Bringing hate out of the box

Brittany Moseley

Soma Nwaokafor, freshman construction management major, and freshman theatre major Danea Rhodes react to controversial topics at “Hate in a Box” in the Kiva last night. BRIAN MARKS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

The audience looks uncomfortable. Some gasp, others hide behind their hands and a few just shake their heads. Tough questions are thrown at the people on the stage.

“Do you believe God?”

“How many abortions have you had?”

The panelists were part of “Hate in a Box,” a discussion about diversity and extreme views on issues like race, sexuality and religion, a program hosted yesterday in the Kiva by Kent Interhall Council and Delta Sigma.

However, unlike most panels, all the participants were actors. Each of the seven students portrayed someone affected by diversity. The seven roles included a racist, a homophobe, a woman who “sleeps around,” a gay male, a religious extremist, an HIV-positive male and and a woman who had several abortions.

The director of the program, senior theater major Adrienne Broussard, played the moderator for the debate.

When Jason Calvert, who portrayed a homophobe, was asked about homosexuality, he said it was an abomination that’s caused by a chemical imbalance in people.

Kelly Morgan, the religious extremist, even pulled out the Bible to quote passages several times.

“Hate in a Box” was the first event from the Diversity Committee. Committee member Avery Danage said it’s KIC’s responsibility to do something about diversity because the group represents everyone who lives on campus.

“We shouldn’t have to ask somebody else to come into residence halls and do something,” said Danage, KIC director of business operations.

Although Danage said some of the views of the actors are exaggerated, the point of the event is for people to realize that these views aren’t unheard of.

Committee member Robin Wright said the group picked roles that would have the biggest affect on audience members.

“The people chosen were prime examples of what is wrong in our nation,” said Sarah Lenox, junior nursing major. “It just shows how everyone has different opinions, and Kent State is a good example of these different opinions.”

KIC co-adviser Laura De’Armond said it was a good first step for the Diversity Committee.

“We’re in no way trying to educate people,” De’Armond said. “We’re trying to generate discussion. We’re telling them why it’s important.”

Contact room and board reporter Brittany Moseley at [email protected].