The “I am not” poster campaign is an event being planned by Diversity Fellowship that will take place in the next few weeks on campus. I heard about this campaign through an email asking for campus leaders to participate and take a stand against common stereotypes that we face on a daily basis. Each individual will make a poster listing what they are stereotyped by in the form of “I am not ‘blank’” that will then be plastered around campus for everyone to see. Each poster will also have tabs on the bottom that will list different stereotypes that students can then pull off to show awareness about the amount of discrimination people face, which most of the time is an inaccurate portrayal of them.
I love the idea of any event that goes against the norm and is a little controversial for the sake of increasing awareness. Whether you participate or not, everyone can think of something that they are stereotyped for and wish they weren’t. The “I am not” campaign is a great way to promote the message to not judge someone by their appearance. Some of the typical stereotypes we often see are: women are objects, skinny people are anorexic, all blondes are unintelligent, all males play sports and men have to bring home the money.
I think at The University of Tampa especially, we judge other students too harshly, stereotyping them by the clothes they wear, the car they drive, the sorority or fraternity they might be in and even the major they are pursuing. I always hear people say that communication majors are a joke and that their major is more difficult, but until you actually experience the major, you have no right to talk about it. There is even a stigma about sororities and fraternities rumored around campus which can alter someone’s decision when rushing even though it may be an inaccurate portrayal. I plan on participating in the “I am not” campaign in hopes that the stereotype I list for myself can spread awareness to other students and stop how judgmental we are.
This event reminds me of the one Diversity Fellowship did in the fall with the Wall Of Oppression where students wrote stereotypes on bricks and then knocked the wall down, symbolically breaking stereotypes. It also reminds me of the celebrity “NoH8” campaign except this deals with stereotypes and unfortunately there won’t be any celebrities advocating it. But still, this is a great cause that students should get involved with.
The fact that Diversity Fellowship is creating events that are diverse from the regular events organizations hold stands out. Our generation is too judgemental, and that hinders us from being unique individuals and really being involved with what we like. If everyone stopped worrying about stereotypes, we would be a lot better off.
Katie Drake can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org