University students have signed a ‘petition’ to ban the white stick figure indicating when pedestrians can walk at crossings at traffic lights.
Campus Reform, a news website about higher education, went undercover at George Washington University to see how many students found the stick figure “oppressive” and would support the ban.
The fake petition came after students at the university in Washington D.C. voted to change its “offensive” official mascot.
“The use of ‘colonials’, no matter how innocent the intention, is received as extremely offensive by not only students of the university, but the nation and world at large,” the petition, signed by more than 500 students, said.
“The historically, negatively-charged figure of colonials has too deep a connection to colonisation and glorifies the act of systematic oppression.”
A video posted by Campus Reform shows undercover petitioners approaching students to support the ban of the traffic sign to see how far they’d go to outlaw symbols that could be perceived as oppressive.
The fake petition reads: “As we students cross the street, we are told by the symbol of a white man when it is OK to cross.
“Many students from diverse backgrounds, including individuals of colour, gender fluid individuals and LGBTAQ+ individuals, feel oppressed by this.”
Students in the video were urged to sign the petition after claims some were offended by the white man symbol and wanted a more inclusive environment.
One woman who signed the petition said she had never thought about it, but could see why some students would have a problem with it.
“I assume it’s one of many ways in which the default is imagined to be a white man,” another said.
“This isn’t the most important problem to me but I totally get that it could be a problem to other people.”
Most students who appeared in the video supported the petition, including one university staff member.
Only one disagreed with the petition, saying he was “ideologically opposed” to the plan to ban the white figure.
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