By Will Brown
“I Don’t Say No Homo Because Complimenting Someone Of The Same Sex Should Not Be Shamefaced”
“I Don’t Say Retarded Because Developmental Disorders Are Not Synonymous With Intelligence”
“I Don’t Say Kill Me After A Tough Practice Because Suicide Is A Serious Matter That Should Not Be Taken Lightly”
These are just a few of the many posters featuring student athletes from all different men’s and women’s sports explaining why a certain word or expression is better left unsaid. These posters have been hung up all over Millsaps’ campus—from outside the Leggett, to inside the Christian Center and inside other academic buildings. The words referenced in the posters can be harmful to many different groups of people, including women, minorities, the LGBT community, those with disabilities, and those living with mental illnesses. These posters were made for the Stand Up-Don’t Say campaign, which was launched by the Millsaps’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) in order to educate the campus community and the public of inappropriate language directed toward various groups of people.
The campaign, which started at Duke University, made its way to Millsaps when SAAC was looking through NCAA commitments to various charity events, such as the Special Olympics and the LGBTQ community. When assistant cross country/track and field coach and SAAC advisor Torrey Hollis found out about the campaign, she thought it would be good to promote at Millsaps.
“Millsaps is a liberal arts college and the campaigns stands for a lot of what the campus embodies… It was a perfect campaign to promote what the campus already promotes through the liberal arts experience” Hollis said.
Susannah Williams, a volleyball player and SAAC President thought that the Stand Up-Don’t Say campaign would make an impact on campus by raising awareness for common sayings that can be offensive to certain groups of people.
“Language is a huge thing, and how you talk to people is important. When we heard about it at Duke, we thought that it would be really successful at Millsaps and that students would have a positive reaction toward the campaign” Williams said.
The student athletes that participated in the campaign got to choose which quotes they wanted to use. Athletes looked up the first campaign at Duke to get a better sense of which phrases they should use. Some of the phrases were pre-existing, while others were original.
For her poster, Williams chose to use the phrase “I Don’t Say He Asked For It, Because No Consent Is Not Consent.” She chose this quote to raise awareness of sexual misconduct.
“Title IX is a huge thing on campus,” she said. “Being aware of sexual violence and understanding consent is really important. Unfortunately we have seen some incidents on college campuses regarding this and I think it is important to shed light on this issue.”
For some, including sophomore lacrosse player Dana Logan, the phrase they chose had very personal meaning. Logan chose to use the phrase “I Don’t Say Oreo, Because It Implies I Act In Accord With Racial Stereotypes.”
“I was born in Jacksonville, FL. My whole time in Florida I went to an all white school. I had a lot of white friends and the way I pronounce my words are different from the original black culture” Logan said. “I used to get bullied because of the way I talked. When I got to Millsaps I’ve had people call me “oreo”- white girl in a black girl’s body.” She hopes that the posters will make the student body more aware of what is being said throughout the school. “In all honesty, some of the things that are said touch people in a different way than they think it does” Logan said. “I get tired of giving the same explanation over and over again and I hate to have a title put on me just because of where I was born.”
Sean Connelly, a senior baseball player chose to use the phrase “I Don’t Say Throw Like A Girl, Because Being a Woman Does Not Dictate Athletic Ability.” “Throw like a Girl is a funny saying. Women can do anything men can do and they should be seen as respectful and equal,” Connelly said.
For future campaigns, Hollis is looking to focus more on all the individual cases presented in these posters. “This hit every multicultural, mental health etc need we were looking to support,” Hollis says. “In the future we want to go more specific and hit on all the different posters that were presented.”