State to promote diversity and acceptance has seeped into its athletic organizations with its newest campaign.
Chico State’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee launched a movement called “We Don’t Say,” which was similar to Duke University’s “You Don’t Say” campaign. Although the plan was to raise awareness and promote an inclusive campus, it has yet to foster a positive public opinion.
The campaign highlighted clear racially derogatory terms, sexually inappropriate language and gendered-issue terms. Athletes were shown beside their quotes, which spoke about why discriminatory terms were unacceptable.
Words have power and people say these words without thinking about the context behind it, but sensitivity also plays a big part in it. Simple miscommunications can leave a person feeling harassed, and with words taken out of context, it’s easy to misconstrue the meaning.
With words addressing racial and sexual discrimination, the campaign was aimed at intolerance. Although the campaign is meant not to offend people and rather to raise awareness, it has been met with severe criticism.
Among the claims made against the “We Don’t Say” campaign, being too sensitive was the most common. Along with being too sensitive, many people saw it as a recruiting tactic implemented by the school.
When I first saw the posters, I wondered why only student-athletes were involved in the campaign. I also questioned the validity behind the statements they were making and if they actually did not use the words that they claim.
After talking with some student-athletes and students across campus, I saw the positive side to the campaign. The words that the athletes are advocating against might not affect me, but there are people who are influenced by it.
The athletes and school aren’t being overly sensitive by expressing how those words make them feel. It’s a bold way of standing up for what they believe in. The choice of the athletic department to involve themselves in a project directed at diversity and acceptance is worth more than just the accusations against it.
Although some organizations might view what Chico State is doing as a recruitment tactic or a publicity stunt, there are students who feel that they have gained a voice through others speaking out. The benefit of the campaign is more important than the scrutiny it receives.
Makayla Hopkins can be reached at [email protected] or @_MakaylaHopkins on Twitter.