‘Hate in a Box’ makes students think about opening dialogue

Cody Francis

A look at the expressions of audience members during last night’s “Hate in a Box,” could show the uneasiness in the room. One audience member looked frightened, another dropped his head in embarrassment.

This was all as a panel member spoke of her five abortions.

“First and foremost it is my body. They don’t really have rights until birth in my opinion.”

Another panel member, a religious extremist, reacted to her remarks about abortion.

“(Having abortions) are as bad as nailing Jesus on the cross. It’s her choice to go to hell if she would like to.”

There were six panel members at the event, hosted by Kent Interhall Council. The panel members, all actors, played the roles of a homophobe, a lesbian, a religious extremist, a bulimic woman, a drug abuser and a woman who has had multiple abortions. Although the panel members were actors, it did not stop the audience members from feeling uneasy listening to their comments on these issues.

“I don’t usually get embarrassed easily, but these aren’t the kind of comments I hear every day,” said Elliott Fischbach, sophomore criminal justice major.

KIC president Avery Danage said the point of the program is to get students talking about hot-button issues, good or bad, so they can work to implement change.

“We want to start a dialogue between students by introducing issues most would be uncomfortable talking about,” Danage said. “If the issues make them angry, maybe they will come to KIC or talk to an administrator to let us know they aren’t happy about it.”

The roles were all picked by Danage. He said he picked the roles he knew would make students most uncomfortable.

“I picked the roles based on the reactions I thought they would get from the students,” said Danage.

Audience members thought the message delivered was a strong one.

“I thought it was a good way to get students talking about what’s important,” said Mary Kate Keating, sophomore speech pathology major. “The best way to get people talking is to confront the important issues head on, and I think they did that.”

“I want students to leave here with an open mind,” Danage said. “If they do get mad, then they should let their voices be heard.”

Contact room and board reporter Cody Francis at [email protected].