A new Tumblr account purporting to be, “A concise description of what’s wrong with “We Are All Oxford” has added to the controversy surrounding the “I, Too, Am Oxford” compaign.
In one post, a “troll” face is superimposed onto that of a woman holding the sign, “We enjoyed celebrating diversity at the OUSU International Fair”, alongisde the caption, “This white person who ‘enjoys’ celebrating ‘diversity’”.
Other features, including the fact that one person appears twice in “We Are All Oxford”, holding a different sign in each picture, are also mocked.
“We Are All Oxford” was published earlier this week by Alexandra Jaye Wilson in protest on what it considered an unfair representation of the treatment of race in the university by the “I, Too, Am Oxford” campaign.
She commented, “We are appalled that someone has reduced the efforts of our response to a patronising and immature parody blog. We have emphasised repeatedly that we have no intention to undermine the original campaign as it raises very important issues about people’s prejudices and misguided perceptions, which need to be challenged!
“It seems as though the social media reaction is claiming that we are saying that racism does not exist, which is not the case at all. We are not naive and we are horrified that people think we are trying to suggest that these negative experiences do not matter, as many of us have faced them ourselves.
“In addition to this, there has been a lot of criticism about white people featuring in the campaign. We think it is extremely important that everyone has an opportunity to express their opinion and people who are white should not feel that they are excluded from this discussion. For clarification some of the white people pictured are not White British and are in fact ethnic minorities.
“The whiteboard comments were individual to each person and related to their personal experience of Oxford’s inclusivity. This of course leads to a wider discussion of access for all types of minorities at Oxford.
“We are simply painting a more balanced picture of the university and highlighting to people that it is ignorant individuals, and not the University of Oxford, that expresses these views.
“We all stand by our response and really hope that people will take the time to read the explanation at the beginning of our Tumblr page as we feel this accurately expresses our intentions.”
Chiara Giovanni, who was involved in the “I, Too, Am Oxford” campaign, said, “While I thoguht it was funny, well-timed and aptly named, I think a quick explanation of why WAAO is silencing, hurtful and belittling to the PoC who took part in the original project would have been useful. It’s a shame tha this isn’t immediately obvious but clearly it’s necessary to explain that (a) parrotting access expenditure does not equate to dedicated combatting of institutional racism while students are here and (b) white people telling the PoC who participated that they, in effect, should sit downa nd stop worrying because everything’s dine and ‘diversity’ is being celebrated.”
“Some of the comments were irrelevant, but I do think that the fact this exists, along with the huge backlash to WAAO on Tiwtter at #wearealloxford demosntrates how hurtful and insulting this project is, and how it’s actually having a terrible impact on the University’s image (the opposite than intended!), which ought to be taken very seriously.”
Many have reacted negatively to “We Are All Oxford” on Twitter. One tweet reads, “Oxford University outreach spend: £5.6 million. Oxford University annual endowment: £3.8 billion #wearealloxford”. Another reads, “#wearealloxford is exactly why #ITooAmOxford is needed. I cannot believe that @ousunews thought it was a good idea. Really sad.”
However, others have defended the campaign. A recent tweet reads, “#wearealloxford has been woefully misunderstood. Its ONLY argument is that the original campaign is unrepresentative. Not denying it.”